WordPress Planet

March 21, 2018

HeroPress: Keeping Community Alive

Pull Quote: Be a pillar of support for your community.

In the last year or so I’ve been a lot more involved with the business side of WordPress than the community side. The business side isn’t nearly as loving and supportive as the community side, and some of that is out of necessity. Business is business, and people need to eat.

The problem comes when people get so focused on the business side of things that they forget they’re dealing with people. Recently Carl Hancock mentioned on twitter that there are things that happen in business in the WordPress community that would horrify people. I don’t know who those people are that do those things, and I don’t even know what the things are, but I have hope that the community can be bigger and better than that.

There will always be selfish jerks who abuse the system for personal gain, but I have hope that the WordPress community can generally rise above that, and perhaps even change the hearts of poor players.

This week’s HeroPress replay is from David Laietta, about how our community changes lives.

A Community of Acceptance

The post Keeping Community Alive appeared first on HeroPress.

March 21, 2018 03:39 PM under Replay

WPTavern: A Plea For Plugin Developers to Stop Supporting Legacy PHP Versions

Iain Poulson has published a thoughtful request on the Delicious Brains blog asking WordPress plugin developers to stop supporting legacy PHP versions. He covers some of the benefits of developing with newer versions of PHP, what Delicious Brains is doing with its plugins, and using the Requires Minimum PHP Version header in readme.txt.

While we wait for the Trac discussion to roll on and the WordPress development wheels to turn we can take action ourselves in our plugins to stop them working on installs that don’t meet our requirements.

We do this in our own plugins where it is strictly necessary (WP Offload S3 relies on the Amazon Web Services S3 SDK, which requires PHP 5.3.3+ and will we will move to PHP 5.5 in the future), and the more plugins that do this out of choice will help move the needle further.

Iain Poulson

Poulson mentions the ServeHappy project in his post and it's worth a mention here as well. The ServeHappy project was launched earlier this year by a group of volunteers.

Its main goal is to reduce the number of WordPress installs running on unsupported PHP versions through education, awareness, and tools to help users update their site's PHP versions.

This project is in need of contributors. If you're interested, join the #core-php channel on WordPress Slack. The team has meetings every Monday at 11:00 AM EDT. You can also follow the #core-php tag on the Make WordPress.org Core site where links to chat logs and meeting summaries are published.

by Jeff Chandler at March 21, 2018 12:31 AM under servehappy

March 20, 2018

WPTavern: How to Disable Push Notification Requests in Firefox

Have you noticed how many sites ask if you want to enable push notifications? I've answered no to every request but thanks to a tip suggested by Thomas Kräftner, you can disable requests from appearing altogether in Firefox.

Last week, Mozilla released Firefox 59.0 and added a new privacy feature that allows users to block sites from sending push notification requests. To enable it, open the Options panel in Firefox 59.0 and click the Privacy&Security tab.

Scroll down to the Permissions section. Click on the Settings button for Notifications and check the box that says Block new requests asking to allow notifications.

Settings panel for Notifications

Click the Save Changes button and enjoy one less thing interrupting your browsing experience.  To accomplish the same thing in Chrome, follow this tutorial published by Field Guide.

by Jeff Chandler at March 20, 2018 11:32 PM under notifications

March 16, 2018

WPTavern: Without Context, Some Lyrics Inside the Hello Dolly Plugin Are Degrading to Women

There have been many discussions over the years on whether or not Hello Dolly should be unbundled with WordPress. Seven years ago, it was argued that the lyrics are copyrighted and could potentially violate the GPL license.

The latest issue with Hello Dolly is that some lyrics that appear in users dashboards with the plugin activated can be degrading to women without context.

Two examples are:

  • Find her an empty lap, fellas
  • Find her a vacant knee, fellas

Joe McGill has created a trac ticket proposing that those two lines be removed. "The Hello Dolly plugin has been bundled in WordPress for many years, being a simple example of how to build a plugin for WordPress while also adding a bit of whimsy to admin," he said.

"However, there are several passages of text from this song which are inappropriate to display without any context to people using WordPress—particularly as the WordPress project seeks to promote inclusivity for all."

The discussion within the ticket suggests creating a black list or replacing the lyrics with less offensive versions. In many of the Google search results for Hello Dolly lyrics by Jerry Herman, shows that the lyrics inside the plugin and those in the song are different.

The lyrics say, "Find me a vacant knee, fellas." In a video on YouTube of Hello Dolly featuring Sarah Gardner singing the lyrics, she clearly says "Find her an empty lap, fellas." In a YouTube video of Louis Armstrong singing Hello Dolly live, he says "Find her an empty lap, fellas."

Putting aside the debate of which version of the lyrics are used, displaying the text above without context can and is seen as degrading women. At a time when WordPress and its community are doing what it can to be more inclusive, changing or removing the lyrics seems like an easy win.

by Jeff Chandler at March 16, 2018 08:45 PM under inclusive

WPTavern: Watch WordCamp Miami 2018 Via Free Livestream

Tickets for the event may be sold out, but you can watch the event from anywhere thanks to a free livestream. The stream starts today and covers both the E-Commerce and developers workshops. The stream begins tomorrow at 8:30AM EDT with separate links to morning and afternoon sessions.

by Jeff Chandler at March 16, 2018 04:18 PM under wordcamp miami

March 15, 2018

WPTavern: Let’s Encrypt Wildcard Certificates Are Now Available

In July of last year, Let's Encrypt announced that it would begin issuing Wildcard certificates for free in January of 2018. Although a little late, the organization has announced that Wildcard certificate support is now live.

In addition to these certificates, the organization has updated its ACME protocol to version 2.0. ACMEv2 is required for clients that want to use Wildcard certificates.

Wildcard certificates enable site administrators to secure all sub domains with a single certificate. This can be especially convenient for WordPress Multi-site networks.

Let's Encrypt is working on transitioning all clients and subscribers to ACMEv2, though it hasn't set a time table on when it will expire the ACMEv1 API.

In July of 2017, Let's Encrypt was securing 47 million domains. Today, the organization is securing nearly 70 million domains with 54 million certificates. In the United States, nearly 80% of sites loaded in Firefox are through HTTPS.

Let's Encrypt is an open certificate authority that's part of the non-profit Internet Security Research Group. It's mission is to make 100% of the web HTTPS. Operations are financed through sponsors and donations. If this is a mission you believe in, please consider donating to the project.

by Jeff Chandler at March 15, 2018 05:23 PM under wildcard

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 308 – Wildcard SSL Certificates For All

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I discuss the news of the week including the results from the 2018 Stack Overflow survey, Tech Crunch’s rebuild, and Let’s Encrypt adding support for wildcard certificates. We also talk about Google working towards AMP or parts of it becoming official web standards. I ranted about how the mobile experience on the web sucks, and we end the show with some event news.

