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November 2017 WordPress News – Month in WordPress w/ wordpressupload

Postman SMTP Plugin With Unpatched Vulnerability Removed From Directory

While some plugins are revived and upgraded, others are removed. Postman SMTP was just deleted from WordPress.org at the beginning of October after being infected with an XSS vulnerability. The author was notified of the issue on June 29, but since no one responded or solved the problem, the WordPress team had no choice but to take it out of the directory.

How to organize a meetup successfully and start a new community

Starting a community around a topic of interest is not easy at all, but it’s not impossible. Many ambitious projects started in living rooms with friends and acquaintances, to subsequently turn into meetups and big events, respectively. You and your squad can do it too. Here’s ManageWP’s advice.

WordCamp Incubator Program Gears Up for Round 2

WordCamp Incubator is an experimental program aiming to expand WordPress culture to cities where it was never popular. The program reached its second round and has received 182 applications so far, which were narrowed to three entries: Denpasar (Bali), Harare (Zimbabwe), and Medellin (Colombia). The winner cities will get help from a sponsored volunteer staff to start organizing meetups and WordCamps in the near future.

DonateWC is Working to Send People to WordCamps

Staying in the WordCamps zone, DonateWC is another program aimed to help people who don’t have a great financial status to attend a big WordCamp. The project was founded by Ines van Essen from Automattic and is meant to use the global funds gathered from the community’s donations to pay the flight, accommodation, food, WordCamp ticket, and internet for those who submit the form.

Security Through Obscurity is Not Security At All

Is security through obscurity a worthy goal? David at WPShout argues that it’s not. Read his post for why that is.

The Value of Sponsoring a WordCamp (TranslatePress Perspective)

Why do people sponsor WordCamps? The guys at TranslatePress talk about the perks of investing in such causes and why your company should do that too. Read their post about their sponsorship adventure at WordCamp Bucharest, that took place in early October (and which part of our team attended).

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Best WordPress Translation Plugin? WPML vs Polylang vs Weglot vs TranslatePress

How you translate your content with TranslatePress

TranslatePress makes it easy to use all three translation styles.

When you first install the plugin, it will default to manual translation. But if you go into the settings, you can enable automatic translation via Google Translate (you will need a Google Translate API key to do this).

The automatic translate option will only translate strings that haven’t already been manually translated, which is a nice touch to avoid overwriting your manual work. And you’re also free to go in and manually edit these translations later on.

Finally, with the Translator Accounts add-on, you can also create dedicated translator accounts that can manage your site’s translations from the front-end.

The only notable exception is the lack of a direct integration with professional translation services like the other three plugins.

What is the main TranslatePress translation interface like?

TranslatePress has a pretty unique method for translating your site. It basically uses an interface that’s identical to the real-time WordPress Customizer.

To translate your content, you just hover over the desired string and click the Pencil icon. Then, you can enter your translation in the sidebar:

translate press interface

This interface isn’t limited to post content, either. You can also use it to edit theme strings, widgets, and more. For example, TranslatePress has no problem picking up content from the Hestia custom homepage feature:

translate press custom theme

How much of your content does TranslatePress let you translate?

TranslatePress’ goal is to let you translate everything on your page. That means:

  • Taxonomies
  • Menu items
  • Theme and plugin strings
  • Page builder content
  • Shortcode outputs
  • URL slugs
  • WooCommerce products
  • etc.

I ran it through another test using a page that I built with Elementor and again had no issues translating my content:

translatepress elementor

Does TranslatePress create SEO friendly translated content?

Like the other three plugins, TranslatePress creates SEO-friendly translated content, though you’ll need the SEO Pack Addon to do everything perfectly.

Like Weglot, TranslatePress only seems to give you the option to use subfolders for languages. Again – not a big deal, but something to consider if you prefer subdomains.

Like the others (again!), TranslatePress automatically changes the menu and widget links to create a fully crawlable version of your translated site. There’s also an option to force rewrite in-content links to go to their respective language automatically, which is something you have to do manually with WPML/Polylang.

And with the SEO Pack Addon, you’re able to translate:

  • URL slugs
  • Page title and description
  • Image alt text
  • Facebook Open Graph tags

For example, with the SEO Pack Addon installed, you’re able to translate the page title that you set with something like Yoast SEO:

translatepress yoast seo

How much does TranslatePress cost?

The core TranslatePress plugin is free and listed at WordPress.org.

To get access to the SEO Pack Addon and more, there are also three paid plans starting at $79:

translatepress pricing

Which WordPress translation plugin is right for you?

