Welcome Yoast!

We’re excited to announce Yoast as a VIP technical partner! Over the last year we’ve been working with the Yoast Premium plugin on our VIP Go platform with a number of our clients with great success, and we are proud to add them to our VIP technical integration program.

The Yoast team at Yoastcon

Yoast is a household name for anyone in the professional and enterprise WordPress community. As one of the most popular plugins perennially in the WordPress.org marketplace, their SEO tools help over 8 million websites to optimize their pages for search engines. With their easy-to-use guidance, you can easily write and maintain optimized pages for the keywords you want to rank for.

Yoast guides you with focused recommendations for both SEO and human readability, and provides easy-to-update interfaces to test and refine over time. These analyses and recommendations are evaluated and adjusted on a frequent basis, to match the latest developments in SEO.

The Premium version, recommended for enterprise WordPress teams, offers a ton of helpful features including the following:

  • Optimize every page for up to 5 keywords
  • Internal linking suggestions for better cross-linking
  • Redirect manager: your visitors don’t get stuck on a 404 Not Found page
  • Preview of your page in social media
  • Content insights: are the keywords you’d like to rank for in line with what you’re actually writing about.

Additional specialized Yoast tools include Local SEO, Video SEO, News SEO (optimized for Google News), and WooCommerce and Local WooCommerce options.

“VIP is an excellent platform for enterprise WordPress applications. It only made sense to formalize our connection. We’re excited to work with VIP and continue to fulfill our mission of SEO for everyone,” said Joost de Valk, CEO and Founder of Yoast.

“At VIP we’re relentless about providing our customers great flexibility in addition to performance, speed, and security. As a part of our vision to make it easy to take advantage of the very best that enterprise WordPress has to offer, we seek to identify the tools and technologies clients rely on most, and forge a deeper tie with them and their development teams. As Yoast is a trusted component of many of our clients’ ongoing SEO testing and optimization cycles, we’re excited to welcome them officially as a VIP technical integration,” said Nick Gernert, CEO of WordPress.com VIP.

New Getty Images Plugin 3.0 with Streamlined Workflow

The new Getty Images plugin v3.0 builds on the previous versions with improved usability and feature enhancements to help you find, select, and use the right images quicker. It includes:

  • New look and feel
  • New landing page featuring Creative, Featured and Editorial images
  • Ability to set a downloaded image as the Featured Image directly from the plugin (no more bouncing back and forth between the media library and the plugin to set your Featured Image)
  • Larger images in the search results (plus the option to switch back to the detailed view if that’s what you prefer)
  • Improved search filter panel

VIP clients can get more details on the update in the Lobby.

Self-hosted WordPress users can find the new version 3.0 in the WordPress.org plugins directory.

New: WordPress Plugin for Facebook Instant Articles

InstantArticlesWordPressHero

Facebook has announced that its Instant Articles program will be open to publishers “of any size, anywhere in the world” starting on April 12, 2016. And with the free plugin we’re unveiling today, you’ll be able to prepare your self-hosted or VIP WordPress for the demands of this new channel.

Install it now from GitHub (it’s also coming soon to the WordPress plugin directory).

Instant Articles, now available to people using Facebook for iPhone and Android, load articles in Facebook’s News Feed up to ten times faster than standard web articles, and are optimized for the mobile reading experience.

The native format includes a built-in set of interactive tools like auto-play video and tap-to-zoom image galleries, bringing stories to life on mobile devices. Early analysis suggests that people engage more deeply with the immersive experience and share Instant Articles with their friends more often than standard web articles.

We’ve been working with Facebook, and VIP Featured Partner agency Dekode, on a plugin which takes care of the basics. Activate it, and you’ll have a compliant feed of Posts, wrapping your core content in the markup Facebook requires.

How it works

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Facebook has a review process where they verify that all Instant Articles generated from your website are properly formatted and adhere to their community standards and content policies before you’ll be able to start pushing content to the platform. (You can get more information in our Instant Articles FAQ.) Instant Articles generally should contain all the content a person would see in the web version of an article, so if you have extended the standard WordPress Post template in any way, it’s likely that you’ll need to extend the plugin’s default output too.

If you find any problems in our plugin, please send your feedback as an Issue on GitHub. And if you write a compatibility layer for another popular plugin, we’d encourage you to share it with the WordPress community via a Pull Request.

The Instant Articles program is one of several current initiatives that aim to bring improved speed and performance to the experience of reading news on your mobile device. We are thrilled to be working with Facebook on making it easier than ever for WordPress publishers to reach and engage their audiences in new ways.

Learn more at Facebook.

WordPress Support for Apple News

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Today we’re excited to announce the addition of Apple News support for WordPress. News is an all-new app built right into iOS 9 that delivers news and magazine stories to millions of readers. Publishers can create beautiful layouts with custom typography, photo galleries, videos, and animations—and with support for News now tightly integrated into WordPress, you only need to author once and your content will automatically be optimized for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.