Stories Discussed:

Stack Overflow Survey Respondents Still Rank WordPress Among the Most Dreadful Platforms
Inside Google’s plan to make the whole web as fast as AMP
ACME v2 and Wildcard Certificate Support is Live
TechCrunch rebuilt using the REST API
WPCampus Scheduled for July 12-14 in St. Louis, MO

Picks of the Week:

Designing Themes with Gutenberg Blocks and Sketch

DDJ-1000 The 4-channel professional performance DJ controller for rekordbox dj

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, March 21st 3:00 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Itunes

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via RSS

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Stitcher Radio

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Google Play

Listen To Episode #308:

by Jeff Chandler at March 15, 2018 01:09 AM under techcrunch

March 14, 2018

HeroPress: A look back: Tamsin Taylor, Freedom Through Blogging

Pull Quote: We cannot know the end of any journey until we find ourselves there.

In August of 2016 I saw a WordCamp talk on WordPress.tv called “A Hero’s Journey”, and I thought that seemed like something I should know a lot more about.  A short time later I was speaking with Tamsin Taylor on Slack.

A greeting conversation

I love telling stories, but I love hearing them more. Tamsin told me a story grief and loss, and how WordPress provided an outlet for those feelings. I hope her story resonates with you as well.

The Bumpy Journey of Becoming

The post A look back: Tamsin Taylor, Freedom Through Blogging appeared first on HeroPress.

March 14, 2018 12:46 PM under Essays

WPTavern: Stack Overflow Survey Respondents Still Rank WordPress Among the Most Dreadful Platforms

Stack Overflow, a Q&A community for developers, has published the results of its 2018 developer survey. The survey was held between January 8th through the 28th and includes responses from 101,592 software developers from 183 countries across the world. This is nearly twice the amount of responses compared to last year’s survey.

Last year, WordPress was the third most dreaded software platform behind Salesforce and SharePoint. This year, WordPress has improved in the rankings and is the sixth most dreaded platform. Respondents found Windows Phone, Mainframe, Salesforce, Drupal, and SharePoint to be more dreadful.

WordPress is the sixth most dreaded software platform

Despite making headway, WordPress has consistently ranked near the top in Stack Overflow’s survey for most dreadful platform. Asking developers why is probably akin to opening Pandora’s box.

JavaScript was once again the most popular technology with HTML, CSS, and SQL following closely behind. Among the various JavaScript frameworks and libraries that exist, Node.js is the most commonly used followed by Angular and React.

The survey introduced a few new topics this year, including questions about artificial intelligence and ethics. When posed with a hypothetical situation in which a developer was asked if they would write code for unethical purposes, more than half of the respondents said no. Also of note is that less than half of the respondents say they contribute to open source.

There are a lot of interesting data points in the survey. I encourage you to check out the results and let me know in the comments what sticks out to you.

Updated 3/14/2018 Corrected to say that WordPress has improved in the rankings and is therefor, less dreadful than before.

by Jeff Chandler at March 14, 2018 10:08 AM under technologies

March 13, 2018

WPTavern: WPCampus Scheduled for July 12-14 in St. Louis, MO

WPCampus, an in-person conference dedicated to WordPress in higher education has announced its third annual event will be held July 12-14 at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. The call for speakers is open until April 7th. The event is two months after WordCamp St. Louis which will also be held at Washington University.

WPCampus held its first event in 2016 in Sarasota, FL, and its second in 2017 in Buffalo, NY. The schedule is not yet finalized but to get an idea on what to expect, check out the video presentations from previous events. Organizers expect about 200 attendees and are accepting sponsorship inquiries.

Tickets are not yet available but those interested in attending can sign up to the WPCampus mailing list where ticket information will be distributed first.

by Jeff Chandler at March 13, 2018 12:12 AM under wpcampus

March 10, 2018

Post Status: Network effects and WordPress — Draft podcast

Welcome to the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can find on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and via RSS for your favorite podcatcher. Post Status Draft is hosted by Brian Krogsgard and co-host Brian Richards.

In this episode, Brian and Brian discuss the power of network effects and how they relate to WordPress’ increasing market share and maturity. WordPress has recently hit two major milestones, turning 15 years old and reaching 30% market share of the top 10 million websites, and we spend this episode reflecting on the innovations that brought us here and where innovations are likely to occur over the next 10 years.

We’ve come quite a long way in these 15 years. From the famous 5-minute install to being entirely pre-installed. From a supportive band of volunteers and vast ecosystem of free software to the commercially supported and highly-polished products that exist today. There is a lot about WordPress to be thankful for, and a lot of great things that will exist in the future because of it. And you can hear a bit about all of that on this episode of the Post Status Draft podcast.


Sponsor: Yoast

Yoast SEO Premium gives you 24/7 support from a great support team and extra features such as a redirect manager, recommended internal links, tutorial videos and integration with Google Webmaster Tools! Check out Yoast SEO Premium.

by Katie Richards at March 10, 2018 08:18 PM under Everyone

March 09, 2018

WPTavern: Yoast Launches Fund to Increase Speaker Diversity at Tech Conferences

In an effort to increase speaker diversity at conferences worldwide, the team at Yoast SEO has launched a diversity fund. The fund will pledge a minimum of €25,000 each year. Its purpose is to remove the financial burdens that can cause minorities or underrepresented groups to speak at conferences.

“There are WordCamps throughout the world, these are conferences about, by and for the WordPress community,” Joost de Valk said.

“While we already sponsor a lot of them, they tend to not have the budget to pay for speakers’ travel and accommodation cost. The same applies to other conferences about open source, certainly those that are not commercially run. We want to take away that particular reason for not having a diverse conference.”

Eligible candidates will be reimbursed €1,000 for travel and accommodations per event. In order to qualify for the fund, speakers must meet the following requirements:

  • Is a part of – or identifies as part of – a typically underrepresented group.
  • The conference is not commercial.
  • The conference targets either the WordPress, Magento, or TYPO3 community.
  • Has been accepted as a speaker to the conference.

To submit an application, email diversity-fund at yoast.com where applications are reviewed within a week.

by Jeff Chandler at March 09, 2018 03:20 AM under yoast

March 08, 2018

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 307 – Thirty Percent of the Web

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I start with a continued discussion of AMP from last week. We cover the big releases of the week including Jetpack, Genesis, Yoast SEO, and Gutenberg. We discuss a new project that aims to determine Gutenberg compatible plugins, debate the terminology used to describe WordPress’ market share, and a new plugin that makes WordPress updates more secure.

Stories Discussed:

Gutenberg 2.3, Now With Nested Blocks
Genesis 2.6
Yoast SEO 7.0
Jetpack 5.9
4,500 Plugins Need Your Help in Determining Gutenberg Compatibility
New Plugin Makes WordPress Core Updates More Secure by Requiring Cryptographic Signature Verification
WordPress Now Used on 30% of the Top 10 Million Sites

Picks of the Week:

Mel Choyce’s presentation on Customizing the Future at LoopConf.

