This Week in WordPress: Tributes for #wpmom, WP Predictions for 2015

This week’s round-up of WordPress news, views and reviews summarized in our daily email newsletter, The WhiP.

Subscribe to The Whip daily for lashings of WordPress goodness.


The WhiP Newsletter #148 – Monday, January 5

Happy New Year!

New Year, New News

It’s easy to forget how much happened last year in WordPress until you actually sift through the hundreds of articles that were published (and that’s only during the past fortnight!). WP Tavern explores the past 12 months (and almost lists their 2014 archive) in a couple of comprehensive posts (here and here) that look at last year in WordPress news.

Post Status’ Brian Krogsgard has left design and development agency Range to focus on consulting – and re-launching his WordPress news site with a membership model. The site will offer individual and corporate yearly membership and is expected to launch on January 21. For more background, check out Brian’s post from back in September where he talked about the future of Post Status.

New rules around VAT on digital goods kicked in on January 1 in EU countries. The new rules affect all companies (EU and non-EU) that sell to consumers inside the EU. To find out more, check out WooCommerce’s post on their new Taxamo extension.

ManageWP have teased users with a preview of the next version of their WordPress management service, dubbed ManageWP Orion. It promises improved performance, async actions, better usability, a clone wizard, optimized scheduled backups and in-depth client reports.

WordPress tweaking service Elto, formerly known as Tweaky, have suspended their services. According to the company’s blog, the company is working on a new product experience. No date has been publicly set for when the company will re-launch.

Envato have published a list of their top 50 new WordPress themes of 2014, as well as their top 50 new WordPress plugins.

WordPress.com VIP has grown. During the past year, the service has surpassed 28 billion page views, added 350 new sites to the VIP network and hired 13 new staff members.

Lastly, and in case you missed it, WordPress 4.1 was released on December 18. Here’s Post Status’ rundown of the latest version, named “Dinah.”

Looking Forward, Looking Back

Who do you follow in the WordPress community? Torque caused a stir with their round-up of 100 WordPress influencers, most notably leaving out Matt Mullenweg (he only co-created WordPress but, you know, whatevs).

The Envato Market Blog wraps up 2014 with a look at the versions of WordPress released over the past 12 months.

And the folks at Torque look back at their favorite posts of 2014.

Easy Digital Downloads create Pippin Williamson also looks back on 2014 in arevealing post detailing his revenue (EDD reached gross earnings of ~$475,000).

Following on from his 2014 review, Pippin writes about giving up control is important if you want to grow your business, and why he is no longer the sole lead developer for Easy Digital Downloads.

For all the WordPress businesses out there, CodeInWP looks at seven mistakes to avoid when promoting your wares.

Access Granted

Will 2015 be the year more focus is placed on accessibility? In our first post for the year, we take a look at the best themes and plugins for making your site accessible.

If you run a WordPress business and ignore social media you’re missing out on potential customers. The folks at Elegant Themes check out social media trends to look out for in 2015.

Elegant Themes’ Joyce Grace has put together a huge post on typography in web design.

Over at WP Tavern, Sarah Gooding takes a look at the most popular free themes released in 2014.

There were dozens of tutorials published over the Christmas break so instead of listing them all, here are WP Beginner’s favorites of 2014.

And here’s an overview of what the folks at tuts+ have been up to over the past 12 months.

New Year, New You

A new year usually means new resolutions (that you’ll probably forget by February). Here are 14 tips to help you make this year your most productive yet.

All the best for a fantastic year ahead.

P.S. This is our first edition of The WhiP for 2015. Thanks for sticking around. We’re keen to get your feedback on what you think of our little newsletter so we’ll be sending out a survey this week. Stay tuned.


The WhiP Newsletter #149 – Tuesday, January 6

Hello dear reader,

#wpmom

In sad news, WordPress contributor Kim Parsell has died. Kim was affectionately known to many as #wpmom. Over the past few years she worked on improving documentation in WordPress as a member of the Documentation team. Tributes have begun to flow from fellow Docs team members (Siobhan McKeown and Drew Jaynes), at WP Tavern, and this beautiful post by developer Carrie Dils.

Long-time WordPress Theme Review Team member Emil Uzelac has launched the community’s first theme review service, Theme Review. The aptly titled service aims to help themers produce a better quality themes for client work, commercial and free themes. The service will cover things like efficiency, performance, sanity, and the overall code quality.