These plugins are all popular and well-respected, so rather than trying to recommend a specific WordPress translation plugin, I’m just going to lay things out on a spectrum.

Which is right for you? I don’t think I can answer that. Translation is a very site-specific thing, so you’ll need to consider the nitty-gritty details of each plugin. But at this point, I hope you have enough knowledge to pick the best WordPress translation plugin for your specific situation.

Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%:

Layout and presentation by Karol K.

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12 of the Best Tech Newsletters to Subscribe to in 2019

Best Tech Newsletters

Searching for the best tech newsletters to subscribe to in 2019? The pace of technological development can make it very hard to stay up to date (as well as time-consuming). Throw in the tremendous amounts of great content produced every day, and you can really struggle to keep abreast of everything. That’s why the curated newsletter is making a comeback and is so popular now!

The concept itself is pretty simple – curated newsletters are just emails that contain a selection of popular, interesting or noteworthy content. Many of the best tech newsletters out there will help you separate the wheat from the chaff while also saving you some precious hours (immediately cutting down your search and scan time).

With that in mind, we have compiled the following list of the 11 best tech newsletters (and web culture newsletters) around. The topics covered in them range from A.I., to the death of blogging (again!). Some of the newsletters provide roundups, whereas others go in-depth on particular subjects. One notable example even takes you outside the Valley bubble to see what is happening in tech in less represented areas of the globe.

Let’s check them out (no particular order):

The best tech newsletters to check out in 2019

bizzarodevs

Looking to stay cool without doing too much hard work? The Bizarro Devs newsletter is the answer. Curated with an interest in web culture and WordPress. The whole point of the newsletter is to find the coolest and (sometimes) obscure links to help you cheat your way to cool.

The vitals: Free. Published weekly. You will find a list of awesome links that were either missed by discerning tech lovers, or are about to explode.

Curated by the team at ThemeIsle (including me). We dive deeply into the web’s vast oceans to find cool links. There is no subject we won’t touch from Doge cryptocurrency to data visualizations of internet seconds (if you get to the end of the email visualization, you will earn a medal). This newsletter will help you earn the most Slack reactions in your office.

the download

As surprising as it may seem, the tech-sphere is inhabited by much more than WordPress blogs about parenting, or social media, or Bitcoin. Fortunately, The Download from MIT’s technology review can provide tremendous insight into the emerging tech world. The tagline is literally “what’s up in emerging technology?”

The vitals: Free. Delivered daily. Includes a roundup of how emerging technologies are being implemented in the wild.

Curated by the innovative MIT Technology Review team to provide up-to-date information on the world of emerging technology. As a result, you will get different stories to those appearing on the website with links from academia and news outlets.

If you would like to be at the bleeding edge of technology then this is the best newsletter you can find. It promises to give you the “what’s up in emerging technology.”

tedium

The Tedium is the first newsletter on this list that stretches both the notion of curated and technology. It doesn’t provide a roundup of links from around the web, but instead finds an obscure story and dives deeply into it. The stories are centered around the web and digital culture, but they take a longer view with articles on NES cartridges and disc rot.

The vitals: Free. Delivered twice a week. In-depth look at one story rather than a collection of links.

Curated by Ernie Smith formally of ShortFormBlog to create a record of interesting stories that get lost in the information avalanche. Ernie is something of a web culture archaeologist with a knack for turning up stories that might otherwise be forgotten. There’s also a great article on the decline of blogging (spoiler alert: it does say that blogging is dead … again).

exponentialview

Another one on our list of the best tech newsletters, the Exponential View is a curated newsletter focused specifically on exponential technologies. As a result, you will find a ton of information here on the future and how it is being shaped. Following a standard curated format with lists of links pulled from universities as well as news outlets, it presents a synopsis to make everything that little bit easier. Plus there’s emojis.

The vitals: Free and paid versions. Weekly. You are going to find information on the game changing technologies from the near future, but also the best stories from the worlds of A.I., cryptocurrency, and future media to name a few.

Curated by Azeem Azhar from the Harvard Business Review’s editorial board. An investor in tech startups with a particular interest in A.I. It comes with a nice side of humor, and one of my favorite sections is “Short Morsels to Appear Smart at Dinner Parties.”

Benedict

While emojis are not the most important part of a newsletter, they add some sparkle nevertheless. This newsletter also has the personal touch of Ben Evans from VC firm Andreeson Horowitz. Furthermore, this is the most oft-cited tech newsletter doing the rounds.

The vitals: Free. Weekly (on Sundays). A great collection of news sources and blog articles that Ben found interesting.

