WordPress 5.7.1 Security and Maintenance Release

WordPress 5.7.1 is now available!

This security and maintenance release features 26 bug fixes in addition to two security fixes. Because this is a security release, it is recommended that you update your sites immediately. All versions since WordPress 4.7 have also been updated.

WordPress 5.7.1 is a short-cycle security and maintenance release. The next major release will be version 5.8.

You can download WordPress 5.7.1 by downloading from WordPress.org, or visit your Dashboard → Updates and click Update Now.

If you have sites that support automatic background updates, they’ve already started the update process.

Security Updates

Two security issues affect WordPress versions between 4.7 and 5.7. If you haven’t yet updated to 5.7, all WordPress versions since 4.7 have also been updated to fix the following security issues:

  • Thank you SonarSource for reporting an XXE vulnerability within the media library affecting PHP 8.
  • Thanks Mikael Korpela for reporting a data exposure vulnerability within the REST API.

Thank you to all of the reporters for privately disclosing the vulnerabilities. This gave the security team time to fix the vulnerabilities before WordPress sites could be attacked.

Props to Adam Zielinski, Pascal Birchler, Peter Wilson, Juliette Reinders Folmer, Alex Concha, Ehtisham Siddiqui, Timothy Jacobs and the WordPress security team for their work on these issues.

For more information, browse the full list of changes on Trac, or check out the version 5.7.1 HelpHub documentation page.

Thanks and props!

The 5.7.1 release was led by @peterwilsoncc and @audrasjb.

In addition to the security researchers and release squad members mentioned above, thank you to everyone who helped make WordPress 5.7.1 happen:

99w, Adam Silverstein, Andrew Ozz, annalamprou, anotherdave, Ari Stathopoulos, Ayesh Karunaratne, bobbingwide, Brecht, Daniel Richards, David Baumwald, dkoo, Dominik Schilling, dragongate, eatsleepcode, Ella van Durpe, Erik, Fabian Pimminger, Felix Arntz, Florian TIAR, gab81, Gal Baras, Geoffrey, George Mamadashvili, Glen Davies, Greg Ziółkowski, grzim, Ipstenu (Mika Epstein), Jake Spurlock, Jayman Pandya, Jb Audras, Joen A., Johan Jonk Stenström, Johannes Kinast, John Blackbourn, John James Jacoby, Jonathan Desrosiers, Josee Wouters, Joy, k3nsai, Kelly Choyce-Dwan, Kerry Liu, Marius L. J., Mel Choyce-Dwan, Mikhail Kobzarev, mmuyskens, Mukesh Panchal, nicegamer7, Otshelnik-Fm, Paal Joachim Romdahl, palmiak, Pascal Birchler, Peter Wilson, pwallner, Rachel Baker, Riad Benguella, Rinat Khaziev, Robert Anderson, Roger Theriault, Sergey Biryukov, Sergey Yakimov, SirStuey, stefanjoebstl, Stephen Bernhardt, Sumit Singh, Sybre Waaijer, Synchro, Terri Ann, tigertech, Timothy Jacobs, tmatsuur, TobiasBg, Tonya Mork, Toru Miki, Ulrich, and Vlad T.

Introducing Milestone Notifications

Your website is a product of your hard work and passion. Therefore, when your site hits a milestone — it shouldn’t go unrecognized. To make it easier for you to keep track of your site’s achievements, we’ll be rolling out a new celebratory notification that will alert you when your site reaches or surpasses a certain number of views

We hope these celebrations are meaningful and motivational for you and that they inspire you to take time to pause, reflect, and celebrate. 

If you have the WordPress app on your mobile, we also have a little surprise for you each time you unlock a milestone! Be sure to update your WordPress app to the latest version. If you don’t have the app yet, download it for free on both Android and iOS.

We’d love to hear your feedback! Reach out to us from within the app by going to My Site, tapping your photo on the top right, tapping Help & Support,  and then selecting Contact Support.

Headless WordPress Hosting: 8 Excellent Options to Host Your Site

Thinking of trying headless WordPress for yourself? It’s definitely not for everyone. You have to do a lot of confusing setup while working with a technology that isn’t very well documented online. But the real difficult part may be finding hosting suited for headless WordPress.

While you can host a headless instance on any server, a specially configured one will help you tackle common issues without needing to handle it all on your own. And thanks to headless WordPress’ growing popularity, there are quite a few hosting providers ready to accommodate you.

Each of the eight hosts below are perfectly configured to work with headless WordPress, so you can skip a lot of the difficulties that come with getting it up and running.

Static vs. Headless WordPress

If you’ve been researching headless WordPress, you may have come across the term “static WordPress”. These two terms are often mentioned together, sometimes even used interchangeably. But while they are somewhat similar in concept, they’re not exactly the same.

The way headless WordPress works is that it detaches the back end from the front end, allowing you to keep the CMS and use an API to connect it to other services.

headless wordpress diagram
Image source: Tom Hirst

Static WordPress also detaches the front and back end. The difference is that it leaves your dynamic WordPress site intact, but hidden, while pushing its content to a static HTML version of your website that loads much faster.

static wordpress diagram
Image source: Netlify

Both have similar concepts, but the implementation is a bit different. Yet, many hosts support both static and headless hosting, or even combine them together.

What to Look for in a Headless WordPress Host

When it comes to headless WordPress hosting, there’s a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.

First, you may need separate hosting: one server for your headless back end, and one for your front end website or app. The first server will need to of course support WordPress and PHP. The other server will need to work with whatever technology you’re using.

This usually means a lot of setup and possibly working with two entire different hosts. But specialized headless WordPress hosts are optimized to work with your setup and eliminate a lot of the snags you’d face normally.

Headless WordPress hosts need to be flexible enough to work with different technologies and frameworks, as well as supporting the REST API. And of course, the usual hosting needs apply: fast speeds, affordable pricing, and helpful support.

Here are eight headless WordPress hosts that fit your specific needs.

1. WP Engine

WP Engine is a well-known hosting platform, already serving as the stable hub for over a million websites. Going off reputation alone, it’s a great choice for any WordPress installation, be it headless or not.

WP Engine works with a variety of setups, headless WordPress included. If you encounter issues with the API or other unique headless problems, the 24/7 support will be there to help. Pricing starts at $25/month for Managed Hosting, $28/month for Managed Hosting Plus, and $44/month for Secure Hosting.

A Managed Hosting plan will usually be good enough for headless WordPress, as Managed Hosting Plus focuses on plugin support and Secure Hosting is ideal for eCommerce sites. But there are features such as an extra layer of DDoS protection that may appeal to you.

If you go with WP Engine, you’re looking at these general features:

  • Daily backups for your WordPress install
  • Secure infrastructure and threat detection to keep your CMS safe
  • Free automated migrations
  • Helpful support when issues crop up
  • SSL and SSH support, plus other developer features like WP-CLI
  • An activity log and user permissions to go with it
  • A one-click staging site to test things out

Yet, like with all web hosts, there are also a few minor downsides.

WP Engine is configured for PHP and WordPress. Consequently, you will need to seek out a different host for the front-facing end of your website, if you’re using incompatible technologies or making an app. And compared to other hosts it is a bit pricey, especially since you’ll likely need a second web host.

On the other hand, you do get what you pay for. WP Engine has a stellar reputation in terms of stability and its blazing fast speeds. If you need a reliable WordPress host, they’re the ones to go with.

2. Shifter

shifter wordpress jamstack hosting platform

Shifter is a modern platform that allows you to create either a static or headless WordPress site. This solution is feature-rich and designed specifically with headless WordPress in mind, so you know you’re getting hosting optimized for you.

The host has two sets of plans: Shifter Static for generating static HTML WordPress sites, and Shifter Headless, which aims at Jamstack developers. The headless plan starts at $48/month, but there is a free seven-day trial so you can make sure it’s worth the investment.

Shifter is packed full of features. Here’s just a bit of what you’ll get.

