WordPress in Demand on Elance

Elance, a marketplace “where businesses connect with independent professionals to get work done”, has published their latest Elance Online Work Index. In this index they rate which skills are most in demand in their marketplace based on 100,000 new jobs posted on Elance over recent months:

The #1 in demand skill is PHP, followed in the #2 slot by MySQL. The top publishing platform, with an overall ranking of #13, is WordPress, up 2 spots from #15 since the last index. Joomla comes in at #29, previously 18th overall, and the next publishing platform listed is Drupal at #75, previously 46th in the last index.

Since WordPress is PHP/MySQL, WordPress professionals out there are in a great position with the most in demand skills.

You may recall back in January oDesk posted about similar trends in their marketplace as well.

[ Read more on the Elance blog ]

oDesk Reports “WordPress” Fastest Growing In-Demand Skill in 2008

Thanks to Becca for sending in word that oDesk, “an online staffing marketplace and management platform”, reported the other day on the fastest growing set of skills that are in demand on the oDesk platform.  Based on job/project listings WordPress came out on top with a 427% increase since last year :

The numbers in the table below show the number of job postings on oDesk in which the skills were listed as “required,” and their relative increase from the end of 2007 to the end of 2008. You will notice some variance in the numbers between the table and the charts below as the numbers on the charts show keyword mentions in the job post titles, not required skills.

Skill/Experience Openings Last 60 Days 2007 Openings Last 60 Days 2008 Change
WordPress 37 195 427.0%
Writing* 32 138 331.3%
Excel* 30 118 293.3%
SEO 73 250 242.5%
XHTML 24 61 154.2%
Linux 23 58 152.2%
Drupal 70 169 141.4%
Joomla 157 352 124.2%
CSS 119 250 110.1%
Graphic Design* 20 42 110.0%

*Because writing, graphic design, and excel have small starting points, we believe their change reflects oDesk growth, not a general trend.

The growth in WordPress demand on oDesk has been steady throughout 2008:odesk-wordpress

If you are looking for WordPress help on projects, in addition to the resources we’ve listed here, oDesk is a great place to check-out as it currently has over 2700 WordPress developers listed in their system.

[ Visit oDesk blog ]

Post Pagination

I received a few inquires this week about how to go about paginating a post in WordPress.  Turns out it’s super simple and built-in to WordPress core, as detailed below in the Codex article:

Did you know you could split a single post up into different web pages? Using the Next-Page Quicktag from the Write Post Panel, you can break a single post up into different web pages.

Called the Page-link tag, place your cursor in the spot where you want a page break to appear in your post and click the Next-Page Quicktag. You can use it throughout a long post to make two, three, four, or more pages out of the single post.

For more information vist http://codex.wordpress.org/Styling_Page-Links

Arbu: “WordPress Doesn’t Just Blog”

Arbu, a new media agency based in the UK, just published a post titled “WordPress Doesn’t Just Blog …”:

… it rocks, rolls, cleans our teeth and rummages around in our psyche. Well, perhaps not, but while editing the Colintraive & Glendaruel Community Website (which is run using WordPress and a basic hack of Kubrick) it occurred to me that Arbu has implemented websites using WP for all sorts of purposes and rarely for straight blogging. In fact when I thought about it properly, very few of the sites we produce are actually blogs.

In the post they highlight community, commerce, social networking, and other types of sites being built with WordPress.

[Visit arbu.co.uk ]

Alex King Interviewed by Download Squad

Alex King of Crowd Favorite, chats with Download Squad about WordPress and his favorite plugins on the latest Download Squad Podcast:

The team at Crowd Favorite has worked on many WordPress projects, and offers the following WordPress services:

Custom plugin development services, WordPress as a CMS development, WordPress theme design and development, WPMU (WordPress Multi-User) development, integrations, and general “how can I do this?” services for WordPress.

If you need to do something with, to, or in concert with WordPress – we can make it happen.

Tips on Optimizing Performance for Self-Installed WordPress

Michael Biven, CTO of Laughing Squid, wrote a great post highlighting how to optimize your self-installed WordPress setup:

Taking responsibility of your WordPress site by keeping it up to date to the latest version and managing it’s load on the server hosting it is just as important as the content you’re writing for it. Security updates, performance improvements and other bug fixes will help keep your site running smoothly, but there are a few other steps you can take to improve it’s performance.

Scott Beale confirms that these optimizations have had a big impact on the Laughing Squid Blog:

We use almost all of these recommendations on Laughing Squid , which has helped to keep server loads low and things running smoothly when it comes to front page Diggs and ongoing high traffic from sources like Google search and StumbleUpon.

Read the full post on Michael’s blog: Optimizing performance for WordPress

Finding Resources for Your WordPress Project

For publishers looking to either add some capacity to their in-house WordPress efforts or would like an outside firm to work on the entire project, we maintain a list of design and software development firms who have experience with WordPress based projects.

In addition, we recommend posting to WordPress Jobs or the wp-pro mailing list if you are looking for employees or professional consultants with WordPress expertise.