In a departure from its usual beginner tutorials, WP Beginner has questioned whether Jetpack is misleading users to promote WordPress.com on Facebook.

CodeInWP have compiled a mammoth list of their top 101 WordPress blogs along with their most popular and engaging posts. A great read if you like to keep on top of WordPress news and resources.

iThemes is celebrating its seventh birthday this month with a 35% off everything sale.

On the latest episode of WP Watercooler, host Jason Tuckers and guests discuss why and how you should optimize your WordPress sites.

Trending

Don’t run the risk of losing all your hard work. Check out our list of top premium and freemium backup plugins.

ManageWP offers a peak at the design decisions behind Orion, the next version of its product.

Landing pages have become a staple amongst marketers and product developers who create everything from eBooks to mobile apps. The Envato Market Blog takes a look at WordPress landing page theme design trends.

Speaking of trends, here are 14 web designs trends to look out for in 2015 at Torque.

A collection of WordPress tools and resources (plugins, themes, places to find help, managed hosting, books etc) over at BeginWP).

WP Mayor reviews CSS Hero, a plugin that allows you to easily make themes customizations.

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get fit, check out WP Lift’s collection of free weight loss and fitness plugins.

What the Heck

What the Heck Are WordPress Frameworks? (WP Kube).

Control the Visibility of WordPress Widgets Based on Time and Date (WP Tavern).

Creative Ways To Drive More Traffic To Your Website (Elegant Themes).

How To Sell Online When You Don’t Have A Product (WooThemes).

Teeny Tiny

Using The TinyMCE Editor In WordPress [Guide] (Hongkiat).

Using Google Two-Factor Authentication With WordPress (tuts+).

Add Discussion Forums To Your WordPress Website With bbPress (Pagely).

Lock, Stock, and Barrel

“…Facebook’s core business of selling ads into the News Feed is the same combination of incredibly vulnerable and apocalypse-proof as AOL’s dial-up business: it will continue minting money for as long as the parents and grandparents of the world start their day with Facebook, and it will stop growing the second all of their kids move on to something better.” Facebook is the new AOL, writes The Verge.

Lastly, Matt Mullenweg carries around a lockpick. (He’s even taken a class in basic lock picking.)

All the best for a wonderful and productive Tuesday.


The WhiP Newsletter #150 – Wednesday, January 7

Hello dear reader,

Q&A

Thousands more WordPress tweakers and developers joined WordPress Development StackExchange last year – 15,000, in fact, bringing the total to 45,000. Stats for 2014 posted on the site last week reveal the question and answer site go 17 million page views last year. Users submitted 14,000 new questions and 13,000 new answers. WP Tavern’s Sarah Gooding interviewed WPSE moderator Andrey Savchenko on the site’s culture and ethos.

And more stats! WordPress.com’s year in review reveals some impressive numbers. There were 18,300,771 new blog last year (up 12.5% from 2013), and 555,782,547 total posts – that’s 1.5 millions posts a day.

As we mentioned earlier in the week, WordPress tweaking service Elto has suspended its services. Post Status takes another look at where the company is headed.

WP Engine has announced password protection for sites in development so you can control who previews you site before it goes live.

The WP RSS Aggregator project is looking for translators to translate the core plugin and add-ons into several languages.

Webloggerz has teamed up with EngineThemes for a special offer on the theme shop’s theme package.

Drop It Like It’s Hot

With more than 20,000 sales worldwide, Visual Composer is easily CodeCanyon’s best selling plugin. In our latest review, we put the drag and drop product to the test.

Find great images for your posts, and get tips on how to use images effectively, at Elegant Themes.

If you work from home in your pajamas (or even no pants at all), this post is for you. WebDevStudios offers some tips on how to stay healthy while working from home.

Have you developed a mobile strategy for your business? AppPresser offers some advice on what you should consider and then, of course, suggests getting a mobile app for your site.

Must-Have

WP Beginner picks its favorite (and must-have) plugins for 2015.

Easy Footnotes, Single Background and Idea Factory are just some of the latest plugins to join the WordPress Plugin Repository. WebDesignerDepot looks at some other highlights for this month.

Herschel is a new Builder theme by the folks at iThemes that’s aimed a photographer and artists.

WP Explorer rounds up 30 new premium themes from December.