For WordPress.com VIP customers, you can enable the plugin from your WordPress dashboard, or directly in your theme. It’s also available on Github.

We’d like to thank our friends and partners at NY Post and Alley Interactive, as well as the team at Beezwax, who spearheaded, sponsored, and built this plugin—and have generously made it available for everyone in the WordPress community to use.

Apple News Format is Coming Soon
Apple News Format is not yet available to everyone. Click here to sign up as a publisher and get notified when Apple News Format becomes available.

Getty Images: Integrated Stock Images and the Challenges of the WordPress Media Manager

The Getty Images WordPress.com VIP plugin allows you to seamlessly create posts with photos and illustrations from Getty Images. Ben Doherty, the Technical Director at Oomph, goes in-depth about how the plugin was designed to integrate with the WordPress Media Manager.

He introduces some of the challenges he faced and what could be improved moving forward, specifically with documentation. You can find more information about the Getty Images WordPress.com VIP plugin here.

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See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group.

Want more information about WordPress services for media or enterprise sites? Get in touch.

Introducing CoSchedule, the newest member of our Technology Partner Program

We’re excited to announce that CoSchedule has joined our Technology Partner Program. CoSchedule is a comprehensive marketing tool to help you and your team execute your entire content marketing strategy within WordPress.com VIP. If you’re looking to plan awesome content and save a bunch of time, the CoSchedule plugin on VIP can help you do just that.

Here are 10 reasons to check out CoSchedule:

1. Customize Team Roles 

WordPress VIP customizable team roles

Customize everyone’s role on your team to give permissions for specific responsibilities. Help them use the features they need to do their work, and hide the ones that get in their way.

2. Control Who Can Share Content

WordPress VIP custom social media permissions

You can control access to your social profiles to limit who can and can’t publish to each account. Give specific team members the rights to use certain company social media profiles while restricting others’ access. This will help you get a ton of traffic from your team, while providing advanced accountability for social sharing.

3. Advanced Profiles For Sharing Content

WordPress VIP social media security and private profiles

When you create content your team is really proud of, they’ll want to share it with their personal fans, followers, and friends. Your team can rock at social media with private social profiles and share your content to generate even more traffic.

4. Better Accountability

WordPress VIP security and access logs

Sometimes, you just need to know who published what. It helps to have a full history log of who modified your blog and social media content. CoSchedule will help you know exactly who did it.

5. Scheduling Social Media Messages

WordPress VIP social media scheduling

Schedule social media messages as you write your blog posts. That means multiple team members can work on a project at the same time to move faster, be more productive, and work together in the same tool to see what everyone is working on.

6. Custom Workflow That Works For Your Team

WordPress VIP customizable content marketing workflow

Create a workflow that suits your needs: build your own task templates, name those tasks, assign them to the right custom roles for your team, and automatically change the due dates if you move your content around on your calendar.

7. Analytics

WordPress VIP social media analytics

You need to know how your content performs to prove your ROI and improve your future content.

8. Work Where It Works Best For You 

WordPress VIP custom dashboards

You can access CoSchedule directly within WordPress.com VIP, or as a standalone web app.

9. Security

CoSchedule uses the same security technology most banks use to protect your information. Check out their status log whenever you’d like to see stats on our up times. You’ll always have access to at least two support techs during regular business hours, and at least one support tech is on call 24 hours a day.

10. Get The Support You Need

There’s something special about receiving support that helps you get through a tough problem. And taking that to a whole other level is even better. Get the priority level support you need for any question you have when you choose CoSchedule for WordPress.com VIP.

The support includes setup assistance and full support for your entire experience with CoSchedule. Don’t hesitate to reach out.

New Embed for Getty Images

Getty Images, one of our Featured Partners, announced today that it is making its library of award-winning professional photographs available for free through a new embed feature. We are very excited to bring this embed to WordPress.com and wanted to make sure that our VIPs are also aware of this awesome new feature.

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As you know, Getty Images is also a Featured Partner and has built a VIP plugin that allows users to license and access images directly from the Editor. Unlike the free embed, this plugin requires a license to Getty Images.

For more information about the new embed feature, check out this post.

If you’d like more information about using this feature, visit our Getty Images embed support page.

Comprehensive Sitemap Plugin Enhancements

Some exciting development work from Michael Blouin, our VIP Intern Code Wrangler. Here’s what he’s been working on: 

A lot of upgrades have gone into Comprehensive Sitemap plugin recently, and here’s what’s new:

More Filters. We now have four new filters that provide a lot of similar functionality as is available on the regular WP.com sitemaps:

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  • `msm_sitemap_namespace` — Customize the namespace declaration for the sitemap during generation
  • `msm_sitemap_skip_post` — Allows a post to be skipped during sitemap generation
  • `msm_sitemap_entry` — Runs for each entry during generation. Allows you to customize every SimpleXMLElement before it is outputted.
  • `msm_sitemap_query_args` — Allows you to customize the WP_Query that is used to fetch the posts to be inserted in the sitemap.