  • Create a new WordPress instance from the dashboard
  • Maintenance-free: Security issues are taken care of
  • Automated scaling to eliminate downtime
  • Team features for easy collaboration
  • Shifter API, error reporting, and plenty of other dev-friendly features
  • Automated backups to keep your site safe
  • Unlimited media storage: Stop worrying about hosting all those images and videos

For the cons: Shifter only has one-site plans available. If that’s a problem, you’ll need to use a different host. It’s also pretty expensive with a high monthly cost. But the price is balanced out by the variety of headless-focused features and a team of engineers that knows how to optimize for you.

3. Strattic

strattic static site generator and headless wordpress hosting provider

Strattic is a headless and static WordPress solution focused on maximum optimization, and getting the most out of your alternative WordPress instance. Their CEO spoke about static WordPress at WordCamp Europe 2020. While Strattic focuses especially on generating static sites, it does support headless with its serverless architecture.

Pricing is simple: it starts at $45/month for solo sites, and $250/month for the Business plan. Purchase annually to get two free months, and there’s also a custom enterprise plan if you need it. Plus, here’s what you can get in every plan:

  • Easy static site generation, with room for both your website and a seat for your back end
  • Heavy focus on security with DDoS protection and a locked down admin
  • Support for dynamic elements (like site search and certain plugins) that many headless servers don’t have
  • Full, helpful support
  • An isolated runtime environment for your back end that shuts down when not in use

You can start a free trial which gives you one website on a Strattic domain. A downside here is that Strattic’s focus is more on generating static sites, and less on using headless WordPress for other purposes.

But with its great technology and plenty of features, plus its very helpful assortment of static-friendly plugins, it’s a great choice if you’re looking to make a static headless site.

4. NorthStack

northstack wordpress hosting

NorthStack promises a lot for headless WordPress hosting. The premise is simple: the workflow you’re used to, easy configuration with React and Vue, and an elastic autoscaling payment plan so you only pay for what you use.

Here’s what you get with them:

  • Flexible, scalable infrastructure
  • A pay-what-you-use plan that won’t overcharge you for unused resources (and no set minimums!)
  • Compatible with both React and Vue
  • Support for static WordPress as well as general headless installations
  • Full managed hosting: Backups, WordPress updates, caching, and security all inclusive

The issue is that it’s currently in beta. So if you need something definitively reliable, it might not be the one to go with. But you can join the beta and get some free usage credits for your help testing the program. So if you’re just experimenting rather than launching an important product, it might be worth a try!

5. HardyPress

headless wordpress hosting provider hardypress

This static site generator opens with a bold claim: make your WordPress site run up to ten times faster. According to its performance reports, it does live up to the hype. If compressing your website to the maximum is your goal, then HardyPress has what you need.

Billed monthly, it starts at only €5/month for a single website and 500MB of storage. Upgrading to professional for €25/month gets you more storage and unlimited websites, while the €80/month VPS plan gets you even more storage and access to the REST API. All this comes at an annual discount, and enterprises can get a more expensive but fairly affordable plan tailored to them.

  • Maximize performance and get your PageSpeed score up to over 95% by creating a static version of your site
  • Pause or shut down your back end WordPress at any time
  • Continue using Contact Form 7 and site search, plus any back end plugins
  • Free SSL certificate included
  • One year of backups
  • Extensive documentation to help you get your bearings

HardyPress is built as a static site generator. While it is headless as it keeps your back end on its own server, it isn’t meant to be used for multichannel publishing or working with non-PHP web technologies. You can’t even get access to the REST API unless you have at least the €80/month VPS plan.

What HardyPress does is create a separate, static version of your site that loads lightning fast, and this is what it’s best at.

6. Pagely

pagely for headless wordpress hosting

Managed WordPress hosting for big brands and large enterprises: That’s what Pagely is all about. Used by brands like Disney, Comcast, and VMWare, this is definitely premium hosting. Consequently, it also comes with a high-end price range: Business-class hosting starting at $499/month, and fully customized enterprise hosting from $42k/year.

On the other hand, the features you get are well worth the price.

  • Custom solutions tailored to your business’ needs
  • Fully scalable infrastructure you’ll never outgrow; never switch hosts again
  • Top-end support
  • Custom plugins and modules to enhance security, caching, image compression, and more
  • Automatic backups, WordPress upgrades, and more
  • Pageviews and visitors uncapped and always free
  • Staging sites, Git, SSH access, and other dev-friendly tools

Pagely has no qualms working with headless WordPress, supporting both the REST API and GraphQL. They’re ready to accommodate whatever front end framework you want, and extra feature tailored precisely for maximum headless security and performance.

7. Gatsby

gatsbyjs static wordpress generator

Gatsby is not technically traditional hosting, but it’s worth mentioning solely because of how well it integrates with headless WordPress. It’s a framework for building front end websites quickly and efficiently. You can then deploy them through the free-to-start Gatsby Cloud and port to a hosting provider of your choice afterwards.

You will need to host your back end WordPress installation somewhere else, but this can be on any host you want, whether it’s on cheap shared hosting or one of the hosts from this list. Gatsby also works with APIs, so connecting the two is easy.

One of the best ways to host with Gatsby is actually using Netlify.

8. Netlify

Netlify provides serverless hosting that works with a variety of other Jamstack platforms, including Gatsby. It works perfectly with WordPress, including headless and static versions. And you can use any framework you want, from React to Vue to Next.

The great thing about Netlify is that it’s free to start with a plan especially tailored for personal projects and experimental sites. So if you want to try it out, or are just testing the waters with headless WordPress, it’s totally risk free.

From there it’s $19/month for a Pro plan with better starter features, and $99/month for even more helpful development features. All this is per member, so teams will be paying double. Here’s what you get in exchange:

  • Developer-focused serverless hosting with the features you need to efficiently deploy your projects
  • Extremely high performance thanks to the Edge network
  • Work with your framework of choice
  • A plugin ecosystem to enhance and expand your site
  • Unlimited websites on every plan

Netlify’s features are a dream come true for many, but remember that it’s developer-focused and best for those who know their way around web development already. If that doesn’t describe you, you might have trouble adjusting.

Final Thoughts: Headless CMS Hosting for WordPress

One of the hardest parts of setting up headless WordPress is finding the right host for it. The eight hosting providers above all have their pros and cons, but each one works well to help you set up a headless WordPress environment.

Netlify and Gatsby make a good pair for developers who need a more efficient way to deploy their headless sites, while NorthStack and Shifter are also great for devs. Pagely is perfect for enterprises who need quality and have the money to pay for it. Strattic and HardyPress are best for static site generation. And if you just need an all-around headless WordPress host that’s easy to use and works flexibly with your setup, WPEngine is your best choice.

Which host are you most interested in? Let us know what you think in the comments!

The post Headless WordPress Hosting: 8 Excellent Options to Host Your Site appeared first on Torque.

10 Best WooCommerce Booking Plugin in 2021

Do you own a business and find ways for the client to contact you? These WooCommerce booking plugins might just be what you need. If you run a company that includes scheduling meetings and schedules, you’ll need a dependable tool to keep track of it. Of course, WordPress and WooCommerce can be used to build […]

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The post 10 Best WooCommerce Booking Plugin in 2021 appeared first on Learn WordPress with WPLift.

Press This Podcast: The Prolific Profit Pitfalls of Custom Plugins & Themes with Torre Capistran

Welcome to Press This, the WordPress community podcast from WMR. Here host David Vogelpohl sits down with guests from around the community to talk about the biggest issues facing WordPress developers. The following is a transcription of the original recording.

David Vogelpohl: Hello everyone and welcome to Press This the WordPress community podcasts on WMR. This is your host, David Vogelpohl, I support the WordPress community through my role at WP Engine, and I love to bring the best of the community to you hear every week on press this as a reminder, you can find me on Twitter @wpdavidv, or you can subscribe to press this on iTunes, iHeartRadio, Spotify, or download the latest episodes at wmr.fm. In this episode we have a really fun one, we’re gonna be talking about the prolific profit pitfalls of customer plugins and themes. And joining us for that conversation hooked on code, I’d like to welcome to Press This, this Torre Capistran and Torre Welcome to Press This.

Torre Capistran: Thank you so much, David. This is gonna be fun. I can’t wait.

DV: No, I didn’t really think through that title, we’re working on this for this, and having to actually say it out loud there but great the tongue twister.

