Managing Hierarchical Content – Big Media & Enterprise Meetup Boston

Niall Kavanagh, Boston University, presented “Managing Hierarchical Content on Large Page-Count Sites” at the recent Big Media & Enterprise Meetup in Boston.

View the presentation slides here:

 

The Boston Big Media & Enterprise Meetup was held on June 11, 2014. Check out the other presentations from the event.

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

Want more information about WordPress services for media or enterprise sites? Get in touch.

Harvard Business Review and WordPress – Big Media & Enterprise Meetup Boston

Kevin Newman, Harvard Business Publishing, presented “Adapting WordPress’ role within a larger content strategy” at the recent Big Media & Enterprise Meetup in Boston.

View the presentation slides here:

 

The Boston Big Media & Enterprise Meetup was held on June 11, 2014. Check out the other presentations from the event.

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

Want more information about WordPress services for media or enterprise sites? Get in touch.

Non-Blocking WordPress – Big Media & Enterprise Meetup San Francisco

Alex Khadiwala and Nico Vincent from TechCrunch recently presented on “Non-Blocking WordPress” at the recent Big Media & Enterprise Meetup in San Francisco, California. Download the slides here.

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

Why Choose WordPress CMS to Build Websites: A Government Perspective

WordPress.com VIP Director of Platform Services, Peter Slutsky, presented to the DigitalGov University about using WordPress CMS to build government websites, along with Dan Munz, from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, last year.

DigitalGov is brought to you by the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies in the U.S. General Services Administration and their job is to help government agencies build a 21st century digital government.

“Can WordPress be a full-fledged CMS? Our experience is absolutely yes, it can.” — Dan Munz, Deputy Assistant Director for Consumer Engagement at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

In this presentation you’ll learn:

  • How to determine if WordPress is a good option for your agency
  • The important technical considerations
  • The biggest challenges and successes CFPB had with implementing WordPress
  • The resources you’ll need to implement it and keep it sustainable
  • How to get buy-in and make the business case to switch/choose WordPress
  • And a Q&A from the attendees

Below is the video of the presentation: 

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.

Documattic: WordPress.com VIP Presentations & Resources on GitHub!

We’re excited to release what we feel could be a valuable resource to the WordPress community at large, “Documattic,” which is a GitHub home for WordPress.com VIP presentations and other resources.

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On the WordPress.com VIP team, we spend a lot of time talking to big brands and enterprises about their WordPress needs, which things are working for them, and which situations, features, or functionality need additional information or assistance from the VIP team moving forward. We spend a lot of time explaining the great features of WordPress to client IT, security, and editorial teams, and work with partners and agencies to provide up-to-date information about WordPress software and its vast community of developers, designers, content creators, and site owners.

We’d like to provide even more of that information online, in the hope that it can be useful for the next enterprise looking for information about WordPress, for the agency that needs some reliable answers about how WordPress works in order to explain it to their clients, and for community members who continually have to answer the question, “Can WordPress do that?” We have that information, and we’re excited to start sharing, curating, and building it up in a collaborative way.

There are three resources in the repository to start: the Security FAQ, the WordPress in Government FAQ, and my recent presentation about Trends in Enterprise WordPress Content. We’re hoping to add more in the future and we’d love to hear which documents, presentations, and resources might be useful to you.

If you’re an agency that works with WordPress, think about adding your own resources to the repository, so the WordPress community-at-large can benefit as well!

Check out the Documattic repo on GitHub.

The documents on the repository are released under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) license. Any documents or resources you’d like to see added to the repository? Make a pull request, or comment below, and we’ll see what we can do!

Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup: Seeing your content as WordPress sees it

Simon Dickson, Code for the People, Director, presented at the Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup in London, with his presentation “Seeing your content as WordPress sees it.”

Simon explores using WordPress for a potential election campaign site and how visualizing the data from a slightly different viewpoint makes it easier to see how it can fit in with WordPress’ data structures and taxonomies.

Watch the video of his presentation and see his slide deck below!

