USA Today Launches Multiple Sports Sites on WordPress.com VIP

USA Today has launched several sports-focused sites on WordPress.com VIP Cloud Hosting. Welcome to the VIP family! We can’t wait to see what you’ll do next.

For the Win is about tracking sports news before it goes viral and the sharing stats for each article are prominent and an important part of the site.

For The Win | What fans are talking about.

The Big Lead covers sports but also touches on everything from politics to pop culture.

The Big Lead | Sports News and Media

MMA Junkie is a site focused on mixed martial arts news, rumors, live blogs, and more.

MMAjunkie | UFC and MMA news, rumors, live blogs and videos

The Q is at the center of its NFL coverage on Sundays, Monday nights and Thursday nights as an optimal second-screen companion for fans following NFL games, filtering out everything but the best real-time analysis through editor-vetted curation and exclusive, original content.

NFL | Q

Want more information about WordPress services for your enterprise or publishing site? Get in touch

Registration for the WordPress.com VIP Workshop: March 31 – April 3, 2014

The next edition of the WordPress.com VIP Workshop will be March 31 – April 3, 2014!

vipworkshoplogo

Now in its 3rd year, the Intensive VIP Developer Workshop provides a unique opportunity to learn from the WordPress.com VIP team in person, as well as exchange ideas and experiences with other WordPress.com VIP clients through networking lunches and dinners, the in-depth WordPress curriculum and exercises, and focused, collaborative conversations.

We’re also planning to bring back flash talk sessions where WordPress.com VIPs can share their own experiences with building VIP-scale websites using WordPress, their workflows, shortcuts, lessons learned, and best practices, too.

The event is open only to VIP client developers, select partners & potential clients, and we expect to sell out quickly! Last year’s feedback was just as good as the year’s before:

  • 97% plan on attending again 
  • 95% would recommend the conference to a colleague

A quick peek at the itinerary - details & agenda will be available on the WordPress.com VIP site soon. You can see last year’s event details as well.

  • March 31: Arrival in the afternoon. Welcome, networking reception & dinner.
  • April 1 & 2: Full days of training with VIP instructors, followed by networking dinners.
  • April 3: Wrap-up, farewell breakfast, and morning departures.

Current VIP clients & Featured Partners are welcome to register now! Early bird pricing is set at $3,250 each for current VIP clients until January 20th. The price for attendees is $3,600. Registration includes 3 nights’ lodging, meals, and airport transfers from SFO.

If you’re interested in attending in 2014, fill out the pre-registration form here or send in a ticket to VIP Support. We’ll work with you on organizing payment and confirming your registration for the event. 

If you’re not a current client or partner, you can pre-register for the VIP Workshop 2014 for the full price & we’ll process registrations after the early bird period is over and as spacing permits.

Here are some pictures from last year’s event and the event recap.

WordPress.com VIP Training Days in New York, February 2014

The next WordPress.com VIP Training Days, our one-day intensive courses held in-person, will be in New York City in February 2014.

The courses will focus on small groups of students with hands-on material led by several Automattic and WordPress.com VIP instructors. The course will be very interactive and full of practical information & exercises, and students will have the opportunity to ask questions during the course as well.

5432_WordPressTues_0314f

VIP Training Days – New York, February 2014

Special Note: These courses are suitable for both self-hosted and WordPress.com VIP sites/superusers/developers – the large majority of the material will focus on core WordPress functionality/features.

  • Superuser Training - February 3rd – $600 course fee.
  • Developer Fundamentals I Training - February 4th, $850 course fee.

Note: All transportation, transfer, and lodging costs will be the responsibility of each student, as well as any other expenses not explicitly stated. Lunch will be provided. Payment is required to confirm registration. 

Register for the Developer Fundamentals I training, or the Superuser training in New York in February, or read on for more information about each course’s curriculum and prerequisites.

If you’re interested in VIP training and can’t make it to the New York dates, you can register your interest and let us know your location preferences (no commitment required). It’s possible we’ll add more dates or locations in the future.

Register now!

Developer Fundamentals I Training

Description

WordPress Fundamentals I is a day-long, intensive course meant to introduce PHP developers to programming for WordPress. Attendees should be familiar with WordPress as a tool, and have a working understanding of its general terminology. Proficiency with PHP is also a must, but no knowledge of the WordPress code itself is expected.

Prerequisites

  • Proficiency with basic PHP development.
  • Awareness of WordPress as a platform, including common terminology such as a post, a page, widgets, and sidebars.
  • A local development environment running WordPress Trunk. We will provide a virtual machine ahead of time for participants who don’t have their own development environments, but they will be responsible for setting it up ahead of time.