TC: I think you did fine.

DV: Yes, deer in the headlights, I got it. Thank you. Thank you. Well, for those listening what Tory’s going to talk about today is success she’s found using off the shelf tools in her WordPress agency to deliver success for her clients, particularly around building faster and building more consistently and keeping the costs down for herself and her clients was still delivering that value. And so really kind of focusing off on the kind of third party or off the shelf premium plug in type strategy, and again Tory’s had a lot of success and that’s gonna explain to us here how she did that. Tori I’ll kick it off with you with the same question I asked every guest. Briefly tell me your WordPress origin story.

TC: Yeah, I struggle with brief, but I’m gonna do my best so I went to Southern Methodist University here in Dallas, which is where I am, and went to business school got a degree in marketing and a couple of language minors I love languages. I I’ve been educated in German, Mandarin, Arabic, Spanish, and I feel like there’s another one that I tinkered with and that I just gave up on, but I had a lot of language education in my life and after I graduated with a marketing degree and didn’t have a job that really excited me. I sold like 75% of my stuff but my caps and carriers and I moved to a beach in Mexico, and not everybody’s WordPress story sounds quite like this. It gets a little bit more familiar as we go on. So I’m just a very type a person that’s probably a surprise to someone who decided to start an agency, but I was bored I lived, literally in paradise like 50 steps from a beach, and I was bored, so I came up with, you know, something that I wanted to write about blog about and I decided to make, like the creation of my blog project, you know, a real passion project and so in that. I think there was a day I put myself back at school and I taught myself HTML, CSS, the basics of email, HTML, right and that stuff in the 90s, all with lynda.com God Rest your soul. And I took 30 days to build my first WordPress website. And it was horrendous. But that was my learning curve. And then I remember the next time that I tried to build a site it was about four hours and it looks a million times better and I thought, Oh, I could charge money. That was before I actually moved back to the States. So when I came back to the States about six months after moving to Mexico, and I had a job, a real job in corporate America. And I knew pretty soon I wasn’t going to fit in. I did start charging for work so I did start as a freelancer taught myself, all the things about WordPress, as someone who needed a WordPress site right so I was, I really taught myself this industry from an from the eye of the person who doesn’t have enough time to waste on complex solutions. And after about two and a half years in my corporate job. I had enough of a client base that I could leave my position, and open up some code and switch to full time and it’s been, it’s been a really, I hate to sound too casual about it but it’s been really easy, other than the pandemic in terms of being able to deliver value and stay profitable and grow your after year, just I think because of my approach that now we apply agency.

DV: It’s really interesting, I think that you were right the latter part of the story was very familiar kind of building on your own figuring out, you can charge growing it into a business, and data say you’re the first person this guest to talk about an origin story starting with the beach in Mexico. I don’t know if it’s the most bizarre though, we’ve had like factory workers like there’s some stiff competition for that one Tory will have to go back into the archives, so I’ll see where you’re at. Yeah, pretty unique though definitely give you that. So you started hooked on code and because you just like, tell us real quickly like what hooked on code does.

TC: yeah absolutely so but then code was founded in 2014. And what we primarily do is work with, like disillusioned directors of marketing and CMOS at corporations who have been let down by either the inflexibility of their corporate website or the marketing website for the corporation they work at. They feel like their hands are tied. They can’t edit basic things, and they’re frustrated by that they come to us for a lot of times what we call back in, rebuild so we don’t necessarily redesign the site it’s already been approved and they don’t want to change we just make it functional which requires a rebuild, and we make it look identical. And then also, those similar kind of clients that are not, they aren’t really feeling like their web agency is taking much off their plate. They certainly feel like they’re executing on technical pasts that they don’t know how to do, but they don’t, they don’t really feel much relief. You know, they’re still project managing and babysitting and they’re, they’re frustrated by the billing and lack of communication. So what we what we really do is we take the bullshit, out of web design and maintenance. But that’s really what we do, I mean we’re just trying to take, Take the crud out of the very negative common experience happens with a lot of a lot of agencies that are serving that kind of client base, and we try to make it delightful, and we try to be a really, really excellent partner and we do that as we’re going to go into, by being very particular about a really narrow set of tools or tool stack functions very well together it’s primarily three things. And that lets us that that’s one of the foundational things that lets us deliver on a delightful experience and not have so many of those frustrating situations even, they’re not even possible with the way we build.

DV: I like how you could focus on customers that are disillusioned in flexibility in their digital presence, and kind of focusing on freeing them to guessing, actually use their website. I call this freeing your content team and your marketing team from your development teams backlog Jael notion that you’re just like, Yeah, I’ve got these ideas and the developers are like yeah totally like exportar.

TC: Yeah, I mean, I’m, You know I relate to that, as my own marketing person, right. I am, I’m the person who drives like a new strategy idea and I may have an idea and I love it that our team can be on a team meeting, and I’ll go, whoa whoa, let’s turn this into a workshop is everybody on the same page that we should figure this out. And if we’re all in agreement, we just dive in and everybody’s everybody’s in their, their respective systems, taking an idea through to execution and sometimes less than an hour and it could be redesigning and rewarding an entire an entire marketing piece or homepage or, so I feel for the clients that feel locked down by that and I feel the benefit of it, even on our own team.

DV: Yeah it’s it’s it’s a blend. So I’m curious I’m going to ask a kind of a, maybe a quick question here right before the break, but you mentioned your kind of prefer off the shelf plugins and themes, when you started hacking on code, did you ever like, try custom plugins or themes or did you kind of use third party premium plugins and themes from the start.

TC: Yeah, I, so given my background which is not in development. I did not from the beginning, attempts to do custom themes and plugins, there were some smatterings of attempts, as I brought in other like back end developers and other experts as contractors, but it wasn’t our strategy at the beginning that then we went away from. It’s something we kind of started with off the shelf, and then we explored this Oh should we be doing this question, and then we got back to it.

DV: No, no, we definitely should not is so interesting to hear people that have that part of their journey and their agency because I think a lot of people start with the kind of easy tools, and then graduate into like more completely custom things, but maybe at the detriment to their own margins and maybe even their customers experience the same way you discovered as you went through this.

TC: Yeah, that was that was our experience.

DV: Yeah, exactly. So, I want to dig a little deeper on this though, find out exactly what these advantages and disadvantages are a few, but we’re going to take a quick break and we’ll be right back.

DV: Everyone welcome back to Press This WordPress community podcast on WMR. This is your host, David Vogelpohl, I’m interviewing Torre Capistrano about prolific profit pitfalls, using custom plugins and themes Torre right before the break, you were explaining how you embrace using premium plugins and we first began with Darren code because like, that’s what you needed to use to build sites. And you talked about experimenting with custom plugins and themes but maybe not getting the benefit, certainly the speed that you needed to support your businesses for your clients. But I’m just curious, like what do you think the primary advantages or disadvantages are for custom versus off the shelf plugins and themes, what are you trading when you choose either side.

