Under the hood of Google’s Web Stories for WordPress

Paul Bakus, head of AMP and Creator Relations at Google, recently joined business leaders, product people, and enterprise developers at BigWP to share a live demo and behind-the-scenes look at an exciting new offering: Google’s Web Stories.

Aren’t stories old news?

Yes and no. Stories have become ubiquitous on most major social media platforms— think Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. However, Paul argues these implementations of stories emphasize “ephemerality” (they’re meant to disappear) and “casual creation” (they look homemade).

With Web Stories, Google is betting that the story format translates to other uses. Specifically, they see an emerging opportunity in the media and marketing landscape for:

  • High quality,
  • Bite-sized,
  • Informational,
  • Non-social content.

In his talk, Paul makes the case that Web Stories are both less cost-intensive and more structured than video. This means they’re easier to index, making them a valuable tool in the SEO arsenal. Additionally, the visually-appealing format is more engaging than a text article. And unlike videos, stories are scannable, so users can quickly find what they need.

How do Web Stories work?

Under the hood, these stories are essentially web pages. They can be linked to, embedded, and viewed anywhere a webpage can be seen.

But the best part?

They’re native to WordPress! In fact, the new Web Stories for WordPress plugin is an official (and open source) Google product.

To get a full grasp of the capabilities of WordPress + Web Stories, watch Paul’s full 30-minute talk here.

BigWP is an enterprise WordPress event series that brings together business leaders, developers, and product people to share best practices for high-scale WordPress applications. Find more talks like Paul’s here.

A look inside OKdo’s enterprise ecommerce technology stack

Ecommerce is one of the most promising growth channels in today’s enterprise market. In fact, the US Department of Commerce announced in August that ecommerce retail sales were estimated to grow 31.8% compared to the previous quarter.

Box UK is a WordPress VIP agency partner and ecommerce expert. At a recent BigWP event, Box UK’s Lead Business Analyst Allie Brock shared how her team helped OKdo launch an enterprise ecommerce platform in less than 8 months. A division of Electronic Components (FTSE 250), OKdo now manufactures and sells single board computing and IOT technology in seven countries and six languages (read this case study to learn more).

In her talk, Allie covered the questions enterprises need to consider when choosing ecommerce technology solutions. They may seem basic at first glance, but each of these considerations plays a major role in determining the best technology stack for any given use case. Those questions include:

What am I selling?

Whether it’s textiles or electronic components, pay special attention to local trade regulations. These vary country to country and any trade rule violations can lead to a hefty fine. OKdo uses WooCommerce integrated with an ERP to ensure each order can be legally fulfilled.

How will people find my products?

The most important factor in driving people to your products is a strong content and SEO strategy. The most beautiful site in the world won’t convert any sales if customers can’t find it first. OKdo relies on a combination of Yoast and Multilingual Press to optimize technical SEO in multiple countries and languages.

“Customers are more likely to convert if products are shown in their language, with their preferred currency and payment methods.”

– Allie Brock, Lead Business Analyst at Box UK

How will people pay?

Look into the most common payment methods in each region you’re selling in, and make sure your payments processor supports that method. For example, Box UK found people in the Netherlands favor a platform called Ideal; in Japan, meanwhile, payment is expected upon delivery. OKdo found Stripe and PayPal to be the most popular in its leading regions, and WooCommerce integrated seamlessly with both.

For more insights on the technology stack Box UK built for OKdo, watch Allie’s full 15-minute talk from BigWP.

BigWP is an enterprise WordPress event series that brings together business leaders, developers, and product people to share best practices for high-scale WordPress applications. Find more talks like Allie’s here.

How better accessibility can improve your bottom line

Taeke Reijenga is CEO of Level Level, a Netherlands-based design and development agency with an emphasis on ecommerce and web accessibility, and a WordPress VIP Silver agency partner. He’s an expert in helping organizations optimize their digital strategies, which often includes helping them understand that better accessibility can lead to higher revenue.

At a recent BigWP event, Taeke recently shared his tips with us in a talk on the business benefits of inclusive design.

What is web accessibility?

Most folks think “web accessibility” is the practice of making websites accessible for users with disabilities. And while that’s technically correct, Taeke says it’s only a fraction of the answer.

Instead, he argues, web accessibility is the practice of making websites accessible for as many users as possible. See the difference?

Why prioritize accessibility?

According to Taeke, it’s generally accepted that 20% of people have some form of disability.

While it’s a huge number, that percentage doesn’t take into account people with short-term disabilities (like a broken arm) or the significant increase in our aging population.

In short, improving accessibility for disabled populations will benefit everyone’s digital experience. And it will also improve your bottom line.

The business case

In this talk, Taeke covers three ways better web accessibility can boost business outcomes:

  • Increasing income: Did you know 69% of disabled users abandon a site when they find it’s not accessible? For ecommerce sites, that drop translates directly to lost revenue.
  • Decreasing expenses: When it’s easier for people to find what they’re looking for, your customer success team will spend less time fielding support requests.
  • Mitigating risk: Increasingly, web accessibility is regulated by government bodies. In many parts of the world, inaccessible digital experiences can lead to hefty fines.

