3 Ways an Integrated CMS and Ecommerce Platform Can Boost Growth

A graphic image drawing the connection between an agile CMS like WordPress VIP and an ecommerce platform like WooCommerce

Electrocomponents is a 70-year-old company whose mission is to deliver innovation and inspiration to engineers worldwide so that they can do their business better. And we’re talking about a lot of engineers: across six lines of business, Electrocomponents serves 500,000 products to 1 million customers in 80 countries each year. In a single day, Electrocomponents will ship upwards of 50,000 packages.

Click here to watch the webinar: Leveraging Your CMS to Fuel Ecommerce Growth

In 2019, Electrocomponents launched its first direct-to-consumer business line, OKdo, focused on serving the single board computing (SBC; think Raspberry Pi) and the Internet of Things (IoT) markets. OKdo provides end-to-end support for all SBC and IoT segments, spanning makers, entrepreneurs, industrial designers, educators, and reseller partners.

Adrian Goodman has worked for Electrocomponents for over 20 years, and he’s now the Senior Digital Product Owner for OKdo. Last year, WordPress VIP and our agency partner Box UK collaborated closely with Adrian and his team to launch OKdo’s global ecommerce platform, powering sites in seven markets across three continents and six languages, supporting multiple currencies and complying with global tax and trade regulations. (Get the full story in this case study.)

We recently had an opportunity to chat with Adrian and Allie Brock, Product Owner at Box UK, about their experience building and operating OKdo’s new global ecommerce platform at scale.

In the course of the conversation, Adrian revealed the key to OKdo’s success so far: adopting an ecommerce platform that integrates natively with their CMS—in their case, WooCommerce and WordPress VIP. (Be sure to check out the webinar for more insights!)

 

 

1. Increased flexibility

One of the benefits of choosing an integrated CMS and ecommerce platform is increased flexibility. “We’re a very small team at OKdo,” Adrian explained. “We’re part of a large organization, but our team is very small. Having the entire platform integrated helps us be nimble.”

From the beginning, Allie knew WordPress VIP and WooCommerce would be a great fit for OKdo’s needs. “To me, having content and your ecommerce platform together seems natural,” she elaborated. “Any gap in connecting those together leads to delay.”

“It literally was a Friday lunchtime idea and it was live by Monday.”

—Adrian Goodman

2. The ability to quickly spin up new offerings

Another benefit is the ability to get to market quickly. “With a B2C business model,” Allie said, “you’re not just marketing a product—you’re marketing an idea.” And bringing new ideas to life requires tools that empower rapid product launches.

One example: when the UK received notice earlier this year that schools would be closing to limit the spread of COVID-19, Adrian knew OKdo could help.

“We hit on a campaign called Kits for Kids. We had a bit of a flash of inspiration that we could pull something together to create a value-add offer targeted at children and families at home trying to learn something and keep occupied,” Adrian said.

Luckily Adrian’s team had recently upgraded to Gutenberg, the WordPress block editor, which made it super simple to create new branded, modular product pages and launch them within days across multiple markets. “It literally was a Friday lunchtime idea and it was live by Monday.”

To promote the offering, OKdo employees took kits home and recorded videos of their own kids playing with the product. They pushed it out on social and generated strong engagement. “It was quite popular,” said Adrian. “It wasn’t about making a ton of revenue—it didn’t set the accountants’ hearts beating. But it did help build the brand.” And as a fairly new company, building brand awareness is a huge win.

3. Bringing out the best in your team

Finally, an agile CMS can bring out the best in your team. Easy tools with intuitive workflows enable each contributor to deliver quality work in a timely manner instead of wasting their time wrestling with clunky software.

Allie has seen this dynamic play out in real-time with WordPress VIP and WooCommerce at OKdo.

“Last week we had a product launch with OKdo that involved updating products, creating a landing page, creating a press release, making changes to the home page, updating the hero, all of that kind of stuff. And it all being in the same system meant that people who are experts at managing products also became experts at creating content.”

Planning ahead

When asked about the future of OKdo, Adrian emphasized the role of content in OKdo’s ongoing business growth.

“We want to reach as many customers as we can, through not just product but through content as well.” The SBC and IoT markets are both expanding rapidly, and Adrian knows OKdo will need to be proactive to compete with players like Google and Amazon.

With WordPress VIP and WooCommerce, he’s got a game plan for success. “It’s more content, it’s better content; it’s more product, it’s better product, and doing it all at scale.”

Shutterstock is WordPress VIP’s newest Featured Technology Partner

We are proud to welcome Shutterstock as a new Featured Technology Partner!

Shutterstock joins our growing group of partners with proven excellence in implementing solutions and integrations for WordPress at scale. They are also the leading global image provider to enterprise brands, marketing agencies, and media organizations with offices around the world and customers in 150 countries.

  • Shutterstock is a 17-year old, leading global technology company offering high-quality assets, tools, and services through its creative platform.
  • Made in New York City, with over 1,000 employees across offices in Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Montreal, Paris, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Toronto, and Dublin.
  • More than 340 million images; over 1.5 million images added every week with a focus on volume and an unbiased advanced search experience.
  • Shutterstock is a premier source of editorial images for the world’s media and works with thousands of marketing agencies and enterprise corporations around the globe.

Meet the new Shutterstock WordPress Plugin: Enterprise users can now license images and editorial photos seamlessly within WordPress, which allows them to streamline production workflow so they publish faster and with more engaging content.

“Our new integration into WordPress VIP furthers our mission to maximize the impact and accessibility of Shutterstock content for our enterprise clients,” said Alex Reynolds, VP of Platform Solutions at Shutterstock.

“By surfacing hyper-relevant visuals at the point of production and publishing, we are helping the world’s most notable brands get their message to market more efficiently and effectively than ever before.”

For more information about Shutterstock’s partnership with WordPress VIP, please visit https://wpvip.com/partner/shutterstock

Storyware is now a Silver Agency Partner

WordPress VIP has added Storyware to our Featured Agency Partner program!

Storyware launched as a one-man consulting endeavor in 2005 and quickly scaled into a tight-knit team of highly skilled creatives. Storyware has always been passionate about crafting straightforward user experiences for customers to express their stories, ideas, and information in imaginative and engaging ways.

As a long time Tumblr partner, Storyware is no stranger to working with high profile clients with time-sensitive needs. Their client list includes many household names such as Kate Spade, The Home Depot, and Pfizer.

Each of Storyware’s projects starts and ends with the same goal: to build flexible, accessible websites that serve their client’s needs and meet their business objectives. WordPress has always been at the forefront of Storyware’s work and they’ve invested over a decade specializing in pushing its boundaries to make it even easier to use.

Whether that requires custom API integrations, ecommerce, multisite networks, multilingual architecture, event management solutions (or pretty much anything else you can think up), they’ve got you covered.

It is such an honor to be a part of the WordPress VIP agency partner program. We look forward to working on many projects together and contributing in new ways to the enterprise WordPress ecosystem.

Todd Wickersty, Cofounder and CEO of Storyware

Find more information about Storyware’s partnership with WordPress VIP here.

Celebrating The 360 Blog, a new milestone from Salesforce and WordPress VIP

Today we are thrilled to celebrate a milestone in Salesforce’s digital transformation journey: the launch of The 360 Blog, powered by WordPress VIP.

As Salesforce’s Vice President of Content Marketing, Hayley Nelson, explained in our conversation earlier this year, Salesforce is on a mission to tell impactful stories that provide customers with relevant, timely information to confront the challenges keeping them up at night.

Agility is key to creating a valuable customer experience

With content at the heart of their customer experience, Salesforce knew they needed a CMS agile enough to empower them to respond quickly to changes in the market. When COVID-19 hit, for example, the content marketing team rallied to create the Leading Through Change series—to deliver helpful guidance to business leaders navigating the unknown.