TC: Yeah, it’s a great question. I’m not sure they’ll say anything truly revolutionary but what, what I have noticed is when we went down the path of saying, Okay, let’s, let’s take this project on. We absolutely can do a good job, it is going to require custom plugin A and B, because nothing exists, that we can find that executes a, you know, a really seamless integration between maybe, this, this, this premium plugin that we are all agree we’re going to use and this other premium plugin or this other third party system. So we could tell in scoping sometimes, that if we were to take on that project, it was actually required. So, those are, that’s a unique talking point in terms of this because it wasn’t an either or situation, like, do we choose a premium plugin, or do we choose to custom develop it. It was a choice of do we take on a project that we understand there is not a prebuilt solution for, and we take on the burden of building it. You know it’s not necessarily always going to be the case that there is a solution out there. So when we were running into those projects that we were happy to take and absolutely delivered on the scope what we were realizing when we went back into post mortems for the project. Is it the amount, the our cost of that project in terms of labor and hours. We almost barely broke even, in every single one of these projects, even though they were, they were higher dollar sometimes by a factor of two, of what we were typically building and what we were typically contracting, and there was almost no profit, and then we went back and look it’s not because we had people like me, trying to build custom plugins and didn’t know what we were doing. If I had tried to do that, I would have failed right we have expert back end developers that we’ve worked with for a while and had a great rapport with there were no pitfalls and communication, there were only the kind of normal troubleshooting things coming up and q&a that you would expect in any type of custom project, honestly. But we went back and went through an evaluation. We decided internally that we didn’t feel like what the what the client got as a, as an outcome from that project would have justified, let’s say, doubling the cost of it, which is what if we decided yeah let’s keep doing this week, next time we would have been that same thing we would have probably had to two extra costs so that there would have been some profit. At least a 50% increase right. And so we decided amongst ourselves but we didn’t feel that it was appropriate or ethical I hate to go into ethics here about about pricing but we just didn’t feel like there was a match, based on the product that anyone would have delivered any, any team any just period what they got out of that. And what it would have cost to make it profitable for us to do it. So we we stepped away from those kinds of projects but we also make the choice consciously with every project we do not to go the I’ll say easy route I’m, I’m like, err quoting right here not to go the easy route, and say, Oh yeah, our back end developer could code that in like 30 minutes, and it would it would be a custom plugin that would make that happen but that’s easy. We, we consciously choose every day, not to make that go down that road. And instead, we may spend three hours in discovery as a team, which we’re eating that time because we do, every project, to discover a product, even if it’s a third party non WordPress product, not to open the can of worms too much here, that that achieves that business goal, that is the most appropriate use of their funds and that will give them the most return on the investment, even if it pulls that out of our project scope. That’s not the most common thing that happens, but it’s something we’re open to because really what we’re just trying to do is make sure that our clients technology that they end up with, and the outcomes that it’s delivering them and that the ROI that they’re getting from all of those technological choices which we’re consulting on that it’s positive enough for us to have benefited them and to encourage a long term partnership so really what’s best for them in their numbers in their financials is also what’s most likely to lead to a long term partnership. So I like to think along the lines of longevity, not just because these, these premium themes and plugins are they, they cause less issues in the updating process and I think we’re going to go into that a little bit later, but they also make it much much easier for that platform that we’ve built in particular their WordPress website to just live longer, right, we hear these stories about a Director of Marketing going, oh my god I just finished a website redesign project this agency. It took six months longer than we were quoted. It was, it was like pulling teeth I like stayed up at night and I cried because I had to send an email for the 15th time asking when I was going to see x y&z deliverables and I was promised three months ago right that’s not what I’m supposed to have to do here, and they would jump into a redesign with us or rebuild and that in that instance 10 days, sometime after. After finally launching this new website, because it, because it was dead. It was static, it was just completely costed but I couldn’t edit a thing and they realized that their hands were tied and they were changed.

DV: like you mentioned how the custom plugin projects with like, sometimes 2x The total revenue, like why not just increase your quotes to cover that, you know I guess scope creep or whatever it was that caused you to squeeze your margins like that. Was it that you felt it was unavoidable that that would occur or were you more compelled by the more positive outcomes you saw driving through customers using third party premium plugins.

TC: So it’s, I would say that it’s a mix of both. But there’s this, there’s this brand new publication out by abstract comm called the state of design in 2021. And basically it just talks about how designs can’t just be, you know, pretty anymore. And it’s not just that they have to do what you were asked to make them do they actually really have to. they have to lead to a business outcome that has a positive ROI. And if we as designers aren’t thinking about that and aren’t able to tell whether whether we achieve that, you know, we may be in, we may be in trouble and we may need to handoff those decisions to someone else who’s who can really stay accountable for them. So in the instance of, let’s use that example let’s say project involving a custom plug in app from the outset that we knew that was what needed to happen basically having a breakeven point instead of, instead of two axing the cost of that project, Assuming that the client would have said, okay, yes we have the budget for that and let’s proceed, assuming that, when we, when we did those force motor. When we did those post mortems and we analyze, not just what our profit was but we discussed what that would have looked like for the client. If we had to x, our quote, and, and that was the revenue coming in for that project. Yes, we would have had profit on it. I do, I do not think that there would have been, you know, an equivalent scope creep to always to keep it at breakeven I don’t think that would have happened. But we did not feel like those projects. And in particular, these ones that we had already completed, we didn’t feel like the ROI for the client on them would have been positive. If we had doubled the cost of that, and we went back and analyze, did we did we act efficiently. Did we spin our wheels, did we clock time where we were educating ourselves on particular integration, when we shouldn’t have been clocking that and the answer was no. Every, every hour tracked against that project was truly, you know the cost of labor for particularly that project that we felt really confident that it just wasn’t appropriate.

DV: Yeah, that makes sense I think it’s really interesting to think about it from the velocity perspective, and the ROI perspective, because they know how important it is to get new experiences and test out over and over and over and over again. And if you’re delaying with custom builds and everything. I know we see this of course, even just simple things like landing page strategies you can really hamstring an organization and its ability to grow and I think it’s really healthy that you’re thinking about it not ballistic ROI sets. I want to dig a little deeper, though, in more your strategy and how it affects your business, we’re gonna take a quick break. We’ll be right back.

DV: Everyone welcome back to Press This WordPress community podcast on WMR. This is your host David Vogelpohl, I’m interviewing Torre Capistrano, about the benefits frankly of plugins and themes premium plugins and themes that she’s seen in her business, Tori right before the break we were talking a little bit about your ROI focused approach with your customers not trying to Blue bills for improvements to their site get faster releases to deliver value faster for them and some of the ways that premium plugins and themes help you do that, you’ve also mentioned a few times that you look at projects that you suspect or know will require a custom plug in, and you turn them down. Is that helped or hurt your business to do that are you losing clients. In total, or are you just not getting the projects that you don’t think are a good fit for you.

TC: We, we have not lost any clients over our decision to, to step away from custom theme and plugin development that’s been, that’s been great because most of our most of our clients are in are actually seeing the benefits themselves you know with their hands on the mouse and on the keyboard, they’re seeing the benefits of the way that we’ve been building their websites and their understanding the amount of time that that’s saving them and the amount of money because their website is flexible rather than inflexible. So we haven’t lost any clients by that decision. Of course, and then I don’t really consider. Gosh, I don’t really consider it a loss when we, when we let a potential client know, your, your project requirements are outside of our service range so we don’t offer that service, we can recommend other agencies that do offer that service that we believe in and they’ll do a great job for you, but we only do that when we know that there isn’t a way to address their needs, that’s going to, it’s going to be more profitable for both, you know, their business and work within our service range, if we know that exists, then we spend some time educating our clients about the questions that they’re asking during discoveries, and what the options are that they may not know about. In that case, we’re just trying to empower them to take one step back from their, their requirements that they’ve identified and if they’ve already identified that something needs to happen a certain way, and what, what we know is that it could be, it could be executed in several different ways. We spend our discovery call with them with their approval, actually, as a bit of an education session, and at the end of that they can decide whether they want to go through further discovery with us for our approach, or if they just like to go off with that knowledge for further discoveries, just really don’t. This industry is so dense and it is so populated and there are so many agencies and freelancers and overseas options. I kind of feel like, you know, it’s just the right people that are going to find the right agencies and I don’t really consider it a loss when we end up turning down a project or a potential client because if we’re not going to be able to deliver them an outcome that really helps their business, and that is profitable for us. Why would we spend our hours, like, on, on the planet, not just like our work hours like why would we be spending our human limited hours on something that’s not going to benefit both parties. So I may have gone a little bit too deep there for that question.

DV: I think it’s a very healthy way to look at it. I also liked how you re emphasize how earlier you spend. Remember my agency days I used to tell clients we spend twice as much time on the back end experiences the front end, that would confuse them until they saw it in practice. Yeah, I think a lot of folks go from like building with plugin and some themes and kind of this hybrid DIY approach learning how to make custom themes and plugins themselves, and then like there’s this huge gap in the middle. And in my view like one of WordPress his strengths is its ability to give folks like developers and designers, the palette to create experiences that content creators and marketers, love to use. It sounds like that principle is key to your strategy.