Course Materials & Requirements

Each student will provide their own computer (laptop) for the course, with working wifi functionality. A lunch break and light lunch will be provided by WordPress.com VIP. Students should have a local working copy of WordPress trunk installed and tested prior to the training. To download trunk: http://wordpress.org/download/svn/

Curriculum Overview

  • Intro to WordPress core, SVN, and Trac, history and culture
  • Developer environment and debugging tools
  • WordPress Development Best Practices
  • Introduction to Plugins
  • Actions and filters
  • Introduction to Themes
  • The Loop & WP_Query
  • More on themes
  • …and more!

Superuser Training

Description

In this course, you’ll learn how to manage and use the WordPress interface from a site owner’s point of view; as someone who will be managing multiple users, their permissions, and ultimately sharing knowledge with them about how to use WordPress to publish a great site with an active community and/or audience. We like to think of this course as our teachers teaching your teachers – those who will serve as the WordPress expert in an organization.

We’ll also do a deep dive into the publishing process so our superusers can teach their editors, authors, and contributors how to best use the WordPress interface. From creating and publishing posts to managing tags and categories, from mastering multimedia and images in articles, and bulk management of posts and pages, we’ll cover the entire publishing process from draft to done.

Prerequisites

Users should have a working (beyond basic) knowledge of the WordPress administration panel / backend. They should be managers, administrators, or editors of an existing or future WordPress site with multiple users.

Course Materials & Requirements

Each student will provide their own laptop computer (no tablets) for the course, with working wifi functionality. A lunch break and light lunch will be provided by WordPress.com VIP to all students. For the purposes of the course, students will be given access to a WordPress.com site. Users will be requested to create a WordPress.com username if they don’t have one, and this username will be submitted to the course instructor. To create a WordPress.com username: http://en.wordpress.com/signup/

Curriculum Overview

  • User Management: roles, permissions, and invitations
  • User Profiles: settings, preferences, and Gravatars
  • Comments: moderation, spam, and notifications
  • Creating & Publishing posts
  • Managing tags and categories
  • Mastering Media: images, galleries, and slideshows
  • Bulk management of Posts and Pages
  • …and more!

Register for the Developer Fundamentals I training, or the Superuser training in New York in February!

Refunds

We’ll provide a full refund if the cancellation is requested within 30 days from the event date, and 50% thereafter. No refunds will be provided for cancellations 5 days before the event.

Register now!

WordPress isn’t Suited for Major Publishers?

austin@alleyinteractive.comIn this post, WordPress.com VIP Featured Service Partner Alley Interactive‘s managing partner Austin Smith shares his thoughts regarding a recent article which dismisses the potential and power of WordPress as an enterprise solution. We naturally disagree with the article and turn this post over to Austin. 

Felix Salmon sounded off earlier this week, at some length, about one of my favorite topics—choice of CMS for news organizations. One of his central points is that Vox Media has a distinct advantage because of its über-CMS. I admit, what I’ve read about Chorus makes it sound pretty awesome. But there’s a broader question here about CMS models in general—do you want your CMS to run everything, or do you want it to be a component in a broader digital ecosystem?

First, I can answer this question for myself and most of our clients—I think the CMS should be a component in a broader digital ecosystem. From the look of the screenshots on TechCrunch, Chorus includes an ad management platform and a full-scale user management system. I’m not jealous of these features, nor are we often asked for them. The heft of maintaining such a platform would be unbearable for most publications, and to this extent I take Salmon’s point that an organization that can own the full scope of its digital experience may ultimately come out ahead. But we generally handle these features via third-party integration and our publisher sites still succeed.

Second, we build publisher sites on both Drupal (The New Republic, National Review Online) and WordPress (The New York Post, Digiday, Flavorwire, The New York Observer), so I’m in a unique position to take offense at Salmon’s casual offing of both:

Off-the-rack CMSs like WordPress and Drupal are OK for small-to-medium sites, but aren’t particularly well suited to be the framework for a major publishing operation.

Ouch! On whose authority? You could build a platform like Chorus on either WordPress or Drupal, and probably come out ahead. Drupal has long called itself a “Content Management Framework,” and would be naturally suited to this challenge. Similarly, anything you can do in PHP, you can package as a WordPress plugin. Plus with WordPress, you get the added benefit of editorial commonality—chances are pretty good that your reporters will have seen a WordPress admin screen before.