Curated by Ben Evans. For one thing, it has a pretty tight focus on technology and emerging changes, but it remains broad in terms of subjects. A large roundup of the best stuff you will read about tech from social media to iOS stuff.

best tech newsletters #1: wpmail

Included here for the simple reason that we’re WordPress folks at heart. With this in mind, we introduce wpMail.me as arguably the best WordPress newsletter available at the moment.

The vitals: Free. Delivered weekly. Includes a roundup of important WordPress news and articles.

Curated by Cozmoslabs to provide a one-stop WordPress weekly digest. Does what it says on the tin and more. Aside from news and articles, there are great sections on themes, the best tutorials, and a roundup of the most interesting podcasts and videos floating around the WordPress world.

A must for WordPress lovers.

datainnovation

The best tech newsletters tend to have clever names. But it’s not only about the name … the information in the Center for Data Innovation newsletter is pretty incredible. Particularly for those of you who have a strong interest in all facets of data.

The vitals: Free. Weekly. With a focus on data and related information, you will find an amazing amount of information about technology here.

Curated by The Center for Data Innovation. Each week, their newsletter summarizes the most important data-related news, features original articles and interviews with global experts, and showcases some of the most interesting data sets, data visualizations, and books available.

TLDR is a tech newsletter with interesting stories in small portions
This is an essential newsletter for tech lovers. Furthermore, it is one of the best tech newsletters that is on my must-open list. Not only is the newsletter easy to read, but it is also coupled with an incredible list of news, tools, and cutting-edge tech links. All links come with a TLDR for when you’re just too busy for the long reads. The vitals: Free. Daily. A wide list of links from startups to tools and productivity. “Byte-sized” versions of the most important stories to keep you in the loop.

Great if you’re looking for a quick way to follow all of the daily news without getting bogged down. Every daily newsletter should be set up like this because it gives you the gist of the latest developments without sacrificing too many details.

Import AI

A.I. is arguably the dominant emerging tech topic at the present time, so, for this reason, we have another newsletter with a strong A.I. focus. This is because we all know that the next rulers of the earth will be A.I. So subscribe to this one and stay ahead of the game.

The vitals: Free. Weekly. With all the industry’s latest research, chatter and news.

Curated by Jack Clark formally of ZDNet, The Register, and Bloomberg (now over at House of Elon’s OpenAI).

sidebar

One of the things we expect from the best tech newsletters is to help us find cool new things to play with, and this is where Sidebar.io comes into the picture. Web designers couldn’t find a better or more succinct newsletter. Although there can be an occasional link outside the main focus, this newsletter is primarily interesting to UI designers, CSSers, typographers and so on.

The vitals: Free. Daily. Just five of the best links regarding web design.

Curated by Sacha Greif with help from users. I like the fact that you can easily submit links for consideration. You will love that it is short – Sidebar.io includes just five links per day. As a result, this is a nice newsletter with a great user-centered approach. You will find cool new apps, articles, and resources about UI design, typography, CSS, user research, and all the other facets of design.

masterwp

Another very special newsletter concerning all things WordPress. Master WP started in 2017 and it’s released only around 50 issues so far. That traction tho… WordPress lovers need to jump on this one in order to stay current but also to get insights from outside the WordPress bubble.

The vitals: Free. Weekly. Five links with a synopsis from the curators.

Curated by WordPress professionals Alex Denning and Ben Gillbanks. Each issue provides a tight, neat synopsis of five links. I like the article synopsis because it complements my laziness. I feel I still got a taste of something great. Not only will you receive the biggest WordPress news but you will also receive stories about new apps, emerging websites and more. An incredible amount of diversity in just five links.

othervalleys

This is one of the best tech newsletters around that expands your horizons in many ways. Other Valleys is all about the world outside of Silicon Valley, where incredible entrepreneurial businesses and creative projects thrive despite not being in the spotlight.

The vitals: Free. Weekly. Great stories supported by links.

Curated by Anjali Ramachandran into a list of links with detailed synopses to illustrate the burgeoning tech scene outside the usual ecosystem. Great focus on India and the Asian continent, but also contains stories of innovation from across Africa and Europe. In like manner, it also has an incredible focus on women in tech.

So that’s my list of the best tech newsletters to subscribe to in 2019. They do pretty much cover every aspect of the tech sector, and still give you plenty of time for an extra coffee.

Have I missed any that you love? Please drop names and links in the comments so I can check them out.

Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%:

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15+ Excellent Productivity Tools for Designers and WordPress Users in 2019

Trello is a team collaboration tool that allows you to organize projects easily. To quote our editor here at wordpressupload: “In case you haven’t used Trello before, let me just assure you that there’s basically no learning curve at all, and everything is really intuitive.” Right he is.

Trello allows you to organize anything with the help of lists, cards and boards. Users can add comments, interact with other team members and see the state of projects at a glance. Plus, it’s free, so there really is no argument not to try it out.

Editor’s note. Here at wordpressupload, we use Trello to manage all of our content-creation efforts. Each post or resource gets its own Trello card, and then all discussion happens under that card. The best part is that multiple people can interact simultaneously. Plus, Trello allows you to upload media and files to accompany your card. Awesome stuff, and no accident it is this high on our list of top productivity tools for designers!

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Transparency Report #37 – How We Built, Launched and Promoted Our Latest Project

Welcome to the 37th edition of the monthly transparency report (for February 2018). In this series, I do my best to share everything that’s been going on at wordpressupload and ThemeIsle – from a business point of view. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Click here to see the previous reports.

After publishing the previous transparency report, I realized that the past couple of reports lacked specific insights and raw marketing numbers, mainly because this hasn’t been my focus for a while. This month, however, I finally have a lot of goodies to share in that department!

1. How we built, launched and promoted our latest side project 🚀

Last month, we released our latest project out of beta and into the wild! Domain Wheel is our smart and efficient domain name generator. It works fast and has a slick UI.

domainwheel

Here’s why we decided that creating it was a good idea, what makes it so cool and why you should check it out:

More than a year ago, we featured a post on the ThemeIsle blog listing the top blog name generators in the market. In few months after that, it became the most popular post on the blog. Looking through some ahrefs data, I saw that the main keyword had a decent CPC, which meant that the niche is valuable. However, looking at the solutions existing at the time, most of them were quite bad – both in terms of results and UX.

Me being me, and without having any time to explore new ventures on my own, I proposed the idea for our next hackathon. The rest is history, as they say.

But why did it seem like a valuable enough idea to pursue anyway?

Let me tell you a quick story:

A while back, we wrote (and then rewrote) a post for our ThemeIsle blog teaching people how to build their own blog from start to finish. That post has quickly become one of the most popular posts on the blog, so we’ve been trying to keep it on top ever since.

In the last month alone, we spent a few thousands of dollars on Facebook ads alone to bring more people in to see it. However, similarly to the themes and hosting niches, reaching your ideal target audience proves to be rather hard, and that’s even despite having a 1M+ Facebook audience in our retargeting lists.

If you’re still following me here, you might be starting to realize why Domain Wheel is so important from a strategic perspective. It’s basically the same reason why companies like Google and Facebook are so interested in “helping” less developed countries get online. Or, on our local WordPress scale, why WordPress.org is such an important asset for Automattic.

Competition and user acquisition costs keep growing all the time, and especially if you’re big enough already. Acquiring new users is close to impossible, thus going back to the beginning of the funnel makes a lot of sense. In our case, that beginning is reaching people who have just an idea for a website, no domain, no hosting, no knowledge of WordPress necessarily.

So with time, if you help those people right from the very beginning of their journey, you might be able to cash in on it later down the line.

At first, we launched a pretty basic version of Domain Wheel as a result of the hackathon. But then, Andrei and Marius put in another week of work into it, leading to the open launch.

It was time for promotion!

My approach was simple:

Since I knew most of the people who rank for the keywords relevant to the topic, I pitched them our newly launched tool.

But the key here is in how I did it.

I think I wrote about a similar concept when I talked about Revive Network a while back. Basically, I believe that it’s better to help another business out in other way than just by giving them money in exchange for what you want them to do for you. In our case, through the work that we do across all of our blogs, we send quite a bit of traffic to other businesses. We do this for free in most cases, since we monetize the blogs in very narrow areas.

Now, because of all that traffic that we send to other people, it makes my outreach much more effective when I go out door to door asking for favors.

Most certainly, it’s much easier now than it was when we first got started.

So the lesson here is this: before reaching out to somebody asking for help, or for a bit of their time, think what you can give back or how you can help. You might not have money, but that’s okay, there are plenty of ways to help. And I’m not talking about things like “I help you, you help me.” What I mean is helping people genuinely without expecting anything in return.

For example, are you a developer trying to pitch us your product so that we’d review it on our blog (I know there’s at least a handful of you out there)? First take a look at our GitHub profile, the open source work that we do, and raise an issue, do a small code review, fix something, I don’t know, DO SOMETHING before emailing me out of the blue asking for help.