TC: Absolutely it is we do every, everything that we execute every click, that we make every line of code that we type which is limited, usually to like a little bit of CSS, we’ve, we put ourselves in the shoes of a client who would look at that item that’s produced at the end of it the module or the page or the design decisions. And we go we ask ourselves the question, if I as a client wanted to change this, it doesn’t matter why. But if I wanted to, but I figure it out without calling, calling my agency, and we do everything we can so that that answer is, yes, I could figure it out. They would always call us for help, but that’s that’s what goes through our mind, every single day about 200,000 times a day.

DV: I love it. What a powerful thought and Torre thank you so much for joining us today.

TC: Thank you so much for having me. This has been a blast. David

DV: Yeah, awesome to have you here and if you’d like to check out more about what Torre is up to, please visit uncode.com. Thanks everyone for listening to press this WordPress community podcast on WMR. Again, this has been your host David Vogelpohl, I support the WordPress community through my role at WP Engine, And I love to bring the best in the community to here every week on Press This.

The post Press This Podcast: The Prolific Profit Pitfalls of Custom Plugins & Themes with Torre Capistran appeared first on Torque.

People of WordPress: Tyler Lau

WordPress is open source software, maintained by a global network of contributors. There are many examples of how WordPress has changed people’s lives for the better. In this monthly series, we share some of the amazing stories that are lesser-known.

Embrace Who You Are and Your Journey

In this People of WordPress contributor story, we chat to Tyler Lau from the US on his relationship building work in marketing and his WordPress journey.

Read on to discover his story which shows it is often what you have learned from negative experiences in your life that can make you a major asset to a product team.

Tyler Lau stood in front of a colorful mural

An Entrepreneurial Mindset

Tyler recalls he always had a knack for spotting a enterprise ideas. As an industrious seven-year-old, he was already finding ways to make sales during the school breaks. 

While many entrepreneurs have similar stories, Tyler’s path took many turns before he discovered and thrived in the WordPress community.

He was drawn to both the software and the community that surrounds it from his search for personal and professional freedom. He ultimately was able to combine his various business interests and people skills into professional marketing work.

Using your skills to uncover your journey

Tyler Lau pictured sat on a chair using his mobile phone in his social media work

Tyler’s current role is as a Marketing Relationship Builder, based in Kansas, USA. His responsibilities span across all digital properties and products, leveraging his broad set of business and people skills.

These skills are amplified by his creativity and adaptability. Tyler says that one reason he is always looking for new projects is his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a diagnosis he received in 2005.

In an industry built by programmers and developers who often have a strong sense of focus, Tyler felt that someone with ADHD wouldn’t be seen as a natural fit. He found the WordPress community to be a place where everyone can find the right spot for their unique skills. Tyler’s skill is people, and this has translated into many opportunities and responsibilities in his work life. His skills have also helped him give back to the WordPress community as a speaker and volunteer, and through multiple contributor days.

Relationship-building as a career

Most of Tyler’s experience was in the restaurant industry, and his resume did not exactly point to a career in tech. But the service industry actually prepared him well for everything he has taken on since.

When he is at work events, he meets people from across the world and builds connections with them. As an extrovert, he enjoys this and couldn’t imagine a job where he was isolated from getting to know others and relationship-building.

Understanding people and being able to operate in any setting are key competencies. Social skills and tact are useful for community building in the WordPress space too, and in Tyler’s life at different times it has been necessary for survival.

The true meaning of freedom

In the WordPress community, the concept of freedom comes up often. WordPress is built on GPL, free software, and open-source values. Practically speaking, anyone can work remotely or be their own boss to gain more freedom in work and life. Tyler feels that he never fitted into a traditional work mould. With his strong focus on freedom, he found this resonated with the freedom and opportunities he believes WordPress provides him and thousands of others.

Tyler describes how in 2013 his ‘inner opportunist’ got him into trouble. After dropping out of college following a brain aneurysm, he needed capital to fund his first startup. He shares that he found a quick but unlawful way to make money. Alongside this between shifts as a waiter, he worked on prototypes for his first product. The company was growing fast, and to protect his patents and take research and development to the next level, he had to work hard. Everything came to a halt when some of the actions he took resulted in being sent to prison.

He says that meeting other inmates reminded him that he was in a much better situation than most. He was educated, well-off, loved, and knew he had a future once he was released. He found that many inmates never graduated from high school and were computer illiterate. While inside, Tyler taught subjects like science, math, writing, reading, and social studies. He found that due to the lack of skills and support, many inmates would struggle upon release. He believes getting the mental health support and job training needed to thrive after prison is not easy for many.

There’s more to freedom than just being on the outside. You also need a sense of agency and enfranchisement,” says Tyler. He considered his sense of purpose and support network were plenty to keep him going and was ready to take on his next (legal) business challenge as soon as he could.

Going forward positively 

Tyler Lau portrait picture

The idea that your past doesn’t define you and you can choose to embrace it, is a key driver for Tyler.

He describes himself as an outlier in many ways. He recalls how politics influenced his life from the day he was born. Tyler’s father is a semi-dissident Chinese visual anthropologist, his mother is an art professor who left her home country of Japan to break free from traditional Japanese gender roles. Tyler feels he inherited a lot of this fearlessness.

I’ve never fitted in, and yet this is what makes me able to adapt to most situations and relate to just about anyone. I embrace my eclectic, dissonant past and see beauty in the person those experiences shaped me to be,” says Tyler. 

Now, he’s able to put those skills to good use in the WordPress community and beyond. 

He says: “Regardless of your physical abilities, mental health struggles, upbringing, and even your run-ins with the law, no one is excluded from carving their place in the WordPress industry”.


Thank you to Tyler Lau (@tylermaximus) for sharing his #ContributorStory.

Thanks to Larissa Murillo (@lmurillom), Surendra Thakor (@sthakor), Olga Gleckler (@oglekler), Meher Bala (@meher), Yvette Sonneveld (@yvettesonneveld), Abha Thakor (@webcommsat), Josepha Haden (@chanthaboune), Chloé Bringmann (@cbringmann) and Topher DeRosia (@topher1kenobe) for working on the People of WordPress series.

HeroPress logo

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

Meet more WordPress community members in our People of WordPress series.

#ContributorStory #HeroPress

Press This Podcast: How WordPress Publishers are Dealing with the Existential Threat of Ad Blocking with Bill Erickson

Welcome to Press This, the WordPress community podcast from WMR. Here host David Vogelpohl sits down with guests from around the community to talk about the biggest issues facing WordPress developers. The following is a transcription of the original recording.

David Vogelpohl: Hello everyone and welcome to Press This the WordPress community podcasts on WMR. This is your host, David Vogelpohl, I support the WordPress community through my role at WP Engine, and I love to bring the best of the community to you hear every week on press this as a reminder, you can find me on Twitter @wpdavidv, or you can subscribe to press this on iTunes, iHeartRadio, Spotify, or download the latest episodes at wmr.fm. In today’s episode we have a very juicy topic we’re going to be talking about how WordPress publishers are dealing with the existential threat of Ad blocking and joining us for that conversation is someone very familiar with this, like to welcome back to press this, Mr Bill Erickson Bill Welcome back.

Bill Erickson: Hi, thanks for having me.

DV: Awesome. Well, glad to have you on today. I know that for folks you know building publishing sites or managing them directly or maybe they’re a freelancer agency, the notion of Ad blocking and the impact it has on the revenue sites being is on the top I think of everyone’s list these days, particularly with the kind of growth of Ad blocking and changes to browsers in general, just even broader things on the web. But before we kick off into all that bill I was hoping you could briefly tell me your WordPress origin story and you told me before but I forgot it.

BE: Well, back in 2005 I was a finance major in college, and I began building WordPress sites on the side. This is before there were pages in WordPress. Everything was just opposed. And then when the financial crisis hit all the job opportunities for finance majors went away, and I decided to try freelancing full time, and I never looked back.

DV: Alright, good deal. I bet you there’s stories like that brewing now around the neck and the lockdown. Lastly jobs started building or maybe you just did it on the side and turns into a career, have you inspire others bill. You recently you were like freelancing for the longest time is like under the bill Ericsson brand, but now you formed a company and you’re like doing stuff now tell me about that.