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup: RUFFLR – not just another WordPress site

Ed Coke-Steel, founder of Rufflr, presented at the recent Big Media & Enterprise Meetup in London.

His presentation, “Rufflr, not just another WordPress site,” focuses on the online wardrobe site he founded which allows users to share and follow fashion online. The site features popular users like musicians from Sony Music who share their fashion looks and fashion bloggers and other noted personalities. WordPress powers the entire site which features rich interaction in the form of profiles, collections, rankings, ratings, and more.

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup: How IPC Media Chose WordPress

Lee Aylett, Head of Technology from IPC Media, presented at the recent Big Media & Enterprise Meetup in London.

Lee talked about the decision his team went through in choosing WordPress Multisite to run many of their brands and the struggle in choosing whether to do things good, cheap, or fast in his presentation, “Breaking the Project Management Triangle.” They chose WordPress, and IPC Media a wholly-owned subsidiary of Time, Inc., is starting to roll out some of the 55 brands in its portfolio on WordPress Multisite.

See Lee’s presentation deck below, and the video of his presentation, too.

See the presentations from previous Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetups. For Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup groups in other cities, see the full list on VIP Events and join your local group. 

Trends in Enterprise WordPress Content

Enterprises and big brands are always looking for better ways to get their content featured, shared, and visible. In this presentation, which was presented at WordCamp Switzerland earlier this month by WordPress.com VIP Global Services Manager Sara Rosso, we examine some of the latest trends related to enterprise content and how any site can take advantage of the experimentation happening on big volume and innovative publishers using WordPress.

Trends in Enterprise WordPress Content

The presentation is broken down in sections which focus on longform, newsletters, microsites/corporate sites, social media, multi-source & interactive content, and comments.

Longform: Automattic (makers of WordPress.com & WordPress.com VIP) recently acquired Longreads, a content curation and discovery site which features articles longer than 1,500 words. The site lets you search for longreads based on subject or reading length, and the number of sites which are featuring longer content has doubled (to more than 3,000 domains).

“The best pieces are either short, snappy and topical, or they are long analysis.” — Kevin Delaney, Editor-in-Chief, Quartz.

Quartz believes so strongly in the social media success of either short or long pieces, they have even made up a “V-chart” (in the presentation!) which shows mid-length stories just aren’t as compelling to be shared. Longform is growing, and the lack of time-sensitivity on that content means that it has life long beyond its publishing date.

Newsletters: We’ve seen an uptick in sites using newsletters to not only speak directly to their readers, but to also as a way to curate and surface content to them. After several conversations with VIPs at our annual VIP Workshop, it became really clear that it’s working for them, too, with good open rates and subscriptions continuing to climb. Newsletters are featuring popular content or even automated summary content directly through WordPress, and they can be sent several times a day based on the reader’s location or their interests. We’ve seen everyone from Harvard Business Review to USA Today to The Wall Street Journal increase their experimentation in newsletters and curating content directly for their readers. We examine Quartz’s popular Daily Brief in further detail in the presentation.

Microsites / Corporate sites: We’re continuing to see adoption by enterprises for their microsites and corporate sites, even in sectors like banking & finance, and highlight sites like Google Ventures, Facebook’s Newsroom, and other sites in the European Union in the presentation.

Social Media: Social media networks continue to be important organic content discovery channels for enterprise WordPress sites, but they are increasingly hard to control as content distribution channels. There’s no guarantee all of your followers or fans will see your updates or articles (thanks to continually changing algorithms and pay-for-play), which makes solutions like newsletters even more attractive. One thing is clear, however: any content being published on a WordPress site must be both easy to share and ready to share, and as the previews and excerpts Twitter and Facebook feature from links shared on their networks change, so must the publisher be ready to adapt their content as well.

Multi-source & Interactive Content: After the success of The New York Times’ interactive “Snowfall,” a lot of sites felt the pressure to produce something as engaging and interactive.

“Everyone wants to snow-fall now, every day, all desks” — Jill Abramson, The New York Times Executive Editor (former).

