This Week in WordPress: Features as Plugins a Mess, and ThemeForest Unrest
This week’s round-up of WordPress news, views and reviews summarized in our daily email newsletter, The WhiP.
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The WhiP Newsletter #152
Hello dear reader,
A whole lotta tears have been shed for Kim Parsell this week after news of her death. Tributes have flowed and a memorial website has been created to remember the Docs team member. WebDevStudios designer Suzette Franck, who launched the site yesterday, said she wanted to “pay tribute to an awesome lady.”
On this week’s episode of WPWeekly WP Tavern’s Jeff Chandler shares his memories of Kim Parsell and discusses the outpouring of support from the WordPress community.
WebDevStudios have ushered in the New Year with a new website and a look back at how the web development company has grown.
“It’s been a fun ride and I’m looking forward to the next 100.” The Matt Report’s Matt Medeiros reflects on the growing and competitive WordPress podcasting space in his 100th episode.
Soon we may never have to deal with ugly permalinks ever again. There are plans to automatically enable pretty permalinks in WordPress 4.2.
Big and Small
All kinds of WordPress initiatives, big and small, are being launched all the time, but not all stick around for the long haul. Jeff Chandler takes a look at some websites, like WPKindness and Netropolitan, that have fizzled out.
Since Google Panda was unleashed on the web, it’s been a scramble to figure out just what the search engine wants. (Just tell us already!). Elegant Themes attempts to read Google’s mind in their latest post about SEO best practices.
And for even more SEO goodness, ProBlogger offers a list of “must-dos,” like keyword research and proactive outreach.
It’s easy to default to searching the WordPress Plugin Repository for free plugins.WP Mayor offers up some alternatives, including a few you may not have come across before.
MailChimp (Mail… kimp?), IFTTT and BuzzSumo are just some of the sites featured in Torque’s collection of 42 blogging tools for, well, bloggers.
Motive is a new theme for creative types by the guys at Themezilla. It comes with eye-catching animation and multiple layouts for your portfolio and blog.
WP Garage reviews blogVault, an online backup service that “actually works.”
WP Explorer looks at how to create stunning, responsive tables in WordPress with the wpDataTables plugin.
And how to set up OptinMonster to encourage visitors to subscribe to your site, over at Webloggerz.
How Custom Fields Can Help Make Updating WordPress Easier for Your Clients (Envato Market Blog).
Understanding Bounce Rate (And How to Keep it Down) (WooThemes).
Winter is Coming
What would you be prepared to do to get a cheap MacBook Air? These Japanese camped out overnight outside an Apple store in the snow. And in 17 degrees Fahrenheit snow.
“The commute to work is dark. The trip home, also dark. It’s freezing, and everyone around you is sneezing and coughing.” While we’re on the subject of snow, if you’re wishing it was spring already, here are tips at Fast Company on how to stay productive during the winter months.
All the best for a productive Friday and a lovely weekend.
The WhiP Newsletter #153
Hello dear reader,
King Fu Panda
“Many of our affiliates simply lost all of their traffic, so we lost basically all sales generated by them, which is an important source of revenue for new shops.” If Google Panda hit you hard, you’ll relate to developer Dumitru Brinzan who launched AcademiaThemes early last year. Despite a significant loss in traffic and affiliate revenue, Brinzan is still maintaining the site, as WP Tavern explains.
BuddyPress 2.2 Beta 1 is available for testing. Some of the features in this release include member types that allow developers to register different types of users, and post type activities that allow you to connect custom post types to activity stream items.
The latest episode of the Dradcast podcast features John Hawkins, a web developer and WordCamp speaker/organizer from Las Vegas. He co-founded 9seeds, a custom WordPress development company.
ManageWP has rebuilt their management service from the ground up and they’re calling it ManageWP Orion. In the company’s latest post ahead of launch, they explain their development process, and why they didn’t just fix their existing service.
Should WordPress businesses post revenue figures? Is it an ego-boosting exercise that promotes envy? Or does it simply inspire and show others what’s possible? WP Mayor’s Jean Galea puts the question out there after all the year in review posts that have been posted recently.
Torque looks at the “seven laws of WordPress maintenance” – obvious stuff like backing up your content and securing your site.
If you’ve been too busy working on other peoples’ websites to worry about your own, take out 5 minutes of your day to read iThemes’ post on why you shouldn’t neglect your own website, plus tips on how to make it awesome.
