WordPress Community Insights You May Not Know About

WordPress Community Insights You May Not Know - Plesk

Each year, seasoned WordPress developers, agency owners, WebPro experts and beginner users come together at WordCamps. From around the world, we connect, learn, and celebrate all things WordPress. WordCamps have grown from the one held by Matt Mullenweg in 2006, San Francisco – to hundreds all over the globe. Each with their own flavour, speakers, sessions, and communities. It’s only natural that we want to get more WordPress Community Insights.

As we create many WordPress-related products, we’re proudly involved in the community that makes WordPress and make regular appearances at WordCamps. We support WordCamps both with sponsorship and by showing up with a booth, speakers, games, special offers, raffles, and interviews. In November 2019, we attended WordCamp US and joined the thousands of other WP enthusiasts and experts. Celebrating and evolving the thriving WordPress ecosystem, hosting educational and engaging games and raffles with special prizes.

In exchange for the grand prize (that any techy would love), we took the opportunity to gather answers to a few burning questions for the WP community. We collated the responses from over one hundred respondents in the infographic you see below. Now we’re going to dive into these findings in a bit more detail and discuss a few patterns and trends we noticed.

Community Insights from WordCamp US 2019

WordPress is such a diverse and flexible platform that it’s used daily by a million different people in a million different ways. To be exact, there’s over 75 million people using WordPress in over 50 different languages. Powering over 172 million websites (around a third of the entire web). And those numbers are still growing.

So who are the WordPress Community?

From our survey of WordCamp attendees, we discovered that, as you would expect, most of them are developers — nearly half at 42%. The rest are a diverse bunch of bloggers, graphic designers, agency owners, marketers, SEOs, freelancers, security researchers, software developers. There are also prospective dev students or small business owners who are newbies to the WordPress world.

As you can see, there’s a real mix of people using WordPress for everything. From personal projects and their own career development to running businesses and supporting client projects. This is reflected in the reasons as to why people were attending WordCamp US.

Most of the respondents were at the event for both personal and professional reasons. With overall the biggest attraction being the opportunity to network, make connections, and simply have interesting conversations with like-minded people.

Of course, some people were there because they were running a session or because they simply wanted the free swag. But even so, they may have been meeting up with someone they met online or were otherwise benefiting from the strong WP community. Similarly, when we asked what they hope to take away from the weekend, respondents mostly mentioned making new friends, contacts and connections.

Other top takeaways included new knowledge/learning, feedback, contributing to the community and learning new solutions for current WP challenges. Many also want to improve accessibility of websites, or get a clearer idea of hosting options and new features out there. And, of course, grab some swag while they’re at it.

How The Community Uses WordPress

When you get a bunch of WP aficionados together in the same place, you can’t not ask them about their experiences with WordPress and the tools they’re currently using. Starting at the top with hosting options, over a third of people (39%) preferred Managed WordPress Hosting, with Cloud and Shared Hosting following at 17%.

In line with these results is what they voted as the most important factors when working with WordPress. Speed and performance took the crown with nearly two-thirds of the vote. While 45% were happy enough to have WordPress work well. However, 44% also wanted stability, and 36% were looking for a user-friendly design.

With over 50,000 plugins available, the WordPress plugins marketplace is booming. Many look to WordCamp for insights into plugins to announce development of their latest ground-breaking product. Maybe even to improve the efficiency of their sites, or simply discover what’s out there.

Interestingly, SEO plugins like Yoast are the most-used WordPress tools, with 55% of respondents using them over others. Second were analytics tools with 37%, security tools at 31%, and page builders, CSS and email marketing plugins coming up the rear.

This shows a clear focus of WP users to quantify and boost their site performance in search engine results pages (SERPs) as much as possible.

Doing Our Bit For The WordPress Community

To finish off the survey, we asked the WordCamp US attendees a few more questions, including if they had any WP-related goals, and if so, what they were. The results revealed that WordCamps have a feel of being about socialising and educating people. However, they’re also pivotal for those serious about pushing their business goals forward.

