When emailing zips please make sure your email…

When emailing zips, please make sure your email client and email service provider allow this.

Increasingly, we have seen people testifying that they emailed us a file with a zip, but we never receive it. In doing some research, we’ve found that mail providers are now silent-killing large emails! While the settings can be overwritten, please keep this in mind when you email people your zips.

If you have the ability to check your mail logs, you may be rudely surprised. I know I was.

WordPress Plugin: Theme Switcha

[ Theme Switcha ]

Announcing my latest WordPress plugin, Theme Switcha! There are many theme-switch plugins but none of them provide the simplicity, performance, and reliability that I require for my own sites. So I wrote my own plugin using the WP API and kept the code as focused and solid as possible. Only essential theme-switching features have been added, along with a simple yet informative UI. Theme Switcha gives you a consistent, quality theme-switching experience that you can optionally share with your visitors.

[ Theme Switcha UI ]
Theme Switcha – All your themes ready for switching

Plugin Features

Theme Switcha is Packed full of features:

  • Enables you to develop new themes while visitors use the default theme
  • Control who can switch themes (admins, users with passkey, or everyone)
  • Administrators can switch themes directly via the WP Admin Area
  • Enable visitors to switch and preview themes on the front-end
  • Each visitor can choose their own theme
  • Send preview links to clients via the passkey
  • Choose your own custom passkey code for preview links
  • Set the duration (cookie timeout) for switched themes
  • Enable/disable theme preview in the Admin Area
  • Enable/disable all theme switching without deactivating the plugin
  • Provides several shortcodes to enable visitors to switch themes
  • Shortcodes display themes as a list, select menu, or thumbnails
  • Changed options are saved when working on switched themes
  • Simple, stylish UI featuring screenshots of each theme
  • Works with any theme, parent themes and child themes

Check out a screenshot of the Theme Switcha settings page »

Theme Switcha makes it easy for the site admin to preview and develop new themes without changing the default theme. So visitors will continue to use your site normally without ever knowing that you are testing new themes behind the scenes. And if you want to enable your visitors to switch themes, you can do that as well by adding a shortcode to any WP Post or Page. Then each visitor will be able to select and preview any of your WordPress themes.

Useful for things!

Theme Switcha is useful for things like:

  • Maintenance mode – display a temporary theme to visitors while you update your primary theme
  • Theme test drive – preview and test new themes without disrupting anything on the frontend
  • Theme development – perfect for developing new themes to fit your existing site content
  • Client presentations – send clients special “theme preview” links to show off new templates

The beauty of Theme Switcha is that it’s all 100% transparent: visitors will never know that you are hard at work testing and building new themes behind the scenes.

Learn more and download Theme Switcha »


How to Add Your WordPress Blog to Apple News

Did you just start a blog and want to submit it to Apple News? By becoming an Apple News publisher, you can monetize your news channel while giving your readers the ability to read your blog alongside with their other favorite websites from a single app. In this article, we will show you how to add your WordPress blog to Apple news.

Add WordPress blog to Apple News

Before Getting Started

Apple News app allows users to read news and blogs articles in one single app on their Apple devices. It provides a better reading experience and makes it easier for users to stay updated with their favorite content from a single app.

The Apple News program for publishers allows you to submit your blog as an Apple News channel. It also allows you to monetize your content by showing advertisements.

However the monetization program is still in beta, and it is only available in the United States, UK, and Australia. You will have to wait for a couple weeks for your application to get reviewed.

Please note: this guide is for self-hosted WordPress blogs and not for WordPress.com blogs. See our guide on the difference between WordPress.org vs WordPress.com. If you’re on WordPress.com, then you can use this guide to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.

Having said that, let’s learn how to add your WordPress blog to Apple News.

Adding a WordPress Site to Apple News

First thing you need to visit the News Publisher app on the iCloud website. You will need to login with your Apple ID.

Once you are logged in, you will see News Publisher terms of service. Click on I agree and then click on the submit button.

Next, you will be asked to provide publisher information. Fill in the form and then click on Next.

Publisher info

In the following step, you will be asked to setup your channel by providing information about your website. Fill in the required fields and click on the next button to proceed.

Setting up your channel on Apple News

You will now be asked to provide a type based logo for your channel. A type based logo is just an image with your site name in readable text format. It should have a transparent background, and the file size should be less than 2 MB.

Upload logo for your channel

Next, you will be asked to choose between RSS or Apple News Format. Go ahead and choose Apple News Format, we will cover this in the next step.

If you use the RSS feed option, then you will not be able to monetize your content in Apple News. It also prevents you from using other Apple News features as a publisher.

See the comparison chart below:

Choose news format

Once you are done, click on the Signup for Apple News Format button.

That’s all, you have successfully finished your application for joining the Apple News. You will now see a thank you page like this one:

Thank you message

Now you will have to wait to hear back from Apple News. An application can take up to two weeks to be approved.

You may want to bookmark this article now and come back to complete step 2 once your application is approved. Press Ctrl + D to bookmark the article in your browser (Cmd + D for Mac users).

Submitting Articles to Apple News

Once your application is approved, you will be able to submit articles from your WordPress blog to the Apple news app.

You will have to manually submit your first article via your News Publisher account on iCloud. Since Apple is notorious for quality, your first article will be manually reviewed by the Apple News team, and this could also take some time (anywhere between 1-2 weeks).

After that Apple News will automatically start showing articles from your RSS Feed.

Here is how to automatically publish your WordPress blog posts to Apple News.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the Publish to Apple News plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Apple News page to configure plugin settings.

Publish to Apple News settings

Next, you need to enter your channel ID, API key, and API key secret. You can find this information by signing into your Apple News Publisher account.

Apple news API keys

After that you need to select which post types you would like to generate in Apple News format. In most cases, the only post type you need to select is Posts.

Apple News WordPress Post Type

The last section is to configure the visual appearance of different elements in your generated articles. Feel free to customize the settings as you need.

Apple News Formatting

Don’t forget to click on the save changes button when you are done.

That’s all, Publish to Apple News will now start publishing your article in the Apple News Format.

We hope this article helped you learn how to add your WordPress blog to Apple News. You may also want to see these 19 actionable tips to drive traffic to your WordPress site.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Add Your WordPress Blog to Apple News appeared first on WPBeginner.

Documenting JavaScript in WordPress

Ever since the release of the 3.0 version of the Yoast SEO plugin, JavaScript has been a big part of it. We rely on it to make high-end features possible, like real-time content analysis. The decision to use JavaScript meant that the development team had to make a lot of choices about technologies and tools. So, we had to get a firm grasp of the use of JavaScript in WordPress.

While working on Yoast SEO 3.0, we discovered that few WordPress contributors have extensive JavaScript knowledge. At the contributors day of WordCamp Europe 2016, we saw an opportunity to help WordPress advance the future of the internet. By documenting the JavaScript in WordPress, we can make it easier for everyone to build on and enhance the code.

We believe that JavaScript is here to stay. It is a great language that helps to enrich the user experience people enjoy so much on the web. But to work towards a better JavaScript implementation and understanding of WordPress core, we had to find out what goes on!

That means documenting all the places where decisions were made, magical things happen or where complicated situations are handled. This documentation is a requirement to maintain all the functionality. It’s also crucial to prevent misunderstandings that will lead to bugs or other problems. These insights resulted in our dedication to documenting all the existing JavaScript files used in WordPress.