On the WordPress VIP blog, Matt Harvey, Director of Product at USA Today Sports Media Group presents on how USA Today uses APIs and WordPress to display sports data.
Puss in Boots
Over at CodeInWP there is a collection of 10 free Bootstrap-based WordPress themes.
Elegant Themes have put together a list of 40 web design blogs for inspiration.
Organize your post schedule with one of these WordPress plugins for future posts at WP Solver.
Hook, Line, and Sinker
How To Optimize Your WordPress Site For Local Search (Elegant Themes).
Planning a WordPress Knowledge Base (tuts+).
Using WP_Query and Multiple Meta Keys (Tom McFarlin).
Slowing Down to Go Further
Matt Mullenweg reflects on turning 31… and running a company that raised $160 million last year.
If you’re a Gmail user, have you checked out Gmail Labs? It offers all kinds of cool experimental features. Lifehacker have put together their favorite 10 labs to increase email productivity.
All the best for a grand Monday.
The WhiP Newsletter #154
Hello dear reader,
Give It Away Now
The WordPress.org Theme Repository is getting a long-awaited update. Once complete, the website will match the themes browser in the backend of WordPress.Sarah Gooding previews the new design at WP Tavern.
BuddyBoss has released BuddyPress Global Search, a plugin that adds a unified search bar to WordPress sites, allowing users to search through every BuddyPress component, along with pages, posts, and select custom post types.
Developer Mike Van Winkle says it’s time for WordPress to establish some rules for freemium plugins. Posting in the Advanced WordPress Facebook group, Mike says he’s become “increasingly discouraged by the signal/noise ratio in WordPress related content.” Check out his post to have your say.
WPRecipes has teamed up with ThemeFuse to give away a website package, including a WordPress theme, one year of hosting and a domain.
WP Lift is also running a giveaway, this time with web host KeyCDN. Enter to win one of two tree accounts with 1TB of traffic included.
And to round-out these WordPress deals, WP Engine is offering a 15% New Year discount.
WordPress writer Kevin Muldoon, who runs the Rise internet marking forums, has made his predictions for SEO in 2015. Things like UX-focused SEO and more (dreaded) Google algorithm updates.
The folks at Webloggerz take a look at what they say are the 37 most popular WordPress themes ever made. Think you can guess the top three?
Building a portfolio for your business can feel overwhelming – especially if you’re a perfectionist! Here are 50+ great portfolio themes to help you get started on our blog.
How To Set Cookies in WordPress (Tom McFarlin).
How To Build A Wedding Website With WordPress (Elegant Themes).
Display A Category Checklist In WordPress (Paul Underwood).
Unable to Connect
There have been many articles published in the past about Automattic as a distributed company. Here’s a couple of differing perspectives (both posted on Matt Mullenweg’s blog), one from Steph Yiu about communicating remotely with lots of people and Chris Hardie on distributed versus in-person teams.
Did you know the offline dinosaur in Chrome is also a game? *brain explosion*
All the best for a cool Tuesday.
The WhiP Newsletter #155
Hello dear reader,
Like a Version
“… we feel the idea of providing multiple demos to showcase this flexibility is quite simply good marketing practice. For a multi-purpose theme with configurable options, mocking up different concepts using these available options saves buyers valuable setup time and helps them envision how the theme will fit their individual needs.” Envato have moved to clarify their policies on theme bundles (selling multiple different WordPress themes or demos as one item), niche and multipurpose themes, marketing, and bundling plugins with themes after some unrest in the ThemeForest forums.
Core contributor John Blackbourn has put a call out for feature plugins for WordPress 4.2. A few possible features include Image Flow (for better image uploading, management, and editing, on every device), Shortcake (a shortcode UI), and a new Metadata API for registering contextual custom field data (type of data, label text for forms) along with UI (show custom fields in a post edit screen with their corresponding field type inputs).
VersionPress, a plugin that allows you to prevent change to a site without having to restore a backup, is set for release later this week – but only if you were an early backer. Developers Borek Bernard and Jan Voráček launched a crowdfunding campaign last year asking for $30,000, and while they only reached 50% of their target, they pushed on with development anyway. Find out more at WP Tavern.
“I’ve taken only what I could handle alone and in time. Now that Justin is in, we will do more,” he said. “In only a few days after the initial launch, the response and support have been overwhelming. This confirms that our community is in great need of experienced reviewers.” Emil Uzelac, who last week launched the community’s first theme review service, Theme Review, has partnered with fellow WordPress.org theme review team colleague Justin Tadlock.