For more information, watch Taeke’s full 17-minute talk here:

Taeke’s talk was originally recorded at BigWP EMEA, part of our enterprise WordPress event series. BigWP brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day. Find more talks like Taeke’s here.

 

Panel: Drive digital commerce with content marketing

Content is the heart of digital commerce. It’s what drives people to your products and keeps them coming back for more.

In this panel, experts from digital commerce leaders Square, PHLEARN, and Craftpeak share tips for using content to build a seamless customer experience at high-growth ecommerce businesses.

You’ll learn:

  • Content strategies to maximize your customer lifetime value
  • How to integrate marketing and product content
  • Tips to deliver a consistent experience across channels
  • Tools to benchmark the impact of your content

Featuring:

  • Mallory Russell, Head of Content, Square
  • Seth Kravitz, CEO, PHLEARN
  • John Kelly, CEO and Co-founder, Craftpeak

 

Streamlining operations for Grupo Abril

Grupo Abril, one of the largest media companies in Latin America, sought to streamline the IT sprawl that had arisen from the organic growth and development of its dozens of brands.

Taming the sprawl of organic growth

Abril’s portfolio was spread across several content management systems, including a custom Ruby On Rails system hosted in-house, another hosted via Amazon Web Services, and a Drupal-based system supported by Acquia. This system was costly and ineffective. Because of IT constraints, some brands hadn’t had a site update in ten years and as a result, had no mobile-optimized version of their site.

Unleashing greater efficiency

Abril has made major improvements in agility since standardizing with WordPress VIP. In addition to hosting and supporting Abril’s sites and providing training for developers and editorial staff, WordPress VIP manages ongoing security and performance, and serves as an end-to-end consultant for all of Abril’s content publishing development.

Shared benefits across its portfolio

New features and site launches can now be deployed with just a few days’ notice. Company resources are no longer tied up in staying up to date with third-party APIs, and Abril is now first to market with updates any time those services change. This has opened up their pipeline, and freed the organization up to focus its resources where they can have the most valuable impact – editorial and front-end work.

“We have enormously improved our efficiency since we don’t need additional teams or third parties to support our infrastructure. We can focus on what matters, which is producing content and generating value.”

— Ricardo Schultz, CIO of Abril

To learn more about our work with Abril, including detailed results of their successful migration, download the executive summary.

This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

Unlocking power and efficiency for News Corp Australia

News Corp Australia is Australia’s largest digital news network. Together, its channels see 8 million unique visits a day and 600 million page views a month.

Multiple platforms hampered growth

With 90+ brands spread across a wide range of platforms, their team suffered from inefficient workflows which hindered their growth. To position themselves for continued success, they needed a flexible enterprise-level digital publishing solution with the power to scale.

After a successful test project, News Corp Australia went all in and migrated their 90+ brands to WordPress VIP.

Agility at scale

Armed with WordPress, an agile platform that integrates seamlessly with internal systems, stakeholders are now able to contribute value to their sites in ways that were not possible before. A core suite of vetted plugins and a base theme serve as the foundation for each new site on the platform. And a new in-editor “Site Build” experience offers web producers the ability to assemble and organize an infinite combination of complex layouts—without touching code.

Major improvement in time to value

Since launching with WordPress VIP, News Corp Australia has continued to grow their digital publishing offerings, now hosting 40+ sites with WordPress VIP, and launching new assets on a regular basis. They take advantage of over 50 custom plugins, which integrate WordPress with their broader systems architecture. In many ways, this project allowed News Corp Australia to reinvent themselves and established a partnership to drive the evolution of the platform for years to come.

“[We] … cut the time it takes to build out a section of the site from days to hours. We’re so proud to be part of that success story.”

—Weston Ruter, CTO at XWP

To learn more about our work with News Corp Australia, including detailed results of their successful migration, download the executive summary.

This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

Empower your team with evidence: Making the case for user research

“One thing we know for sure is good user experience equals good business 1000% of the time,” asserts Cathi Bosco, a designer and UX architect at WordPress VIP agency partner XWP.

“Why speculate about the people we are building and designing for,” she asks, when user research is proven to positively impact business outcomes and boost customer satisfaction?

In this talk, Cathi makes the case for incorporating evidence-based decision making at any and every stage of product development. Specifically, she recommends semi-structured, informal research studies.

According to Cathi, these studies are easy to implement and yield powerful insights, especially when paired with exposure studies (where team members observe users interact directly with the software under development in real-time). She even recommends a formula: every member of the product team should dedicate two hours of direct exposure with users every six weeks.

Watch the video for Cathi’s four-step approach to semistructured research, which works equally well for remote teams. (Journey maps for everyone!)

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress event series. It brings together developers, business leaders, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day. To learn more, visit https://bigwp.vip

How to build an ecommerce store that scales with WordPress

High performing ecommerce solutions require both your back and front end to be lightning fast. In fact, according to Google, the probability of bounce increases 32% as page load time goes from 1 to 3 seconds.