BE: Yeah, well, like I said I’ve been freelancing for a really long time, but from pretty early on, I realized that clients didn’t just need a developer, they often needed a designer and developer, and I found some designers I liked working with. And so it became a sort of informal process of cure my recommended designers started partnering with some and then it became a bit more formal. These are just the ones I worked with so it’s been about an eight year process but it was about time to finally coalesce around a company name. We’re a team of seven now and doing everything under my personal brand is getting a little stretched so we launched cultivate WP which is an agency specializing in WordPress publishers.

DV: So no, I remember at WordCamp us in St Louis See y’all all crowded around the breakfast table meeting about the improvements, you’re going to make to your publishing clients and a good team over there, a good group of folks thanks for sharing that. So let’s get to the topic at hand and I think, like it’s important to set the stage here. So how has ad or cookie blocking increased in the last few years, like, what has gotten perhaps worse about it from the publishers perspective.

BE: Yeah well ever since ads started appearing on websites there have been ad blockers, but for the most part it was sort of a niche thing the majority of users didn’t have ad blockers, so it wasn’t really a big issue that started to change recently, Safari, and Firefox, have now blocked third party cookies, and Chrome is getting ready to do that 2022 And a key there is third party cookies are very important part for making the advertising model working. And so, without third party cookies ads don’t really work. And we’re already seeing that in Safari and Firefox. We’re seeing RPMs drop about 60% compared to Chrome where they still have third party cookies.

DV: So you didn’t notice you kind of mentioned, of like the rise of the use of ad blockers in general. And then third party cookies that you specifically call that out and the third party cookies when you said RPMs were dropping 60% With these changes from some of the publishers you’re working with it, you make that distinction like is third party more like the issue does your or is it kind of,

BE: it’s it’s mostly the third party component so advertisers use third party cookies to track you across the web. And this allows them to create highly targeted advertising campaigns, very specific segments for instance, at cultivate WP if I wanted to run ads to attract new clients, I pay a much higher CPM to get in front of 1000 food bloggers, than just 1000 random people online. And so that is really what has driven at display ads, the way they work now. And that’s also what’s driven the high RPMs that publishers are seeing because people are able to really segment and display relevant ads to your audience with the loss of those, the ability to track users, we’re back to generic ads shown to everyone, revenue goes down, a lot of advertisers might say it’s not even worth throwing ads into this market. And so now the publishers and advertisers are trying to scrambling to figure out a new solution to this problem.

DV: I remember my first experience with digital ad buying back in the day one of the first lessons I learned was that the more targeted you are, the more expensive the ad buy is. And it sounds like what you’re kind of pointing out here is that because publishers can show ads to targeted groups of individuals via that third party cookies that what that’s resulting in is less ad spend, per mille e per 1000 impressions basically and so that’s the publisher gets gets less revenue. Maybe you can dig into that a little bit though like how specifically is this affecting publishers like they just have an overall lower overall ad revenue, any other effects you think you’re worth noting.

BE: So so I mean that the first thing is that it’s affected a small segment because Chrome is still by far the most used browser, and the fact that it’s rolled out on these other browsers first has given us the opportunity to see what effect we’re seeing down the line, but also because Google’s business depends on ads, they’re not just going to completely abandon the advertiser so they’re actively working to try and come up with solutions to make the ad business continue to work so luckily there is some light at the end of the tunnel and there’s some new solutions coming down the line, that should hopefully make the ad revenue. Go stay where it is or go up, but also just make the web a better place, and less dependent on very obtrusive tracking of everyone.

DV: Right, that’s a good distinction because it’s not, you know, ultimately at the end of the day it’s a balance between the users experience, the ability of the publisher to monetize and keep this with advertising and keep the content free. And then I guess the technologies that are available to do all those things. But that’s really an interesting distinction though around losing some access to intrusive tools, but maybe replacing them with things that are achieved similar outcomes without without being so intrusive. You mentioned that tracking codes at least to me prior to this are kind of the most valuable part of a display ad you kind of touched on this a little bit, but why do you think that like why are the tracking code so important.

BE: Well, I mean, the, like we said earlier, the ability to understand your audience, allows you to serve better ads, but it also allows you to gather more data about the user as they go around on the web, it just sort of build a better model of what that person is that can get pretty intrusive that you see every website they’re added, and really get a really detailed model of what that person is, and they don’t necessarily need that much data to still get similar value, but that’s that’s why we’re seeing the ability of having that third party tracking codes through cookies. As such a valuable component to the ads, and there are some, some ad technology that has come out like with amp that don’t have that and so we were able to use that as a comparison to see where, where the value is. But amp is a little bit different because it lacks the tracking code but it was also a smaller pool, because a lot of advertisers didn’t just create amp specific ads, and so we saw even greater drops in ad revenue in the amp space so we were seeing 60 to 80% Drop in RPMs compared to 90 of that so it’s, it, that was like our first inkling, a few years ago. And then recently with the move of Firefox and Safari, now we’re getting a better idea of like, okay, what is the value of those third party tracking codes to for analyzing traffic and how is that going to affect the revenue of these ads.

DV: All right, I do, it’s really interesting to think about it going, hitting the smaller browsers first and then giving us a chance to figure things out before it hits chrome I guess he said in 2022. When I talked to you about the amp stuff here in a minute but I think, you know, thinking about that profile that you’re building on that user behavior, it’s so funny because like I think like people think the worst when they hear that like oh my goodness, they know all the blogs I read and all the stuff I read and what are they going to do at this and like at the end of the day they just want to show you an ad for men’s shirts because you’re a man and you like shirts, and, like, it’s really interesting to think about like the technology we’re using in the window gives us maybe too big a window, but at the end of the day we’re really just trying to show contextual ads. I want to dig into the amp stuff though because I know a lot of folks are looking at that recently, we’re gonna take a quick break. We’ll be right back.

DV: Everyone welcome back to Press This WordPress community podcast on WMR. This is your host David Vogelpohl I’m interviewing Bill Erickson about WordPress and ad blocking the existential threat of Ad blocking bill right before the break, you were talking a little bit around the notion of tracking scripts, and the notion of building this profile of users, ultimately, to show them relevant ads, The balance of that against technologies that are used, that are too intrusive and that’s kind of the way I saw it anyways is like the forces at play here. He talks about amp though and you talked about how it had, at least in the context you were testing like 60 to 80% reduction in rpm and for those unfamiliar is revenue per 1000. Visitors Right Is that how you’re classifying right in the end can mean different things I guess in different contexts, but generally visitors in so with with Bill here, but talk to me about him, like, it’s already blocking a lot of tracking for ads, in my understanding of it. And so, like, how do those ads perform and he kind of talked about the revenue performance but then also, like, how does it work with like an amp ad if you if all of this blocking is happening.

BE: Right, so, I mean, it helps to have a little bit understanding of what amp is amp was Google’s or it is Google’s attempt to make the web faster because the mobile experience can be painful on sites currently especially if you’re on a slow 3g connection. And so what they did is they built this set of technologies that allow you to create credibly fast websites. Zero second load times, when coming from Google search results. The DOM doesn’t change so everything, there’s no layout shifts things look so there was a lot of really good things in there. And, but because of that, it doesn’t allow any JavaScript to allow things to change or to allow you to track people relying on cookies. Part of that was for speed, part of it also is because the way amp flows is your website is actually served from the Google cache. So your AMP page could be loaded from different domains and so those cookies just didn’t work when the domain was different. So because of that, amp had its own form of AMP ads, which sort of like the ads used to work with hard coding websites back in the day where it’s like you have an image, wrapped in the link, you can put whatever you want on the link like the UTM parameters or stuff but you’re not loading arbitrary JavaScript in the back ends to track that user to, to do this sort of ad bidding where it’s like we have this information to the user. Now let’s go find the right ad in here, so it sort of took step back to the way the ads worked like 10 years ago, and due to that, plus also, because it’s a completely different ad format and so advertisers would need to go out of their way to create ad specific ads, the pool of ads are small and the revenue on that was small, Google tried to balance that out of it by, like, sort of like the carrot of giving you higher rankings, and like the zero placements you appear above the search results in like amp carousels, so some of our clients were sort of experimenting with that they knew ad revenue would go down, but they were hoping that traffic would go up enough to, to balance it out and some did some didn’t. But for the most part, we found that most of our clients chose to not use AMP after a few months of testing it out.