Some of the respondents’ top WordPress-related goals were:

  • making their products known to the world
  • growing their WordPress client base
  • becoming web developers
  • blogging more consistently
  • building non-profit websites
  • Building awesome sites in general
  • teaching more
  • Increasing their traffic and scaling
  • Getting all the clients and dominating the world

To help fellow members of the WordPress community to achieve these goals, we’ve built a variety of WordPress tools like the Plesk WordPress Toolkit. The WP Toolkit is a single interface for easily installing, configuring, and managing WordPress, jam-packed with features.

We asked the community if they thought the Plesk Toolkit would benefit their work. Nearly half of respondents chose “yes”, with just under a quarter choosing “I think so.” A few of the things that are holding people back included the price. Some were also not sure if it would integrate well. And a few would not go for it, simply because they don’t like change.

Looking Ahead to The Next WordCamp

Go for the speakers, the opportunities, the insights, the lego prizes, swag – or all of the above. Attending a WordCamp is a great way to meet awesome people and stay in touch with everything WordPress.

There has been over 700 WordCamps in 70 cities around the world to date. We plan to attend more in 2020 to continue supporting the WP community and development of the incredible open source platform. Starting with WordCamp Asia in February. To find a WordCamp near you, or even set up your own, visit WordCamp central.

Will you be attending WordCamp Asia in February 2020? What content would you like to see us cover from the event?

Why We Took Plesk to the Nordics #WCNordic

WordCamp Nordic

WordCamp Nordic was two years in the making and we were more than excited to be a part of this very first edition in Helsinki, Finland. There were many reasons why we sponsored and joined the event. Read on to find out.

Top Reasons We Sponsored the First WordCamp Nordic

WordCamp Nordic - Plesk Team
  1. Backing Open Source Projects
    We love open source because we get exposed to new and alternative concepts, techniques and approaches to solving problems. Plus, it helps create innovation opportunities.
  2. Investing in the WordCamp Community
    Being present in a first-time location creates opportunities to meet new people in a different region. If our contribution can help provide more of these events where people can strengthen relationships and create magic – then so be it.
  3. Supporting WordCamp Nordic Values
    We wanted to actively support this very first regional Nordic WordCamp which was a door-opener for more regional medium-sized WordCamps worldwide.
  4. Learning from industry professionals
    We weren’t there just to share our knowledge, contributions and resources. But also to learn from the WordPress experts about small business woes, hosting fears, developer tips, and more. All useful info we can share with our customers for a better WordPress and ultimate online experience.

Julius Haukkasalo on top business mistakes you can avoid

Julius Haukkasalo at WordCamp Nordic

As mentioned before, we were also at WordCamp Nordic to learn. And among the many talented individuals at the event, we discovered Julius. A business owner, who had a lot of wisdom to share on running a company. Especially useful for many of our Plesk customers, who also manage businesses themselves. Here are the top three tips we took from him.

 

  1. Don’t try to do it all alone

 

It’s easy to delegate the stuff you don’t like/care about. We all tend to do the stuff we’re best at. But if somebody can do 80% of what you do – delegate! You also need to prioritize yourself, your workload and how much you can take on while still being motivated and avoiding burnout. You are the most important resource for yourself and your company.

  1. Allow employees/colleagues to fail

Julius compared leading a team with raising a family. When his kids said they “don’t know how…”, or are “not good”, or “too small”, he figures it’s because he tried to protect them too much. Let your colleagues/employees make mistakes and learn.

  1. Don’t delay solving issues

If there is a conflict to solve, go for it without any delays. Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish when it’s about time to let your colleagues and employees do their own thing and when you are just being coward who tries to avoid conflicts.

Jonathan Sulo on WordPress plugins that hosters fear

Plesk at WordCamp NOrdic, Finland - Jonathan Sulo

One of our priorities at Plesk is speed and performance. So naturally, we had a lot of interest in Jonathan’s session – which was about plugins that drain performance and kill your database. So our hosting partners and customers would do well to stay away from plugins such as these to retain their clients.