“Unfortunately, our legacy publishing systems were not as flexible as we were, and it took weeks, not days to create the key pages we needed to house our new initiative,” wrote Hayley in her post introducing the new blog. “We’re optimistic this kind of pivot will go differently in the future.”

Usable software provides both flexibility and control

Hayley also needed a CMS that could ensure Salesforce’s marketing team—over 1,000 strong—could deliver a consistent customer experience across all their channels. The intuitive WordPress editorial interface makes it easy for large teams to build exactly what they need while adhering to a cohesive design system.

“With WordPress’s drag-and-drop modules and a full range of options for multimedia embeds, we’ll have greater flexibility to customize the presentation of our stories,” Hayley wrote.

“We are also now poised to efficiently deliver content to our global community in multiple languages, and soon we’ll scale this infrastructure and design system to nearly 20 markets around the world.”

A next-generation digital experience

Behind the scenes, WordPress VIP and our agency partner 10up worked hand-in-hand with Salesforce’s team to build, migrate, and deploy this new digital experience on the VIP Cloud. The project builds on the success of other launches on our platform including the Salesforce Newsroom and is a key demonstration of the agility that WordPress VIP provides. Core to our mission is to empower customers like Salesforce to focus less on infrastructure and more on delivering a valuable customer experience.

Salesforce is without a doubt one of the most transformational companies of our time and we are pleased to partner with them as they bring their next-generation digital experience platform to life. Stay tuned.

Zephr named a WordPress VIP Featured Technology Partner

We are proud to welcome Zephr as a new technology partner!

Zephr joins our growing group of partners implementing solutions for enterprise publishers and marketers using WordPress at scale. They lead the market with an intuitive, drag-and-drop customer journey builder.

Zephr’s initial focus and vision is to allow their partners to create the best customer journeys in a totally new, code-free, highly iterative way—and their ongoing product development is informed by years of experience building identity, subscription and paywall solutions. Founded in 2017 and headquartered in London, they already work with dozens of major clients globally, including a host of international media brands such as Conde Nast, News Corp and Dennis Publishing.

Zephr’s best-in-breed platform helps clients in the media and publishing industry build stronger customer relationships and create more long-term customer value. Non-technical teams can use Zephr to design, A/B test, and deploy data-driven registration, subscription, and retention journeys at scale. Their code-free UI allows business users to optimize those journeys in real-time, with no tech dependency to hold them back.

“This partnership cements Zephr as part of the best-in-breed digital ecosystem,” said Zephr CEO James Henderson. “We’re excited to help brands using WordPress to dynamically alter customer journeys in real-time, offering unique, tailored experiences that bring real value to both customer and brand, driving better acquisition and customer lifetime value.”

For more information about Zephr’s partnership with WordPress VIP, please visit https://wpvip.com/partner/zephr

Security measures to prepare for the 2020 U.S. election season

As we look to the upcoming 2020 U.S. elections, political parties are conducting more virtual events than ever, and media outlets are experiencing major surges in traffic.

In an environment of increasing cybersecurity attacks across the digital landscape, we want to highlight the best-in-class security measures which empower WordPress VIP customers to operate safely and securely throughout the election season and beyond.

This post shares our best practices alongside steps customers can take in the shared responsibility of protecting application security.

Click here to download the checklist: Security best practices for site contributors 

Enterprise-grade protections

With WordPress VIP, customers get built-in security on multiple levels using best practices based on years of experience protecting WordPress at scale. Best-in-class security protection is baked into the platform down to the metal and this is no different during the election season.

All of our origin data centers maintain SSAE 18 SOC 1, SSAE SOC 2 certifications. In addition, the VIP Cloud Hosting Service, under which we act as a data processor, is certified under the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework and the Swiss–U.S. Privacy Shield Framework as set forth by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

We are also the only enterprise WordPress platform that has earned the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) “In Progress” status. Global brands in high-risk industries like finance, health, defense, tech, and government choose WordPress VIP to power their applications after conducting extensive security audits and compliance checks.

Visit our security page to learn about the individual components of our security best practices, including network security, data security, vulnerability management, and more.

Security during election season

WordPress VIP has a proven track record of providing a secure and stable platform throughout the election season. During election week in 2016, WordPress VIP provided 100% uptime for customers with significant traffic spikes, including FiveThirtyEight, which received in a single day the amount of traffic we see in an entire week at some of the world’s most popular sites.

In the rare instance of a service disruption, we embrace a key tenet of the Automattic Creed: communication is oxygen.

WordPress VIP will always, as soon as reasonably practical, provide information on the nature of a disruption, the steps being taken to remedy the disruption, and the expected duration of the disruption. Here are a few places to bookmark to stay up-to-date with service statuses:

  • In the event of a disruption, Automattic will provide information and updates on the WordPress VIP Lobby and via Twitter @wpvipstatus.
  • If the WordPress VIP Lobby is unavailable, information and updates will be provided by email to the address we have on file for your account or via Twitter @wpvipstatus.
  • Following a service disruption, Automattic will post information on the cause and resolution of the issue to the WordPress VIP Lobby as soon as it is available.

Quelling potential threats

By its very nature, the open source WordPress platform maintains a strong security posture. Unlike closed and proprietary software, WordPress has an entire ecosystem of contributors actively monitoring for security threats. The WordPress security team, for example, is a global community of experienced developers and security researchers that proactively identifies and resolves vulnerabilities in the software.

As an added layer of protection, WordPress VIP has many active measures in place to combat potential enterprise security threats. These protections include:

  • WordPress VIP manages WordPress core updates automatically. Employees of Automattic, WordPress VIP’s parent company, compose about half of the WordPress security team, and its lead is WordPress VIP’s very own Jake Spurlock. Updating themes and plugins is still a customer responsibility, but we help guide customers with any concerns.
  • We automatically detect and mitigate brute force login attempts to both /wp-login.php and /xmlrpc.php at our edges as well as within WordPress via our platform and systems teams. Administrator-level users must use 2FA to access any site on our platform.
  • All of our web servers are run in read-only mode. This blocks access to the underlying file system which could be used to install a backdoor shell or other malicious files. What this means is that even if user credentials are brute-forced and 2FA is bypassed, an attacker is still unable to execute many common attacks.
  • We are committed to reacting quickly to “zero-day” events and working with you on a solution. Zero-day exploits are inherently challenging to defend against because they are novel. However, our proximity to WordPress core development grants us insight into security patches as soon as they are available.

Security is a shared responsibility

Holistic application security is a shared responsibility between WordPress VIP and our customers. That’s why we created a best practices checklist to help ensure your systems and processes play their part in safeguarding your applications, which you can download here:

Security is our number one priority, during election season and every other day of the year. We are deeply committed to safeguarding our customers’ sites and data. For more information on our enterprise-grade security protocols, visit wpvip.com/security or get in touch.

And don’t forget—perhaps the most important step U.S. citizens can take during this election season is to get out and vote!

4 technology best practices for large-scale virtual events

A look inside a production studio during the 2020 DNC

Andrew Binns is an expert on technology infrastructure for major events. His experience includes the Super Bowl Halftime Show, Tony Awards, and NFL kickoff, in addition to the last five Democratic National Conventions (DNCs). His role in the DNC goes all the way back to 2004—when WordPress itself was just a year old.

As COO of the 2020 Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC), Andrew led the transformation of this year’s convention into a fully-remote, high-performing digital experience. This historic event attracted a record-breaking 35.5 million digital viewers and suffered zero security incidents or outages.