Felix Arntz’s presentation on a Global Admin, a deep dive into multi-network organization at LoopConf.

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, February 14th 3:00 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Itunes

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via RSS

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Stitcher Radio

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Google Play

Listen To Episode #307:

by Jeff Chandler at March 08, 2018 03:39 AM under yoast

March 07, 2018

Matt: Back to Blogging

I really enjoyed Tom Critchlow's post Small b blogging.

by Matt at March 07, 2018 10:59 PM under Asides

WPTavern: Conceptual Ideas on How the Customizer Could Integrate With Gutenberg

While the initial focus of Gutenberg is the editor, the second focus is the Customization experience in WordPress. Mel Choyce, Product Designer at Automattic, recently spoke at LoopConf, on the past, present, and future of the customizer.

Choyce begins the presentation by describing when and how the customizer was added to WordPress. Fun fact, the customizer or what was known as the Theme Customizer at the time, was added to WordPress 3.4 “Green” in June 2012.

The session continues with Choyce showcasing new features and enhancements that have been made to the customizer since 2012. Near the 23 minute mark, Choyce shows conceptual images of what the customization experience could be like when implemented with Gutenberg.

In the experimental images, you can see options to choose page templates or layouts, live previewing changes to blocks, global site styles, and a standard set of user interface patterns. The ideas presented are concepts and likely to change.

Because the session was recorded with a picture-in-picture, I’m not able to provide high quality screen captures of the conceptual images. To see those items in detail, I recommend viewing the video in full-screen 1080p. You can full all of the LoopConf sessions for free via their YouTube channel.

by Jeff Chandler at March 07, 2018 10:17 AM under gutenberg

HeroPress: Building A New Life

Pull Quote: Plan your business around what matters to you/

This is the story of how I co-founded Barn2 Media with my husband Andy, and scaled it from a startup to one of the UK’s best known WordPress agencies – all while working part-time.

I’ll tell you about the challenges I faced in building a WordPress business that is compatible with a good work-life balance. I’ll share what I did each time the growing business started to threaten my lifestyle, and how you can do the same.

The Beginning

I had a traditional full-time job throughout my 20’s. I enjoyed building my career and earning a regular salary, but didn’t like the lack of flexibility that came with it.

I didn’t like having to arrive at work by a fixed time, or being unable to choose when I worked. As a hard-working person, it felt counter-productive to be forced to work set hours when I may not be at my best.

My daily commute was anything from 25-50 minutes (which I realise is less than many people). It felt like a waste of time as I could work just as well from home, not to mention the environmental impact of driving so far just to sit in an office. Day-to-day tasks such as ordering items for home delivery became a big deal, as I wasn’t home during the day.

As a result, I spent most of my 20’s simultaneously building my career in a traditional job, while dreaming about running my own business and working for myself. Andy felt the same about his own job as a senior software developer.

I think that most people want a better lifestyle, but not many actually do anything about it. I thought I was one of those people.

Andy and I would talk endlessly about different business ideas (most of them terrible!) and even experimented with building a few websites that were never launched. However, we didn’t have the drive to make it happen and launch a business in the real world.

Starting a Business

In late 2009, Andy had finally had enough of his job and we agreed that it was time for him to quit. We decided to start a web design business together. He would work solely on the new business, while I would support it alongside my main job (which I didn’t hate, even though I didn’t like the lifestyle).

We started by building WordPress websites for small local businesses. Andy built the websites and I was responsible for copywriting and marketing. We approached local tradespeople who didn’t already have a website – back in 2010, there were still a lot of these! Our first clients were local plumbers, electricians, a washing machine repair shop, etc.

These early projects were quite low budget. The average hourly rate was quite low because we were still learning and hadn’t perfected our processes yet. We wasted a lot of time on projects where we had under-quoted but were committed to honoring the agreed price.

We made a lot of mistakes, and learned from them all!

By Year 2, the business was making the equivalent of a fairly low salary for one person. However, we had to work a lot for a relatively small income. This encouraged us to work more hours, and it wasn’t bringing the lifestyle benefits I was looking for.

Lifestyle Tip #1: Learn to Specialize

In late 2010, it occurred to me that we were building all our websites in WordPress but not advertising ourself as a WordPress company. I wondered whether people were actually searching for WordPress experts and whether this could be a good way to advertise. That may seem obvious in 2018 now WordPress is the world’s biggest web platform – but it was a genuine question back in 2010.

On a whim, I invested $100 in Google AdWords targeting keywords such as ‘WordPress web design’ and ‘WordPress developer’. Amazingly, we were overwhelmed with enquiries and quickly brought in over $4,000 of business – not a bad return on investment! The work came from medium sized companies who had never used our services before, with higher budgets.

Positioning ourselves as WordPress specialists completely changed the profile of our client base, as well as the budgets we were working with.

This vastly increased our average hourly income, so we were making more money without having to work more hours. Finally, it felt like a proper business with a better work-life balance.

Lifestyle Tip #2: Build a (virtual) team

The business grew quickly under its new identity as a specialist WordPress agency. By mid-2011, we had more work than we could manage ourselves. I also had a baby and increased my hours on the business while on maternity leave – eventually not returning to my old job. We still needed to increase the company’s income, while working towards the lifestyle we wanted.

We grew the business to the next level by building a virtual team.

I felt quite strongly that I didn’t want to become a traditional employer with a team of staff, all working together in an office. That would bring me back to the lifestyle I started with!

Instead, I decided to recruit a team of freelancers.

It took time to find the right freelancers, but the good news is that you can try someone out on a single project with no further commitment. If it doesn’t work out, then you don’t have to work with them again. Through trial and error, I built a team of freelancers with different WordPress-related skills. This increased capacity and allowed us to take on more projects without having to work more hours.

I was still managing all the projects, but could take a step back and wasn’t directly building the websites. Finally, it felt like a proper WordPress agency.

Lifestyle Tip #3: Selling WordPress products

By building a distributed team, the business became more and more successful. We were taking on more and more projects, and I was managing all of them. By the time we were running 20 projects at once, I had reached the limits of my capacity and was having to work a lot of hours.

From 2014-15, I experimented with working with freelance project managers, but had to give up because quality was dropping and our clients were less happy. I realised that with the current business model, I could only continue growing the business by working more and more hours. This wasn’t what I had been working towards!

It was time for Andy and I to pursue our other dream: selling WordPress products. We’d been talking about this since the early days of the business, but the client projects had kept us so busy that we’d never done anything about it.

In early 2016, Andy stepped out of the client business and started writing WordPress and WooCommerce plugins to sell. I continued managing client projects for the next 6 months, until the plugins were making enough money to stop taking on new projects and I could spend all my time marketing and supporting the plugins.

Selling WordPress plugins has been very successful because we already knew the market inside out from our years of developing WordPress sites.