After a decade of building ecommerce solutions for large organizations, Matias Saggiorato has learned a thing or two about optimizing online stores for speed and performance. Matias is CTO of WordPress VIP partner agency SAU/CAL. The agency is a certified WooCommerce expert and they’ve worked with enterprise clients like Stripe, P&G, Amazon Pay, and Phlearn.

In this talk, Matias shares how companies looking to diversify their revenue streams can build a platform that scales up to thousands of transactions per day without breaking a sweat.

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress event series. It brings together developers, business leaders, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day. To learn more, visit https://bigwp.vip

Behind the scenes of News UK’s rampant speed to value

Long-time client News UK has a need for speed. When they discovered the benefits of the new Gutenberg block editor in WordPress, they saw an opportunity to accelerate their content production.

Gutenberg introduced a JavaScript-based drag-and-drop editor to WordPress, along with a customizable building block structure that streamlines content creation. Blocks can be used to insert, rearrange, and style media-rich content with very little technical knowledge – making it perfect for journalists, marketers, and other contributors who need to spin up content quickly without taxing their technical team or outside vendors.

An initial pilot program resulted in 60% improvement in speed to publish — so now they’re rolling out that pilot across global brands.

And because the Gutenberg roadmap includes continual product enhancements over the next several years, News UK knows they have a partner they can trust to keep them on the front lines of digital innovation.

With Gutenberg, we were able to publish a breaking news story in two minutes versus five minutes in Classic [WordPress]. The main reason for this is the reusable blocks which have been renamed ‘The Game Changer’.

— Joel Davies, Head of Editorial Operations

Key results

  • Streamlined publishing workflows in the new WordPress block editor
  • 60% improvement in time to publish
  • 30% reduction in the number of clicks to publish an article
  • Created an internal community of shared resources that can be leveraged across sister publications

Learn more

To learn more about this project, please download the News UK case study PDF. And if you have any questions, simply get in touch!

Note: This post is part of a series providing downloadable summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these summaries, click here

Panel: Lead a successful digital transformation

Did you know that of the 91% of companies pursuing digitization, only 40% successfully achieve it?

In this webinar, hear Jary Carter, WordPress VIP’s Chief Revenue Officer, interview a panel of experts on navigating change management at large organizations.

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • Common digitization pitfalls and how to avoid them
  • How to turn a customer-centered strategy into a competitive advantage
  • Which emerging technologies are helpful, and which are just hype
  • Tips for navigating change through every level of your organization

Featuring:

  • Lora Dennis, Senior Vice President of Digital Media at NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations
  • Jonathan Rivers, Chief Technology Officer at Fortune Magazine
  • Nancy Cassutt, Managing Director, News, Marketplace (American Public Media)
  • Scott Morris, Senior Vice President Of Technology and Innovation at Nexstar Media Group, Inc.

Webinar: Demystifying Decoupled WordPress

You may have heard a decoupled (or “headless”) CMS can make it simpler to deliver content across multiple channels and devices.

However, this approach—where your CMS is completely separate from your front-end user experience—can also add unnecessary complexity, cost, and time to your content management.

How can you know whether decoupled is right for your business?

Join WordPress VIP’s experts, along with AccuWeather’s Rachael Trost, to explore the pros and cons of decoupled WordPress.

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • Why (or why not) go decoupled
  • Real-life lessons from AccuWeather’s experience with a headless CMS
  • The most common types of decoupled architectures
  • The relationship between React.js and WordPress

Launching a global ecommerce platform for OKdo

OKdo case study decorative image

Recently, we teamed up with our Silver agency partner Box UK to help OKdo launch a new, revenue-generating business line in less than eight months.

OKdo is a purveyor of technology products, focused on the rapidly-evolving single board computing (think Raspberry Pi) and internet of things (IoT) markets. OKdo was looking for a holistic technology platform to get their products in front of new customers as quickly as possible.

Flexibility at scale

After a three-month bidding process, OKdo selected Box UK as their development partner. With years of experience collaborating on complex WordPress implementations at scale, Box UK knew WordPress VIP was the perfect platform to power the end solution.

Because time was of the essence, the agility of this new platform (and its development) was key. OKdo also needed an e-commerce solution that would play nicely in multiple languages and currencies, as well as an adaptable architecture that could integrate seamlessly with third-party applications like NetSuite.

Thanks to the inherent flexibility of WordPress, the enterprise infrastructure of WordPress VIP, and the scalability of WooCommerce, we were able to deliver OKdo a multi-site, multi-language, and multi-currency ecommerce system in just under eight months.

Certainly from my perspective, WordPress has been a great success—with WordPress VIP giving us that enterprise-level of assured quality on top.

— Adrian Goodman, Global Digital Product Owner

Key results

  • Launched a new product line in eight months
  • Multisite installation powering sites in 6 languages
  • Modular architecture with third-party integrations
  • Enterprise ecommerce using WooCommerce
  • Compliance with global trade and tax regulations

Learn more

To learn more about this project, please download the OKdo case study PDF. And if you have any questions, simply get in touch!

Note: This post is part of a series providing downloadable summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these summaries, click here

Webinar: Build an enterprise newsletter in minutes

Content is at the core of your customer experiences, so it’s absolutely essential to get it right. But to really drive value, how you manage content matters just as much as what you create.

