21 Feb 2018

feedWordPress Planet

Dev Blog: WordCamp Incubator 2.0

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

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

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

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

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

We're looking forward to hearing from you!

21 Feb 2018 10:53pm GMT

HeroPress: How To Build A Company With WordPress

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

Full text of the above video

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

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

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

The Beginning

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

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

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

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

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

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

Going Big Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All right, reputation was another huge part of it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks again for the opportunity to share this on HeroPress.

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

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

21 Feb 2018 2:00pm GMT

19 Feb 2018

feedWordPress Planet

Matt: Commuting Time Saved

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

19 Feb 2018 6:14pm GMT

Akismet: Version 4.0.3 of the Akismet WordPress Plugin Is Now Available

Version 4.0.3 of the Akismet plugin for WordPress is now available.

4.0.3 contains a few helpful changes:

To upgrade, visit the Updates page of your WordPress dashboard and follow the instructions. If you need to download the plugin zip file directly, links to all versions are available in the WordPress plugins directory.

19 Feb 2018 3:58pm GMT

Mark Jaquith: Handling old WordPress and PHP versions in your plugin

New versions of WordPress are released about three times a year, and WordPress itself supports PHP versions all the way back to 5.2.4.

What does this mean for you as a plugin developer?

Honestly, many plugin developers spend too much time supporting old versions of WordPress and really old versions of PHP.

It doesn't have to be this way. You don't need to support every version of WordPress, and you don't have to support every version of PHP. Feel free to do this for seemingly selfish reasons. Supporting old versions is hard. You have to "unlearn" new WordPress and PHP features and use their older equivalents, or even have code branches that do version/feature checks. It increases your development and testing time. It increases your support burden.

Economics might force your hand here… a bit. You can't very well, even in 2018, require that everyone be running PHP 7.1 and the latest version of WordPress. But consider the following:

97% of WordPress installs are running PHP 5.3 or higher. This gives you namespaces, late static binding, closures, Nowdoc, __DIR__, and more.

88% of WordPress installs are running PHP 5.4 or higher. This gives you short array syntax, traits, function-array dereferencing, guaranteed <?= echo syntax availability, $this access in closures, and more.

You get even more things with PHP 5.5 and 5.6 (64% of installs are running 5.6 or higher), but a lot of the syntactic goodness came in 5.3 and 5.4, with very few people running versions less than 5.4. So stop typing array(), stop writing named function handlers for simple array_map() uses, and start using namespaces to organize and simplify your code.

Okay, so… how?

I recommend that your main plugin file just be a simple bootstrapper, where you define your autoloader, do a few checks, and then call a method that initializes your plugin code. I also recommend that this main plugin file be PHP 5.2 compatible. This should be easy to do (just be careful not to use __DIR__).

In this file, you should check the minimum PHP and WordPress versions that you are going to support. And if the minimums are not reached, have the plugin:

  1. Not initialize (you don't want syntax errors).
  2. Display an admin notice saying which minimum version was not met.
  3. Deactivate itself (optional).

Do not die() or wp_die(). That's "rude", and a bad user experience. Your goal here is for them to update WordPress or ask their host to move them off an ancient version of PHP, so be kind.

Here is what I use:

View code on GitHub

Reach out on Twitter and let me know what methods you use to manage PHP and WordPress versions in your plugin!

Do you need WordPress services?

Mark runs Covered Web Services which specializes in custom WordPress solutions with focuses on security, speed optimization, plugin development and customization, and complex migrations.

Please reach out to start a conversation!


19 Feb 2018 3:14pm GMT

16 Feb 2018

feedWordPress Planet

Post Status: How WebDevStudios is serving different market segments — Draft podcast

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

In this episode, Lisa Sabin-Wilson shares about the entangled history of WebDevStudios and eWebscapes and how she and team are targeting every level of the market. WebDevStudios focuses heavily on the upper and enterprise market segments, providing a high degree of attention and support to those clients.