We knew where the gaps were and what plugin customers want. We knew where other plugin companies get it wrong, and could learn from their mistakes without making the same mistakes ourselves!

By launching several plugins, we could listen to what our customers were asking for and build even more. In October 2016, we launched our WooCommerce Product Table plugin because so many people asked for a way to list products in a table with add to cart buttons. This immediately became our bestselling plugin and has sold more than all our other plugins combined. Since then, the plugin business has gone from strength to strength.

I have found that selling WordPress products brings a much better work-life balance than providing WordPress services.

We receive (many) plugin support requests every day, but each one takes relatively little time and is less pressured than fixing problems for web design clients. The whole business feels much more relaxed, and I don’t feel guilty about taking time off.

Between the two of us, we spend a couple of hours a day on plugin support. We continue improving the plugins, marketing, adding features and building the business on top of that. However, all of this is optional and can easily be done while working part-time.

Snow Day! Putting It Into Practice

Before we finish, I’ll tell you about my week. Today is Friday. At 10.30am on Wednesday, I received a text that my daughter’s school had closed for the rest of the week because of the unusual snow here in the UK.

The parents with traditional jobs panicked and had to quickly arrange childcare or time-off work. Some of them were stuck in cars on snowed-in roads as they tried to return to the village. No one could get to work the next day. A lot of people lost a lot of money.

Andy and I simply stopped work, put on our snow gear, walked the 10 minutes to the school, and then went sledging. Since then, we’ve been sharing the childcare in between responding to plugin support requests (and writing this article!). We’ve had 37 plugin sales on our website since the school closed, even though we’ve been working less hours than usual. Now, that’s what I’ve been working towards!


I’ve worked hard and have been extremely committed to building Barn2 Media. However, this has always been on the condition that it wouldn’t sacrifice my lifestyle goals.

For me, the ideal business is measured against a combination of financial success and lifestyle benefits. If the founders are working 70 hours a week to keep the money coming in, then it’s not a successful business!

You can do the same. Design a WordPress business that will give you the lifestyle you want, as well as making money. If you love working with people, build a team and provide WordPress services (WordPress design and development are good for this). If you want to travel, choose work that you can do remotely from different time zones (WordPress products are good for this). Plan your business around what matters to you.

WordPress is such a huge ecosystem that it comes with many opportunities to build a successful business. With a bit of extra thought and planning, you can build a WordPress business that is successful AND lets you life the lifestyle you’ve always wanted. That is the true measure of success.

The post Building A New Life appeared first on HeroPress.

by Katie Keith at March 07, 2018 08:00 AM

March 06, 2018

WPTavern: WordPress Now Used on 30% of the Top 10 Million Sites

W3Techs, a survey company that monitors usage of various web technologies, is reporting that WordPress has reached 30% usage or 60.2% market share of all the websites whose content management systems it knows about. This represents a 0.6% increase since February 1st and 13.1% over the last seven years.

Just five days ago, Matt Mullenweg, co-creator of WordPress, brought attention to the approaching milestone.

When it comes to WordPress’ market share numbers, W3Techs is the most cited source. While some say that WordPress now powers 30% of the web, technically, it is used by 30% of the top 10 million sites based on traffic according to Alexa. All sub-domains on WordPress.com and WordPress.org count as one site.

The internet is larger than the top 10 million sites. According to Internet live stats, there are close to 2 billion sites on the internet although a majority of them are inactive.

W3Techs’ numbers show that WordPress’ use is growing on sites that receive a lot of traffic and shows no signs of slowing down as it makes its way towards 50%.

by Jeff Chandler at March 06, 2018 10:22 AM under w3techs

March 03, 2018

WPTavern: New Plugin Makes WordPress Core Updates More Secure by Requiring Cryptographic Signature Verification

In 2016, WordFence published their findings of a vulnerability that could have compromised the servers that are used to send out WordPress updates. It turned out to be a complex, obscure vulnerability that ignited a conversation surrounding the security of api.wordpress.org and what could happen if the servers were compromised.

One idea that was brought forth is to digitally sign WordPress core, theme, and plugin updates. For at least five years, a trac ticket has laid semi-dormant with this idea in mind.

Fifteen months ago, Scott Arciszewski, Chief Development Officer for Paragon Initiative Enterprises, who is most widely known for his cryptography engineering work, published an article that has since been taken down, expressing his strong desire for Matt Mullenweg to make secure cryptographic signatures a priority. Mullenweg responded to his post with one of his own stating that although WordPress update signing is important, it’s not a high priority.

“We will at some point; as said above it’s a good idea — can’t hurt, might help,” Mullenweg responded when asked if WordPress was ever going to do update signing. “There are, however, some more important security issues in front of it, that impact millions of sites in the real world, so we are prioritizing those issues above a nice-to-have, defense in-depth effort.”

Eric Mann Launches Secure WordPress Updates Plugin

While WordPress does not digitally sign updates, Eric Mann, founder of Displace Technologies, LLC, has created and released a new plugin that adds code signing to WordPress core updates. It’s called DGXPCO or Digital Guarantees for eXplicitly Permitted Core Operations. You’ll find it on the plugin directory by searching for DGXPCO.

When installed and activated, the plugin integrates with the core updater and requires that any core update must have a valid signature before it can be installed. The signature provides a secondary source of truth that confirms the integrity of the files. The signatures are created using a Ed25519 public/private keypair and Libsodium to sign the files’ contents.

Mann keeps the private key offline and has published the public key online. The public key will not change and if a core update is signed by a different key, it is a red flag and the update should be avoided. In addition, commits made to the release hashes repository on GitHub are signed with Mann’s PGP key to verify that he is the one who added new code.

Mann admits that the solution is not fool-proof and is working towards improving it. In future versions, the plugin will only notify the user of a WordPress core update if a digital signature is available. Plugins and themes are on the roadmap as well with the ability to opt-in.

Although he is the only person allowed to digitally sign packages, the model is not sustainable.

“As I prove out the update system, I’ll also begin adding sets of public keys that are scoped to specific sets of packages,” Mann said. “This will, for example, allow me to whitelist a small number of trusted developers to also sign core packages. It might also empower plugin developers to sign their own releases (but not anyone else’s).”

Mann is seeking feedback and is hoping the project provides evidence that something like it can be added to WordPress core.

by Jeff Chandler at March 03, 2018 12:56 AM under updates

March 02, 2018

Post Status: Marketing and positioning WordPress products — Draft podcast

Welcome to the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can find on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and via RSS for your favorite podcatcher. Post Status Draft is hosted by Brian Krogsgard and co-host Brian Richards.

This week BK and BR discuss a number of different aspects surrounding marketing and selling WordPress products and services. The conversation flows from selling benefits vs features, to social proof, to marketing and conversion funnels, to understanding and reacting to the problem space, to customer support, and many things in between. Whether you’re already selling products or services, about to sell something, or routinely buy things, there’s likely something for you in this episode.