Hack your functions.php file with these simple WordPress snippets at Hongkiatthat let you do things like change the length of excerpts and disable links from user comments.

Programmed to Love

How To: Increase Your Mailing List with Premium Opt-in WordPress Plugins(WP Lift).

Why and How to Use Class Autoloading and Namespacing to Improve WordPress Development (Torque).

Options for 301 Redirects in WordPress (tuts+).

How To Check if a WordPress Term Has a Child (Tom McFarlin).

Programmatically Assign Menus To Theme Locations In WordPress (Paul Underwood).

Universal Language

Vox took some of 2014’s biggest news stories and translated them… into emoji. See how many can you translate back into English.

Finally, here’s a Buzzfeed video (of all things) to help put your existence into perspective.

All the best for a cool Wednesday.


The WhiP Newsletter #151 – Thursday, January 8

Hello dear reader,

I’m Lovin’ It

“The goal with the new Post Status is to provide useful and informative free content for everyone, but go above and beyond for members.” Brian Krogsgard has relaunched Post Status with a new design ahead of plans to add a new members area to his WordPress news site.

WordPress for Android 3.5 has been released with updates to the app design, and smaller improvements like mentions auto completion in comments and a redesigned the media grid on tablets.

The folks who manage the Advanced WordPress Facebook group are planning an offshoot website. Matt Cromwell, who administers the group, says WP Engine has donated hosting and Devin Walker from WordImpress has designed it, they’re just stuck on building the site. WP Tavern’s Jeff Chandler takes a look at the ethos behind AWP, and says his highlight from an unscheduled Q&A by Matt Mullenweg was finding out he like McDonald’s. (Scroll to the comments in the link to find out more about the AWP website.)

iThemes has announced updates to iThemes Security, including new file permission checks and the ability to allow multiple two-factor authentication app passwords.

If you’re still not on top of the EU VAT legislation and how it affects you, Torque have a fantastic rundown on how the changes to selling digital products affects WordPress users.

The Theme Foundry has a new Community Manager. Former WPMU DEV writer Melissa Hill is hanging out in the site’s held center and looking after social media.

Happy Joe will hold its first WP Boot Camp in San Antonio, TX on January 23. The non-profit organization helps US military veterans re-enter the workforce through training in WordPress and web technology.

Crystal Ball

Envato has made seven UX predictions for the year ahead, including the proliferation of testing, that we’ll pay less attention to time-on-site, and that consumer mobile use will ultimately takeover desktop web usage. Oh, and hamburgers. Menus, that is.

Show your support for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris with theJe suis Charlie plugin, which places a black ribbon with the words “#JeSuisCharlie”on the top right corner of your website. It links to the hashtag.

Better Search Replace is a new plugin for updating URLs and text in WordPress databases. WP Tavern gives it a test run.

Beckett is a new, elegant content-focused theme by the guys at Theme Trust.

WooThemes checks out six free tools for building eCommerce landing pages.

And WP Kube looks at how to use the Nelio A/B Testing plugin for conversion rate optimization and creating heatmaps specifically designed for WordPress.

Quick and Dirty

A Quick (and in-Depth) Guide to WordPress Hooks (WPMU DEV).

How to Add Custom After Post Widgets in WordPress (WP Beginner).

How To Monetize Your WordPress Website Using Adsense (Elegant Themes).

Adding Deposits & Partial Payments to a WooCommerce Site (WP Mayor).

Check To See if a WordPress Post Has a Term (Tom McFarlin).

Workarounds

“Unfortunately, when the last leap second was added back in 2012, more than a few sites had trouble keeping pace. As reported by Phys.org, Foursquare, Reddit, LinkedIn, and StumbledUpon all crashed when the leap second ticked unexpectedly into place.” On June 30th at precisely 23:59:59, the world’s atomic clocks will pause for a single second. The phenomenon is forcing web engineers to create workarounds, as The Verge explains.

Lastly, Noel Tock from Human Made has published his 2015 predictions for WordPress and writes that we’ll see a diversity of custom dashboards, front-end editing will become the norm, and that it’s time for the community to become decentralized (shock horror!). Food for thought.

All the best for an inspiring Thursday.

P.S. Thank you to everyone who filled out our survey. You gave us so many great ideas and we’ll be making small changes (nothing too dramatic!) to The WhiP in the coming weeks. Stay tuned. If you haven’t had your say, it’s not too late. You can complete the survey here.