Sometime in 2017 Lisa did the math on all the lower-end projects that they were referring away and realized that WDS had a prime opportunity to re-introduce her former web studio, eWebscapes, as a way to serve these smaller-scope projects. This rebirth, so to speak, has positioned them to better target local communities, provide staff with more variety of work, and bring simplified processes alongside those they use for larger projects.

Key take-aways


Photo Credit

Sponsor: Prospress

Prospress makes the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin, that enables you to turn your online business into a recurring revenue business. Whether you want to ship a box or setup digital subscriptions like I have on Post Status, Prospress has you covered. Check out Prospress.com for more, and thanks to Prospress for being a Post Status partner.

16 Feb 2018 10:38pm GMT

Matt: No Office Workstyle

Reed Albergotti has a great article titled Latest Amenity for Startups: No Office. You can put in your email to read I believe but it's behind a paywall otherwise. The Information is a pretty excellent site that alongside (former Automattician) Ben Thompson's Stratechery I recommend subscribing to. Here are some quotes from the parts of the article that quote me or talk about Automattic:

So it's no coincidence that one of the first companies to operate with a distributed workforce has roots in the open source movement. Automattic, the company behind open source software tools like WordPress, was founded in 2005 and has always allowed its employees to work from anywhere. The company's 680 employees are based in 63 countries and speak 79 languages. Last year, it closed its San Francisco office, a converted warehouse - because so few employees were using it. It still has a few coworking spaces scattered around the globe.

Matt Mullenweg, Automattic's founder and CEO, said that when the company first started, its employees communicated via IRC, an early form of instant messaging. Now it uses a whole host of software that's tailor-made for remote work, and as the technology evolves, Automattic adopts what they need.

Mr. Mullenweg said Automattic only started having regular meetings, for instance, after it started using Zoom, a video conferencing tool that works even on slow internet connections.

He's become a proponent of office-less companies and shares what he's learned with other founders who are attempting it. Mr. Mullenweg said he believes the distributed approach has led to employees who are even more loyal to the company and that his employees especially appreciate that they don't need to spend a chunk of their day on a commute.

"Our retention is off the charts," he said.


"Where it goes wrong is if they don't have a strong network outside of work-they can become isolated and fall into bad habits," Mr. Mullenweg said. He said he encourages employees to join groups, play sports and have friends outside of work. That kind of thing wouldn't be a risk at big tech companies, where employees are encouraged to socialize and spend a lot of time with colleagues.

But for those who ask him about the negatives, Mr. Mullenweg offers anecdotal proof of a workaround.

For example, he said he has 14 employees in Seattle who wanted to beat the isolation by meeting up for work once a week. So they found a local bar that didn't open until 5 p.m., pooled together the $250 per month co-working stipends that Automattic provides and convinced the bar's owner to let them rent out the place every Friday.

They didn't need to pool all their co-working allowance to get the bar, I recall it was pretty cheap! Finally:

For Automattic, flying 700 employees to places like Whistler, British Columbia or Orlando, Florida, has turned into a seven-figure expense.

"I used to joke that we save it on office space and blow it on travel. But the reality is that in-person is really important. That's a worthwhile investment," Mr. Mullenweg said.It might take a while, but some people are convinced that a distributed workforce is the way of the future.

"Facebook is never going to work like this. Google is never going to work like this. But whatever replaces them will look more like a distributed company than a centralized one," Mr. Mullenweg said.

16 Feb 2018 6:44pm GMT

15 Feb 2018

feedWordPress Planet

Matt: Kinsey Joins Automattic

Kinsey Wilson is joining Automattic to run WordPress.com. Poynter covers the news and has a great interview with Kinsey.

15 Feb 2018 6:56pm GMT

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 305 – 10up, JavaScript for WordPress Conference, and Jetpack 5.8

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I discuss the news of the week. We also chat about the Winter Olympics, crypto mining in order to access content on the web, and the joys of taking care of a puppy. Last but not least, we talk about Elasticsearch in Jetpack 5.8 and whether or not improving WordPress' native search functionality through a service is the way to go.