Sponsor: SiteGround

SiteGround is engineered for speed, built for security, and crafted for WordPress. They offer feature-rich managed WordPress hosting with premium support, and are officially recommended by WordPress.org. Check out SiteGround’s website for a special deal for Post Status listeners, and thanks to SiteGround for being a Post Status partner.

by Katie Richards at March 02, 2018 08:24 PM under Everyone

WPTavern: 4,500 Plugins Need Your Help in Determining Gutenberg Compatibility

One of the keys to a successful roll out of Gutenberg is plugin compatibility. Without it, users will experience unnecessary frustration and hamper enthusiasm of the new editor. In an effort to figure out what plugins are already compatible with Gutenberg, Daniel Bachhuber has created a Gutenberg Plugin Compatibility Database.

Gutenberg Plugin Compatibility Database

The database contains 5,000 plugins that represent more than 90% of the total active install count. Plugins are compatible with Gutenberg if they meet the following two requirements.

  • A WordPress user can perform the same functional task with Gutenberg active. For instance, if the plugin includes an ‘Add Media’ button, it’s considered Gutenberg-compatible when it has a block registered for the Gutenberg inserter.
  • There are no (obvious) errors when the WordPress plugin is active alongside Gutenberg.

In order to participate in the testing process, you’ll need to register an account on the site. Once approved, testers will be able to create a fresh sandboxed WordPress install on the site and test randomly selected plugins. After a manual review is complete, plugins will be marked as is_compatible=yes or is_compatible=no.

Some plugins are already classified with is_compatible=likely_yes or is_compatible=likely_. As reports are completed, two pie charts that display compatibility results at the bottom of the site update automatically.

Bachhuber estimates that if each plugin takes about a minute to test, they’ll need roughly 75 person-hours to get through the remaining 4,500 plugins in the database. This project is a great opportunity for individuals and businesses to contribute back to WordPress via the Five for The Future initiative.

Ideal testers are those who can review dozens of plugins, but even reviewing a few will help the project. If you’re interested in contributing, check out the project’s GitHub page to learn what’s involved in the testing process. Alternatively, visitors can watch the following YouTube video.

by Jeff Chandler at March 02, 2018 12:57 AM under gutenberg

March 01, 2018

Dev Blog: The Month in WordPress: February 2018

Judging by the flurry of activity across the WordPress project throughout February, it looks like everyone is really getting into the swing of things for 2018. There have been a lot of interesting new developments, so read on to see what the community has been up to for the past month.

WordPress 4.9.3 & 4.9.4

Early in the month, version 4.9.3 of WordPress was released, including a number of important bug fixes. Unfortunately it introduced a bug that prevented many sites from automatically updating to future releases. To remedy this issue, version 4.9.4 was released the following day requiring many people to manually update their sites.

While this kind of issue is always regrettable, the good thing is that it was fixed quickly, and that not all sites had updated to 4.9.3 yet, which meant they bypassed the bug in that version.

You can find out more technical information about this issue on the Core development blog.

The WordCamp Incubator is Back

In 2016, the Global Community Team ran an experimental program to help spread WordPress to underserved areas by providing more significant organizing support for their first WordCamp event. This program was dubbed the WordCamp Incubator, and it was so successful in the three cities where it ran that the program is back for 2018.

Right now, the Community Team is looking for cities to be a part of this year’s incubator by taking applications. Additionally, each incubator community will need an experienced WordCamp organizer to assist them as a co-lead organizer for their event — if that sounds interesting to you, then you can fill in the application form for co-leads.

You can find out further information about the WordCamp Incubator on the Community Team blog.

WordPress Meetup Roundtables scheduled for March

In order to assist local WordPress meetup organizers with running their meetup groups, some members of the Community Team have organized weekly meetup roundtable discussions through the month of March.

These will be run as video chats at 16:00 UTC every Wednesday this month and will be a great place for meetup organizers to come together and help each other out with practical ideas and advice.

If you are not already in the WordPress meetup program and would like to join, you can find out more information in the WordPress Meetup Organizer Handbook.

GDPR Compliance in WordPress Core

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an upcoming regulation that will affect all online services across Europe. In order to prepare for this, a working group has been formed to make sure that WordPress is compliant with the GDPR regulations.

Aside from the fact that this will be a requirement for the project going forward, it will also have an important and significant impact on the privacy and security of WordPress as a whole. The working group has posted their proposed roadmap for this project and it looks very promising.

To get involved in building WordPress Core, jump into the #gdpr-compliance channel in the Making WordPress Slack group, and follow the Core team blog.

Further Reading:

If you have a story we should consider including in the next “Month in WordPress” post, please submit it here.

by Hugh Lashbrooke at March 01, 2018 08:41 AM under Month in WordPress

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 306 – AMP, GDPR, and Brewing Beer At The Boss’ House

In this episode, John James Jacoby joins me live from Hutchinson, KS, to talk about the news of the week. We started off the show discussing the GDPR and the number of things that need to be considered surrounding the right to be forgotten.

We also have a lengthy conversation about AMP, the open web, and Automattic’s relationship with Google. Last but not least, we discussed Automattic’s recent hiring of Kinsey Wilson to be president of the company.

Stories Discussed:

Matt Cromwell Hosts Matt Mullenweg in Q&A Gutenberg Interview
New Team Forms to Facilitate GDPR Compliance in WordPress Core
For one-time NPR and NYT digital chief, a new adventure: WordPress

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, March 7th 3:00 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Itunes

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via RSS

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Stitcher Radio

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Google Play

Listen To Episode #306:

by Jeff Chandler at March 01, 2018 02:19 AM under gutenberg

February 28, 2018

HeroPress: Changes Coming To HeroPress

Over the last few months, I’ve been having some deep talks with my HeroPress partner about what the future of HeroPress looks like. We came up with some changes that feel deeply satisfying. Changes we think should help HeroPress, help readers, and help us as content producers. So here we go.

Financial Changes

At various times in the past people have told me that the time I spend on HeroPress is worth compensation. When I first started it as a blog, I had no intention of getting money from it. However, being compensated for my time helped ease the burden on my family.

With that in mind, last fall I test-drove a donation page based on interest from some in the community.

It was a good idea, and I’m thankful for the support I received, but for now it’s not the right path.

So, I’ve pulled the donation page from the site and am no longer accepting site sponsors. You’ll notice I do have a Sponsorship page, but it lists organizations that have made material contributions like hosting, plugins, etc.

Content Changes

We’ve been publishing every Wednesday for several years now. Over time, readership has climbed quite a bit. That’s great, but it means that many current readers have never seen the earlier content, which remains quite evergreen.

To address this, we’re going to do new HeroPress essays once a month. The other weeks of the month will be replays of earlier essays.

This allows for some breathing room in gathering new contributors and brings back some really great content that shouldn’t be forgotten.