WordPress VIP was proud to serve as the official digital platform partner for this year’s convention, and I recently had the chance to interview Andrew and Hannah Flom, Director of Digital Communications at the 2020 DNCC, about their experience pivoting to digital. (Be sure to watch the webinar for the full insights!) Below are a few of the tips Andrew shared to mitigate risk while conceptualizing, building, and managing high-impact enterprise technology productions.

Watch now: Lessons in digital agility from the 2020 DNCC

Plan for every scenario. And then plan for 100 more.

The only way to make sure you’re prepared for every scenario, Andrew argues, is to literally prepare for every scenario. As soon as the pandemic hit, the DNCC team spent three weeks doing intensive scenario planning, where directors organized teams to come up with every possible outcome for the convention itself, from hosting it in-person to going 100% remote and everything in between. This approach empowered stakeholders to make timely and informed technology investment decisions.

“We literally had three teams come in and just come up with all of these crazy, crazy options for us,” explained Andrew. Then, they presented each of these scenarios to leadership, with recommendations for how to move forward. “We said, ‘These are all the options. This is when you have to make the decisions. This is how much money things will cost. This is how much money things will cost if you don’t make the decision on time.’”

The 2016 convention had five video streams. 2020’s had over 850.

Make redundancy a priority.

During the webinar, one attendee asked, “What was the backup plan in case one of the feeds went down?”

“We have backups, on backups, on backups,” Andrew said. “One of the things that we do from the very, very beginning is redundancy diversity on our circuits, on our hardware, on our software, on our programming, everything.”

This is especially important if you’re operating video streams from multiple remote locations, like Andrew’s team was. “From the very beginning we work with major ISPs, and major partners—like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, AT&T, Comcast, Spectrum—to make sure that anything we get in there, we have redundant and diverse networking.”

To optimize reliability and redundancy, Andrew also recommends using multiple paths of travel. In addition to IP-based connectivity, the DNCC coordinated satellite, fiber, and point-to-point setups.

Opt for open source.

The DNCC needed technology tools with best-in-class security and unsurpassed flexibility. For Andrew, that means open source—specifically, WordPress VIP.

“Open source is a good security posture. … WordPress is probably the most successful product tied to open source software out there, and that’s for good reason. There are so many people looking at the code, so many people fixing it when there are issues; I think it helps us on the security side.”

Flexibility is also key when planning a complex project like the convention. Choosing open source software opens up a world of technology integrations that are readily available to confront business challenges. (For more, read our report on the most widely adopted enterprise WordPress technology integrations.)

“Generally, if you have something you want to build, you have the ability to do it either with built-in or third-party plugins or custom coding,” said Andrew. “So across the board, WordPress is good on both the ability to adjust and change and flex, and also the security side.”

As the leaders in enterprise WordPress, Andrew turned to WordPress VIP to power a secure and flexible platform. “The security, the trust, the expertise, is what brought us to WordPress VIP.”

Build to the unknown.

Above all, when planning for any kind of large-scale technology production, Andrew says it’s essential to build toward the unknown. “We never know what’s going to happen. [The pandemic] was not on the list of things that we had expected, certainly, but the process that we had built on the infrastructure side was easily shifted and could take this on.”

For more on the DNCC’s partnership with WordPress VIP, watch our webinar, Lessons in digital agility from the 2020 DNC. To discuss any of these topics further, get in touch!

7 Ways a Content Hub Can Boost Your Agility

According to Gartner, marketing teams spend approximately 30% of their budget on content creation.

That’s nearly a third of their entire budget, dedicated to producing content.

And it makes sense: the modern customer experience is a digital one. Content has become the primary way businesses interact with their customers. Across every major industry, smart brands turn to content to engage and nurture potential customers, build new revenue channels, measure customer satisfaction, and more.

Given this expanding role of content in today’s business strategies, how a company produces content is becoming just as important as what they produce. If an organization is investing a third of its marketing resources on content creation, that process needs to be as agile as possible.

Enter: enterprise content hubs.

What is an enterprise content hub?

An enterprise content hub is a data store that centralizes all of an organization’s content in a single repository and provides the flexibility to create once, publish everywhere.

Via APIs, it can also separate, or decouple, the editorial experience from the customer experience, so teams can use one backend system to push content to multiple devices and platforms, including apps, syndication networks, digital displays, and more.

Why use an enterprise content hub?

Large organizations often struggle to streamline content production across multiple teams. Content might be siloed across several CMSs, and the technology, marketing, and design teams may only be comfortable operating certain platforms.

An enterprise content hub removes those barriers, simplifies the content technology stack, and creates a pathway to a more effective content strategy.

Some other advantages of this approach include:

Better content

Content hubs empower content creators to focus on producing unique content and avoiding duplication of effort. It provides teams with the freedom to focus on the areas they know best, and thus, produce their best work.

Faster production

Content hubs equip your product and marketing teams to get to market faster by streamlining content delivery across every channel. Rules can be configured so that posts that meet specific criteria are published across multiple sites immediately, without the need for human intervention.

Create once, publish everywhere

Whenever an organization has disparate content management systems (which is often the case), it becomes challenging to publish articles across all properties. An enterprise content hub can be a centralized store for all content, allowing different teams to republish content according to their particular approach.

Personalization

Content hubs are also valuable in the personalization context, where curated, branded, or generated content for a topic is displayed and customized for each audience member. Having a centralized hub makes it easier to manage and enforce the categories, tags, and taxonomies that power personalized experiences behind the scenes.

Rapid prototyping without hampering editorial

Decoupled applications help organizations rapidly prototype and improve the end-user experience without impacting the editorial workflow. An enterprise content hub is inherently decoupled as there is a content provider (the hub) and content consumers (the various digital properties). It’s a step beyond the typical decoupled architecture as the consumer could display a wide variety of content from multiple sources.

Dynamic content feeds

A standalone marketing site microsite might require a different technology stack than other sites, and may rely primarily on evergreen content. Traditionally, these sites are unable to accommodate new content as their content creators are involved only for the initial launch. An enterprise content hub enables these smaller sites to publish new, relevant articles without the need for manual curation.

Removing intra-organizational barriers

Providing autonomy to teams without hindering shareability can be onerous. Centralizing the content breaks intra-organizational barriers in content sharing and helps provide a more unified, consistent experience across all digital platforms.

Want to learn more?

Ultimately, an enterprise content hub breaks down organizational silos and sets up your content creators for success as they will be able to reuse existing content and create new content more efficiently.

If you’re curious about how an enterprise content hub could help bring your content strategy to life, download our white paper, Get to market faster with an enterprise content hub.

 

Technology Partner News: Visual storytelling with Google, Setka, and Cloudinary

As the roster of WordPress VIP Technology Partners continues to grow, we’ll update you here on some of the best new features, integrations, and events for enterprise publishers and marketers building on the open web.

Google Web Stories

Google has released a beta version of their new Plugin, Web Stories for WordPress, spinning off an AMP Project feature into a powerful storytelling tool built into the WordPress Block Editor. WordPress VIP customers and partners will recognize this new product from the talks Paul Bakaus presented at our BigWP events in May and July.

In addition, the AMP for WordPress Plugin version 2.0 was released today! Get the backstory on those updates from WordPress VIP Gold Agency Partner, XWP.

Content Experience Disruption with Setka

For another way to build critical page building and design workflow into a highly performant WYSIWYG experience in the WordPress Block Editor, be sure to check out the latest from Setka, one of our Featured Technology Partners. Setka CEO Kate Bazilevskaya spoke at the Knotch Pros and Content Connect event in June 2020, sponsored by WordPress VIP. Don’t miss this longform post covering how to be a successful “Content Experience Disruptor” in 2020 and beyond. (It’s also a great illustration of what’s possible with Setka.)