Stories Discussed:

Jetpack 5.8 Adds Lazy Loading for Images Module
Free Virtual WordPress for JavaScript Conference June 29th
10up Turns Seven
"Not Updated In …" Warning

WPWeekly Meta:

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

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Itunes

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via RSS

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Stitcher Radio

Subscribe to WordPress Weekly via Google Play

Listen To Episode #305:

15 Feb 2018 2:14am GMT

14 Feb 2018

feedWordPress Planet

WPTavern: 10up Turns Seven

10up, a web development agency founded by Jake Goldman in 2011, has turned seven years old. In a blog post celebrating the occasion, Goldman reviews the previous year and highlights some notable events for the company.

"We welcomed more than 30 new clients to our portfolio in another record sales year," Goldman said. "We launched new websites along with web and mobile apps for major brands across verticals as diverse as finance, healthcare, academia, high-tech, big media, consumer packaged goods, food and beverage, and fitness… to name a few."

He also highlighted the company's commitment to open source and giving back to WordPress. Throughout the past year, the company has released a number of WordPress plugins and developer tools including, Distributor, WP Snapshots, WP Local Docker, Async Transients, and more.

Goldman describes three trends he's noticed in the past few years.

  1. Integrations with innovation happening in other projects and platforms has become increasingly important as the web matures. You see it in React.js and Vue.js emerging as popular front end standards, in the rise of Elasticsearch and NoSQL platforms, with two factor authentication and Google single sign on, with the rise of modern Asset Management Systems.
  2. For publishers, it's increasingly becoming about distribution to multiple platforms, more so than just building a website. Google AMP, Facebook Articles, Apple News, Alexa, YouTube channels to name a few.
  3. If you need any more evidence of WordPress dominance, look no further than how highly in demand top-tier engineering talent is. It's probably - literally - around a factor of 1.5x - 2x what great engineers were earning 3-4 years ago.

With seven years of experience under his belt, Goldman offers the following advice for those who are in their first or second year of running an agency or in a leadership position.

  1. Don't be quite so hard on yourself - when you run a business - when you're a lease - there will always be highs and lows - don't dwell on the lows.
  2. Put more emphasis on building systems, routines, and check-ins that offer a better pulse on the collective and individual fulfillment, engagement, and health of the team, rather than relying on transparent upwards communication.

Congrats to 10up on seven years in business. To learn more about the company and employment opportunities, visit their official site.

14 Feb 2018 7:16pm GMT

HeroPress: My WordPress Anniversaries

Pull Quote: I feel that I am responsible to be on stage for all the women who haven’t found the courage yet to share their stories.

I never remember dates. I know the birthday of more or less five people. I insist on saying that my son was born on May 11. Incorrect, I was born on May 11, he on May 17. But for some reason, my WordPress dates are permanently etched into my brain. I think it's because meeting the global WordPress community and helping restart the Italian community are very meaningful moments in my adult life. Please join me in a walk down memory lane 🙂

May 15, 2015

I started building websites with WordPress in 2010: my first website was my own blog, whose only purpose was to publish photos of my son so all the grandparents could enjoy seeing him grow. I enjoyed tinkering around with it, and to my surprise someone wrote asking me to build something similar for them. And they wanted to pay me for it!

For a few years I worked as an administrative manager during the day and as a web designer at night until I decided to make the jump and become a freelancer.

I never thought about contributing to WordPress because I wasn't a back end developer and I didn't think the project needed people that were not code wizards. Heck, I didn't even know how WordPress was made or how open source worked exactly!

And then I went to a Freelancers conference in Italy and on May 15 I gave my first talk ever.

Up until that moment I taught small classes, but I never talked in front of more than ten people. I was terrified: in the audience there were more than a hundred people. Some of my friends, but also a lot of seasoned professionals that I respected and admired, and here I was talking about how they should and shouldn't build a website. I was so nervous, when I grabbed the mic I did such a wide gesture with my arms that the bracelet I was wearing flew through the air to the other side of the room.

After my talk a guy came to compliment my talk, and I realised that he was one of those people that I respected and admired from afar: Luca Sartoni, an Automattician whose blog I have been following for a while.