It also opens up my time to explore the community more. To see if there are new ways that people, particularly on the fringe, can be helped. Sharing stories is useful, but are there other opportunities and needs we’re missing?

The Future

So HeroPress will continue. I still love doing it. At various times we’ve discussed making it bigger, doing grand things. But not now. For now we’re going to let it grow organically and continue letting it serve its purpose: to give voice to WordPress stories, to make them known, to inspire.

The post Changes Coming To HeroPress appeared first on HeroPress.

February 28, 2018 12:00 PM under Strategy

February 27, 2018

WPTavern: New Team Forms to Facilitate GDPR Compliance in WordPress Core

As May 25th, the enforcement date for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) draws near, individuals and businesses are scrambling to make sure they’re compliant. I’ve read a number of blog posts throughout the WordPress community explaining the GDPR and what needs to be done for compliance and it’s a tough thing to grasp.

The EU GDPR was designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, protect and empower European citizens data privacy, and reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy. In reading the regulation and various blog posts, the terminology makes it appear that the changes are geared towards large, international businesses that process personal data.

However, according to Heather Burns, a digital law specialist in Glasgow, Scotland, the GDPR affects sites large and small.

GDPR applies to all businesses, organizations, sectors, situations, and scenarios, regardless of a business’s size, head count, or financial turnover. A small app studio is every bit as beholden to these rules as a large corporation.

Determining if your site needs to be compliant and how to accomplish it can be overwhelming. If you do business in Europe or collect data from European users, you must protect that data in accordance with the GDPR as if you were in Europe. For example, if you operate a blog with a contact form that saves entries to the database from people who live in Europe, you must make your site GDPR compliant.

There are a lot of aspects to the GDPR and while an excerpt can not fully explain it at a glance, there are a few themes that stick out to me.

  • Be upfront and concise about what data is stored, sent, and used on the site or form.
  • Give the user a chance to consent without automatically opting them in.
  • Collect the least amount of data possible for legitimate business purposes.
  • Provide a way for users to download or access their data and remove it.

Many of these are common sense practices that are not implemented on many sites, WP Tavern included. How often do you visit a site’s contact form and see an explanation as to why those fields are required, where the data is stored, where it goes, and what is done with it? This is something I’ll be working on in the next few weeks.

Making WordPress Core GDPR Compliant

Earlier this month, a number of volunteers gathered to discuss GDPR compliance in WordPress core. The meeting took place in a newly created channel #gdpr-compliance that’s accessible to anyone with a SlackHQ account.

The team created a proposed roadmap to add privacy tools to core. The plan includes the following ideas:

  • Add notices for registered users and commenters on what data is collected in core by default and explain why.
  • Create guidelines for plugins on how to become GDPR compliant.
  • Create and add tools to facilitate compliance and privacy in general.
  • Add documentation and help for site owners to learn how to use these tools.

Earlier today, the team met and created a GitHub folder that houses the roadmap, knowledge base, trac ticket list, and other items associated with the project. There was also some discussion on whether the interface provided by the GDPR for WordPress project is a good foundation for core and plugins to report personal data. The GDPR Compliance Slack channel is also a good place to ask questions and discuss data privacy in general.

Popular form plugins such as GravityForms and NinjaForms have documentation available that explains GDPR compliance and how it applies to their products. For those who use the Contact Form module in Jetpack which saves entries to the database by default, you’ll need to wait for further updates. WooCommerce and Automattic have announced that they expect their products will be GDPR compliant by the time it goes into effect later this year.

GDPR Resources

If you’re like me, reading about the GDPR and its policies can make your head spin. It’s important to keep in mind that at the heart of the GDPR are common sense behaviors for handling personal data. If you’d like to learn more about the GDPR, check out the following resources.

by Jeff Chandler at February 27, 2018 11:20 PM under privacy

February 26, 2018

WPTavern: Matt Cromwell Hosts Matt Mullenweg in Q&A Gutenberg Interview

Matt Cromwell, Head of Support and Community Outreach for GiveWP and an administrator for the Advanced WordPress Facebook group, hosted a question and answer session about Gutenberg with Matt Mullenweg earlier today. The interview concludes the Advanced WordPress Gutenberg interview series that includes, Joost de Valk, Ahmad Awais, and Tammie Lister.

Mullenweg began the session by explaining why there is a concerted effort to improve the editor. “It’s really almost any user test that you watch,” he said. “Both watching people brand new to WordPress and those with years of experience on how they used the editor. It became obvious that we could make something more accessible to new users, but also, a lot more powerful for developers.”

With regards to a release date, Mullenweg confirmed that Gutenberg will ship when it’s ready. Later in the interview, Mullenweg was asked if he could provide a more concrete answer.

“For those who want a concrete date, we will have one or two orders of magnitude more users of Gutenberg in April,” he responded. “That doesn’t mean necessarily a 5.0 release, but it does mean that if you’re planning on aiming for something where a lot of users will be interacting with Gutenberg, aim for April.”

While the project’s name is Gutenberg, some developers have expressed concerns on how the name will be deprecated if at all once it’s merged into core. There are a number of educational resources, products, and tool kits referencing Gutenberg that could be a source of confusion once it’s merged into core and referred to as the editor.

Mullenweg was asked if the Gutenberg name will be deprecated. “We’ll see,” he replied. “I don’t think it’s the most important thing to figure out right now. We’re tackling some much bigger issues. If the plugin is useful, we’ll keep it around for beta testing, if not, we’ll have it turn itself off.”

Mullenweg concluded the interview thanking the Advanced WordPress Facebook group for the passion and discussions shared by members. The group has more than 30K members, is free to join, well maintained, and often filled with interesting topics. You can watch the interview in its entirety below.

by Jeff Chandler at February 26, 2018 11:32 PM under interview

February 25, 2018

Post Status: Observations on a maturing ecosystem — Draft podcast

Welcome to the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can find on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and via RSS for your favorite podcatcher. Post Status Draft is hosted by Brian Krogsgard and co-host Brian Richards.

In this episode, the Brians chat about the steady change that has played out in the WordPress ecosystem throughout the past decade and speculate about what is still to come. One aspect they explore rather deeply is the future trajectory of a website’s purpose and the role WordPress has to play in this transition. Plus, don’t miss their conversation about the new WordPress.com president and Google’s move to hire WordPress talent.


Sponsor: SearchWP

SearchWP makes WordPress search better. Instantly improve your site search without writing a line of code! SearchWP enables custom algorithms, searching custom fields, product data, and much more. Improve your site’s search today with our partner, SearchWP.

by Katie Richards at February 25, 2018 12:59 PM under Everyone

February 23, 2018

WPTavern: WordCamp Orange County Plugin-A-Palooza First Place Prize is $3,000

WordCamp Orange County, CA, 2018 will take place June 9-10. In addition to the regular WordCamp format of speakers sharing their knowledge, there is also a mini-event called Plugin-A-Palooza. This year marks the fourth contest where plugin authors will compete for one of three prizes.