How we started

The first thing we did was to reserve a slot in the development calendar. Every Thursday we have two hours to work on the documentation process. This means that all developers in the office are going to work on WordPress core activities for that period of time. At the moment the primary focus is JavaScript documentation so everybody will put their time into this particular task. In the future, we might be working on other parts of the core.

To get things going, we started off with a briefing about the intentions and goals. After this meeting, we developed a practical approach. This approach consists of guidelines and tools to ensure a uniform result. Every result must follow all standards. We use these to make sure everyone works in the same way.

Tools: JSDoc

Since we’re writing JavaScript documentation, it was only logical to use JSDoc to generate a view of the state of the documentation. The WordPress standards dictate which specific tags you should use in the documentation. It’s mainly used to validate that everything is visible at the intended location.

WordPress: Coding Standards

WordPress has a precise definition on the formatting of code. This ensures that the entire code-base has the same look and feel. It helps developers in providing a unified experience throughout the platform. You all know these definitions as Coding Standards. WordPress implements separate standards for PHP and JavaScript.

There is also a precise definition on how you should format your JavaScript documentation. It is possible to use a tool to generate documentation. If you do, you can use special keywords to provide extra information about the code that is being documented.

Prioritizing files

To start, we’ve created a list of all the JavaScript files provided in a WordPress installation. From that list, we determined what files are the most complex and which ones are in the most critical places. This way, we developed a priority list.

Weekly dedication and future

Every week, all our developers have two hours to pair up and write documentation for a specific file. All patches are code reviewed internally at Yoast before we submit them to core in our attempt to make the review and merge as easy as possible. Currently, we submitted a total of five patches to the WordPress core repository. Three of them are already merged for the upcoming release 4.7.

We received very enthusiastic feedback on the patches submitted. Besides that, we had a good time (with some frustrations) figuring out what was going on. Do you want to follow our lead and get to know WordPress core better? If so, find code that doesn’t have documentation, determine what it does, write the documentation and create a patch. It is one of the most gratifying things to do and makes core documentation maintainers jump with joy!

To be continued…

We will continue to document the files until we finished them all. After that, we will evaluate how and where we’ll put our team to work. We could work on improving existing functionality, architecture and efficiency, but could also develop new features and bootstrapping core for the future.

Do you want to help? Or do you need to document your own JavaScript for a patch in WordPress core? Then you should learn all about the WordPress JavaScript documentation standard.

The merged tickets at WordPress trac:
https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/37717
https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/37718
https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/38118
https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/37365
https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/37571

New Inclusive Parents plugin adds more statuses to WordPress’s Parent Page options

There’s a long-running feature/bug in WordPress that prevents you from using unpublished pages as parents: that is, you can’t add child pages to anything that’s set to private, password-protected, scheduled, pending, or draft. This prevents you from doing things like creating a new scheduled section of a website for embargoed content, or submitting a whole draft section to an editor for approval.

Inclusive Parents is a lightweight plugin to remedy that. It adds private, password, future, pending, and draft pages to the Edit screens’ parent dropdown in Page Attributes as well as the Quick Edit and Bulk Edit parent dropdowns. It also adds private and password pages to the Menu screen. Unpublished pages have their (status) appended in all cases.

Screenshots

Inclusive Parents screenshot-1 Inclusive Parents screenshot-2Inclusive Parents screenshot-3

Donate or Contribute

You may contribute to the plugin code on GitHub or donate to fund its further development.

W3 Total Cache high-risk XSS vulnerability

Just today, WP Media pointed us to a high-risk XSS vulnerability in W3 Total Cache (W3TC). This was a very popular WordPress plugin that has over 1 million active installs. Although it’s a very popular plugin, it hasn’t been updated in over six months. We stopped recommending it a while back for WP Rocket, a W3 Total Cache alternative that skyrocketed in use over the past few months.

We agree with Julio’s statement that when you need to explain to other people you haven’t abandoned your plugin, due to questions about that, the clock has already struck midnight.

XSS vulnerability

Let’s first explain what’s going on here:

XSS (short for Cross-Site Scripting) is a widespread vulnerability that affects many web applications. The danger behind XSS is that it allows an attacker to inject content into a website and modify how it is displayed, forcing a victim’s browser to execute the code provided by the attacker while loading the page.
Source: Sucuri

That’s definitely not what you want your website to do, right? In this case, we are talking about W3TC being vulnerable to a XSS flaw, high risk rated. This one should be fixed asap. With nobody maintaining the plugin, that is a huge issue for the millions of sites that use the plugin.

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Instead of waiting for a fix, we recommend disabling the plugin and using a W3 Total Cache alternative like the ones listed below.

W3 Total Cache alternatives

Luckily, there are more plugins you can use to optimize your site speed. And most work pretty well out-of-the-box. We have listed three speed optimization plugins for you as alternatives for W3 Total Cache.

  1. WP Rocket
    Our most-recommended speed optimization plugin. WP Rocket simply delivers speed improvement. It has a lot of options under the hood and works by simply clicking some checkboxes in their dashboard.
  2. WP Super Cache
    Made by Automattic, so it works flawlessly with WordPress. It’s a simple speed optimization plugin that helps a lot of WordPress sites. We have to add a note: it hasn’t been updated in five months as well. But all in all, it’s a nice, free WP Rocket or W3 Total Cache alternative.
  3. Comet Cache
    Formerly known as Zen Cache, formerly known as Quick Cache. If you change your name so often, you’re probably actively working on your plugin as well, right? Registration is needed.

Over to you

If you want your website to be safe RIGHT NOW and you are using W3 Total Cache, we recommend investing a few bucks in WP Rocket. It’ll be worth your while. If you don’t feel like investing that money in your website, feel free to switch to one of the other W3 Total Cache alternatives instead!

We’re using Sucuri’s Website Firewall at yoast.com, which eliminates the need for a separate speed plugin. But we have installed WP Rocket on some other sites with great results, so we’re happy to recommend them! Plus, we’re on the awesome and fast WP Engine hosting platform. Just in case you were wondering ;)

How to Connect Constant Contact to WordPress (Step by Step)

Are you using ConstantContact for your email marketing? Want to connect ConstantContact with your WordPress site? In this ultimate guide, we will show you how to connect ConstantContact with WordPress.

Using Constant Contact with WordPress - The Ultimate Guide

Why Building an Email List is so Important?

Have you ever wondered that why every website on the internet wants to have your email address? Whether you are creating an account on Facebook, Twitter, or New York Times, they all want your email address.

The answer is dead simple. Email is the best way to reach your customers.

A recent study showed that small businesses get $40 back for every dollar spent on email marketing. It is the most effective way to convert visitors into customers.

You can learn more on this topic by reading our article on why you should start building your email list right away.

Now that you know the importance of building an email list, let’s see how to get started with Constant Contact to build an email list for your WordPress site.

What is Constant Contact?

Constant Contact is one of the most popular email marketing service providers in the world. They specialize in sending mass emails to your customers, manage your email lists, and run effective email marketing campaigns.

It can be quite overwhelming for small businesses to start their own email list. Constant Contact makes sure that even absolute beginners can run their email campaigns like a pro.

It is a paid service with free 2 month trial. After the trial period, pricing starts as low as $20 per month.

How to Set up Constant Contact

First, you need to visit Constant Contact website and sign up for an account.

Sign up for a Constant Contact account

Upon sign up, you will land on the Constant Contact dashboard. You will see three simple steps to help you get started.

Constant Contact dashboard

Step 1: Setting up your first email list

First, you need to click on ‘Set up your first list’ link. This will bring up a popup where you need to provide a name for your email list and some email addresses to add into it.

