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February 21, 2020

WPTavern: Goodbye Featured Themes, For Now

Front page of the theme directory, featuring popular themes.

Yesterday, the featured themes page was quietly removed from the WordPress theme directory. Previously, it was the primary page users would see when visiting the directory. It has now been replaced with the popular themes list. This change is only reflected on the WordPress.org website and not directly in the WordPress admin for end-users.

This is the first major change with the featured list since it was switched to a randomized set of themes in 2014. Over the past six years, volunteers have presented numerous ideas on what to do with the page that is, in many ways, the face of WordPress, particularly for new users who are searching for their first theme. No proposal has gone beyond a Trac ticket with a handful of participants or a theme review team meeting. It is almost as if every idea was dead on arrival.

Removing the featured list altogether is not a simple matter of hiding the page on WordPress.org. There is an API endpoint that serves the list and core WordPress fetches themes directly from WordPress.org. Even if removed from the software, we would still be dealing with years of backward compatibility for older versions of WordPress. At this point, outright removal is not an ideal solution.

The commit note makes a point that hiding the page from the theme directory is only temporary. The idea is to eventually replace it with a properly-curated featured themes list.

However, such a proposal could languish for years. Given that we have suffered through six years of a randomly-generated list, it is unclear if anyone is motivated enough to push the project forward.

What Happened to the Curated Featured Themes List?

In October, the WordPress theme review team decided to create a system for a curated feature themes list. The initial plan was for the team representatives to work out the finer details and create a path forward. However, the idea seemed to fizzle out before it ever broke ground. There was little public mention of it after the excitement of the initial decision.

“It was really hard to come up with requirements that we wanted the themes to follow,” said Carolina Nymark, a TRT representative. “Like the keyboard navigation and skip link had to be added to the theme, and no upsell. That alone limited the possible themes to a selection that was too small.”

The idea for curated themes was that they would be the best of the best. Seemingly, that meant going above and beyond the standard requirements while being completely free of commercial interests. In hindsight, that level of scrutiny over the list may have been too tough of a sell. Curation does not necessarily have to strive for perfection. Uniqueness may provide more room for flexibility.

“We did not hold any meetings with votes because there were concerns that people would only root for their own theme, their friends’ themes, or even get paid to suggest themes,” said Nymark. “It would be too easy to game it for profit.” Such backdoor schemes have been trouble with previous programs in the team’s past.

The curated list based on their criteria would be too small to rotate regularly on the featured page. The team attempted to find other solutions. However, they were unsuccessful.

“It was a strain that we could not figure out a good solution where theme authors would be treated fairly,” said Nymark. “Then we had a video meeting with [Josepha Haden, Executive Director of WordPress] where she said that the TRT team representatives should not have to select the featured themes. And it stopped there.”

Ari Stathopoulos, a TRT representative, mentioned the elephant in the room that the team was not addressing. “There would be significant drama if the list was manually curated,” he said. “If it’s done by reps, then those who were not selected would accuse reps of favoring some themes. If it was done by a rotating committee, the same. Authors would rather believe that they are a victim of some conspiracy rather than believe their theme is bad.”

A curated themes list is still a possibility. It is unlikely the theme review team will be handling it directly anytime soon. If it does happen, it will likely be another party who makes the call and gets to be the bad guy.

by Justin Tadlock at February 21, 2020 06:45 PM under WordPress Theme Directory

Matt: Livestream Tomorrow

About eight of the speakers including myself are going to be doing a livestream tomorrow from 2 to 10 UTC, or what would be 9am to 5pm in Bangkok where the inaugural WordCamp Asia was supposed to happen this weekend.

We’d all much rather be in person, but I do think there is a silver lining in us learning how to do official WordPress livestream events that can be accessible to everyone all over the world, following in the footsteps awesome virtual events like WordSesh.

by Matt at February 21, 2020 01:37 AM under Asides

February 20, 2020

WordPress.org blog: Pop-Up Livestream on February 22

As mentioned in this post, Matt will host a livestream on February 22 during Bangkok daylight hours. He opened an invitation to any speaker who was affected by the cancellation, and the livestream will include the following fine people: Imran Sayed, Md Saif Hassan, Muhammad Muhsin, Nirav Mehta, Piccia Neri, Umar Draz, and Francesca Marano as well as a Fireside Chat and Q&A with Matt Mullenweg & Monisha Varadan.

This should be a great way to get to hear from some speakers who have yet to share their knowledge on a global stage. WordPress is enriched by a multitude of experiences and perspectives, and I hope you are as excited as I am to hear new voices from a part of the world that is frequently underrepresented in the WordPress open source project. 

Also exciting, the WordCamp Asia team has announced that they’re aiming for January 2021, so please mark your calendars now! This small but mighty team of trailblazing organizers has shown great resilience over the years they’ve spent, building toward this event. I am personally grateful for the hard work they’ve done and have yet to do, and can’t wait to thank them in Bangkok next year.

by Josepha at February 20, 2020 11:06 PM under Uncategorized

WPTavern: Publishing Break

The Tavern is taking a break for the week as both of its authors are out. We’re happy about expanding families, and saying “boo” to the flu.

In the meantime, here are some of my favorite WordPress-powered sites that I follow and learn from:

Finally, the podcast I did with Om a few weeks ago covers some fun early internet trivia. We’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming next week!

by Matt Mullenweg at February 20, 2020 01:28 AM under News

February 18, 2020

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 5.4 Beta 2

WordPress 5.4 Beta 2 is now available!

This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend running it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version.

You can test WordPress 5.4 beta 2 in two ways:

WordPress 5.4 is slated for release on March 31, 2020, and we need your help to get there!

Thank you to all of the contributors that tested the beta 1 development release and provided feedback. Testing for bugs is an important part of polishing each release and a great way to contribute to WordPress.

Some highlights

Since beta 1, 27 bugs have been fixed. Here is a summary of a few changes included in beta 2:

  • Block editor: Columns in the Block Library that have unassigned-width will now grow equally.
  • Block editor: The custom gradient picker now works in languages other than English.
  • Block editor: When choosing colors is not possible, the color formatter no longer shows.
  • Privacy: The privacy request form fields have been adjusted to be more consistent on mobile.
  • Privacy: The notice offering help when editing the privacy policy page will no longer show at the top of All Pages in the admin area.
  • Site Health: The error codes for failed REST API tests now display correctly.

Developer notes

WordPress 5.4 has lots of refinements to polish the developer experience. To keep up, subscribe to the Make WordPress Core blog and pay special attention to the developers’ notes for updates on those and other changes that could affect your products.

How to Help

Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages!

If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you!

If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.

UPDATE – 20 Feb, 2020: This post was originally misattributed to Francesca Marano. The proper authorship has been corrected.

by David Baumwald at February 18, 2020 09:50 PM under Releases

February 14, 2020

WordPress.org blog: People of WordPress: Kori Ashton

You’ve probably heard that WordPress is open-source software, and may know that it’s created and run by volunteers. WordPress enthusiasts share many examples of how WordPress changed people’s lives for the better. This monthly series shares some of those lesser-known, amazing stories.

The beginning

Kori Ashton

In 1998, Kori created her very first HTML website. Her dad was creating websites for a living at the time. She needed a website for her band because she wanted to be a rockstar. Under his training, and with a little bit of self-teaching, she learned how to build a website.

She had been aware of WordPress since 2005, and, in 2008 a client specifically hired her as a freelancer to develop a WordPress website. Kori went straight to Google and taught herself how to build a WordPress website over a single weekend. She really enjoyed the experience of working with WordPress.

My mind was absolutely blown when I saw the drag and drop options inside of menus to create dropdowns and a form builder. 

Kori Ashton

She suggested to her dad that WordPress could be a solution for their customers who wanted to be able to access their own websites. Previously, they had found this was not as easy for clients unless they had specific software and knew how to code. So, Kori and her dad worked to learn WordPress over the next few years. 

Then in 2012, Kori and her parents launched their new business, WebTegrity, in San Antonio, Texas, US. It started out small: just Kori and her parents. Soon, they started subcontracting design work and quickly continued to grow their team.

Going big time

Even though the business was in a saturated industry in San Antonio — over 700 freelancers and agencies were providing similar services — Kori and her parents were able to sell their company five years later, with a multi-million dollar valuation. There were a few choices they made early on that led to that success.

1. They picked a niche: WordPress specialists 

At the time, there were no WordPress-specific agencies in San Antonio. They emphasized the fact that WordPress was the only CMS their company would use. Prospective clients looking for a different type of CMS solution were not the right fit for their business. They also offered on-site, WordPress training and weekend workshops that were open to anyone (including other agencies) as one of their revenue streams. They soon were established as a city-wide WordPress authority.

2. They cultivated a culture

Kori wanted a great culture and environment in her company and to make that happen, she needed to hire the right people. She believes you must be careful about who you bring into the culture of your business, but particularly when hiring leaders into that community. You can’t teach passion so you’ve got to find people that are excited about what you do. You also need to look for integrity, creativity, a love for solving problems, and an eagerness to keep getting better. 

You can teach code all day long, but be sure to find people with the right hearts to join your community and then train them up the right way. This way you will grow your culture in a healthy way.

Kori Ashton
Kori and her two sons

3. They learned how to build sustainable revenue streams

Like many other web development agencies, WebTegrity started out with the “one-time fee and you’re done” business model. This business model is known for unpredictable revenue streams. Hearing about recurring revenue business models at WordCamp Austin was a lightbulb moment for Kori. She started drafting a more sustainable business model on the way back home. 

Support packages were key to their new business plan. Clients needed ongoing support. They decided to include at least 12 months of post-launch support into their web development projects. This doubled their revenue in one year and allowed them to even out their revenue streams.

4. They knew the importance of reputation

Kori believes that every client, whether they have a $5,000 or a $50,000 budget, should get the same type of boutique-style, white glove, concierge relationship.

Every single project results in the absolute best solution for a client’s needs. In addition to that, offering training helped boost their reputation. Explaining the lingo of the web development and SEO fields and showing the processes used, added transparency. It helped set and meet expectations and it built trust. 

5. They proactively gave back to the community

Tori heard Matt Mullenweg speak about Five For The Future at WordCamp US. He encouraged people in the audience who make a living using WordPress, to find ways to give back 5% of their time to building the WordPress software and community. Matt talked about how firms and individuals could give back to the community. He suggested, for instance to:

  • start a WordPress Meetup group
  • present at a Meetup event 
  • 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
  • help organize a WordCamp
  • volunteer at a WordCamp
  • write a tutorial and tell people how to do WordPress related things 
  • run a workshop
  • make a video
If you’re making an income using WordPress, consider giving 5% of your time back to building the software and/or the community.

This gave Kori another light bulb moment. She could make videos to give back. So her way to give back to the WordPress community is her YouTube channel.

Every Wednesday, she published a video on how to improve your online marketing. This made a huge impact, both inside the WordPress community, but also in her own business.

Understanding

So, in summary, how did Kori and her family turn their business into a multi-million dollar buyout in just five years? 

Ultimately, it was about understanding that you have to build value. About keeping an exit strategy in mind while building your business. For instance when naming your company. Will it stand alone? Could it turn into a brand that you could sell as an independent entity?

  • Think about revenue streams and watch sales margins.
  • Be sure to include healthy margins. 
  • Don’t hire until you have no further option.
  • Make sure to structure your offerings in such a way that you’re actually recouping your value. 
  • Understand entrepreneurship, watch Shark Tank, read more tutorials, watch more videos.
  • Get involved in the WordPress community. Get to know its core leaders, the speakers that travel around to all the WordCamps. Start following them on Twitter and try to understand what they’re sharing. 

In the end, the fact that Kori was so active in the San Antonio community helped enable the sale.

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, kept giving back and kept establishing ourselves as the authority.

Kori Ashton

Contributors

Alison Rothwell (@wpfiddlybits), Yvette Sonneveld (@yvettesonneveld), Abha Thakor (@webcommsat),  Josepha Haden (@chanthaboune), Topher DeRosia (@topher1kenobe).

This post is based on an article originally published on HeroPress.com, a community initiative created by Topher DeRosia. HeroPress highlights people in the WordPress community who have overcome barriers and whose stories would otherwise go unheard.Meet more WordPress community members over at HeroPress.com!

by Yvette Sonneveld at February 14, 2020 09:12 PM under heropress

WPTavern: WooCommerce Partners With Square to Expand Services for CBD Merchants

WooCommerce, the open-source eCommerce platform developed and supported by Automattic, announced a partnership with Square payment solutions yesterday. The partnership expands services for merchants who are selling CBD products online. While it is a small step toward making it easier to sell CBD products, there are still many restrictions and pitfalls that merchants must overcome.

Cannabidiol, known as CBD, was removed from the U.S. federal list of controlled substances in December 2018. It is one of 100s of identified cannabinoids in cannabis plants and does not have the psychoactive effects of THC. The Farm Bill (Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) removed some restrictions and provided a regulated path for farmers and merchants to sell CBD-based products.

CBD exists in a legal gray area in some jurisdictions in the U.S. State and local laws may still ban selling CBD and other substances (for example, I live in Alabama where we have some “dry” counties where selling alcohol is illegal). Therefore, merchants need to be aware that there are legal issues to consider, despite it being legal at the federal level. They should always check their local laws.

Other hurdles include finding a payment processor, web host, shipping company, and bank that don’t have internal policies that forbid CBD products or at least working within any guidelines they do have. WooCommerce’s partnership with Square may help U.S. merchants at least tackle the payment processor part of the equation.

“WooCommerce is proud to offer CBD merchants secure, efficient services that enable business owners to focus on improving consumers’ lives,” says Paul Maiorana, General Manager of WooCommerce.

By using Square, U.S. merchants can also use other Automattic services such as Jetpack for backups and malware scanning, WooCommerce Shipping for printing labels, and WooCommerce Tax for automatically calculating sales tax at checkout.

“Because it’s still a highly-regulated substance, CBD products sold online require adherence to a special set of rules,” wrote Lynn Jatania in a how-to post for WooCommerce merchants. In the post, she describes steps sellers must follow and issues they may encounter.

Restrictions on Automattic-Hosted or Connected Stores

The version of the WooCommerce software available through WordPress.com or WooCommerce.com forbids the sale of CBD products because it is hosted by Automattic. Merchants must use the WooCommerce plugin from WordPress.org and run their stores on a third-party host that allows selling CBD products.

The WordPress.com store guidelines state:

For example, you may not sell (or facilitate the sale of) any of the following in (or through) your store:…Controlled and highly-regulated substances (including alcohol, marijuana, cannabidiol or CBD, and other cannabis-derived products)

Self-hosted WooCommerce stores also have restrictions if they wish to connect their stores to any of Automattic’s services. This became a source of confusion in June 2019, when a self-hosted WooCommerce merchant was informed they could not connect to WordPress.com via Jetpack while selling CBD products. The WooCommerce team updated its guidelines to better clarify what is allowed when using Automattic’s services.

The policy is nearly the same today. However, the partnership with Square loosens the rules to a degree. Currently, only U.S. stores are allowed to sell CBD products while connected to WordPress.com. They are also required to use Square for payment processing.

From the WooCommerce Guidelines for CBD and Other Hemp-Derived Products:

Square has a vetting process for stores selling CBD and other hemp-derived products, so we currently require Square as the payment provider if you’d like to connect your store to Jetpack, WooCommerce Tax, and WooCommerce Shipping. We may approve additional payment providers in the future.

Using Square is not as simple as signing up. To sell CBD products, merchants must go through an application process to make sure they are selling CBD products with approval. The industry is heavily regulated, so this process may take some time.

by Justin Tadlock at February 14, 2020 07:38 PM under News

February 13, 2020

WPTavern: WordPress 5.4 Beta 1 Ready for Testing and Feedback

Release coordinator Francesca Marano announced the release of WordPress 5.4 Beta 1 on February 11. Most of the work has centered on the block editor. However, at the moment, contributors have closed another 258 tickets for the 5.4 milestone.

A second beta release is scheduled for February 18, according to the 5.4 release schedule, along with follow-up betas and release candidates in the following weeks. The final release of WordPress 5.4 is slated for March 31.

At this point in the development cycle, WordPress 5.4 is in a feature freeze, which means no new enhancements or feature requests will be considered. Only bug fixes and inline documentation are planned for the remainder of the cycle.

Developers should follow the beta testing handbook page to test their plugins and themes. Users who want to try out the upcoming release can do so via the WordPress Beta Tester plugin.

Block Editor Changes

New welcome modal for the block editor.

WordPress 5.4 will comprise of 10 major releases of the Gutenberg plugin, which is the development project behind the block editor. The oldest update, version 6.6, was released on October 2. The latest update, version 7.5, landed on February 12.

For end-users who are still using the classic editor, version 5.4 is an opportunity to see if the block editor has improved enough to use. While it may not be ready for everyone, the user experience continues to get better with each release.

The block editor will feel much improved to users who have not yet tested the new features within the Gutenberg plugin. There is a welcome modal to introduce end-users to the block editor, which probably should have been added in WordPress 5.0 when the block editor landed. This update will also feature two new blocks: a social links block and a buttons group block.

The new navigation block will not land in WordPress 5.4. “The Navigation block is usable right now,” said Mark Uraine in a post explaining the decision. “But we don’t think it’s useful yet – at least not until it has an intuitive place to live.” The goal is for it to be available to users in the context of adding it to the header, footer, or sidebar rather than post content. It will make more sense for it to land in an update that branches the block system outside of the content area.

Several blocks now have extra text and background color settings, including gradient backgrounds. Users can set the image size for galleries, drag and drop a featured image, and change the title attribute for the image block. Multi-block selection is much improved along with numerous other user experience and accessibility improvements.

The following is, mostly, our coverage of each major Gutenberg release, dating back to version 6.6, along with a few links to the release announcements for versions we did not cover:

Important Developer Changes

Developers should begin testing their plugins and themes to make sure there are no breaking changes with the 5.4 beta release. Most changes will be with the block editor. However, there are some noteworthy updates to other areas of WordPress.

The get_calendar() function and anything that uses it, such as the calendar widget, have a breaking HTML change. The previous and next month links have been moved below the <table> element and within a new <nav> element. This may potentially break calendar designs for theme authors.

A new apply_shortcodes() function was added as an alias for do_shortcode(). The purpose of the function was to distinguish between do_* functions, which imply an action, and apply_* functions, which imply a filter or something that should return a value. It is purely a semantic change. It would be nice to see further cleanup of the function-naming mess that represents much of WordPress’ core code. With 16 years of technical debt, it could use an overhaul. Perhaps the acceptance of this four-year-old ticket on a simple shortcode function can start a trend.

