HeroPress: WordPressing The Hard Way In Malawi

Pull Quote: WordPress has allowed me to find income I otherwise would not have any way in hopes of earning.

I am a self-taught graphic designer/ motion designer turned web designer and aspiring web developer from Malawi, Africa. I am a digital tinkerer who has fallen in love with and currently gone steady with WordPress. Still, the journey is rough.

A little about my home country before you hear my story…


Gif of guy reading book, another guy slapping it away, saying Google ItMalawi, is at the time of my writing, the poorest country in the world. A tiny land locked country with a population of 17 million, AND still largely rural (about 75%) and struggling to develop.

The average entry level monthly pay for skilled jobs is about $110.

You are really fortunate if you are employed, young, working in the creative industry and earning somewhere near $300 a month. I doubt if anybody actually employed by someone in the design, creative and web services industry earns this much.

That being said, I have been a freelance graphic designer since about 2011, doing gigs from my dorm room in college and my bedroom at home. Earnings from my freelance gigs increased my interest in entrepreneurship and I soon started entertaining the thought of starting my own creative agency or media powerhouse.


I first came into contact with WordPress in 2014 when a friend of mine from University were planning to start a local tech blog. Before WordPress, all I had was basic and outdated HTML knowledge I learned from high school and some knowledge in Adobe Dreamweaver.

In 2014 very few websites in Malawi actually ran on WordPress as far as I remember. Most of the websites made in Malawi looked pretty archaic. With what to me was my partners expertise with WordPress Our blog looked like it came from the future. My partner knew where to get the themes (I did not know how he did it then, and still understood very little about WordPress).

In a little while, ecstatic from the praise and positive feedback from the blog we decided to pursue the idea of opening our own content and media publishing outfit.

Because our blog looked spectacular we got a few web redesign jobs thanks to the exposure the blog brought. We were ecstatic.

Unfortunately, we both had very little administrative and business skills we could not maintain the business and we ended up going our separate ways.

Fast forward post college, out of my first real job that I got in the TV industry ( terrible pay, overworked, and not being paid for about 5 months!) and failing to get more rewarding gigs as my creative agency start up side was cash strapped.

Rowan Atkinson looking shockedI finally took it upon myself to learn the ins and outs of WordPress. I learned how to install WordPress on a server and did some research on customising Themes. That knowledge alone and presto: I got my first web design clients and started making earning nearly as much as I did at my first job, sometimes a little more, when I get fortunate  some times I even earn three times as much as I used to in a month.

It only took a very short while for me to realise that free WordPress themes can only go so far, especially with my limited code skills.

For most WordPress designers in Malawi, all we did was get nulled themes and customise them. This is the way most WordPress designers in developing countries survive. This is also why I would like to build my own themes from scratch, to avoid the situation where I have to use pirated themes that are not only unsafe for clients but unethical. In addition, I know learning to code will also set me apart from my competition.

Which leads me to the next bit….


My country apparently has PayPal “available”, but the truth is you cannot get yourself a credit card to be able to join creative markets, and do online courses in order to improve your WP skills. The banks here only issue out credit cards to people who travel overseas or apparently have millions in their bank account.

City Street in Malawi

Even so, most of the bank personnel themselves know very little about credit cards and let alone online payment solutions. It is often very frustrating to talk to bank personnel concerning this. Wire transfer and Western Union is still the most popular way to make transactions for goods and services. So many services that we would like to access: plugins, features, etc related to the WP community are far from our reach. The learning and growth often stops the moment you see the “$” sign on websites offering WP solutions and themes.


As I mentioned earlier, I do not have any programming background, I have always been more of a creative and artsy kind of person. Sure I have an eye for design but in order to grow, I need to learn to code PHP, and PHP hard and it is not easy to do so as premium online courses are inaccessible.

When you are in a position like mine, you are already deep in freelancing and getting a job is currently not the best option because the pay is terrible for people in your industry, and you have to keep on earning, plus make time to learn code. Getting to actually code well is a chore as you have to mind all the other obligations.