For the three days of the event we kept chatting about websites, WordPress, entrepreneurship, open source until he convinced me to start a WordPress meetup in my hometown of Torino, Italy. He put me in contact with other people that he knew wanted to do something similar and in less than a month from that conversation we started a meetup. The group now has more than one thousand members, and in March we will celebrate thirty events.

November 7, 2015

Luca didn't stop his proselytism in Torino 🙂 That same year, WordCamp Europe was held in Seville and at the Polyglots table a revolution was started. A small group of Italians, used to travelling abroad to attend WordCamps, met there and decided that it was time to organise the Italian community.

The first step was to revive the blog on the Italian WordPress website: it was dormant for seven years and the first thing we did was publish the dates of meetups that were slowly but surely appearing in the whole country. At the beginning of 2015 there were two meetups in Italy, by August there were eight and their number kept growing.

Now, if you have met Italians, you know we talk a lot. The two Francescos from Apulia, Franz Vitulli and Francesco Di Candia, took the second initiative that was crucial to bringing us together: they opened a Slack workspace for the Italians, modeled after the UK workspace. For the whole summer we chatted every single day: about WordPress, about how to grow and manage the community that was forming in front of our eyes, how to communicate, how to contribute.

And then chatting wasn't enough, we wanted to meet in person. We wanted to put a face and a voice to the avatars. With the help of Sara Rosso and Jenny Wong we carried out a bizarre plan, almost unheard of: a stand alone WordPress Contributor Day. We would meet in Milano for a day to get to know each other and to learn how to Contribute to WordPress.

I like to think that November 7 2015 is the day we became a community: we were not an abstract idea anymore, we were people, meeting in person to make WordPress in Italy.

April 10, 2016

The next few months went by in a blur of activities: the meetup organisers in Torino applied to host the first WordCamp in Italy in three years and I lead the organising team, I applied to attend the Community Summit in Philadelphia and I got accepted, I attended the first WordCamp US, my first WordCamp, and volunteered at it. I met a lot of people that helped me become more active and more focused: as a new contributor it's easy to get overwhelmed by the abundance of amazing projects and tasks you can be part of, but it's important to keep your focus to be more effective.

After meeting people from all over the world and sharing our experiences I realised the story of the Italian community could be inspiring for other communities and it was worth telling it to a wider audience, so I got completely out of my comfort zone and submitted a talk to WordCamp London.

On April 10th 2016 I gave my first talk at a WordCamp and my first talk in English. I think I didn't sleep for days before and after the event. It was nerve wracking, but I did it without throwing any bracelet in the air this time.

I gave the same talk at WordCamp Europe in 2016 and realised the story was relatable to many communities. Photographer unknown, sorry 🙁

September 17, 2017

Over the following year I kept contributing to WordPress, mostly in the Community team. I participated in the Polyglots activities for a while but then I had to pick and focus my attention. The more I interacted with people from all over the world as a hobby, the more I wanted that to become my job. Although my business as a web designer in Italy was doing good, I felt I wanted to be able to reach more people and find a way to be more involved with the community.
So I started looking for a job. I was hesitant at first: all the insecurities I had about myself came back to haunt me. The voice in my head was telling me: you are too old, you don't have enough technical expertise, you have been contributing for a very short time, English is not your native language, you are a single mom from Italy for crying out loud, who would want to employ you?

Well, it turns out that if you actually look for a job instead of just telling yourself that you really would like a job, chances are you might get one.

Last September I started a new chapter in my career as the WordPress Community Manager at SiteGround and I couldn't be happier.

The past 33 months have completely changed my life, personally and professionally: along the way I learned a number of lessons that I know will stay with me forever.

Step Up

If you want to achieve something, start today. Just start. Start a meetup, leave a comment to encourage someone else, volunteer to take notes of a meeting, participate in the discussion, bring your own ideas to the table. Be a fire starter, for yourself and for the people around you.

Step Back

None of the above is about you: the community is bigger than you, you are here to build a path for the future. Once you started something, don't become too attached, let it go and let other people step up and shine. Mentor them, if they ask and if you can.