Next, click on the save list button to continue.

Step 2: Add your organization info

The CAN-SPAM act requires a valid postal address in all outgoing marketing emails. Constant Contact makes it easy for you to comply with this law by providing your organization info. Constant Contact will then automatically add this information in the footer of your emails.

You need to click on ‘Add your organization info’ link. It will take you to a form where you need to provide your business information.

Add your organization information

You will need to provide your website address and postal address. You will also be asked to select an industry for your business and upload an image logo.

Don’t forget to click on the save button to store your settings and continue to the next step.

Step 3: Send your first email

Lastly, you need to click on ‘Send your first email’ link. Constant Contact will show you a number of beautiful email templates to choose from.

Select a template for your first email

This will open the template in Constant Contact’s live WYSIWYG email composer. This drag and drop design tool allows you to easily design your email.

First you need to provide a title for your campaign. After that you can replace the images used in template with your own, add your own text and branding.

Compose email

Click on the continue button when you are satisfied with the result.

Now you will reach the email options page. This is where you need to select which email list to use, when to send an email, or change sender name and reply-to email address.

Email options

Once you are done, click on the Send Now or Schedule button to continue.

That’s all, you have successfully finished setting up your Constant Contact account.

Adding Constant Contact Signup Forms in WordPress

Now that you have set up your Constant Contact account, the next step is to collect email addresses by asking users to join your email list.

There are multiple ways to do this. You can copy and paste the signup form code from your Constant Contact account to your WordPress site.

You can also use OptinMonster to add highly optimized signup forms to your WordPress site. It will help you get many more email subscribers faster. See our case study of how we increased our email subscribers by 600% using OptinMonster.

We will show you both of these methods in this guide. Let’s get started.

Adding Default Constant Contact Signup Forms in WordPress

Constant Contact comes with built-in tools to create your email signup forms. You can then embed these forms into your WordPress site.

First you need to login to your Constant Contact account and then click on ‘Contacts Growth Tools’ from the navigation menu on top.

Contacts growth tools

On the next page, you need to click on create a signup form button.

Create a signup form

This will bring you to the form builder wizard.

First, you need to provide the form name. This name will be used internally, so that you can identify a form in Constant Contact dashboard.

Signup form details

Next, you need to provide a title, and taglin for your form. Both of them will be visible on your form.

Lastly, you need to select at least one email list. Users signing up using this form will be added to these lists.

Click on the continue button for the next step.

Now you need to add the fields you want to display on your signup form. The email address field is required. You can click on ‘Additional fields’ to add more fields to your signup form.

Add fields to your email signup form

After adding the form fields, click on the continue button.

In the last step, you can choose your font color, background color, and add a logo.

Change form appearance

You can click on the preview button to see how your form looks. Once you are satisfied, click on the ‘Finish’ button.

You will be redirected back to the contacts growth tools page. You will notice the form you just created under ‘Additional Web Sign-Up Forms’ section.

You need to click on the actions drop down menu and then select ‘Embed Code’.

Get embed code for your signup form

This will bring up a popup with the embed code to add your form anywhere. You need to copy this code and paste it in a text editor like Notepad.

Embed code for your signup form

Now visit your WordPress admin area and click on Appearance » Widgets.

From the list of available widgets, drag and drop the Text widget to a sidebar where you want to display your signup form.

Paste the code you copied from Constant Contact website in the widget’s text area. Once you are done, click on the save button to store your widget settings.

That’s all, you can now visit your website to see the signup form in action.

Constant Contact email signup form in WordPress

Adding Constant Contact Signup Forms with OptinMonster

While the basic forms are relatively easy to add, they are not ideal for high conversions.

An average users visiting your website spends very little time looking at non-content element. You need email signup forms that grabs your user’s attention.

This is where OptinMonster comes in. It is the most popular lead generation tool in the market. You can create beautiful sign up forms that are optimized for conversions and A/B test them without hiring a developer.

OptinMonster comes with different kinds of signup forms such as exit-intent popups, floating bars, after post forms, sidebar forms, slide-in forms, full screen welcome gates, and more.

You also get powerful features like MonsterLinks (2-step optins), Scroll detection, A/B testing, page level targeting, and more.

OptinMonster works great with WordPress and all popular email service providers including Constant Contact.

Send WordPress Posts to Your Constant Contact Email List

Constant Contact makes it super simple to add your WordPress content into your email campaigns.

Note: Constant Contact does not currently offer automatic sending of blog posts to email list.

First, login to your Constant Contact account and visit the Campaigns page. You need to click on the create button and then select send a new email.

Send an email

You will be asked to select a template for your email. After that you will reach the email builder screen.

From the left pane drag and drop the “Read More” block into your email preview. Next, click on the read more block in the email preview to edit it.

Add read more content block

This will bring up a popup window. You need to provide the URL of your WordPress blog post and click on the preview button.

Constant Contact will automatically fetch an image from your article and an article summary. You can click on the Insert button to add it to your email.

Fetch blog content into your email

Repeat the process to add more content from your WordPress blog into your email. Once you are done, go ahead and click on the continue button.

You will then reach the last step of creating your email. This is where you can select whether you want to send the email right away or schedule it.

That’s all, Constant Contact will now send your email with your blog content to your subscribers.

We hope this article helped you learn how to connect Constant Contact to WordPress. You may also want to see our list of 19 actionable tips to drive traffic to your WordPress site.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Connect Constant Contact to WordPress (Step by Step) appeared first on WPBeginner.

WordPress: How to noindex a post!

Some posts and pages should not show up in search results. To make sure they don’t show up, you should tell search engines to exclude them. You do this with a meta robots noindex tag. For example; you might not want people to find the “thank you”-page you redirect people to when they’ve contacted you. Or your checkout success page. Setting a page to noindex makes sure search engines never show it in their results.

How to set a page to noindex in Yoast SEO

Setting a post or page to noindex is simple when you are running Yoast SEO. Underneath your post, in the Yoast SEO meta box, click on the advaneced tab:

the advanced tab of the Yoast SEO metabox; here you can noindex a post.

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On the advanced tab, you’ll find the meta robots dropdown. It’ll default to the default robots meta setting for that post type. Set it to noindex to make sure this page does not show up in the search results:

Yoast SEO noindex meta robots dropdown, used to noindex posts

Please note that if the post you’re setting to noindex is already in the search results, it might take some time for the page to disappear. The search engines will first have to re-index the page to find the noindex tag. Do not noindex posts frivolously: if they were getting traffic before, you’re losing that traffic!

Do links on noindexed pages have value?

When you set a post to noindex, Yoast SEO automatically assumes you want to set it to noindex, follow. This means that search engines will still follow the links on those pages. If you do not want the search engines to follow the links, set the radio button to nofollow:

meta robots follow or nofollow

Setting the meta robots to nofollow will change the search engines behavior so they will ignore all the links on the page. Use this with caution!

If you want to learn more about meta robots tags, read our ultimate guide to meta robots. Or read more about WordPress SEO, and get the most out of your site!

Lynda.com Course: Developing Secure WordPress Sites

[ WordPress: Developing Secure WordPress Sites ] After months of preparation and production, my new video course on developing secure WordPress sites is now available at Lynda.com. This is my second video course on securing WordPress; the first one was originally launched in 2011 and remained in Lynda’s library for over five years. I received a lot of great feedback on the course, and so I jumped on the opportunity to do another one. If there is one thing that I enjoy doing, it’s helping people with WordPress and security.