No Sitemaps for Non-Public Blogs. Sitemaps are no longer generated or available on non-public blogs. The cron job itself is killed so it doesn’t suck up any resources and a nice 404 is given when the sitemap is requested. In the administration panel, the main sitemaps options and stats are no longer available when the sitemap is private (see screenshot):

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msmsitemap_changes2Admin Page Name Changed and Code Restructured. There is only one admin page and it lives in Tools->Sitemap. The code for the admin page has been greatly restructured and is now 314% better*.

The admin page now lives in msm_sitemap.php instead of the cron builder, where it didn’t really fit in with the rest of the functions on the block. In addition to fixing a number of translation problems we’ve also made it so that the action buttons and status text are customizable via actions and filters.

The admin page now has the following new filter and action:

  • `msm_sitemap_actions` — Allows actions to be registered for the admin page. This is how the `Generate Sitemaps` buttons and others are generated.
  • `msm_sitemap_action-$action` — This action (not a filter) is called when a pre-registered action is performed by a user. When you register an action via `msm_sitemap_actions` you provide a `$action` slug, which is used to generate the action name to be performed. If your action needs to print out a status message to the user it can use the new `Metro_Sitemap::show_action_message()` helper function.

Additional Stats Tracking. We now track the number of sitemaps that have been generated and the number of URLs indexed in each sitemap. This info is informative and helpful, and we may be able to present it in a pretty infographic in the future.

If you already have Comprehensive Sitemaps running on your blog you will have to regenerate your sitemaps for these new stats to update.

*approximate improvement, results may vary.

Thanks Michael! 

New Plugin: Comprehensive Sitemaps

Map of Boston by Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL

We’re excited to announce the availability of a new plugin for WordPress.com VIPs: Comprehensive Sitemaps.

All WordPress.com sites come with XML sitemaps built-in. These files are automatically generated, cached for a 24-hour period, and updated whenever a post is published, updated, or deleted—however, they are also limited to the 1,000 most recent posts.

With Comprehensive Sitemaps, you can now build and serve sitemaps encompassing all of your content, to help give search engines an extra boost when crawling your site. This is done by using sitemap indexes and breaking down the files into years, months, and days. Additional care was taken to optimize the plugin for quick and fast delivery (individual sitemap files are pre-generated), and the plugin smartly handles post changes by updating only the affected sitemap files, so you’re always serving up-to-date content.

The code was originally written by the development team at Metro UK. Here’s what Paul Kevan, a Metro engineer, had to say about the plugin:

The sitemap plugin spawned out of a requirement to maintain our indexing when migrating over from our in-house CMS to WordPress.com. The default plugins only output 1000 posts and considering the Metro site had over 300k posts, we were worried about the indexing drop when we not only moved hosting but also changed the structure of our permalinks.

Three months later, thanks in part to the plugin, we had fully reindexed the whole site in Google with only a few minor problems.

When the VIP team got in touch to discuss open sourcing the plugin, we were only too pleased to say “yes”. The Metro development team is able to be very lean thanks to the services of WP.com VIP and we were conscious that the best way to repay this was contribute back to the community.

We worked closely with Paul and Metro’s development team to get the plugin into a shareable state. Other VIPs like Maker Media and Service Partners like Alley Interactive and 10up also offered to help and contributed code that helped further clean up or optimize the code or introduce new features.

Installing the Plugin

The plugin needs to be installed via your theme code:

wpcom_vip_load_plugin( 'msm-sitemap' );

Setting up Sitemaps

Once you’ve committed the code change to activate the plugin, please open a ticket so that we can generate the sitemap for you. We need to run a one-time process to generate the full archive; it’s rather resource-intensive and something that we can help run in a smooth manner.

Note: if you’re using custom post types and want to include them in the sitemap, you need to explicitly include them via the msm_sitemap_entry_post_type filter.

Follow Along

You can follow development on Github. If you come across problems, we ask that you first check the issues on Github and if the problem hasn’t already been reported, go ahead and create a new one. There are several fixes and improvements planned; pull requests are welcome and highly encouraged.

A big thank you to Metro UK for contributing this code back to the VIP community!

Map of Boston courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL.

“VIP Scanner” Plugin Updated with Exports and a Brand New Design

WordPress.com VIP themes and plugins represent over 5 million lines of code, with thousands more committed every day. Since we manually review all of this code, we try to make it as easy as possible for developers to double-check their code against the standards that we look for, streamlining the process for everyone.