Today we live pretty much all of our lives online, so we expect a lot more from technology and digital interaction. That’s why most of today’s biggest innovations don’t involve solving a new functional problem entirely, but instead finding a way of doing something that provides a better experience for the user. In other words, most innovation now comes from “EXPERIENCE DISRUPTORS.”

Trends in DAM from Cloudinary

Finding it a challenge to manage hundreds or thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of images, videos, and other media items in your current workflow? Consider a standalone Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution. Cloudinary, another Featured Technology Partner in the WordPress VIP community, covered a range of modern DAM practices and trends in a recent webinar.

Leveraging AI for content prediction or content creation through data interpretation and processing is at the forefront of DAM, promising to help librarians with the entire content-creation process.

Brightcove’s Tips for Virtual Events

Speaking of webinars, putting on virtual events takes technology, commitment, and a great plan that includes success metrics and goals. The marketing team at Brightcove offers this advice, along with an ebook:

Consider the big picture and commit to active engagement. It’s not only about the day your attendees log on and watch live panels or keynote sessions; it’s also about everything leading up to it and everything that follows when it’s all said and done. It’s about curating active engagement through email invitations, social posts, customer calls, press releases, etc. 

Learn from WordPress VIP Customers

When it comes to selecting best-in-class technology integrations for your enterprise content management platform, one great source of inspiration might be WordPress VIP customers. Read our first ever Technology Integrations Report to find out what our customers find most useful in key categories including Personalization, Business Intelligence, and Digital Asset Management.

Words Matter

One more thing: A thoughtful post from a Sailthru series amplifying BIPOC voices, on cultural appropriation, stereotyping, and racism in digital advertising and marketing.

Cultural appropriation was the result that came from running ads that said things like “It’s lit” while not showing any African American people. It’s an old American story to profit from parts of Black culture without reference.

Ready to learn more about the WordPress VIP Technology Partnership program? Read about all our partners, or get in touch to become a partner today.

Introducing the technology integrations report

At WordPress VIP, we have witnessed our customers build amazingly powerful and flexible platforms to fulfill their digital experience strategies. The fun part is, no two of these platforms are exactly alike. That’s one of the best things about enterprise WordPress: it’s endlessly customizable. Brands can choose from hundreds of plugins and integrations to build exactly what they need.

Inspired by these customers, we recently set out to gather insights on the most popular technology integrations for common business requirements. We surveyed customers across three continents, including countries like Guatemala, England, Switzerland, and Australia. True to our roots, the majority of respondents came from the media industry, but we also had respondents from companies in financial services, pharmaceuticals, sports/entertainment, and travel/hospitality.

We hope this survey will provide helpful insights for business leaders looking to better understand the richness of the enterprise WordPress ecosystem. There’s a tool for just about everything, and if there’s not, there’s a global pool of talented developers to help you build it.

Welcome Aleph, a new Silver agency partner

We are proud to welcome Aleph Incorporated as a new agency partner!

Over almost two decades of web development, Aleph’s band of creative misfits has worked to bring WordPress to enterprises of all shapes and sizes.

Aleph’s approach to client work focuses on content and context, meaning they tailor the technology to fit what is being communicated, not the other way around. They revel in a scrappy, small-team culture that brings together a diversity of opinions, backgrounds, and skillsets. Aleph’s staff takes real ownership of each client project. Above all else, they seek to cultivate longevity in both their web projects and client relationships.

Clients who work with Aleph have immediate access to a trove of experience across industries, technologies, and trends, supported by years of demonstrated success for huge brands, renowned design firms, and vital nonprofit causes, among others.

Their developers have built everything you can imagine with enterprise WordPress, from large-scale publishing platforms for media organizations like KQED, to communications and recruiting portals for Airbnb, and even a SaaS platform to help small municipalities with efficient waste management called Recyclist. As true user interface experts, Aleph’s devs often pair WordPress with stunning design and cutting edge front end frameworks to deliver superlative, design-driven experiences.

“It’s a huge plus for both us and our clients to have such close ties with WordPress VIP. Knowing we can offer this caliber of a platform to our largest clients, and that we can work directly with WordPress VIP to address our clients’ needs, is a great thing.”

–  Matt Glaser, Founder

For more information about Alpeh’s partnership with WordPress VIP, please visit https://wpvip.com/partners/aleph

It’s official: The future is VIP Go!

 

We’re excited to announce that by the end of 2020, all WordPress VIP customer sites will be upgraded to VIP Go.

VIP Go is our proprietary cloud platform custom-built for enterprises who need to deliver amazing content at large scale.

Why VIP Go?

In the decade-plus that we’ve brought the benefits of WordPress to large organizations, we have learned their needs are concentrated in four key areas: agility, flexibility, simplicity, and ownership. VIP Go addresses each of those needs in a powerful, intuitive platform with the rock-solid performance and reliability our customers have come to expect from WordPress VIP.

What are the benefits of VIP Go?

Agility

With VIP Go, our customers’ development and marketing teams are more agile than ever. VIP Go introduces GitHub workflows and a new command-line interface (the VIP CLI) which puts more power in developers’ hands to ship new code quickly. Editorial teams enjoy the same intuitive interface as before, with faster turnaround time for shipping new sites and projects.

Flexibility

Direct access to the WordPress API makes it easier than ever for our customers to build exactly the experiences they’re looking to deliver with seamless third-party integrations. With the introduction of true pre-production environments, teams are able to experiment freely, test thoroughly, and tweak to their hearts’ content—all before making any changes to the customer-facing application.

Simplicity

Can we say three cheers for added simplicity anywhere we can get it these days? Our engineers built VIP Go based on over a decade of expertise powering the most sophisticated implementations of WordPress at scale. Over the years, we’ve learned what works, what doesn’t, and how to optimize the experience (from performance to usability to security) so customers never have to worry about things like uptime or traffic spikes. VIP Go bakes that expertise into the very infrastructure of the platform, so customers are free to focus their attention and resources on driving revenue and delivering their product roadmap.

Ownership

The new VIP Dashboard grants additional visibility and access to content syncs, domain mapping, command line history, and more, putting control of the application in the developers’ hands. The VIP-CLI makes it convenient to run commands and query applications. Furthermore, code review is no longer required, though it is still available for customers on a by-request basis. Our goal is to grant our customers increased ownership of their applications while continuing to provide the world-class support that has always defined our approach to customer partnerships.

What’s next?

As of today, over 75% of our customers are already enjoying the added benefits of VIP Go. This group includes some of our larger organizations with complex, mission-critical applications—think brands like Intuit, Vanguard, Facebook, and more. Each of these companies migrated from our previous platform to VIP Go with great success, and we’re excited to move nearly all of our customers onto VIP Go by September 30, 2020. At that point, we will begin phasing out support for sites on WordPress.com VIP and transition completely to VIP Go by November 1, 2020. (Are you a current customer with a question about your migration? Please reach out to your Relationship Manager for more details.)

VIP Go is a significant milestone in bringing the best of open source to large organizations who need agility, flexibility, simplicity, and ownership in their software in order to bring out the best in their teams and their business. Content forms the heart of every customer experience, and we believe every customer experience should be delightful. We are proud to play a role in making the web a better place, one deploy at a time.

Report: Meeting today’s digital experience needs

Now more than ever, “customer experience” has become synonymous with “digital experience,” and the quality of these experiences is a key indicator of business health. Our colleagues at IDC (a global market research firm) seem to agree: a recent study found that 91% of tech vendors consider customer experience a “top business priority.”

However, executing a strong digital customer experience strategy can be more challenging than it looks. It requires a constellation of best-in-class tools and technologies working in sync to minimize risk and grow revenue.