Between the time to make pitches to clients, finish up graphic design projects, deal with our current load shedding program (we only have about 5 hours of power a day on average now! ) is something I am barely managing.

Teaching myself code, HTML, CSS,  JavaScript, and PHP for WordPress is something I am determined to do and always in the process of. I try my best to make time to learn. I reckon this would have been easier if I studied a programming course in college but well, here I am.


I will be honest, I have only gotten in touch with the actual WordPress community only very recently. Of course I search for solutions from blogs about WordPress but never actually talked to or asked anyone from the community for a solution. The most personal interaction I have ever had with anyone from the WordPress community is when I talked to Topher when I applied to write a post for HeroPress.

I often just isolated myself from any attempt to interact at all because of the glass ceiling. There are these feelings you get; these things you tell yourself when you know you can never truly harness the power of WordPress because of your lack of a way to pay for stuff online: You could never be half as good as anyone in developed countries, you will never ever get premium support, you can never be eligible for premium support. I reckon these feelings are worse for people teaching them self how to code like me.

So when I came across a tweet from @HeroPress about a post that talked about how WordPress marginalises some, it piqued my interest. It was a post from a WordPress developer in India, and it detailed how people from developing countries could never paid the same way someone from the developed countries would for the same skills or services. I totally relate and knew right away I need to sign up to tell my story.

WordPress designers and wanna-be developers like me (who cannot access online pay systems) often feel side lined.

When it comes to classes, we stop at the freebies portion, often than not our Google Searches look like this

“Free image slider plugins for WordPress” “Free WordPress tutorials”

I wish more developers, or people with more global privilege would consider alternate ways for users who cannot pay for courses, themes, or plugins would make. We may not seem to be present, but we are there. I would love to see more WordPress tutors and developers open up ways to accommodate aspiring learners like me who cannot access plugins, courses and themes, to be able to give back and to participate at another level.

Many wannabe developers who come from situations similar to mine often shy away from participating with the WordPress community or getting deeper with WordPress because in the ways I have mentioned above, the WordPress community feels like it belongs to those only privileged enough on the internet.

WordPress has allowed me to find income I otherwise would not have any way in hopes of earning. Sure it is lower by global standards, but it makes a huge difference where I live. This is about to be my second year with WordPress, and coming across members of the community with varying backgrounds through HeroPress’ stories tells me there is hope for WordPress users like me.

I believe through sharing stories like these not only will WordPress products/services be more accessible but aspiring self-taught developers like me will also find more courage in reaching out to connect with others out there.

The post WordPressing The Hard Way In Malawi appeared first on HeroPress.

Source: planet

WPTavern: Elizabeth Shilling Awarded the Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship

The WordPress Foundation has announced that Elizabeth Shilling, one of three co-founders of the Women Who WP meetup group, is the second recipient of the Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship.

The scholarship was created in 2015 to remember Kim Parsell and provide an opportunity for a woman who may not have the financial means to attend the largest WordCamp in the US.

Bridget Willard on the left with Elizabeth Shilling on the rightBridget Willard on the left with Elizabeth Shilling on the right

Shilling is a former biology teacher, business owner, plugin developer, and feminist leader. According to the announcement, Shilling was chosen for her dedication to open source and being a champion for women in leadership. The scholarship covers the cost of a WordCamp ticket, flight, and lodging. If you see Shilling at WordCamp US this weekend, be sure to congratulate her.

Source: planet

WPTavern: PDF Image Previews Among the Improvements to Media in WordPress 4.7

Among the many enhancements in WordPress 4.7 are improvements to the media component. Previous to 4.7, users who uploaded files to the media library and changed the title could not search for them by file name. Four years since the ticket was created, users will be able to search for media by filename.

PDFs are easier to preview as the media library will create an image preview of the first page. This image is used throughout the library and media attachment screens.

PDF Preview Images in the WordPress Media LibraryPDF Preview Images in the WordPress Media Library

In order to generate the previews, the webhosting server needs to support Imagick, ImageMagick, and Ghostscript. If support is not detected, WordPress will fall back and save the attachment without adding a preview image.