In this on-demand webinar, WordPress VIP and Gold agency partner rtCamp will show you how the Mortgage Bankers Association slashed the time it takes to produce their monthly newsletter from several hours, down to 10 minutes.

After all, the equation is simple: decreased time to market = increased value. Now, MBA’s marketing team is empowered to focus on innovation instead of fussing with templates.

In this webinar, you will:

  • Learn how the WordPress block editor can speed your time to market
  • Get fresh ideas for building replicable, scalable workflows
  • Study real-life examples of Gutenberg use cases
  • Participate in a live Q&A with rtCamp’s Guten-experts

Webinar: How Salesforce is Transforming Content Marketing

Effective content marketing is key to customer engagement.

Yet according to Gartner, less than 40% of marketing leaders have a defined content marketing strategy.

The good news? It might be easier than you think to produce content that delivers on your business goals.

Go behind the scenes with Hayley Nelson, Salesforce’s VP of Content Marketing, and Nick Gernert, CEO of WordPress VIP. You’ll learn how Salesforce is driving growth by rethinking its entire content ecosystem from the ground up.

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • Salesforce’s new approach to audience engagement
  • Practical tips for creating values-driven storytelling
  • How agile processes can reduce pain points in your content production
  • Answers to your pressing questions in a live Q&A

Presenter: Hayley Nelson

Hayley Nelson, Salesforce

As the first VP of Content Marketing at Salesforce, Hayley oversees content strategy and operations, social media, video, podcasting and web publishing for the global marketing team. Previously Hayley lead content strategy at Airbnb, where she implemented a “newsroom” approach to social media and spearheaded experimentation with podcasts, magazine and film. Her expertise is in leveraging technology and content to engage customers and build communities. Hayley is a passionate mentor and advisor to startup founders and CEOs.

Presenter: Nick Gernert

Nick is the CEO of WordPress VIP, the leading provider of enterprise WordPress. With more than two decades working across the open web, Nick is responsible for WordPress VIP’s overall business strategy. His passion lies in enabling the world’s most demanding businesses to drive results through digital customer experiences.

How AccuWeather leverages decoupled WordPress

At BigWP NYC, associate product manager Rachael Trost took the mic to discuss how AccuWeather makes use of decoupled WordPress. Founded in 1962, AccuWeather is recognized as the most accurate source of weather forecasts and warnings in the world.

These days, AccuWeather serves roughly 1.52 billion people a day with over 50 billion data calls across their product lines. These products include weather forecasts, local media partnerships, enterprise solutions, APIs, videos, podcasts, and more.

A small but mighty force

Although content forms only a small part of AccuWeather’s traffic, content delivery still adds up to over 75 million data calls a day. And content is a key element of AccuWeather’s competitive advantage in a market where weather data has become a commodity.

Conscious CMS decoupling

Earlier this year, AccuWeather migrated its CMS from Brightspot to WordPress because the editorial team was struggling with Brightspot’s lack of customizable features. After some initial deliberation, AccuWeather selected WordPress thanks to its inherent flexibility, extensive documentation, and straightforward integrations.

Watch Rachael’s talk to learn:

  • The pros and cons of decoupled WordPress
  • How AccuWeather extends the REST API to deliver localized content
  • Rachael’s three key takeaways from their recent CMS migration

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress event series. It brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day.

Find all of the talks in the BigWP NYC November 2019 playlist.

Evolving the Kaiser Family Foundation from Sitecore to WordPress VIP

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) had 20 years’ worth of legacy data bottlenecked in Sitecore and Commonspot. WordPress VIP helped KFF unify all their content onto a single, intuitive platform. KFF’s teams are now empowered to advance their mission through beautiful and accessible data.

“Other data-heavy organizations like ours, still operate multiple websites with data and CMSes that are not integrated. I think we’re the first in our space to do that—with as much diverse content as we have all in one home.”

— David Rousseau, Kaiser Family Foundation Vice President

To learn more about our work with KFF, including detailed results of their successful migration, download the executive summary.

This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

Webinar recording: Upgrading to Gutenberg

Put simply, the new WordPress block editor, known as Gutenberg, makes creating content easier.

It might not feel so easy, though, to bring a complex enterprise site over to Gutenberg for the first time.

That’s where this free webinar comes in.

In this dev-centered presentation, our friends at Reaktiv Studios will walk you through each step of making the transition using real-life examples from Microsoft, Atlassian, and more.

In this webinar, you will:

  • Study real-life Gutenberg use cases from Xbox, Atlassian, and others
  • See examples of when to use core blocks, 3rd-party block libraries, or custom blocks
  • Learn how to plan for dependencies and ensure backward compatibility
  • Get tips on managing the human element (think buy-in, usability, and training)
  • Hear audience Q&A with Reaktiv’s Gutenberg experts

Presenter: Cory Webb, Reaktiv Studios

Head shot of Corey Webb

Cory Webb is a senior full-stack developer. Before joining Reaktiv, he ran a web development company specializing in WordPress and Joomla. His educational background is in engineering and business, but his true passion has been development since he built his first web page as an electrical engineering student at the University of Texas way back in 1997.