Like plugins, themes can now set minimum version support. By using the Requires at least and Requires PHP headers in a theme’s style.css file, theme authors can set the minimum WordPress version and PHP version, respectively.

by Justin Tadlock at February 13, 2020 05:19 PM under beta

February 12, 2020

WPTavern: WordCamp Asia 2020 Canceled Over COVID-19 Concerns

Matt Mullenweg announced this morning that he made the call to cancel the first WordCamp Asia amid concerns surrounding COVID-19, the recent coronavirus strain with over 42,000 reported cases. The virus has caused over 1,000 deaths to date. WordCamp Asia was scheduled to run from February 21-23 in Bangkok, Thailand.

“I’ve arrived at the difficult decision to cancel the inaugural WordCamp Asia event,” wrote Mullenweg. “The excitement and anticipation around this event have been huge, but there are too many unknowns around the health issues unfolding right now in the region to explicitly encourage a large public gathering bringing together over 1,300 people from around the world.”

Mullenweg expressed a desire to explore an online event, possibly live-streaming some of the sessions. However, WordCamp Asia organizers said they will not be able to organize one. “We believe our efforts are now best focused on making the best arrangements necessary to assist all affected participants,” said Naoko Takano, the global lead of WordCamp Asia 2020.

“I greatly appreciate the work everyone — from organizers to attendees, speakers to sponsors — put into making this a big success,” said Mullenweg. “So many people have come together to create an event to inspire and connect WordPressers, and I am confident that this passion will carry through into the event next year. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the virus so far, and we sincerely hope that everything is resolved quickly so that this precaution looks unnecessary in hindsight.”

Some attendees have already made the trip to Bangkok. Others have purchased non-refundable flights. The WordCamp Asia team will refund all event tickets and will provide a free ticket to next year’s event. Organizers, speakers, attendees, and sponsors should all read WordCamp Asia’s cancellation post for details on any next steps they may need to take.

“While we regret that we will not see you in Bangkok this time, we hope you understand that the organising team is standing by this decision to ensure the safety of all WordCamp attendees,” wrote Takano.

There are no details on when the event will be rescheduled. The team said they hope to hold it in early 2021 and will make an announcement as soon as possible.

Several people expressed their disappointment with the news in the comments on the WordCamp Asia cancellation post, but it better to err on the side of caution with such a large event. The first priority is the safety of all attendees. It was no doubt a difficult decision for all parties involved.

Some of the attendees with non-refundable tickets and those already in the region talked about meeting up in the announcement’s comments. This could be a nice alternative to at least network with others.

Update: There is an unofficial WordCamp Asia Meetup currently being set up. Also, follow the #wcasia WordPress Slack channel for discussion.

WordCamp Europe Sends Open Letter of Unity

In a letter from WordCamp Europe, another regional camp, past and present organizers reached out to the WordCamp Asia team.

“We woke up this morning to the sad news that WordCamp Asia has been canceled,” the team wrote. “We can only imagine what a heart-wrenching and difficult decision this must have been, and how much pain it must be causing you to see something you have poured your hearts and souls into just disappear into thin air.”

Putting together a large, regional WordCamp is a tremendous undertaking that takes 100s of volunteer hours. Events such as these can take a full year of planning and organizing.

“We know how hard it can be to come together across cultures and countries, but that in the end it is worth it because you are one team working together,” wrote the organizers. “You are creating a flagship event and you know that it will bring joy to so many people and that every one of you has been waiting for the day of the event, and for that not to happen despite all of that work and care must be devastating.”

Wordfence to Aid With Lost Fees

Mark Maunder, Wordfence Founder and CEO, announced on the Wordfence blog that his company is creating a $10,000 fund to help attendees with hotel and airline change fees. The company will provide up to $200 in assistance per person, which will be served on a first-come-first-served basis. Maunder stressed that people should try to recoup any losses they can by following the advice on the WordCamp Asia cancellation post first. This will allow them to help as many people as possible.

“Cancelling WC Asia 10 days before it commences is a brutally tough call,” he wrote. “I’ve had the organizers in my thoughts for the past few days knowing, via backchannels, that they’re agonizing over this. This is the right call.”

The aid is available to all WordCamp Asia organizers, speakers, and attendees while there are still funds available. Those in need of assistance can find more information on the fund’s announcement post.

Update – February 12: Wordfence exceeded their $10,000 fund with 94 applicants. GoDaddy Pro stepped in to add an additional $10,000 to the fund, according to a tweet by Maunder.

Update – February 13: Yoast added $10,000, bringing the total to $30,000. At the moment, no additional funding is needed because requests are slowing. If needed, Maunder said he would reach out to others who have made offers to help.

by Justin Tadlock at February 12, 2020 04:26 PM under WordCamp Asia

WordPress.org blog: WordCamp Asia Cancelled Due to COVID-19

I’ve arrived at the difficult decision to cancel the inaugural WordCamp Asia event, which was planned to take place in Bangkok on February 21st. The excitement and anticipation around this event have been huge, but there are too many unknowns around the health issues unfolding right now in the region to explicitly encourage a large public gathering bringing together over 1,300 people from around the world.

We’re going to explore if speakers — including myself — can do our sessions with the same content and at the same time that was originally planned, just online instead of in-person so we can achieve our goal of bringing the pan-Asian community closer together without putting anyone’s health at additional risk.

Regardless, I greatly appreciate the work everyone — from organizers to attendees,  speakers to sponsors — put into making this a big success. So many people have come together to create an event to inspire and connect WordPressers, and I am confident that this passion will carry through into the event next year. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the virus so far, and we sincerely hope that everything is resolved quickly so that this precaution looks unnecessary in hindsight.

by Matt Mullenweg at February 12, 2020 04:23 AM under WordCamp

February 11, 2020

WordPress.org blog: WordPress 5.4 Beta 1

WordPress 5.4 Beta 1 is now available for testing!

This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend running it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version.

You can test the WordPress 5.4 beta in two ways:

WordPress 5.4 is slated for release on March 31, 2020, and we need your help to get there!

While the primary goal for 2020 is full-site editing with blocks, contributors to WordPress are working across every area of the project to ensure the software continues moving forward.

Testing for bugs is an important part of polishing the release during the beta stage and a great way to contribute. Here are some of the big changes and features to pay close attention to while testing.

Block Editor: features and improvements

WordPress 5.4 Core will merge ten releases of the Gutenberg plugin. This means there’s a long list of exciting new features. Here are just a few:

  • Two new blocks: social links and buttons.
  • More color options for Button, Cover, Group and Column blocks .
  • A Welcome Guide modal.
  • Tools for adding featured images in the Latest Posts block.
  • Easier navigation in the block breadcrumbs.

Some additional changes to make note of:

  • On mobile, the toolbar stays on top, so you can’t lose it.
  • Easier image sizing in the Gallery block.
  • Drag-and-drop images into the featured-image box.
  • Several new APIs.
  • Friendlier offline error messages on REST API request failures.
  • Table block captions.
  • You can now color just parts of the text in any RichText block.

Accessibility improvements

  • Easier multi-block selection. 
  • Support for changing an image’s title attribute within the Image block.
  • Easier tabbing. This had been one of the editor’s biggest accessibility problems, but now tabbing works with the block’s sidebar.
  • Visual switch between Edit and Navigation modes and enable screen reader announcements.

To see all of the features for each release in detail check out the release posts: 6.6, 6.7, 6.8, 6.9, 7.0, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4 and 7.5.

Continuing efforts to improve performance

The block editor team has achieved a 14% loading time reduction and 51% time-to-type reduction, for a particularly sizable post (~ 36,000 words, ~1,000 blocks) since WordPress 5.3.

Wait! There’s more

Site Health

When a project powers 34% of the world’s websites, there must be a focus on security. This is why contributors continue working so hard on the Site Health Project.

WordPress 5.4 adds a widget on the dashboard that warns administrators of potential issues that could affect their site’s performance or security. A call-to-action button directs them to the Site Health screen for details and suggested fixes.

Accessibility improvements

WordPress strives to improve accessibility with every release, and this release is no different. Version 5.4 will contain the following accessibility enhancements:

  • Better focus management in Menu, Customizer and Site Health screens, to fix some existing keyboard navigation issues.
  • Easier keyboard navigation for better semantics in the Media modal.
  • An easier-to-read Privacy Policy Guide.

For Developers

5.4 also contains a bunch of developer focused changes.

Calendar Widget

The HTML 5.1 specification mandates that a <tfoot> tag must follow <tbody> tag (which was not the case in the calendar widget). WordPress 5.4 moves the navigation links to a <nav> HTML element immediately following the <table> element in order to produce valid HTML.

apply_shortcodes() as an alias for do_shortcode()

Instead of using do_shortcode(), apply_shortcodes() should be utilized instead. While do_shortcode() is not being deprecated, the new function delivers better semantics.

Better favicon handling

Now favicon requests can be managed with more flexibility. Administrators can choose a favicon in the Customizer, or upload a /favicon.ico file. The WordPress logo will always load as a fallback.

Other changes for developers

  • Clearer information about errors in wp_login_failed.
  • Site ID has been added to the newblog_notify_siteadmin filter for multisite installs.
  • Support has been added for the required WordPress and PHP version headers in themes.
  • Embed support has been added for TikTok.

Keep your eyes on the Make WordPress Core blog for  5.4-related developer notes in the coming weeks, breaking down these and other changes in greater detail.

So far, contributors have fixed more than 255 tickets in WordPress 5.4 with more to come.

How You Can Help

Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages!

If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac where you can also find a list of known bugs.

by Francesca Marano at February 11, 2020 10:43 PM under Releases

WPTavern: EditorsKit Tackles Typography With First Premium Add-On

Jeffrey Carandang released the EditorsKit Typography Add-On today, the first commercial extension to his EditorsKit WordPress plugin. The plugin provides page and block-level typography options. It works with Google Fonts, includes preset font combinations, and allows users to create custom typography rules.

Unlike many other block editor plugins that offer a library of blocks, EditorsKit does not add custom blocks. Instead, it focuses on creating a better block editor experience. It enhances the editor interface, adds extra options to the editor toolbar, and extends options for existing blocks. It is a toolkit that is almost experimental, handling user-requested features long before they land in core WordPress or even the Gutenberg plugin.

Until now, EditorsKit has remained a free plugin with no commercial components. However, it was almost inevitable that such a plugin would need some financial backing, particularly with the pace that Carandang is adding new features.

“The plan was actually for Gutenberg and EditorsKit to mature enough, then create premium add-ons or services,” said Carandang. “But, the circumstances changed when I created ShareABlock. There are so many things that I want to achieve when creating a layout that core blocks cannot do yet.”

ShareABlock is Carandang’s community website for sharing blocks and templates. Site visitors can download block files directly from the site and import them into the block editor. Members can also share their custom block and template designs with others. Everything on the site is free to the community.

“For this specific add-on, I was trying to solve the issue when it comes to typography in the Gutenberg Editor that I’ve experienced when creating templates and block patterns for ShareABlock,” said Carandang. “I always find myself doing custom functions to use specific Google Fonts when creating a template. I figured there might be others that are having the same problem.”

The typography add-on for EditorsKit is a value-add on top of the normal free version of the plugin. For users who decide to purchase, they can choose between three plans that range from $29 and $99 per year, depending on the number of sites they need updates and support on.

“My main focus is still on the free version,” said Carandang. “There will just be a few add-ons that will be built along the way whenever the circumstances need it.”

This add-on is just the first step into a larger goal to add some other commercial add-ons and integration into EditorsKit. “I have a couple of other ideas,” said Carandang. “I plan to turn this into a bundle to make it easier for users to manage them inside the settings page.”

How the Plugin Works

Yesterday, Carandang launched version 1.2.5 of the primary EditorsKit plugin. Along with a handful of new features and bug fixes, he added a new “Extensions” tab to the plugin’s settings screen. End-users can grab the typography add-on from that new page. Once installed and activated, users can view and set a default font combination from that same area in the plugin.

Typography Settings on the EditorsKit settings screen.

The plugin adds typography options on the post-editing screen. It provides a custom sidebar that allows end-users to select a font combination for the entire post.

End-users can also create custom typography rules from this same sidebar. Any custom rules created are stored for use on other posts and pages too. There is also an option to apply the rules to the <body> element on the front end and override the theme’s typography.

Post/Page-level typography options in the block editor.

On the block level, each block allows users to select a font family and weight. This is handled through a custom “Typography Settings” panel. Currently, there are over 60 choices from Google Fonts and a few system fonts. The add-on also automatically updates the font-weight options on a per-font basis (not all fonts are built for all weights).

Per-block typography settings.

The one potential downside to this add-on is how easy it is to go overboard when adding external fonts. When using too many on a page, it will slow down the page-loading speed. As a general rule of thumb, users should not select more than two or three fonts to keep speed in check. It would be handy if the plugin added a warning message somewhere in the UI to let users know of the dangers of using too many fonts.

by Justin Tadlock at February 11, 2020 08:25 PM under editorskit

February 10, 2020

WPTavern: Awesome Motive Acquires the All in One SEO Pack Plugin

Last Thursday, Awesome Motive CEO Syed Balkhi announced his company acquired the All in One SEO Pack (AIOSEO) plugin. Michael Torbert, the plugin creator, first released AIOSEO in 2007. Since then, the plugin has been downloaded over 65 million times. It is currently active on over 2 million WordPress sites.

Balkhi said his company acquired the project for two primary reasons. “First, because our users continuously asked us to build an SEO plugin that’s easier to use and is more affordable,” he said. “They specifically wanted an SEO plugin that was reliable and results-focused like some SaaS software is.” The second reason was that he did not want the plugin to end up in the wrong hands. “All in One SEO has played an important role in the history of WordPress, in the history of WPBeginner (since this was the first SEO plugin I used), and there are a lot of users who rely on All in One SEO Pack to optimize their WordPress site for SEO.”

“I’m confident in handing over the reins to such a great organization in Awesome Motive and excited to see what the next chapter brings for AIOSEOP under your leadership,” said Torbert in response to Balkhi’s announcement.

For many years, AIOSEO enjoyed the spotlight. It was the go-to SEO plugin for a large segment of the WordPress user base. However, in recent years, Yoast SEO has captured a larger share of the market. It is currently installed on over 5 million websites. Other plugins such as The SEO Framework have also eaten into the market. Plus, newcomer Rank Math SEO has been making waves and picking up users at a steady clip. Needless to say, there is much fiercer competition among SEO plugins than in AIOSEO’s heyday.

“The SEO plugin market is definitely a competitive one, but I feel it’s only competitive by quantity,” said Balkhi. “WordPress as a platform is flourishing, and one of the reasons for that is the choices/freedoms that WordPress offers to users, including the choice of which SEO plugin to use.”

Balkhi has a knack for growing products, and the WordPress ecosystem is steadily growing. Currently, over 14 million websites use his software. He launched WP Beginner, a free WordPress resource site, in 2009. Since then, he’s launched successful products like OptinMonster, a conversion optimization toolkit; WPForms, a drag-and-drop form builder; MonsterInsights, a Google Analytics plugin; and more. In 2019, his company launched RafflePress, a contest and giveaway plugin.

Balkhi noted that he does not manage all of these properties on his own. “The truth is that I’m blessed to work alongside with some of the most talented people in the ecosystem that are my partners in various ventures, such as Thomas Griffin, Jared Atchison, Chris Christoff, John Turner, Blair Williams, Steve and Stephanie Wells, Josh Kohlbach, and now Benjamin Rojas,” he said. “Without my partners and the rest of our amazing Awesome Motive team, none of what we do would be possible.”

The question is now whether his company can grow AIOSEO’s audience from its current 2 million users while turning a profit.

“Our growth plan for the next year and beyond is to make an SEO plugin that’s geared towards beginners and non-techy business owners,” said Balkhi. “An SEO plugin that’s always reliable, comes with exceptional customer support, and most importantly is results-focused. I believe when we meet these three criteria, we will have done more than enough to set ourselves apart from the competition.”

Except for Torbert, the entire AIOSEO team is joining Awesome Motive and will continue working on the plugin. “Some of the team members were previously part-time contractors, but now they will be working full-time on AIOSEO, so you can say that the product team has actually grown,” said Balkhi.

Benjamin Rojas will be taking the lead role in managing the plugin. He was previously one of the senior members from Awesome Motive’s OptinMonster team. Alongside this change, the company is planning to add two new hires in the coming weeks. Balkhi expressed a desire to “hit the ground running at full speed.”

The Future of the Plugin

Primary settings screen for the AIOSEO plugin.

The current version of AIOSEO (v.3.3.5) feels a bit dated. It lacks integration directly with the block editor, relying on the older meta box system. The settings screens do not fit completely into the WordPress admin UI. Cleaning up these areas could offer some quick and instant wins in the short term.

AIOSEO and other SEO plugins, in general, need to make the complex simple.

SEO plugins can be painfully complex to configure. At times, the user experience can be overwhelming. The average user should not need to be an SEO expert or spend half an hour configuring a post’s SEO options. It should not feel like work before sharing content with the world.

“Aside from SEO experts and consultants, just about everyone else finds SEO to be confusing,” said Balkhi. “How do you know whether the SEO settings that you have are driving results? Is the green light enough or is it lying? Is the green light even relevant?” These are the types of questions Balkhi said his company receives from users. “Unfortunately there isn’t a single solution in the market that solves these problems,” he said.

Based on what is currently available, there’s a gap between the set-it-and-forget-it type of SEO plugins and highly-advanced plugins. There’s an unclaimed middle ground that guides users without complicating things.

Balkhi is not yet prepared to provide specific details from the roadmap, playing it a little close to the vest. “I want to build a WordPress SEO plugin that’s both reliable and results-focused,” he said. He will be working closely with the team as they work to revamp the plugin.

“I have a lot of plans to improve the product, and I’m really excited to be bringing several of our internal SEO tools into a single plugin suite to share with the larger community,” said Balkhi. “My goal is that after our series of updates and new features, All in One SEO will give WordPress sites an even bigger SEO advantage over other third-party CMS platforms.”

by Justin Tadlock at February 10, 2020 08:56 PM under syed balkhi

February 07, 2020

WPTavern: Convert Classic Content to Blocks With the Bulk Block Converter Plugin

Organic Themes released the Bulk Block Converter WordPress plugin last month and updated it in the past week. The plugin allows users to convert classic content, written in the old editor, to the new block format.

Unless end-users have the Classic Editor plugin installed, their old content is placed into the classic block in the newer block editor. WordPress provides an option for transforming this content into individual blocks from the block-editor interface. However, this must be done on a per-post basis.

