Why It’s Time for Agencies to Fully Embrace WordPress for Client Work

Despite the high profile success of companies such as 10up, some agencies are still reluctant to fully commit to WordPress as a solution for clients. The platform’s roots as a blogging engine (and small business CMS) still leave many doubting whether it’s the right technology to build an entire project or team around.

While historical doubts about WordPress in an agency environment were not without justification, the software is more than ready to rise to the challenge these days — and an increasingly impressive number of top-flight agencies have moved large parts of their development efforts over to it.

In this piece, we’ll run through the main reasons why now is an excellent time for agencies to fully embrace WordPress – and why they should put the platform at the center of their future client projects.

Before we get going, though, let’s have a quick word about the changing nature of agencies themselves.

The Agency Model Is Evolving

Oliver Lindberg’s recent piece on the death of the web design agency may have slightly oversold its premise in the title, but it raised a number of important points that modern web development agencies simply can’t ignore. As a robust follow-up debate on Hacker News emphasized, traditional design agencies are under threat from all fronts.

At the lower end of the value chain, the increasing sophistication of solutions such as WordPress and Squarespace provide formerly high-priced functionality at a fraction of the cost. At the top end of the scale, many of the larger corporate clients that agencies have typically relied on are moving projects in-house.

Oliver Lindberg white paper

A recent white paper from Oliver Lindberg shows traditional clients bringing work in-house.

In this type of environment, agencies are having to fight harder than ever to stay afloat and carve out valuable positions for themselves. As Moove Agency’s recent WordCamp London talk highlighted, there’s a real need for agencies of all sizes to stay as nimble and agile as possible. Leveraging the inbuilt advantages of a platform such as WordPress enables them to apportion their resources for individual projects where it really matters.

WordPress Is Proven to Work in an Agency Context

Before we step through some of the more obvious advantages that WordPress brings to the table, it’s worth briefly pointing out the success it’s already had with blue-chip agencies worldwide. There are a number of innovative agencies, such as 10up, Human Made, Alley Interactive, Crowd Favorite, and more who’ve put WordPress at the very heart of their work.

Dig through their respective portfolios, and you’ll see that WordPress is already more than pulling its weight as a technical solution for complex agency projects around the world.

WordPress Fits Snugly Into Modern Development Workflows

Though WordPress has attracted criticism for both the quality of its code and various security issues over the years, the reality today is that it excels on both counts. As one of the highest profile open-source projects in the world, WordPress has benefited from having many eyes on its core code over the last ten years, and the platform’s overall security has never been better. Put it this way: if it’s good enough for NASA and Wired on both counts, it’s probably good enough for your agency.

WordPress also fits snugly into modern development and deployment workflows. The software plays nicely with version control, and as evidenced by projects such as VCCW, is easily integrated into all the latest hotness from the world of DevOps.

VCCW logo

The tooling around WordPress in projects such as VCCW is increasingly sophisticated.

When it comes to actually launching projects, the LAMP and LEMP stacks that WordPress traditionally slots into are well understood at this stage, battle-tested, and proven to scale beautifully. If you’re running your own servers, there’s nothing there to give experienced developers or system administrators the heebie-jeebies. Also, you’ve always got the option of running with any one of several excellent specialist WordPress hosting providers that have sprung up over the last five years.

To sum up, from prototyping to eventual build, you’ll find that WordPress enables your development team to iterate effectively, and deliver client solutions quickly.

You’re Not Constantly Reinventing the Wheel With WordPress

Whether you’re considering it in terms of internal wages or billable hours to clients, top-notch design and development talent doesn’t come cheap these days. One of the key advantages of building projects around WordPress is the day-to-day design and development requirements that have already been solved via the plugin and theming markets.

Rather than burning through hours building expensive custom solutions for clients, with WordPress you have an enormous array of modular, off-the-shelf solutions at your fingertips. The size of the overall market also means that leading theme and plugin solutions are professionally developed, commercially viable, and can be relied on over the long haul.

