Over the years, web users of all skill levels have embraced the WordPress platform for its simple user interface, clean aesthetic and customizable design options. The simplicity of WordPress was especially attractive to less-experienced users in its early days. WordPress’s creators set out to democratize publishing by equipping its users with intuitive tools and attractive templates that would permit even the novice blogger to set up and maintain a beautiful website.

However, as WordPress’s feature set has evolved, and as WordPress has entered and become the largest player in the content management system space, the users who first adopted it because of its ease of use are finding that it is no longer easy to use.

WordPress is no longer the simple blogging platform it bagan as. It now runs twenty-five percent of the web, and everyone from bloggers to large enterprises is using it to power their web presence, and, in some cases, their native applications.

As a result, it is difficult for small businesses, who may need more features than the typical SquareSpace or Wicks can provide, but who don’t need WordPress in all its powerful glory, to make sense of everything they’re presented with when they first set up WordPress.

GoDaddy aims to solve this problem by providing a pared-down version of the WordPress administration screens that provide only the features that small businesses and online store owners will find useful.

I have no idea what this is going to mean for the accessibility of the service, or if accessibility has even been considered. I also have no idea how much of the accessibility work that has gone into the WordPress backend has been taken out with these customizations. But it will be interesting to watch how this pans out. WP Easy Mode is only in its first iteration, and GoDaddy is promising that more is yet to come. Let’s hope that accessibility is still in the mix.


Web Savvy Marketing has taken things a couple steps further, and discontinued lifetime support for individually-purchased themes, along with restricting their all-themes icense to known developers. Instead of purchasing that license through their theme store, you’ll need to fill out the contact form and make an inquiry to purchase Web Savvy Marketing’s all-themes package.

As of yesterday, StudioPress, the makers of the Genesis Framework, are now including all third-party themes sold through their website in their StudioPress Pro Plus All-Theme Package. This means that, if you’ve already purchased the package, you’ now start receiving access to the third-party themes, along with any new child theme from StudioPress plus the lifetime support. If you haven’t already purchased the package, and you’re building websites, now would be a good time to do so.

For the next week, you can get the StudioPress Pro Plus All-Theme Package, valued at north of $1,400, for $350 U.S. If you’ve purchased any StudioPress theme in the past, you’ll get a further twenty-five percent discount, which drops the price to $262.46 U.S.

As long as you buy within the next week, you’ll also receive unlimited support. StudioPress is killing that off at the end of the year, and will, after that point, be placing limits on the support they offer.

I can’t say for certain whether or not lifetime unlimited support will disappear for those who purchase the Genesis Framework and a single child theme, but I suspect it will. It wouldn’t make sense for StudioPress to kill lifetime support for just their all-themes package.

This news makes me wonder if the days of lifetime support for themes in the WordPress space is coming to an end. Themes have been a commodity for a while now, and I’d like to believe this could be changing. StudioPress tends to set trends, and I don’t think I’m off the mark in saying that other theme shops tend to follow suit.

So if you’re a smaller WordPress shop and you use Genesis, or have thought about doing so for your clients, seriously, Go get the StudioPress Pro Plus All-Theme Package.

Lots of people have lots of questions about WordPress.

Sometimes, the answer is quick, and only requires a little bit of direction to get you on the right path.

Enter: Ask Me Anything

Ask Me Anything is a weekly chat session that will take place every Wednesday at 7PM Eastern using both the TeamTalk conferencing system and the hashtag #wpama on Twitter. The server address for TeamTalk is 4.onj.me, the ports are 10334, and Ask Me Anything will take place in the “Ask Me Anything” channel. You can ask me anything on the following topics:

  • General WordPress setup and configuration
  • The Genesis framework and StudioPress child themes
  • WordPress.com
  • Finding the right WordPress plugin to meet your needs
  • Finding the right WordPress theme for your site
  • Finding the right hosting
  • General hosting questions
  • Finding the right domain for your site
  • Web accessibility

What’s Not Included?

There’s only a few things that aren’t included, mainly because they would limit the ability of others to get their questions answered:

  • Specific plugin or theme setup/configuration
  • Code snippets
  • Specific hosting configuration instructions

What’s it going to cost?