“Going back and converting each post and page with a classic block to individual blocks can be a very long and tedious process,” said David Morgan, co-founder of Organic Themes. “The Bulk Block Converter plugin quickly scans all your posts and pages for classic blocks, and allows you to quickly convert them all to individual blocks within one interface.”

Originally, Organic Themes built the plugin for internal use at their company. “We developed the plugin to help us convert the content of our theme demos to blocks more efficiently,” said Morgan. The company had to convert over 40 theme-demo sites with an average of 50 posts and pages per site. They built this plugin to avoid a long and painstaking process. Then decided to share it. “We thought the tool could be very useful for other users migrating to Gutenberg.”

For users with a lot of old content, Bulk Block Converter could be the key to moving it all to the new block editor system. Based on the conversions I ran on a couple of test installations, it worked flawlessly.

How the Plugin Works

Block Conversion plugin screen in the admin." class="wp-image-97059" srcset="https://wptavern.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/bulk-block-converter-tool.png 896w, https://wptavern.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/bulk-block-converter-tool-300x175.png 300w, https://wptavern.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/bulk-block-converter-tool-768x449.png 768w, https://wptavern.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/bulk-block-converter-tool-500x292.png 500w" sizes="(max-width: 896px) 100vw, 896px" />Bulk Block Converter admin screen for converting content.

The Bulk Block Converter plugin adds a new “Block Conversion” sub-menu item to the WordPress “Tools” menu in the admin. Once on that screen, it provides a “Scan Content” button. When clicked, it checks all of your posts, pages, and other custom post types for classic content. It then builds a list table of all the content.

From that point, you can choose between converting each post individually or running a bulk conversion of all posts. I always recommend being cautious with such plugins by converting and checking a couple of individual posts before trying bulk conversions.

The process for converting posts was snappy during my tests. In just a few moments, I converted all of my old content over without issue.

Like any plugin that modifies content in this way, it is prudent to store a backup of your site before converting the posts. This is also a one-way conversion process. Once a post is transformed, there is no going back.

by Justin Tadlock at February 07, 2020 08:49 PM under Plugins

February 06, 2020

WPTavern: Gutenberg 7.4 Adds New Color Controls, Link UI, and Block Scaffolding for Developers

The Gutenberg development team launched version 7.4 of the plugin yesterday. The update includes a few user-facing features: a text color control for the group block, background-color control for the columns block, and a new link UI for rich text components. For developers, the team introduced a script for launching a block plugin from the command line.

After a dramatic increase in speed in the last update, version 7.4 continues down the same path. When tested against a post with approximately 36,000 words and 1,000 blocks, page load speeds dropped from 5.461s to 5.037s and keypress events from 34.63ms to 34.54ms. This is not a significant reduction, but every improvement helps.

The update includes over two dozen bug fixes and several enhancements. Work toward the navigation block continues. The experience is slowly getting better, but it still doesn’t feel ready for production.

The team also launched an early, experimental mechanism for handling global styles, a feature that may be complete this year. Global styles would allow themes to set default colors, typographical settings, and potentially more. Theme authors should keep an eye on the development of this feature and offer feedback.

Group Block Gets Text Color Control

Changing the text color for an entire group.

The Gutenberg team once again cleans up one of my biggest gripes. When using the group block in the past, end-users could not apply a text color to every sub-element of the group block. Instead, they had to add a text color to any blocks within the group. It was a painstaking process at times, particularly with groups of many blocks.

With this change in version 7.4, users can apply a text color to the entire group at once, and that color should trickle down to sub-blocks. Of course, users can still change the color of inner blocks if necessary.

Columns Block Gets Background Color Control

Customizing the background color on a columns block.

Gutenberg 7.4 adds the background color control to the columns block. This makes it work similarly to the group block by adding a background color to the entire containing block. Unfortunately, it did not receive the same text color control in this release.

Currently, there is still no way to add background and text colors to an individual column. End-users can only add a color on the sub-blocks within a column. The feature is a step in the right direction, but it’s still missing some essential color options.

Link UI Updated

Inserting a link into a paragraph with the new UI.

This is a minor change but welcome. The link UI for rich text, a component used for blocks such as paragraphs, now has the same UI as the navigation and button blocks. The consistency is nice, but I am a fan of the improvement overall.

The UI change is subtle, but it already feels slightly more comfortable after a day of use.

Block Scaffolding for Developers

Initial JavaScript file for an auto-created block plugin.

For developers who want to jump-start a new block plugin, the Gutenberg team released an official script for getting started. By running the npm init @wordpress/block command, the script will install and run you through setting up a custom block. The script creates an entire plugin folder, including the necessary PHP, CSS, and JavaScript files.

This script is ideal for building single-block plugins, which will eventually be exposed via the official WordPress block directory. Because it creates an entire plugin, it is probably not the best route for creating new blocks within an existing plugin.

by Justin Tadlock at February 06, 2020 09:06 PM under gutenberg

Post Status: Syed Balkhi on Awesome Motive’s acquisition of All In One SEO

Syed Balkhi joins me to discuss the acquisition of AIO SEO.

All in One SEO is one of the most widely used plugins in the WordPress ecosystem, with more than two million installs.

In the announcement post, Syed says the entire All in One SEO team is joining Awesome Motive, aside from founder Michael Torbert:

Aside from new ownership change, it’s business as usual. You can continue to use the plugin that you love without any interruptions.

With the exception of Michael, the entire All in One SEO team joined Awesome Motive. This means that you are still being supported by the same talented people.

On top of that, we have added more team members from Awesome Motive who will be working on the All in One SEO project, including me.

In a near future release, you will see a small plugin design refresh in the WordPress admin area.

With our experience and a dedicated team, we will be adding several new features and improvements to the All in One SEO WordPress plugin in the near future.

Some of the questions he answers:

  • So who is your target customer with All in One SEO?
  • How is the model structured? You’re directing strategy… is there a partner you're working with?
  • How does your vision for AIO SEO compare to what you see in Yoast SEO?
  • How do you envision the free/premium divide?
  • What are the first three things you plan to do?
  • How did the conversation with Michael start? Did you approach him? Did he approach you? Tell me a story.
  • How far do you think you can scale this business model?
  • What do you think about the consolidation we’re seeing in the plugin ecosystem — the consolidation you’re a major player in?

Links:

Full Transcript

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Brian Krogsgard 0:02
This episode of the Draft podcast is brought to you by Jilt. Jilt is email marketing built for eCommerce stores. Go to jilt.com to try it today. I know that Jilt is an awesome product because I work on it every single week. And I get to see it up close and personal. Jilt has amazing integrations for WooCommerce, Shopify, and ads so no matter what platform you're building your eCommerce site on, it will work for you. It's built specifically for eCommerce with extremely powerful segmentation options for you to set up automations to work for you while you sleep. And you can do your manual email marketing through our broadcasts feature in Jilt. It's a great tool. I know you'll love it. Try it today. Go to Jilt.com. And thanks to Jilt for being a Post Status partner. Hello and welcome to the Draft podcast. My name is Brian Krogsgard. I'm with Syed Balkhi. Hey Syed.

Syed Balkhi 0:55
Hey man, how are you?

Brian Krogsgard 0:56
I'm doing great. So you know like you Guys have news coming out all the time. And you've got another plugin that you've put under the automotive umbrella. And it's all in one SEO. So first off just congrats on the acquisition of a really long-running popular plugin.

Syed Balkhi 1:18
Thank you. Thank you.

Brian Krogsgard 1:20
So let's start with what attracted you to all in one SEO as the type of plugin that you were interested in.

Syed Balkhi 1:29
So when I started a web beginner I was I started with all in one SEO, I've had a lot of respect for the plugin in industry. I believe it you know, it is one of the tools that are essential for a website owner. And it is something that our users have continued to, to build. If you haven't checked out the WP begin to engage Facebook group, this question comes up a lot I did a, I did a video about it and people were asking, like, you know, when are you going to build a SEO plugin that is beginner-friendly. And, you know, it's just keeps coming up over and over every year if you've been able to build one product, what would it be? And SEO keeps coming upset. We tried to make a deal happen. And you know, I approached several authors and this was the one that we ended up going with.

Brian Krogsgard 2:25
So you say, you know, people from the dopey beginner groups were the ones that initiated this conversation. So who is your target customer with a plugin like this?

Syed Balkhi 2:38
Small business owners like you know, DIY website owners, I would say is there is a target market you know, we try to stay away from the super-advanced super Dev audience, we want to help small business owners so our goal at awesome motive is to you know, help small businesses go and compete with the big guys. And that is something that we continue with all of our products.

Brian Krogsgard 3:00
So obviously the I guess I would say the market leader in this genre has been Yoast SEO for years. If I remember the correlation of how the usage worked out all in one, SEO was the most popular plugin for a really long time in the SEO market, and then Yost took over that spot. What's the comparison that you see in Yost? I mean, I think you and Yost divock are friendly and the team at Yost, how does how to your efforts here? You know, like, how does it differ from Yoast? Is Yost an advanced plugin? Like what makes you most advanced versus like the beginner features that you envision? All in one Seo? That's the stuff that I don't quite know how to nail down in my mind.

Syed Balkhi 3:45
For sure, for sure. Yeah. So I mean, I'm friends of yours. Of course, I told. I told Yost about, about the field before he went public. So it doesn't affect our friendship. I think you know, in any market you have multiple players, right? They have their own unique sets of features and divisions that they carry forward. And I know Yost has a vision that he is moving forward with. My, my goal is to really focused on two things, one, reliability, and the second is to be results-focused. And that the second one is definitely a primary thing I want a plugin, that is results focus on, you know, almost every SEO plugin, when you look at it in the market, and there's some newcomers that are that have entered the market as well. They kind of just help you set up and let you optimize some pages. And that's kind of it like there hasn't been any innovation, if you may, from a bigger picture point of view in the SEO plugin market in a while.

And I want to change that.

Brian Krogsgard 4:56
So talk to me about that. Because I know I know. I know Sayed Balkhi well enough to know he's got a plan. As soon as he has control, you've got some things that you want to do. I have to admit, I haven't installed all in one SEO and I don't even know how long I don't know what it looks like, once you get working on it on the interior. What's it like today? And I guess, what are your big three things that you want to do? I know you got those mapped out?

Syed Balkhi 5:24
Yeah, I mean, we have a very clear 12-month plan the three-year picture, I would say, you know, install it, just so you can see, you can have a before and after comparison, I think that you know that you can see the impact that we're, we're about to happen on this plugin. So, you know, over the years, like, I've built a lot of internal tools that we just use, and like when you asked like, you know, what is the target market release me and I'm like, I try to dog food pretty much all of our own products and I think that's, that's one of our secret sauces on how we make the best product. So I want to bring in a lot of the internal tools that we have, that we already have into a central plugin that we can control manage, and also, you know, share it with the WordPress community and in the small business community as well. I am also you know when you think about like a lot of my friends who are influencers somewhere, you know, meeting SEO experts as well they all have, you know, their own internal SEO tools that they've built, we kind of shared that knowledge, we sometimes shared those scripts with each other. So we can kind of have an advantage and I want to bring that level the playing field. So we're going to be bringing a lot of those other tools in it so when it when you know when you think about the name all in one SEO, I think this is going to really become that. Without divulging too much of the you know, fine details, I think, think about it from that way it finally is true SEO suite for WordPress.

Brian Krogsgard 6:59
You mentioned how the way that people typically look at SEO and WordPress right now is you go to a single singular URL. So let's say it's a, you know, it's a page of, you know, the best WordPress host or whatever. And you optimize that page. So is what you're talking about more of how to figure out a site wide plan or overview, is that right?

Syed Balkhi 7:22
Exactly. So when you think about that, you know, a small business owner they come in and install the plugin then what what happens do they do the chase a light, a specific color, but what is that in regards to anyways? I want to I want to really help people discover new growth opportunities. So like SEO is not just some acronym. That doesn't mean anything new. Most people will be they everybody kind of has a vision, but everybody's lost. really making that easy, making people making easy to identifying opportunities, measure those opportunities and you know, doing a little bit More than just setting up an optimizing. Okay. Yeah.

Brian Krogsgard 8:03
So, you know, when I think of small businesses, and when I talk to the friends that are, you know, they run small businesses like a dentist or something I usually start thinking about SEO in terms of local stuff or so what's the free and premium divide for you?

Syed Balkhi 8:20
Yeah, there's gonna be a lot of premium features that we're going to add, of course, over the years, we're going to continue improving the tree offering, which is, you know, core of this plugin anyways. That's, that's, that's, that's where I think I'll pretty much stop at you know, there's gonna be a lot of cool tools that are going to come in that we're going to add in the premium version. There's also going to be a lot of really cool thing that we're going to add in the free version that we just haven't seen. Is this going to happen over the course of the next three months? No regular we're going to do some like small refreshes the three in the three month period, but the bigger picture and the big things are going to be rolled out over the, you know, 12 month period because we have to take our internal tools and then, you know, turn it into so it can be used by tuning people.

Brian Krogsgard 9:12
I'm pretty biased towards Jilt. And it's with good reason. When I was considering to take on some part-time work to complement what I was doing with Post Status, I went straight to Skyverge and said, I think that Skyverge seems like a fantastic company to work for. And Jilt seems like a really exciting product to work on. Jilt is really the tool that you need to complement your eCommerce store. It's email marketing, but it's built specifically for eCommerce stores. So what's that mean in practice? Well, you can do your marketing outreach through a manual newsletter built into Jillson, some people don't even know that. That's done via the broadcast feature. But then there are the automation tools. jilt started out as an abandoned cart automation tool, but it's a lot more than that. Now, you can segment based on anything that's part of your historical store data. So if you will Want to email people just who purchased a product in a certain category, then you can do it. If you have an update for a product and you want to send an email to people who have purchased that historically, you can do it. If you want to send an email because people have spent a certain amount of money in their lifetime, and your store, you can do it. You can do so much with guilts Automation features, the segmentation data is extremely thorough, whether you're running a WooCommerce store, or a Shopify store or an ed d store, and you're not using jilt, then, quite frankly, you're giving up potential revenue. Try jilt today, go to jilt.com. I know you'll love it.

How did the conversation with Michael start then? Did you approach him? Did he approach you? Tell me a story around the process of acquiring a plugin especially one was such a huge user base. And I guess there's a lot of implications when someone new takes over one of the most popular plugins in the plugin repo.

Syed Balkhi 10:59
Absolutely. So, you know, I think I mentioned to you, you this came back from the WP beginner communities after I did the web kind of census survey, which happened at the beginning of the year, I start getting all sorts of data from the audience and from survey responses and start analyzing. And I reached out to, to Michael, as I started the conversation, you know, it started from discussing of what does this look like, you know, does this look like us partnering together and running that does it look like us taking a full hundred percent stake into the business then, you know, Michael walks from Italy, you know, there was, like, a lot of conversation that, you know, started with things like maybe March, so we didn't close the deal until January 3. So it takes you know, it's like think about it when this is something that you have been doing for 10 plus years this is your baby. It's an emotional process. It's a yes, it's a very emotional process. It's not an easy decision to make, and I'm not you know that. I think the things that made it easy or easier to make things you know a little bit smoother was that I've known Michael for a long time, right. Michael has been in the WordPress ecosystem. This was the original WordPress SEO plugin. I've had numerous occasions where I hang out with Michael, at the WordPress community summit, the first-ever … network in Raleigh several times. I actually flew out to Raleigh to hang out with Michael to kind of share our vision because you know, for both of us, the most important part is users and the community. And, you know, we were in you know, we were lying there. So that's like that's, that's really a nutshell what happened in the nine-month period, right? Of course legal comes in Ba ba ba ba ba that's normal of any deal, boring stuff.

Brian Krogsgard 13:02
You can have it all settled, I guess and still have several months left on Enter before it actually, you know, get signed and is ready to go.

Syed Balkhi 13:12
Right. And especially with my travel schedule, it kind of made things a little difficult, right? Because we're growing and then I you know, I have certain like level commitments already like that that are planned six months plus in advance always. So it becomes a little tricky. So we wanted to do face to deal in December, but it kind of went in by the January.

Brian Krogsgard 13:35
Yeah. So the, you know, I've seen you do this a couple times now where you acquire another business and obviously you don't acquire something unless you see potential growth in it. So you see growth in this product. However, I would say this product may be different than some of the others whereas where, you know, it was at the top of the game for a while and then it had a you know, maybe it grew WordPress a little bit, but it wasn't the market leader there were there was growth and other plugins in the sector, significantly higher than all in one, SEO is growth. Whereas some tools that you started, you were the growth plugin, like WP forms was a fresh plugin, you know, brand new, or you acquire one that is on a high growth trajectory. So this one's a little bit different than that. So how do you view the business model? And then how do you think that you can continue to scale this business model that there's so many products under the automotive umbrella these days?

Syed Balkhi 14:33
You know, I think the important part is that you that you highlighted is almost every plugin grows with WordPress. You know, when I started using WordPress in 2006, I don't recall the exact number of how big WordPress was, but it wasn't 35% of the web.

Brian Krogsgard 14:52
Right? If I did a post on this, I think it was in 2010. And we weren't 8% of the web yet, so 20,006 it was probably like 1% Maybe 2% of the web, right?

Syed Balkhi 15:02
So, So when you think about this right I'm very bullish on WordPress. I really believe in WordPress, I even posted a story about like my cab driver using WordPress and learn from the … Uber driver and I was like, wow, this is crazy like you could get picked up from the Atlanta airport. So the, you know, the business model really is, you know, anytime you build an ecosystem, you rely on the ecosystem. I think the WordPress ecosystem has a lot of growth happening right now. And users are always looking for so you know, whether it be just because we have WP forms and needed it is the best hands down. WordPress form plugin doesn't mean people don't use others. Right. So I don't look for Oh, is this is this plugin necessarily growing or not? I think this is a plugin with a very loyal user base. Good, you know framework I haven't had a lot of sentimental values, you know, tied to all them on SEO because this was a plugin I started using, you know, and when I launched WP beginner, I think for a long time I was the de facto maybe an official doc for this because I would share my configuration and people would just come and copy and paste that into the chat back and forth. Michael and Steve, you know, who's been with all the one for 10 years, he actually joined us a motive. That's pretty, pretty awesome. But we also had a lot of sentimental values for this. And I've learned a ton from Michael who's been very generous mean in the early days of the WordPress ecosystem. So I think there's a lot we can do in terms of the growth side of the plugin for sure.

Brian Krogsgard 16:49
As an aside, you mentioned in the announcement posts that Michael is not joining awesome motive, it sounds like he's gonna go find out what he wants to do next, but the rest of the Anyone that was working on all in one SEO is actually going to become an automotive employee.

Syed Balkhi 17:05
Absolutely. that's already been done yet our goal whenever we make an acquisition, are you in a position or you know, one of the automotive core values people first and we always take care of that first.