The scale and speed behind iOne Digital’s massive reach

iOne needed a seamless way to syndicate content across multiple brands and sites. So WordPress VIP built a platform with the strength and flexibility to power iOne’s viral content. iOne no longer sweats traffic spikes, thanks to the agility, stability, and security of WordPress VIP.

“We have huge spikes of traffic as a lot of our content goes viral with our users on social networks, and WordPress VIP’s infrastructure is able to sustain those with no changes on our end; it just works!”

— Grant Cerny, Chief Product Officer, iOne Digital

To learn more about our work with iOne, including detailed results of their successful migration, download the executive summary.

This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

How to spin up a WordPress-powered React app in 1 step

Gina Trapani on stage at Big WP discussing the powerful relationship between WordPress and React

“People are wrestling with the same issues across the software industry,” declared Gina Trapani, Managing Partner at Postlight, during her talk at BigWP NYC.

Postlight is a newly-minted WordPress VIP Silver partner who builds digital experiences for clients like Goldman Sachs, the Obama Foundation, the National Audubon Society, and more. As a premier product, design, and development agency, the Postlight team is exposed to content management challenges across sectors and organizations large and small.

So, Gina took to the stage to address one of the questions clients often struggle with.

Pattern recognition

React is a popular JavaScript framework with more than a few fans. Unsurprisingly, countless companies are seeking the best software solution to deliver content to their React applications. Gina’s answer? For many scenarios, decoupled WordPress is the way to go.

After successfully arguing this case, the Postlight team found themselves writing the same code for the same architecture over and over again. So they decided to combine a front-end, back-end React/WordPress instance into a downloadable, user-friendly package.

Converting the decoupled doubters

With Postlight’s WordPress + React Starter Kit, users get two working example sites out of the box. Each site contains React components that implement common WordPress features like rendering pages, posts, taxonomies and content previews; in addition to custom post types with fields exposed via APIs.

The bottom line of the starter kit, explains Gina, is that WordPress works beautifully with modern technology and tooling.

Check out her full talk about creating the WordPress + React Starter Kit, including actionable tips for countering anyone who argues that WordPress doesn’t play nicely in forward-thinking software implementations.

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress event series. It brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day.

Find all of the talks in the BigWP NYC November 2019 playlist.

Defining PMC’s digital playbook

After multiple acquisitions, including Rolling Stone, PMC needed a streamlined approach to digital content management. Establishing a common framework helped PMC innovate across its entire portfolio. Today, all of PMC’s brands align around a common goal: driving revenue.

“They’re able to work across brands a lot better because there’s a common language there. It’s interesting to see how the things we’re streamlining within product and engineering have this knock-on effect across the entire company.”

—Gabriel Koen, Penske Media Corporation

To learn more about our work with PMC, including detailed results of their successful migration, download the executive summary.

This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

Updating the Apple News plugin to be Gutenberg native

Kevin Fodness onstage at BigWP talking through the process of updating an existing plugin to be Gutenberg-native

WordPress VIP featured partner Alley originally created their Publish to Apple News plugin to help users seamlessly submit and edit their Apple News content straight from the WordPress editor. Version one of the plugin automatically converts HTML content to JSON and sends it to Apple to publish via their API.

After the WordPress 5.0 update, which brought the new Gutenberg editing experience to core WordPress software, Alley began developing version two of the plugin, which provides full native support for Gutenberg. Chief plugin contributor and Alley’s director of software development Kevin Fodness recently shared learnings from this project at BigWP NYC.

All things considered

The biggest challenge of making the plugin fully Gutenberg compatible? “We had to embrace the future of WordPress while not losing users who weren’t fully embracing Gutenberg.” (Yet.)

In a simpler world, Gutenberg adoption would be binary. Either a site is taking advantage of the new software, or it’s not. However, in practice, business cases are nearly always more complex. In this case, many enterprise users have selectively enabled Gutenberg on some but not all of their content types within the same site. This creates a tricky scenario for plugin developers who need to ensure their product’s functionality across a dozen different platform scenarios.

Rethinking the metabox

Inspired by Yoast and Jetpack, Alley opted for the popular sidebar approach to integrating Gutenberg functionality directly into the plugin interface. Now, editors can configure Apple News settings in four sleek collapse/expand panels which replace the cumbersome metabox.

The end goal for this project was simple: provide a better experience for editors using the Apple News plugin. Achieving this goal was anything but simple, and in his talk, Kevin walks through Alley’s approach to updating the plugin–including all the things they broke along the way.

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress event series. It brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day.

Find all of the talks in the BigWP NYC November 2019 playlist.

The platform of record for USA TODAY’s Sports Media Group

The USA TODAY Sports Media Group’s portfolio was splintered across sites, brands, and platforms. So WordPress VIP helped build a common framework for all of its sites. Now, the Sports Media Group can optimize their content delivery without the headache of DevOps.

“By  moving to WordPress VIP, we were able to not worry about downtime… Things like security we no longer have to think about. So this allows our team to focus on building awesome stuff.”