WordPress 4.7 also removes the caption text and the image title fallbacks to generate alternative text. Developers are encouraged to read the detailed notes surrounding PDF previews to ensure compatibility with WordPress 4.7. There’s also a handful of other changes to media that users and developers can read here.

Source: planet

Dev Blog: WordPress 4.7 Release Candidate

The release candidate for WordPress 4.7 is now available.

RC means we think we’re done, but with millions of users and thousands of plugins and themes, it’s possible we’ve missed something. We hope to ship WordPress 4.7 on Tuesday, December 6, but we need your help to get there. If you haven’t tested 4.7 yet, now is the time! To test WordPress 4.7, you can use the WordPress Beta Tester plugin or you can download the release candidate here (zip).

WordPress 4.7 is a jam-packed release, with a number of features focused on getting a theme set up for the first time. Highlights include a new default theme, video headers, custom CSS, customizer edit shortcuts, PDF thumbnail previews, user admin languages, REST API content endpoints, post type templates, and more.

We’ve made quite a few refinements since releasing Beta 4 a week ago, including usability and accessibility enhancements for video headers, media and page template support in starter content, and polishing of how custom CSS can be migrated to and extended by plugins and themes. The REST API endpoints saw a number of bugfixes and notably now have anonymous comment off by default.

Not sure where to start with testing? Try setting up a fresh site on a new installation with Twenty Seventeen (hint: head into customizing your site before touching any pages or widgets) and taking notes on what you enjoyed and what got you stuck. For more details about what’s new in version 4.7, check out the Beta 1Beta 2, Beta 3, and Beta 4 blog posts.

Think you’ve found a bug? Please post to the Alpha/Beta support forum. If any known issues come up, you’ll be able to find them here.

Developers, please test your plugins and themes against WordPress 4.7 and update your plugin’s Tested up to version in the readme to 4.7. If you find compatibility problems please be sure to post to the support forums so we can figure those out before the final release – we work hard to avoid breaking things. An in-depth field guide to developer-focused changes is coming soon on the core development blog.

Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! And if you haven’t yet done so, now is a great time to take the Annual WordPress Survey and send it on to your friends.

Happy testing! And now for another Rami Abraham haiku break.

Select your language
Then let your users choose theirs

Theme authors rejoice
Any option may employ
Selective refresh

Custom header video
Make sure to add_theme_support
Bling above the fold

A new template dawns
A hierarchy member
Post-type templates live

PDF updates
Pack a parade of polish
Prettier previews

Template Post Type: New
Template Post Type: And Useful
Template Post Type: Thing

Let lists live lively
Laud wp_list_sort()
Less laconic lists

Source: planet

WPTavern: Why Are You Thankful for WordPress?

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the US. It’s a time of reflection and an opportunity to express gratitude for the good things in life. In episode 143 of the KitchensinkWP podcast, host Adam Silver asked his two sons why they’re grateful for WordPress.

“I am thankful for WordPress because it gives you a job for the household that we live in and it makes you happy which also makes me happy and smile,” Parker said. “I am thankful for WordPress because it makes you happy and it makes me happy and it provides a roof over our heads,” Carson said.

Inspired by the episode, Josh Eby created the #Thankful4WP hashtag on Twitter. Here are a few reasons why people are thankful for WordPress.

I’m thankful for WordPress because of the opportunities it has provided me and I’ve met some amazing people because of it. If you’re thankful for WordPress please let us know why in the comments. From all of us at the Tavern, have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy – Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

Source: planet

HeroPress: Building Confidence

Pull Quote: The WordPress community give me confidence to talk to people & in front of people.

I can clearly divide my life in two parts before and after marriage. Before I got married, I was staying in Chapra, a small city in Bihar. I had graduated in Botany, we only had electricity for 5-6 hours a day and no easy access to internet or computers.

After my marriage, I came to Pune, a bigger city compared to Chapra and things changed for me. I was exposed to exciting world of technology, thanks to my husband who was then working at a startup. I had lot of free time so I decided to learn as much as I could just to see what I can do and started by learning MS Office, then Photoshop a bit and in the process I also learned HTML, CSS. I tried but couldn’t get much hang of JavaScript.

