We Called it Gutenberg for a Reason

No one could suggest that the WP team have small dreams - according to Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg, the new Gutenberg editor will literally "change the world". While the article is light on details, it's hard not to get caught up in the hype. But will it really serve end-users? Only time will tell.

For those who don’t know we kicked off the Gutenberg project around the beginning of the year, I talked about it and we did our first public releases in June, and the team has been doing weekly updates of the public beta plugin that’s available for anyone to try out in their wp-admin.

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Introducing Site Meta

This is one of those moments where you look at an upcoming new feature in Wordpress and slap your forehead, saying "Why has no one thought of this before?!". We have meta on users, posts and taxonomies. Why don't we have meta on sites in a multisite network? Well, we soon will.

The site meta adds a new table into core database, that enables developers store per site data in a uniform way. There will be a full API to interact with this data in databases.

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The End of 80/20 and the Future of WordPress

Wordpress' development direction - as with most open source software - has long been driven by those doing the development, rather than the (much more numerous) end users who generally don't have the skills necessary to contribute code. This article suggests a radical change to this approach - but even if accepted, it's not something that can change overnight.

The 80/20 principle as applied in the context of current WordPress development is an ideal without a tether to reality. However much we say we develop the application for 80% of users, the reality is we know almost nothing about 99% of WordPress users. That means at best the rule is without consequence, at worst it is doing harm. The big question is how do we change our philosophy to solve this issue?

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A Deep Dive Into the GTmetrix Speed Test Tool

If you're looking to improve the performance of your website, GT Metrix is a fantastic tool to get you started. At Brown Box, we love using GT Metrix and use it whenever we need to diagnose any performance issues!

GTmetrix was developed by GT.net, a company based out of Canada, as a tool for their hosting customers to easily determine the performance of their site. Besides Pingdom, it is probably one of the most well known and used speed testing tools on the web today! In fact, the reason we are writing this is that we have a lot of Kinsta customers that are always asking us how to follow the advice they see on their GTmetrix reports. Compared to other developer tools, GTmetrix is pretty easy to use and the beginner can pick it up pretty quickly. It uses a combination of Google PageSpeed Insights and YSlow to generate scores and recommendations.

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Using IFTTT With WordPress

If This Then That (IFTTT) is a powerful automation service that many users have been taking advantage of for some time. IFTTT has some pretty awesome feature that can help you in your everyday life, However integrating these capabilities into WordPress could be able to take your web automation to the next level! Check out this article to learn more.

You may have heard of the IFTTT service. It has become very popular due to the simple way it allows you to automate a vast array of online activities. Using the service, you no longer need to manually update all of your social networks or try to figure out how to do everything yourself. If you are sick of forgetting to share your blog posts with a specific network or are looking for a way to gather multiple feeds from the services you use and recreate your posts on a WordPress website, IFTTT is exactly what you’re looking for. Let’s take a look at IFTTT in a little more detail.

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20 WordPress Core Functions That Don’t Scale and How to Work Around Them

An interesting list including some very commonly used functions in Wordpress. Some of the comments and advice is specific to Wordpress.com VIP hosting, but it's a useful reference nonetheless.

WordPress comes with a set of core functions that are globally accessible. Most theme and plugin developers rely on these function to extend the functionality of the WordPress framework. There are however a collection of functions that are not necessarily fast when used repeatedly, in other words, they do not scale. Fortunately, Automattic, the company behind the paid VIP WordPress service, has released a set of functions that do not scale properly because they are not cached and possible workarounds around those functions.

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When You Should (and Shouldn’t) Use a WordPress Plugin

Proper testing and risk evaluation are key when deciding whether or not to introduce a plugin into your WordPress site.

The key to effective use of plugins is to deploy them only from properly vetted sources, and only when necessary. Plugins should solve a specific problem or provide an essential function. They should not indulge our vanity or our desire for a “shiny new object”. In this post, let’s get specific and discuss a decision-making framework for a specific type of plugin that can be applied across many different plugins. We’ll focus on a type of plugin that we see often, and whether it’s needed or not — plugins for Google Analytics.

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WordPress 4.8 Improves Accessibility on Admin Screens

As accessibility reaches the foreground of web design and development, more and more users are able to access the web than ever! Increased accessibility surrounding the WordPress Admin screens now means that more and more people are able to manage and use WordPress admin screens!

In WordPress 4.3, the Accessibility Team restored H1 headings to the admin screens. This paved the way for the team to change the headings hierarchy in WordPress 4.4. In WordPress 4.8, admin screens are more accessible thanks to organizing the header text on pages.

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WordPress 4.8 “Evans”

Wordpress 4.8 was released a few days ago. As they've said themselves many of the updates seem fairly minor, but there are some significant improvements to a number of areas. The new option in widgets is certainly one we'll be diving into a bit deeper - we've avoided using widgets in the past due to their inflexibility and lack of user-friendliness, so we're keen to see whether this update means they should find their place back in our toolbox. If you subscribe to our Managed Maintenance service we'll be looking at updating Wordpress to 4.8 for you early in July.