If you want to go faster go alone, if you want to go further go together

I am not a huge fan of motivational quotes, but this one is very dear to my heart and it's one I have to remind myself quite often. I am a perfectionist and a quick learner: this is ok when you start your own business (and it's ok only at the beginning, but this is a topic for another article!), but when you are part of a team, you are part of something bigger. It might move slower, but its impact is immensely more powerful than anything you'll be able to achieve on your own.

Representation matters

I dislike speaking in public. When I say this people tend to laugh it off because I am good on stage. It doesn't mean that I like it. I am much more at ease when I am behind the scenes, making things happen.

Four women seated on a low wall at a WordPress meetup.

But representation matters: I feel that I am responsible to be on stage for all the women who haven't found the courage yet to share their stories.

I am responsible for the young ones, so they can see that it's possible to create a life when you can be both a good, albeit a bit absent mom, and a kick ass professional. I am responsible for the older ones, so they can see that we are represented, that this industry accepts us and recognizes our contributions. I am responsible to show my eleven year old son that women can do whatever they set out to do.

Make it better, give it back

I wish I came up with this, because it's an incredibly powerful sentence. John did and I am grateful every day that I get to share my life with him and his wisdom.

Contributing to open source can be very frustrating: things go slow, sometimes things don't go at all (there are numerous tickets in the WordPress bug tracker that are five or more years old), sometimes you might disagree with that will be decided, sometimes you might work alongside people that you dislike.

When this happens, remind yourself that you are working on a brilliant piece of software that is helping the lives and the businesses of millions of people.

The post My WordPress Anniversaries appeared first on HeroPress.

14 Feb 2018 7:00am GMT

13 Feb 2018

feedWordPress Planet

WPTavern: Free Virtual WordPress for JavaScript Conference June 29th

Zac Gordon, who launched his Gutenberg development course earlier this year, is organizing a virtual conference called JavaScript for WordPress. The conference will take place June 29th and is free to watch.

"Making the event free and online was really important for me so we could have as few barriers to entry for folks wanting to learn," Gordon said. "I have a feeling a lot of folks who can't tune live will still appreciate having all the talks available on YouTube for free."

So far, 15 speakers have been confirmed with more to be announced soon. The speakers include WordPress core developers, theme and plugin developers, agency owners, and educators. Some of the talks will be from designers allowing user experience and usability to be part of the conversation.

Gordon says he's been wanting to an in-person event for a while but considering the challenges involved, a virtual conference was the next best thing.

"I used to run in-person workshops in the Washington DC area, which I miss, and have wanted to do an event for a while," he said. "But doing in-person events is so difficult, so the online format seemed like the best option to go with. I got some good advice from Human Made and WP Campus, who both have experience doing online events, so hopefully everything will go smooth."

To reserve a seat and receive updates, visit the JavaScript for WordPress conference site.

13 Feb 2018 1:30am GMT

12 Feb 2018

feedWordPress Planet

Mark Jaquith: Updating plugins using Git and WP-CLI

Now that you know how I deploy WordPress sites and how I configure WordPress environments, what about the maintenance of keeping a WordPress site's plugins up-to-date?

Since I'm using Git, I cannot use WordPress built-in plugin updater on the live site (and I wouldn't want to - if a plugin update goes wrong, my live site could be in trouble!)

The simple way to update all your plugins from a staging or local development site is to use WP-CLI:

wp plugin update-all
git commit -am 'update all plugins' wp-content/plugins

That works. I used to do that.

I don't do that anymore.

Why? Granularity.

One of the benefits of using version control like Git is that when things go wrong, you can pinpoint when they went wrong, and identify what code caused the issue.

Git has a great tool called bisect that takes a known good state in the past and a current broken state, and then jumps around between revisions, efficiently, asking you to report whether that revision is good or bad. Then it tells you what revision broke your site.

If you lump all your plugin updates into one commit, you won't get that granularity. You'll likely get the git bisect result of "great… one of EIGHTEEN PLUGINS I updated was the issue". That doesn't help.