On the back end, you’ll benefit from an admin interface that’s proven itself from a UI point of view across countless sites worldwide, and is relatively simple to customize for clients, should you need to.

As an agency, all of these are huge plus points. You can go into a project with the confidence of knowing you can knock off low hanging fruit with ease, and still have plenty of room for creating custom solutions in a modular manner.

Hiring for WordPress Is Straightforward

Hiring is a crucial consideration for every business – but nowhere more so than in an agency environment, where the quality of your team will be constantly and publicly put to the test.

Whether you’re looking to consolidate your core development team or scale up quickly for one-off projects, there’s an incredibly wide pool of WordPress talent out there capable of working both on-site and remotely. Sites such as Stack Overflow, Toptal, and Codeable make it easier than ever to find the right fit for your team or project.

Codeable's founders, Tomaž Zaman and Per Esbensen

Marketplaces such as Codeable are making it easier than ever to find great WordPress talent.

The underlying language of PHP is popular and stable, the platform itself is tried and trusted, and even developers without extensive previous experience can quickly get up to speed. Put it all together, and you’ve got an environment that’s relatively easy to hire for across the board.

The Next Generation of WordPress Is Built to Integrate With a Wider World

The journey of the REST API has been a somewhat slow and painful one to date, but the implications of its eventual arrival are genuinely huge. The transformation of WordPress into a significantly more powerful application framework is particularly good news for agencies, as it opens the door to much easier integration with existing client systems.

A fully functioning REST API will give agencies the security of knowing they’ve got rock solid functionality that seamlessly integrates into everything – from legacy systems to the latest generation of mobile and wearable apps. The API-driven interfaces highlighted by Matt Mullenweg in his most recent State of the Word address are just the tip of the iceberg here, and we can expect to see much more innovation being unleashed in the near future.

Conclusion

WordPress has emerged as a truly multipurpose framework for projects of all sizes – over the last three years in particular – and has caught the eye of agencies worldwide. As a piece of core technology to base your business around, it’s hard to beat.

Let’s recap the reasons why:

  1. It has already been battle-tested by innovative agencies, such as 10up and Human Made.
  2. It fits in beautifully with established modern development workflows.
  3. It offers a huge range of preexisting modular design and development solutions for you to leverage.
  4. It’s an easy platform to hire for.
  5. The flexibility promised by the REST API means it’s a safe, multipurpose bet for the future.

Are you convinced that WordPress is ready for the big time with agencies, or are you still on the fence? Get in touch via the comments section below and share your thoughts!

Featured image: Geralt.

Tom Ewer

Tom Ewer is the founder of Leaving Work Behind and WordCandy. He has been obsessed with WordPress since he first laid eyes on it, and has been writing educational and informative content for WordPress users since 2011. When he’s not running his businesses, you’re likely to find him outdoors somewhere – as far away from a screen as possible!

The post Why It’s Time for Agencies to Fully Embrace WordPress for Client Work appeared first on Torque.

SEO copywriting checklist

Writing high-quality content which ranks in the search engines is a daunting job! And when is it a job well done? In this post, I want to present an SEO copywriting checklist with some quick checks you should definitely do before you publish your article.

First do the hard work!

Before you can use this SEO copywriting checklist, you should have done a lot of work already. You should have done your keyword research, decided upon the exact topic and set up the structure of your article. All before the actual writing begins. Nobody said SEO copywriting was easy. In order to write awesome articles that will rank, you should definitely read SEO copywriting: the ultimate guide.

And then check:

Lots of checks you should do to make sure your text is SEO-friendly are covered in the content analysis of our Yoast SEO plugin. That’s a checklist in itself. But besides that, you should definitely check the other 7 questions of the SEO copywriting checklist below. Did you really think of everything? Time to hit the publish button!

1. Is your bullet green?

You should have an overall green bullet in the content analysis of Yoast SEO. Check whether or not you can improve upon the orange or red bullets (without making any concessions to the quality of your article).