Brian Krogsgard 17:15
So you've got WP forms monster inside see prod webmail, SMTP raffle press. And you know, now we're putting all in one SEO as kind of primary product things. You've got some other stuff too. If people go to automotive com, they can see everything that your team is working on. But what about this scale side of this? So we talked actually last week I don't know if you probably didn't listen to it. We talked last week about back when you showed me your schedule blocking and you know, we're talking about trying to manage multiple projects and you're the kind of the key to this to me, in our space, because there's so many things that you're paying personal attention to, but you've created ways to where, you know, you don't have to be there. You're your vessel You add but like, Is there a ceiling for how you can scale like is it 10 products? Is it 15 or 20? what's this business model for you?

Syed Balkhi 18:11
I wish I knew what the number was, I've tentatively put it at 30? I think it is one of the things that you know that like I never do anything alone, right? There's like I've worked like my secret against it's not such a big secret is I work with really really awesome partners, really talented people. You know, Thomas Griffin, who leads OptinMonster and TrustPulse, you know, products. Jared Atchison who leads WP Forms and SMTP. These guys are phenomenal leaders right. Chris Christoff leading Monster Insights, phenomenal leader and they all have their own strengths. Right and we what makes us work really well together is how we compliment each other. So you know with John Turner in SeedProd and RafflePress, right, that he brings a whole new set of values to Awesome Motive and what we're looking to do over the next 10 years. So, you know, when when we decided to acquire all in one SEO we looked for, you know, who would that personally because Michael was not going to be coming on board. And, of course, like, this is it. This is something I'm really passionate about. And I know a lot about this industry. I wanted to make sure that there's somebody else who's really, really talented who can lead and Benjamin Rojas, I don't know, I don't know if you know him or not in the WordPress ecosystem. He's a phenomenal developer had had several other products in the EBD ecosystem that he sold to Pippin when you know, they did the market consolidation, their position. He's been working in the OptinMonster team for I believe, like four years, three, four years, and so He's actually going to be leading this division and department call and Seo? Of course, I'm going to be I'm very involved that, you know, I'm not involved in OptinMonster day today, but you know, I've been for two years. Same thing with WP Forms, that division is run by Jared, Christoff, you know, my stream says pretty much online, so I'm going to be very involved in it. So like, while we have a lot going on, I'm not liking every single thing all the time. It's not it's not humanly possible. You see my time blocks, right? So these things move around around every quarter.

Brian Krogsgard 20:34
Okay, so you are bringing in Benjamin he's going to be the Christoff or the Acheson version of your partner? Your — almost like an implementation partner — whereas you're the strategic partner?

Syed Balkhi 20:49
Yeah, absolutely. I— you know, we could call it the integrator role that you know, GM …

So yeah, Ben, Ben is awesome. And I've had a pleasure working with him for last years. And he just continues to impress me, is literally like two and a half, three people into one. And you get to that pretty much about like, you know, Christoff, you've seen the energy that he brings in Jared and Thomas, John,…

Brian Krogsgard 21:23
It seems like everybody, do you think this is a pattern of just the WordPress ecosystem? or part of the way you've made these partnership decisions? Everybody that has played that role internally for you as a developer? Do you think is that strategic or just circumstance?

Syed Balkhi 21:40
I think it's a circumstantial, more so than not, I don't believe that, you know, this role has to go to a developer. I think this role has to go to somebody who understands product and building products. So you know my extent of development, I —

Brian Krogsgard 22:02
It's more than you let on but no, you —

Syed Balkhi 22:08
I don't think you have to be a developer you have to be — you have to understand the products and more importantly understand the problem you're solving and being able to improvise at, you know, at a, at a fast scale and being able to solve problems faster than other people. I think that's — that's what I look for, more so than anything.

Brian Krogsgard 22:29
All right, I want to finish up.

I want to get your take on the consolidation that we're seeing in the plugin ecosystem is something I've been talking about. I think since 2017. We've seen that playing out in hosting business, we've seen it of course, that's kind of par for the course in the landscape of broader hosting. We're really seeing it ramp up in terms of plugins in the WordPress space. You You're one of the big players in that consolidation process, but there are others too. There's some people Whether they're public yet or not, that are you know bundling up plugins and they're coming at it with a strategy to take advantage of this market. So what are your What are your thoughts about consolidation and where we are kind of in I guess the market cycle of WordPress plugin businesses

Syed Balkhi 23:18
think they in an important thing to look at is not just the consolidation part of WordPress but scale that new plugins are coming and being introduced. Right. So it's not it's it would be not fair to look at the market just from one angle because there's so much growth happening with a new plugins being added and when the market is growing at that scale consolidation becomes natural. And this just shows that WordPress is not in its infancy. anymore right when you because they are players. Better. That is certain sides enough to be able to have this kind of conversation. This was, you know, the consolidation doesn't always happen for monetary reasons, sometimes, you know, you've been doing this for you have a plugin that you've been building for like, seven, eight years, maybe you just want to move on. Right? So I don't necessarily, you know, that's just natural now that WordPress has been around for so long, then that's just a natural transition of people's lives. That's happening from an ecosystem point of view. Just the growth is phenomenal. When you look at the new plugins being added all the Gutenberg bought collection plugins that are being added, you know, and all of them are getting installs. There's not like, you know, there's one or two or three that just kind of own the market, every single one of them is getting itself. You know, you there's like, just because like we launched web form doesn't mean there hasn't been new contact or plugins. I mean, it says, I think that's just a natural phase of any ecosystem. And it means great things for the user, like the users of WordPress are going to benefit the most out of it. Because it shows that there's truly legitimate resources being put into building products and it's not just, you know, one person, you know, doing this as a side hustle. And there's nothing wrong with that there's a lot of great plugins come out of solid there are some really good ones that are still you know, somebody's side hustling and just crushing it right in the market. So I think it just it's just good It shows that businesses can use you know, WordPress plugin, and reliably knowing that they're this is not going to be disappeared is not just going to be discontinued. So, I think that I'm very bullish on the WordPress market, and I have been for the last 10 years of running WP Beginner.

Brian Krogsgard 25:48
Awesome. And you think this consolidation will probably continue on as a natural part of our ecosystem?

Syed Balkhi 25:55
Yeah, I mean, absolutely.

That's just natural for any system whether you're in WordPress, or you're in landscaping, or pool cleaning,

Brian Krogsgard 26:06
Maybe the difference from here on out will be that we'll start to see larger ones. And maybe I don't know if you have an opinion on that. But I think that's my gut feeling. You mentioned something like you get to a stage and, you know, some people are looking to exit and some people now have the resources to be able to make those acquisitions. So as time goes on that discrepancy between the big, you know, the people that are big enough now to where, let's say, I don't know, a million-dollar acquisition is in their wheelhouse, whereas five years ago, that was totally impossible for them to even consider as that becomes more and more the type of thing that is possible for a company to do will naturally see more of it. Would you agree with that?

Syed Balkhi 26:49
I think they you know, what I would like to see is, you know, more of this happening, right because this just further validates the industry in itself. I think it is happening, right, you know, have it happening, whether it's public or not public, right. I know several players that are that are in the market. And in terms of big, I think that's just reality, right? You lay outside looking in big is not always what you see. Yeah, we're all small and big and not what you think. I think that it's just relative. Right. So to the individual perspective.

Brian Krogsgard 27:27
All right. So that's all I really have for you. I just wanted to chat with you about this acquisition and get your take on it. Is there anything that you want to either leaf people, whether they're an all in one SEO user, or if it's somebody in the post s audience question for me, the floor is yours.

Syed Balkhi 27:45
No, you know, I always appreciate the work that you're doing and really excited to see Cory on board with post status. I just wanna say thank you, you know, to the community for the continued support of automotive our suite of products. We, we always strive to do better and serve our users. And I just hope to continue to earn everybody's trust for years to come.

Brian Krogsgard 28:08
Awesome. I appreciate it. Thanks for joining us and we will talk to everybody soon. Bye.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

by Brian Krogsgard at February 06, 2020 07:14 PM under Planet

February 05, 2020

WPTavern: Key Takeaways From the First ‘Future of Themes’ Meeting

There are few clear answers.

As members of the core design, editor, and theme review teams joined for the inaugural biweekly meeting that may decide the fate, at least in part, of WordPress themes, it became clear that there is no structured game plan. There are many ideas. There are several moving pieces. There are components and teams and ideas that must all coalesce and build something that has never been done before in WordPress.

There is room for both excitement and concern.

It is not necessarily a bad thing to be in an early experimental stage. However, WordPress is a mature product. It feels like there should be something more concrete about the future of one of its most integral parts — themes.

That is what these meetings are for. They are about building bridges between various teams and making some decisions. One of the problems going forward will be cutting through the noise.

Takeaway #1: there are still more questions than there are answers.

Moving Forward With Block-Based Themes

If there is one thing that almost feels like a foregone conclusion it is that we are transitioning into a future where themes will be built entirely of blocks. Even the meeting was dubbed the “Block-Based Themes Meeting,” despite some pushback that such a meeting name was biased.

This is no surprise. Block-based themes are where we are going. The real question is how that will work and what level of control theme authors will ultimately have over their creations.

Kjell Reigstad, a design director for Automattic, kicked off the meeting with an introduction of block-based themes and what the meeting would cover. “As most of you probably know, Gutenberg is in the process of expanding beyond the editor,” he said. “As we’ve already seen, Gutenberg allows for a great deal of user-customization inside of post and page content. It allows any user to create custom layouts all by themselves, and style adjustments too. These will all usually be retained even after a user switches themes.”

Full-site editing seeks to bring blocks to the entire site, which is traditionally the domain of themes. “By turning elements like the header and footer into block areas, users will have the flexibility to place any sort of content wherever they want,” said Reigstad. “It allows for a lot of creativity! They’ll theoretically be able to click and edit their header in place, or change their sites entire color scheme without needing to jump into an entirely separate interface.”

Takeaway #2: block-based themes are happening.

The Definition of Block-Based Themes

Live Demo Q&A from The Gutenberg Times.

After a quick introduction of how the meeting would work, Jeff Ong, designer at Automattic, filled in the details of how block-based themes work. Currently, such themes are experimental and must be activated by ticking the full-site editing (FSE) checkbox via the Gutenberg plugin’s Experiments settings screen.

“Once you’ve activated this FSE experiment option, a few major changes will occur in how WordPress behaves,” said Ong. “WordPress will look for HTML templates inside of a block-templates directory of your theme, instead of using the PHP templates, to determine how your site will appear.”

This was not a new concept to the people present. Most have explored the initial documentation for block-based themes over the past two months.

This part of the meeting was more about providing information. The following are key links for further exploration of full-site editing and block-based themes:

Global Styles Are a Part of the Process

Example mockup from the primary global styles ticket.

Tammy Lister, experience designer at Automattic, introduced global styles, a feature coming to the Gutenberg plugin and eventually core WordPress. She described global styles as being at the “what goes into the cake” stage, meaning the team is still deciding what the feature will entail.

“So what are global styles?” Lister began. “In short, it’s style you can apply across your site right there in the browser. Pretty neat! Think of it as a kit full of component tools you can activate and take advantage of. Tried, tested and ready to go. It’s your decorating kit to get your site space just the way you want it.”

At the moment, the baseline for the “kit” includes text, background, and primary colors in which themes can set the defaults. The baseline would also include typographical settings for changing the font size, scale, and alignment.

“However, is that enough?” asked Lister. “This is currently a big question. There needs to be exploration on what are common things needed and what needs to be available.”

Another argument for the biggest question award would be whether global styles are a necessary feature for core WordPress at all. With the possibility that users can directly manipulate templates in the WordPress admin, adding styles to the mix may make some theme authors feel like they will be permanently sitting in the back seat.

Lister made it clear that global styles should not go too far. “These are tools available in the editor, so addressing what is needed or not is key, over allowing everything and creating a complicated experience,” she said. “A personal point I’m thinking about here is how when I had a crowded art box I could never find that ‘one pencil’ I wanted, we want to avoid that.”

Takeaway #3: End-users will likely be able to set global styles from the WordPress admin. For many, this level of power will be a good thing. For theme authors who build hyper-detailed designs, they may be cringing at the thought.

Open-Ended Questions Going Forward

When will block templates and global styles land? The rough timeline for block-based themes is for it to remain experimental through mid-year and have something basic in place as we close 2020. Global styles are likely to land this year, but there is no definite date yet.

Global styles could easily land in the next several months. It has a tighter scope than themes made of HTML block templates. Given the point that block-based themes are currently at and the unanswered questions about how the system will work, its time frame may be optimistic. The scope touches almost everything in WordPress to some degree, at least anything that ends up on the front end of the site.

Everything about themes will change. How theme authors approach design will likely move toward styling on the component/block level. Blocks will go into sidebars as widgets are slowly replaced. Even theme options may be a thing of the past. “Personally, I don’t think the customizer will disappear immediately, but I do think it’s clear that many of its current duties won’t be necessary in this Gutenbergy future,” said Reigstad.

One question on many theme authors’ minds is what sort of quality control they will have over their theme if users are handed so much power to change things.

One proposal in the meeting was to allow theme authors to lock down certain templates so that users could not mess up the design by moving parts (e.g., a meticulously-crafted header and nav menu template that works across browsers and screen sizes). There is not yet an open ticket for this possibility, but some theme authors will need to have a level of control over this for certain designs to work.

Ending the meeting on a high note, Ari Stathopoulos, a representative from the theme review team, gave his final thoughts. “Themes are not going away,” he said. “They may change, completely transform in many ways. The tools we’re currently using and the way we’re currently building themes is not the way themes will be built next year. But they will still exist, and the new way is neither better nor worse. It’s just different. If we embrace that and open up our imagination, there’s lots of amazing things we — as theme authors — can build.”

I am cautiously optimistic that things will work out in the end. I’m excited about the idea of end-users being given tools to build out the websites of their dreams. I’m concerned, along with many theme authors I have chatted with, about what the role of theme designer will be in a year.

At the moment, I imagine a major split in types of themes: block-based vs. traditional with perhaps some block elements. Only time will tell whether this becomes an insurmountable rift or whether there is a place for both concepts.

Takeaway #4: it’s still far too early to come to any solid conclusions about what the future holds.

by Justin Tadlock at February 05, 2020 09:08 PM under gutenberg

February 04, 2020

WPTavern: Guteblock Joins the Block Collection Plugin Arena With an Initial 12 Custom Blocks

Last week, London-based digital marketing agency Sweans Technologies released Guteblock, its new block collection plugin. Currently, the plugin boasts 12 custom blocks. The company plans to add more and has big plans for the plugin’s future.

While the team earns no points for originality in plugin naming, they are nevertheless throwing their hat into the ring of ever-growing block collection plugins alongside the likes of Atomic Blocks, CoBlocks, and Kioken Blocks. There is already steep competition in this arena, but there is also a lot of space for growth.

“WordPress bets high on Gutenberg editor and the block styles,” said Ajay Thomas, CEO of Sweans. “With the introduction of blocks, WordPress allows greater user control over the page-designing process beyond what the theme can handle. For the upcoming block directory, we believe that blocks will be the third integral part of WordPress after plugins and themes.”

The plugin’s team has put together the following video to show installation and usage examples:

Plugin Blocks

Guteblock is still a little rough around the edges in comparison to more mature block library plugins. Some things were confusing, such as some block color options not using the theme-defined colors. The drop cap block felt like it could have simply been added as extra settings to WordPress’ paragraph block.

The container block currently does nothing but group elements. At the moment, it is a step down from WordPress’ existing group block. Thomas explained that the team wanted to develop other blocks before fleshing it out. “The main features we will add to the container block are custom background settings, which include color, customizable gradient, an image with parallax effect, video, customizable SVG and other features including shadow, border-radius, etc.,” he said.

Of its library of 12 blocks, it has some interesting blocks that will come in handy, such as the number box block, which allows users to add columns of numbered boxes. The notification block is also useful for adding a bold warning, note, or similar message.

Number Box block from the Guteblock plugin.

The post grid block is one of the nicest blocks in the collection. It lets users create a grid of posts, showcasing the featured image, post title, and optional excerpt. It has settings to control the post count, number of columns, and font sizes.

Post Grid block from the Guteblock plugin.

The biggest downside to the post grid block at the moment is that it relies on the post-thumbnail size for featured images, which may make them look stretched and distorted on the front end. In the future, it would help if the user could select their preferred featured image size.

The plugin includes a social sharing block. Currently, it adds sharing links for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Reddit. Each social network can be enabled or disabled individually. The plugin also includes round, square, and modern block styles.

Social Sharing block from the Guteblock plugin.

A social sharing block will likely be more useful when WordPress moves toward block-based themes. Controlling this at the post level instead of globally is unnecessary work except in some edge cases where a user wants social sharing only on a limited number of posts or pages.

Thomas believes the team members and author profiles blocks are the most useful blocks. “One of the extremely important features of team members block is that users can highlight one block separately by changing the background color, font color, etc. and drag and drop members to reorganize, he said. “Regarding the author profile block, our block will fetch the author’s name, bio, and image and display there. Users can modify the same if needed.”

Upcoming Blocks and a Premium Version

At the moment, Guteblock is a free plugin. However, Sweans plans to launch a commercial version in the future. The company did not provide an exact date of launch but said it will happen shortly. It is also unclear what the pricing model will look like.

“This will be mainly a more customizable plugin with some other blocks such as Amazon link builder, events and shows, a premium slider, etc.,” said Thomas. He stressed that the free version will have at least 34 blocks down the road.

The plugin’s development team is currently working on two primary blocks to include in the premium edition. “The first block will help Amazon affiliates search for their products in the Amazon catalog, access real-time price and availability information, and effortlessly create links in your posts to products on Amazon.com using the Amazon Product Advertising API,” said Thomas. “The second block is for adding event details in a post or page. You can show the time, date, venue, and the details of the event, and this can be directly added to your desktop/mobile calendar with one click.”

Along with work toward their commercial version, the development team is preparing to add 16 extra blocks to their free version. This update will include blocks for Google Maps, video, grids, advanced columns, newsletters, pricing tables, and more. They will also provide alternative versions of some core blocks, such as blockquotes and buttons.

The company plans to dip its toes into the upcoming block directory too. “We are planning to release some very useful and unique blocks into the block directory and will maintain its excellence and effectiveness,” said Thomas. “But, at the same time, we will improve our plugin’s collection to make them stand out from the rest as we are updating them regularly to give the finest user experience.” It will be interesting to see if the block collection plugin or the individual blocks perform better.

by Justin Tadlock at February 04, 2020 07:53 PM under Plugins

Post Status: Working on multiple things, and working with partners

A lot of folks in the WordPress economy, whether employed with a side hustle or self-employed, manage multiple things. Also, many of us work with partners, or are interested in partnerships.

