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 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.


“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.


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.


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.


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


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!

A New Plugin Directory with New and Updated Plugins

It’s a new year, and we have a new VIP Plugin Directory for you to explore. Because we know you’re busy, here’s a curated list of new and updated plugins for you to check out.

Column Shortcodes

Sometimes you just need to divide your page into different columns. With this plugin, you simply select a column shortcode and it will add the column to the page.

Document Feedback

Document Feedback helps close the loop between documentation writers and readers by appending a simple feedback form to Pages (or other post types that you specify). Readers are asked whether the document answered their question or not.

Taxonomy List Widget

This plugin creates a list (bulleted, number, or custom) of non-hierarchical taxonomies as an alternative to the tag cloud. Numerous formatting options are provided, including maximum numbers of terms, term order, truncating of term names, and more. List styles are fully customizable, with built-in support for bulleted lists and numbered lists.

NBCS Advanced Blacklist

Handmade by the VIP Community! By NBC Sports

This plugin adds two new blacklists to WordPress’s blacklist feature: one which blacklists only complete words in comment content, and another which will be checked only against usernames, e-mail addresses, user sites, and IP addresses (but not comment content). In addition, the plugin features a user-friendly interface allowing administrators to see exactly what effect each blacklist would have if a given term were added to it.

Updated Plugins:

  • SEO Auto Linker helps you automatically add links into your content. The latest updates include support for nofollowing links, the option to use unicode word boundaries, and a few bug and performance updates.
  • WP Help allows site operators to make documentation for the site’s authors and editors, viewable in the WordPress admin. The latest update includes drag-and-drop reordering of the documents list.
  • Safe Redirect Manager lets you safely and easily manage your website’s HTTP redirects. The latest updates include the ability to bulk delete redirects from the manage redirects screen, and wp-cli coverage including subcommands for creating, deleting, and listing redirects, and importing .htaccess files.
  • EditFlow introduces editorial team collaboration tools to WordPress. The latest update includes “scheduled” as a status you can see in “Posts At a Glance,” and a few bug fixes.
  • Co-Authors Plus assigns multiple bylines to WordPress content. The latest update allows you to add your own columns to the guest authors table, and includes a few bug fixes.
  • Ad Code Manager allows you to manage ad codes through the WordPress admin in a safe and easy way. The latest update allows you to set operator logic for conditionals on a code by code basis.
  • Add Meta Tags automatically adds HTML meta tags to your site. The latest update added compatibility support for Yoast meta keys, Google News support (contributed by VIP Metro UK), and new filters (contributed by VIP BGR).
  • Uppsite helps convert your website into an application for smartphones with just one click of a button. The latest updates include improved support for galleries, media, and other customization options.

Only 5% Of Publishers Use The Google News Keywords Meta Tag

Danny Sullivan reports on Search Engine Land that only 5% of news publishers are using the Google News Keywords tag, which Google introduced back in September—are you one of them? If not, it may interest you to know that WordPress.com VIP comes with support for the news_keywords tag built-in, via the Add Meta Tags plugin available from your WordPress dashboard.

Google introduced the new tag a few months ago to help publishers make their content more easily discoverable, without having to modify their headlines to inject keywords:

The goal is simple: empower news writers to express their stories freely while helping Google News to properly understand and classify that content so that it’s discoverable by our wide audience of users.

Similar in spirit to the plain keywords metatag, the news_keywords metatag lets publishers specify a collection of terms that apply to a news article. These words don’t need to appear anywhere within the headline or body text. News keywords such as “stocks”, “stock market”, or “crash” would be helpful in allowing Google News to better understand the article content for ranking without forcing the editors to water down the creativity of a great headline. Because the metatag appears only as part of the HTML code of a page, visitors to a site won’t ever see the magic under the hood.

Head over to VIP -> Plugins & Services from within your WordPress dashboard to activate the Add Meta Tags plugin and the Google News meta tag on your site—happy SEO’ing!

And thanks to our friends at Metro.co.uk who added the support for news_keywords to Add Meta Tags!

Liveblog 1.2: Compatibility with WordPress 3.5, bug fixes, and more

We pushed a new version of the Liveblog plugin this week. Liveblog 1.2 includes some compatibility updates for WordPress 3.5 and various feature enhancements and  bug fixes.

  • Introduce many new hooks and filters, which help customization without changing the plugin code.
  • Allow shortcodes and OEmbed in liveblog entries.
  • Fix JavaScript errors on IE8, props @pippercameron.
  • Fix issues with entry preview.
  • Compatibility with plupload 1.5.4, props @borkweb.
  • Translations:

Download the update from the WordPress.org plugin repository or send get involved in the development on Github.

Co-Authors Plus v3.0: Introducing Guest Authors

Co-Authors Plus makes it possible to assign multiple bylines to posts, pages, and custom post types via a search-as-you-type meta box. Version 3.0, several months in the making, allows you to assign bylines without having to create corresponding WordPress user accounts. Simply create a guest author profile for the writer and assign the byline as you normally would.

Guest authors can have all of the same fields as normal users, including display name, biography, and avatars. In fact, you can extend the model to include your own fields too. On the frontend, guest author profiles appear as normal user accounts would.

Many thanks to Austin Smith at Alley Interactive for his assistance with much of the original architecture.