2. Is the main topic of your article clear?

When scanning through the text, the topic of your article should be instantly clear to your audience. Make sure your subheadings fit the topic of your post. Also, check those first sentences of every paragraph. Ideally, these core sentences should cover the topic of each paragraph.

Read more: ‘Why text structure is important for SEO’ »

3. Are there any lengthy paragraphs?

Most people don’t like to read long pieces of text. Check whether you can shorten those lengthy paragraphs. Five or six sentences per paragraph is ideal.

4. Have you added internal links?

Before publishing your article, think about linking to similar articles. Maybe you have a cornerstone content article on a similar topic. Make sure that you’ll link to that article. Perhaps your new article is the best one you have written in a long time. In that case, make sure to add some links to this new piece in your previous articles.

Keep reading: ‘How to incorporate cornerstone content’ »

5. Is your call to action clear?

What do you want people to do after they’ve read your article? Do you want them to buy something? Do you want them to read another article? Make sure your call to action is clear and that people will be able to click from your article to other places on your website.

6. Could you optimize for multiple keywords?

You’ve probably thought about which keyword you would like to rank for with the article you’ve written. If your article is lengthy, you might be able to rank with more than one keyword.

Read on: ‘Why should you use multiple focus keywords?’ »

7. Do you use transition words?

A text can be made much more readable with the use of proper transition words (or signal words, same thing). Transition words are words like ‘most important’, ‘because’, ‘thus’, or ‘besides that’. They give direction to your readers. Make sure every paragraph has some of these transition words.

Read more: ‘5 tips to improve readability’ »

8. Did you choose the right category and tag?

By choosing the correct category and tag for your article you clarify your site’s structure to the search engines. This way, they’re able to understand much better what your site’s about. Apart from that, it will also help visitors on your site to find this article, or related articles.

Keep reading: ‘Using category and tag pages for SEO’ »

Conclusion

Writing articles that’ll rank in the search engines is something we like to help you with! We are currently working on making sure that some of the checks in this SEO copywriting checklist will be incorporated in the content analysis of Yoast SEO. That’ll make SEO copywriting a little easier. Want more help? Make sure to check out our SEO copywriting training. 

 

Free Divi Font Combination Layout Pack: 1 Beautiful Layout Design, 10 Ideal Font Pairings

Welcome to Day 9 of our Divi 100 Marathon. Keep tuning in for 100 days in a row of awesome Divi resources as we count down to the amazing release of Divi 3.0 on the final day of the series!


divi-font-combination-layout-pack-mockup

With the Divi portability system’s ability to encode images and import/export complete layouts in a matter of seconds, it may be easy to forget that focusing on other pre-configured settings–such as font settings–can provide an incredible amount of design value. That’s why in today’s post we’re giving away a unique kind of layout pack. One that focuses on making the best font pairings possible with Divi’s font selection instantly available via the Divi Library.

This layout pack consists of one beautiful new page design rendered in ten different font pairing variations. Each font combination layout provides a style guide for how that font pairing should be used both on the page you’re building and site-wide via the customizer settings in Theme Customizer > General Settings > Typography as well as anywhere else you need to configure font settings.

Downloading & Using The Layout Pack

First, use the button below to download the layout pack. Then, locate the zipped file in your downloads folder and unzip it.

Next, navigate in your WordPress admin to Divi > Divi Library and click the “Import & Export” button at the top of the page.

When the portability modal pops up, go to the import tab. Click “Choose File” and either select the All.json file to import all of the layouts at once or an individual font combination file if you’d like to upload only the ones you’re interested in one at a time.

When you’ve made your selection, click the “Import Divi Builder Layouts Button” and wait for the upload to complete.

The layouts you’ve just imported will now be available on every page (new or existing) via the Divi Builder when you go to Load From Library > Add From Library.