— David Parsons, Software engineer, USA TODAY

To learn more about our work with USA TODAY, including detailed results, download the executive summary.

This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

Bringing Xbox to the block editor

Reaktiv CEO Josh Eaton gives talk at Big WP SF on using custom Gutenberg blocks for Xbox
Josh Eaton, CEO of Reaktiv, presented at BigWP about building custom blocks Gutenberg blocks for Xbox and Microsoft

The block editor, part of the project known as Gutenberg, is one of the biggest changes to WordPress core software in over a decade and a half. It brings unprecedented agility for enterprises to customize media-rich content directly within the WordPress editor.

WordPress VIP featured partner agency Reaktiv recently worked with Xbox to build custom blocks that leverage Xbox’s existing design components to streamline workflows. Together, these new blocks reduce manual effort, speed up time to publish, and deliver a better user experience.

The day of BigWP SF, Reaktiv CEO Josh Eaton was celebrating Xbox’s successful launch on Gutenberg. In his presentation, Josh walked attendees through Reaktiv’s approach to implementing the block editor on four of the entertainment company’s regional sites.

So far, the project includes eight new custom blocks, including Countdown timer which adds a stopwatch-style ticker alongside sale items and automatically eliminates the entire post once the deal has expired.

Josh shared his biggest piece of advice for transitioning to the new block editor: iterate, iterate, iterate. With an enhanced ability to sync styling in the front and back ends, Gutenberg facilitates new processes that were previously impossible (or at the very least, cumbersome) in the old editor. If you’d like to explore what’s possible for the block editor in your organization, please get in touch.

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress event series. It brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day.

Find all of the talks in the BigWP SF November 2019 playlist.

Solving performance and stability for VentureBeat

Rising technical debt was bogging down VentureBeat’s team and performance. So they turned to WordPress VIP to handle updates, maintenance, and support. As a result, response time (and performance) have evolved from problematic to outstanding.

“The response time on the site was running 1,500 milliseconds and up. Once we finished the migration it’s down to 200 to 300 milliseconds, and often quite less. So basically it’s a tenth of what it was originally.” 

— Steve Tidwell, Director of Technology

To learn more about our work with VentureBeat, including detailed results of their successful migration, download the executive summary.

This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

How implementing dark mode in WordPress boosted 9to5’s sites

At BigWP, 10up president Jake Goldman demonstrated two ways to enable dark mode support

WordPress VIP Gold agency partner 10up recently worked with media company 9to5 to add light and dark mode support to its most popular sites, including 9to5Mac and 9to5Google. Jake Goldman, founder and president of 10up, took the stage at BigWP SF to discuss the project and provide a practical primer on supporting native, OS-level dark and light settings.

As of this year, all major operating systems and browsers have begun to support the ability to view different display modes (light and dark), based on user preference.

Beyond aesthetics, dark mode is a contributing factor in improving accessibility for users who suffer from eye strain or other vision difficulties. Additionally, enabling dark and light mode options empowers users to personalize their experience with your content–which can improve engagement.

The good news? Dark mode is relatively easy to enable. It took 10up only about 30 people hours to set up five sites on the 9to5 network that shared an overarching layout.

In this talk, Jake walks through two approaches to achieve similar results. First, a CSS path to deliver content in light or dark mode based on a user’s predefined settings. Next, a JavaScript method to allow users to toggle between light and dark mode on their own, which defaults to user device settings.

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress event series. It brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day.

Find all of the talks in the BigWP SF November 2019 playlist.

Remaking the New York Post for the digital age

The New York Post struggled to keep pace with the changing world of digital-first content. In critical need of new infrastructure, the Post migrated its proprietary CMS to WordPress VIP. Since then, the Post has enjoyed major gains in every key metric they track.

“Whether you wanted to look at it from a performance standpoint or in terms of speed metrics, or you wanted to look at downtime, or the traffic pre- and post-launch, all the data supported the decision that we made.”

— Remy Stern, Chief Digital Officer, New York Post

 

To learn more about our work with the New York Post, including detailed results of their successful migration, download the executive summary.


This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

Webinar: Gutenberg for enterprise

The new WordPress block editor, known as Gutenberg, is the biggest change to the software in over 15 years.

Gutenberg introduces a brand new editorial interface designed to help cross-functional teams publish content better, faster, and leaner than ever before.

Yet few enterprises have realized the full extent of its capabilities.

Let’s change that.

Details:

This webinar, led by WordPress VIP featured partner Big Bite, showcases examples of how the block editor can implement design systems in custom blocks that streamline content creation.

The presentation is ideal for developers, marketers, project managers, and content creators who want to discover how blocks can help enterprise brands increase efficiency and accelerate workflows.

You will:

  • Learn the capabilities of the new WordPress block editor
  • Study real-life examples of custom publishing workflows that boost efficiency
  • Discover how custom blocks could improve your organization’s production capacity
  • Access a live Q&A with Big Bite design and development experts

Presenter: Jonny Waters, Big Bite

As head of design, Jonny leads on all of Big Bite’s creative direction and design standards. With 10+ years of experience in design and front end development, specifically complex UX processes and techniques, Jonny has a strong commitment to quality and continuous improvement — which he dedicates to improving the effectiveness of design in the WordPress community.