The third edition of Professional WordPress is set for release on January 15. Check out WebDevStudios’ Q&A with author Brad Williams and win a copy.
Jeff Chandler at WP Taverns says 2015 could be the year of admin themes, but it largely depends on whether the WP API is merged into core. His prediction follows that of Human Made’s Noel Tock, who reckons we’ll see more custom dashboards, front-end editing and internationalization in WordPress this year.
Do You Want to Build a Website?
The first hurdle to growing your business online is building a website. Not only do you have to find a theme or hire something to tailor one for you, but you need to ensure you have the right tools on the backend. Here are our picks of the must-have plugins you need to get your business website running smoothly.
On the Envato Market blog, designer Jake Rocheleau explores the growing trend of using hero images in web design and sites that use the feature well.
The Better Notifications for WordPress plugin is now out of beta after the original collaborators found a new developer. The plugin allows you to send customizable HTML emails to users based on different actions in WordPress.
WP RSS Aggregator and WP-Drudge are the perfect combo, according to WP Mayor.
If you’re a WooThemes user, have you heard of these eight features?
Pretty Fly (For a Straight-Forward Guide)
How To Add An Author Box to Your WordPress Site (WP Explorer).
A Straight-Forward Guide To WordPress Slugs (Elegant Themes).
What does 1 million lines of code look like? Have you ever wondered how many lines of code there are in Facebook or even the Large Hadron Collider?
If 2014 was the year of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ then what is 2015?
All the best for a warm and wonderful Wednesday.
The WhiP Newsletter #156
Hello dear reader,
Hearts a Mess
“The success of MP6 proved that by developing core features as plugins first, they were easier to test, manage, and merge into core at the appropriate time. Since adopting the development process, at least seven features have landed in core. However, as an outsider looking in, the process seems to be falling apart.” Jeff Chandler at WP Tavern says the features at plugins first model is a mess and need to be fixed.
Web host WP Engine has opened sourced its new Mercury Vagrant project, which allows anyone in the WordPress community to run a single Vagrant for developing, debugging, and deploying HHVM-based code. WP Engine Labs has collaborated with the VVV creators at web development agency 10up on the project.
Pressnomics 3, a conference for entrepreneurs who create the products and services that drive the WordPress economy, kicks off on January 22 in Arizona. The three-day event will feature 19 speakers from within and around the WordPress community who will share their stories, insights, and lessons learned in business with an audience of over 250.
Envato, the parent company of ThemeForest, has published its 2014 Year in Review. Last September, ThemeForest became one of the top 100 most popular websites in the world according to Alexa, ahead of Netflix.
BuddyPress 2.2 Beta 2 is now ready for testing. New features include member types that allow developers to register different types of users (i.e “teacher” vs. “student”), and post type activities for connecting custom post types to activity stream items.
Eyes Wide Open
“I use Evernote and keep a notebook of “cool products – not yet” that feel like they’re a bit shy of being awesome. But I never know if they’ll get better if I don’t circle back.” Chris Lema from Crowd Favorite advises it’s a good idea to “circle back” and give companies and products a second chance.
Writing at WP Tavern, WPShout’s David Hayes says he loves Composer (a dependency manager for PHP, if you haven’t heard of it) and he loves WordPress, but the “run your whole WordPress site with Composer” solution is only right for developer-intensive use of WordPress.
Smoke and Mirrors
WPLift has rounded up their favorite free WordPress themes released this month.
Two new free themes from Automattic are now available at WordPress.org – Motif (a fork of Okay Themes’ Paradigm theme) and Capoverso (named after an Italian word for the indent in the first line of a paragraph).
Need a caching plugin? WP Mayor takes a quick look at some of the popular caching options available, including W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, and Hyper Cache.
And how to make your site faster with the free WP Smush.It plugin, over at Pagely.
Easy Way Out
How To Post To Facebook From WordPress (Elegant Themes).
Ever Heard of Must-Use Plugins? (tuts+).
Getting Started with Vagrant & VVV for Local Development (WebDevStudios).
I Feel Better
“So pay us money, provide an address anywhere in the world and we’ll send them so much glitter in an envelope that they’ll be finding that [email protected]#$ everywhere for weeks.” It’s almost worth having enemies just so you can use ShipYourEnemiesGlitter.com
All the best for sweet Thursday.