He also suggested alternatives to use and some general usage and error-checking tips for WordPress plugins. We feel that the main point Jonathan made is that the most dangerous plugins are the ones you don’t update. Which we of course agree with 100%. Same goes for updating Plesk too.

Moreover, Jonathan believes it’s better to update and break the site than deal with the security risks of outdated software. He then went on to give us a checklist in order to add and run plugins the right way.

Adding plugins the right way

  • Think about whether you really need that plugin. Is it a must-have or nice to have?
  • Avoid plugins that “do it all”
  • Are there server-based or PHP functions or alternatives?

Running plugins the right way

  • Check out the plugin properly first
  • Only install from safe sources
  • Test before and after install
  • Activate for website or network
  • Delete plugins you don’t use
  • Scheduling: use server-based Cron (via control panel) & WP-CLI /usr/bin/php

Finally, he gave valuable advice within and outside WordPress, such as using WP-CLI and checking the error logs via your hosting provider.

Note: You can read our recommendations on WordPress plugins and backup solutions here.

Key Takeaways from our latest WordCamp Experience

Plesk at WordCamp Nordic - booth - support engineers, Francisco and Robert

Having our sales engineers, Francisco and Robert, on site was useful to gather info about the needs of the WordPress community. Plus get valuable feedback about the WordPress Toolkit and its features. A number of potential customers had technical queries about the software and its suitability for their projects – and we could easily answer.

We also seized the opportunity to connect with a few small to medium-sized partners and enhance our relationship with them. We’re looking forward to being present and doing more of this at more regional WordCamps like Latin America and SE Asia. And of course, hope for a 2020 edition of WordCamp Nordic!

All You Need to Know about the New WordPress Toolkit 3.5 [ VIDEO ]

Plesk WordPress Toolkit 3.5

Your needs come first so rest assured that we’re constantly evolving Plesk to bring you more value. Hence, the release of WordPress Toolkit 3.5, introducing an assortment of new security measures, a reimagined installation experience and more. Read on for a detailed overview of the updates you wanted, a WordPress Toolkit tour, plus WordPress Toolkit 3.6 spoilers.

Quick Tour of the updated WordPress Toolkit

Our pal Joe Casabona was one of the first to take the new WordPress Toolkit 3.5 for a spin. Here’s him demonstrating how easy it is to install and secure your WordPress, update multiple sites, clone and create a staging environment. All in just over 7 minutes!

New WordPress Toolkit Security Measures

New Plesk WordPress Toolkit 3.5 Screenshot 1-new-security-measures

First, you’ll likely see this notification pop up or find your previously secure instances suddenly marked as insecure. But don’t be alarmed – this just means you need to review and update the security status of your WordPress instances. Why? Because WordPress Toolkit 3.5 introduces 8 new security measures.

New Plesk WordPress Toolkit 3.5 Screenshot 2 - new security measures list

1.    New Hotlink Protection

Preventing other websites from displaying, linking or embedding your images (hotlinking), as this quickly drains your bandwidth and can make your site unavailable.

2.    Disable unused scripting languages

This security measure removes support for the scripting languages WordPress doesn’t use, like Python and Perl. Thus, blocking their related vulnerabilities. Available if you have the corresponding Hosting Settings management permission.

3.    New Bot Protection

Blocks bots that overload your site with unwanted requests, causing resource overuse. Note that you may want to temporarily disable this if you also use a service that scans your site for vulnerabilities, since it may also use bots.

4.    Disabled file editing in WP Dashboard

This measure prevents you from editing plugin and theme file sources directly in the WordPress interface. This is an extra protection layer for the WordPress instance in case an admin account is compromised so no malicious executable code gets into plugins or themes.

5.    Block access to sensitive files

Now you can choose to block files like wp-config.bak and wp-config.php.swp, from public access as they contain sensitive information, like connection credentials. Thus, also preventing exposure of files with info used to determine your WordPress instance. Also included are files like logs, shell scripts and other executables that may exist on your WordPress instance and whose security can be compromised.

6.    Block author scans / user ID phishing

These scans find registered usernames, especially WordPress admin, and brute-force attack your site’s login page. The above block prevents this, but note that depending on your site’s permalink configuration, you may also be preventing visitors from accessing pages that list all articles by a certain author.