At WordPress VIP, our main goal is to help our customers empower amazing results for their customers. So we were curious: what major trends are shaping customer experience strategies in 2020 and beyond? How can business leaders manage the many complex processes involved in delivering a unified customer experience? We teamed up with IDC to find out and created this free report to share the insights.

The report addresses topics like:

  • Big-picture trends in customer experience research
  • The biggest challenges for today’s digital experience teams
  • Advice for organizations looking to improve their digital experience management capabilities

The report’s author is Marci Maddox, who has been researching content technologies and workflows for over a decade. Her core research coverage includes the evolution of enterprise content, customer communications, content sharing, and collaboration.

If you’d like to learn more, you can download the report here.

 

Announcing the expansion of the WordPress VIP Technology Partnership program

We’re pleased to announce WordPress VIP is expanding our Technology Partnership program!

Today, we are welcoming new partners and expanding the scope of the program to serve the growing number of marketers and publishers looking to WordPress VIP for technology recommendations in key customer experience categories.

WordPress VIP has continued to grow as the leader in enterprise WordPress. Our customers have long included some of the largest publishers in the world. In more recent years, marketers in technology, life sciences, financial services, and other verticals outside traditional publishing have turned to us to help them scale their business.

Benefits for WordPress VIP customers

WordPress VIP’s enterprise marketing customers understand the value of WordPress as both a content management platform and a central element of the digital experience. The interoperability of WordPress enables integrations with a broad range of products and services, including providers of tools for personalization, business intelligence, digital asset management, and more from the marketing and publishing technology ecosystem.

Our Technology Partners provide best-in-class solutions, with WordPress integrations developed and maintained based on best practices and guidance from the WordPress VIP team. Together, we deliver performant, secure, and stable applications that enable our customers to carry out digital transformation.

New Featured Technology Partners

We’ve announced several new Featured Technology Partners in 2020, including Digital River for global e-commerce solutions, OneSignal for push notifications at scale, and Cloudinary for digital asset management and editing inside WordPress.

We will announce several more new partners in this tier soon, including solutions for machine learning, video syndication, and customer journey mapping.

More solutions from the WordPress community and beyond

Today, we’re also announcing the launch of an additional tier of Technology Partners, including popular solutions from the WordPress community and new products from exciting startups. Here are a few examples:

  • Remixd Voice: Remixd instantly turns text content into audio, making it listenable, discoverable, and opening up new distribution and revenue channels for publishers.
  • Firework: Firework brings short-form video content from professional creators to the article page, driving audience engagement for publishers and brands.
  • MultilingualPress: The enterprise solution for publishing a website in multiple languages on WordPress, from Inpsyde, a WordPress VIP Gold Agency Partner.

Benefits for Technology Partners

The expanded program provides all our Technology Partners the opportunity to work on product strategy and marketing alongside WordPress VIP. Our Featured Technology Partners participate in additional account mapping and co-selling to help grow the enterprise WordPress ecosystem together.

Key criteria for all Technology Partners include a clear product story that maps to enterprise customer needs and go-to-market capabilities. We closely vet every partner to identify companies with the resources and expertise to support our customers using WordPress at scale.

“WordPress VIP delivers transformational results for brands who require best-in-class digital experiences,” said CEO Nick Gernert. “We’re excited to welcome new technology partners alongside our existing integrations to help us deliver on the growing demand for sophisticated implementations of enterprise WordPress.”

For more information on all our Technology Partners, and to find out more about joining our growing program, please visit https://wpvip.com/partners/technology-partners/

Viafoura Named a WordPress VIP Featured Technology Partner

We are proud to welcome Viafoura as a new Featured Technology Partner!

Viafoura joins our growing group of partners with proven excellence implementing best-in-class solutions for WordPress at scale. This new partnership offers WordPress VIP clients the ability to integrate a suite of engagement tools onto their digital properties, which will allow them to build and retain a loyal audience.

Viafoura is a software company committed to providing media organizations with essential resources and tools that engage audiences and contribute to highly lucrative business strategies. Fueled by a team of dedicated product and data experts, Viafoura ensures that every client is following the best possible path to maximize their revenue.

This solution delivers a wide variety of tools and features that improve the visitor experience. These include conversation, live blog, community chat, content recommendation, and rating and review widgets — all backed by sophisticated moderation services.

Leveraged by major media companies like Reach PLC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Graham Media Group, and GateHouse Media, Viafoura’s solution is designed to transform passive audience members into active brand supporters. They also offer first-party audience data, actionable engagement insights, and guidance through a dedicated support team. To learn more about Viafoura’s solution, you can access a full overview of their products and services here.

“With consumers now craving more online engagement than ever before, businesses have a significant opportunity to nurture the traffic right on their websites or apps,” said Jesse Moeinifar, CEO and founder of Viafoura. “We’re looking forward to connecting with WordPress VIP clients to discuss how Viafoura can help them fully monetize their digital audiences.”

For more information about Viafoura’s partnership with WordPress VIP, please visit https://wpvip.com/partner/viafoura

Empowering creative content marketing across remote teams

I recently had the opportunity to present at Discover MarTech, a virtual conference focused on marketing technology and management. My goal was to help fellow marketing managers see the silver lining in something many teams are struggling with right now: how to stay creative as we navigate the new culture of remote work.

Automattic, WordPress VIP’s parent company, has always been a fully remote workplace. Well, actually, we prefer the term “distributed,” because there are no central, physical, headquarters.

Each Automattician (which is what we call ourselves) works from a home office, or a local co-working space, a coffee shop, really, just about anywhere that has a good internet connection.

 

My son pretending to work at my desk
My son, “working” at my desk with his stuffed kitten, Waffles

No such thing as “normal”

Right now, though, that list of possible locations has been whittled down to just one: the home office. And perhaps not the normal home office. It’s now the home office you can never leave. The home office with kids, with partners, and with a makeshift homeschool. Or the home office for one, on a bed in a tiny studio apartment.

So for us, the “new normal” of remote work that so many other companies have been thrust into is both incredibly familiar, and completely new. This is not normal remote work, even for us.

 

Tree diagram, with values as the trunk, strategy as the branches, and tools as the leaves

Shared values drive agility

The good news, though, is that being distributed actually enables us to be creative in a more agile way. That’s in large part thanks to the values and culture at the root of our workplace, and how our strategies and tools for remote work allow us to reach out to each other across teams, locations, and time zones.

I’m happy to share the recording of my 15-minute talk, which covers:

  • How values like agility, stability, accountability, flexibility, and authenticity inform the way we work, and how defining your own values can have a similar impact on your team
  • The role of open-source software in creating the stability and consistency we need to grow
  • The tools we use to improve collaboration across cross-functional teams in multiple time zones

Watch the video here:

 

If you have any questions or ideas, I’d love to talk more about this topic. I have so much empathy for everyone who is juggling life in a new way. When it comes to navigating our current reality, we’re all in this together.

Democratic National Convention Committee launches on WordPress VIP

 

Today, we are proud to partner with the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) in launching their newly revamped website, powered by WordPress VIP.

The new website will connect delegates, members of the media, and those interested in getting involved with the convention with the resources they need to stay up-to-date on convention planning. The site will continue to be updated with original content and innovative tools that invite all Americans to be a part of the historic event.

The website has been built with the goal of adhering to some of the most up-to-date accessibility standards used by the web design community, and will continue to be tested and modified to ensure it is reaching the widest possible audience. All of the content is also featured in Spanish.

Our friends at Wide Eye Creative provided art direction, design, and web development for the brand new Democratic National Convention website. Branding strategy was developed by Zero Studios, the New York and Milwaukee-based creative firm behind the convention’s official logo and visual identity.

WordPress VIP, the leading provider of enterprise WordPress, is the official digital platform for the new website. With expertise in delivering content-rich digital experiences for large organizations, WordPress VIP’s roots lie in the open source movement, which democratizes publishing through accessibility, performance, security, and ease of use.