Why Capgemini migrated 38 sites from Drupal to WordPress

 

 

Capgemini is a multi-billion dollar international consultancy focused on leader technology services and digital transformation. Capgemini’s global workforce comprises 200,000 team members in over 40 countries. Capgemini underwent a huge re-platforming project, migrating their network of 38 sites from their legacy Drupal CMS to WordPress VIP.

Drupal had become a choke point, causing unnecessary production delays

Capgemini’s legacy Drupal CMS was no longer improving workflows or supporting their editorial needs. To make matters worse, Drupal’s lack of backward compatibility made the website increasingly unstable. Finally, the system no longer supported their digital roadmap. To make matters worse, teams across Capgemini were becoming frustrated with the lack of usability and extensibility.  Understandably, teams created their own solutions outside the group platform. These workarounds created a governance nightmare.

Capgemini migrated 38 sites to WordPress—which immediately increased productivity

Capgemini had a clear requirement: their new platform would promote a decentralized approach to publishing and provide a workflow and communication framework to increase visibility into the production process. Migrating to WordPress quickly alleviated Capgemini’s content creation challenges.

“We needed a system and a piece of technology that would force a reckoning of our team members to actually learn what digital publishing is, and what digital marketing means today, in a bunch of different cultures, languages, and markets.”

— Parker Ward, Director, Content Marketing and Communications

Now, Capgemini’s teams deliver seamless user experiences across languages, cultures, and markets

WordPress VIP helped Capgemini leap into a new digital culture of creation with a robust, usable, and intuitive CMS. Now, the CMS supports Capgemini in delivering their business objectives and empowers their global network of teams to do their jobs effectively.

To learn more about this work with Capgemini, including detailed results of their successful migration, download the executive summary here. You can also watch Parker Ward discuss the project during his talk at Big WP London.

This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

Data visualization using custom map types

WordPress VIP collaborates with our featured partners to deliver unparalleled digital experiences for our clients. A recent interactive mapping project with Alley and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation demonstrates what’s possible when we collaborate on forward-thinking implementations of enterprise WordPress.

The initial migration

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) is a non-profit which focuses on delivering free, trustworthy, non-partisan content relating to national health issues. They are a leading source of data and analysis that a wide array of publications and researchers use to inform their own reporting.

WordPress VIP first teamed up with Alley in 2012 to help KFF unify all their legacy content and sites on a new platform. This undertaking required migrating 20 years’ worth of data (spanning nearly a dozen data sources) to WordPress.

Together, the team identified several success metrics for KFF’s new platform. First, it needed to improve user experience. Second, it must scale the ways people can access their work. Third, it should increase efficiency, and fourth, reduce costs. Finally, the platform also needed to evolve with the digital landscape for years to come. You can read more about the success of that initial project in this case study.

Alley’s data visualization solution

In 2018, building upon the success of that migration, KFF approached Alley with a challenge. The foundation needed a way to display state-level data on a map. They also requested an accompanying table, in a format that was easy to use. Furthermore, it should be embeddable within posts across their WordPress site.

A screenshot of the Kaiser Family Foundation data map, "Status of State Medicaid Expansion Decisions"

KFF is now rolling out this application for use in posts, issue briefs, and fact sheets across the site. At its core, it’s a novel and engaging way of displaying information. It’s also a lightweight replacement for an older, heavier, and less flexible application. And there’s even more in store. Plans are in the works for a second phase of the embeddable maps project. Next on the docket is adding new functionality and refining existing features.

Alley put together an excellent post outlining the technical details of the project. Is your organization looking for a creative and powerful way to display large amounts of data? If so, get in touch to see how WordPress VIP can help.

April 2019 VIP Roundup

Spring has sprung (in the northern hemisphere, at least) and as you scroll through March’s updates, you’ll see fresh growth everywhere: We’ve got new launches for Hilton and Alaska Airlines. Development for WordPress 5.2 is well underway. Our teammates and partners are winning awards and earning certifications. And we’re thrilled to announce expanded support for enterprise clients in Asia Pacific. Explore details on all that and more below, including the latest from WordCamp Europe and a special spotlight on our work supporting female leaders in digital media.

At WordCamp Kolkata, CEO of rtCamp Rahul Bansal wears a white blazer and poses next to VIP Anand Natarajan in front of a blue banner celebrating rtCamp as a featured partner of WordPress VIPCEO of rtCamp Rahul Bansal poses with VIP’s Anand Natarajan at rtCamp’s 10th Anniversary Celebration

News and Releases

Updates from around VIP, our clients, and our agency and technical partners.