DV: That’s really interesting. I know with core web vitals coming into Google’s view of ranking and speed and nae that is often referenced as the answer to that, I think, you know from the publisher perspective, those monetize your advertising and in particular through ad networks and sounds like I’m guessing for publishers that you have many publishers that do like direct ad sales through their own business or using ad networks

BE: for the most part they’re using ad networks, but there are some that that do direct ads and manage their own ad inventory. Usually, It’s a bit more involved, and offer additional parts like user registration so there’s different like touch points in there but yeah, Google for Wide Web titles is a Google that and a bit of trouble with AMP, because they are pushing it a little too hard. And so now there instead of the carrot of improved search results they’re bringing a new approach which is let’s just raise the standards that we’re expecting to be really past performance site, you can use AMP, you don’t have to use them. And if you’re not using amp, you better make sure your site loads fast and is good for the user experience like the layout shifts and stuff like that so it’s a similar approach but now it’s a little more open, because you can get to that end result with a bit user experience, in whatever way you want, which opens up a bit more flexibility on the ad side, then also on the publisher side because you can really make the decision of what’s important for you.

DV: You guys really interesting point, especially since you’re talking about, you know, and it’s like getting there however you want, and really the limitation with AMP is kind of dictating how things should work like not using JavaScript to change things and so on and so forth. And obviously, on the tracking side that was an opinion, right was essentially layered into amp and you could have a different opinion based on a lot of different reasons and just choose that. It’s interesting to hear you position the favoring of amp in search results, around this notion of kind of making up for the fact that you’re going to lose out on some ad revenue. Do you, do you see or have you heard of a path for having more contextual advertising in the app context for users, other than just contextualization based on like the post content like contextualization based on, you know the kind of user base targeting you were talking about,

BE: honestly I haven’t dive too deep into that particular topic, I think, the more, if it becomes more popular, there will become more options around and the biggest problem with AMP right now when it comes to ADS, besides not having a tracking is just it’s such a small market, that the advertising like ad very big media buying can’t find enough advertisers to actually support those spots, but if amp was used by 50% of websites or something, then there would definitely be a lot more advertising opportunities for that so it could be a potential long term solution but given the, the D focusing of amp. The fact that they’re not promoting sites that are just fast they don’t have to be an app site. I think we’ll see a little bit less emphasis on the importance or focus just on building a good, fast, and website and looking at this for web Bibles,

DV: maybe there’s an advertiser out there like you said we need more publishers using it and then the publishers are like we need we’re advertisers you doing amp ads. Right. Seems like a chicken and egg thing it’s kind of interesting. Okay, so you’ve mentioned that blocking, third party cookies will likely hurt, RPM, they explained how earlier which was like well, if you block the third party cookies you can’t, you know track users across sites build a profile or what they might like and show them the right ads, because this is like if third party cookies are gone from a site say uses amp and so therefore is enabled to use third party cookies, is that going to hurt their RPM like the next day or is this more of like an insidious thing that happens over time.

BE: It will probably get, it’ll be like the next day, when the switch gets flipped and third party cookies don’t work anymore. I would expect to see the RPMs go down, but that like I mean like, he did it today as an individual site. Yeah, yeah, if you did it today as an individual site and you moved to amp and you were using amp ads, You would likely see a decrease in the revenue pretty substantially because have you now no longer have access to those types of ads, but the idea is that by the time that Google is going to flip the switch there will already be the resources in place where this will no longer be an issue. So, what Google has done. So there’s really two ways to deal with this future, where there’s not going to be third party cookies like how do we make contextual ads without that. There’s Google’s answer, and then there’s the wider answer for the market that includes the other browsers. So Google’s doing is what they’re calling their privacy sandbox, so what they did is they identified how are publishers using these third party cookies and how can we build privacy focused tools that give them those same benefits. So an example of that would be what they call flock federated learning of cohorts, where Google will anonymously group you with, like, browsing people so people who look at similar websites that have similar interests, and then advertisers can target that flock, without having to know any individual information about you, but that’ll be limited to the Chrome browser,

DV: and then presumably Google with would have to know the information on some level, so I’m sure privacy minded folks will think about that aspect. Were there any other areas of Google’s strategy I want to get to the, the other ones after the break, but anyone else on Google.

BE: Well, so Google has this whole series of things and they haven’t really defined exactly all the things they’re doing, but they’re they’re sort of beta testing at all in this general idea of the privacy sandbox. And so I haven’t gotten into too much detail on all the little bits but the idea is that instead of every advertiser, or ad platform, building their own knowledge graph on users and collecting more data than they necessarily need Google will take a, a stance where they are the ones deciding what is the right amount of information to collect, and then make the right information available to those advertisers so it helps to know in a way, because instead of lots of parties collecting all different kinds of information we now have sort of a standardized platform that you can then query this Google the clearinghouse for that it makes it incredibly.

DV: Okay, I got more questions I submit your question Yeah, build whenever you’re taking a quick break and we’ll be right back.

DV: Everyone welcome back to Press This WordPress podcast on WMR. We’re in the middle of our episode talking about ad blocking and cookie blocking and the effect on publishers are interviewed Bill Erickson for that bill right before the break, I was trying to catch you out so many good topics here, you were talking about Google’s approach, which was this notion as you put it like a privacy sandbox where fundamentally they would collect the data, cohort people anonymously and then allow advertisers to target based on those anonymous groups but we talked about how that kind of puts Google at the very center, like being the clearinghouse of private data in the lab, too, of course has its own implications, but I’m curious, is there anything else on the Google side and if not, what, what was everybody else going to do about this.

BE: Yeah, so on, on the other side. So I think everyone is going to interact with whatever Google is doing but that everyone’s not gonna put all their chips into Google. Because, I mean one, they want to build something that’s not so dependent on one of their competitors, as these app providers, but to it’s not going to apply to any of the other browsers like Safari, and Firefox. So, the more broader based tool is what’s generally referred to as authenticated traffic. So when you are on a website, if that website can know your identify you in some way, Usually by any email. They can then hash that email, and then use that as the tool for gathering related ads, and identifying you, so rather than depending on the third parties for tracking you across the web, the individual websites will encourage you to log in to get new features to save your favorite posts. To access the newsletter, whatever they can do to grab your email, and then use that email hash to, to generate relevant ads, and so there’s gonna be a big push, I mean there’s always been a push to capture emails for email lists and stuff but there’s gonna be an even bigger push. And so that’s layer one is just getting the email address, and then using that layer two is to collect as much first party data as you can and build your own graph of your own users so that, that means, once they’re logged in on your site, letting them favorite their favorite content, leave comments that you can do an analysis of that to get an idea of sort of building that that cohort of different types of people but on your individual website, and then use that knowledge graph that you created to, to get more relevant ads and the idea is that when you’re building your own first party data you’ll know more about your individual visitors than an advertiser will, and then you’ll be able to generate even higher RPM than you could nowadays

DV: with ad networks though have a better view of that user behavior with the third party cookies like, and how would it advertise your targeted cohort on a specific side they’re just curious if you know, because like would my cohorts be classified differently than someone else’s

BE: right so I think the way it’s going is the, the ad networks themselves are going to be helping you create these first party data’s and then integrate them into your, into their system, so it’ll be adthrive in media vine that are doing it so media vine has their new growth, nice service, which is doing exactly that, what they’re trying to do is give you the tools to collect first party data that can then integrate into their larger picture and deliver relevant more relevant ads across their entire network. So, so yeah it’s, it, there’s a lot of steps we’re basically trying to recreate the way that the third party cookies and tracking work now, by using first party data and then integrating that into your overall system based on consent, and present yeah I was gonna say,

DV: Assuming you have the right standard are following all the right laws. The downside is you don’t get to customize ads for, you know anyone that has cookies enabled but the plus side is, you’re doing it for people where you have email addresses, perhaps, and then, you know, maybe perhaps also how insights from how they’re engaging with your specific store. Now, you mentioned two ad networks that you work with that are doing this, I’m guessing like lots of other networks are doing the same. It’s kind of like, it’s kind of like the link networks only now we’re going to have, what do you call it authenticated traffic networks.