Once I got confident that I can write decent HTML, I switched to learning CMS and first one I tried was Joomla, and for me it was very hard to understand, I had more question then I could find answers to. So on suggestion of my husband I switched to WordPress. I was able to quickly figure things out with WordPress and set up a blog for myself.

In 2010, I joined WPoets as QA. In those days I had some free time.

To improve my skills I started looking into old reviews of the themes that were approved on WordPress themes repository.

This helped me understand theme file structures and various criteria to check themes for, I used skills acquired to ensure themes built by WPoets were also following these guidelines.

Sometime in 2011, once I was confident that I have understood the process I joined the ‘Theme Review Team’ and started officially reviewing themes in the repository. This was a proud moment for me.  During my journey as theme reviewer I was helped and guided by Emil Uzelac, Chip Bennett & Edward Caissie.

In 2013, very first WordCamp was organised in Pune and I got a chance to talk about theme review process, this was my first ever public talk, and not being very good with English I choose to speak in Hindi. It was well received and many people wanted to know how they can get their themes approved. Again in 2015, I talked about what makes themes good in WordCamp Pune. Thanks to WordCamps, I got to meet Topher, Mahangu & Raghvendra.

Now a days, as I get less time between work and kids, instead of doing theme reviews I answer questions on WordPress.org support forum.

I’m an introvert and came from a small city so I’m always hesitant to talk to new people but the WordPress community give me confidence to talk with new people and in front of people.

This is a big achievement for me and my family feels proud of it.

In WP community every one ready to support and help to move forward because of this nature I love to this community. I want to emphasize the support that I have received from WordPress community in general and members of theme review team in specific who helped me gain the knowledge necessary to do my work better. I also want to thank all the organisers of Pune WordPress Knowledge Exchange meetup group, and specially Saurabh Shukla who helped in improving my presentation skills for WordCamp Pune.

All these happened because of WordPress community and via HeroPress platform I would like to thank everyone who makes this community rock.

The post Building Confidence appeared first on HeroPress.

Source: planet

WPTavern: Automattic Clarifies .blog Landrush Process After Bait and Switch Allegations

Earlier this year, Knock Knock Whois There LLC, an Automattic subsidiary in partnership with Primer Nivel, won an auction for around $19 million dollars to offer top-level .blog domains. On August 18th, an email was sent to users who signed up to Dotblog.WordPress.com notifying them that they could apply and secure a .blog domain name before November 21st.

Applying For a Domain NameApplying For a Domain Name

Chris Schidle took advantage of the opportunity and secured chris.blog for $30 per year with a $220 application fee. People who apply for a domain only receive it if no one else applies for it. If there are multiple applications, the domain goes through an auction process between November 14-17.

As the auction dates drew nearer and Schidle didn’t receive any information concerning the auction, he contacted support. Support confirmed that his application was not successful and he received a refund on November 15th. After asking support about the auction process, Schidle was informed that chris.blog ended up on a list of reserved domains that were not available for registration.

In a blog post entitled “The .blog Bait and Switch”, Schidle expressed disappointment in Automattic’s lack of communication. “Perhaps it’s not fair to call this bait and switch,” Schidle said.

“Really it was bait and refund, and certainly the situation would be far worse had they chosen to not make the application fee refundable. But still, I thought I had a chance at securing the domain. That was the logical conclusion given the terms they outlined via a successful application or winning an auction.”

Other applicants shared similar experiences on Twitter.

In response to Schidel’s post, Paolo Belcastro published an explanation of the process behind activating some domains in the Founder’s Program while reserving others. Belcastro says that as a registrar, they’re able to activate up to 100 domain names. Some of the domains were given to third-parties and 25 generic domains were given to WordPress.com to be shared for free with millions of users.

The registrar reserved all one, two, and three-character domains from being registered. They also allowed Automattic employees to reserve a single domain each, some of which were first names.

On behalf of .blog, Belcastro apologized to those who filed applications in August and later discovered the domains were not available.

