VIP News

Updates and features about our platform, services, and partners, as well as stories and events from across the enterprise WordPress community.

Launching a global ecommerce platform for OKdo

Recently, we teamed up with our Silver agency partner Box UK to help OKdo launch a new, revenue-generating business line […]

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OneSignal named a WordPress VIP Gold Technology Partner

OneSignal joins our growing group of partners with proven excellence implementing best-in-class solutions for WordPress at scale. OneSignal is a […]

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Weidenhammer named a Silver agency partner

We are proud to welcome Weidenhammer as a new Silver agency partner! Weidenhammer was formed in 1978 to help clients with […]

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Digital River named a WordPress VIP Gold Technology Partner

Digital River joins our growing group of partners with proven excellence implementing WordPress at scale. Digital River is now WordPress VIP’s first single-solution, global payments partner, bringing a unique and unparalleled value for our clients.

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Webinar: Build an enterprise newsletter in minutes

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

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

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

In this webinar, you will:

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

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/.

Award-winning agency Upstatement is now a Silver partner

WordPress VIP is excited to welcome our newest Silver agency partner: Upstatement!

Upstatement is a design and engineering studio that builds content creation tools to power valuable user experiences. Drawing on its founders’ deep backgrounds in news and media, Upstatement empowers clients with bespoke content strategies, user experiences, and tools that achieve results. The agency has won Webby Awards three years running, and was named one of FastCompany’s most important design companies of 2019.

Founded in 2008, based in Boston, and with 43 employees in five cities, Upstatement works with clients all over the country following an agile process and unique dedicated staffing model.

With over a decade of expertise building digital products for enterprise scale, Upstatement has built flagship websites for brands like Tito’s Vodka, Moms Demand Action, PBS Newshour, MIT, and many others.

The agency also pioneered the use of responsive design (with the original website for The Boston Globe) and decoupled WordPress (Harvard Graduate School of Design). What’s more, their open source templating tools are in use on some of the biggest WordPress sites out there, from the Obama Foundation to Spotify.

“We’re excited to work more closely with WordPress VIP to help our clients build the best experiences out there.

Editors and writers are users too. We’re looking forward to helping push the envelope in terms of the content creation tools available to our clients.”

– Mike Swartz, Principal and Founder

To learn more about Upstatement and our partner program, visit wpvip.com/partner/upstatement

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

Debunking 5 myths about decoupled WordPress

Thanks to our roles in the WordPress and enterprise software communities, we participate in a lot of conversations with both agencies and brands about the best systems and architectures to power stellar customer experiences.

While our official stance is along the lines of, “the best choice is whatever best serves your end user,” our team has decades of collective experience powering some of the most sophisticated implementations of WordPress at scale. And this experience contradicts many of the myths we hear floating around about decoupled WordPress.

NEW White paper: What to know before you go decoupled

Myth #1: A decoupled front end will make my website load faster

Not necessarily! While an approach that includes flat files and a strong caching solution might improve load times compared to other options, WordPress VIP includes multiple layers of caching to make sure your editors and producers, as well as your audience, can have a lightning-fast experience using WordPress templates.

Myth #2: It’s easier to hire React developers than WordPress developers

With the release of WordPress 5.0 in 2018, the Gutenberg block editor is powered largely by React, so WordPress developers are React developers! While we’re always conscious of the “flavor-of-the-month” effect when it comes to JavaScript frameworks and libraries, the WordPress community has invested significant time and effort into React. If you need help getting your organization started with React and WordPress, take a look at the list of WordPress VIP Featured Partner agencies for some ideas about where to start.

Myth #3: Decoupled WordPress is more secure

At WordPress VIP, we’re the leaders in making sure WordPress is scalable and secure for enterprise use. How do we do it? By making sure all of your custom development and third-party integrations meet our high standards, and that they follow best practices for WordPress development.

Myth #4: A decoupled approach provides more control over the user experience

Going decoupled unplugs the power of the WordPress Gutenberg block editor from the look and feel of your site, taking control away from your content production team. That disconnect also makes live previews difficult to engineer, further frustrating teams that have to reinvent the wheel to drive content across the decoupled gap.

Myth #5 – Decoupled architecture works best with an API-first CMS

WordPress is the ideal platform to complement modern technologies and tooling. Thanks to its ubiquity as the software that powers more than 36% of the web, there is a global community of expert developers constantly advancing its capabilities. One example of this community’s response to the demand for modern tooling is the WPGraphQL plugin, which makes it easy to use GraphQL with WordPress. Our client Accuweather uses a similar solution to deliver localized content from multiple data sources in alerts, landing pages, videos, articles, and more. And they still benefit from the reliability, stability, and scalability of enterprise WordPress.

While it may be tempting to go fully decoupled, it’s important to have a complete understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of whatever architecture you choose. For more on this topic, check out our white paper: What to know before you go decoupled. If you have any questions, please get in touch — we love talking about what’s possible with WordPress.

CemtrexLabs named a WordPress VIP Silver agency partner

WordPress VIP has added CemtrexLabs to our Featured Agency Partner program. CemtrexLabs is one of only 30 partners in this prestigious group and the first agency partner with full-stack virtual and augmented reality (VR, AR & MR) capabilities.

Cemtrex, Inc. (CETX) is a diversified technology company that’s driving innovation in a wide range of sectors, including smart technology, virtual and augmented realities, digital technology solutions, industrial solutions, and intelligent security systems.