We’re seeing WordPress being pushed and integrated in news ways — sometimes it’s the integrator of content from multiple sources and formats, and sometimes it’s the driver of content as a web app. Enterprise sites are incorporating interactive graphs and other media which keep the user coming back (and clicking around).

Comments: Comments continue to divide communities and publishing rooms, too. There’s such a spectrum of sites who have abolished comments altogether, to those who feature reader comment prominently integrated into their articles, and those who have tried to change the way people comment entirely by focusing on just a piece of the article or by directing & guiding the commenter’s viewpoint related to a specific point.

“…asking guiding questions and showing examples of ‘good’ comments focuses and elevates the conversation overall.” — Marc Lavallee, Deputy editor of interactive news, The New York Times.

Below is the complete deck from the presentation Trends in Enterprise WordPress Content (also on Slideshare). Once the video’s up on WordPress.tv, we’ll embed that here as well!

Want more information about WordPress services for media or enterprise sites? Get in touch.

*Update: the slides, which were presented earlier this month, erroneously position Jill Abramson at Wired. She was at The New York Times, and is now formerly at The NYT.  

WordPress Agencies: Facing Challenges for the Next 10 Years

Last week I gave a presentation at WordCamp Paris, focused on what WordPress agencies need to do to be enterprise-ready which I think is the biggest challenge the WordPress community is facing in the next ten years.

At WordPress.com VIP, we’re at the forefront of evaluating, analyzing, and enabling enterprise and large-organization WordPress projects with WordPress developers and agencies all over the world.  As the software matures and becomes more well-known, the demand for bigger and more innovative projects is increasing, too, and the many WordPress consultancies around the world need to be ready to answer that call.

Below are the slides from my presentation and then some additional insights and advice from WordPress.com VIP Featured Service Partners to WordPress agencies and consultancies all over the world.

Q: When did you know it was time to grow your team & how did you do it? What has contributed the most to your growth?

Austin Smith from Alley Interactive: Our project management team keeps a close eye on resource allocation and lets us know when it’s time to hire. We don’t allow ourselves to grow rapidly in response to any one big site build project—the baseline revenue has to grow in order for us to take on a new FTE. This also means that we can’t say yes to every large project. We’re lucky to have watched a similar agency expansion in the Drupal world from the sidelines, and we’ve witnessed that the agencies that grew rapidly in response to a few big contracts had a very hard time surviving after those projects were delivered and the big checks stopped coming. Don’t accept a project that you can’t deliver with the team you have at the moment you sign the agreement.

Tom Willmot from Human MadeWe’ve grown organically as the amount of work coming in has grown, we’ve generally been pretty cautious when adding to the team which I think has served us well. In the beginning that growth is slow as adding a single new person could be the equivalence of growing the team size by 33% but as you grow it becomes easier to grow more quickly.

Simon Dickson from Code for the People: I think of the early days of WordPress as a ‘serious’ platform – by which I’m talking 2006-8 – as its ‘punk rock’ years. I had seen corporate web development become slow, costly and too clever by half: think Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Emerson Lake and Palmer. For me and many others, involvement in WordPress was a reaction against all that, powered by enthusiasm rather than education. We could produce great work in small teams with minimal knowledge and minimal overheads. And although we could see amazing potential in WordPress, we tended to keep our ambitions in check – no concept albums or twenty-minute solos.

But as WordPress developed, and as we kept proving ourselves on the small stuff, clients began bringing bigger and bigger projects to us. Instead of modest microsites, we were being asked to develop the main website, or a corporate publishing platform. And with greater budgets come greater responsibility. We needed to expand the team, to provide cover for the skills we already had, and to add extra skills we didn’t already have.

The bar to becoming a great web developer is higher now than it ever has been. It’s unrealistic for someone to be an end-to-end expert in everything from responsive visuals to server efficiency, not to mention sales and business management. There’s still a huge market for ‘jacks of all trades’ – building smaller sites or working with smaller clients. But to build the kind of sites we wanted, for the kind of clients we wanted, we needed to put together a team of specialists.