Also, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. These über-CMS projects have a tendency to fail pretty spectacularly, and humble as they apparently are, WordPress and Drupal are antidotes to this syndrome. The TechCrunch article about Chorus mentions WordPress.com VIP specifically as an alternative to this model. By virtue of its bulletproof reliability, careful curation, constant monitoring, and strong system of developer support, WordPress.com VIP takes a ton of this risk off the table. And in collecting a large number of high-traffic media sites, they’ve built a common set of shared plugins which handle many common publisher-site tasks. When WordPress gets better for one, it gets better for the others, too. Similarly, our biggest Drupal projects have launched successfully on Pantheon, and many other Drupal publishers run on Acquia.

Perhaps the “rising tide lifts all boats” mentality does not translate to digital media, as an open-source developer like me would prefer. But even if you buy into an eat-or-be-eaten mentality, it’s hard to believe that your CMS will win or lose the war.

Invective aside, one point I can take is that owning the full stack is a luxury that requires an immense scale. But is it a necessary condition for success? I don’t know, and I’m not sure Salmon does either:

I’m fascinated by the Medium experiment: I think it has a lot of potential, especially if it starts to support custom domains, like Tumblr did early on.

Great, but which is it? Medium or Chorus? I think we can agree that it’s too early to say, and that there could be plenty of room for both. But WordPress and Drupal do great things for big publishers too, and they aren’t going away.

Thanks to Austin for his commentary.

Interested in more information about WordPress solutions for publishing and media? Get in touch. 

NASA launches two more sites on WordPress

In addition to the NASA Open Government Initiative Websites powered by WordPress, NASA recently launched two more sites on WordPress.

The Academy of Program/Project and Engineering Leadership (APPEL) contributes to NASA’s mission by promoting individual and team excellence in program/project management and engineering through the application of learning strategies, methods, models, and tools.

APPEL – Academy of Program:Project & Engineering Leadership

Visit http://appel.nasa.gov/

Office of the Chief Knowledge Officer — their Chief Knowledge Officer has two important advocacy roles: facilitator and champion. The CKO leverages, nurtures, and highlights formal and informal work happening across the agency and serves as a conduit between the workforce and leadership to ensure the workforce has the tools and resources necessary to meet NASA’s most pressing knowledge challenges.

NASA Chief Knowledge Officer | Share. Connect. Engage.

Visit http://km.nasa.gov/

If you’re looking for information about government sites using WordPress, check out our spotlight on Building Government Websites with WordPress CMS or get in touch directly with the WordPress.com VIP team.

Canadian Olympic Committee launches Winter 2014 Games site on WordPress.com VIP

Today, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) officially re-launched Olympic.ca, marking the 3-month countdown to the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

Derek Kent, CMO of the Canadian Olympic Committee, remarked on the site’s redesign: “Our vision is to create a website that is best-in-class among National Olympic Committees. We know our fans, athletes and our partners are hungry for Canadian Olympic team content. This and the next generation of the website will ensure our athletes’ stories are told, and shared in more compelling ways with fans at home and around the world.”

We spoke with Todd Denis, Director, Brand Connections of the Canadian Olympic Committee, about the decisions made regarding the Olympic.ca redesign, which is hosted on WordPress.com VIP Cloud Hosting.

Canadian Olympic Committee

Q: How is the website different from previous Olympic Games?

We wanted to make sure that the entire digital experience was driven by a ‘fans first’ approach. We’ve seen mobile traffic on Olympic.ca go from 15% in 2012, to 30% in the first half of 2013, and as of October, 2013 it was at 40%. So, in addition to the more obvious social hooks, we knew that re-designing around fans meant meant we needed to be ‘mobile first’.

We had our design partner Zync focus on how things would actually behave as mobile content and navigation – on function, then form – making it easy to share articles, photographs and videos, with a content and menu system built specifically for those smaller screens.

And the site lives within a responsive grid, as we felt this provided our best immediate mobile product, while putting us in a great long-term position to benefit from the constant evolution in responsive design.

Canadian Olympic Committee _Samsung_Responsive-showcase-presentation_970x580

“WordPress.com VIP allowed us to focus on the fan experience and front-facing content, instead of the servers powering it.” — Todd Denis, Director, Brand Connections, Olympic.ca.

Q: Why did your team choose WordPress.com VIP as the platform for the Olympic.ca website?

We had to ensure that the site would be ready for any traffic and performance load that the massive Olympic Games audience could throw at it, but we also had to be aware of the limited internal resources we could expend on site administration. We were already running a self-hosted WordPress site, but it was in serious need of a technology and stability update. WordPress.com VIP allowed us to focus on the fan experience and front-facing content, instead of the servers powering it.