Cory has long worked with partners, and we're now running Post Status as partners. Also, we are both working on several projects.

In this episode of Draft, we talk about how to balance multiple things, how we try and structure our weeks, and some things to consider when working with partners.

Show links

Sponsor: Pagely

Pagely offers best-in-class managed WordPress hosting, powered by Amazon's Cloud, the Internet’s most reliable infrastructure. Pagely helps big brands scale WordPress. Their new platform NorthStack is a completely serverless solution for managed application hosting. Thank you to Pagely for being a Post Status partner!

Full Transcript

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Brian Krogsgard 0:05
This episode of Post Status Draft is brought to you by Pagely's best in class WordPress managed hosting. They help big brands scale. And it's really the place you want to be. If your website is a mission-critical site, they have an extremely flexible tech stack to help you accomplish your goals with your website. And they have the three things that they really like to focus on: Number one, flexibility. Number two, scalability. And number three, reliability. What I think occasionally in the years that I've hosted my main website PostStatus.com on Pagely, that's what I keep in mind myself — I know I can do the things I want to do. It's not overly opinionated. It's highly scalable, and it's reliable. I never worry about my WordPress going down because it's on Pagely. Go to pagely.com to check it out. Thanks so much to Pagely for being a Post Status partner, and welcome to Post Status Draft. My name is Brian Krogsgard. I'm here with my partner for Post Status, Cory Miller. Hey, Cory.

Cory Miller 1:07
Hey, Brian.

Brian Krogsgard 1:09
Alright, official podcast.

It's our second podcast. Every, every trend starts with two, right? Yep. So we have a couple of topics that are highly relevant to us that we want to discuss today. And number one is juggling multiple things. We're both doing so so we're going to talk about the process of it and some of the things we've tried to instill in our own habits and otherwise. And then the second thing is the process of working with a partner because when juggling several things, often the choice would be to have a partner in crime as you do. So obviously, this is highly relative to our, our own situations, with post status and then each of us are, you know, Post Status as our common plate but we each have other plates that were spinning So that's what we want to discuss and iron out today. You know, I'm thinking of who's our listener who's, who's listening to this and thinking, I'm interested. And you know, one type of person sticks out to me in particular, which is a, like a plugin or product developer, someone that's got a WordPress product and maybe it's not their full-time gig yet or maybe they're balancing the product side with doing some freelance work. Why don't we jump back to the first time you had to start balancing something and go from there so like, what have you learned since you you know since you started doing full-time WordPress back in 2008 or so? Was I themes paying the bills right out of the gate, or how did that work?

Cory Miller 2:49
Yeah, I think it was paying the bills right out the gate, but I've kind of notorious mine. People that have worked with me to be a plate spinner anyway, I kind of relish In the place multiple things keep me engaged. And so, but I woke up you know, couple weeks ago post that this is one of five projects I've got going right now and back into being a plate spinner again but and iThemes Yeah, I spend a lot of plates in the first year, of course, we had full time, you know, I had money to be able to kind of get started and then we try to get revenue in the first month as best we could and be self-sustainable. But uh, for that year, I tried to only spend one plate and that was just I themes, but on the project plate for products, it was just trying to iterate on themes and stuff, but the year, a year or two prior, I was doing the same thing we're doing now which is balancing a full-time gig with stuff on the side, in my freelance business just happened to be, you know, it worked out but I was also I don't know, 13-14 years younger and I can power through until midnight or one now it's like I'm going to bed at night.

Brian Krogsgard 4:07
Yeah, definitely makes a difference I've said on this podcast and elsewhere many times that my I used to call it my tended to time. So 10 pm to 2 am was my window where typically my wife was in bed before I had kids. And I was a night owl, so I would get stuff done. And that was how I maintained my side hustles while I had full-time jobs, and I can't do that anymore, like just physically, my I can't do that now. And, you know, if I have to get some stuff done late at night, I might be able to put in an hour or so. But I run out of steam like if I'm going to do something else. It has to be something replenishing or balancing my work efforts, like reading a book or something that's not by, you know, fingers to keyboard type of activity.

Cory Miller 4:59
I know a lot I know most probably of our community can relate to all this as burning the midnight oil, so to speak. And then now as I've gotten older it's like, it's just not going to work. And you and I both have young kids. So when I get home, it's hard to like, I can't pull up my computer one, I've got a kid sitting in my lap. And, you know, wanting to know what I'm dead. I'm like, I'm trying to get something done.

Brian Krogsgard 5:25
If I'm, if my two-year-old is here, he will literally just make every effort to just slam the spacebar. He's like, that's the biggest thing that's on that board that you, you know, put your fingers on and he's just like, I gotta get on that, you know. I can't, I can't really work with them awake. What that means for us is that we're juggling things and we're not like inventing new hours in the day where we're figuring out how do we juggle within our standard, our standard day. So how do you physically process this and terms of playing And execution?

Cory Miller 6:03
Gosh, you know, I put the five projects like in December, I thought I have four, this is all one and then something happened and I was like, okay, there's a fifth can't turn down. And I realized real quickly like, okay, I don't want to get into old bad ruts. I knew I had to get organized new posters is a priority for me, for us, for our family, too. And I've got a lot of other projects kind of spinning, but I had to get really organized and go, okay, you know, I'm going to need help at some point. So I actually hired a virtual assistant. A couple of weeks ago, I don't even know if I told you that run. But yeah, you mentioned to me Yeah. How to virtual assistant because I had a longtime executive assistant at it. Named Patty color, Painkiller, excuse kill. And I was like, I've got to find figure that out. So I hired a virtual assistant and starting to delegate trying to delegate things to her to help me chase down some things but there's so much like, she can't go to the bank and sign, you know, a bank account for me. So I'm trying to be strategic about it. And then now you know you and I both said we're in a different stage now. So we got young kids, work, work-life balance, if that's even a thing work-life alignment is a thing for me. But I don't know if I want to be working. After six o'clock, I need to devote that time to my kiddos, and I know you do too. So I've got to really prioritize I think Jason freed said it best is in one of his books or podcasts or something a long time ago that constraints particularly time constraints are such a good thing. I'm like, Yes, absolutely. You know, when I saw those names and people, you know, have their opinions about where they think my financial future is. But honestly, when everything is an option, everything sucks. And I think constraints. I can't believe I'm saying this, but constraints are good. In certain situations, everything is an option. And I've kind of taken the mindset from Jason freed that, you know, having kids is good because it gives me some boundaries, or at least that need to be setting boundaries to not repeat bad habits that I did over 10 years. And I think,

Brian Krogsgard 8:19
yeah, so you're saying constraints in terms of what you choose to work on. And that's interesting. For me, I kind of know what I'm working on now. Like, I made those decisions. And, you know, I'm contracting a significant chunk of my week with sky verge, working the majority of the rest of that with post status, and then I have this one thing, and this is where I really had to make my biggest decision, which is on the like, crypto side of things where I had huge community following and stuff. I had to say, I'm going to establish scope on what's achievable within that project, and really limit myself self to, to what I know I can do well and efficiently. So for that, it really meant narrowing it all the way down to just like a podcast. So I do a podcast in that space. And now I know like, I'm not going to spend more than, you know, x hours in the week on that because I've established scope for that project. And then it's deciding, okay, well, where, where's the differentiator between, you know, being productive with my time and relying on teammates, like in our scenario, that was one of the big things selling half a post at us. It's not just Oh, great. There's a little bit of money now that I get to bring in which I'm obviously thankful for. But it's also to say, Okay, if I treat this as part-time and you treat this as part-time, we have two part-time contractors, will you put all four of us together we're combining multiple people's skills, and the end result is better than me as a full time or upon myself could have ever done in the first place. So I feel like That's a really effective use of part-time efforts and allows me to juggle multiple things and in my opinion, put out a better product on the thing that I was trying to do alone. So that was a big part of it for me is defining the scope and identifying how can I make something better while spending less time on it?

Cory Miller 10:22
Yeah, I think what has been for me is prioritization of like, I can't, I can't goof off. I've been here in my little office from, you know, 830 to five roughly and it's straight through and it's good. It's engaging senior wanted to level off at some point. But there is a focusing power, like I've got to be very good about prioritizing what my time is, particularly with juggling some projects like you do. I'm thankful that our partnership we're in the same time zone and roughly on the same hours, work hours. So that's really good. My partner, Rebecca Gill, another project. She's in Eastern Time Zone. I always have to kind of convert a little bit on that. So,

Brian Krogsgard 11:04
and then really hard for our friends who have partners or whatnot that are six hours or 10 hours apart, that the offset that you create in your communication cycle forces your projects to go slower.

Cory Miller 11:16
We were very deliberate about when we took on our Portugal team and iThemes and because they were six hours ahead of us, and knowing there's going to be a lag and man that just slows things down when you're trying to ship product. So it's, it's, you know, I'm definitely thankful we're in the same time zone and even Rebecca and I are just an hour apart, but still, it's like she's already started her day, you know, I might get an email at 630 in the morning, and I'm just kind of getting around and it's like, oh, man, her days getting going now.

Brian Krogsgard 11:47
Yeah, she's full force. I'm ready.

Cory Miller 11:48
Yeah. So but again, I think it is the constraint is the prioritization. Like today I just thought, Okay, well, you know, one thing I've done is have specific For the first time, probably in my career in about 12 years, I am blocking time out of my, my calendar for recurring meetings to that never done before, but I have to do it and I have to get better at time prioritization to and so even getting the newsletter out today, for instance, I was like, Okay, I got to think about this better because I need to block it out a time, reverse engineer, whatever, we're going to get the newsletter out, and then block out time when you guys aren't waiting on me for something. So we make sure you get out a good product.

Brian Krogsgard 12:31
Yeah. Discipline it. Yeah, it certainly is. And the first person that I saw doing this really effectively They showed me their calendar, they talked to me about how they balance was actually cited baki and, you know, a lot of our listeners will know through awesome motive. He's got his hands in five different products at any given time, and incredible amounts of other businesses as well like he does it to an extremely He's a robot. He's a yes. But he is a time blocking master like I, he showed me his calendar and it's colour-coordinated, it's day by day. And it's broken into, you know, a two hour or four-hour block, 30-minute block. And he's got every day of every week assigned to a thing. And it's like, here's a half-day that goes towards working with Jared on WP forums or a half-day working towards OptinMonster. You know, it may change depending on week by week but he knows before he starts this week, essentially where he's spending the every like work hour of that week, he's designed his workouts and he's designed his, you know, it's like, if there's family time or travel during the normal workweek like it's built-in there too. And I was inspired by that I could not mimic it like I tried it for a little bit and it was too structured for my discipline like his discipline level is just beyond mine. Yeah. But it did give me a framework for saying, Okay, well I have my focus, like Mondays we have a lot of meetings with sky verge. And that's like, basically a sky verge only day aside, aside from, if something that really needs urgency from post status comes along. And then it just allows me to structure my days and say, This is my big thing today. It's my big thing this other day, this is where I want the majority of my time in my hour spent and I've actually started tracking my hours. And I've been evolving that I've always hated time tracking any job where they like, you know, focused on that. I was always like, Look, I don't want to this, you know, like, negotiated my way out of it. And now, I'm embracing it, but it's more for my personal accountability than anything else because I want to know, like, Okay, well, it was I actually spending these hours of these days. On the things that I planned, of course, it helps me like for, you know, for a contract job that helps if you're paid hourly. But even for something like what we're doing, I had a partnership line item on my time tracker. And I was tracking generally, like, if we got sidetracked, you know, or like, we had a meeting, I would track it. And then if we had, you know, something, especially where it was in a zone that was supposed to be geared towards something else, I wanted to know, like, how far off of my routine Am I getting? And it's this intro week, accountability process. So you kind of have an idea of like, oh, man, I've spent more hours over here and I need to be over there. And it's been really good accountability for me to better audit my time so that I can then more effectively move forward and be knowledgeable about the way I'm approaching it. And I'm not succeeding, like if I say, Okay, well, I want to spend 25 hours over here. 15 over here and two over there like it doesn't always work that way. But it allows me to have a target and audit my effectiveness against that target and you really learn a lot when you start doing that.

Cory Miller 16:15
Yeah, I go back to the side comment and I'm joking when I say robot kit but his worth it work ethic i is unparalleled and never seen anything like it maybe my dad who's now should be retired for the second time and working 60 hours a week-long gas industry but said is a maniac. But he's also I think it the thought about that was like it's how we're all kind of wired, like, I've had so many people over the years they know I juggle things, spin plates and go Why would you do that? Like tell them wired I mean, and I used to go Why do you only have one project that sounds boring. And so we had this telephone realize to each his own like wired in different ways and have a lot to do that, having said that, you said the word discipline, it's some it's a word I've been trying to kind of reintroduce into my life. Consistency is another big word. So I've gotten more organized and, and want to line things up where I'm not dropping balls for sure. And I'm mixing metaphors here. But, you know, I play doesn't drop. But they're all important to me. They're engaging and I think that makes me me, you know, if we were all carbon copy of each other, it'd be a bland world and, and all that. So I think to each his own for sure. But I think you're talking about something we're talking about something that a lot of people go through, they want to strike out on the entrepreneurial adventure, and but they're balancing a day job and then I can potentially family. I have a couple of business friends here in Oklahoma City that their entrepreneur story started with. I started my business when my child was six months old. Like, I can't imagine that you know, I kind of say, I think it was in kindergarten when we had our first kids had our kids so like, it was to the point where that one that little baby had kind of graduated and was under adult supervision. And then I could kind of turn my time. Now on this season to toe, it's just very drastically different. And so, man, I just admire the stories of people that juggle so much, particularly with family while starting this crazy job. This crazy gig we have come entrepreneurship. I, you know, if entrepreneurship was easy, by the way, everybody would do it. Because think about the freedom, the lifestyle you're having to live as an entrepreneur, but it comes with a heavy cost. Just talking to a dear friend of mine that I've known for a long time entrepreneur and comparing stories and him saying he's had a rough couple of years and going in my part was to say to encourage to go I'm going to be in your seat at some point. Mukherjee that like this thing, this thing we do called entrepreneurship is just not meant for everybody. And it's just a tough thing, but it's really thrilling for me to come would say, join you in something that's already started, by the way. So that makes this project. They're all exciting to me. But this is different in that I can help take something really, really good and make it even better. Where starting new projects. Oh, that's that's a ton of work, man.

There's a different kind of grind. And they're like, what did two years of post as before the club, you know? Yeah, well, that grind of getting the thing off the ground like business takes time.

Brian Krogsgard 19:45
One of the things that I think plays into this idea of structure and being able to juggle different things, a lot of it does come down to personality. And for me, you know, I've always achieved a lot So it's not it's there's a difference to me between what I'm about to describe and like if it's laziness or something for me, it's not laziness. I have no threat of saying, Oh, I work from home or I don't have a, you know, nine to five job. So I'm going to sit on the couch at my house. That's never my personality. But I do procrastinate in my own way, and wait, but why.com is a great website that it's called, has a long series from 2013 called how procrastinators procrastinate, and it's like the brain of a procrastinator. And what he really breaks it down to is this intimidation of long tasks that makes a procrastinator put that off, and how you can kind of beat that and how to beat procrastination or the way he describes it is he says effective planning turns a daunting item, say like writing a book or launching a website or something big and turning it into a series of small clear, manageable tasks. When you do that, you're making something that sounds big he calls he says a remarkable glorious achievement is just what a long series of unremarkable and glorious tasks looks like from far away. So if you break things down, if you have this type of mentality where you can see the short, short term finish line, and turn it into a to-do list or you know a task, then that's no big deal. It's like, okay, boom, knock out that test, boom, knocked down that task. And then all of a sudden, you've done lots of things that add up to be this really big, more glorious thing of accomplishing your goal. And I've found that I have got to structure my day to day that way. And I've really embraced note-taking but it's kind of a hybrid between notetaking and to-do list stuff, where I take notes of like, okay, what's my, what's my main jam, like what I have to capture today? Sometimes it's an idea and some times it's deliverable, and then turning it into these to-do lists that I accomplish inside that week. And then you add that in weekend and week out and hitting those to-do items. That's when the real changes and effects start to take place for me.

Cory Miller 22:14
Yeah, well, no, I completed my master's degree. When I was in my late 20s. I went back to school, and the staff there at that college in the adult program said, How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. And, you know, I've used that a lot with teams, helping coach teams that I've led, and others is this big task that you have breaking it up into small parts. And then I think there's something to be said of, I think it's James clear. The author, prolific blogger that talks about, you know, consistency, like if you're going to write a best selling book, it's, you know, break it down if it's 50,000 words is 500 words a day. For X amount of months kind of thing. Now, I don't know what to believe I have that discipline in me to show up every day and just write 500 words a day. And but I believe that if you do that you will show up, you know, an X amount of months with something. And this is the harder pill for me to swallow sometimes, just again, how I'm wired. I'm not trying to make excuses, but just saying it's, it's not an easy task. Some people make it look easy, but the reality is, you're probably wired in a different way.

Brian Krogsgard 23:30
One of the things I learned from Pagely was that the price of hosting or the expensive hosting is really a relative thing. What Pagely might be able to do for $1,000 might end up costing three to 5000. At hosts that don't do these large setups all the time. I called our chatted rather with the CEO of Pagely, Joshua Strebel, several years ago and said, Hey, we're comparing options between Pagely and some of the other options in the market for really high scale websites. And what I realized was that on an apples-to-apples comparison, I was getting more with Pagely for less money. Now granted, we're talking about hosting for $1,000 a month, but so it's expensive for a website. But when a website was being quoted from other providers for $3,000 Plus, I was really getting excellent service from Pagely, for the price. If you have websites where you really rely on your website provider, being reliable, have excellent human support. I can't remember the last time it took longer than I don't know an hour for like a real answer to a support question, not an auto-answer, but someone that was, you know, taking a technical look at my issue. And getting back to me for about some question. I have almost always a question of my own fault. Not to do with my actual hosting plan, but where I just needed help. Pagely has plans for everybody. Whether it's that thousand dollar type of VPS or $200 for five sites, that's what their small VPS instance sets up for you. It's all built on AWS, they've really fine-tuned it really, really well over the years. It's an excellent service go to Pagely.com to try Pagely today, let a little post that essentially. And they've been a longtime partner, good friends of the show, and Post Status, and I can't recommend them enough. I trust my own websites to Pagely, go to Pagely.com. Thanks to Pagely for being a Post Status partner.

