The WordPress Voice and Tone Survey: Results

Published 08 Apr, 2014 under Editorial

This survey continues a post from around a month ago discussing the tone and voice of WordPress’s written content, and recommending a community-approved writing style guide.

The post led to a lively discussion about the nature and aims of WordPress content. This survey is an effort to get a sense of what the WordPress community as a whole thinks.

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The WordPress Voice and Tone Survey

Published 25 Mar, 2014 under Editorial

This survey asks what the community as a whole thinks about the nature and aims of WordPress’s written content.

This survey continues a post from two weeks ago discussing the tone and voice of WordPress’s written content, and recommending a community-approved writing style guide.

The post led to a lively discussion about the nature and aims of WordPress content.

Read more →

Why WordPress Core Needs a Writing Style Guide

Published 11 Mar, 2014 under Editorial

Update: We’ve published the results of our survey on the tone of WordPress Core. Please have a look!

Tone is often a subliminal thing. Over months and years, you work with a person, an organization, or a software package, and eventually you notice that it generally makes you feel either happy or bummed out, listened to or scoffed at.

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Five WordPress Features We’re Thankful For

Published 26 Nov, 2013 under Editorial

It’s the week of Thanksgiving here in the USA, and that got us thinking about gratitude, and the things we’re thankful for. One of them is WordPress. It’s easy to take the software for granted, and skip straight to wishing that your social sharing plugin had a way to turn the Twitter bird upside down—or that TinyMCE didn’t eat your HTML markup when you switched to “Visual”—but gratitude for what you do have is a really healthy thing.

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Always Use a Child Theme!

Published 12 Nov, 2013 under Editorial, Theme Customization

One request for help we hear far too frequently in our work at Press Up is: “I pressed an update button, and now my site doesn’t look right.” The cause is usually that people have customized the look-and-feel of their public site without using a child theme.

Just using the theme works fine for them, for a while.

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6 steps to a better WordPress user experience

Published 05 Jun, 2013 under Editorial

I’m a big fan of things just working, and especially so when it comes to blogs and blogging platforms. One of the lovely things about WordPress is that you can set it up how you want it and get rid of all the stuff you don’t need, so that it empowers your blogging rather than just gets in the way.

In my attempts to be more efficient (also known as “being lazy”), I’ve picked up a couple of little tips to make running and using your WordPress install that bit easier. Let’s get to it!

1. Simplify to fit your needs

Ghost has been making a big stir recently with its “just a blogging platform” tagline, but WordPress has got that covered too. There’s been a surge in popularity for “admin themes” recently; plugins which “theme” the WordPress backend. Personally, I think some of the better ones are fantastic — on sites which are straight-up blogs, I now always install the DP Dashboard plugin. The Hunter skin is a particular favourite of mine; its one column design lets you focus on one thing at a time (hint — writing).

devpress

DevPress’ admin theming plugin in action

It’s amazing how much of a difference a simpler post-writing UI makes, but when you have nothing to distract you, it’s  so much easier to just get on with writing. DP Dashboard is available as part of the DevPress subscription for $40/year — I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

Some sites need a Dashboard that’s a little more powerful, though, and for sites like WPShout, where I want the extra flexibility of having menus at my disposal, I’ll virtually always hop into distraction free writing mode when I need to concentrate. It’s not quite the same, but it’s a reasonable compromise.

Carry on reading →

Owning Your Content: A WordPress User’s Guide

Published 09 May, 2013 under Editorial

I’ll admit, when I first heard the phrase ‘own your own content’, I thought it was a little unnecessary and slightly pretentious.

It was a couple of months ago, around the time Instagram made its now infamous change to its Terms of Service and my immediate reaction was “you really think you have Instagram photos worth selling?” But that wasn’t really the point people were making; it’s the principal that you should own the rights to your original content, no questions asked.

Hey, nice pic! I'll be having that, thanks.

Hey, nice pic! I’ll be having that, thanks.

Whilst I was initially dismissive, I did my homework and started reading up around the subject, and when things like John Saddington’s Pressgram started, I figured if John was able to raise $50,000, he might at least have a valid point.

The tipping point for me came when I read about the recently-passed Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act, which essentially puts all of your photos into the public domain where you, the owner, are not immediately identifiable by either the photo’s metadata or a “diligent search” (which isn’t a legal term, so in practice probably means a quick Google).

From now on, then, I’m going to proactively move my content from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the like, and onto my own WordPress powered alternatives. Want to do the same? Here’s everything you need to know about owning your own content with WordPress.

Carry on reading →

Taking stock: how WPEngine triggered a revolution in WordPress hosting

Published 22 Apr, 2013 under Editorial

WordPress hosting has seen a revolution over the last couple of years, with a huge shift away from cheap, crappy shared hosts and a move towards expensive, quality, managed hosting. In the space of three years, paying for quality hosting has become the norm, and for the firms at the forefront, it’s big business.

There’s a reason that managed hosting has been so successful — a lot of firms are offering brilliant services with everything you could need included and users are recognising there’s value in that. One such person is me; I made the switch to WP Engine late last year, and I’ve been very happy since.

As I said in a WPShout newsletter at the time, I immediately noticed things like loading speeds going down, causing a drop in the bounce rate and an increase in visits. Those are the kind of reasons why managed hosting is worth the price tag.

And so, with WP Engine hitting the headlines recently as it makes apparent moves towards gearing up towards making an IPO, I thought it’d be a good moment to take a look at its meteoric rise to the top of the pile in the WordPress hosting market, and see how they’ve served as a catalyst for everyone getting into managed hosting.

Carry on reading →