Version 0.4 of the VIP Scanner is another step in that direction. We’ve refreshed the interface to make it easier to use: instead of choosing the theme and the type of review you want to run, we’ll automatically show you the results for the current theme. Issues are broken down by severity, with the most pressing issues at the top. And we’ve moved Notes (these are issues that you should be aware of, but are not strictly necessary to fix) to another tab to help reduce clutter.

We’ve also added the ability to export your VIP Scanner results, so you can submit them alongside your theme, to our team for review. We’ll be polishing this a bit more in future iterations, but for now it will simply download a Markdown formatted text file with the details of your review. If you’re using the VIP Theme Review scan, you’ll also be asked a set of standard questions, before you run the export, which will help us understand the thought process involved in building the theme. The answers to these questions will also be included in the export.

As always, pull requests are welcome over on Github.

Introducing: VIP Quickstart

Update:
VIP Quickstart is deprecated as of March 13, 2017. Support for Quickstart will continue through April 21, 2017. For new environments, we recommend using Chassis or VVV as detailed in the Local Environment documentation.

Previous Information:

One of the pain points we often see in the development process is getting a development environment set up. Today we’re introducing VIP Quickstart to fix that. The goal of VIP Quickstart is to provide an environment similar to what you would be deploying to on WordPress.com that’s also quick and easy to setup.

VIP Quickstart is a mix of Vagrant, Puppet, Bash scripts, and some PHP code that will help you quickstart your WordPress.com VIP development. The setup installs a base Ubuntu 12.04 box running PHP, Nginx, and MySQL. The WordPress installation will be WordPress multisite from the latest trunk build. It also includes the WordPress Developer plugin along with all the recommended VIP plugins and the VIP Shared Plugins repository. Finally, there are some WordPress.com customizations and WP-CLI.

Updates will be pushed out on Github. You can always make sure you’ve got the latest version of Quickstart by running the VIP init script that’s included. If you’re already familiar with Vagrant, all the built in Vagrant commands will still work as well.

What’s Next

Currently we’re working on a Windows installer that should be available shortly. After that the plan is to add support for PHPMyAdmin along with some other tools. We want to include any tools that make sense for WordPress development in general and VIP specifically, so if you’ve got ideas we’d love to hear them.

In the future, issues involving local development environments will be unsupported unless you’re using Quickstart.

Follow Along

You can follow development on Github. If you come across problems, we’d ask that you first check the issues on Github and if the problem hasn’t already been reported, go ahead and create a new one. As always, pull requests are welcome.

The Liveblog Add-On: Now with Rich Text Editing!

It’s been just over a year since we launched our Liveblog Add-on. It’s been fantastically well-received by our VIPs who have used it to cover a wide variety of events, like Canada.com’s coverage of the Calgary Flames hiring Brian Burke, TechCrunch’s iPhone 5s launch coverage, and today, KDVR’s coverage of the disastrous flooding in Colorado.

Today, we’re very happy to announce that we’ve added rich text editing controls to the Liveblog Add-on. Sometimes known as WYSIWYG, you can now easily add to your liveblog updates with simple text formatting, such as bolds, italics, and links — all by pressing one button. These enhancements are already live and immediately available for our VIP Liveblog Add-on customers.

The new editor looks like this:

WYSIWYG Liveblog Editor

And here’s an image of the new editor in context, as well as highlights of recent Liveblogs from across WordPress.com VIP:

These enhancements were a joint project by WordPress.com VIP and X-Team, our newest Featured Partner.

If you’re new to the Liveblog Add-on and are wondering what makes it special:

  • Post updates right from the front-end of your site (no need to use the /wp-admin dashboard)
  • Viewers of your Liveblog get new entries served to them instantly and automatically, without needing to refresh their browser.
  • Your authors can drag-and-drop photos right into the Liveblog area, without needing to navigate to separate browser tabs or windows.
  • Easily add to your liveblog updates with simple text formatting; bolds, italics, underlines, links, and more.
  • There’s no need for a separate site dedicated to liveblogging: every post can be a liveblog, even existing ones.
  • When your Liveblog is done, it’s archived so your readers can catch up whenever they would like.

If you’re interested in using the Liveblog Add-on as a WordPress.com VIP Hosting client, get in touch!

PublishThis and Brow.si Join the VIP Featured Partner Program

We’re excited to welcome the latest partners – PublishThis and Brow.si – to our Featured Partner Program. Since the Partner Program started, we’ve focused on finding smart and innovative technology providers that are building cool tools for our VIPs. With PublishThis and Brow.si, we’re bringing the latest in content marketing and mobile web experience into our WordPress.com VIP platform.