7.    Block access to .htaccess and .htpasswd

Attackers who gain access to .htaccess and .htpasswd files can exploit your site to a variety of breaches. These files aren’t usually accessible by default, but sometimes they might be. This is where this security measure steps in.

8.    Disable PHP execution in cache directories

If a compromised PHP file ends up in one of the cache directories of your site, executing it can lead to compromising the whole site. So this measure disables execution of PHP files in cache directories to prevent such exploits. However, certain plugins and themes may ignore WordPress Security recommendations and store valid PHP executables in their cache anyway. So you can disable this security feature for them to work, or find a more secure alternative, as recommended.

You’re in Control of Security Updates

You should be able to supervise any website-affecting changes so WordPress Toolkit won’t automatically apply these new security measures on existing installations. So upon opening your list of WordPress instances after the WordPress Toolkit 3.5 update, you’ll see a one-time notification about this.

On that note, you’ll now see that two existing security measures are now less restrictive. First, the “Security of the wp-includes directory” checker now excludes the wp-tinymce.php file to avoid potential issues with Gutenberg and other editing  plugins. Second, the “Security of the wp-content directory” measure now prevents the execution of PHP files only in the wp-content/uploads directory.

New Plesk WordPress Toolkit 3.5 Screenshot 3 - control security updates

These checkers will be reapplied automatically for convenience and do not reduce WordPress security in any noticeable way.

New WordPress Toolkit 3.5 Installation Experience

WordPress Toolkit previously offered two installation options: Quick and Custom. Both had unfortunate shortcomings. ‘Quick’ didn’t ask you questions, but also didn’t give info on the parameters to use when installing WordPress. ‘Custom’ gave you control and displayed everything, but you had to fill out the form.

New WordPress Toolkit installation experience

Now users can make an informed choice whether to confirm defaults and install WordPress quick, or take time to change the options they want. With the new, unified WordPress installation, you can still install WordPress in one click, but you’ll always know how it’s happening. Meanwhile, you can change all relevant installation parameters when necessary.

Bonus: You now have to enable automatic updates of plugins and themes within a more streamlined form, without Search Engine Visibility and Debug Mode.

WordPress Toolkit - Automatic update settings

The final change to the WordPress installation process is the ability to install on any domain from any accessible subscription. This is available anytime you click WordPress in the left navigation panel, even if you’re a reseller or server admin. One small step for WordPress Toolkit, one giant leap for adminkind.

New Plesk WordPress Toolkit 3.5 Screenshot 6 - install on any domain from any accessible subscription

WordPress Classic Plugin anyone?

If you’re not yet ready to use Gutenberg, you have a new ‘WordPress Classic’ plugin set. It also has a sibling ‘WordPress Classic with Jetpack’. However, note that we don’t plan to add immediate support for ClassicPress.

WordPress Classic plugin

Updates to CLI

We updated the CLI command for the new WordPress installation. Specifically adding -auto-updates, -plugins-auto-updates, and -themes-auto-updates to the plesk ext wp-toolkit install command. And plesk ext wp-toolkit –clear-wpt-cache to clean WordPress Toolkit cache and handle issues with invalid cache data like corrupted WordPress distributive lists, or broken lists of languages and versions.

WordPress Toolkit 3.6 Spoilers

The Plesk team fixed a record 43 issues reported by customers and over 140 bugs reported overall. Moving forward, WordPress Toolkit 3.6 will lay foundations for the upcoming release of Remote Management for WordPress Toolkit. Plus, we’re continuing the switch to the new UI, this time redesigning the Clone and Sync procedures along with more relevant user-requested improvements. We’re also busy improving our internal process so we can deliver more high-quality stuff in less time, so stay tuned!

Are You Making Any of These 10 Website Launch Mistakes?

Website Launch Mistakes

You should consider your company website the essential bridge connecting your clients to your business. It’s the go-to platform where potential customers can find all the relevant company info, your products and services, and a way to get them. And while many businesses have now grasped the fundamental importance of investing in a proper website, there are still 10 common pitfalls that can hinder your website’s performance and success.

