All About SEO on WordPress.com

On the WordPress.com Blog, we recently published a post on Search Engine Optimization for WordPress.com. It has a ton of great information relevant to authors on WordPress.com VIP, so please check it out and feel free to forward it to your colleagues.

All About SEO on WordPress.com, by Elizabeth Urello

Excerpts:

Common Myths about SEO

Myth: I need a plugin for SEO.

Fact: WordPress.com has great SEO right out of the box — you don’t have to do anything extra. In fact, WordPress takes care of 80-90 percent of the mechanics of SEO for you, according to Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team. All of our themes are optimized for search engines, which means they are designed to make it easy for the Googlebot (and other search engines) to crawl through them and discover all the content.

Smart ways to increase your SERP rank

Make sure to use short, easy-to-read post slugs that accurately describe what your posts are about. On WordPress.com, the post slug is the last part of your post title, which you can edit to be anything you like. For example, the slug “/buying-sailboats” is better than “/how-to-buy-a-beautiful-inexpensive-sailboat-on-Craigslist” or “/354.”

Read the full post here.

Update: What’s Coming Up With WordPress 3.6

The updated target date for WordPress 3.6 Beta 1 is March 27.

By the time Beta 1 rolls around, the core team will have the feature set complete, which means the time for bug testing 3.6 against your themes and plugins will have arrived. According to the 3.6 project schedule, the target date for 3.6 launch is April 29.

Here’s a quick update on where the 3.6 features currently stand. If you aren’t caught up on the features, please take a peek at this introduction post.

Post Formats UI: The UI for post formats is getting a refresh (featuring a drop down selector for formats and better previewing) to make it easier to use and faster to publish. You can take a peek at the wireframes here, and follow along the conversation here.

Autosave and Post Locking: The main goal of this update is so that users never lose a post. This is done by leveraging browser-level storage in modern browsers for situations where users lose their internet connections or their browsers crash. With this enhancement, edits are stored locally and synced back to WordPress at the next possible opportunity. If you are logged out while on an admin page, you will be notified and allowed to log in straight on the page so that you won’t lose your work. As for post locking, if you arrive on a page that is currently being edited, you will be given the option to “take over” or go back.

Revisions: The UI for comparing previous revisions of a post has been significantly updated, including a scrubber bar that allows the user to move forward or back in revisions, and colored text to indicate content that has been added or removed. Take a look at a rough mockup here.

Editorial Flow: This feature has been removed from the 3.6 cycle, but the team is planning to tackle it in future releases.

Menus: The UI for creating custom menus has been significantly cleaned up, with new checkboxes to select where the menu will be displayed in the theme, accordion styling to menu items (being tested), new help text and keyboard accessibility for rearranging menu items.

Twenty Thirteen: As Mark Jaquith writes: “With Twenty Thirteen we’re taking a bold stance: this theme was meant for blogging, and it’s not a blank canvas. It comes pre-marinated with playfulness and warmth and opinions.” Take a peek at a demo of the new Twenty Thirteen theme here.

Where can I find more information?

If you’re not familiar with Make WordPress Core, it’s a good blog to visit. It tracks the open-source development of WordPress, and is the homebase of much of the development discussion.

How do I get involved?

Want to help make WordPress better? Take a peek at the Core Contributor Handbook, or sit in on the weekly developer chat. They will need a lot of help with bug testing and squashing in the coming weeks. Lots of members of the VIP community contribute to core, so you’ll see familiar faces.

When is 3.6 coming to WordPress.com VIP?

Shortly prior to the release of 3.6 on WordPress.org, the 3.6 features will be merged into WordPress.com VIP. This will most likely happen in April, and we will be posting updates here in the weeks before to notify you. If you aren’t already, at that point you’ll need to be testing against trunk, getting the latest nightly build or even better, using an SVN checkout of trunk to test how your sites work on 3.6. You can also use the Beta Tester plugin to easily update beta releases and test.

Q&A: How National Post Liveblogs the News

Since launching our Liveblog add-on here at WordPress.com VIP, we’ve been impressed again and again by how fully the National Post newsroom has embraced the tool as a way to cover live events and breaking news.

They’ve used Liveblog to cover everything, from the Grammy Awards, to Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address, to the Newtown shooting, to Stephen Harper tweeting his entire day. And the results are visually stunning, with a heavy emphasis on story telling through photographs, videos, tweets, commentary, and even gifs.

We chatted with James Martin, Digital Managing Editor, to learn more about how they integrated Liveblog into their newsroom, how they prepare for big live events, and what his favorite Liveblog has been to date.

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WordPress.com VIP at SXSW

Headed to SXSW? We’d love to see you there.