Though some updates seem minor, they’ve been built by hundreds of contributors with you in mind. Get ready for new features you’ll welcome like an old friend: link improvements, three new media widgets covering images, audio, and video, an updated text widget that supports visual editing, and an upgraded news section in your dashboard which brings in nearby and upcoming WordPress events.

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Creating Better, Faster And More Optimized WordPress Websites

There are some great pointers here - such as making sure you have a development version of your site, and using tools like Cloudflare. Definitely worth a read.

There is a reason why WordPress is used by over 28% of all websites on the internet. And that is because it’s a very robust, easy to use and feature rich content management system (CMS). Everyone from stay at home bloggers to fortune 500 companies rely on it every day. Just like with most platforms, if it isn’t properly used or optimized it can turn into a big headache very quickly.

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What is PHP 7 and How to Start Using it With WordPress?

Not sure what php 7 is and why it's important? - Check out this article to find out!

PHP 7 is one of the most significant updates in the history of a server-side software that powers more than 82% of the internet, and, in this guide, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of using it with WordPress.

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How to communicate the value of WordPress website maintenance to your clients

Maintenance is an incredibly important component of running a successful website, here are some key items that'll help you highlight its importance to your clients.

Maintenance as a concept isn’t sexy. Who enjoys maintaining their car, or technical appliances, or even taking their skis for a service after a fantastic ski season. In that case, how can we get excited about offering website maintenance as an additional value to our clients, and better yet how do you explain to them it’s essential to their website’s success.

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WordPress Plugin Directory Redesign: Why So Many People Feel Their Feedback Was Ignored

If you've been to the Wordpress Plugin Directory in the last couple of weeks you will have noticed it's been completely revamped, and there are many users who aren't happy with the changes. This article provides an interesting insight into the process of the rebuild, particularly around the way that feedback was managed.

Many of the issues ... are known and have been known for months. While it may seem like a lot of people are suddenly complaining and didn’t participate in the feedback loop, it’s important to look back to see how the plugin directory redesign reached this point.

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Save time, not money

Sometimes spending money can provide you with the opportunity to free up your time and allow you to spend it in places that will return a stronger investment. This article is a great example of this concept in action!

We humans are inherently flawed when it comes to money. If it’s a new iPhone or a pair of sunglasses, we’ll dish out $500 in a heartbeat. But if you ask $40 for a year of managed WordPress hosting, a lot of people will look at you like you’ve just insulted their grandma’s crochet skills. WordPress is fantastic because you can find so much for free, but at the same time it spoiled us. We expect fully functional themes and plugins to be free, with stellar support that has nothing better to do than to solve our every inane issue.

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Improve the WordPress Editor by Contributing to the Gutenberg Project

Wordpress is in the process of completely rewriting the editor - i.e. the way that you write your post content. The goal is to make it far more user-friendly and easier to build richer content using a "block"-based approach. Early signs are good, though we wonder how well the new editor will play with themes that are based on various responsive frameworks like Zurb Foundation or Bootstrap. Either way it's certainly a space to watch over the coming months!

WordPress is used by more than 27 percent of the entire internet. The editor plays a huge role in the overall usability of the CMS and the future of it will influence its adoption.

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How Many WordPress Plugins is Too Many? The Answer Might Surprise You

This article makes a very good point - in the majority of cases it's not the raw number of plugins that impact your site's performance or security, but which plugins you use. Of course, the more plugins you have the higher the chances that you'll have one that can cause problems - but if you select carefully (and keep them up to date!) you can run as many plugins as you want with minimal impact.

If you’ve used WordPress for a while, I’m sure someone has told you that you “shouldn’t use too many plugins”. It’s obvious – using too many plugins will slow your WordPress site down, right?

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Disable Comments Without Deleting Them (WordPress)

For those looking for information on disabling comments on WordPress - check out this article.

I have recently discovered how difficult it is to temporarily remove all comments site wide, without deleting these comments forever. This website receives a massive number of comments; a huge number that are spam, a large number that are real (but do not add to the conversation, or the article as a whole), and a small number that are generally insightful and create conversation. The management of these comments take up a large number of man hours, and I am simply unsure whether my time is justified.

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WordPress SEO Checklist – 45 Tips for 2017

A very thorough look at how to make your Wordpress site the most search engine-friendly it can be. While there are some points there that are out of most site owners' control (and that's where we come in), so much of SEO is about content - and that ball is firmly in the owners' court.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the methods and or strategies used to rank a website and content higher in search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, to result in more organic traffic. There are really two sides to SEO, the first is the technical part of it and the second can sometimes be more of a natural branding play among online businesses.

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