It’s no secret publishers are struggling to build sustainable content businesses. Advertising revenues were in decline before ad-blockers went mainstream, and since the advertising industry alienated a huge swathe of the online audience, it’s become even more difficult to make money from content.
But difficult doesn’t mean impossible — there are plenty of WordPress publishers, large and small, with thriving businesses. The secret to success is revenue and traffic diversity: not relying too much on any single platform to bring home the bacon.
Matt Mullenweg recently announced that the WordPress project will no longer use the phenomenally popular React framework in its projects. React was being used to build the forthcoming Gutenberg editor, which will now have to be rewritten.
WordPress theme and plugin developers don’t have to follow the lead of the WordPress project. They can use whichever front-end technology they like to interact with the WordPress REST API, but if you are embarking on a new WordPress plugin or theme, it’s worth knowing about the alternatives — and there are a lot of alternatives.
I’m often asked whether WordPress is the right CMS for high-traffic websites, often with the implication that the person asking has experienced more than one slow WordPress site in the past. They may doubt whether WordPress can be scaled to meet the demands of a site with millions of visitors a month.
Getting a theme into the WordPress Theme Repository can give a big boost to a WordPress developer’s credibility, especially if it proves popular with WordPress users. It’s also a great way to promote a premium theme — many theme developers publish “light” versions of their theme for free to promote a premium version with more features.
But to get a theme into the WordPress Theme Repository, developers have to follow some strict guidelines. Some of the guidelines are commonsense coding best practices, but others are specific to the WordPress project and are made clear in the Theme Review Requirements document and the documentation for the Theme Check Plugin.
From October, Google’s Chrome browser will warn users that all non-HTTPS pages that ask for user input are insecure. If your site has forms that accept user input and doesn’t have an SSL certificate, you may see a reduction in conversions as Chrome users are discouraged from submitting information. Google Chrome has a market share of 64%, according to W3Counter.
HTTP is the protocol used by web browsers to communicate with websites. HTTPS — note the additional “S” at the end — is a secure version of HTTP. HTTPS uses SSL certificates validated by a Certificate Authority to encrypt data as it moves between the browser and the server on which a site is hosted. Data sent over an HTTPS connection cannot be intercepted by third-parties or modified as it traverses the network. HTTPS makes sure that no-one on the network — either the local network or the Internet — can intercept or interfere with data as it travels between the browser and the server.
The biggest buzz in the WordPress world is the REST API and how it will usher in a new age of freedom, flexibility, and functionality for WordPress users and developers. But the term “REST API” doesn’t mean much to anyone who isn’t a web developer, including most WordPress users. To help WordPress users understand why the REST API is a big deal for the WordPress community, I’d like to take a look at exactly what we mean by API.
First things first, API stands for Application Programming Interface. Knowing that isn’t particularly helpful unless you already know what an API is, so we’ll move swiftly on.
We’re all familiar with applications. Take a look at your phone’s home screen. It’s full of applications. Each application is a self-contained chunk of functionality. A weather application tells you what the weather will be. Your email applications lets you read email.
A few weeks ago we, wrote about a proposal to add data collection facilities to WordPress. The proposal was rejected, but that doesn’t mean the points it made weren’t valid. Collecting data about real-world software use can be valuable to developers. Wisdom is a premium WordPress plugin that allows plugin developers to collect information about how and where their plugin is used.
There’s often a disconnect between software developers and their users. It can be hard for plugin developers — who are WordPress experts — to put themselves in the shoes of the average WordPress user. What seems like a great idea to a developer may get no traction at all with users. Interfaces that seem intuitive to a developer might confuse users. And a developer could waste weeks of time building new features that aren’t used.
The release of WordPress 3.7 introduced a feature that was met with mixed reactions: automatic background updates. In all versions after 3.7, WordPress completes minor updates without asking for permission.
Left to their own devices, site owners often neglect to perform updates. Updates — particularly the minor updates that can be applied automatically — include security patches that fix known vulnerabilities. If the updates aren’t applied to a WordPress site, it remains vulnerable. If the vulnerability wasn’t widely known in the criminal community, it will be after a patch is released, increasing the risk to sites that fail to update. The sooner sites are patched, the better. But many in the WordPress developer and professional communities weren’t impressed with automatic updates.
August was a big month around Nexcess. We had our Fourth Annual Grill-Off to benefit Pediatric cancer. It was a great day filled with hundreds of pounds of smoked meat, scavenger hunts, a dunk tank, and six shaved heads. When it was all said and done, we were thrilled to be able to raise $6800 for a great cause. Read more about the day here. And of course there was the solar eclipse. We even got out of the data center to see it. Now let’s jump right into the roundup. If you’re looking for the same great articles the rest of the year, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Enjoy and let us know if we missed anything important in the comment section.
Increasing eCommmerce conversion rate is important any time of the year, but especially during the two months of the traditional holiday online shopping season, when competition is fierce and many companies are willing to undercut margins to win customers. With holiday promotions starting earlier and earlier each year, running deep discounts for close to 25 percent of the year can seriously affect your profit, loss and margins; not to mention constant percent off promotions can exhaust customers already inundated with marketing offers.
Magento Business Intelligence research found that merchants can acquire up to 59 percent more new customers during the holidays, compared to post-holiday and the rest of the year, but a site that is not performing at its peak will never attain these impressive numbers.