Q: How long did it take to put the project together, from start to finish?

From initial RFP to final launch was more than six months, but it was approximately 16 weeks as a pure timeline around UX, wires, content migration and development. We worked with Toronto based brand and marketing agency Zync, and their programming partner Trew Knowledge, to design, develop and support the site.

Q: How will your team use social media to complement the Canadian Olympic Committee website, and to drive traffic to it?

The site is social from top to bottom, with best practices in place for social sharing and channel promotion. But we’ve also got widgets that pull in context specific content from our social channels. For example, while the universal footer across the site is a direct pull in from Instagram, many of the Twitter feeds are grabbed based on the context specifics of the athlete or sport tags on the page. It’s these small things that help build to a more engaged fan-to-athlete experience.

We will also be launching a Canadian Olympic I.D. in the coming months, which will initially behave as a sort of registration system on the site to help streamline saving and sharing of content – and the I.D. will be powered by social registration to help us better understand who our fans are and what type of content they enjoy.

Canadian Olympic Committee_Samsung_Smartphones-white_970x580

Visit Olympic.ca and see for yourself the new site!

Want more information about WordPress services for your enterprise site? Get in touch

Recent Enterprise WordPress Launches & Redesigns: HBR Blogs, Know More from Washington Post, NYT Corporate, TechCrunch

There have been lots of exciting launches and redesigns happening lately with WordPress sites — here are just a few which caught our eye.

The New York Times has launched their corporate site, nytco.com, on WordPress:

The New York Times Company Corporate Site

Washington Post launched their new ‘viral’ site, Know More.

Know More (a Wonkblog joint) is a site for people who like learning stuff. Not sitting-in-front-of-a-textbook-for-hours learning, but getting-sucked-into-a-Wikipedia-hole-for-hours learning. The kind where you just can’t stop tunneling deeper and deeper until you know the name of every Brigadier General in the Union army and what campaigns they participated in, or can list every item in Grace Jones’s discography, or exactly who was going to get what job in the cabinet of a hypothetical Reagan-Ford co-presidency.

Our job is to give you a place to start. Each post is a picture, chart, video, or quote that, we hope, will fascinate you, or fascinate a friend who shares it with you. But at the bottom of every post is the option to really “Know More”. Click on that button and we’ll take you deeper. Much deeper. It’s the red pill — you take it, and we’ll show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Know More by the Washington Post

The Harvard Business Review Blog Network has recently migrated from Movable Type to WordPress.com VIP! Same great content, awesome new platform.

Harvard Business Review Blog Network
TechCrunch did a redesign of their popular tech site which is hosted on WordPress.com VIP — read more about the redesign details on their site.

TechCrunch - The latest technology news and information on startups

Want more information about WordPress services for your enterprise site? Get in touch

Why Big Brands and Enterprises Love WordPress

Earlier this month, hundreds of WordPress developers, content creators, and users gathered in Leiden, The Netherlands, for the first WordPress conference for all of Europe, WordCamp Europe. 

I was present and it was a great opportunity to hear how European countries are accelerating adoption of WordPress with big and small brands alike. I presented “Why Big Brands Love WordPress” — a presentation which delves into the reasons why big brands are choosing WordPress and what they have to say about it, directly from their mouths. At WordPress.com VIP, we work with a lot of enterprise and big brand clients as well as we work with those global brands to tell their WordPress stories right here on this site, so we often hear the many reasons why they pick WordPress and continue to love it.

Here’s the presentation (slides). The Russian translation is now available at the bottom of this post.

Here’s the video of the presentation from WordCamp Europe which is on WordPress.tv.

If you know of any examples or quotes which you’d like to see featured in a future version of this presentation, let us know!

Here’s a peek at some of the reasons Why Big Brands Love WordPress:

  • It’s easy to use.
  • It’s beautiful.
  • It Scales.
  • You own your data.
  • You can launch quickly.
  • It integrates & plays well with other services.
  • It goes mobile and Responsive.
  • You can iterate quickly with a small development team.
  • It can humanize data.
  • It’s a dynamic platform.
  • The WordPress Community.

Here’s just a sampling of the sites and clients included in the presentation:

Links about WordPress.com VIP & the WordPress open source project:

Some WordPress.com VIP clients mentioned in the presentation:

Other WordPress sites mentioned: 

Russian Translation

Thanks to Alexey Vidanov for the Russian Translation.