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PublishThis makes curating, discovering and distributing content a breeze. With PublishThis, WordPress.com VIP customers can easily package and share content and even find new ways to monetize existing content.  Learn more >>

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Brow.si is reinventing mobile browsing. It dynamically adds powerful features and functionalities to your WordPress.com VIP site inside the mobile browser that’s designed to deliver a better mobile experience and increase user engagement. Learn more >>

Janrain, Shoplocket, and Storify Join the WordPress.com VIP Featured Partner Program

We’re excited to share the news today that Janrain, Shoplocket, and Storify have all joined our Featured Partner Program. Now nearly 30 partners strong, the Featured Partner Program helps WordPress.com VIP customers work seamlessly with other technology providers to make their WordPress websites best-of-breed.

We’ve worked closely with our friends at Janrain, Shoplocket, and Storify to integrate their services directly into our WordPress.com VIP platform, and provide a one-click activation experience for our users. And because we’ve done deep testing and code reviews on each integration, you get the same level of performance, stability, and security that you’ve come to expect from WordPress.com VIP.

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Janrain Capture provides turnkey user registration and social profile storage through their User Management Platform. With Janrain Capture, WordPress.com VIP customers can collect and store rich social profile data in Janrain’s hosted user profile system and offer a personalized experience on their sites. Learn more »

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ShopLocket is the easiest way to sell products from your WordPress.com VIP website. No storefront to set up and no upfront or monthly fees. With ShopLocket, you can start selling on your WordPress.com VIP site in minutes. Learn more »

storify-1x
Storify is the best way to collect media from social networks and enrich your blog posts with tweets, YouTube videos, Instagram photos and more. Create live, multimedia social stories that engage your audience. Learn more »

Ad Code Manager v0.4: Easier Configuration for Google AdSense and Doubleclick For Publishers Async

Ad Code Manager is a plugin designed to help you deal with ad codes, those short snippets of Javascript used to display advertisements on your website. Yesterday, Rinat Khaziev of Doejo, Jeremy Felt of 10up, and I released version 0.4.

This release incorporates the following:

  • Streamlined configuration for Doubleclick for Publishers Async and Google AdSense. Check out the configuration guide for more details.
  • Faster, cleaner JavaScript thanks to Jeremy Felt and Carl Danley.
  • New filter ‘acm_output_html_after_tokens_processed’ for rare cases where you might want to filter html after the tokens are processed.

Ad Code Manager v0.4 is already installed on WordPress.com VIP, and available to download for WordPress.org installs. Please report any bugs, feature requests, or questions in the WordPress.org forums. Or fork the plugin on Github and follow our development blog to help with future improvements.

Oscar Night with the WordPress.com VIP Liveblog Plugin

One of my favorite parts of watching live television events is the second screen experience — the running commentary from liveblogs and Twitter that stream onto my phone or laptop.

The staff at National Post were totally on top of this Sunday night, creating an incredible multimedia liveblog experience for The Oscars. Using our Liveblog Plugin, they pulled together a collage of smart (and funny!) commentary, beautiful images, YouTube clips, tweets, and even animated gifs.

We also enjoyed following along Caroline Westbrook’s liveblog on metro.co.uk’s site as she authored an impressive 150 updates over the course of the night  — pulling together a mix of tweets, videos, photos, and updates.

Not familiar with how the WordPress.com VIP Liveblog Plugin works? Take a look at this video. It’s super easy, featuring content insertion from the front-end of the site, and drag-and-drop image uploads.

The Liveblog Add-On is $500 USD per month, with an annual subscription, for VIP SaaS Hosting clients. This includes unlimited liveblogs, and an unlimited number of users visiting, viewing, and receiving updates — all powered by our massive WordPress.com cloud infrastructure. If you’re interested in using the LiveBlog plugin or learning more, please get in touch.

New Liveblog Features: Editing Posts, “Smart” Updates

Have you seen our liveblog premium add-on? Since we launched it in September, we’ve had overwhelmingly positive feedback.

A quick re-introduction: the liveblog plugin allows you to quickly update a post on the fly from the front-end of your website. It’s super simple, no outside embeds necessary. You can even drag-and-drop in photos, and embed tweets by pasting in the tweet URL. Take a look at our full documentation of liveblog features.

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Below are the new features we’ve added this week. Download the liveblog plugin here.

Edit Previous Liveblog Posts

The ability to edit posts was the most-requested feature from VIPs. We’re happy to announce that this feature has been added. To edit a previous post, all you need to do is scroll back in time, click “edit” on a post, and you’ll be able to rewrite history.

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“Smart” Updates

This feature makes it easy for your readers to enjoy your liveblog without being overwhelmed with updates.

If the reader’s browser is sitting at the top of the post, new updates will automatically appear, highlighted in yellow.