Q: How has your coding workflow & style changed as you’ve grown? What prompted the changes?

Tom: We’ve evolved our workflow a lot, from what was a mish-mash of personal coding styles / workflows to what we have now which is pretty clearly defined. This was important to us for a number of reasons:

  1. We enforce internal code review, all code is reviewed by a coding buddy and vice-versa. This increases overall code quality, reduces bugs, promotes consistency and is a great way to learn from each other. We rotate those buddy pairs quarterly and purposefully pair across skill levels.
  2. Having a clearly defined workflow helps us work more effectively with freelancers and clients as they can easily get up to speed on how we like to work.
  3. Our local development environment is based on Vagrant which is huge in terms of ensuring everyone is working from a consistent base.

Simon: Over the past year, as we’ve added extra employees and expanded our freelancer pool, git has become absolutely pivotal to our work process.

We are a distributed team, scattered across the UK; yet we can all collaborate safely and effectively. Features can be developed in parallel, and merged together when ready – all the more important as we each specialise in different facets of site development. And with a visual tool such as SourceTree, we always have an overview of who’s working on what, and which version of the code is on which server. I can’t imagine how we ever coped without it.

Austin: The most significant change we made was to implement code review for everything we deliver. Every line of code we ship has at least one extra set of eyes on it. It’s not supervisory, it’s peer review, which fosters collaboration. This had a very positive side effect in terms of natural exchange of ideas, and has also ensured that our Github repositories now all use feature branches, which is definitely a best practice.

We formalized this practice when we grew our management team beyond the co-founders—it’s a way for us to ensure high quality code delivery whether the founders are involved in a project or not.

Q: What was the biggest challenge your team faced in serving larger clients? 

Simon: In our experience, even with the largest clients, the day-to-day responsibility for a project usually rests with one individual. And whenever possible, we like that individual to feel like part of our extended team. We often give them a login to our company-only chatroom and our code repository, so they can see the commit messages and join the ongoing dialogue. Transparency builds trust, with benefits for both sides.

Our biggest challenge has been learning to be patient. I spent most of my career working for large organisations, from national governments to tech multinationals, so I know all about dealing with slow decision-making processes, and challenging long-established policy or practice. In those first few months working for myself, I couldn’t quite believe how productive I could be. It’s all too easy to forget that others are still suffering.If you want to deal with large clients, you just have to accept the slowness. ‘No brainer’ decisions can take months, and there’s almost nothing you can do about it – apart from being ready to respond, as best you can, when the answer finally arrives.

Austin: We started our firm to work on big projects with big clients, so the size of work has only gotten incrementally bigger. We’ve always enforced internal consistency per project, but allow for overall standards to improve from project to project.

Tom: Assuming clients want the cheapest not the best – when you come from the mindset of serving small-business you tend to be hyper focused on delivering solutions as cheaply as possible. Often when estimating a project, say to add a simple e-commerce section you’ll think “we could knock something simple together in 2 days, but to really build something great we’ll need 2 weeks”. We want to seek out clients that want us to go for the latter option.

Q: What’s one thing you wish you had done from the very beginning?

Tom: I wish we had participated more in the WordPress community, in the early days I was more of a lurker than an interacter and definitely lost out because of it, more WordPress agencies need to wake up to the power of being part of the WP community.

Austin: I’d say code review, but it I’m not sure it would’ve been a reasonable thing to ask of our smaller team a couple years ago.

Simon: Simon & I had both been through the ‘starting a company’ thing previously; and we had been working as an unofficial partnership for a couple of years. So we knew the pitfalls which lay in wait during that first year.My advice to others would be to look for opportunities to use third-party services wherever possible. Time is the one thing you can’t stockpile: so it’s almost always worth spending a few pounds/euros/dollars on a good hosted service which will ‘just work’, even if there’s a free self-hosted equivalent.

Thanks to our WordPress.com VIP Featured Service Partners for their insights! We’ll be adding more to this as the answers come in.