Interested in WordPress services for your enterprise site? Get in touch

Introducing WordPress.com VIP Training Days

Update: Future dates for VIP Training Days will be posted on our Training Services page. 

203_6563_CH-677After the success of the VIP Workshop, our intensive developer conference for select VIP clients and partners, we consistently heard from our clients that they wanted more VIP training options, and more often.

We’re answering that call by launching WordPress.com VIP Training Days, our one-day intensive courses which will be held in-person and, in the future, also online. These courses will focus on small groups of students with hands-on material led by several Automattic and WordPress.com VIP Featured Partner instructors. The course will be very interactive and full of practical information & exercises, and students will have the opportunity to ask questions during the course as well.

Read on for more information about our two inaugural courses, which will take place in October in San Francisco.

VIP Training Days – San Francisco, October 2013

Special Note: These courses are suitable for both self-hosted and WordPress.com VIP sites/superusers/developers – the large majority of the material will focus on core WordPress functionality/features.

  • Superuser Training - October 14th – $600 course fee.
  • Developer Fundamentals I Training - October 15th, $850 course fee.

Note: All transportation, transfer, and lodging costs will be the responsibility of each student, as well as any other expenses not explicitly stated. Lunch will be provided. Payment is required to confirm registration. 

Register for the Developer Fundamentals I training, or the Superuser training in San Francisco in October, or read on for more information about each course’s curriculum and prerequisites.

If you’re interested in VIP training and can’t make it to the San Francisco dates, you can register your interest and let us know your location preferences (no commitment required). It’s possible we’ll add more dates or locations in the future.

Register now!

Developer Fundamentals I Training

Description

WordPress Fundamentals I is a day-long, intensive course meant to introduce PHP developers to programming for WordPress. Attendees should be familiar with WordPress as a tool, and have a working understanding of its general terminology. Proficiency with PHP is also a must, but no knowledge of the WordPress code itself is expected.

Prerequisites

  • Proficiency with basic PHP development.
  • Awareness of WordPress as a platform, including common terminology such as a post, a page, widgets, and sidebars.
  • A local development environment running WordPress Trunk. We will provide a virtual machine ahead of time for participants who don’t have their own development environments, but they will be responsible for setting it up ahead of time.

Course Materials & Requirements

Each student will provide their own computer (laptop) for the course, with working wifi functionality. A lunch break and light lunch will be provided by WordPress.com VIP. Students should have a local working copy of WordPress trunk installed and tested prior to the training. To download trunk: http://wordpress.org/download/svn/

Curriculum Overview

  • Intro to WordPress core, SVN, and Trac, history and culture
  • Developer environment and debugging tools
  • WordPress Development Best Practices
  • Introduction to Plugins
  • Actions and filters
  • Introduction to Themes
  • The Loop & WP_Query
  • More on themes
  • …and more!

Superuser Training

Description

In this course, you’ll learn how to manage and use the WordPress interface from a site owner’s point of view; as someone who will be managing multiple users, their permissions, and ultimately sharing knowledge with them about how to use WordPress to publish a great site with an active community and/or audience. We like to think of this course as our teachers teaching your teachers – those who will serve as the WordPress expert in an organization.

We’ll also do a deep dive into the publishing process so our superusers can teach their editors, authors, and contributors how to best use the WordPress interface. From creating and publishing posts to managing tags and categories, from mastering multimedia and images in articles, and bulk management of posts and pages, we’ll cover the entire publishing process from draft to done.

Prerequisites

Users should have a working (beyond basic) knowledge of the WordPress administration panel / backend. They should be managers, administrators, or editors of an existing or future WordPress site with multiple users.

Course Materials & Requirements

Each student will provide their own laptop computer (no tablets) for the course, with working wifi functionality. A lunch break and light lunch will be provided by WordPress.com VIP to all students. For the purposes of the course, students will be given access to a WordPress.com site. Users will be requested to create a WordPress.com username if they don’t have one, and this username will be submitted to the course instructor. To create a WordPress.com username: http://en.wordpress.com/signup/

Curriculum Overview

  • User Management: roles, permissions, and invitations
  • User Profiles: settings, preferences, and Gravatars
  • Comments: moderation, spam, and notifications
  • Creating & Publishing posts
  • Managing tags and categories
  • Mastering Media: images, galleries, and slideshows
  • Bulk management of Posts and Pages
  • …and more!

Register for the Developer Fundamentals I training, or the Superuser training in San Francisco in October!

Refunds

We’ll provide a full refund if the cancellation is requested within 30 days from the event date, and 50% thereafter. No refunds will be provided for cancellations 5 days before the event.

Register now!