One of the things you had me do when we were just trying to figure out would we make good partners was an assessment through Colby, calm kayo LP calm, and that was stuck with me. You had me do a couple of them which I thought was fun across the board. And just the fact that you wanted me to do that told me a lot about the type of partner you could be you know, like the way your mind works first. is mine. The Colby one I thought was interesting because it gave me an understanding of how I work. You have an understanding of how you work based on your assessment profile. And then it tells you Okay, well because you have this and you have this, you YouTube may have conflict in this way. Or you may have a really nice jelling in this way, and why you talk about how that kind of fits into this. So if I'm talking about my, I need these, you know, big pictures fine. But then if you just say, take the big picture, go write a book, I'm in trouble. But if you say take the big picture and go write some like thousand-word articles on like, okay, I can accomplish this. So, take this assessment, how you blend that and turn it into an effective partnership.

Cory Miller 26:46
So my belief is whether it's a team or a partner is to leverage your their unique strengths and experiences that I probably don't have or if we overlap, there's unique this in there and so it's Specifically with our partnership, and we did these discovery tools, and I think was two years strengthsfinder from Gallup was the one, we can put these in the show notes. It gives you your top five strengths. And then so let me unpack that. So Strengths Finder is one that I had to do because I kind of wanted to see verify probably what I already thought about what your unique strengths were and what you believe that they are. And real quickly with that, I can go there's overlap, but there are differences. And that's why I like one of yours, I think is analytical. And that shines brightly, everything post at us. Like I told you years ago, what I always found value was your insight and analysis of everything that was breaking. Like I wanted. I might not agree with you every single time but I was like, No, I want a different perspective. And that's something I knew ahead of time, but it helped me just kind of really identify that. So the street corner does that with teams with partnerships, whatever. And by the way, that joke was I thought you're gonna say this But when my wife and I first met I had to do these two and she was like what the heck you're you have to take a test today you to see if I'm, you know, married. Now she's a big fan. But Colby is really interesting because it's how you instinctively take action. And we started with Strengths Finder and then we evolved into Colby because I wanted to see how you instinctively took action. So this four modes factfinder, which is, you know, a high fat fighter which you happen to be is very I mean, it lends to everything you've done, which is analytical research, I mean, dive deep into an area of a middle road factor under which is I want the essential truth. And the three other areas are quickstart. Most entrepreneurs, many entrepreneurs, I should say are quickstarts Hi, quickstarts. I'm a high quickstart The other one is the blue one, which is follow through and it's not like you can't ever fall through but it's step by step. mode of action. If you have a problem, I'm going to figure out step one, step two, step three, step four, the yellow is implementation. People behind that are the ones like mad Danner who are amazing with their hands and like woodworking and different things or whatever, like very high implementers, are. And then we also want to focus found from you is that we had, we had compatible things where I knew we could work really well together, but I knew there was also willing sounds like you're a medium quickstart which you and I could ideate all day and not get anything done. So that was the thing we talked about, you already recognized it. factfinder is great because we're kind of in that mode, where we're not in what Colby calls conflict, but we're low in the blue, which is step-by-step plan. We're kind of find the shortcuts, bandaid it together, put it together and do that. So we talked about that actively. You already recognize that but I helped us talk through, okay, our similarities can also be our weaknesses. We need someone to kind of help us. And I know David and Dan really help us with some of those things that we might go, man, let us we'll do it at the last minute.

Brian Krogsgard 30:10
And just being cognizant of that, as we go about our day to day in partnership, you know, it allows me to say, Okay, I need to think I need to be sure and know, like, here's our plan, we came up with our plan, we've got these ideas and the follow-through component or the, you know, the take it to execution side of things. It's like, I have to make sure that we both understand what to do, where to go and bring people along to help us accomplish that. And so far, I think that's been effective. And sometimes that's tooling you know like it's one thing if we have our all our conversations and slack and we have these pages of notes, in our note keeping apps and we, you know, collect our thoughts, but then it's another to say, Okay, well, let's put it on a schedule and let's set a date for When we're going to launch this thing, and let's have our plan of action for, you know, who's responsible for what, and put deadlines on that across the way. And to me that tooling side of things, which could be as simple as base camp or whatever, is my way of introducing accountability to an area where we both identified kind of on the same side of the spectrum, which is, in that in that particular instance, it's kind of the kind where it's like, ours has its own benefits, like the way we sit. But you really need that person that's like, the big long spreadsheet, project manager, very type a type of person to help rein us in, when we could end up down a whole bunch of different rabbit holes. You know, Id aiding the next two years of what post status is going to be and it's like, well, someone's got to do what we're going to do in the next two weeks or the next two months and yeah, so that gives us that accountability there.

Cory Miller 31:57
Well, we're supposed to record this podcast six hours. ago, I think. And we had, you know, part of that was we had thought we still were so new in our partnership and trying to get some things done at post that is that we need to have the time. But we had deliberately two weeks ago, set this date to record and then now we're six hours later recording it. But I know we'll get to those types of things. But it's that, you know, we could wear that. I think you and I are kind of wired to be the squirrel. You know, movie idea. Okay, let's face it. We've talked about that. And we both have, I think helped each other rein it in on that, like, hold on. This is first that second, this third, right? Yep, yep. Yep. Let's go back to that because it's really fun to dream. It's really fun to ideate and think about cool stuff, especially as quickstarts and the Colby kind of mantra. So, but there needs to be somebody that also says, Okay, let's stop dreaming now. Let's go do

Brian Krogsgard 32:58
Yeah, and I think been proud of how we've so far been able to do that. And we realize it's important. And I think maybe one of the things that has allowed us to do it is, when we first started the partnership, we, and you really helped me outline this. And it's like, what are our goals? For the business for the partnership, where we want to be a year, two years and three years? And therefore we say, Okay, if this thing is effective in January next January, what have we accomplished? And we said, okay, we want you know, certain things, it's a number of subscribers or it's a number of page views or a number of members or a degree of like member satisfaction, like things that you want to strike and then it's how do you plan to accomplish that and keep that as your goal, how many dollars you need to make a day if your dollar goal for the year is this? And that was really helpful for me to put all that in context.

Cory Miller 34:00
So one other thing I did, I think I told you this either as I've had a coach for a year and a half now a personal coach. Fantastic. name is Kelly. We came into this and she was like, Okay, got five projects, what do you need for me? And I was like, here's what I think I need me to go weekly. And what I don't want to do, my virtual assistant helps me take certain tasks that I need to just create my time, you know, to do other things. My coach is okay, here's the deal. I'm highly invested in my time, my money, my energy and all these projects, and they've got to make progress. I've got to move the needle. That is the most impactful things. So what we do now is each week we do a 30-minute laser call. And I talked to the big issues, I think through the projects, and I go, can we post those this week? We need this. And what and she helps me get clarity on that before by the way. I have my partner calls like with you. We knew our calls on Friday to do my call with Rebecca on Wednesday. My partner Jeff on Monday. So I'm like, man, there's too much stuff going on, I've got to have that kind of clarity. And she's helped me rehearse and get ready for because like, for instance, I try hard not to ping you. Because I know there's a bucket of time, there's a bucket of energy that probably is owned mostly by Erica and your two kiddos. And I want to be really careful what I withdraw from that. So. So she's helped me go in, I looked over the last 30 days. So every week is a 30-minute call to kind of get ready and make sure I'm on task for all the projects. The last meeting, which I just had this week, is a one hour kind of look back over the last 30 days, and then they look forward to next Thursday. So make sure I'm keeping progress with all the critical projects going on. And that's just another level of optimizing for. There's a lot on the line for me. There's a lot of love for you and my other partners and so I want to make sure we're focused and making the most progress, we can For all of these so that we can say, high five and go, this is this, these were the best times. What resonated with me for you, Brian is you said for years, you know, Kevin did it by yourself, I Exodus ran into your burnout that post like it was the first sentence burned out. And I was like me and I can resonate with that. And one of the compelling things that he said to me as I said, I don't want to do this alone. Again, I could, I could sell this, I could do this and just leave. But I just really don't want to do it alone. And that I told you then resonates with a lot of social entrepreneurs. It's tough doing it by yourself. I had aside amazing psychic command, enter and I think to help me not do it alone. And then a group of us were friends, WordPress, none of WordPress helped me over the years. But man, that's something that you can mention too, is how a partner or a team or somebody that can come alongside you is so powerful.

Brian Krogsgard 36:55
Yeah, there's two things there applies to both of these. I guess. A lot of people, you know, they dream when they're in a normal nine to five job. They're like, Okay, well, I have so much more upside potential or so much more opportunity for freedom and all these things if I go out on my, on my own, and work on this thing and turn my hobby into my business or turn my side gig into a full-time gig, and I think it takes several years potentially, of doing that before you oftentimes for and maybe it's for certain personality types that then they say, Okay, this has some real benefits, but there are some real drawdowns to that I need to consider and for me, okay, I love the freedom. I love the upside potential. But at the same time, I liked working with people and I liked bouncing things off teammates, and that was an important thing for me to figure out how can I recapture and I think a lot of people that might be listening to this talking about juggling multiple things, working with a partner, maybe they've all kind of landed on that. So now, there's this kind of fundamental balance there, where when you're juggling multiple things, none of them is necessarily such a security blanket or a safety that is the same as a full-time job. So this balance is how do you spend time in the places where you can make money, yet none of them are probably sufficient relative to what you could make it a full-time job. Like, say, if you were making $100,000 and a full-time job while your main side hustle, it, maybe it's making $50,000 and your other side hustles making, you know, another $50,000? Well, you're making $100,000 total, but it requires this balance between the two of them. In our situation, you have partners so like my needs from the business, do they align well with your needs from the business from a revenue standpoint, there's so much balance and inertia. So you have to balance like, okay, I want to work with people. I want to have this freedom. But there's all this balance. that's required there and I would be curious if you have any kind of final tips to find the sweet spot while you're doing that.

Cory Miller 39:09
Yeah, so you know for years I said it's a sidekick it's it's the Matt Danner, it's someone that just is doesn't have as has compatible strings to you. And but you're not strong in the same area where you can kind of divide and conquer. And so I've honestly thought about it as a work spouse, you know, to Bandy that. That phrase around a little bit, but I mean, there's an element to that work spouse, like having someone you can confide in. And I bet you there are entrepreneurs and founders solopreneurs listening to this today. That is like, in the spot you were and by the way, when I struck out, it's been a year ago this week, I'm back on my own. I didn't want to do it alone. I wanted to do with other people, and I found some great people. One of them being you and Do it together and collaborate. So, but I think, you know, somebody goes, why don't we give away equity I get that then finally struggle psychic, a workout spouse that feels ownership that you could give some rewards if they need it. But find that person that is the end to your Yang. We missed that. And then secondarily, I'll tell you, I know the work psychic work spouse type thing is hard. And the partnership conversation is hard. But I'll tell you and this is something you're not been talking about. Small groups of like-minded people on the same path with the same values have been life-saving and changing for me. So I've been in one group for nine years now. 10 years almost. I've helped start to more. We're talking about trying to get that kind of group. people in the room to rub elbows that get it they understand the story. So I always get the joke. Most of us don't know. Your parents don't know what they we do. Living Dead still thinks I just upgrade the computer somehow. But you know, having a group of people that just get you, know you, not talk you've got some dear friends you lean on, you meet with weekly even as the same can be those kinds of compatriots that like, you can let your guard down and, and share like today sucks. And I've tried to be that for people and also clean to those that are like vulnerable and genuine and authentic and are willing to let the guard down the shields down, take the mask off all that kind of stuff and go Hey, not everything is rosy. So, you know the two things is one is finding someone in the business that can work with it, that just gets it. That's a hard one I know. Second is to find a group of people that are on the same path as you then share life and go deep and it doesn't always have to be personal or a business. It can be personal, some of the most endearing moments I've had with my friends. That I count as brothers and sisters. I mean, like they are family to me. If something were to happen to me, they'd be the first people at my house scene if Lindsay and the kids were okay. But finding that group of people and you and I've been talking about this, how do we do that through post tennis community to pull in our amazing community of founders, entrepreneurs, and give that type of like, being in the room together and sharing that stuff that it's the high fives, and it's the hugs that you need when things are just bad. So that'd be my two takeaways.

Brian Krogsgard 42:35
How about yourself? That's really good on and I think that's, I'll leave it there from a partner perspective. I'll jump back to the juggling things and just get my final. My final comparison maybe so I'm thinking, Okay, well for you know, somebody that's somewhat technical or works in the web industry at minimum. All right. So if I gave you the challenge to say, hey, this website's slow, we need to speed it up. Well, if the first thing you would want to know is, where is it slow? Why's that slow and cut audit that process. And I think that that was the biggest thing that I had to come to the terms with, which was if I'm going to juggle multiple things I need to know, where's my time going? I don't know how many times I had these weeks where the week goes by much less the day and it's like, okay, I had stuff I wanted to accomplish. I know I didn't accomplish everything on my list. But when I look back, I felt busy. But the results weren't there. What happened? And that is dangerous. Because you're not auditing. You're not knowing where your energy actually went. So that you can iterate and improve. It doesn't mean you have to be perfect. It doesn't mean you have to have like every hour tracked. But I think if you're going to make your website faster and more efficient, the first thing to do is to identify what are the processes that are slowing it down right now what is like what are the pivot points The what are the bottlenecks? Where's my time being consumed? And where, when I look at that, if I say I'm spending 10 hours a week on phone calls, or if I'm spending 10 hours a week, you know, in support, okay, what's the value of the time that I'm spending there? And the best thing to do in juggling those multiple things is to try to find the difference makers in that time and spend more time on the difference makers and find out how to bring someone else in a contract or the or offload it to your partner if they're really good at it, and getting them to do those things. You've told me I don't even know how many times since, you know, we started talking about talks about you know, managing support, which is pretty light with post status, but you were like, I don't want you in support, like get out of there. And I'm like, okay, that's okay, that makes sense. But we still need to take care of support, but it starts by identifying how much time am I spending in that type of communication and Therefore, how can I effectively bring someone else on to take that task or put it in a certain bucket like I'm going to do support every Monday and every Thursday or something like that. And that way, it's not kind of floating along with me the whole time. And that's what I found most effective in terms of auditing, and improving my personal processes to be able to juggle multiple things, which is an ongoing battle and ongoing struggle, but one that I've certainly seen progress on, especially since I started self-auditing where I was spending my time

Cory Miller 45:38
Yeah, that's really good. In my calendar if it's on my calendar, so I can get done. I don't do the time blocking like said this, but for mostly, but man I live by that calendar and I've had to start trying to bracket time for certain things. But I think the audit is so good. Always be optimizing. You know, because again, We, you know, in this project have very limited time and energy. And so we put our best into it, but I want to prioritize that time and then optimize for bugs like, Okay, are we spend too much time here too. We, you know, and I think that kind of review helps us make good decisions to and going, Okay, this is the new here. This is the morning side, like the dashboard says, overheat or something, you know, we can go in and go Okay, well, how do we collaboratively figure this out?

Brian Krogsgard 46:31
Yeah. Well, let's optimize this podcast a bit and leave it there. Thanks, everybody, for joining us. Thanks, Corey, for chatting with me. This was obviously relevant for us and these are always self-reflective, we'll be able to think back on what we said here and how we can do better from here. I hope that it helps you as well. I hope everybody has a great week and we go to post that comm slash club and sign up if you haven't already. Corey and I spent the majority of our time figuring out how to make the club better and more appealing to people that are already members and would consider being members. So if you're not opposed to as club member, you're going to miss out. So go to PostStatus.com/Club and sign up and we'll talk to you soon. Bye-bye.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

by Brian Krogsgard at February 04, 2020 01:13 AM under Planet

February 03, 2020

WPTavern: Ahmad Awais Launches Script to Automatically Deploy WordPress Plugin Updates

Today, Ahmad Awais launched WP Continuous Deployment, a continuous deployment pipeline for updating plugins hosted on WordPress.org via GitHub actions. It is a Node.js-based CLI script that simplifies the process of keeping plugins updated. Developers only need to type out a single line in their terminal or command prompt. Other than setting up a couple of secret keys on GitHub, the script handles everything in just a few moments.

“We live in the age of agile workflows,” wrote Awais in the project announcement. “Developers only want to git commit && git push and expect their products to be deployed globally…It’s been a minute since I worked on a WordPress project, but for the last year or so, I’ve been fantasizing about a git-based plugin deployments workflow that will allow me to get away from those old SVN repositories finally.”

On November 14, GitHub announced it was rolling out GitHub Actions. Actions are a way for developers to automate workflows from their Git repositories. Developers can share, fork, and reuse them across projects. A few days later, 10up launched two GitHub actions for WordPress plugin developers. These Actions are the basis for WP Continuous Deployment.

10up’s WordPress Plugin Deploy Action handles deploying plugin updates directly to the WordPress plugin directory. The WordPress.org Plugin Readme/Assets Update Action handles committing changes to a plugin’s readme or assets. The WP Continuous Deployment script automatically adds both and sets up appropriate GitHub workflow files for each.

“What I hope to accomplish with WP Continuous Deployment is make it easy for any developer to use the GitHub Actions built by 10up and others and help migrate to this new workflow with a pinch of automation,” said Awais. “Without WP Continuous Deployment, migrating to GitHub Actions for deploying WordPress plugins is a task that requires knowledge of how GitHub Actions work, what files you have to create, what secrets are, and where to put them. We lose a great number of developers that are unable to figure out this step — due to a bulky and dry operational experience.”

The workflow for many WordPress developers today runs directly through Git, primarily with repositories hosted on GitHub. Often, developers expect any committed code to automatically deploy to the places it should go, such as production websites.

The WordPress plugin directory system, which relies on SVN instead of Git, can sometimes be a bottleneck in team workflows. Some teams even have developers who have never used SVN in their careers. It makes sense for teams to use a single system. Doing so leads to fewer bugs and requires fewer resources to train people on a dying version control system.

“We’re not doing anyone a favor by keeping SVN around,” said Awais. “Projects are hiring hundreds of open source developers to make it easy for the developers’ community to interact with their projects. Whereas WordPress — that once held that edge — has started to lag behind by making it hard and impractical to get started with WordPress development. Go pick 100 random students for universities all over the world and ask them to start an open-source project. You’ll be amazed by the majority of them choosing to start with Git and MIT license. And, here in the WordPress community, we ask people to use SVN. That’s impractical and inaccessible for a majority of developers today.”

Awais said that GitHub Actions have allowed his team to shed a lot of dead weight. He originally did not make his GitHub Actions open source because they were specific to his use cases. After trimming the code down, he realized they were not any different from the Actions that 10up had already released.