The only thing Ask Me Anything is going to cost you is the time it takes to ask your question and the time it takes to answer it. Other than time, it’s completely free.

What if I can’t make it for the live sessions?

If you can’t make it for the live sessions, no worries. Each Friday, the session notes wil be posted with links to participants’ websites if they exist. Plus, any questions we can’t get to during the sessions will be posted as free tips/tutorials on this site that you’ll be able to browse through and implement when you have the time.

How long will AMA sessions last?

AMA will last one hour each week, and I’ll answer as many questions as I can get to. Any questions I don’t get to will be answered in upcoming sessions.

Can I ask questions outside AMA?

Yes, you can. Just use the #wpama hashtag and I’ll answer your questions during AMA sessions.

I’m looking forward to sharing knowledge with you during Ask Me Anything. Let’s make this fun, informative and engaging together. Until Wednesday.

Code For The People is a six-person WordPress development agency based in the UK, known for their great service and the enterprise tools they’ve created. Automattic has acquired them and will be winding down the consulting part of their business as they join the WordPress.com VIP team to continue building the best tools and services for enterprises using WordPress.

Code for the People brings some unique qualities to the Automattic table, like developing WordPress solutions for government agencies and doing a lot of work on the multilingual front. They’re responsible for the development of Babbel.

Code For The People is coming to Automattic with a strong enterprise track record: it has already helped to build out sites for companies like IPC Media, which runs some 30 publications on WordPress; the Rolling Stones, and government agencies. The co-founders have a long history themselves of working not just in WordPress but also enterprises. Before starting Code For The People they cut their teeth at a range of businesses, including government organizations, to help them build sites. That expertise, and familiarity with the community of people working in those kinds of businesses today, will come in handy as this becomes an increasing focus for Automattic as it looks to grow its revenues.

“We have the largest and deepest audience profiles on the web.” — David Fleck, general manager of advertising at Disqus. Translation: We’re tracking everyone who visits a website with Disqus enabled and building a profile of them based on the content of the sites they visit and any comments they leave. “Deeper” than Facebook.

“So I’m particularly excited to announce that we’re bringing our native advertising product, Sponsored Comments, to the world of programmatic and we’re doing it on a global basis. […] Starting today, Xaxis clients, which include some of the best brands in the world, will buy and place Sponsored Comments advertising across much of the Disqus network.” Translation: It’s not comment spam if we’re getting paid for it.

The only thing that’s surprising about this is how long it took for sponsored comments to happen. One more reminder that if a service is free, you are not the customer, you are the product.

Via Matt

I can’t say enough good things about WP Engine. I host all my sites with them, as well as some clients, and they’ve provided excellent customer service and support, even at the worst of times, not to mention doing an excellent job at providing everything they advertise. While I was at WordCamp San Francisco this weekend, they even helped with some support queries I had while they were manning their swag table and hosting a special episode of the Dradcast. They did this without my asking. I was speaking to a rep while walking around networking. The subject of how I like the service came up, and when I mentioned that I needed to file some tickets to get some issues looked into, the rep offered to let the table know I would be coming by later to get some help with support, and the table delivered on that offer promptly when I showed up.

Now, WP Engine is rolling out a new service: a new disaster-recovery option for automatically sending web traffic to an alternative data center in the event of a catastrophe at the data center they primarily use.

What this means is that if their servers go down, your site gets automatically routed to a backup copy with no more than a few minutes downtime so that your readers can still get to your content. It also means that maintenance can be performed when it’s needed, instead of having issues pile up until you get to the scheduled time for maintenance.

If you’re using your site to make money in any way, this is a feature you’ll definitely want to have at your disposal. It can mean the difference between gained versus lost clients. I hope my site never goes down, but this is the internet, and nothing can guarantee that your servers will be up all the time. Disasters also have a funny way of effecting things. Like a hurricane hits where your site’s hosted,knocks out the power, and poof, everything goes down. Or hardware fails in the server your site’s hosted on, and it goes down.So if it’s important to you that your content is reachable to your readers, and you don’t want to, (or can’t) manage your servers yourself, then give WP Engine a try. You have sixty days to get a complete refund if you’re not satisfied for any reason ith their services, or even if you find that their services are not for you.