Many registrars started taking pre-registrations for the Landrush period as early as last August. We do realize that some users were disappointed when they discovered that the domain names they had applied for were in fact attributed as part of the Founder’s program, or reserved, and wouldn’t be possible to register or auction at the end of Landrush.

We would like to apologize to these users, but as the lists of Founder domains and Reserved ones weren’t final until just before Landrush, we couldn’t communicate them to registrars in advance (there is nothing registrars hate more than ever-changing lists of reserved domains).

In addition, domains were removed as well as added to the lists, and we didn’t want to take the risk for registrars to refuse applications in September for domains that would be released in October.

To mitigate the uncertainty surrounding domain availability, fees were set up in a way so that only successful registrations would be charged. This provided a way to give full refunds to those with failed applications.

Schidle appreciates the company’s apology, “It’s unfortunate that their reserved domain list wasn’t finalized prior to accepting applications, and that affected applicants like myself weren’t notified sooner (auctions were scheduled to begin on November 14th),” he said. “But I think they realize their mistake in handling that communication and their apology is appreciated.”

Source: planet

WPTavern: WordPress Passes 27% Market Share, Banks on Customizer for Continued Success

photo credit: Luis Llerenaphoto credit: Luis Llerena

WordPress now powers 27.1% of all websites on the internet, up from 25% last year. While it may seem that WordPress is neatly adding 2% of the internet every year, its percentage increase fluctuates from year to year and the climb is getting more arduous with more weight to haul.

credit: w3techs.comcredit: w3techs.com

In January 2015, Mullenweg said the next goal for WordPress was to achieve 50% market share (the majority of websites) and he identified Jetpack as a key factor in preventing WordPress’ decline, a controversial statement delivered at Pressnomics. At that time Automattic was secretly working on Calypso, WordPress.com’s JavaScript-powered interface, but did not unveil the project until November 2015.

It’s difficult to say what effect Calypso has had on WordPress’ market share, as the w3tech’s 27% stat covers mostly self-hosted sites. Following up with him a year later, Mullenweg estimates that less than 10% of those sites are hosted on WordPress.com.

“It does look like about a quarter of it is using Jetpack, though, and that has grown since Calypso was released,” he said. “Remember – Calypso is for Jetpack sites as well as WP.com.”

In a recent interview on WPWeekly, Mullenweg said he is also optimistic that the WooCommerce acquisition and Automattic’s sale and management of the .blog domain extension will contribute “another 5-10% each to that market share.” In fact, there is a team inside Automattic called Team 51 that works on strategies for getting the market share to 51%.

“For getting to 51% and beyond – it’s more than just blogs and more than just websites,” Mullenweg said. “We need to do stores well, we need to do wikis well, we need to do real estate sites well, we need to do restaurants well – all these things that may be outside what you normally think of as a core WP experience.”

In order to provide the best content-creation experience on the market, in any niche, WordPress has some major work to do. The software is in imminent danger of being eclipsed by newer competitors if its core features don’t improve, especially when it comes to customizing a new site. Jetpack cannot single-handedly solve WordPress’ onboarding problem.

WordPress’ Weakest Link Is Also Its Greatest Opportunity

In the past Mullenweg has identified customization as the weakest link in WordPress but also one of its most important areas for improvement, saying, “The Customizer is everything.” During the 2015 State of the Word address he said, “Customization is the single biggest opportunity for improving the WordPress experience.” I asked him if he thinks the necessary improvements to make the software more competitive need to come from core itself or if commercial products could introduce game changers for the Customizer, the editor, and other problem areas of WordPress.

“I think to have an impact on WordPress’ growth improvements to customization have to happen in core or Calypso/Jetpack, otherwise there isn’t enough reach,” Mullenweg said. “It doesn’t matter how great a commercial product is – being behind a paywall will mean it won’t reach enough people to make a dent in WP’s growth curve.” He outlined how he sees the Customizer as a critical component of WordPress’ future:

I think the needed improvements will only come from a customizer and theme system which is flexible, intuitive, and instantaneous, which might also need to break backwards compatibility, and a post editor which leverages the same language, patterns, interface, and concepts. We need to use and adopt a React / Redux approach to the javascript, like Calypso, and rename or make irrelevant concepts like Menus which are just plain confusing to people.