Again, this is how we have been doing things, and it really works!

Anyway, back on topic. We didn’t only promote Domain Wheel via direct outreach. I also follow various “tech news” communities online so I knew this type of project would be interesting for people at ProductHunt, DesignerNews, or HackerNews. So we submitted Domain Wheel and it got us few more thousands of visitors and great feedback.

After the initial launch period, the project has entered pretty much a learning phase where we try to figure out who the audience is exactly, get feedback, understand the monetization potential better, and so on. All this will help us get a better idea on how much work we can realistically invest going further. Will keep you posted. 👍

Again, in the grand scheme of things, and even for our company, such initiatives aren’t the next big thing. Same for my thinking behind it. I’m mostly trying to put this in context when it comes to user acquisition and how this can be tackled in the WordPress products market.

With all the great work that Chris has been doing over there, we’re seeing open rates at 60% and CTRs at 30%.

It might be a small initiative, but it’s a great way to let team members explore their interests and skills, while also building up new acquisition channels for the main business.

Despite my main task here being to keep the core business running, if one of our team members walks up to me and says they want to execute a genius idea of theirs, I feel that it’s my responsibility to at least help them get their first users. I guess I know how rewarding it is to see your work actually being used by other people and not thrown away or ignored.

2. How A/B testing and deep traffic analysis leads to engagement

Around a month ago, we did some small changes to the design of our blogs. Nothing drastic, no overall design change. Just small things like +2px on font size, different fonts overall, new line heights, etc. I assumed those would improve readability and engagement.

A week or two later, I looked at the results… To my surprise – not much changed at all. Whether this was a good or bad direction wasn’t immediately apparent. But later on, I split the stats by device and immediately realized that our mobile engagement went down 50-100%. (One of the ways to measure engagement is to look at the percentage of people who follow an external link when only design changes.)

Time for another round of updates … this time only for mobile: -2px on font size, lower margins and paragraph padding…

Engagement went up by 100%.

My thoughts on this? We are a generation that discovered the internet mainly on big screens, desktops/laptops, and lots of us neglect mobile a lot. I would have never imagined that such a small change could make such a huge difference.

Even though that’s just one scenario, similar problems can pop up all the time if we’re not careful.

The main takeaway is that you should always split your analytics results by source of traffic, device and browser. For example, you might find that some seemingly underperforming product of yours isn’t actually underperforming at all. It’s just constantly being hit with a not relevant traffic source, which is muddying up the data.

It can be the same thing with a certain device or browser. For instance, if users of a certain browser tend not to convert as well, you might have a bug there.

Also try taking other stuff into consideration. For example, some lower converting countries might be using a certain browser or screen resolution that affects your data. In other words, there might not be any problem with the country itself.

3. The problems of a modern-day SEO

Google is both your no.1 friend and no.1 enemy. It’s the one friend who always has your back until he steals your girlfriend.

Specifically, every year, Google is on the path to providing search engine users with more and more answers right on the results pages – so that they don’t have to click through anywhere.

You generally cannot do much about this. Well, you can of course block Google from picking up data from your site entirely, but that would backfire rather quickly.

Here’s what I’m talking about – this is what happens when you look up a question like what’s the best WordPress hosting:

1

Here is what happens when you click on a result:

2

If you didn’t notice, that’s Google taking parts of the page, converting them into an answer and not even sending you over to where that info came from.

And you can’t really blame them. In most cases, they are doing what’s in the user’s best interest. They figured out that there are questions that don’t need any follow-up. Sometimes presenting just a simple list is enough, so Google delivers just that based on what they can scrape from other sites.

My guess is that most of you reading this would be rather happy to be that site from which Google creates the rich snippet, as opposed to blocking Google. Here’s how you can aim for that:

4. Time for even more transparency and a different type of content

Even though we’re at the fourth edition already, I totally forgot to mention Revive.Social’s own transparency report!

That one is focused entirely around social media and the experiments we’ve been doing to grow our followings across all our products and sites.

It’s written by Chris, who shares everything he does to put us on the social media map, along with all the campaigns, results and numbers. No punches held!

Here are all the episodes until now to get yourself up to date:

I guess this is all, no more personal stuff or any other product updates this time.

I’m writing this heading to WordCamp Miami, so if you are around and wanna chat about any of these topics, let me know on twitter.

Okay, that’s all I have for you this month. As always, thanks for reading and for supporting us! Stay updated and get new reports delivered to you by subscribing here:

All edits and witty rewrites by Karol K.