Overview

This new Lynda.com course features over 30 video tutorials (over 2.5 hours!), and is jam-packed with over 10 years worth of hands-on experience securing WordPress-powered sites. The course is aimed at intermediate-level users and is presented with focus and clarity throughout each bite-size lesson. Follow along and discover tons of awesome tips, tricks, and techniques for keeping your site safe and secure.

Along with essentials like securing the Admin Area, monitoring users, and implementing a strong firewall, you’ll learn how to protect your site against automated attacks, bad bots, spam, and everything in between. It’s just completely action-packed from start to finish.

Course Description

Leaving your WordPress site unsecured leaves you, your users, and your data vulnerable to attack. Luckily, with some basic site configuration, code updates, and free plugins, you can make an existing or brand-new WordPress site much more secure. Beginning with the basics (your backup/restore and password settings), author Jeff Starr explains how to harden WordPress by setting up user roles, configuring authentication keys, and setting proper file permissions. Plus, discover advanced WordPress security techniques to monitor user activity, implement a firewall, prevent spam, and block bots, and learn best practices for reporting vulnerabilities to WordPress and auditing your site.

Topics Include

  • Backing up and restoring your site
  • Setting up strong passwords
  • Understanding users and roles
  • Choosing trusted plugins and themes
  • Changing and recovering passwords
  • Configuring authentication keys
  • Securing the login page
  • Fighting spam in the comments
  • Blocking access and detecting hacks
  • Building a firewall for WordPress
  • Detecting and blocking bots
  • Auditing your WordPress security

Visit Lynda.com to check it out: WordPress: Developing Secure Sites »


Interview with Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten (TNW)

Now this a quote we love: “…being patient and providing quality pays off…“. It’s one of the lessons Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten, co-founder of The Next Web (TNW), shared with us in this interview.

TNW owns one of the most visited tech news sites, and they organize large tech events around the world. Besides that, TNW also offers gadgets for tech geeks, and they’re just launching a tech hub and a market intelligence platform. Boris seems to be a busy guy! Luckily he found time to answer some questions for our new series “5 questions”. In this series we ask digital entrepreneurs to reveal some of the secrets of their success.

TNW is living proof that WordPress can run large scale sites just fine. Why and how did you pick this particular CMS?

When I launched our first blog (for Hubhop, a company I sold to KPN later) I built my own blog software with PHP and MySQL. It was a lot of work, and I wasn’t good at it, so I didn’t enjoy the experience. When WordPress came out, I did like how flexible it was. I liked that at least I understood the code and what was happening behind the scenes.
So when we needed a CMS for our site, I didn’t have to think very long about what we would use. WordPress was just the obvious choice. Even more so because from the beginning, we decided we would always keep on developing and innovating. Our goal was always to be a technology company first.

Running a site of this scale means optimizing lots of processes, both on a technical level and a personal one. What measures did you take to keep the servers humming nicely and the editors happy?

We have a team of developers who work on this full-time. We serve millions of people a month, and we want to make that a seamless experience. So a lot of effort goes into making sure we can scale along if there are traffic spikes. It has been years since we ran into trouble when we hit the front page of Digg. Nowadays we can handle 20 times that amount of traffic and everything still just works fine. That’s still a bit of a miracle to me.

Interview Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten of The Next Web

A well-thought-out SEO strategy is a must-have for sites of any size and scale. What’s your secret SEO-tactic?

We also have dedicated SEO people here, and they are doing an amazing job of keeping track of everything and optimizing for search engines. And of course, we use your amazing plugin as well. We also firmly believe in creating quality content and not getting lost in SEO alone to get more traffic. It’s great to optimize great content through the smart use of SEO, but it sucks to having to promote shitty content with great SEO tactics. I’d rather invest in quality content than try to find tricks to cheat traffic our way.

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TNW is one of many high volume sites that uses Yoast SEO for optimization purposes. Can you tell us how you use the plugin and maybe share some ‘hidden’ tips on using it?

I think the most important part is making sure our writers really understand how things work. There’s a lot of contact between SEO people and writers about what the trends are and how we can optimize for SEO. And optimizing is an important word. I don’t want to write for SEO, but I do want to optimize what we write. That’s an important difference that our writers understand. They all love to see great engagement on posts, and we also love quirky and teasing titles, but try to avoid clickbait titles.

Failure is an important part of finding out how to make things work in the best possible way. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned while working on TNW?

My most important lesson is that being patient and providing quality pays off. That seems logical, but most people fail at both. Lots of blogs were started with the idea of growing fast and making money fast. Pretty soon you are resorting to clickbait articles and putting all your hopes on SEO. The quality of your content degrades and soon you’ll find yourself in a negative spiral towards less quality, less traffic and less revenue.
Quality is hard, and it takes a very long time before people get used to you and you become a part of their daily digital diet. We didn’t start out with an idea to make a quick buck. That’s also the reason why we are still doing well, and have survived many of our competitors.

We’d like to thank Boris for sharing his lessons and experiences with us! Follow Boris on:
boris.to
twitter.com/Boris
facebook.com/borisvvz

Stay tuned for another interview next week!

How to Permanently Delete a WordPress Site from the Internet

Recently, one of our readers asked if it was possible to permanently delete a WordPress site from the internet? Simply deleting your WordPress installation does not completely remove it from the internet. In this article, we will show you how to permanently delete a WordPress site from internet.

Permanently delete a WordPress site from Internet

When and Why Permanently Delete a WordPress Site from Internet

Sometimes you may need to completely remove a WordPress site from the internet. You can simply delete WordPress files from your server, and it will become unavailable.

However, your site may still appear in search results, cached snapshots, and the Wayback Machine.

It is quite difficult to remove all traces of a website from the internet. There are thousands of websites that aggregate content from other sites, publish screenshots, offer statistics and comparisons.

With the steps highlighted in this article, you can make it difficult to find your deleted website, and its content.

Please note that this article is about deleting your self hosted WordPress.org website. See our guide on the difference between self hosted WordPress.org site vs WordPress.com blog.

If you want to delete a WordPress.com blog, then see this article on how to delete your WordPress.com blog.

Having said that, let’s take a look at how to properly and permanently delete a WordPress site from internet.

Permanently Deleting a WordPress Site from Internet

Here are the steps you can take to properly delete a WordPress site and make it difficult to find.

Step 1: Backup Your WordPress Site

Backup your WordPress site

First thing you need to do is to create a complete backup of your WordPress site. Even though you want to delete your site completely, you should still make a backup.

This will come in handy in case you change your mind in the future, or want to access piece of content that you had already deleted.

Step 2: Delete Your WordPress Files

Now you need to delete WordPress files stored on your server. Deleting these files will erase WordPress software as well as your themes, plugins, images and other media files.

You can do that by visiting your WordPress hosting account’s dashboard. Upon login, locate the File Manager icon.

File Manager icon in cPanel

File Manager provides a web based interface to manage files stored on your server. You need to go to the root directory and delete all files stored there.

You can also delete your WordPress files using an FTP client. If you are unfamiliar with FTP, then take a look at our beginner’s guide on using FTP.

Step 3: Block Search Engines Using Robots.txt

Now that you have deleted your website, it is time to block search engines from crawling your website.

We will use robots.txt file to tell search engines that we don’t want our pages to be crawled.

Remember, that robots.txt file is just a directive. It is respected by most search engines, but some lesser known crawlers may completely ignore it. Don’t worry we will show you how to deal with those as well.

First you will need to create a new robots.txt file using file manager in cPanel or FTP.