“I see dealing with SVN as a DevOps task,” he said. “Something web developers should not be concerned with in 2020. Web developers want to build websites. They want to use Git to do that. With JAMstack, everyone has become accustomed to the idea of pushing a git commit and getting the new build/release. That’s why I built WP Continuous Deployment.”

Set up in 1, 2…

Running the setup process for WP Continuous Deployment

When I originally tested 10up’s GitHub Actions last year, there was a small learning curve. I had to figure out what those new workflow files were for and whether I needed to change things. It was not an overly complicated process, but there was a moment of confusion or two.

What Awais’ script does is take those two GitHub Actions one step further and automate nearly all of the setup.

Developers must have Node.js installed on their computer to run the script, which is fairly common today. With a single command of npx wp-continuous-deployment, the script is installed. It then prompts you to enter your WordPress.org plugin slug to set everything up. Once done, you merely need to create a couple of secret keys on your GitHub repository.

Awais wanted to automate the entire process. However, GitHub does not yet have an API for creating secret keys. Until that happens, it is the only manual step required.

Within two minutes of choosing which repository I wanted to test the script on, I had everything in place and ready to go. Now, I just need to find some time to actually write code for some of my numerous plugins so I can truly put this script to the test. Thus far, things are looking good.

It may finally be possible for me to purge everything related to SVN from my life. That would be a welcome change. #lifegoals

by Justin Tadlock at February 03, 2020 09:23 PM under News

WordPress.org blog: The Month in WordPress: January 2020

Following an action-packed December, 2020 is off to a fine start with some new releases and announcements. Read on to find out what happened in the WordPress project in January.


Release of Gutenberg 7.2 & 7.3

Gutenberg 7.2, the first Gutenberg release of 2020, was deployed on January 8th and included over 180 pull requests from more than 56 contributors. This was followed soon after by Gutenberg 7.3. New features include a new Buttons block, support in adding links to Media & Text block images, improvements to the Navigation and Gallery blocks, performance improvements, and accessibility enhancements. These releases also included many additional enhancements, fixes, new APIs, documentation, and more.

Want to get involved in building Gutenberg? Follow the Core team blog, contribute to Gutenberg on GitHub, and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Proposal for an XML Sitemaps Feature Plugin

In June last year, a team of contributors proposed a feature plugin that would bring standardized XML sitemaps to WordPress Core. Since then, the team has been working to bring this to reality and have now published a working plugin to demonstrate this new capability.

The plugin is still in development, but the included features already provide much-needed functionality from which all WordPress sites can benefit. You can install the plugin from your WordPress dashboard or download it here.

Want to get involved in bringing this feature to Core? Follow the Core team blog, report any issues you find on GitHub, and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

A New Block-Based Themes Meeting

The Theme Review Team has announced that they will be holding bi-weekly meetings in the #themereview channel focused on discussing block-based themes. If you are interested in discussing themes within the context of Gutenberg’s full-site editing framework, this will be the place to do so! The first meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 5, at 16:00 UTC.

Want to get involved with the Theme Review Team or become a reviewer? Follow their blog, and join the #themereview channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.


Further Reading

  • The Core team has started work on WordPress 5.4 and kicked off their planning with a summary post. You can follow all the v5.4 updates by watching the version tag on the Core team blog.
  • The inaugural WordCamp Asia event is taking place in February. This will be the largest WordPress event in the region, bringing together around 1,500 WordPress enthusiasts from around the world.
  • Two WordPress community leaders, @chanthaboune and @andreamiddleton, were nominated for CMX awards due to their work on the WordPress project, with @andreamiddleton winning the award for Executive Leader of a Community Team.
  • A feature plugin has been proposed that introduces lazy-loading images to WordPress Core, which will be a huge step forward in improving performance all across the web.
  • The Core team has put together an extensive and informative FAQ to help new contributors get involved in contributing to the project.
  • One key priority for Gutenberg is the ability to control the block editor. There are already a number of APIs that control the experience, but there is a lack of consistency and missing APIs. A method to address this has been proposed.
  • The Design team published detailed information on the recent design improvements in Gutenberg.

Have a story that we should include in the next “Month in WordPress” post? Please submit it here.

by Angela Jin at February 03, 2020 09:54 AM under Month in WordPress

January 31, 2020

WPTavern: Join the Future of WordPress Themes Conversation: Theme Review Team to Hold Biweekly Discussions

In collaboration with the core design and editor teams, the WordPress theme review team will begin hosting biweekly (fortnightly) meetings on the future of themes. The meetings will be held every other Wednesday on the #themereview WordPress Slack channel at 16:00 UTC. The first meeting is on February 5.

Phase 2 of the Gutenberg project is about tackling site customization. This covers everything from turning sidebars into block containers to redefining how themes will work in a block-based system in the coming years. The latter is a huge unanswered question. There are several ideas on how themes should be handled.

Kjell Reigstad, a design director for Automattic, proposed the meeting as a step toward answering the future-of-themes question. “The main thing I’d like to accomplish is to build up regular cross-team communication around the theme plus full-site editing work,” he said. “There are so many potential changes on the horizon, and we really need perspective from both the Gutenberg folks and theme authors. I know it’s difficult to keep up with all the development happening, and I thought this dedicated meeting would be a great place to stay up to date and share ideas on a regular basis.”

Currently, the agenda for the first meeting is still open but should be posted next week. Anyone who wants to participate or make sure an idea sees discussion, should let the team know in the announcement post’s comments.

“I’d initially like to try and get everyone on the same page in terms of what’s happening already on the Gutenberg front,” said Reigstad. “So for instance, the experimental block-based themes implementation and the global styles work. We’ll likely go over those a little bit, share links and updates, and then pivot into some discussion questions.”

Bringing in the theme review team is imperative for a smooth transition into whatever themes eventually become. “There’s already a lot of full-site editing work going on, and there are already experimental reference documents for block-based themes,” said Reigstad earlier this week in the team’s regular meeting. “It’s important for the TRT and the theme community to keep up to date on this work, and to develop a clear communication loop with the Gutenberg teams.”

There is some concern that the concept of full, block-based themes will simply be railroaded into core WordPress, regardless of feedback. Not all members of the theme review team or theme authors are supportive of the idea.

Theme reviewer Joy Reynolds pointed out in the announcement’s comments that using the phrase “block-based themes” in the meeting title shows bias in favor of themes made of blocks. “Why is the current Full Site Editing code outside the scope of the Customizer?” she asked. “What is the goal? Is it even something that makes sense for themes? Don’t we need a merge proposal? Or even a consensus on design before forcing these changes into core and having meetings about using experimental code as if it’s the only choice?”

These are questions that will certainly come up in the meeting.

Block-based themes already feel like a foregone conclusion. The initial code is currently in the Gutenberg plugin, albeit as an experimental feature. There is already documentation for building such themes. There is a core theme experiments repository Everything seems to be moving full-steam ahead in that direction.

Whatever direction themes end up going, the meeting will at least offer an opportunity for the community to add their input. For success, the editor, design, and theme review team members will need to find some common ground to begin their discussions.

by Justin Tadlock at January 31, 2020 08:49 PM under News

January 30, 2020

WPTavern: Native Lazy Loading Support Coming to WordPress

It seems to be the week for dropping news of WordPress feature plugins. Felix Arntz, WordPress core committer and developer programs engineer at Google, announced a plan to push a lazy loading feature to the platform. If testing goes well, this feature could land in WordPress 5.4 in March.

The concept of lazy loading allows a webpage to render without loading certain resources until they are needed. This leads to faster page loads and saves data on the visitor’s end. Lazy loading is particularly useful when rendering images on the web.

The opposite of lazy loading is called eager loading, which loads everything in bulk. By default, this is how all images are loaded on the web. This often leads to poor performance on image-heavy webpages where many of the images are not in the site visitor’s viewport when first viewing the page.

For many years, various JavaScript libraries have handled this feature but not always to success. A native solution is slowly making its way into browsers. Native lazy loading works by adding a loading attribute to an <img> or <iframe> element. Browsers can then decide how to load a resource based on the value of the attribute. Currently, Chrome, Edge, and Opera all handle the loading attribute. Once the attribute officially makes it into the HTML specification, the feature should be a standard that all browsers support.

Adopting the new loading attribute is a great chance for WordPress to lead the way for a faster web overall.

Felix Arntz

The new Lazy Loading feature plugin is now available in the WordPress plugin directory. The plugin relies only on native browser support and does not add extra JavaScript. The implementation adds a loading attribute to images in post content, excerpts, comments, text widgets, avatars, and instances of using core WordPress image functions. By default, the plugin sets all images to load lazily rather than eagerly.

It is refreshing to see the continued work by core contributors on more robust image solutions. Along with WordPress 5.3’s large image size handling, both features will lead to a generally faster web. With more users loading high-quality images via mobile phones over the past few years, it has only exacerbated the problem of a slow web. That is why it imperative that WordPress continually push for image optimization.

“With WordPress enabling native lazy-loading by default, it would significantly impact performance and user experience for millions of sites, without requiring any technical knowledge or even awareness of lazy-loading as a concept,” wrote Arntz in the announcement post. “Adopting the new loading attribute is a great chance for WordPress to lead the way for a faster web overall.”

Arntz and a team of engineers originally released a native lazy loading plugin in September 2019. This was shortly after Google brought the “loading” attribute feature to version 76 of its Chrome browser. The Native Lazyload plugin currently has over 7,000 installations.

How This Affects Existing Plugins

Because not all web browsers support the loading attribute, users may not want to automatically drop their current plugins when the feature lands in WordPress. Users may choose to support browsers without native lazy loading for a while

The proposed code within the Lazy Loading plugin attempts to detect whether the loading attribute exists on an image before applying it. This means the code should play nicely with existing plugins and avoid conflicts in most cases.

Developers of plugins that handle lazy loading need to start testing their plugins and updating them for WordPress 5.4. Follow the Lazy Loading API ticket on core Trac to stay updated on when the feature lands and the GitHub repository for contributing to its development.

by Justin Tadlock at January 30, 2020 08:22 PM under News

January 29, 2020

WPTavern: XML Sitemaps Feature Plugin Open for Testing and Feedback

Thierry Muller, a Developer Relations Program Manager at Google, and several contributors posted an update on the XML sitemaps feature that may land in WordPress this year. After seven months of development, the team has made the XML Sitemaps feature plugin available on GitHub. It is currently open for testing and feedback. The plugin should also be available in the WordPress plugin directory by next week.

Update (January 31, 2020): The Core Sitemaps feature plugin is now available in the WordPress plugin repository.

The project aims to ship a basic version of an XML sitemaps feature to all WordPress installations. It will also offer an API for plugin developers to manipulate. Therefore, sitemap plugins would not automatically disappear. Instead, plugins would offer users various options on how their sitemaps work.

A team created by Google, Yoast, and other contributors originally proposed XML sitemaps as a core WordPress feature in June 2019. Traditionally, WordPress has left this feature to plugins to implement, and many have filled this role over the years. However, several other major content management systems ship with sitemaps as part of their core codebase.

Many praised the initiative, such as WordPress project lead Matt Mullenweg. “This makes a lot of sense, looking forward to seeing the v1 of this in core and for it to evolve in future releases and cement WordPress’ well-deserved reputation of being the best CMS for SEO,” he said.

However, several people questioned whether WordPress should ship with XML sitemaps. Some were worried about performance and others felt like the feature should remain in plugins.

“At a high level, expanding the number of WordPress sites with Sitemaps ultimately speeds up content discoverability by search engines and re-crawl fresher content flagged by the lastmod date faster than a scheduled bot would,” Muller said of the primary reasons the feature belongs in core.

WordPress users may see this feature arrive in major update this year. “Ambitiously [version] 5.4,” said Muller of the release goal. “Realistically 5.5.”

The feature plugin currently indexes the following URLs for a site:

  • Homepage
  • Blog posts page (if not the homepage)
  • Posts and pages
  • Categories and tags
  • Custom post types
  • Custom taxonomies
  • Users/Authors

Custom post types and taxonomies are registered only if they are public. There is also a filter hook available to change which post types, taxonomies, and users are indexed. Ideally, WordPress would provide a registration flag for post types and taxonomies.

Solving the Performance Issues

One of the primary concerns with the initial proposal is how well a core sitemaps feature would perform and scale, particularly on larger sites. Without a full caching solution built into core, it presented some hurdles for the team.

“Solving the performance issue is not trivial, and we have looked into various solutions,” said Muller. “We believe that we landed on a solution that doesn’t need full caching and will still be scalable.”

For performance, there are two primary challenges:

  • The number of URLs per page.
  • The lastmod date in the index.xml file.

“Addressing the number of URLs per page is fairly trivial,” said Muller. “While sitemaps can have up to 50,000 URLs per sitemap, we found that capping it at 2,000 is acceptable from a performance perspective and totally acceptable from a search engine perspective.” The team decided to stick with a default of 2,000 URLs per sitemap and to provide a filter hook for plugins to alter if necessary.

Finding a solution for the lastmod date was not as easy. “We believe we found a good balance, which will be scalable and doesn’t open the can of worms that full caching exposes us to,” said Muller.

The solution the team implemented involved scheduling a cron task that runs twice daily (the frequency can be filtered by plugins). The cron job fetches the lastmod dates of each sitemap and stores them in the options table, which essentially works as a light caching solution.

“Relying on cron should be stable enough for small to medium websites,” said Muller. “Enterprise websites usually have server cron set up to more regularly ping WP Cron instead of relying on website visitors to trigger it. In fact, most managed hosting providers have that for all plans.”

If the team’s initial implementation is not well-rounded enough, they have been researching an alternative implementation that uses custom post types to store and update sitemap data. Two open GitHub tickets further explore performance that developers may want to check out: Issue #1 and Issue #39.

What Happens to Sites With Existing Sitemaps?

One question that remains unanswered is what happens when a user updates to WordPress 5.4/5.5 and already has a sitemap. There are likely millions of WordPress sites that are running a plugin or have some sort of sitemap solution in place.

“This is a question which we haven’t quite solved,” said Muller. “It is important to work with plugin authors, and in an ideal world, all plugins providing advanced sitemaps solutions would extend the core API. We would love to get feedback from the community on that one.”

WordPress must take care to avoid any major conflicts or indexing errors, or at least alleviate issues for the users who may be unaware of this upcoming feature.

by Justin Tadlock at January 29, 2020 08:37 PM under News

January 28, 2020

WPTavern: Emoji Conbini and the Case for a Block Enhancements Directory

In December of 2019, Nick Hamze, the owner of Sorta Brilliant, quietly launched Block Garden with a proposal for plugin authors to build block-based plugins off concepts, called seeds, from his site. He has since written extensively on the block editor and has shared a multitude of ideas, many of which are sorta brilliant.

It is easy to be drawn in by Hamze’s unabashed love for blocks. In a post titled “You aren’t busy, you’re just not excited,” Hamze challenges developers to build something, anything and not worry about it being perfect or becoming an earth-shattering product. “The purpose of Block Garden is to get you excited about blocks,” he wrote in the post. “To make you so excited about blocks that you’ll make the time to bring them to life. The community needs you more than you realize. I honestly believe that every person has at least one block in them. If I can get you to create that first block, I know you’ll be hooked for life.”

He has created a space for those who genuinely love the block editor. Block Garden is reminiscent of some of the early WordPress blogs where normal, everyday end-users shared their love of the platform. It is refreshingly optimistic. It is block geekdom at its finest. And, I kind of love it.

Hamze put out a job posting for block developers earlier this month. Several developers answered the call. “I can’t code but I have ideas and cash that I’m investing into blocks, mostly to keep the boredom at bay that is slowly killing me,” he said. “We are making some really fun blocks together. This is just the tip of the iceberg.”

In a few short weeks, Hamze and his co-authors have released multiple block-related plugins through his Sorta Brilliant brand that are now available on the WordPress plugin directory:

  • P.S. – A container block for grouping blocks into a popover.
  • StreamShare for Twitch – Embed Twitch content into the block editor.
  • Ghostwriter – Adds a heading block style that types out the text on the front end, Ghostwriter style (for you fans of the ’90s TV series).
  • Ubiquitous Blocks – Exposes the Reusable Blocks admin screen and allows users to automatically add them to posts.

Emoji Conbini

Inserting an emoji with the Emoji Conbini plugin.

In collaboration with George Mamadashvili, Hamze’s latest release is the Emoji Conbini plugin. It adds an emoji inserter to the block editor toolbar.

Emoji Conbini utilizes the Emoji Mart library, which offers a Slack-like emoji picker. When the picker is open, the user merely needs to choose their preferred emoji. Users can also search for a specific emoji.

Hamze was aware of the Emoji Autocomplete Gutenberg plugin before commissioning his emoji plugin for the block editor. “I loved how easy it made adding emoji but I didn’t like the UI,” he said. “It seemed like you had to know what emoji you wanted to add and relied on keyboard shortcuts, which I don’t think everyone is comfortable with.”

The problem with both emoji plugins is that they insert the WordPress-based emoji image directly into the editor instead of the emoji character. By default, WordPress will automatically convert emoji characters to images on the front end. For the average user, this is likely a non-issue. However, some users prefer to use the browser-based emoji and disable the images that core outputs. Both emoji plugins remove this possibility. They also remove the possibility of using a different emoji image library.

“To be honest, I’m not really a fan of the browser versions, but I’m willing to consider anything if there is a demand for it,” said Hamze of the possibility of simply inserting the emoji character. “To me, getting version 1 out there is the most important, and if anything needs to be changed, people will let me know.”

The term “conbini” initially drew me to the plugin, which is the name given to Japanese convenient stores 🏪. If you have never been to one, they are like stepping into another world (almost everything in Japan seems otherworldly to this smalltown guy from the southern U.S.).

“I love everything from Japan,” said Hamze. “The music, anime, the tech. I bid on items on Yahoo Japan daily as I love surrounding myself with cool stuff from Japan. I’ve only been to Japan once, but it was magical. I especially loved going to conbini. My favorite thing to get there was rice balls from Lawsons.”

The plugin name also plays into Hamze’s goals with Sorta Brilliant and Block Garden. While many other plugins are offering full packages for blocks, he is dropping smaller, convenient extensions to the block editor. Emoji Conbini shows that there is perhaps a market for add-ons that are block-related but not necessarily blocks, or at least some people are thinking about it.

Discovering Block Extensions

In his post “The block directory needs more than just blocks,” Hamze argues that one of the largest hurdles for block-related plugins is discoverability. He further argues the block directory is too tightly focused on individual blocks, proposing a “block enhancements” category as a solution.

For Emoji Conbini, 10up’s Insert Special Characters, ThemeIsle’s Blocks CSS, and other plugins that extend the block editor, there is no way for users to discover these plugins without specifically searching for them. These are useful plugins that could help sell the block editor to users who are on the fence.