BE: Yeah and all, all of them are working on similar things and there’s systems that are used to connect them so that you can authenticate your traffic and then connect it to different systems. When it comes to the actual first party data collection, there’s going to be a specific ad network based solutions sort of like grown up needs for media vine, But then there’s also gonna be more general purpose once it’s like streaming something used by lots of publishers, and it allows people to sign in save their favorite content to get relevant content, and then that data can also be passed to whichever ad network you’re using so that gives you a little bit more freedom to move between ad networks and carry your data with you.

DV: Who there’s always something new to learn, thank you for sharing all this last question. What do you think the future of advertising is in this environment. Sounds like you think he’s probably just going to kind of adapt and morph in these ways, but I mean, like is it direct advise outside of the network’s these authenticated traffic networks is it all of it like how do you think it’s gonna change.

BE: Yes I think it’s a lot it’s going to change and I think at the end of the day it’s going to be about publishers diversifying their revenue sources. So on the ad side, you’ll likely see like a more ad 20 breakdown where it’s like 20% of your visitors deliver 80% of your revenue because those are the ones that are logged in generating the data that gives you the really good ad impressions, and then 80% of your traffic is getting the generic ads that don’t really deliver much. And then on top of it, Right. And then on top of that you’ll be building on direct ad buys and ebooks and basically any other ways you’re not so dependent on a single source of revenue, most of our customers have 80 to 90% of their revenue coming from just the standard ad networks, and they see how things are changing and so they’re, they’re working on changing that the balance of payments there so when one thing goes down it doesn’t totally take everything.

DV: Well this was stellar thank you so much, Bill.

BE: Thank you for having me.

DV: Awesome. If you’d like to learn more about what Bill is up to you can visit cultivate MVP.com, thanks everyone for listening to Press This WordPress community podcast on WMR. Again, this has been your host David Vogelpohl, I support the WordPress community through my role at WP Engine, and I love to bring the best of the community to you here every week on progress.

The post Press This Podcast: How WordPress Publishers are Dealing with the Existential Threat of Ad Blocking with Bill Erickson appeared first on Torque.

WP Briefing: Who Is WordPress?

In this episode, Josepha explores the five groups within the WordPress ecosystem and provides a high-level example of how they interact and support one another. As always, stay tuned for the small list of big things and a contributor highlight.  

Have a question you’d like answered? You can submit them to wpbriefing@wordpress.org, either written or as a voice recording.




Hello, everyone, and welcome to the WordPress briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of some of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project and the community around it, as well as get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Here we go!

In the first episode of this podcast, I said that there’s a lot that goes into WordPress, that’s really hard to see. One of the hardest things to see about the WordPress project as you get started is the overall structure. There is quite a bit of documentation that can clarify the basics: the names of teams, what they work on, and where, and when they meet. The way that they influence and support each other can really feel like a bit of a mystery. So today, I’m going to break down the WordPress community into five big groups; I want you to keep a couple of things in mind. 

Firstly, these are high-level and based on my observations. Each of these groups can be further broken down into subgroups. So while you may not feel represented in this exact five, you are included if you were to dig a little bit deeper. The second thing to keep in mind is that the makeup of these groups is pretty fluid. Many community members find themselves in more than one group, but generally not far off. Some group two folks end up in group three, depending on the situation, people in group four can also end up in group five, and so on. As with so many things that I share, I’m not trying to insist that one size fits all. I’m not trying to put the WordPress community into a box. This is just a basic framework to understand how it all fits together. Alright, are you ready? I’m ready. Let’s do it!

Okay, I have a broad definition of the community, which I have mentioned before. I believe that the community is anyone who has interacted with WordPress, whether they know it or not. So, I’ll start from way out there and work my way in that first group; we’re going to call our Visitors

Visitors are people who arrive at a WordPress site to gain information or engage in an activity. Sometimes they know it’s a WordPress site, but most of the time, they don’t. The second group are Users, people who use WordPress as their CMS. So, that’s website builders, website designers, small businesses, content creators, and the list goes on and on. The third group I like to refer to is the Extenders. Those are people who extend WordPress through the creation of blocks, themes, plugins, and more. There are also people who teach WordPress to others through WordPress podcasts, and newsletters and tutorials. The fourth group I refer to as our Contributors is the people who contribute to the open source software and the infrastructure supporting it, but not necessarily the same people who contribute directly to their own product. And then there’s group five, Leaders. Those are people who help drive the vision and strategy for WordPress; the most notable member of that group is of course, Matt Mullenweg. And I’m also in that group. 

Each of these groups directly influenced the groups on either side. For example, a WordPress user is affected by both visitors and extenders. Imagine a content creator who shares their passion for photography through a WordPress site; this photographer may have visitors that need to purchase photos. In response, the user now has a need to make it possible for visitors to purchase photos on a site. So they go to what we consider the extenders, people who have built a plugin that supports that need. And as a result, that user can install that on their site. And they have have satisfied the need of the visitors to their site, the people who now can purchase photos. 

There are a lot of examples like this in the WordPress project. Every small pattern that you see is mirrored in the larger patterns across our ecosystem. And every large pattern you see in the ecosystem can be seen among our teams. It’s pretty cool to look at really. So, why should this matter to you? From a very practical standpoint, this matters for anyone who’s trying to learn more about contributing to the WordPress project. These five groups mirror very closely the five steps of volunteer engagement that we see across the ecosystem and from a more philosophical standpoint, it’s just kind of nice to know who your neighbors are. Without the influence and support of the groups around us, it can be hard to know whether we’re on the right track or not. So take a look to your left and look to your right, and get to know your partners in this project.

That brings us now to our community highlight, the segment where I share a note about contributors who have helped others along the way, or WordPress success story. This week’s highlight is from @CoachBirgit, Birgit Olzem, a longtime contributor and a friend of mine. Her success story goes like this. 

WordPress has allowed me as a mother of five to leave a toxic marriage for good. 

Later, the community picked me up when I became seriously ill. 

So I can say from the bottom of my heart, that working with WordPress has saved my life.

And now our small list of big things. I’ve got three things for you this week. I think that they’re all very important. And I hope you check them all out. The first one is a reminder that word camp Central America is coming up on April 15 and 16th. If you have not registered for tickets, you still have time, I will share a link to the registration page and the schedule in the show notes below. 

The second thing on our small list of big things is that the Gutenberg 10.4 release is coming out later this week on April 14th. It’s an important release because it’s when we take a look at the current iteration of full site editing tools that we have, and decide if it’s ready to get into the WordPress 5.8 release. There’s a post that has a little more information about that which I will share in the show notes below as well. If you haven’t checked out the Gutenberg plugin lately, obviously I think it’s a good idea to do that in general, but definitely a good idea to check it out now. 

The third thing on our list today is a reminder to check out our most recent block pattern tutorial, I’ll share a link to that in the show notes. It’s this kind of tips and tricks, tutorial, the “show me how to do it,” kind of thing in the style of CSS-Tricks. If you or anyone that you know might be interested in sharing a similar style of tutorial, there’s a link to a form in that show notes as well so that you can share with us your name and the topic that you’re interested in. We’ll take a look and see if it’s something that we definitely need to make sure our users know how to do. So, that my friends is your small list of big things. 

Thank you for joining in today for the WordPress briefing. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks!

Weekly WordPress News: Wix Ad Campaign Receives Backlash

Hey, WordPress friends. We are checking in with your latest dose of weekly WordPress news. This week, Wix launched a negative marketing campaign that takes direct aim at WordPress. The campaign titled ‘You Deserve Better’ involved sending a package to well-known WordPress community members. Beyond that, iThemes announced its acquisition of popular WordPress theme, KadenceWP. […]

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The post Weekly WordPress News: Wix Ad Campaign Receives Backlash appeared first on Learn WordPress with WPLift.

Sort WordPress Posts By Date

TL;DR: If you’re looking for an easy way to sort WordPress posts by date (be it descending or ascending) in the administration area without having users click on the Date column header, you can do so through the user of the filter that providers a reference to the that’s running on the page. For examples in code on how to do that, check out the rest of the article. This article is written such…