After creating the file you need to edit it and add the following lines:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

These two lines disallow all user-agents (crawlers like Googlebot) from accessing all URLs under your domain name.

Step 4: Removing Content From Search Engines

Even though your content does not exist any more, search engines may keep showing it for sometime.

Search engines understand that websites can go down due to technical faults. This is why they keep showing the content for a while hoping that your website will come back.

You will need to explicitly tell search engines that your content is no longer available, and it is removed permanently.

The easiest way to do this is by using the .htaccess file. You will need to create a new file in your website’s root directory and name it .htaccess.

Next, you need to edit the .htaccess file and add this code inside it:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/robots.txt
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.example.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ - [L,G]

Don’t forget to replace example.com with your own domain name.

This code will redirect all requests to your website and show 410 Error. However, it will allow crawlers to access your robots.txt file.

410 error on a website

Despite taking all the steps, this process can still take sometime. You can speed it up further by submitting cache removal request.

Removing Website Snapshots from Wayback Machine

Archive.org’s Wayback Machine is the world’s largest archive of websites. It crawls and stores cached versions of billions of web pages.

Anyone can visit Wayback Machine and look for cached snapshots of any website.

Wayback Machine

The best way to permanently remove your website from Wayback Machine is by contacting Archive.org and request them to remove snapshots of your content.

Removing your website from Wayback Machine by emailing Archive.org will ensure that your past snapshots are never included again.

Even when your domain registration is expired and transferred to a new owner, Archive.org will not enable archiving for that domain ever again.

That’s all, we hope this article helped you learn how to permanently delete a WordPress site from internet. In case you want to start a different website, check out our guide on how to start a WordPress blog for detailed instructions.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Permanently Delete a WordPress Site from the Internet appeared first on WPBeginner.

WordPress 4.7 to Allow 255-Character Passwords for Protected Posts

photo credit: Padlock - (license)
photo credit: Padlock(license)

WordPress users who protect posts with passwords will soon have the option to make their passwords more secure. The upcoming 4.7 release brings resolution to a 12-year old ticket requesting an increase in the number of characters allowed for passwords on password-protected posts. Users will now be able to protect their posts with 255-character passwords, an increase from the previous 20 characters.

Security experts are still divided on whether complexity or length is more essential for password strength. Most of us have been told that more complex passwords are always more difficult to crack. However, a thought-provoking article on the Microsoft TechNet blog suggests that a required password complexity only prevents users from creating easy-to-guess passwords but has the negative affect of reducing the total number of possible passwords in a key-space.

The article explores a formula for calculating bits of entropy (the mathematical measurement, in bits, of how difficult it is to crack a password): log(C) / log(2) * L where C is the size of the character set and L is the length of the password. Using this formula, the article makes two conclusions:

  • Mathematically, the LENGTH of the password is exponentially more important than the complexity of the character-set used.
  • ANY complexity rule, to include defining a required number of numbers, letters, specials, etc., actually increases a password’s ability to be cracked.

With this formula in mind, WordPress contributors’ decision to increase the size of wp_posts.post_password to 255 characters gives users the opportunity to create longer, more secure passwords.

“Longer passwords and passphrases are much more common than when post passwords were introduced all those eons ago, so let’s increase the length of the post_password field from 20 to 255 characters,” Gary Pendergast said in the commit message. Since post authors expect to be able to view the passwords they assign to posts (and often don’t write them down), it will continue to be stored in plaintext.

This update only affects password-protected posts. WordPress user passwords don’t share the same length restrictions and can be upwards of 1,000 characters long if so desired.

Forums Status Update (Sept 12)

Subscriptions should be working again.

Feeds have _moved_ and I’m really sorry about that. Hopefully we’ll get an nginx redirect in there sooner rather than later but basically it’s this: `https://wordpress.org/support/plugin/akismet/feed/`

We’re using WordPress now, so any time you see a view you want to follow in RSS, slap `/feed/` on the end and it will _probably_ work.

There’s also this URL: `https://wordpress.org/support/plugin/akismet/active` however, as you will notice, there is no ‘feed’ for it. Those are custom (non default WP) views and are all support threads with Closed and Resolved filtered out, then sorted by last reply. We’re working on feeds for those and the old plugin committer feeds. I want that back too. Right now, I suggest you use the per-plugin feed to get a list of your new bugs etc, and then subscribe to the post (or add it to favorites).

Sadly, ‘cost overruns’ have been the story of this migration. We had hoped to be done with everything by the 5th, but that proved a gross underestimate.

We know there are a lot of ‘smaller’ features everyone loves and have gotten used to making their lives easier that we’re now doing without. It sucks. Trust me here, the mods have ‘lost’ more tools than anyone else. This upgrade had to happen, though.

Also the reason I’m closing these posts to comments when I make them is I have no additional information to provide. Historically, if I leave them open people will posts complaints and rants (which I can do nothing about save sympathize), bug report (which we either already know about, or should have been posted elsewhere), or ‘thanks’ (which we all appreciate, but get spammy). And pinging me on Slack won’t get you any answers more than I’ve posted. This is what I know as I know it.

All I have for you now is a plea to be patient. This is a massive undertaking that for a long time was deemed impossible. But slowly, as we clean up the mess, things will get better and the pros of the move will reveal themselves. Like having Akismet actually catch spam for a change.

Please check Support Forums: Meta Trac before filing a bug report/complaint. And if you have suggestions for fixes, jump in and let us know! The bonus of being on bbPress now is that if there are plugins that can do what we need, we can actually use them!

Thanks.

12 Tips to Optimize Your WordPress RSS Feed

Do you want to optimize your WordPress RSS feed? RSS feeds provide an easy way for your users to subscribe to your content. However, not many beginners know about how to make the most out of WordPress RSS feeds. In this article, we will share 12 tips on how to optimize your WordPress RSS feeds and boost your subscriptions.

Optimize Your WordPress RSS Feed

1. Optimize Your WordPress RSS Feed for Feedly

Feedly has quickly become the most popular feed reader after the demise of Google Reader. Optimizing your WordPress RSS feed for Feedly will help you get discovered on Feedly and offer a better user experience to your subscribers.

First you need to install and activate the Optimize Your Feed for Feedly plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation you need to visit Settings » OYFFF page in your WordPress admin area to configure the plugin settings.

Optimize WordPress feed for Feedly settings

In the first option, you need to provide a large image to be used as the cover image for your website. After that you need to provide an SVG image to be used as your site’s icon.

If you have your logo image in PNG or JPEG, then you can use this online tool to convert PNG into SVG.

If you get a file type not allowed error during the upload, then you need to enable SVG upload in WordPress. Simply add this code to your theme’s functions.php file or in a site-specific plugin.

function cc_mime_types($mimes) {
  $mimes['svg'] = 'image/svg+xml';
  return $mimes;
}
add_filter('upload_mimes', 'cc_mime_types');

Next, you need to check the box for featured image option. However, if you are using custom code to add featured images into your RSS feed, then you will need to remove that code. Otherwise, feature images may appear twice in your feed.

After that you need to provide an SVG file to be used as a logo. Again, you can use your site’s logo for that just make sure that it has a fixed height (30px).

You can also choose an accent color which will be used on Feedly when displaying your site as a source.

Lastly, you can add your Google Analytics tracking ID. You can find this ID from your Google Analytics dashboard. It would look something like UA-XXXXXXX-X.

Don’t forget to click on the save changes button to store your settings.

2. Add a Follow on Feedly Button to Your Posts

You may also want to add a follow on Feedly button to your website. This will allow your users to directly subscribe to your RSS feed in Feedly.