Download The Layout Pack

All photos courtesy of the generous authors on Unsplash.com via the Unsplash License. Layout Packs are released under the GPL, which means you can use them for free for both person and commercial projects! By using ElegantThemes.com and our products you agree to our Terms of Service.

10 Beautiful Divi Font Combinations

The first layout you see below will be called Font Combination #00 in your Divi Library after you have imported the layout pack above. This is the only layout of the ten provided that will have an image included. It’s intended to show you the potential of these font combinations and the elevated sense of style they can bring to more “finished” content.

divi-font-combination-layout-pack-full-layout

Font Combination #00, Playfair Display + Source Sans Pro

All of the other layouts, named “Font Combination” #01-09, are previewed below. Just as with any layout you can use these to jumpstart your design process while also using them as a style guide for how best to configure Divi’s font settings across your entire website.

divi-font-combination-layout-pack-01

Font Combination #01, Roboto Slab + Roboto

divi-font-combination-layout-pack-02

Font Combination #02, PT Serif + PT Sans

divi-font-combination-layout-pack-03

Font Combination #03, Lato + Lora

divi-font-combination-layout-pack-04

Font Combination #04, Montserrat + Crismon Text

divi-font-combination-layout-pack-05

Font Combination #05, Nunito + Lora

divi-font-combination-layout-pack-06

Font Combination #06, Droid Sans + Droid Serif

divi-font-combination-layout-pack-07

Font Combination #07, Lora + Source Sans Prof

divi-font-combination-layout-pack-08

Font Combination #08, Playfair Display + Open Sans

divi-font-combination-layout-pack-09

Font Combination #09, PT Sans + Open Sans

Get A New (FREE) Layout Pack Every Monday & Wednesday During Divi 100!

Our vision for the ideal user experience is that when you install Divi and use its accompanying resources you will be able to quickly and easily create a beautifully designed website no matter how technically advanced you are.

One of the best ways to facilitate that process is to provide a large number of pre-designed Divi Layouts that anyone can use for any reason–personal or commercial. That’s why every Monday and Wednesday during the Divi 100 series we will be giving away a new, professionally designed, Divi layout pack.

Be sure to subscribe to our email newsletter and YouTube channel so that you never miss a freebie!

divi-2-6-logo

Divi 100 Day 9

The Countdown To Divi 3.0

This post is part of our Divi 100 marathon. Follow along as we post free Divi resources for 100 days in a row! This 100-day countdown will end with the game-changing release of Divi 3.0, including our brand new visual editor built from the ground up using React. Divi 3.0 will change the way you build websites with the Divi Builder forever!
Let the countdown begin.

Learn More About Divi 3.0

The post Free Divi Font Combination Layout Pack: 1 Beautiful Layout Design, 10 Ideal Font Pairings appeared first on Elegant Themes Blog.

How to Setup Email Notifications for WordPress Updates

Keeping your WordPress site up to date is crucial for security. Recently one of our readers asked if it was possible to get email notifications for WordPress updates. By default, WordPress only shows you update notifications when you login to the admin area. In this article, we will show you how to setup email notifications for WordPress updates.

Email notifications for WordPress updates

Why and When You Need Email Notifications for WordPress Updates?

WordPress only shows you update notifications when you log into your WordPress admin area. Updates are highlighted for plugin and core updates. Theme updates are only visible on the Themes page or on the Updates page.

If you have a WordPress site, and you don’t login regularly, then you wouldn’t know when there is an update available to be installed.

WordPress Updates

One way to deal with this is by setting up automatic updates for WordPress core, plugins, and themes. It will allow your WordPress site to manage updates automatically.

Another way to manage updates is by setting up an email notification system for updates. Each time there is an update to WordPress core, plugin, or themes, you will get an email alert. You can then login to your website and install the update.

Having said that, let’s take a look at how to easily setup email notifications for WordPress updates.

Setting up Email Notifications for WordPress Updates

First thing you need to do is install and activate WP Updates Notifier plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Updates Notifier page to configure plugin settings.

