Extreme Makeover, Data.gov Edition

Earlier this week, Data.gov relaunched with a beautiful new redesign. Behind it is a powerful CMS platform called WordPress. The previous version of the site ran on a mix of Drupal and other proprietary systems, but as Marion Royal points out in a blog post explaining the relaunch, development on the previous version of the site was done behind closed doors. Marion goes on to explain the open source ethos that was put into play with this update of the site:

Now we’re using open source systems, including WordPress and CKAN. Most importantly, the development is public from the beginning on GitHub so you can see how the site came to be, and will continue to grow. We’ve already had significant help from the open source community and look forward to more.

Data.gov is one of the most innovative initiatives inside of the federal government. A talented team of designers and developers are working hard to expose millions of pieces of government data from across the entire government so that citizens, along with government entities, can leverage that data for good. From the Data.gov website:

Data.gov is the home of the US government’s open data. You can find Federal, state and local data, tools, and resources to conduct research, build apps, design data visualizations, and more. The Data.gov team works at the U.S. General Services Administration, but the site itself is open source, and we’d love your help making it even better.

I have personally worked closely with many of the developers who helped to steer this project. I have been continuously impressed by their level of dedication to opening up government data and putting it into the hands of those who want to use it to make America a better place. I expect big things out of this team, and I believe that Data.gov — and other similar initiatives — can help redefine the way citizens view the work that the government does. It’s an exciting time to be working on these issues and I’m very excited to see WordPress at the center of the action in Washington, DC.

Data.gov on GitHub.

ESPN’s Grantland launches on WordPress.com VIP

Welcome to ESPN’s Grantland, a popular sports & pop-culture blog started by veteran writer and sports journalist Bill Simmons — it now has a home on WordPress.com VIP Cloud Hosting!

10up partnered with ESPN to develop the new site and worked with our team to transition its content to WordPress.com. 10up is one of our Featured Partners.

Grantland features stories from a long list of contributors, several podcasts and video content, as well as the Grantland Quarterly, a printed companion to the site.



grantland3Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 6.16.08 PM

Visit Grantland.

Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher launch Re/code on WordPress.com VIP

The first WordPress.com VIP launch of 2014 goes to Re/code, a new venture by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher.


According to Re/code’s launch post:

We are thrilled to announce that we are forming our own new and independent media company, Revere Digital, with a pair of respected investors and partners — the NBCUniversal News Group and Terry Semel’s Windsor Media. Revere will be operating news sites and apps, as well as a series of conferences.

First up is Re/code, a new tech and media news, reviews and analysis site launching today, with the same talented team we’ve worked with for many years at the former All Things Digital site we ran for Dow Jones & Co beginning in 2007.

The site is also home to Revere Digital’s new conference series, The Code Conference.


We’re thrilled to celebrate the New Year by welcoming Recode.net to the WordPress.com VIP family. Congratulations!

And we push the button for @recode

A video posted by Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) on

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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.


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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!

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Congratulations to the 2013 EPPY Award Winners

We wanted to take a moment to celebrate teams in the WordPress.com VIP community who have recently been recognized in Editor & Publisher’s 18th Annual EPPY awards.

Best Overall Website Design with 1 million unique monthly visitors and over: GlobalNews.ca


We’d also like to congratulate our Featured Partner 10up, who completed the development work on GlobalNews.ca.

Best Business/Finance Website with 1 million unique monthly visitors and over: CNNMoney


Best Entertainment Blog with 1 million unique monthly visitors and over: CNN – The Marquee Blog

The Marquee Blog

Best Sports Blog with 1 million unique monthly visitors and over: The MMQB

We’re delighted to be working with teams and websites that are being recognized for their excellence in smart design and high-quality content.


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

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WordPress Powers Health Care Reform

In March 2010, President Barack Obama signed landmark comprehensive health care reform known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and also known as ‘ObamaCare’.

Yesterday, a critical component of the legislation rolled out, giving American consumers the chance to purchase health policies on the open market by joining a pool of other buyers, which legislators and policy analysts believe will ultimately drive down the cost of health care for everyone. In some instances, these exchanges are being run by the states and in other cases, the federal government is administering the marketplace.

We were very excited to see that WordPress is the dominant content management system being used to power these exchange websites and as a result of this powerful platform, yesterday, millions of Americans from coast to coast researched their heath care options and began the open enrollment process.

Here are some great examples of WordPress being put to work behind large, enterprise-level websites who are dealing with complicated data structures, high traffic demands and of course, sensitive security.

Get Covered America


Get Covered Illinois


HealthSource RI


New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange


Connect For Health Colorado


Hawaiʻi Health Connector


Massachusetts Health Connector


Maryland Health Connection


Hungry for more information? The Kaiser Family Foundation (powered by WordPress.com VIP) has a great resource on their new website. If you’d like to get in touch to find out more about hosting your website on WordPress.com VIP, you can contact us here!