First you need to visit the Feedly Button Factory website and click on a button design that you want to add. After that enter your RSS feed URL which looks like this:

http://yoursite.com/feed/

Follow on Feedly button

Feedly will generate a code snippet for you. You need to copy this code snippet and go to Appearance » Widgets page in your WordPress admin area.

After that, simply add a text widget to your sidebar and then paste the code snippet inside it.

3. Show Summary Instead of Full Article in RSS Feed

Showing your full article in RSS feed allows users to read it in their feed reader. This can affect your pageviews, advertisement revenue, and conversion rates.

Some publishers prefer to show summary instead requiring users to visit their website.

WordPress comes with a built-in solution. Simply visit Settings » Reading page in your WordPress admin and scroll down to ‘For each article in a feed, show’ option.

Show summary in RSS feed

Next, simply click on Summary to select it and then click on the save changes button to store your settings.

On the same settings page, you can also control the number of posts to display in your RSS feed. See our article on how to limit the number of posts displayed in WordPress RSS feed for detailed instructions.

4. Add Featured Image with WordPress Posts in RSS Feed

By default, WordPress does not add your post featured images in the RSS feed. Some feed readers like Feedly try to automatically use the first image in the article as featured image.

If you are not using the Optimize Feed for Feedly plugin, then you can use this method to add featured image to your RSS feed.

You will need to add this code to your theme’s functions.php file or in a site-specific plugin.

function rss_post_thumbnail($content) {
global $post;
if(has_post_thumbnail($post->ID)) {
$content = '<p>' . get_the_post_thumbnail($post->ID) .
'</p>' . get_the_content();
}
return $content;
}
add_filter('the_excerpt_rss', 'rss_post_thumbnail');
add_filter('the_content_feed', 'rss_post_thumbnail');

This code simply adds your featured image inside a paragraph just before the post content.

5. Add Content Before or After WordPress Posts in RSS Feeds

Want to add some custom content at the end or beginning of each item in your RSS feed? If you are already using the Yoast SEO plugin, then you are in luck. Head over to SEO » Advanced page and then click on the RSS tab.

Add custom content before or after each post in feed

Here you will see two text areas to add content before and after posts in your WordPress RSS feed. You will notice that Yoast SEO automatically adds ‘The post %%POSTLINK%% appeared first on %%BLOGLINK%%.’ after each post.

This protects you against content scrapers because now Google will always know that your site was the original source.

6. Add Custom Post Types to Your RSS Feed

Many WordPress sites use custom post types for content like recipes, reviews, etc. Each custom post type has its own RSS feed in WordPress. However, WordPress only shows ‘Posts’ in the main RSS feed.

You can add the following code to your theme’s functions.php file or a site-specific plugin to display custom post types in the main RSS feed.

function myfeed_request($qv) {
	if (isset($qv['feed']) && !isset($qv['post_type']))
		$qv['post_type'] = array('post', 'books', 'movies');
	return $qv;
}
add_filter('request', 'myfeed_request');

In this code, we have added two custom post types books and movies to the main RSS feed. Don’t forget to replace books and movies with your own custom post types.

For more detailed instructions see our guide on how to add custom post types to your main WordPress RSS feed.

7. Allow Subscribe to RSS Feed via Email

Not all your users know or want to use a feed reader to subscribe. Many users prefer to subscribe by email. You need to make sure that those users can easily sign up to receive your posts in their inbox.

Email subscription form on List25 website

There are many ways to add email subscription to your WordPress site. Most popular email marketing service providers offer RSS to email list option. This allows them to check your RSS feed for new content, and email that new content to your subscribers.

For more detailed instructions, take a look at our guide on how to add email subscriptions to your WordPress blog.

8. Allow Users to Subscribe to Categories in WordPress

Each category on your WordPress site has a separate RSS feed of its own. This allows your users to subscribe to specific categories that they are interested in.

However, most users are unaware that they can subscribe to specific categories. You can make it easier for users by adding links to category RSS feeds with subscription buttons.

Category subscription choices on WPBeginner

For more detailed instructions, see our guide on how to allow users to subscribe categories in WordPress.

9. Allow Users to Subscribe to Authors in WordPress

Subscribe to author RSS feed

If you run a multi-author blog, then your users may want to subscribe to their favorite authors. Just like categories and custom post types, each author in WordPress has a separate RSS feed.

This RSS feed is located at a URL like this:

http://www.example.com/author/tom/feed/

You can use this URL format to add links to author RSS feed in the author bio section.

For more ways to add author RSS feed, follow instructions in our guide on how to allow users to subscribe to authors in WordPress.

10. Show or Hide Content From RSS Feed Subscribers

Want to show bonus content to your RSS feed subscribers only? Some smart site owners use this for encouraging users to subscribe to their RSS feed.

On the other hand, some site owners may want to hide part of their content from RSS readers. This allows them to encourage users to visit their website.

First you need to install and activate the WP Kill in Feed plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you can use the shortcode [addtofeed] to add feed only content, like this:

[addtofeed]
This content is for RSS feed subscribers only
[/addtofeed]

You can also use [killinfeed] shortcode to hide content from RSS feed.

[killinfeed]Content hidden from RSS feed subscribers [/killinfeed]

For more on this topic, check out our article on how to show content only to RSS feed subscribers in WordPress.

11. Add Social Buttons to Your WordPress RSS Feed

Share buttons in RSS feed

Many modern feed readers like Feedly, allow users to share articles from feeds they have subscribed. However, other RSS readers don’t have social sharing features or they are not very noticeable.

You can add your own social media icons to your WordPress RSS feed. Here is how:

First you will need to create image icons you want to use as buttons. For this tutorial we added icons for Facebook and Twitter to our demo site from Media » Add New page.

After uploading your icon image files, you need to copy their location and save it in a text editor like Notepad.

Media file location

Next you need to add this code to your theme’s functions.php file or a site-specific plugin.

// add custom feed content
function wpb_add_feed_content($content) {

// Check if a feed is requested
if(is_feed()) {

// Encoding post link for sharing
$permalink_encoded = urlencode(get_permalink());

// Getting post title for the tweet
$post_title = get_the_title(); 

// Content you want to display below each post
// This is where we will add our icons

$content .= '<p>
<a href="http://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=' . $permalink_encoded . '" title="Share on Facebook"><img src="Facebook icon file url goes here" title="Share on Facebook" alt="Share on Facebook" width="64px" height="64px" /></a>

<a href="http://www.twitter.com/share?&text='. $post_title . '&amp;url=' . $permalink_encoded . '" title="Share on Twitter"><img src="Facebook icon file url goes here" title="Share on Twitter" alt="Share on Twitter" width="64px" height="64px" /></a>
</p>';
}

return $content;
}

add_filter('the_excerpt_rss', 'wpb_add_feed_content');
add_filter('the_content', 'wpb_add_feed_content');

Don’t forget to replace the src= attribute in the <img> tag with the URLs of your own Facebook and Twitter icons.

You can now view your RSS feed in a feed reader, and you will see social sharing buttons for Facebook and Twitter.

See our article on how to add social buttons to your WordPress RSS feed for more detailed instructions.

12. Delay Posts from Appearing in RSS Feed

RSS feeds are often used by content scrapers to automatically fetch and display your content on their websites. If you have a new website with low authority, then these content scraping websites can beat you in search results.

One possible solution to combat this issue is by delaying posts from appearing in your RSS feed. This gives search engines time to crawl and index your content before it appears elsewhere.