Updates Notifier settings

First you need to select cron method. By default, it is set to WordPress, and you don’t need to change that unless you know what you are doing.

Next, you need to select how often you want to check for updates. The default is set for once every hour, but you can change that to once or twice a day.

After that enter the email addresses you want to be notified. By default, the plugin will show the email address used in your WordPress settings. You can change it to a different address or add multiple email addresses separated by a comma.

WP Updates Notifier can also notify you about plugin and theme updates. Simply check Yes next to the plugin and theme update notifications.

Once you are done, click on the ‘Save settings with test email’ button to store your changes. The plugin will store your settings and send you a test email.

If you are having trouble receiving the email, then checkout our guide on how to fix WordPress not sending email issue.

That’s all.

We hope this article helped you setup email notifications for WordPress updates. You may also want to check out our guide on keeping your WordPress content safe with BackupBuddy.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Setup Email Notifications for WordPress Updates appeared first on WPBeginner.

Ultimate Membership Pro Review – Create a Paid Membership Site

Offering paid membership content is an excellent way to generate revenue from your WordPress site. Unfortunately, in its out-of-the-box configuration, WordPress doesn’t have very many capabilities to make this happen. You need to turn to a third-party plugin to set up a fully functioning membership site.
Enter the Ultimate Membership Pro (UMP) WordPress plugin.
Ultimate Membership

The post Ultimate Membership Pro Review – Create a Paid Membership Site appeared first on WPLift.

Pagination not working on category archives using WPML [and solution]

One of our sites has the permalinks set up with: /%category%/%postname%/

This worked fine when the site was in English. But then we had to create a Hebrew mirror site and used WPML(aff), which we have a love/hate relationship with.

And then we noticed that the pagination on category archives wasn’t working properly on the Hebrew (secondary) site. When you’d navigate to http://bit.ly/1rcOpyX the page said “Sorry, not found”. Not great.

After some searching, I found the No Category Base plugin built for WPML.

And voila! that almost solved the problem. Pagination was working again.

BUT.

Every time there was a plugin or WordPress upgrade, most of the links on the site broke.

We’d see a browser error that said: “oursite.com page isn’t working.  oursite.com redirected you too many times.”

After re-saving the permalink structure, the site would work again, but this didn’t seem like a very good solution, to say the least.

Turns out that there’s a conflict with the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin which we love. In the Yoast plugin under Advanced Settings > Permalinks , the Change URLs needs to be “Keep”, since removing the category base is handled by the No Category Base plugin.

yoastsettings

 

Hope this helps someone ?

This post was originally published at Pagination not working on category archives using WPML [and solution] on WP GarageWP Garage – WordPress tricks, hacks, and tips.

Postmatic 2 Features Email Digests, Comment Intelligence, and Zapier Integration

The Postmatic team has announced that version two of its plugin is available for download. This release contains a number of new features including digests, comment intelligence, service integration support, new email templates, and more.

Comment Intelligence

Instead of sending emails for every comment, Comment Intelligence analyzes the comment’s content and sends an email if it matches a high level of relevance to the article. This prevents comments such as +1 or Nice Post from generating emails to subscribers. In order to take advantage of this feature, users need to install and activate the Elevated Comments plugin.

Comment Intelligence Setting
Comment Intelligence Setting

Elevated Comments can also display the best comment within the article as a pull quote. Some of the metrics used to analyze comments are:

  • Readability
  • Relevance to the post
  • Number of words
  • Reading level

To learn more on how this particular feature works, visit the Elevated Comments home page.

Email Digests

Digests are a great way to keep subscribers updated, especially on sites that publish multiple times per day. In Postmatic 2, users can configure their layout using five different templates and choose when to send them. Below is an example of what a digest of the Tavern looks like using the modern template.

WP Tavern Digest Email
WP Tavern Digest Email

Integration Support for Zapier

Postmatic 2 supports OptinMonster out-of-the-box and can be integrated with Zapier using webhooks. Zapier is a collection of more than 500 application and service APIs. This enables site owners to trigger events with a service or application based on subscribe and unsubscribe actions.