  • WordPress 5.2 is slated for release within the next month, bringing the block editor into WordPress mobile apps and shaving 35% the load time for large posts. The software is still in development, but you can download the beta or experiment with the WordPress beta tester.
  • Newspack is a collaboration from Automattic and partners News Revenue Hub and Spirited Media that aims to make it easier for smaller publishers to produce sustainable journalism. Project leads have selected 12 newsrooms from around the world to pilot the first live version of the platform. Among this first cohort are Chile’s El Soberano, Prague’s Transitions, and San Antonio’s The Rivard Report.
  • Automattician Seyward Darby was named a Top Woman in Media for her work as Editor-in-Chief at The Atavist Magazine.
  • VIP welcomed Anand Natarajan to the team as Sales Director for Asia Pacific, and expanded our infrastructure with a new data center in Mumbai.
  • Does your team deploy on GitHub? If so, 10 Up’s new plugin, GitHub Actions for WordPress, might make your life a little easier.
  • Congrats to Alley on the launch of Food Learning Locator. They’re also behind the design and development of Alaska Airlinesredesigned blog, and the development of Hilton’s corporate responsibility site. CEO Austin Smith was featured in a Local News Initiative story on the need for improved user experience of news websites.
  • Three cheers for Big Bite, who achieved certifications in two ISO standards for Information Security and Quality Management, and won the Northeast England Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Award.
  • Petya Rakovska of Human Made has started hosting kid’s workshops at WordCamps across the globe, teaching the next generation of WordPress superusers to build their own websites and custom themes. She created an organizer’s kit to spread the movement.
  • Inpsyder Frank Bültge shared this recap of eCommerceCamp 2019.
  • Reaktiv Studios released Design Palette Pro 1.6
  • rtCamp celebrated their 10th anniversary. You’d expect the cake, but the lemons were a surprise. CEO Rahul Bansal spoke at WordCamp Kolkata and COEP FOSSMeet’19 about Hiring in WordPress Ecosystem and Careers in WordPress and Open Source. Another Rahul (Prajapati) introduced students to WordPress Hooks Concept at COEP FOSSMeet’19. Amidst the revelry, they also released three GitHub Actions for automated code review, deploying WordPress, and Slack notifications.
  • Congrats to Trew Knowledge on the recently launched independent.com, the new site for the Santa Barbara Independent, a weekly newspaper in California which moved to WordPress and VIP after years using EllingtonCMS. Trew Knowledge also launched Journal Métro on Apple News.
  • Distributed teams are increasingly common. The crew at XWP identified 7 experiences that help them create a sense of ‘team’ among remote contributors.
Over a dozen kids with laptops collaborate with WordCamp Belgrade volunteers at one of the first WordCamp kid's workshops
Volunteers at WordCamp Belgrade taught kids to build their own WordPress sites and themes. Photo via Petya Raykovska and provided by Ivan Gatić.

Platform Notes

  • VIP Files Service, our distributed, scalable, and versioned file system, now supports a much greater range of files operations, thanks to an upgrade in the way file writes work for WordPress uploads.
  • We rolled out WordPress 5.1.1, Jetpack 7.1, and Jetpack 7.2 to all sites. (Links point to Lobby posts for clients.)
  • We released a VIP Cache Personalization API.
  • We updated the process for specifying files to be excluded from automated build and deploy processes. It now uses a .deployignore file, rather than .gitignore.
  • WP core upgrade has been fixed for local environments.
  • Fixed an issue with Contact Form 7 attachments and the VIP Files Service.
  • We’ve been working with selected clients on our Node.js application hosting. If you’re interested, please get in touch using the form below, or by contacting your RM.

What We Read (And Listened To)

Research and perspectives on the business of media and the practice of marketing.

Spotlight

The spring 2019 Women’s Leadership Academy cohort at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida.

This year, VIP is proud to sponsor both the Online News Association’s Women’s Leadership Accelerator and the Poynter Institute’s Leadership Academy for Women. Steph Yiu has been attending their programs since 2016 and wrote a feature on the exponential impact of raising new voices to the highest levels of digital media leadership.

Upcoming Events

  • We’re excited to sponsor WAN-IFRA’s 71st World News Media Congress in Glasgow June 1-3. The event draws global news leaders passionate about media freedom and ensuring a sustainable news industry. You can register here.
  • We’re also sponsoring brand storytelling and digital marketing conference Forward, where marketing VP Jessica Snavely will share how Automattic uses data to tell success stories.
  • WordCamp Europe descends on Berlin June 20-22. Schedule highlights include talks from our featured partners 10up, Human Made, and rtCamp; sessions on Gutenberg, accessibility in design, optimizing remote teams; and a keynote from Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic. VIP’s very own Tom Nowell will do a live demo on using blocks outside of posts and pages.
  • The sixth annual SRCCON returns to Minneapolis July 11-12. This event attracts over 300 journalism-technologists, newsroom leaders, and others working to change journalism for the better. Sign up for information about tickets if you want to learn more.
  • WordCamp for Publishers is slated for August 7-9 in Columbus, Ohio. Plans are underway for the speakers and schedule, which will include tracks for editorial, engineering, and product teams. Read our notes from the 2018 event to get a feel for the festivities, and bookmark the event page to stay up to date.
  • The National Association of Black Journalists’ Convention and Career Fair combines education, career development, and networking to improve access for journalists of color. This year’s theme is “Fight The Power: Press Forward with Passion and Purpose” and goes down in Miami August 7-11.

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