We’ll be co-hosting a party on Sunday night with Sailthru:

logoSailthru and Automattic present
Party for the People
benefiting charity:water
March 10 at 7pm, Stubb’s BBQ
Event Page

Automattic will also be hosting a Happiness Bar at the SXSW Trade Show. Stop by to pick up some swag, chat about WordPress, get technical support, or meet some of our colleagues.

And finally, members from the WordPress.com VIP team will be there! We’d love to catch up with you in person. If you or your colleagues will be at SXSW, be sure to let us know.

See you there!

Oscar Night with the WordPress.com VIP Liveblog Plugin

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

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

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

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

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

New on WordPress.com VIP: The Dish

Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish announced last year that they were going independent, and now they’ve successfully launched their new site on WordPress.com VIP with the help of our Featured Partners10up and TinyPass.

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The new site created by 10up is beautiful and fast, featuring responsive design and infinite scroll. Using TinyPass, readers can purchase a subscription (or make a donation) to The Dish, or simply log in if they are already a paid subscriber.

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A big thank you to The Dish team as well as 10up and TinyPass, who helped make the entire site migration and launch happen in just four short weeks.

Check out The Dish at http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/

Interested in going VIP? Get in touch.

Recent Mobile Launches on WordPress.com VIP

We’ve been really impressed with the mobile sites that have launched on VIP recently, many of which are responsive websites. Here’s a quick roundup of recent mobile launches on WordPress.com VIP.


Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 6.45.54 PMQuartz

Quartz’s fully responsive theme is blindingly fast, and scales whether you’re looking at it on a phone, tablet or laptop. The site looks and feels like an application. You can read more about Quartz’s innovative design here and here.


mzl.lbnlkphx.320x480-75LocalTV

LocalTV’s mobile app (available in both the iTunes and Android stores), is powered by a custom mobile theme that is wrapped into an app. It also receives “rich” push notifications, meaning they can push HTML updates.


Time.com Person of the Year MobileTime.com’s Person of the Year

TIME.com’s Person of the Year site was launched in just two weeks using a responsive theme.

Our Q&A with TIME.com Managing Editor Cathy Sharick

Time.com’s responsive redesign announcement

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Time.com Chooses WordPress.com VIP for Person of the Year Website

When TIME.com started planning their Person of the Year coverage in 2012, they knew the whole world would be watching the announcement. They chose to publish the site on WordPress.com VIP, and in the first few hours of the site going live, traffic instantly skyrocketed – 3,000 retweets, 7,000 Facebook shares and links from every major media outlet around the world.

TIME.com’s managing editor Cathy Sharick took the time to answer a few questions for us about why they chose WordPress, how they approached creating the website, and how they assembled the site in just two weeks.

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What’s Coming Up With WordPress 3.6

Some really neat features are going to be included in WordPress 3.6, which is rolling out this spring.

Here’s a quick peek at the road ahead (but know that everything listed here is tentative, as it is still under development):

Overview: The focus of WordPress 3.6 is “Content Editing,” paying special attention to editorial workflows, revisions, autosave, editing, and post formats.

Autosave: The goal of 3.6 is that users should never lose posts because of “expired cookies, loss of connection, inadvertent navigation, plugin or core errors on save, browser crashes, OS crashes, cats walking on keyboards, children drooling in keyboards, etc.” This may include autosaving to the browser’s local storage, and log-in expiration warnings. They are also looking at a post locking functionality to prevent people from overwriting each other’s changes.

Editorial Flow: The features to be added to 3.6 are custom post statuses, which is the ability to add custom statuses like pitch, assigned, in-progress, etc., and draft revisions, which allow edits to already published posts be saved as drafts before taking place of the original post. They are currently seeking use cases for both features to better understand how they will be used.

Revisions: The revisions tool will get a little TLC — bug fixes, better user interface, and adding visual representation of what was added/removed in each revision.

Post Formats: The big update to Post Formats for 3.6 is the admin user interface. They are currently seeking wireframe ideas for the user interface for each post format (i.e. chat, quote, link, image, video). Folks from our Featured Partners are contributing to this feature: Helen Hou-Sandi from 10up is lead, and Pete Mall from Range is backup.

Custom Menus: The main focus for 3.6 will be improving the user interface for custom menus, which users have found confusing. You can follow developments on this ticket.

Where can I find out more information?

If you’re not familiar with Make WordPress Core, it’s a good blog to visit. It tracks the open-source development of WordPress, and is the homebase of much of the development discussion.

How do I get involved?

Want to help make WordPress better? Take a peek at the Core Contributor Handbook, or sit in on the weekly developer chat. Lots of members of the VIP community contribute to core, so you’ll see familiar faces.

New Liveblog Features: Editing Posts, “Smart” Updates

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

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

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

Edit Previous Liveblog Posts

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

wordpressliveblog1

“Smart” Updates

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

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

wordpressliveblog2

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

wordpressliveblog3

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

Archive Liveblog Posts

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

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

wordpressliveblog4

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

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

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

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

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