  • First Place – $3,000 cash and 1 Sucuri Business (VIP) license
  • Second Place – $1,500 cash and 1 Sucuri Business (VIP) license
  • Third Place – $500 cash

Teams will be judged live based on the following criteria:

  • Originality
  • User Experience/User Interface
  • Code Quality
  • Presentation of the plugin on WordPress.org.

Teams can have up to three participants, are required to build their own plugin, and upload it to the WordPress plugin directory by May 18th. Teams will present their plugins to the judges and audience on June 10th.

Previous winners and plugins include:

Bridget Willard, WordCamp Orange County organizer, says the event encourages innovation and personal development which are important parts of WordCamps. “The first plugin that won was WPRollback by WordImpress,” she said. “It’s widely used in the community now. We’d love to see other camps doing this.”

If you’re interested in participating in Plugin-A-Palooza at WordCamp Orange County this year, you’ll need to fill out this entry form. The deadline for submissions is March 5th.

by Jeff Chandler at February 23, 2018 10:46 PM under wordcamp orange county

February 21, 2018

Dev Blog: WordCamp Incubator 2.0

WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by a team of local WordPress users who have a passion for growing their communities. They are born out of active WordPress meetup groups that meet regularly and are able to host an annual WordCamp event. This has worked very well in many communities, with over 120 WordCamps being hosted around the world in 2017.

Sometimes though, passionate and enthusiastic community members can’t pull together enough people in their community to make a WordCamp happen. To address this, we introduced the WordCamp Incubator program in 2016.

The goal of the incubator program is to help spread WordPress to underserved areas by providing more significant organizing support for their first WordCamp event. In 2016, members of the global community team worked with volunteers in three cities — Denpasar, Harare and Medellín — giving direct, hands-on assistance in making local WordCamps possible. All three of these WordCamp incubators were a great success, so we're bringing the incubator program back for 2018.

Where should the next WordCamp incubators be? If you have always wanted a WordCamp in your city but haven’t been able to get a community started, this is a great opportunity. We will be taking applications for the next few weeks, then will get in touch with everyone who applied to discuss the possibilities. We will announce the chosen cities by the end of March.

To apply, fill in the application by March 15, 2018. You don’t need to have any specific information handy, it’s just a form to let us know you’re interested. You can apply to nominate your city even if you don’t want to be the main organizer, but for this to work well we will need local liaisons and volunteers, so please only nominate cities where you live or work so that we have at least one local connection to begin.

We're looking forward to hearing from you!

by Hugh Lashbrooke at February 21, 2018 10:53 PM under WordCamp

HeroPress: How To Build A Company With WordPress

Pull Quote: If you keep showing up, you'd be surprised what happens..embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }


Full text of the above video

Hey, y’all! Thanks for inviting me to come share my story on HeroPress. I’m so excited to be able to talk a little bit to the HeroPress community.

So, and I’m doing a video blog or vlog because this is what I do; I’m a YouTube person. I create YouTube videos every single Wednesday for what I call WordPress Wednesday to help you improve your online marketing inside of the WordPress world. So I’m used to doing videos, and I asked if I could do my HeroPress story in this format; and they said go for it, so I’m excited to talk to you at least in a face-to-face scenario.

I’m going to  share a little bit of my story and tell you how WordPress basically became my avenue for becoming a millionaire in just five short years.

The Beginning

So in 1998, I created my very first ever HTML website. My dad was actually doing websites at the time, and I needed a website for my band because that’s what I wanted to be is a rockstar; so I learned how to build a website, kind of, under his training and a little bit of self-taught stuff and had a lot of fun doing it that way in 1998.

And then in 2005, I started hearing about WordPress; but in 2008, as I was freelancing around, a client asked me to build him a website. And they said, “hey, Kori, can you, can you build me a website, but we absolutely have to have it on WordPress?” I was like, sure, no problem; straight to Google, “how do you build a WordPress website”, you know. And over the weekend I pretty much taught myself how to build out a WordPress website, and I loved it.

My mind was absolutely blown when I saw the drag and drop options inside of menus to create dropdowns, and a form builder; I was just blown away. So those of you who have struggled in the HTML CSS world, you know the magic or the majesty, if you will even, of WordPress and those environments and how easy it makes it. So when I saw that, I really just thought, oh my goodness, this is a full-circle moment for me.

I really want to use WordPress now from here on forward.

So I reached back out to my dad and said, “hey, dad, you know, this is a tool that our customers, all of our clients, have been asking us for”. They’ve been wanting access to their websites, and we’ve not been able to give it to them because, in the past, they had to download Dreamweaver, you know, Photoshop and an FTP program; and that was just too much nerd code for them. So we wanted to be able to give them something like this, and WordPress definitely was that solution.

So he and I worked back and forth for a few years learning, really truly learning, WordPress; and then in 2012, we decided to launch together, my mom, my dad and I, decided to launch WebTegrity in San Antonio, Texas. And it was a very small concept initially; you know, we just me, literally, the three of us, and me and my folks. And then we hired on a subcontractor who is a great graphic designer here in town to try to help us with the creative side of things, and we started to grow our team.

Going Big Time

So how did we, in five years, build it up in such a way that we were able to sell it for a deal of a million dollars’ worth of shares, which ultimately is a $20 million value deal? How did we do that? I’m going to give you a little bit of insight on how we were able to accomplish that in such a short time.

So the very first thing I want you to realize is we did this in a saturated industry in San Antonio, Texas. When I did a search for web developer or web design firms back in 2012, I had over 700 results of different either freelancers or agencies or ad agencies or some solution out there that was either in the general area, or in the nearby area, that provided that service. So how did we, in six years, end up becoming number six in the entire city? We ranked in the top 10; how did we do that?

One of the very first things we did, was we niched ourselves; and, thankfully, WordPress was that solution.

In 2012, there was not an agency directly in San Antonio that was trying to be the go-to place for WordPress; and we purposely started stepping up and saying we are WordPress only, WordPress only, WordPress only. So if you were looking for a different type of CMS solution, we were not the right fit for you. And very, very quickly, we also started teaching it in the city; so we would teach other agencies. We provided on-site training; we provided weekend workshops. All for a price tag, of course; but that was one of our revenue streams. And, again, it set us as the authority in the city for WordPress; so really important that you understand how to niche yourselves and not try to be all things to all people.

The second thing we tried to do was really build a culture.

And you can see, I don’t work around boring walls. Everything that I do has to have creative juices flowing around me, right. We just want to create a great culture, a great environment. So we had to hire the right people. So that’s my next tip to you is be very, very careful on who you allow into your culture of your business, who you hire on, and certainly who you bring on as a leader in your culture in your community. So one of the things that we did right away was realize that we can’t teach passion, so you gotta find people that have a passion to nerd out on stuff like this.