Here's how you do it with granularity:

for plugin in $(wp plugin list --update=available --field=name);
    echo "wp plugin update $plugin" &&
    echo "git add -A wp-content/plugins/$plugin" &&
    echo "git commit -m 'update $plugin plugin'";

This code loops through plugins with updates available, updates each one, and commits it with a message that references the plugin being updated. Great! Now git bisect will be able to tell you which plugin update broke your site.

And what if you can only run WP-CLI commands from within a VM, and Git commands from your local machine? For instance, if you're using my favorite tool, Local by Flywheel, you have to SSH into the site's container to issue WP-CLI commands, but from within that container, you might not have Git configured like it is on your host machine.

So what you can do is break the process into two steps.

On the VM, run this:

wp plugin list --update=available --field=name > plugins.txt
wp plugin update-all

That grabs a list of plugins with updates and writes them to a file plugins.txt, and then updates all the plugins.

And then on your local machine, run this:

while read plugin;
    echo "git add -A wp-content/plugins/$plugin" &&
    echo "git commit -m 'update $plugin plugin'";
done; < plugins.txt

That slurps in that list of updated plugins and does a distinct git add and git commit for each.

When that's done, remove plugins.txt.

All your plugins are quickly updated with WP-CLI, but you get nice granular Git commits and messages.

Do you need WordPress services?

Mark runs Covered Web Services which specializes in custom WordPress solutions with focuses on security, speed optimization, plugin development and customization, and complex migrations.

Please reach out to start a conversation!


12 Feb 2018 2:42pm GMT

09 Feb 2018

feedWordPress Planet

Post Status: WordPress market opportunities: Upmarket edition — Draft podcast

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

In this episode, Brian and Brian continue their discussion on WordPress market opportunities with a focus on the upper-market and enterprise clients. They take a look at discovery projects, pitching WordPress against competing platforms, and considerations to make before pitching on these high-budget projects. There are plenty of positives and negatives when working on long-term projects that may have a dramatic impact on your company in many ways.

In addition to these market opportunities, the boys also discuss recent news including iThemes acquisition by Liquid Web, a welcome change to the WordPress.org plugin directory, and an unfortunate and far-reaching bug that shipped with the 4.9.3 release last week.


Sponsor: WooCommerce

WooCommerce makes the most customizable eCommerce software on the planet, and it's the most popular too. You can build just about anything with WooCommerce. Try it today, and thanks to the team at WooCommerce being a Post Status partner

09 Feb 2018 8:43pm GMT

WPTavern: Jetpack 5.8 Adds Lazy Loading for Images Module

Jetpack 5.8 is available for download and includes a handful of new features for Professional, Premium, and Personal plan users. In October of last year, Jetpack 5.4 began beta testing a new search module based on Elasticsearch. Jetpack 5.8 concludes the beta and the new search service is available to Professional plan customers.

The new search module replaces the native search functionality in WordPress and Jetpack developers claim sites with a large amount of content, images, or products will see significant speed improvements and more relevant results. Developers can fine-tune the user experience by using custom queries and template tags. Users can sort results by categories, tags, month/year, post type, or any taxonomy.

In addition to the Content Delivery Network, users have another method to optimize their sites with a new module named Lazy Load Images. When activated, Jetpack will display a page's textual content first. When a user scrolls down the page, Jetpack will request and download images so they appear when that section of the page comes into view. Sites with a large amount of images will benefit most from having this module activated.

Premium plan customers can now perform security scans on their sites at any time, upload an unlimited amount of videos, and access SEO tools that were once restricted to Business plan customers.

Other notable improvements include:

To view all of the additions in this release, check out the Jetpack 5.8 changelog.

09 Feb 2018 7:54am GMT

08 Feb 2018

feedWordPress Planet

Matt: The Laity

In the last analysis, every profession is a conspiracy against the laity.

The Sir Patrick Cullen character in George Bernard Shaw's play The Doctor's Dilemma

08 Feb 2018 9:48pm GMT