You will need to add the following code to your WordPress theme’s functions.php file or a site-specific plugin.

function publish_later_on_feed($where) {

	global $wpdb;

	if ( is_feed() ) {
		// timestamp in WP-format
		$now = gmdate('Y-m-d H:i:s');

		// value for wait; + device
		$wait = '10'; // integer

		// http://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.0/en/date-and-time-functions.html#function_timestampdiff
		$device = 'MINUTE'; //MINUTE, HOUR, DAY, WEEK, MONTH, YEAR

		// add SQL-sytax to default $where
		$where .= " AND TIMESTAMPDIFF($device, $wpdb->posts.post_date_gmt, '$now') > $wait ";
	}
	return $where;
}

add_filter('posts_where', 'publish_later_on_feed');

This code adds a 10 minute delay before posts can appear in your RSS feed. You can change it to your own needs like 60 for one hour, or 120 for two hours.

For more on this topic, you may want to take a look at our article on how to delay posts from appearing in WordPress RSS feed.

We hope this article helped you optimize your WordPress RSS feed. You may also want to see our 18 useful tricks to speed up WordPress and boost performance.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post 12 Tips to Optimize Your WordPress RSS Feed appeared first on WPBeginner.

Forums Status Update (Sept 7)

Happy 4.6.1 day.

  • Reviews are back.
  • Plugin authors and contributors are listed as authors and contributors
  • RSS feeds for individual plugin forums are working
  • Topic subscriptions should be working. Existing subs are still being imported.

The direct urls to your reviews will be https://wordpress.org/support/plugin/akismet/reviews/#new-post — I don’t know if that’s forever.

The amount of data being imported is causing everything to take longer than expected, in order to do this without crashing the servers. Which would be bad. That’s also why some posts are showing out of order. This is the biggest bbPress install ever, I suspect…

ETA on everything? We don’t know. It’s all taking longer than we hoped.

Akismet has also been acting a prat and spamming people so if that happens, swing by the #forums slack and ask if they can have a look for you 🙂 Please ask nicely and offer coffee.

WordPress 4.6.1 Released, Patches Two Security Vulnerabilities

WordPress 4.6.1 is available and users are strongly encouraged to update immediately as it patches two security vulnerabilities. The first is a cross-site scripting vulnerability related to image filenames that was reported by Cengiz Han Sahin, a SumOfPwn researcher. The second is a path traversal vulnerability in the upgrade package uploader reported by Dominik Schilling, who led the WordPress 4.6 development cycle and is a member of the WordPress security team.

In addition to the security patches, this release fixes 15 bugs. Since 4.6.1 is a point release, most sites should update automatically. However, if you’d like to update sooner, browse to your WordPress Dashboard and select Updates and click the update now button. Users who encounter any issues with or updating to WordPress 4.6.1 are encouraged to report them in the WordPress support forums.

 

Yoast SEO 3.5

We’ve just pushed out a new release of Yoast SEO, our flagship plugin. The new version, 3.5, mostly has a metric ton of small bugfixes. In this post, we’ll discuss the most notable changes, but you should mostly be aware that this is what we would call a bugfix release.

XML Sitemap changes

We’ve decided to remove the change frequency and priority variables from our XML Sitemaps. Google has said publicly that they don’t use them on most sites. Private discussions with Googlers have led us to believe there’s really no compelling reason to keep them around. This change makes XML sitemaps faster and easier to generate.

There are plugins out there that allow you to change the priority and change frequency of just about everything. We really do not believe that adds any value whatsoever.

Flesch reading ease for German and Dutch

We’ve added Flesch reading ease compatibility for German and Dutch. This doesn’t just mean we’ve enabled it for those languages. The Flesch reading ease test needs to change because each language is different. If you’re interested in the technicalities, this ticket has the formulas.

To be able to do this, we need to be able to recognize syllables in words. We’re working on adding this for more languages, but as you can imagine that’s a fair bit of work. This comes on top of the changes in 3.4, where we added support for transition words checks for German as well. This means German and Dutch writers will now get a score that is meaningful for their language.

Add @id to schema.org output

Yoast SEO outputs JSON+LD metadata on the page. This metadata informs Google about whether this is a site for a person or a company, what your social profiles are, etc.

This change, which is admittedly a bit more on the technical side allows other plugins to tie into our metadata. They can output pieces of JSON+LD metadata and combine them with ours. For instance saying “this is extra info related to this organization”, where “this organization” is a pointer for our organization info. They can do this by referencing the @id‘s we’ve added, something that wasn’t possible before this change.

i18n and a11y improvements

We’ve, again, made many internationalization (i18n) and accessibility (a11y) improvements in this release. From making sure everything is translatable to adding descriptions and adding more explanation everywhere.

Optimize your site for search & social media and keep it optimized with Yoast SEO Premium

Buy this plugin now

Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin

A new Premium page

For the last few years, Yoast SEO has had an extensions page. We’ve now replaced that extensions page with a Go Premium page. It explains the features of Yoast SEO Premium and our extensions a lot better. It’s also much more in line with our current style, as you can see:

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 15.18.34

Full changelog

The full changelog is available on WordPress.org, if you see anything in there that you’d like clarification on, let us know in the comments!

Forum Update Status (Sept 5)

Summary: A great many things have been improved. Paramount was getting the data over (done!), syncing review stars with their new post IDs (done), and making the forums run faster (in progress).

Support Forums Upgrade Status (2016/09/05):

Please note: There was no way to actually test this properly before moving over, so while this is frustrating for everyone, the moderators have had to be quite aggressive in deleting repetitive reports of what’s broken. If you’ve found something that isn’t on the bugs and broken things list, please leave a reply there. Otherwise the answer is “As soon as we can get it done, it’ll be done.”

If you want to be super helpful, please make sure your fellow developers read the posts 🙂

Ask Me Anything on ManageWP – Sep 14, Open Floor

Since I’ve been moderately quiet online over the past year, it’s about time to get back with some fresh ideas, insight and tricks from my long business journey lately. I delivered a presentation on remote teams at WordCamp Europe in Vienna, but haven’t posted a recap yet due to some presentation format issues with both Slideshare and Slide Deck, so it’s pending as well.

There are a few things planned over the next months, including a slight face lift of the blog here since the homepage is not even usable to me! 🙂 But that will come after we’ve wrapped up the third version of DevriX, which in addition to a number of landing pages, brand new article categories and custom contact forms will update the imagery here and there. Because every few months we want to improve the UX and avoid being a university website:

Sitemap and copy for the average website
Usability gone wrong – http://xkcd.com/773/

Regardless, for anyone who’s been wondering what I’ve been up to in 2016 so far, I’ll be doing an AMA on ManageWP.org on Wednesday, Sep 14th. I’ll be around all day answering questions for 8 hours, so make sure that your questions are posted within this time frame.

Also, for those of you who’ve missed the big news, ManageWP was just acquired by GoDaddy so bookmark their blog now in case they decide to rebrand everything within the next 10 days and make it unrecognizable 🙂

The post Ask Me Anything on ManageWP – Sep 14, Open Floor appeared first on Mario Peshev on WordPress Development.

Plugin Reviews Disabled

Reviews will be broken until about September 5.

This is directly related to the support forum maintenance.

Per @jmdodd:

We’ll do our best to keep this window short, but for now the choice was between closing reviews for 4 days or closing all of the support forums for 24 to 48 hours.

The Meta team felt (and I personally agree) that it is far more important to have support forums than the reviews. And the support forums were unsustainable. So while this is a wrench in your plugins, it’s far far better than no forums at all for Labor Day Weekend.