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However, if your reader has scrolled down the post to catch up on previous updates, liveblog will wait to update with new posts. Instead, a notification bar will appear at the top of the screen. When the reader clicks on the bar, the new updates will resume loading at the top of the page.

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Post times are also now relative, which means it will display as “2 minutes ago,” with the time updating every minute.

Archive Liveblog Posts

Once the event has wrapped up, you can archive your liveblog. This means that visitors will still be able to see the blog, but the editing tools will go away and the post will stop polling for updates.

You can archive and re-enable a liveblog from the Edit Post page.

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When a liveblog is archived, your editors will see a notification that says the liveblog must be enabled to accept new posts.

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We’ve loved watching our VIPs use the liveblog premium add-on. National Post used it to cover Lance Armstrong’s interview last night, and TVLine used it for the Golden Globes on Sunday. Big Ten Network liveblogs games every Wednesday, and Time.com has used it to cover high traffic events like the iPhone 5 announcement.

Special thanks to Matt and Zack at GigaOM for their help with the smart updates feature, and everyone else that has submitted bugs and feedback. You can see GigaOM’s use of the liveblog with the recent Facebook event.

For VIP SaaS Hosting clients, the Liveblog Premium Add-On is $500 USD per month, with an annual subscription. This includes unlimited liveblogs, and an unlimited number of users visiting, viewing, and receiving updates — all powered by our massive WordPress.com cloud infrastructure.

If you’re interested in giving the liveblog a try, please get in touch!

Only 5% Of Publishers Use The Google News Keywords Meta Tag

Danny Sullivan reports on Search Engine Land that only 5% of news publishers are using the Google News Keywords tag, which Google introduced back in September—are you one of them? If not, it may interest you to know that WordPress.com VIP comes with support for the news_keywords tag built-in, via the Add Meta Tags plugin available from your WordPress dashboard.

Google introduced the new tag a few months ago to help publishers make their content more easily discoverable, without having to modify their headlines to inject keywords:

The goal is simple: empower news writers to express their stories freely while helping Google News to properly understand and classify that content so that it’s discoverable by our wide audience of users.

Similar in spirit to the plain keywords metatag, the news_keywords metatag lets publishers specify a collection of terms that apply to a news article. These words don’t need to appear anywhere within the headline or body text. News keywords such as “stocks”, “stock market”, or “crash” would be helpful in allowing Google News to better understand the article content for ranking without forcing the editors to water down the creativity of a great headline. Because the metatag appears only as part of the HTML code of a page, visitors to a site won’t ever see the magic under the hood.

Head over to VIP -> Plugins & Services from within your WordPress dashboard to activate the Add Meta Tags plugin and the Google News meta tag on your site—happy SEO’ing!

And thanks to our friends at Metro.co.uk who added the support for news_keywords to Add Meta Tags!

Liveblog 1.2: Compatibility with WordPress 3.5, bug fixes, and more

We pushed a new version of the Liveblog plugin this week. Liveblog 1.2 includes some compatibility updates for WordPress 3.5 and various feature enhancements and  bug fixes.

  • Introduce many new hooks and filters, which help customization without changing the plugin code.
  • Allow shortcodes and OEmbed in liveblog entries.
  • Fix JavaScript errors on IE8, props @pippercameron.
  • Fix issues with entry preview.
  • Compatibility with plupload 1.5.4, props @borkweb.
  • Translations:

Download the update from the WordPress.org plugin repository or send get involved in the development on Github.

Co-Authors Plus v3.0: Introducing Guest Authors

Co-Authors Plus makes it possible to assign multiple bylines to posts, pages, and custom post types via a search-as-you-type meta box. Version 3.0, several months in the making, allows you to assign bylines without having to create corresponding WordPress user accounts. Simply create a guest author profile for the writer and assign the byline as you normally would.

Guest authors can have all of the same fields as normal users, including display name, biography, and avatars. In fact, you can extend the model to include your own fields too. On the frontend, guest author profiles appear as normal user accounts would.

Many thanks to Austin Smith at Alley Interactive for his assistance with much of the original architecture.

This release also includes:

  • Support for non-Latin characters in usernames and guest author names.
  • wp-cli subcommands for creating, assigning, and reassigning co-authors.
  • For themes using core template tags like the_author() or the_author_posts_link(), you enable Co-Authors Plus support with a simple filter.
  • New author terms are now automatically prefixed with ‘cap-‘ to avoid collisions with global scope. You can run wp co-authors-plus migrate-author-terms to migrate and prefix existing terms.
  • Bug fix: Apply query filters to only post_types registered with the taxonomy. Props Tom Ransom.
  • Filter coauthors_posts_link_single() with ‘coauthors_posts_link’. Also adds rel=”author”. Props Amit Sannad and Gabriel Koen.
  • Filter for the context and priorities of the Co-Authors meta boxes. Props Tomáš Kapler.
  • Renamed the post meta box for selecting authors so it applies to many post types. Props John Blackbourn.