The CemtrexLabs team, made up of artists, designers, and engineers, has helped some of the world’s leading brands, such as Cartier, Live Nation, Essence, and W Magazine, create engaging experiences and elevate their presence in their industries. CemtrexLabs offers expertise in user experience and interface design, data migrations/replatforming and web, mobile, AR/VR development.

CemtrexLabs has built a reputation as an award-winning agency that has built products for global brands over the last decade. We look forward to joining the WordPress VIP community of partners to collaborate and help brands digitally transform their strategies and products.”

– CEO and Chairman Saagar Govil

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

On-demand webinar: How Salesforce is Transforming Content Marketing

Effective content marketing is key to customer engagement.

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

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

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

In this webinar, you will learn:

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

Presenter: Hayley Nelson

Hayley Nelson, Salesforce

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

Presenter: Nick Gernert

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

WDG named a Silver Agency Partner

WordPress VIP has added WDG to our Featured Agency Partner program. WDG is one of only 30 partners in this prestigious group, and the only agency in Washington D.C. WDG is renowned to its local community as an expert in the digital and strategy game and pushes boundaries to expand digital capabilities.

WDG is a digital agency that builds solution-focused and user-centered websites for their clients, both locally in the epicenter of Washington D.C. and globally. The core of WDG is a multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural team unified in a collective vision to deliver digital experiences with a human touch.

WDG partners with major clients to help fulfill key strategic initiatives. Recent work includes Treliant, National Association of Manufacturers, United States Institute of Peace, and American Red Cross.

Though a Silver Agency Partner, WDG is a golden example of a responsive and quality team that strives for well-informed, practical, and bold delivery in all aspects of the digital experience. At the helm of each client’s digital experience is a holistic strategy WDG continuously refines until it is right.

“In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven society, clients seek more – not just faster or bigger. They are looking to connect with creative agencies on a far deeper level. The agency world is no longer a transactional business but a partnership model.

This is not only true with our clients but with WordPress, and WordPress VIP. It’s a true partnership to successfully deliver flexible and scalable solutions to all our clients.”

– WDG CEO Ab Emam

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

Umbrella IT named a Silver agency partner

Today we welcome Umbrella IT to the WordPress VIP Featured Agency Partner program. Umbrella IT (UIT) is one of only 30 partners in this prestigious group and the first (and only) agency hailing from the Commonwealth of Independent States. 

Umbrella IT is a global IT market player focused on the media, retail and fintech industries undergoing rapid digital transformation. Founded in 2009, UIT provides award-winning web and mobile development and IT consulting for clients in 18 countries.

UIT offers both consulting services and hands-on assistance selecting the best possible solutions to bring a client’s vision to life. For over 10 years, clients have chosen UIT to be sure to get a partner who is able to cover any IT product development functions within their industry.

A crucial part of UIT’s approach is to work extremely closely with every client, often augmenting client teams when necessary. And in addition to the traditional crew of developers, QA professionals, and designers that guide each project through its various stages of development, UIT also bring in their technical and business supervisors to help clients quickly and efficiently develop their initial ideas into a final product.

Today belongs to those who are the first. In IT’s race against time, It’s necessary to respond faster than competitors. That’s why Umbrella IT focuses on a high speed of business development based on a weekly number of thoroughly tested hypotheses.

Partnering with global leaders like WordPress VIP will increase our competitive edge and help us bring exceptional products to market for clients within every industry.”

– Stanislav Meshkov, CEO of UIT

For more information about Umbrella IT’s partnership with WordPress VIP, please visit https://wpvip.com/partners/agency-partners/umbrella-it

How AccuWeather leverages decoupled WordPress

 

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

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

A small but mighty force

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

Conscious CMS decoupling

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

Watch Rachael’s talk to learn:

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

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

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

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/.

Evolving the Kaiser Family Foundation from Sitecore to WordPress VIP

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

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

— David Rousseau, Kaiser Family Foundation Vice President

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

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

Webinar recording: Upgrading to Gutenberg

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

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

That’s where this free webinar comes in.

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

In this webinar, you will:

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

Presenter: Cory Webb, Reaktiv Studios

Head shot of Corey Webb

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

Building a B2B membership product with WordPress

 

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.”

The scale and speed behind iOne Digital’s massive reach

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

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

— Grant Cerny, Chief Product Officer, iOne Digital

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

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

The anatomy of a WordPress core security update

As both a WordPress VIP Technical Account Manager and a Core Security Release Lead on the WordPress project, I have a rare glimpse into one of the most critical aspects of enterprise WordPress: security.

I spoke at BigWP SF this fall to share a behind-the-scenes look at one small slice of what it takes to make WordPress a secure platform for 35% of the internet.

In this talk, I cover:

  • Who is in charge of safeguarding WordPress
  • How the team uses HackerOne to identify, disclose, and address vulnerabilities
  • What the security release process looks like from the inside
  • How people can contribute to keeping WordPress secure

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress event series. It brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day. Find all of the talks in the BigWP SF November 2019 playlist.

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/

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

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

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

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

Pattern recognition

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

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

Converting the decoupled doubters

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

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

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

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

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

Defining PMC’s digital playbook

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

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

—Gabriel Koen, Penske Media Corporation

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

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

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!

Updating the Apple News plugin to be Gutenberg native

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

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

All things considered

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

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

Rethinking the metabox

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— David Parsons, Software engineer, USA TODAY

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

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

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