Resources for the newly remote

The VIP team, and pets and kids, on a recent team call
The VIP support team meeting had a moment of levity, with hats, pets, and kids.

Wow, what strange times we find ourselves in.

Much of the world’s workforce has been thrust into working remotely, parents are learning to educate their kids at home, and we’re being told to keep our distance from all the people we want to hug even more at a time like this.

If you’ve interacted with us, you might know WordPress VIP and our parent company Automattic are fully distributed companies, which means we’re used to working from home, coffee shops, coworking spaces–even campervans.

But even that familiar way of working has become disrupted in many ways, as we navigate the realities of not being able to leave the house for a coffee break, or having to step over piles of kids’ toys to get into the office space.

Even though remote work is our happy place, we realize it might be new for you. So we gathered some of our best practices and tips to share from our years of experience working remotely.

And if you want a break from all the “how-to” articles floating around, we also rounded up some of our favourite entertaining and inspiring articles and stories, featuring people and publications making their homes on WordPress.

We hope these resources help spark ideas and inspire fresh perspectives on your team.

On remote work

  1. Lori McLeese, Global Head of Human Resources, sharing best practices on behalf of Automattic in a Q&A with True Ventures
  2. Sasha Stone, Happiness Engineer, on optimizing distributed life for self-care
  3. Marcus Kazmierczak, a Special Projects Principal Engineer, on the keys to asynchronous communication
  4. Cate Huston, Head of Developer Experience, with a Crash Course in Remote Management webinar, presented with Vaya Consulting
  5. Matt Mullenweg, Co-Founder of WordPress and Automattic CEO shares his tips for staying productive

Recommended reads

  1. How to Draw a Horse” by Emma Hunsinger, The New Yorker
  2. Cat People” Podcast hosted by Peter Frick-Wright and Rachel Nuwer, Longreads
  3. On Solitude (and Isolation and Loneliness [and Brackets])” by Sarah Fay, Longreads
  4. Song Birds (a zine)” by Austin Kleon
  5. The Making of a Corporate Athlete” by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, Harvard Business Review

One thing that’s been striking to me over the last few weeks is how this enforced distancing has actually made many of my relationships stronger. Remotely, we’re more connected than ever, and we will emerge from this strange time into a world that is changed in ways we could never expect.

Our team is here to help, in whatever way we can.

Modern Tribe named a Silver agency partner


We are proud to welcome Modern Tribe as a new agency partner! Modern Tribe is one of 33 agencies in this exclusive group with proven excellence implementing WordPress at scale. They are also the founders and creators of The Events Calendar, the number one adopted, selling, and grossing WordPress events management framework.

Modern Tribe is a digital agency that specializes in the design and development of industrial-strength WordPress implementations. Huge networks, heavy traffic, complex integrations, custom plugins—brands seek out Modern Tribe when they need to inject enterprise capabilities into the world’s most user-friendly content management system (WordPress!).

Comprised of 130+ strategists, designers, engineers and project managers, the Modern Tribe team is fully remote and brings together multi-disciplinary problem-solvers who use design and technology to solve sticky business challenges for the world’s leading brands.

From websites to applications, custom plugins to robust publishing platforms, Modern Tribe designs and engineers individual touchpoints with a focus on interconnectivity. Their recent projects include a new university-wide web platform for Boise State, development of the BigCommerce for WordPress plugin, and a custom learning management system and ecommerce platform for Australia’s “Renovation Queen” Cherie Barber.

“When it comes to infrastructure, there’s no single ‘right solution’ for our breadth of customers. It’s important we have a range of partnerships, and WordPress VIP provides a platform that supports more of the custom solutioning that we offer our clients.”

– Reid Peifer, Partner and Chief Creative Officer

For more information about Modern Tribe’s partnership with WordPress VIP, please visit https://wpvip.com/partner/modern-tribe/.

Four Kitchens is the newest Silver Agency Partner

WordPress VIP, the leading provider of enterprise WordPress, has added Four Kitchens to its prestigious Featured Agency Partner program. Four Kitchens is widely known as the go-to agency to manage Drupal to WordPress migrations.

Four Kitchens started as a “creative collective” in 2006 and has expanded to become a digital agency known for building BIG websites. In the last 14 years, Four Kitchens has helped their client partners launch some of the world’s largest websites, including Economist.com, NBC.com, and CNN.com, as well as countless websites and apps for universities, nonprofits, and enterprise corporations.

“We are thrilled and humbled to be named a WordPress VIP partner.”

– Todd Ross Nienkerk, CEO and co-founder

Four Kitchens’ client partnerships have gained international attention, winning more than 20 awards, including a Primetime Emmy for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon’s digital experience and multiple W3 Awards, AVA Digital Awards, Communicator Awards, International Business Awards, Davey Awards, and Best in Biz Awards.

“We are thrilled and humbled to be named a WordPress VIP partner,” said Four Kitchens CEO and co-founder Todd Ross Nienkerk. “As a lean team that loves solving complex problems, we take great pride in consistently exceeding our clients’ expectations. WordPress VIP will help us do that—and help us expand our unique approach to client service, which is rooted in innovation, compassion, and always delivering value.”

For more information about Four Kitchens’ partnership with WordPress VIP, please visit https://wpvip.com/partners/agency-partners/four-kitchens

Blazing new trails with Salesforce

Salesforce and WordPress VIP share many things in common. For one thing, we’re both market leaders in software technology that brings greater agility to enterprises the world over.

More importantly, though, we align on shared values. These values include equality, sustainability, the future of work, and the ethical use of technology.

Last year, Salesforce invested $300M in WordPress VIP’s parent company, Automattic — in large part because of our complementary vision and values. As Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic, explained at the time, “This investment represents a tremendous vote of confidence for Automattic and for the open web.”

We believe Salesforce and WordPress VIP have a unique opportunity to meet the deeper needs of enterprise leaders by combining our strengths (and our technologies) in powerful ways. Which is why I’m delighted to announce a project we’ve been developing together: the launch of the new season of the “Blazing Trails” podcast.

Quote from Tim Cook's Blazing Trails episode. He says, "I think if you could flip a switch and only do one thing..."

This ten-part series reboots the “Blazing Trails” podcast produced by Salesforce Studios. Each episode recaps and shares insights from some of the best conversations at Dreamforce 2019.

In case you’re unfamiliar, Dreamforce is the largest software conference in the world with more than 170,000 registered attendees. Its speakers include some of the smartest leaders in business, tech, sports, entertainment, healthcare, and other fields.

In this podcast, you will get key insights on how these trailblazers view leadership, prioritize trust, pursue innovation, and find balance in their lives.

Plus, in each episode, you’ll hear me share some candid thoughts on topics like the future of work, digital transformation, and more.

A few of my favorite conversations so far include:

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook on the importance of focusing not only on making the best products but on enriching people’s lives
  • Thrive CEO Arianna Huffington on the micro-steps we can all take to find balance and mindfulness
  • Bay Area chefs Samin Nosrat and Dominique Crenn on the inequalities in our food systems

Make sure you subscribe to the podcast to get the latest episode directly in your podcast player of choice. Get more details and find the link to subscribe on the WordPress VIP-powered site: https://blazingtrails.salesforce.com/

And stay tuned for future collaborations between Salesforce and WordPress VIP. We’re very excited about what’s in store.

Featured Partner Program expands to MENA with addition of Asquared

Ant Ekşiler (CEO) and Aykut Yılmaz (CMO) founded the first WordPress-centered agency in Turkey

Asquared is the newest addition to our Featured Agency Partner program! Asquared is one of only 30 partners in this prestigious group and the first agency in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.