And you have to find people who have great integrity to just do their best at all times, and you have to find people who love to be creative and love to solve problems for clients, right, who aren’t just salespeople, right? So if you can find those things, you can teach nerd code all day long; so be sure to just find people with the right hearts to join your community and then train them up the right way, be sure that you just grow and grow and grow your culture in a healthy way, right.

And another thing that we did, so this is another tip, was understand how to really build a revenue stream that was going to be sustainable.

All right, so wrap your heads around this one because this one’s key. Very early on in our model as we were selling WordPress websites, part of my pitch was, oh, it’s just five grand and no more after that. It’s a one-time fee and you’re done. That’s a horrible business strategy. We learned very early on, inside of WordPress world, that you have rain or shine, right; so there’s a lot of clients coming or there are no clients.

You’re either slammed working from home even in the evening trying to catch up, or you’re out on the golf course wondering if you’re going to get a paycheck next week. It’s really rain or shine. So how do you create a sustainable model in your business, in your small agency, in your startup; how do you do that, so that when those slow seasons come, you can still pay your team members, you can still keep your lights on?

Well, we were sitting at a WordCamp; and Jason Cohen from WP Engine was keynoting; and one of the things he said right away is, if you don’t understand how to create a reoccurring revenue stream in your small agency, you will turn your sign to closed in the next year or two. And he was so right; and it was such a light bulb moment for me that I went back straightaway from that weekend WordCamp up in Austin and I started writing out, okay, how can we create a reoccurring revenue stream? What would that look like inside of our industry?

And, of course, it was support packages. We didn’t call them maintenance plans. We certainly didn’t use retainer, which can have a sense of a negative connotation, right, because of lawyers; sorry! But, still, we didn’t want to use those words because we’re already almost creating a, uh, I don’t think I want to sign up for that type of attitude.

What we did is we called it support, and very easily, clients were signing up saying, oh, goodness, yes, I need that ongoing support. So use that phrasing, create a model structure where it’s required, at least for the first 12 months out of the gate as they launch that you are charging them something even as small as $99 a month. And don’t shortchange yourself on that; put together a great package that you give them that type of value.

If you were to check out WebTegrity.com, you would see our support plans and what they consist of and the pricing. We’re very transparent with that. That’s the way our revenue stream almost doubled our sales in one year and allowed us to keep our lights on when June and July roll around and nobody cares about their websites because they’re on the beach.

All right, reputation was another huge part of it.

That’s one of the reasons why we named ourselves WebTegrity, but reputation, understanding that that every client that signs up, whether they’re a $5,000 website or a $50,000 website gets the same type of boutique-style, white glove, handholding relationship, right? Every single project that you launch, you want to produce the absolute, absolute best. You’re not shortchanging them; you’re not, you’re not wiring something that you hand off to the client and hope to God it doesn’t break. You really are trying to find the absolute best solution.

One of the things that also kept us in high standing with our reputation, of course, was offering that training because what we don’t want to do is keep the veil covered where nobody can see what we’re doing, right. We really want to be transparent and train our clients the nerd lingo, train the clients what SEO is and what expectations should be. Having that type of open communication really just started to build together a relationship with our clients that they trusted us; and we met their expectation, right. So be sure to hold strongly to your core values for your reputation. Be sure that you’re asking people to give you great reviews because that’ll make a difference.

And the last thing I want to talk about is give back.

So at one of the WordCamp US’s that I went to, Matt himself said, listen, if you’re making a living with WordPress, you really need to try to figure out how to give back 5% of your time, just 5% of your time a week. How can you do that to give back to the community? Can you start a meet-up group, teach a meetup group; can you facilitate a meetup group where maybe you’re just the organizer and you never have to speak because you’re not a fan of speaking?

Can you organize a WordCamp, volunteer at a WordCamp? Can you write a tutorial and tell people how to do things? Can you teach a workshop; can you make a video?

And, again, I had a light bulb moment. Of course, I can make videos. So my giveback to the WordPress community is my YouTube channel; every single Wednesday, I’m creating a video and putting it out there for free to the WordPress world of how to improve your online marketing. That’s made a huge impact not only, thankfully, inside the WordPress community, but also in my own business model.

I actually go into WordCamps around the US and people are like, hey, aren’t you that WordPress girl; don’t you do videos? It’s a really cool feeling to be able to give back to the community because I’ve made my living using WordPress.


So ultimately how did I turn five years into a multi-million dollar buyout? Because we have just recently sold; how did we do that? Ultimately, it was understanding that you have to be able to grow something of value. So as soon as you start your business, you should also be thinking about your exit strategy, right, even in how you name your company.

If I were to name this Ashton Agency, do you think that I could’ve just walked away and handed the keys to somebody else named Johnson; it wouldn’t have worked. Think even about your name; will it stand alone? Can that become a brand that you can hand off and sell as a holistic entity?

You also want to think about that revenue stream, right, and watch those sales margins. Be sure that your margins are healthy. Don’t hire until it hurts, until it absolutely hurts. Be sure that you’re structuring your offerings in such a way that you’re actually recouping your value. What does that mean? Just understand business better; watch Shark Tank, read more tutorials like this, watch more videos.

Get a hold of the WordPress community, the core leaders, the speakers that travel around to all the WordCamps. Start following them on Twitter and trying to understand what it is that they’re training and teaching. There’s a lot of resources out there for you to gain some ideas from, but ultimately it was me stepping out in the San Antonio community because it was a larger firm here in San Antonio who purchased us.

So we just kept hammering on the fact that we were the go-to place here in San Antonio for WordPress. We kept training; we kept doing free opportunities, going out and speaking at different events; and people kept seeing us. We kept showing up, so you’d be surprised what happens. If you keep giving back and you keep showing up to places, you keep establishing yourself as the authority, you keep learning and training and growing your own skill set and growing your team, before you know it, it can happen for you.

I hope this has been helpful. If you have questions about some of this though, if you’re trying to grow up your startup, or if you’re trying to learn how to improve your revenue margins, I’m always open to a quick twitter conversation or send me an email. I’d love to connect with you.

Thanks again for the opportunity to share this on HeroPress.

Bye, y’all; catch me over on YouTube. Bye!

The post How To Build A Company With WordPress appeared first on HeroPress.

by Kori Ashton at February 21, 2018 02:00 PM

February 19, 2018

Matt: Commuting Time Saved

On Automattic's internal BuddyPress-powered company directory, we allow people to fill out a field saying how far their previous daily commute was. 509 people have filled that out so far, and they are saving 12,324 kilometers of travel every work day. Wow!

by Matt at February 19, 2018 06:14 PM under Asides

Follow our RSS feed: 

WordPress Planet

This is an aggregation of blogs talking about WordPress from around the world. If you think your blog should be part of this site, send an email to Matt.

Official Blog

For official WordPress development news, check out the WordPress Core Blog.


Last updated:

March 21, 2018 08:00 PM
All times are UTC.