Customizer improvements have been a focus throughout 2016 and the feature’s small team of contributors have made major strides towards improving the underlying architecture to build upon.

“It’s customization that is the key need here, not necessarily the existing ‘Customizer’ interface that we have today,” Customize component maintainer Weston Ruter said. “The key need WordPress has is to be able to live preview more functionality in WordPress, as Helen tweeted here:”

Selective refresh was added earlier this year in 4.5, giving WordPress the ability to preview elements without full page reloads. This is one way the Customize API addresses that “instantaneous” aspect Mullenweg outlined above.

“The Customize Posts plugin is an effort to rebuild the post editor from the ground up with live preview for all changes to post data and postmeta at the foundation,” Ruter said. “It’s a JavaScript-first approach to the post editing experience. No more waiting for a full page reload to save a draft. No more clicking a preview button to load the post in a new window. All of the changes are saved as drafts and previewed live. It’s reusing the TinyMCE editor component.”

WordPress may be looking at front-end editing powered by the Customizer in the not-too-distant future. Ruter and contributors are also working towards using the Customize API to power the next generation of widgets in core, which would use JS for UI and open the door for widgets to be managed via the REST API.

“Changesets, coming in 4.7, is the most far-reaching architectural improvement to the customizer since its inception,” Ruter said. “Changesets allow for live preview functionality to be de-coupled from the current Customizer interface. This architecture allows for live preview to be developed in other contexts, namely on the frontend and in REST API-driven apps and headless sites.” Ruter anticipates the REST API endpoints for managing changesets to come in 4.8.

The WP JS Widgets project shifts widgets away from their heavy reliance on PHP and creates a JavaScript foundation in the Customizer that allows for any library to be used to build widget controls.

“A control can actually be implemented using any JS technology stack,” Ruter said. “In the JS Widgets plugin I have a demonstration of widget controls in the customizer being built using the customizer Element, Backbone.js, and also React.” The plugin currently implements three core widgets and contributors are working on more.

“It’s somewhat of a ‘Widgets 3.0’ in core, focused on what they would look like in the Customizer first,” Ruter said, “where the widget instance data is stored in a setting, and the control listens to changes to that setting and updates its UI to reflect the changes in the underlying instance data.”

Although this particular project is being built to be JavaScript-library agnostic, Ruter said he thinks there would be value in exploring the use of React/Redux in a “Customizer 2.0” interface:

Taking the Customizer Beyond First Impressions

Ruter said he would have a difficult time proposing to build a client site that depended on the WordPress admin for site management and content authorship.

“A lot of the work we’ve done at XWP for the past few years has been building on the Customizer to provide the editorial experiences that I think are lacking in the WP admin,” Ruter said. “We invest heavily in the customizer because we see it as the best foundation that WordPress has to offer to provide the experiences we want to deliver to our clients.”

If the Customizer is so critical to WordPress’ success, it’s curious that the contributor team remains relatively small and few companies are investing in the feature specifically. XWP invests heavily in Customizer development and a great deal of that is prototype work in the form of feature plugins such as Customize Snapshots, Customize Posts, and several other plugin projects.

“I don’t know for sure why more developers across the WordPress community aren’t doing more with the customizer,” said Ruter, who is CTO at XWP. “It may be in part a perception problem, where it has seemingly been stuck with a negative reputation. Or it could be a technology problem, where the Customizer is vastly different from other areas of WordPress being a JavaScript single-page application.”

When the Customizer was first introduced it included support for ‘option’ and ‘theme_mod,’ followed by widgets and navigation menus a bit down the road. The WordPress community didn’t have a full understanding of the scope and capabilities of the Customizer for addressing some of the project’s chief concerns, including content authorship with live previews. Users simply saw a constrained UI they didn’t like using to customize themes. Most users had no concept of the Customizer providing the architectural underpinnings of other aspects of WordPress.

