Blog

WordPress 5.0. What’s new?

WordPress 5.0 dropped December 6, 2018. The release is being touted as the most dramatic update to WordPress in 15 years. So what’s new? Techarim hits the highlights.

  1. Gutenburg Editor
  2. Twenty Nineteen Theme
  3. Easier development, updated APIs

For users, the greatest addition in 5.0 is the Gutenburg editor, which is WordPress’s own page builder. Gutenburg uses drag-and-drop “blocks” that allow users to create their own page layouts. For a full analysis check out Smashing Magazine’s The Complete Anatomy Of The Gutenberg WordPress Editor. There’s also a Gutenburg video and tutorials from WordPress.

Just a month old, Gutenburg has yet to get the development community fully behind it. But give it time. Gutenburg is powerful, and it will redefine how designers approach WordPress theme building. For a good preview, checkout Colorlib’s list of 30+ Gutenburg-compatible themes.

Twenty Nineteen Theme

WordPress releases a new default theme every year. Twenty Nineteen is Gutenburg-ready.

Non-human traffic rules the internet

The bots have won. The Inversion is upon us. More than half of all internet traffic is fake, or at least non-human. And our digital reality will never again be the same.

Studies generally suggest that, year after year, less than 60 percent of web traffic is human; some years, according to some researchers, a healthy majority of it is bot. For a period of time in 2013, the Times reported this year, a full half of YouTube traffic was “bots masquerading as people,” a portion so high that employees feared an inflection point after which YouTube’s systems for detecting fraudulent traffic would begin to regard bot traffic as real and human traffic as fake. They called this hypothetical event “the Inversion.”

In the future, when I look back from the high-tech gamer jail in which President PewDiePie will have imprisoned me, I will remember 2018 as the year the internet passed the Inversion, not in some strict numerical sense, since bots already outnumber humans online more years than not, but in the perceptual sense. The internet has always played host in its dark corners to schools of catfish and embassies of Nigerian princes, but that darkness now pervades its every aspect: Everything that once seemed definitively and unquestionably real now seems slightly fake; everything that once seemed slightly fake now has the power and presence of the real. The “fakeness” of the post-Inversion internet is less a calculable falsehood and more a particular quality of experience — the uncanny sense that what you encounter online is not “real” but is also undeniably not “fake,” and indeed may be both at once, or in succession, as you turn it over in your head.

Read the whole thing. Every sentence. It’s a disorienting gaze into our untrustable, shape-shifting future.

Cambodia: the state of tech

The Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a German think-tank, brought together ten of the tech sector’s leading minds to survey the state of the industry. The result is a smart overview of the challenges facing the sector as well as several deep dives into some of the most important aspects facing the industry. The report includes 10 chapters:

  1. Cambodia’s Journey to Become a Digital Economy: The Current Landscape by Kanika Montha
  2. Embracing the Digital Economy: Policy Consideration for Cambodia by Pheakdey Heng
  3. Using Data to Drive Business Growth in Cambodia by Christopher Treshan Perera & Chhaya So
  4. The Future of Waste Management – Seizing the Potential of Digitalization by Lilli Tabea Albrecht
  5. Women in Cambodia’s Digital Economy: Key Challenges and Opportunities by Socheata Touch
  6. Policy vs. Privacy and Data Protection Implications: A Case of Cambodia by Ngoun Somaly
  7. Cambodian SMEs in the 4th Industrial Revolution: Government Policies and Opportunities by Lydet Pidor
  8. Digital Transformation in SMEs: Understanding the Challenges of German SMEs by Robert Hör
  9. China’s Techno-Utilitarian Experiments with Artificial Intelligence by Dev Lewis
  10. Content Popularity on Social Media Platforms: How Business Models and User Preferences Meet by Pablo Porten-Cheé

The overall consensus is that Cambodia is not just behind but far behind in the race for digital supremacy. The country lacks in infrastructure, policy, education, and competitiveness, among several other markers. But there are bright spots and success stories, too.

The report should be required reading for anyone in the industry. It is available as a PDF from the KAS web site: https://www.kas.de/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=49d4d004-3b68-bad3-1d5b-78e7961adfa4&groupId=264850

The importance of keeping WP up-to-date

Malware Bytes reports of a non-trivial uptick in compromised WordPress sites.

During the past few days, our crawlers have been catching a larger-than-usual number of WordPress sites being hijacked. One of the most visible client-side payloads we see are redirections to tech support scam pages. Digging deeper, we found that this is part of a series of attacks that have compromised thousands of WordPress sites since early September. … The sites that are affected are running the WordPress CMS and often using outdated plugins.

Keeping WordPress up-to-date is essential, as is running a good security plugin. We recommend Wordfence. If you need help locking down your WordPress installation or keeping it up-to-date, contact us. We offer monitoring and updates services for as little as $35 per month.

 

Top 4 WordPress plugins

Every web site project will use plugins to compliment the core functionality of WordPress. These are our Top 4.

  1. Yoast SEO
    Yoast SEO is the No. 1 Wordpress plugin for search engine optimization. Along with a properly coded WordPress theme, it is a cornerstone in the foundation of your WordPress site (assuming you want customers to find you, that is). The Yoast SEO plugin also makes it easy to effectively share your web site on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. It generates site maps, hooks into Google Web master tools, and provides other essential features that every web site needs
  2. BackUpWordPress
    Does exactly what it says, with the option to schedule backups for only files, only the database, or a combination thereof.
  3. Wordfence
    The leading security plugin on the market, with over 22 million downloads
  4. Smush Image Compression and Optimization
    Widely known as WP Smush It — or sometimes just Smush It or Smush — this plugin from WPMU Dev optimizes images as you upload them to WordPress. And since bloated images are the leading cause of slow web sites, this is one plugin you can’t afford to live without

There are many other plugins that we use widely, but these are part of every project no matter the scale or scope.

Learning WordPress: 4 links to jump-start your education

Ready to learn WordPress? Two of the many great things about the platform is that one, it is extremely well-documented, and two, there is a thriving ecosystem that supports it. Jump on these 4 links to get moving.

New To WordPress – Where to Start

If you’re just diving into WordPress, knowing where to begin is no easy question to answer. Are you going to be a user or a developer? Both? This page from the official WordPress manual is the perfect place to start.

How to Learn WordPress: 7-Day Challenge

This 7-day plan from WPMU will get you up and running inside a week. Topics include:

  • setting up your first WordPress site
  • choosing the right theme
  • an introduction to plugins
  • strategies for backing up (hint: it’s important)

How to Learn WordPress for Free in a Week (or Less)

A shorter version of the above with lots of great links, such as posts vs pages and categories vs tags. The 7-day plan above is far more thorough, but this one from WP Beginner will get you up and running faster.

Get Going Fast: A Checklist

This quick-start guide from WordPress.com skips the background info and gets straight to it. You’ll be online with your own site by the end of the day.

 

Setting up a WordPress site

Setting up a Wordpress site isn’t difficult, but there are a lot of steps. As something of an early Christmas present, iThemes has put together an extensive checklist breaking the process down into 7 easy-to-follow sections.

  • Basic WordPress Development
  • WordPress Security
  • WordPress Backup
  • WordPress SEO
  • General WordPress
  • WordPress Launch
  • WordPress Maintenance

There are 88 items in all. Under the security section, iThemes recommends its own plugin. As we’ve written before, we would offer different advice. But otherwise, their list is terrific.