Asquared is the leading WordPress agency in Turkey serving international clients all over the world. They build award-winning digital platforms using WordPress that are fast, flexible, and scalable thanks to enterprise integrations with excellent user experience.

We are great problem solvers, mostly because of our experience with a large number of clients.

– Ant Ekşiler, CEO of Asquared

Notably, Asquared is also the only featured partner with a Premium WordPress Themes brand, Fuel Themes, which reaches over 45,000 customers across the globe and recently joined the WooCommerce official store.

Ant Ekşiler, CEO of Asquared, explained, “A premium theme business allows us to reach a larger variety of customers faster which in turn improves our design and user-experience process for our enterprise customers. We are great problem solvers, and it’s mostly because of our experience with a large number of clients.”

A selection of Asquared’s enterprise WordPress clients

“As a part of the growing enterprise WordPress community, we’re excited to be selected in this partnership program with WordPress VIP. As an agency partner, we are thrilled to be given this opportunity to better serve our clients with the collective knowledge of WordPress VIP and other partners,” he added.

For more information about this partnership, please visit https://wpvip.com/partner/asquared/.

Building a B2B membership product with WordPress

Dan Entin of the Commercial Observer takes the stage at BigWP in New York City

What do Dan Entin, Rex Reed, and Carrie Bradshaw have in common? They all share roots in Observer Media, where Dan has been the VP of Product for the last 2 years. Headquartered in New York City’s financial district, Observer Media operates multiple brands including Commercial Observer, the leading commercial real estate media property in the country, which reports on the key trends and leaders defining the global real estate landscape.

In an effort to diversify their revenue streams across print advertising, digital advertising, and events, the Commercial Observer decided to create a new product: member subscriptions. After extensive market research, Dan’s team decided on three membership tiers: Basic, Premium, and Premium+.

“We have quadrupled the number of basic members that we get each month.”

– Dan Entin, Observer Media’s VP of Product

To learn more about the user research that informed Commercial Observer’s membership approach, including details on how they actually built the paywall using WordPress VIP and our technology partner Piano, watch Dan’s full talk:

 

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.

YIKES, Inc. is now a WordPress VIP featured partner

WordPress VIP has added YIKES, Inc. to our prestigious Featured Agency Partner program. YIKES, Inc. is one of only 30 partners in this group and the first women- and LGBTQ-owned partner agency.

Founded in 1996 as a sustainable, ethics-based business, YIKES, Inc. is a Pennsylvania Benefit Corporation and a certified B Corporation whose experience includes delivering technology-based solutions for nonprofit and civic organizations such as The City of Philadelphia, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Specializing in WordPress development and design since 2010, YIKES, Inc. builds robust custom themes and plugins, web-based applications, eCommerce solutions, API integrations, content migration from legacy systems, plus more.

Their projects range from informational sites to complex web applications. The founders pride themselves on their outstanding quality of work, professionalism, and unsurpassed customer service.

“We are thrilled to be the first Women, LGBTBE and B Corp-certified agency accepted into the WordPress VIP Agency Partner Program. As long-standing, active members of the WordPress community, we love bringing our years of WordPress design and development expertise to WordPress VIP clients,” said Tracy Levesque, Co-Founder/Co-President of YIKES, Inc.

For more information about this partnership, please visit https://wpvip.com/partner/yikes/.

5 keys to build an effective content personalization strategy

As the audience of your website grows, it becomes more challenging to publish content that is relevant to all readers. Personalization gives the ability to profile each user’s behavior and capture their preferences, allowing you to deliver more relevant content to keep them engaged — and ultimately, to increase conversions.

Many of our clients are eager to embrace personalization, for good reason. But before diving too far into a personalization strategy, there are a few critical questions to ask.

By taking into account the following considerations, a solid cross-functional team (business leaders, marketers, product owners, technologists, legal) can collaborate on the best personalization path to meet your goals.

For an in-depth look at personalization in enterprise WordPress, download our white paper, “How to Achieve Personalization with Enterprise WordPress.”

1. How will the data be shared with existing systems?

If the personalization requires any data to be sent to a vendor (for instance, user data, activity data, etc.), a JavaScript snippet will need to be included in all pages. Be sure to choose a reliable third-party vendor, as slow response times on the vendor end could affect the site’s end-user experience, and a data breach at the vendor could expose customers’ information.

2. What will be the reliance on external systems?

As recommendations for a specific type of user may change, the recommended list of content is typically sent dynamically from the personalization vendor’s systems. Some vendors store the user’s behavior in a cookie so that users don’t have to rely on their service being online. Ensure they have a strong uptime/availability record and make sure to understand what features of the site (if any) will be impacted if the service vendor’s systems are unavailable.

3. How can sharing personal data be kept to a minimum?

If users are required to sign in with their account, there is the added advantage of using their user-specified preferences. However, this would require additional information to be shared with the personalization vendor. Ideally, it’s possible to share just the username or a unique identifier for the user.

4. How can personalized experiences be shared across channels?

To capture a user’s data across various channels (social media, email, mobile apps, website, etc.), the vendor will need to unify data to a single user profile (typically based on the email address). Most personalization vendors that support cross-channel data gathering will also allow recommendations to be published through any of these channels.

5. How will the customer profile integrate with existing marketing tools?

Insight into customers’ profiles allows specific segments to be targeted with special offers or promotions. To use existing marketing software, it’s imperative to have it integrated to the personalization engine. Alternatively, campaigns could be managed within the personalization vendor’s portal.

In closing

Successful personalization requires marketers, technologists, and business leaders to have shared goals, with a firm understanding of how pursuing personalization will affect each area of the business. These questions can get you started building that foundation as a team.

At WordPress VIP, we have helped our clients provide personalized experiences on some of the most popular websites in the world. Even though we already have an assortment of tools, we continue adding features to our platform to help make it easier to provide these experiences.

For a detailed look at achieving personalization with enterprise WordPress, download our white paper, “How to Achieve Personalization with Enterprise WordPress.”

Featured partner program expands to France with Be API

WordPress VIP has added Be API to our exclusive Featured Partner program. Be API (as in, don’t worry, Be API) is one of only 30 partners in this group, and the first partner agency in France.

Since its creation, the agency has been a pioneer in industrialized WordPress projects and worked hard to democratize the professional use of WordPress in France. As active core contributors, the Be API team has created several plugins (Simple Tags, Simple Image Sizes) and helped co-translate WordPress into French.

As developers, technical architects, DevOps, sysadmins, project managers, SEO consultants, web analysts, and UI and UX designers, Be API’s expertise is rooted in 4 key areas:

Strategy & Design: audits, personas, tests and UX/UI design
Development: WordPress themes & plugins, page builder & Gutenberg
Industrialization: architecture, cloud, devops & interoperability
Run: maintenance, performance monitoring & customer support

Our experience and our expertise in the WordPress ecosystem are unique in France and allow our customers to gain considerable time in their projects by making the right choices.

-Amaury Balmer, CEO of Be API

Be API is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year: since 2009, the agency has helped more than 200 clients and created more than 250 WordPress implementations. Over the last decade, the agency has created some of France’s most ambitious WordPress projects, such as site factories for BNP Paribas, a security-focused project for Dassault Aviation, and high traffic platforms with Free.fr.

Joining the WordPress VIP program allows the agency to offer a unique platform, meeting the most demanding business needs while maintaining strong agility and creativity.”

-Amaury Balmer, CEO of Be API

For more information about Be API’s partnership with WordPress VIP, please visit https://wpvip.com/partners/agency-partners/

10 can’t-miss moments of 2019 from WordPress VIP

As the WordPress VIP team closes out another calendar year, we’d like to reflect on how far our clients, partners, and the broader enterprise WordPress community have come in 2019. So here are 10 highlights to celebrate on the way to an even more fruitful 2020.