“Part of the problem is a lack of contributors,” Ruter said. “But even more than that, the biggest problem is one of having a shared vision. When the WP community throws hate on customizer improvements with each new release, it’s somewhat demotivating.

“If the community realized the vision behind and appreciated a full admin experience that had live preview and staging of changes, then that would make a huge difference,” Ruter said. He and contributors find it challenging to articulate the scope and they are considerably short-handed.

“It could be a problem with getting ramped up,” he said. “But that’s been the mandate for the WP community as a whole – to learn JavaScript deeply. I say, why not learn JavaScript deeply by building on the customizer?”

GoDaddy Plans to Invest in Core Customizer Improvements

GoDaddy is a surprising company to emerge over the past couple of years as another key player on WordPress’ road to 50% market share. WordPress product and service companies, along with hosts, are keenly interested in seeing the software continue its market dominance.

“It’s very important to GoDaddy that WP market share increases,” Gabe Mays, head of WordPress products at GoDaddy, said. “We’re deeply invested in the success of the WordPress community, not only because many of our customers use it, but also because of what it represents.”

Mays reports that approximately 1/3 of all GoDaddy sites and half of all new sites are running on WordPress. With millions of customers using the software, the company took the initiative to create a new onboarding experience specifically for WordPress customers. I asked Mays if GoDaddy is concerned about competitors like Wix and Weebly cutting into the WordPress market share.

“I don’t know if ‘worry’ is the right word, because 1) we know the problem and 2) we’re capable of addressing it,” Mays said. “As a community we either care enough to fix it or we don’t. There are negative consequences associated with the latter that pose an existential threat to the community.”

Mays has been involved with the WordPress community for the past 10 years and is working with GoDaddy to improve the new user experience.

“Part of the issue we’re experiencing now is that WordPress benefitted from such strong product market fit and, subsequently, such high growth that there weren’t the typical feedback mechanisms forcing us to make things like the UX better,” Mays said. “On the other hand, our competitors fought hard and iterated for every basis point of market share they have. We’re like that natural athlete that got to the top with natural talent, but now need to master the basics, get our form right, etc. to stay on top as the game changes.”

GoDaddy’s new onboarding experience is a stab at improving this UX and Mays said the company has significant WordPress core improvements in the works to provide a better first-use experience.

“I’m happy to say we’ll also be contributing these improvements back to core,” he said. “We’re happy to have had Aaron Campbell join us as our first core contributor earlier this year and we’re working on more ways to accelerate our core contribution efforts.”

Mays said GoDaddy is planning to submit core contributions to the Customizer and related core components in the near future but would not disclose any specifics at this time.

“Hosts benefit immensely from WordPress and as hosts we can collectively do a lot more to move WordPress forward,” Mays said. “We want to lead by example here and have big plans for this in 2017.”

WordPress product and service companies are also deeply invested in the software’s success and eager to see its market share grow. Cory Miller, CEO of iThemes, one of WordPress’ earliest theme companies, said growth is one potential sign of WordPress’ health.

“As WordPress has grown, so have we with it,” Miller said. “The opposite of growth is scary — it’s stagnation or decline. Many have predicted that in WordPress for a long time, but it continues to grow and push new limits, like the defiant teenager it is.”

Miller said one of his concerns with competitors in the space is that they have started to cut into the lower or lowest end of the market, “the do-it-yourselfers that many of us count as a key part of our customer base.”

“WordPress is fantastic, and so are all the innovative tools and services around it, from themes, plugins to hosting,” Miller said. “But I’m increasingly seeing the reason why many, on perhaps the bottom end of the market, say, ‘I don’t want to mess with updates, or worrying about security, or pulling 15 separate tools together to do what I need. I just want a simple website, I want everything in one bundle, mostly done for me, and so I’ll just go with SquareSpace or Weebly.’”

Although WordPress provides so much more in terms of community and extensibility when compared to Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace, getting started is the hardest part for new users. This is where tools like Jetpack and GoDaddy’s onboarding experience are useful for giving users what they need to succeed with WordPress.