Co-Authors Plus v3.0 is already available in the VIP Shared Plugins directory for WordPress.com VIP hosted clients. Everyone else is welcome to leave feedback, bug reports, and praise in the WordPress.org forums. Get involved with development on Github.

Jetpack 2.0 is here! So many great WordPress.com features come to WordPress sites wherever they are hosted!

Digital Subscriptions with MediaPass and WordPress.com VIP

MediaPass, a WordPress.com VIP Featured Partner, offers one of the best digital subscription solutions on the market. They’re continually adding new features to optimize the publisher experience, and in two weeks will be releasing some major updates for VIP users.

To kick things off, MediaPass is hosting a demo exclusively for WordPress.com VIP customers, partners, and friends—if you’ve ever considered increasing your web property’s total monetization by incorporating paid subscriptions, now’s the perfect time to give MediaPass a try.

Join us on October 4th from 10am – 11:00AM PDT for a free demo hosted by the MediaPass and VIP teams.

Register now!

Can’t make it?  Make an appointment with Rob Leon, VP of MediaPass Publisher Development by selecting any open slot on this calendar.

New Liveblog Add-On from WordPress.com VIP

We’re proud of our VIP Clients, many of whom report the latest and most important news as soon as it’s available. It was they who we thought of when we developed the new Liveblog Add-on.

We can’t wait for you to see it in action, either as an author, or a reader! To see what it will look like, take a look at the video we created for the Liveblog Add-on.

[wpvideo tWpw6nCt]

Here’s what makes the Liveblog Add-on special:

  • Post updates right from the front-end of your site (no need to use the /wp-admin dashboard)
  • Viewers of your Liveblog get new entries served to them instantly and automatically, without needing to refresh their browser.
  • Your authors can drag-and-drop photos right into the Liveblog area, without needing to navigate to separate browser tabs or windows.
  • There’s no need for a separate site dedicated to liveblogging: every post can be a liveblog, even existing ones.

If you’re interested in using the Liveblog Add-on as a WordPress.com VIP Hosting client, get in touch!

If that’s not enough, we’ve also completely open-sourced the Liveblog code for self-hosted WordPress! You can find it in the WordPress.org plugin repository and on github.

Take a closer look:

Thanks to VIPs GigaOM and Local TV for their feedback and contributions during the beta testing phase for the plugin.

Bulk User Management

Josh Betz is an Intern Code Wrangler with Automattic’s WordPress.com VIP program this summer before he heads back to the University of Wisconsin to complete his degree in Computer Science. He enjoys running, hacking on WordPress, and the beautiful view from the terrace at UW’s Memorial Union.

Bulk User Management is a plugin that we’ve built to solve the problem of having to access each site in your network to manage users. It is especially useful for site administrators with large blog networks or anyone who might want to add multiple users to multiple sites from a single dashboard.

Bulk User Management allows a set of specified users to manage permissions across all your sites. Users from every site in your network are displayed in a list and can be added to or removed from any of your sites. Any users who aren’t currently in your network can still be invited to any of your blogs through the normal invite process.

The plugin works by aggregating a list of users from all your sites into a single list with information about each user, like their username, email address, and their user level on each of the sites they have access to. There are bulk actions available like “Modify” and “Remove” that let you make changes in large batches instead of one at a time.

You can select which users to manage with checkboxes just like you would see in the normal Users page. Selecting an action from the “Bulk Actions” dropdown will reveal a bulk edit section in the table where you can select which blogs the changes should apply to and a role if necessary.

The following are some screenshots showing step by step how the bulk editing flow works.

Bulk User Management is also available in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory. It’s also on github, we’d love to have you check out the code and contribute!

Developer Plugin v1.0: Helping WordPress developers develop

One of the great things about developing for WordPress is the number of tools available for developers. WordPress core ships with a bunch of useful features (e.g. WP_DEBUG) with many more built by the community (like our own Rewrite Rules Inspector and VIP Scanner) that make development and debugging a breeze. The hardest part is getting your environment set up just right: knowing what constants to set, what plugins to install, and so on.

That’s why we built-in the Developer plugin. It’s your one-stop resource to optimally configure your development environment by making sure you have all the essential settings and plugins installed and available.

If you’re a WordPress developer, we highly recommend installing this plugin in your development environment. You can download the plugin from the WordPress.org Plugins Directory or directly from your WordPress Dashboard (Plugins > Add New).

Here’s a quick walk-through:

If you’d like to check out the code and contribute, join us on Github; pull requests are more than welcome.

Are there any tools, tips, and tricks that you’re using that we’ve missed? We’d love to add them to the plugin. Let us know in the comments.