Q&A with Brian Groce of Watershed Studio on the Topic of WordPress Plugins

Plugins are tools to extend the functionality of WordPress. In an email exchange I asked a leading plugin developer, Brian Groce of Watershed Studio, his thoughts on developing WordPress Plugins and how publishers should approach having a plugin created.

How did you get started working with WordPress?

I was part of the exodus from MovableType back in 2004 due to the sudden licensing changes that occurred. After looking around at all of the PHP based open source blogging and content management options I opted for WordPress since that appeared to be the direction most people were headed and the development community seemed to be pretty strong and focused on delivering a solid product that didn’t add any fluff to the core code.

What is a plugin? And what are the advantages to using a plugin?

Plugins are extensions to the main WordPress functionality which enable the use of additional features. The advantage to using plugins is that you can easily add new features that you need while leaving the core WordPress code as simple as possible, which in turn allows for easy future software upgrades of both the core WordPress software and plugins.

In what circumstances should someone use a plugin or have a developer build a custom one?

Plugins should be used when there is a feature you’d like to see added to either the administration or presentation side of WordPress. There are numerous freely available WordPress plugins, but in the event that you can’t find what you’re looking for, having a developer create a custom plugin is your best bet unless you are already familiar with PHP and possibly SQL.

What are the biggest misconceptions about plugins?

I think the biggest misconception about plugins is that if you can think it, it can be done. While that is often the case, there are instances in which a certain feature isn’t available to be “plug into” via the API. Luckily the WordPress development team is on top of it and is adding new “hooks” as versions are released. Also, there seems to be a misconception that every plugin will work on every server setup, which isn’t necessarily the case. If a plugin uses a PHP or MySQL function that is not available or activated on the server, it will not function correctly. Related, plugins may work with one version of WordPress and not another.

Which plugins have you developed?

Of the plugins we have developed, the WordPress Email Notification plugin is by far the most popular, and we’re currently working on a new version which adds a handful of new features and improved functionality. We have also developed and maintain the WordPress Category Posts plugin & WordPress Versioning plugin and assisted in the creation of the Sphere Related Content Widget. Beyond those plugins, we have created custom plugins for clients.

In your experience what are the biggest mistakes publishers make when looking to build a plugin?

The biggest mistake from what I have seen is not looking at the big picture and painting yourself into a corner. Take the time to brainstorm and think about any possible future updates and additions that you’d like to make. By doing so, the plugin can be built with the future in mind and you’ll be able to avoid adding unnecessary additional development time down the road.

What are your favorite plugins?

My favorite plugin by far is PodPress. Anyone who has ever gone the non-plugin route to setup a podcast/vidcast can tell you how much time this plugin saves you. I also like Alex King’s Share This plugin as it is very helpful in allowing readers to share a particular post with others.

Plugin update notifications are now built into WordPress. What impact will that have on developers of plugins and their users?

I think that this will help out tremendously in allowing developers to inform users of new updates. Previously this was a manual process unless the plugin author built in a mechanism to check for updates.

From a plugin developer standpoint, what improvements or changes would you like to see with WordPress?

I would love to see some more hooks added to the API. Specifically, I would like to see a hook which easily allows for the addition of buttons to the editing toolbars in both the WYSIWYG editor and in the Code View editor. Also, I would love to have a way to see what blogs are actually using your plugin(s). With the new update notifications built into WordPress 2.3, this information should be fairly easy to collect.

What tips would you give publishers looking to have a plugin developed?

First, I would suggest looking to make sure that what you’d like to do hasn’t already been done, or at least check to see that something similar hasn’t been done. If you need some additional features or tweaks to an existing plugin, contact the plugin author to see if they can create a custom version for you and if so, how much it will cost. If they can’t (many plugin developers have full-time jobs), get in touch with a seasoned developer who can. Since most WordPress plugins are licensed under the GPL, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Second, if you need to have a plugin developed from scratch, be sure to write down and possibly diagram how you want the plugin to function. Once you have that completed, contact a plugin developer and let them know what you need. Additionally, if you have a delivery deadline, budget requirements or any other special considerations, you should share these with the potential developer as well.

Typically, how long does it take to develop a plugin from start to finish?

It truly depends on a multitude of factors, but in general the total development time depends upon the complexity of the plugin and the communication times between the client and the plugin developer. It is possible that simple plugins can be written, tested and “shipped” within a week. More complex plugins can take weeks to months before the final version is in hand and quality communication is especially vital when working on more complex plugins.

What should publishers be expecting from a cost perspective when hiring a plugin developer?

The cost of having a plugin developed comes down to the amount of time involved, thus a simpler plugin will cost less that a more complex one. In addition, developer rates and time estimates may vary quite a bit. With that said, you should expect to set aside a minimum of a few hundred dollars (USD) for a simpler plugin and into the thousands of dollars for a more complex plugin.

Thanks Brian! You can read more technical information about plugins on the WordPress Codex site and browse hundreds of plugins in the WordPress Plugins directory.

Brian Groce photo Brian Groce is the founder, President and CEO of Watershed Studio, LLC. Watershed Studio specializes in installing & customizing WordPress for blogs, podcasts and as a content management system (CMS).