There is an unknown number of possibilities for enhancements to the block editor. This sub-category of block-editor plugins does not seem to get the attention that is going toward blocks. However, in some cases, they can be far more useful for everyday writing than the numerous blocks in development.

Hamze’s initial idea proposes an enhancements category for the upcoming block directory, but that has problems. For one, the block directory will be directly tied to the block inserter in a future version of WordPress. Plus, these types of plugins are not actual blocks. However, the concept of making block enhancements more visible to users is a necessary part of the puzzle. For the block editor’s continued success, WordPress needs to expose its users to a wider world of possibilities than simply installing another block.

Now is the time to start thinking about exposure for plugins that enhance the block editor. Eventually, these types of plugins may need to be further grouped into editor toolbar (e.g., character inserters), block options (e.g., extra settings for existing blocks), and other categories. I suspect that we are only now glimpsing a future where users will be asking how to find not just blocks but block editor extensions.

by Justin Tadlock at January 28, 2020 08:54 PM under Plugins

January 27, 2020

WPTavern: Swift Control Replaces WordPress Toolbar With Custom Access Panel

Swift Control expanded panel on the site front end.

David Vongries, creator of the Page Builder Framework theme, launched the Swift Control plugin last week. The plugin is billed as a replacement for the core WordPress toolbar (admin bar). It allows site owners to customize the front-end control panel’s appearance and what links are displayed.

Swift Control adds a new button on the front end of any site the plugin is active on. When clicked, the button expands to open the full array of button-like links to various admin screens. By default, the links point to the dashboard, edit screen for the current post, and the customizer.

On the whole, the default functionality is not much different from the normal toolbar. The selling point for this plugin is its customizability. For users who want more control over admin access links from the front end, the plugin is a nice option.

Vongries said the plugin made it easier for his customers to work with than the WordPress toolbar. He had wanted to release it as a standalone plugin for others to use over the years. However, he lacked the time and resources to put the release together.

“We built this for our multisite network around 3 years ago to make it easier for our customers to navigate and access the key areas of their website,” said Vongries. “We actually ended up using this — what was back then just a couple pieces of custom code — on all of our client websites. I got so used to it, I’m using it on my own sites as well.”

The plugin is simple to use and does its job well. For the moment, the largest downside is that the front-end controls are always positioned in the middle of the left side of the screen. This means it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. “We’ve actually planned to provide some position options so you can align the panel to the left, right, top-left, top-right and so on,” said Vongries. “That’s on the roadmap as well as some different styling options for the panel.” Both the positioning and styling options are planned for the free version of the plugin.

It would also be nice to see some mobile-specific options for the control panel. An option to move it to a different location on smaller screens would be helpful so that the buttons do not inadvertently cover content. Adding an option to disable it completely on mobile may also be worth considering.

The positioning is the only potential downside of an otherwise well-made plugin. Because it is being actively worked on, it may be a non-issue in future versions (I’m currently running version 1.2.1).

Customize the Swift Control Panel

Swift Control plugin settings screen.

The beauty of Swift Control is in its options for customizing what buttons appear in the front-end panel. By default, the free version of the plugin contains seven “widgets” (what the plugin calls its buttons/links):

  • Dashboard
  • Edit {Post Type}
  • Customize
  • New Post
  • New Page
  • Themes
  • Plugins

Users can drag and drop these widgets wherever they prefer in the control panel. Each widget has its own options. By clicking the edit button, users can change both the icon and title for the widget. Users can also decide whether links should open in a new browser tab.

Swift Control Pro, the commercial version of the plugin, kicks customization up a notch. Besides the widgets available in the free version, it adds widgets for custom post types, launches the editor for page builders (Elementor, Brizy, Divi or Beaver Builder), supports WooCommerce, and adds a logout widget. Users can also create custom buttons.

Both the free and pro versions offer additional settings. Users can customize each of the colors used in the control panel so that it matches their site. Other settings are switches to enable or disable features, such as turning off the WordPress toolbar.

The following video shows how Swift Control Pro works (the free version is essentially the same but does not have the pro widgets):

Future Plugin Plans

Besides new positioning options, Vongries said they are working on an import and export feature. Ideally, this would allow users to keep their settings from test environments or when copying to new sites. It could also be interesting in use on multisite.

“One of the other features we’re going to work on next is the ability to show controls based on user roles,” said Vongries. “This will require us to change the UI of the widgets though, and we haven’t yet decided on what they should look like.” Currently, the team is exploring various ideas with the UI for such a feature, such as creating an expanding section for access to advanced widget settings.

The first order of business is bringing in more users and getting feedback, which should help steer the future direction of the plugin.

by Justin Tadlock at January 27, 2020 07:46 PM under Plugins

January 25, 2020

WordPress.org blog: People of WordPress: Robert Cheleuka

You’ve probably heard that WordPress is open-source software, and may know that it’s created and run by volunteers. WordPress enthusiasts share many examples of how WordPress changed people’s lives for the better. This monthly series shares some of those lesser-known, amazing stories.

Meet Robert Cheleuka

Robert is a self-taught graphic and motion designer turned web designer (and aspiring web developer) from Malawi, Africa. Over the years, he has grown fond of WordPress and has become a loyal user. Still, the journey is rough.

Robert CheleukaRobert Cheleuka

Malawi

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. A tiny landlocked country with a population of 17 million, it’s largely rural and still considered a developing country. The average entry-level monthly pay for most skilled jobs is about $110. If you’re employed full-time in the creative industry and if you’re very lucky, you might be able to earn more than that. Employees earning more than $300 a month are rare to non-existent.

Robert has been a freelance graphic designer since about 2011. He started by doing gigs from his dorm in college and from home. Earnings from his freelance jobs increased his interest in entrepreneurship and he started to consider starting his own creative agency.

How Robert was introduced to WordPress

Robert first came into contact with WordPress in 2014 when he and a friend started a local tech blog. Before that, all he knew was basic, outdated HTML from high school and some knowledge of Adobe Dreamweaver. They decided to use WordPress, and their new blog looked like it came from the future. They used a theme from the repo and got such positive feedback from the blog they decided to open a content and media publishing agency.

While they got a few web redesign jobs thanks to the exposure the blog brought, they lacked the administrative and business skills needed and ended up going their separate ways. Then in his first real job after college Robert finally took it upon himself to learn the ins and outs of WordPress. He learned how to install WordPress on a server and did some research on customizing themes. 

With that knowledge alone he got his first web design clients and started earning nearly as much as he did at his job. Robert soon realized that free WordPress themes would only take him so far, especially with his limited code skills.

Because in Malawi only people who travel abroad have access to credit cards, paying for premium themes was impossible. Like many WordPress designers in developing countries, Robert turned to using pirated themes instead. He knew that was both unsafe and unethical, and decided to learn how to code. Knowing how to build themes from scratch would surely help him rise above the competition. 

The WordPress community from Robert’s perspective

Robert doesn’t have a lot of interaction with the WordPress community. Although he would search for solutions from blogs about WordPress he had never actually talked to or asked anyone from the community for a solution. 

Robert believes that this isolation is the result of a glass ceiling — the WordPress community is partially online and partially in-person, but there isn’t a local group in Malawi. And because Malawi, like many other developing nations, lacks a way to pay online many can’t access premium support, online learning, or most other types of professional development. No matter how welcoming the people of WordPress might be, it can still feel like it mostly belongs to those with enough privilege to conduct business on the internet.

WordPress & inclusion

As most freelancers know, it’s really hard to learn while you also still need to earn. Add pitching to clients and shipping graphic design projects… there are only so many hours in a day.

Robert didn’t have a programming background and had always been more of a creative person. In order to grow as a web designer/developer, he needed to learn PHP. Again, without access to a credit card, that was complicated. Also, free coding training wasn’t as widely available as it is now.

Robert wishes that more developers would consider alternative ways for users who cannot pay for courses, themes, or plugins (whether that’s because of available infrastructure or otherwise). He wishes that WordPress tutors and developers would open up ways to accommodate aspiring learners in developing countries who cannot access plugins, courses, and themes, to be able to give back and to participate at another level.

WordPress has allowed him to build an income he would have no other way of earning and it makes a huge difference. He believes sharing stories like his will hopefully make WordPress products and services become more universally available. In addition, he hopes that more aspiring, self-taught developers will find courage in reaching out to connect with others out there.

Contributors

Alison Rothwell (@wpfiddlybits), Yvette Sonneveld (@yvettesonneveld), Josepha Haden (@chanthaboune), Siobhan Cunningham (@siobhanseija), Topher DeRosia (@topher1kenobe)

This post is based on an article originally published on HeroPress.com, a community initiative created by Topher DeRosia. HeroPress highlights people in the WordPress community who have overcome barriers and whose stories would otherwise go unheard.

Meet more WordPress community members over at HeroPress.com!


by Yvette Sonneveld at January 25, 2020 03:26 PM under heropress

January 24, 2020

WPTavern: 10up Releases Autoshare for Twitter WordPress Plugin

On Tuesday, 10up released its Autoshare for Twitter plugin. The plugin is designed to automatically tweet blog posts as they are published. By default, it will send the post title, featured image, and link to Twitter. Users can also add a custom message. The plugin is available in the WordPress plugin directory.

If you threw a rock into a crowd of WordPress plugins, you would likely smack a social-networking extension. The WordPress plugin market is crowded with similar plugins, so it would make sense if this one flew under the radar. Plus, powerhouse plugins like Jetpack provide similar functionality, such as the Jetpack Publicize feature. Yet, with the prevalence of similar plugins, Autoshare for Twitter is worth checking out.

Many similar plugins work with multiple social networks, but 10up’s plugin is designed specifically for sharing via Twitter. For users who only need a solution for that specific social network, it is a solid solution for version 1.0.

10up originally built the plugin to provide the company’s clients more control and customization than they found in existing solutions. “Recognizing its widespread potential, we decided to follow our own best practices for managing open-source software by releasing it as a free plugin on the official WordPress plugin repository,” wrote Jeff Paul, Associate Director of Open Source Initiatives at 10up.

The plugin works with both the block and classic editors. When in use with the block editor, it is added as part of the pre-publish check system as shown in the following screenshot:

Pre-publish check for tweeting a post.

The custom message box tracks the number of characters so that users do not go over Twitter’s character count. The plugin also displays a message in the Status & Visibility panel to let users know if a post was shared on Twitter.

Overall, the plugin does its job well (sorry to folks who were bombarded with some test tweets earlier). It would be nice to see similar one-off solutions that are specific to other social networks. I often find myself in need of such plugins without dealing with a full array of social networking options.

The plugin is also available on GitHub for others to contribute. Currently, there are several open issues that would improve how the plugin works.

Setup Is Not User-Friendly

Settings page for Twitter credentials.

The biggest downside to the plugin is there are no links, no admin help tab, and no instructions on how to set up the Twitter Credentials on the plugin’s setting screen. The page simply has some text fields for things like an API Key, API Secret, and so on. These are not user-friendly terms, and will likely be confusing for many. Not to mention, similar plugins can connect users at the click of a button. For a plugin that does nearly everything else right, this is a missing piece of what would be a near-perfect release.

The plugin is ideal for power users or developers who want to set up Twitter sharing for a client. In the current version of the plugin, users need to set up a Twitter Developer account and create a Twitter App. This generates the API keys and necessary tokens for using the plugin.

The plugin does have an open ticket on GitHub for a better onboarding process, which could solve this issue. Therefore, the team is aware of and actively working on making this smoother in a future version.

by Justin Tadlock at January 24, 2020 09:00 PM under 10up

January 23, 2020

WPTavern: Gutenberg 7.3 Brings Navigation Block Colors, Block Collections API, and Dynamic Post Blocks

The Gutenberg team announced version 7.3 of the plugin yesterday. This was the second release of the year, which included 159 contributions from 56 people. The major changes to the plugin include settings for changing the navigation block’s text and background colors, a new Block Collections API for developers, and placeholder blocks for post elements.

One of the most significant changes with this release is the speed improvement for page load times and input events. Speed tests are done against posts with ~36,000 words and ~1,000 blocks. The team reduced total load time from 6.431 seconds in version 7.2 to 4.55 seconds in version 7.3. Input events saw larger improvements. Events in 7.3 take 33.8 milliseconds in comparison to 64.7 milliseconds in 7.2.

Changes in Gutenberg 7.3 covered a wide range of areas in the plugin. The team added an experimental label function for improving block accessibility. They corrected over a dozen bugs with editor navigation. They also introduced some new developer APIs such as a warning utility, text component, and image size control component.

Work toward full-site editing continued in this release. It is now possible to edit existing template part files. The site editor can also load the front page block template.

Navigation Block Colors

Selecting custom colors for the navigation block.

The existing Navigation block continues to improve with each release. Version 7.3 added new options for setting the text color for all navigation items and background color for the entire navigation block.

It is nice to see some work done toward providing users control over navigation colors. However, it is a far cry from what a good theme designer can do with the flexibility of plain ol’ CSS. Handling navigation colors is tricky because there is so much that is missing. Link colors also need hover and focus state changes. Some designs may need borders for links and border color changes for the various link states or even background color changes.

Suffice it to say, I am still skeptical about how good the navigation block will be when it is time to move onto full-site editing, especially in comparison to the fine-tuned control that a theme author would normally have.

Dynamic Post Element Blocks

Post element placeholder blocks.

In previous releases, the Gutenberg team dropped post title and post content blocks. These are placeholder blocks that will dynamically output the title and content for posts. The long-term goal is for these blocks to be used along with full-site editing, which will allow users to manipulate how everything on their sites is output, including posts.

Gutenberg 7.3 introduced three new placeholder blocks for post elements:

This still represents early work toward full-site editing. Eventually, Gutenberg will need to turn nearly every important template tag into a block to get full coverage of what is currently possible with PHP.

To test these features, you must enable “Full Site Editing” via the Gutenberg > Experiments screen in the WordPress admin.

Block Collections API for Developers

registerBlockCollection( 'super-duper', {
    title: 'Super Duper',
    icon: ( <SVG xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 24 24"><Path d="M11 5v7H9.5C7.6 12 6 10.4 6 8.5S7.6 5 9.5 5H11m8-2H9.5C6.5 3 4 5.5 4 8.5S6.5 14 9.5 14H11v7h2V5h2v16h2V5h2V3z" /></SVG> ),
} );

A new Block Collections API was added to version 7.3 for plugin developers. Instead of registering a block category and adding blocks to specific categories, plugin developers can register a collection based on the namespace for their blocks.

For instance, suppose you develop a plugin with a collection of blocks. Each block is under the namespace super-duper. When you register a block collection with the super-duper namespace, all of the blocks would be automatically registered to your custom block collection. This seems to be a smarter way to handle groups of blocks than the existing category system.

Right now, collections work the same way as categories within the UI. However, it does open collections to other possibilities in the future.

Blocks can still be registered to a specific category that makes the most sense for the individual block. However, by registering collections, an avenue exists for finding all blocks coming from a single source.

by Justin Tadlock at January 23, 2020 09:17 PM under gutenberg

HeroPress: Thinking Outside the WordPress Box

Pull Quote: I feel that we’ve only scratched the surface of what WordPress can be.

Most people, when they discover WordPress, start on the challenging and rewarding path of developing themes, plugins and similar products. I decided to think outside the box.

My name is Alexander, and my WordPress journey began in 2009. I’m from Chisinau, Republic of Moldova. I originally discovered WordPress while looking for a content management system for one of my projects. Intrigued by how it worked, I started like many others do — learning how WordPress works through developing WordPress websites.

I started using what I knew to provide development services on freelance platforms. For the next decade, I mostly concentrated on the lesser known, yet still critically important parts of WordPress: particularly security and search engine optimization.

For many people building up a freelance business in the WordPress world, these are the parts that are important to do, but are often thought of as secondary to deeper development. Theme and plugin authors in particular, get the lion’s share of the spotlight when it comes to WordPress development.

Speed and Sophistication

I soon learned that after a decade of polishing my skills, that what the world needed wasn’t more WordPress theme developers or plugin authors. What it needed were people who could take care of the kinds of tasks that seemed simple on the surface (like protecting a WordPress site from hackers or optimizing it for search engines), yet were very involved and continued to get more complex over time.

Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just install a plugin or two and think your site is secure or well-optimized for Google and other sites. Sure, there are plugins which can help the process, but when disaster strikes and your site gets hacked, or you find that your site is loading sluggishly compared to your competition, or worse, your site disappears from the search rankings — you know you need help, and FAST.

A Dandy Idea!

In 2019 I decided to turn my love for WordPress into full-time work through WPDandy. Rather than marketing myself strictly as a WordPress developer or theme designer (although I also do development and design work from time to time), I decided to think outside the box and offer the kinds of services I knew that people needed, but didn’t know how much they needed them, until it was too late!

Through WPDandy, I focused on WordPress maintenance, management and support services. These include but are not limited to: WordPress speed improvements, security, search engine optimization, backups, etc.

How WPDandy Has Changed My Life

WPDandy has changed my life in many ways. It has enabled me to enjoy the freedom and flexibility of working for myself, doing something that I love. Today, I lead a team of highly professional and passionate WordPress developers from around the world.

Through my online work, I’m able to help clients reach their business and personal goals, and grow their WordPress sites without worrying about keeping everything up to date (which can be a full-time job in itself, especially if there are multiple sites to run!). My company allows me to help others, and that brings me immense satisfaction!

Contributing to the Future of WordPress

Although I’m immensely proud of what I’ve built with WPDandy as well as thankful to all of the clients who helped me to discover and master the art and science of WordPress, I felt like I also owed something to the WordPress community itself.

That’s why I’ve also signed on to be a WordPress contributor. I routinely offer suggestions, advice and share code that can help make managing and maintaining WordPress easier, as well as keep it more secure and less vulnerable to hacking and suspicious attacks.

Beyond that, I’m overjoyed to be a WordCamp speaker as well. I love sharing knowledge with others and collaborating with like minds on powerful new ideas that can help shape WordPress and make it even better than before.

Shaping the Future of Content Management

It continues to amaze me how what once started as a small, ordinary blogging platform has blossomed into an absolute content management powerhouse. WordPress can become so many things: an e-commerce storefront, a message board, a membership site, and of course a blog. But I feel that, by and large, we’ve only scratched the surface of what WordPress can be.

I look forward to continuing to be able to provide outstanding WordPress development, maintenance and management services for all of the many iterations of WordPress that exist and will be created in the future. It’s going to be an exciting ride, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

The post Thinking Outside the WordPress Box appeared first on HeroPress.

by Alexander Covtun at January 23, 2020 06:00 PM

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