This release also includes:

  • Support for non-Latin characters in usernames and guest author names.
  • wp-cli subcommands for creating, assigning, and reassigning co-authors.
  • For themes using core template tags like the_author() or the_author_posts_link(), you enable Co-Authors Plus support with a simple filter.
  • New author terms are now automatically prefixed with ‘cap-‘ to avoid collisions with global scope. You can run wp co-authors-plus migrate-author-terms to migrate and prefix existing terms.
  • Bug fix: Apply query filters to only post_types registered with the taxonomy. Props Tom Ransom.
  • Filter coauthors_posts_link_single() with ‘coauthors_posts_link’. Also adds rel=”author”. Props Amit Sannad and Gabriel Koen.
  • Filter for the context and priorities of the Co-Authors meta boxes. Props Tomáš Kapler.
  • Renamed the post meta box for selecting authors so it applies to many post types. Props John Blackbourn.

Co-Authors Plus v3.0 is already available in the VIP Shared Plugins directory for WordPress.com VIP hosted clients. Everyone else is welcome to leave feedback, bug reports, and praise in the WordPress.org forums. Get involved with development on Github.

Sara Rosso:

Jetpack 2.0 is here! So many great WordPress.com features come to WordPress sites wherever they are hosted!

Originally posted on Jetpack for WordPress:

The past nine releases of Jetpack have started to reveal our vision for next-generation features that will boost WordPress’ incredible success by making it more social, more connected, more mobile, and more customizable.

Over three million downloads later, we’re excited to report that the community has embraced this seemingly impossible vision for combining the best of hosted and non-hosted WordPress. This tenth release brings some of the most-asked-for features into the hands of millions of Jetpackers.

Publicize to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr…

You no longer have to jump through hoops and developer portals to connect your blog to your friends on your favorite social networks. Through Jetpack and your WordPress.com account, you can connect to each network with just a few clicks and broadcast to your audiences and followers across several networks, making WordPress your true digital hub. Activate Publicize from the main Jetpack page in your dashboard, then go…

View original 470 more words

Digital Subscriptions with MediaPass and WordPress.com VIP

MediaPass, a WordPress.com VIP Featured Partner, offers one of the best digital subscription solutions on the market. They’re continually adding new features to optimize the publisher experience, and in two weeks will be releasing some major updates for VIP users.

To kick things off, MediaPass is hosting a demo exclusively for WordPress.com VIP customers, partners, and friends—if you’ve ever considered increasing your web property’s total monetization by incorporating paid subscriptions, now’s the perfect time to give MediaPass a try.

Join us on October 4th from 10am – 11:00AM PDT for a free demo hosted by the MediaPass and VIP teams.

Register now!

Can’t make it?  Make an appointment with Rob Leon, VP of MediaPass Publisher Development by selecting any open slot on this calendar.

New Liveblog Add-On from WordPress.com VIP

We’re proud of our VIP Clients, many of whom report the latest and most important news as soon as it’s available. It was they who we thought of when we developed the new Liveblog Add-on.

We can’t wait for you to see it in action, either as an author, or a reader! To see what it will look like, take a look at the video we created for the Liveblog Add-on.

Here’s what makes the Liveblog Add-on special:

  • Post updates right from the front-end of your site (no need to use the /wp-admin dashboard)
  • Viewers of your Liveblog get new entries served to them instantly and automatically, without needing to refresh their browser.
  • Your authors can drag-and-drop photos right into the Liveblog area, without needing to navigate to separate browser tabs or windows.
  • There’s no need for a separate site dedicated to liveblogging: every post can be a liveblog, even existing ones.

If you’re interested in using the Liveblog Add-on as a WordPress.com VIP Hosting client, get in touch!

If that’s not enough, we’ve also completely open-sourced the Liveblog code for self-hosted WordPress! You can find it in the WordPress.org plugin repository and on github.

Take a closer look:

Thanks to VIPs GigaOM and Local TV for their feedback and contributions during the beta testing phase for the plugin.

Bulk User Management

Josh Betz is an Intern Code Wrangler with Automattic’s WordPress.com VIP program this summer before he heads back to the University of Wisconsin to complete his degree in Computer Science. He enjoys running, hacking on WordPress, and the beautiful view from the terrace at UW’s Memorial Union.

Bulk User Management is a plugin that we’ve built to solve the problem of having to access each site in your network to manage users. It is especially useful for site administrators with large blog networks or anyone who might want to add multiple users to multiple sites from a single dashboard.

Bulk User Management allows a set of specified users to manage permissions across all your sites. Users from every site in your network are displayed in a list and can be added to or removed from any of your sites. Any users who aren’t currently in your network can still be invited to any of your blogs through the normal invite process.

The plugin works by aggregating a list of users from all your sites into a single list with information about each user, like their username, email address, and their user level on each of the sites they have access to. There are bulk actions available like “Modify” and “Remove” that let you make changes in large batches instead of one at a time.

You can select which users to manage with checkboxes just like you would see in the normal Users page. Selecting an action from the “Bulk Actions” dropdown will reveal a bulk edit section in the table where you can select which blogs the changes should apply to and a role if necessary.

The following are some screenshots showing step by step how the bulk editing flow works.

Bulk User Management is also available in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory. It’s also on github, we’d love to have you check out the code and contribute!