Vital security measures

1. Missing vital security measures

Online security has become a key factor users look out for when accessing new websites. Think of features like SSL, providing a safe, encrypted link between browser and server, or a CAPTCHA, stopping unwanted bots. Not investing in them can mean unknown sources interfering with your business website performance. In turn, poor performance will very likely result in scaring away potential clients.

Update WordPress plugins

2. Forgetting WordPress plugin updates

As with any system, the different features that make up WordPress require regular maintenance. Failing to do so can slow your website way down and even make certain functions not work properly for their users. So it’s vital for your business to find a tool to update these plugins regularly, such as the popular WordPress Toolkit. Because this lets you mass-manage instances, plugins and themes instantly and from one place. Among many WordPress Toolkit benefits, you also get a staging environment to test new features before they go live.

No scalability

3. Not planning for scalability

Any online business aims to get the biggest customer base possible. So naturally, it’s important for your website to be built in such a way that you can later scale. For example, having enough server power to handle a surge in traffic. And having efficient data backup to manage mass information flow. Note that it’s always better to account for this from the start because it will become very difficult to upgrade a website at the last minute.

Plesk’s control panel works as a scaling tool, allowing businesses to grow over time. Hosting providers can manage their clients and servers across different infrastructure setups, even tailoring it to their business needs.

Accessibility

4. Failing to account for accessibility

In an age where users can access a website from any OS, browser, or device – we all need to make sure we’re available everywhere and to everyone. It would be quite damaging if a business website is designed in such a way that it loses compatibility with, say, iOS devices. Because this essentially eliminates an entire section of potential customers interested in your services. So make sure any device, OS and browser can access your website.

Website Audit

5. Forgetting to undertake a website audit

Website audits are a full analysis of all the different issues that may impact your website’s visibility in a search engine. This is especially important when considering marketing campaigns, because a website audit can help your business uncover weak factors that impact performance.

SEO

6. Skipping SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process where one optimizes their websites so as to receive higher natural rankings in search engine results. And with the online market becoming increasingly more competitive, SEO is a key tool for business to stand out.

Not implementing SEO on a website relegates it to lower position on a search results page, meaning that business can miss out on a considerable number of potential customers. Since SEO can be quite extensive, we recommend that beginners install the SEO Toolkit on Plesk to get started and get found online.

Sitemap

7. Ditching the sitemap

A site map is essentially a list of pages that make up a website and is considered a tool for search engine bots to crawl your website and index it. When a page gets indexed, it makes it more easily searchable in a search engine, thereby increasing its visibility. Therefore, if you don’t submit a sitemap to a search engine, you’re effectively limiting your website’s visibility.

Marketing strategy

8. Not having a marketing strategy

Choose your content carefully as it sets the tone for your brand, but make sure it ties in well with your marketing strategy. No marketing strategy makes sales attempts messy. If your mission doesn’t make sense to your potential customers, they’ll find it difficult to engage with your brand. Meaning that ultimately, they won’t convert.

Ignoring analytics- 10 Website Launch Mistakes - Plesk

9. Ignoring Analytics

Website analytics give businesses valuable insights about their audience, like age, location, and preferences. They can also reveal visitor behaviour, like each website session’s duration, which pages are the most popular and how a visitor arrives at your site. Use this to build a complete profile of your target customer so you can cater to their needs better with your product, service and content.

Social proof

10. Forgetting your social proof

When it comes to online businesses, everyone looks for proof of its legitimacy before engaging further. These include client testimonials, means of contact, including physical addresses and actual phone numbers, and most importantly active social profiles. Businesses who focus so hard on the actual product that they forget their social community, end up losing customers to competitors. Perhaps competitors who were more engaged.

As you can see, launching a business website isn’t as simple as plugging in and hitting the ‘on’ switch. You need to plan for all of the above and more well in advance. Since they all have the potential to increase customer traffic and your overall business success.

Do you agree with all the points we mentioned above? Have we missed anything? Your opinion counts. Let us know in the comments below!

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