The Postmatic Journey So Far

Postmatic has come a long way since its launch in 2015. Jason Lemieux, founder of Postmatic, explains the original idea behind the service.

We launched Postmatic a year ago with the idea that if we push content to users and make it as easy as possible for them to engage with it, that they would. People love to talk. They love to share ideas. But we’re all on the go all the time. If the users don’t come to WordPress, we figured we’d get WordPress to the users. That happens via the most widely-used open communication standard on the internet: email. Everyone has it, and nobody owns it. And it worked.

The service continues to grow as more than 170K active users are sending and receiving comments through its system. One of the areas Lemieux and his team are focused on is scaling, “Now we are scaling the product to be a fit for sites with upwards of 1,000 comments per post and 30 or so posts per day,” Lemieux said.

“The servers will take care of the traffic. Machine learning is handling processing the comments to decide what is worth sending, what is not, and how to send no more than 3 emails per day per user.” In a guest post published on iThemes.com, Lemieux goes into detail on re-imagining conversations in WordPress.

Users can check out Postmatic 2 and try out its new features by downloading it from the plugin directory. To learn more about the company and the people behind it, listen to episode 207 of WordPress Weekly. Are you using Postmatic on your site? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments.

WordCamp Belfast Set for October 2016, Tickets Now on Sale

wordcamp-belfast

Earlier this year the organizers of WordPress meetup groups in Belfast and Dublin started collaborating on hosting WordCamps with a shared leadership team. The inaugural WordCamp Belfast is now set for October 1-2, 2016, and an event in Dublin is tentatively scheduled for April 2017.

belfast_wapuuThe conference will be held in the Peter Froggatt Centre at Queens University Belfast and will have a Game of Thrones theme, as Northern Ireland is host to more than a dozen filming locations for the show. A Wapuu of the North mascot and badges were designed for the event by 1440, a local WordPress agency, as part of the theme.

Mark Smallman, co-organizer of the WordPress Northern Ireland meetup, will be delivering a status update on the WordCamp at the regularly scheduled meeting tonight.

With the venue and branding well in hand, the team put out a call for sponsors and speakers last week. Tickets are now on sale and organizers are planning for 300 attendees. If you want to attend Northern Ireland’s first WordCamp, make sure to grab your ticket early before it sells out.

ButterBean Post Meta Box Framework Now in Beta

photo credit: School and community nutrition program in Madagascar - (license)
photo credit: School and community nutrition program in Madagascar(license)

Justin Tadlock announced this week that his new ButterBean post meta box framework is now in beta. The framework is object-oriented and built on Backbone.js and Underscore.js.

Although the WordPress development community has already produced several post meta frameworks, ButterBean was created for a very specific use case: custom post types with lots of custom meta.

“It’s designed specifically for situations where you have a lot of metadata attached to a post and need to present the fields in a usable manner without the user having to scroll all over the page to find the field they need,” Tadlock said. If you just need a handful of fields, ButterBean is not the solution.

“I’m fully aware of existing solutions like CMB2 and ACF,” Tadlock said on the framework’s description page. “I’m sure those are useful for some folks and will definitely have more features than ButterBean ever will. I just want something simple that I can drop into my own plugins.”

butterbean-example

The project grew out of Tadlock’s work on his Custom Content Portfolio plugin and his desire to learn a JavaScript framework. He modeled ButterBean after the WordPress Customize API but notes that the framework only uses Underscore.js templates as opposed to using PHP for output.

“Using JavaScript templates makes a lot more sense when you have advanced controls that need to render templates on the fly with updated data,” he said.

ButterBean is available as a standalone plugin but can also be dropped inside a plugin. Developers who want to test the beta and offer feedback can find basic documentation on the project’s homepage. The framework’s code is available on GitHub along with an example plugin.