Even with a strong background in HTML and CSS, customizing a WordPress site can be challenging. Your site will never feel like your home on the web if you struggle to customize it to suit your preferences. The good news is that the WordPress project lead, contributors, hosts, and product companies are working together to improve customization in different, complementary ways in order to ensure the future of the project in an increasingly competitive market.

Source: planet

WPTavern: 2nd Global WordPress Translation Day Brings 780 Translators Together Across 133 Locales

The second Global WordPress Translation Day was held November 12 and the stats released this week show the event was an even greater success than the first one. In April, WP Translation Day connected 448 participants through both online and in-person translation events. The second event brought 780 translators together, a 74% increase in participation. Attendance at the local events increased from 39 in April to 67 in November.

“We really wanted to build on top of what was already there, reach more people, and bring more important topics front and center,” said Petya Raykovska, one of the members of the Polyglots Leadership Team. Participants had the opportunity to discuss the upcoming internationalization features in WordPress with core developers, including a session by Pascal Birchler and a panel led by John Blackbourn. Translators also discussed gender neutral languages in the WordPress UI, prompted by a discussion around gender neutral German.

Raykovska said one of the goals of the second event was to “bring more people on screen so everyone can feel like they’re a part of a truly global event.” Local participation for the live streaming meetups increased from April.

“The activities in India have kept their strong growth rate – we had eight events last time, this time they were 14, with Mumbai even having two events,” Raykovska said. “For the first time we had events in Russia and in South Africa.”

Raykovska said she’s hoping the Polyglots Leadership Team will soon begin developing events in African regions, following patterns of success in Asia and Europe.

Global WordPress Translation Day Expands Into South Africa

Cape Town WP Translation Day - credit: Jon BossengerCape Town WP Translation Day – credit: Jon Bossenger

South Africa has 11 languages and Raykovska said the event gave a big boost to the translation community there, with Xhosa being translated for WordPress for the first time. Xhosa is spoken by 7.6 million people, which is approximately 18% of the South African population.

“Africa has a huge potential and a lot of wonderful, enthusiastic people,” she said. “There will be more WordCamps there in 2017 and hopefully more activity on the translation side.”

Jon Bossenger and Hugh Lashbrooke, who co-organized the Cape Town event, had attendees translating WordPress into Xhosa, Sotho, and Setswana.

“By the end of the day we had two translation files for these languages that we’ll be looking to submit requests to be added as locales for WordPress,” Bossenger said in his recap post. “We’re almost halfway towards adding all 11 official languages, just in one day.”

Trisha Cornelius, co-organizer the WP Johannesburg Meetup, organized the in-person translation event in Johannesburg where the team made major progress and assisted the Cape Town team in getting their languages started.

“We managed to get Xhosa approved in time for us to translate some strings for our translation day event,” Cornelius said. “We translated into Afrikaans (which is at over 95% so we are pushing to get to 100%) and South African English as well. People who were at the Cape Town event have volunteered to become translators for Tswana and an attendee at our event has volunteered to become GTE for Zulu.”

Cornelius said the excitement of live streaming and connecting with Cape Town and others around the world could have easily made for an event that spanned longer than three hours.

“The biggest success was in showing people how easy translation is,” Cornelius said. She hopes the translations will make WordPress easier for more people in South Africa and help more people get onto the web.

“South Africa has an interesting case in that we have a clear racial split between being multi-lingual and not,” Cornelius said. “The majority of our population speaks English/Afrikaans as a second language and I would love to see WordPress available in all 11 of our official languages so that WP users can choose to use WP in their mother tongue.”

Cornelius said language accessibility in South Africa is less of a challenge than actual access to computers with the Internet, but they are making progress in Johannesburg to make the internet more widely available.

“Especially with the prevalence of smart phones, I think having WordPress in more indigenous languages will mean that we are able to hear more of each others voices which we desperately need,” Cornelius said.

Overall, the WordPress Translation Day participants translated a total of 60,426 strings, up from 40,350 in April. This includes popular plugins and themes in addition to WordPress core. A video replay of the event can be found on Crowdcast.io.

Source: planet