1. The crew grew. Our parent company, Automattic, acquired Tumblr!

2. Salesforce took notice. Automattic closed a new $300 million Series D, with Salesforce Ventures taking the entire round.

3. Gutenberg closed in on Phase 2. Since releasing the first phase of Gutenberg last year, over 50 million posts have been made in the new block editor. At WordCamp US, Automattic’s CEO Matt Mullenweg shared some of the latest and greatest features and blocks built in the Gutenberg framework and highlighted an example of inline newsletter creation built by VIP partner rtCamp for Mortgage Bankers Association.

4. Enterprises adopted custom blocks. As Gutenberg development work continued on the home front, WordPress VIP partners like Big Bite and clients like News Corp drove adoption of Gutenberg in the enterprise, building blocks that delight WordPress users and news consumers, too. See real-life examples of how custom blocks can accelerate content production in the Gutenberg for enterprises webinar recording.

5. We’re officially poised to disrupt. Did you know WordPress VIP competes in a $10B market? CEO Nick Gernert took the stage at WordCamp US to talk about why this open source software is ideal for enterprises. You can see the full recording of his talk, where he shows how clients like Capgemini, Hachette Book Group, and News Corp Australia take advantage of the agility, ownership, flexibility, and simplicity of WordPress at scale.

6. We put more power in your hands. Speaking of agility, client developers can now run core and custom WP-CLI commands on WordPress VIP hosted applications and environments, through the VIP-CLI tool. This is part of our effort to deliver tools that empower WordPress VIP clients to make quick and deliberate moves across their applications.

7. Clients experimented with conscious decoupling. In 2019, we’ve seen more enterprises shift to a “decoupled” or “headless” approach to WordPress, using React and other JavaScript frameworks for their front-end architecture. At BigWP NYC, product manager Rachael Trost demonstrated how Accuweather’s decoupled architecture delivers content via WordPress to APIs, local media partners, scrolling LED displays, and more.

8. We landed exciting opportunities. Demand for enterprise WordPress continued to grow, and we saw exciting launches with clients like Samsung, Hilton, NBC, Time, Telefonica, Alaska Airlines, Knight Foundation, Merck, and many more.

9. The partner network grew. To keep pace with this significant demand, we welcomed 21 additional agency partners, growing our presence in expanding verticals (like sports, healthcare, and ecommerce) and regions (like Turkey, Australia, France, and the Netherlands).

10. We gave back to the community that started it all. There’s now a dedicated landing page for Five for the Future, which highlights people and organizations devoting 5% of their resources to WordPress development. You may notice some familiar faces, including Automattic and our agency partners 10up, rtCamp, and Multidots.

We’ve got big plans for the coming year, and we bet you do, too. If you want to learn more about any of the above, let us know. We’re always pleased to hear from you. In the meantime, Happy New Year from all of us at WordPress VIP!

WordPress VIP welcomes Skylab as a Silver Agency Partner

Today, WordPress VIP welcomes a new addition to our exclusive Featured Agency Partner program: Skylab. Based in Manchester, United Kingdom, Skylab specializes in creating innovative digital products and services for some of the biggest names in sport.

Leading the pack in digital transformation

Skylab’s approach centers on collaborating with clients on their long-term digital transformations and evolutions. Their team has devised strategies and solutions for sports clubs such as Manchester United and Manchester City. Their Formula 1 client roster includes Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso. They’ve also worked with national associations such as England Athletics, Swim England, England Golf, UK Coaching and the British Paralympic Association. Their expertise extends to world federations as well, such as ITTF (Table Tennis), AIBA (Boxing), ICF (International Canoe Federation), FIFA and the International Olympic Committee.

The agency has won numerous awards for their work. Earlier this year, the UK’s Department of International Trade chose Skylab as an “Export Champion.” In 2015, Creative England recognized them as a top 10 “Future Leader” out of a field of over 500 businesses.

A world-class partnership

“Skylab has built an enviable reputation as one of the top international digital agencies in sport. We are looking forward to joining the WordPress VIP family. Together, we’ll bring highly innovative digital strategies and products to the enterprise WordPress space.”

– Skylab CEO Nigel Collier

For more information about the Featured Agency Partner program, or if you believe your agency is a good fit, please visit wpvip.com/partners/agency-partners.

Ecommerce expert Saucal is VIP’s newest agency partner

At VIP, we strive to connect our clients with the best design and development talent on the planet. Today, we welcome Saucal as our newest Silver Agency Partner!

The Saucal team in branded hoodies
Saucal helps build, support, and maintain ecommerce solutions for enterprise clients

Saucal: experts in enterprise ecommerce

Saucal is a certified WooExpert digital agency and a WooCommerce preferred vendor. The agency is 100% remote and primarily serves the Americas and Europe. As a result, “communication is key,” said Mitchell Callahan, CEO.

Saucal’s founders learned early on what kind of digital agency they wanted to be. At the time, they struggled to find a company capable of delivering the site they needed to achieve business goals. That’s when they saw a need in the market and began developing.

Now, Saucal’s enterprise clients include Stripe, P&G, Automattic, Amazon Pay, and Phlearn. Each has relied on Saucal to improve their eCommerce capabilities.

“Best WordPress agency I have ever worked with. Seriously, they go so far above and beyond. It’s like having an in-house dev team sitting there with you,” said Seth Kravitz, CEO of Phlearn.

Logos of Amazon Pay, Automattic, P&G, and Stripe. These are a selection of Saucal's clients.
A few of Saucal’s enterprise ecommerce clients

Building a better internet

Above all, Saucal champions the open internet. Their team has contributed to the cores of both WordPress and WooCommerce.

“Open-source is the best option for both publishing and commerce,” said Callahan. “WordPress and WooCommerce epitomize everything that is good about the Internet.”

“We tell all our clients to go open-source only. If you don’t, you risk some third party shutting you down. Or, having a say over how you run your business. It’s too dangerous to go with proprietary solutions,” agreed CFO Dominic Sauter.

“Being a WordPress VIP partner is a great privilege. It comes with responsibilities we won’t take for granted,” Sauter continued. “We’re honored to help WordPress in its mission to drive growth and champion the possibilities of open-source.”

For more information on our new Featured Agency Partners, please visit https://wpvip.com/partners/agency partners. If you believe your agency is a good fit for our growing program, contact Suzi.

WordPress VIP welcomes Rareview as a Silver Agency Partner

We are pleased to welcome Rareview to our Featured Agency Partner program! Rareview is 1 of only 19 partners in this prestigious group and the only Silver agency on the West Coast of the United States.

Brothers Chuck and Rob Pearson of Rareview
Brothers Chuck and Rob Pearson started Rareview to help established brands grow.

Rareview is an award-winning digital design and marketing agency. Under leadership from brothers Chuck and Rob Pearson, the agency takes an intentionally different approach to building brands and products. In short, they design digital experiences that cultivate relationships. The team believes exceptional results lie at the intersection of great design and marketing — which is a delicate balance. So, at Rareview, design and marketing teams aim to increase conversions by working hand-in-hand to develop creative based on marketing principles and design best practices.

“Much of our development work has focused on WordPress over the last few years. As an agency partner, we are excited to gain access to additional partner resources and the WordPress community. It’s thrilling to be part of this exclusive group,” says Chuck Pearson, CEO of Rareview.

WordPress VIP closely vets every agency partner. Critical criteria include clear product understanding and innovative go-to-market strategies. We seek agencies with a track record of forward-thinking implementations of WordPress at scale. To learn more about the program, or if you think your agency is a good fit, visit https://wpvip.com/partners/agency-partners/

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