Why every website needs Yoast SEO

Every website needs an SEO plugin. More specifically, every website needs our SEO plugin. For most websites, Google is the most important source of visitors. No matter how important social networks can be for a site, SEO is often the most important factor for a site’s growth. Not following SEO best practices, or not doing SEO at all, can be quite detrimental to your site’s performance. So, let me explain why every site needs Yoast SEO!

Hidden features of Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO does much more than handle titles and descriptions for a website. From rel=canonical to XML sitemaps, from rel=next and rel=prev to JSON+LD, we’ve got your back. If you don’t know what all these things are: that’s OK! We do, and we’ll make sure to do them right, for you.

There are a ton of “hidden features” in Yoast SEO. Without the need for user intervention, Yoast SEO solves a lot of technical SEO issues that your site might otherwise suffer from. Every site that wants to be found in search engines benefits from these features. Every site needs them. That’s why these hidden features do not need settings. They are set in the same way for every website. Some features need to be set by the site owner or user, though. In those cases, we’ll give you the option to change it.

Have Team Yoast install and configure Yoast SEO premium for you!

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Yoast SEO is built by pros

Yoast SEO is built by a team of professional developers, many of whom contribute to WordPress core too. But on top of that, we’re professional SEOs. I have been a professional SEO for more than ten years. I’ve done some of the biggest SEO projects in the world, like the migration of the Guardian from guardian.co.uk to theguardian.com. Our team of SEO experts has reviewed thousands of websites and helped them grow, as you can see in some of our case studies. All that knowledge is used to improve Yoast SEO.

Our SEO experts follow every announcement from Google. Weigh it. Test it. Check what it means.  We then decide whether or not to make changes to our plugin to keep it up to date. As Google does hundreds of algorithm updates every year, this is a continuous process. We update our plugin very regularly because of these changes.

Because Yoast conscientiously follows all the SEO news and makes sure that the plugin is adapted to the SEO changes, you don’t need to do anything! You do not need your web developer to make SEO changes all the time. That’s the beauty of the WordPress plugin system: you can outsource your SEO to a team of pros.

In the past years, the number of plugin installs of Yoast SEO has grown immensely. On professional hosts like WP Engine, we’re the most installed plugin. Many sites like SearchEngineLand, The Next Web and the New Yorker use Yoast SEO. And did you know that even NASA recommends you to use Yoast SEO?

Focus on content

At Yoast.com, we focus a lot of our posts on how to write good content. Of course, technical SEO is of great importance, but our plugin already takes care of all that. What’s left for you is to write content that ranks and converts. We try to help you do that, with our eBooks, courses and blog posts.

So, install Yoast SEO and keep it up to date. And of course, subscribe to our newsletter. That way, when there are things that we can not fix for you, we can tell you to change them.

Read more: ‘WordPress SEO: the ultimate tutorial’ »

Improving the User Experience by Rearranging the WordPress Post Editor

When the floor was opened up to users for suggestions on what they want to see included in WordPress 4.7, Mark Root-Wiley advocated for Trac ticket #27159. The three-year old ticket was created by Hugo Baeta and suggests that certain buttons in the post editor be removed in order to improve the user experience.

In the initial proposal, Baeta recommends that the Underline, Alignment, and Text color picker buttons be removed. Throughout the last three years, members of the core team and those interested in the ticket have discussed the pros and cons of removing specific buttons. There’s also a suggestion moving the drop-down menu for choosing headings and making it the first item in the top row.

Here is what the kitchen sink version of the post editor looks like on a fresh install of WordPress 4.6.

WP46FreshInstallPostEditor.png
Post Editor of a Fresh Install of WordPress 4.6

The following is a summary of the proposed changes to the editor.

  • Move the headings selector to the top row, at the front
  • Remove heading 1 from the headings selector
  • Remove align-left, center, right, and justify or maybe move them to the kitchen sink and only remove justify.
  • Remove underline, other than the keyboard shortcut
  • Consider removing text color that’s currently in the kitchen sink
  • Consider adding a code button and/or a table button.

Nick Halsey questioned if stats could be obtained from WordPress.com that shows which buttons are used the most. Mel Choyce shared statistics from WordPress.com that indicate Bold, Italic, and Links are used the most while Lists and Blockquotes are the second most used buttons. The Center and Left alignment buttons are used often, but the data doesn’t determine if people are using them to align text or images. Information on which headings are used most was not available.

The self-hosted version of WordPress doesn’t collect this type of usage information so it’s difficult to know which buttons in the editor are used most often. Given WordPress’ market share however, it’s not hard to imagine that each button serves an important purpose for a subset of users.

Members of the core team are exercising caution on deciding which buttons to remove as Andrew Ozz notes, “This is one of the most used and perhaps most sensitive places in WordPress and even a small change can cause problems for many users.” Ozz said. “I hope we can use some of the info and experience from making the Calypso editor.”

The team wants to collect more usage data and perform user tests before making any final decisions. To help with testing, Ozz has created a small plugin that can be used to test different button configurations.

What the Competitors Are Doing With Their Editors

WordPress’ competitors which are mostly composed of services don’t have to worry about backwards compatibility or that potentially millions of people rely on a button. I took a tour of their post editors to see what options they make available to content creators.

Medium

MediumPostEditor.png

Medium doesn’t have formatting tools at a glance and the buttons are only shown if you highlight text.

Tumblr

TumblrEditorButtons.png
Tumblr Post Editor

Similar to Medium, the post editor is bare and the formatting icons only display when text is highlighted.

Facebook Notes

FacebookNotes.png
Facebook Notes Editor

Facebook Notes starts off with a bare editor with two buttons on the left. The first opens up links to embed something or add a photo. The hamburger menu icon displays headings and a blockquote button. Like the other two editors mentioned above, a select group of formatting options are displayed when text is highlighted.

Joomla 3.6.2

JoomlaPostEditor.png
Joomla 3.6.2 Post Editor

The post editor in Joomla 3.6.2 has a few more buttons than what the WordPress kitchen sink has.

Drupal 8.1.8

Drupal8TextEditor.png
Drupal 8 Text Editor

Drupal has three different editors users can choose from, Basic HTML, Restricted HTML, and Full HTML. Each editor has its own button configuration.

What Is the Ideal Configuration?

The buttons in the editor serve a multitude of purposes and contexts but not all of them. Whichever items the core team decides to remove from the editor will likely come back in the form of a plugin.

What buttons do you use most and which items would you like to see removed from the editor to make it simpler to use?

Reviewing the Revamped Guidelines

Thank you everyone for being patient about this.

This summer was spent re-writing and editing and tweaking the guidelines. I ripped them down, sat and spelled out what they meant, then I rewrote them to be more clear. Then I got the plugin review team to review the changes. Then I had a group of people at WCNYC Contributor Day review them.

Finally, I moved it all to a GitHub repo and started to ask smaller groups to review it. Then we had a quick rebranding and that all brings us here.

I would like everyone in the community to read these proposed updates to the Plugin Directory Guidelines.

WordPress.org Plugin Guidelines

At the risk of sounding trite, pull requests and issues are welcome.

If you feel a guideline’s explanation is unclear, please create an issue or a pull request with what you feel should be changed and why. All grammar/spelling corrections are greatly welcome. We’re trying to write these for all levels of developers, as well as people who may not speak English proficiently. Using words like ‘obsequious’ should be avoided (nb: That’s mostly to me who uses those words regularly).

All feedback should be opened as issues in the tracker.

Let the games begin!