Now Live: Official Facebook Plugin for WordPress and WordPress.com VIP

Facebook just announced their first official plugin for WordPress:

Starting today WordPress publishers can easily integrate Facebook features, such as social publishing and mentions, through the new Facebook for WordPress plugin.

The plugin was built by Facebook engineers in collaboration with open source partners, and makes it simple for anyone to make their WordPress site more social – no coding required. The plugin will also work on mobile and support internationalization.

The plugin is built-in to our WordPress.com VIP platform and can be seamlessly enabled on any VIP site. It’s also available for download for self-hosted WordPress sites as well.

Interested in WordPress services for your enterprise site, or integrating your WordPress plugin with an enterprise audience? Get in touch

Ad Code Manager v0.2.2: Bulk Delete and Google AdSense Provider

Ad Code Manager is a plugin designed to help you deal with ad codes, those short snippets of Javascript used to display advertisements on your website. Yesterday, Rinat Khaziev of Doejo, Jeremy Felt of 10up, and I released version 0.2.2.

This release incorporates the following:

  • New Google Ad Sense provider courtesy of Erick Hitter from Oomph
  • Bulk delete action added for the WP List Table of ad codes. Delete more ad codes in one go
  • New ‘acm_register_provider_slug’ for registering a provider that’s included outside the plugin (e.g. a theme)
  • Bug fix: Instantiate the WP List Table on the view, instead of on admin_init, to reduce conflicts with other list tables

Ad Code Manager v0.2.2 is already installed on WordPress.com VIP, and available to download for WordPress.org installs. Please report any bugs, feature requests, or questions in the WordPress.org forums. Or fork the plugin on Github and follow our development blog to help with future improvements.

New Plugin: Rewrite Rules Inspector

Rewrite Rules Inspector is a simple development tool for viewing all of the rewrite rules registered with your site. It’s been available for VIPs hosted on WordPress.com for a while — today it’s available for download from the WordPress.org repository.

Specifically, the Rewrite Rules Inspector helps you:

  • View a listing of all your rewrite rules.
  • See which rewrite rules match a given URL (and the priorites they match in).
  • Filter by different sources of rewrite rules.
  • Know when rewrite rules are missing in the database by showing an error message.

Feel free to fork the plugin in Github — pull requests are always welcome. Hit us with feedback, questions, bug reports, and feature requests in the forums.

Ad Code Manager v0.2: UI Redesign, Support for Custom Ad Networks, and a New Widget

Ad Code Manager is a plugin designed to help you deal with ad codes, those short snippets of Javascript used to display advertisements on your website. This week, Rinat Khaziev of Doejo, Jeremy Felt of 10up, and I are excited to bring you version 0.2.

It’s chock full of these new features:

  • Completely reworked user interface, one that now looks and feels like much of the rest of the WordPress admin.
  • Abstracted ad network logic, so you can integrate additional ad networks. Currently, Ad Code Manager fully supports Double Click for Publishers. Pull requests with support for other ad networks are always welcome.
  • In-plugin contextual help to get you properly configured.
  • Priorities for ad codes, which allow you to work around conflicts.
  • An [acm-tag] shortcode for placing ad codes within posts.
  • A widget for placing ad codes in widget areas. Thanks to Justin Sternburg at WebDevStudios for the contribution.

We’ve also fixed these bugs:

  • Enabled using ad codes with empty conditionals.
  • Setting the logical operator from OR to AND now results in the expected behavior.

Ad Code Manager v0.2 is already installed on WordPress.com VIP, and available to download for WordPress.org installs. Please report any bugs, feature requests, or questions in the WordPress.org forums. Or fork the plugin on Github and follow our development blog to help with future improvements.

Announcing the WordPress.com VIP Featured Partner Program

This morning we debuted a project that I’m really excited about—our new Featured Partner Program. Our WordPress.com VIP team is now working with select partners to integrate their services with WordPress, connect them with our VIP clients, and collaborate to support the integration and provide a seamless experience for our users.

Each implementation has been reviewed and certified by our VIP team to ensure a well-optimized, secure, and forward-compatible integration with the WordPress platform, and our VIP customers get the benefits of that collaboration.

We’re excited to be working with launch partners Chartbeat, ContextLogic, Daylife, Livefyre, MediaPass, Ooyala, SocialFlow, Uppsite, and Wibiya to provide a range of solutions for publishers, from web analytics to online video delivery to mobile and more.

If you’d like to learn more about the program, please get in touch.

Ready to get started?

Drop us a note.

No matter where you are in the planning process, we’re happy to help, and we’re actual humans here on the other side of the form. 👋 We’re here to discuss your challenges and plans, evaluate your existing resources or a potential partner, or even make some initial recommendations. And, of course, we’re here to help any time you’re in the market for some robust WordPress awesomeness.