This weeks WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 22nd April 2019:
Not WordPress, but useful anyway…
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Transcript (if available)
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Nathan Wrigley: 00:00 Hello there. Good morning and welcome to this, the WP Builds weekly newsletter. This is number 60 and it covers the WordPress weekly news for the week, commencing the 22nd of April, 2019 and it was published on the 29th of April, 2019 my name is Nathan Wrigley from picture and word .co.uk, a small web development agency based in the north of England. And a couple of things before we begin, if you wouldn't mind going over and following a few links for me. They're all about, you know, getting you involved in the WP Builds community. The first one is WP Builds.com. Forward slash subscribe, couple of forms on there for two different types of newsletters. One to alert you to the content that we put out and one to alert you to whether or not there's a new WordPress deal. I write a very short pithy email with just some plain text and where you can find the deal.
Nathan Wrigley: 00:51 And I wrote them as soon as I get the information. Uh, the other options are things like signing up to us on iTunes or Google podcast. Join our Facebook group, nearly 2000 members. They're now talking about WordPress things and we've also got updates for everything that we do on Youtube and slack and Facebook messenger and so on. Okay. The next one is forward slash deals and that's just a whole heap of WordPress deals. I've been very lucky in that quite a few plugin developers and so on have reached out and offered us a proportion of their products. So 30% of this, 30% off that, 50% of this and so on. Anyway, go and have a look. If you're in the market for a new plugin, go check out that page because you might find that there's something worth having on there. Forward slash contribute. If you'd like to join me, make a short podcast episode, um, about something that you've done that you are very, very proud of.
Nathan Wrigley: 01:45 And lastly, forward slash advertise. If you would like to advertise on the WP Builds podcast or newsletter, we'd be most grateful because it certainly helps keep the lights on. Speaking of which the WP Builds, a newsletter is brought to you today by kin sta. Are you tired of unreliable or slow hosting? If so, check out Kinsta who takes managed WordPress hosting to the next level powered by the Google cloud platform. All their plans include PHP seven ssh and 24 seven experts support migrate today for free at Kinsta dot com and as I said, we really do thank Insta for their support. It really does help enable me to do this podcast each and every week. Right. Let's get stuck into the new, shall we? Okay. The first couple of items come under the banner of WordPress core. The first item is a longer version of the second item.
Nathan Wrigley: 02:39 It comes on the WP Tavern website and it's entitled WordPress 5.2 pushed back to may the seventh release candidate one now available for testing. Just to say that if you do want to test out release candidates of WordPress, don't deploy them on production websites, just installed them on a private server somewhere for your own testing. But initially WordPress 5.2 was mooted for the 30th of April. That has been pushed back one week. Now it's going to be the 7th of May and that was due to a few open tickets, which was still not solved. The upcoming release brings quite a few improvements to the block editor as well as the new admin interface for site health. This looks quite interesting. The event, they've actually got a screenshot on the WP Tavern page and it just shows you some of the options. So for example, it says things like, okay, under the banner of security, you've got a few plugins, here, which haven't been updated for a while.
Nathan Wrigley: 03:39 You've got 15 active plugins, you've got one inactive plugin. Maybe that's something that you need to deal with. It's points out quite helpfully. Look, if you've got inactive plugins that aren't doing anything, why not on install them? So it kind of feels to me like WordPress is taking on the role of some of the security plugins that alert you and say, look, there's a couple of an outdated plugins, go in and update them. So I think that's all for the good and it's going to be in core in a week or so. We've also got the fatal error recovery mode that's going to be included. And hopefully this will tell you if there's a fatal error, but also point out which plugin is causing the white screen of death and kind of disable it so you don't have any problems with it. So yeah, it looks like a nice release, a bit of a minor release really, but with a few nice features.
Nathan Wrigley: 04:27 As I said, the second link in the show notes is the WordPress.org version of it. It's a little bit shorter, so if you don't want to read all of the detail on the WP Tavern website, go and check out the the second link instead. Oh, I've just discovered that there's a third item under the WordPress core section, so I shall, I shall read that. I thought there was only two, but there's actually three. This one is to say that WordPress 5.2 will add to 13 new dash icons to the library. Now, if you've ever used the WP admin interface, which I presumed most of you have done, you'll notice that there's icons running along the top and running down the left hand side. These are called dash icons and the library has been updated so that it's using a file format called open the web open font format version two as opposed to version one.
Nathan Wrigley: 05:15 And we've got a whole bunch of new icons, which you can find by clicking the link on the WP Tavern article, which I'm linking to. And there are things like, there seems to be like a a dog, there's a birthday cake, there's some candles, balloons, there's a B, there's like number one, two, three bullet points or paragraph icon planets, uh, all sorts of things like an Instagram icon, email options and so on and so forth. So I mean basically just some nice new dash icons to go on your WordPress website. Right? The next two items come under the banner of community. Now the first one isn't really a fresh piece of content. What it is, it's a youtube video, which I just think is really useful. It came out in I believe September last year. Um, and it's from Brighton SEO Conference and it is Rand Fishkin who I believe use to work for Moz.
Nathan Wrigley: 06:09 I don't think he does anymore espousing his ideas on the future of SEO. And he goes into great detail about how Google is kind of purposing the search links and he spends a great deal of time talking about how it works on desktop and how it works on mobile and how the click rates have changed over time and how Google is now trying to serve up answers instead of websites. And this of course is, is directly influencing the way that you're going to be building your websites and the purpose that you're going to have. So for example, if you're searching for a flight to no longer are you taken two links for the websites of people selling flights, Google tries to show you how to book the flight through its own platform. The same thing for all sorts of other things like shopping. It tries to to push those things at you and it's just really interesting.
Nathan Wrigley: 07:56 And so if that's you, if Laravel is something that you're really keen on and you also are keen on Gutenberg, then this is worth checking out over on the WP Tavern website. Okeydokey next two items are under the banner of security. Now for a long time, I've been telling people that really there's very little benefit in trying to do things like hide your WordPress version number from visitors by using plugins that do this. And I themes have apparently removed this option from their security plugin, basically because it's absolutely pointless. It gives people a false sense of security. It doesn't really remove any vulnerabilities and security patches of back ported. So this little article on iThemes, it starts off explaining why this is pointless. And then it goes on to be a bit of a promo piece for iThemes security. But essentially they're saying, do other things instead, use more passwords, limit the number of login attempts and so on and so forth.
Nathan Wrigley: 08:59 So if a, if a client ever comes to you and says, I'd like to hire you to the WordPress version of it because I've heard that this is good for security, you can faithfully point them to this article and say, well, perhaps not. It's not really worth doing. Okay. The next piece is on the security.net website entitled plugins added to malicious campaign. And really it's a very brief article. Indeed. We now have a couple of vulnerabilities in the download WP inventory manager plugin and the WooCommerce user email verification and this looks like a wider, wider problem. Um, looks like bad actors are adding these two, the same vulnerabilities that that they've had for a while. So essentially if you've got either of those two plugins on any of your websites or your client websites, make sure that you are patched or that you've got a firewall rule that will prevent that from doing it's mischief.
Nathan Wrigley: 09:57 Okay. Some plugging news now, four pieces under the banner of plugin, WooCommerce 3.6 has now rolled along and on the WooCommerce.com website we've got an an article entitled boost your store's performance and pages with WooCommerce 3.6 3.5 I think came around in about October last year and since then they've been working hard on two specific features. They wanted to have performance improvements and they wanted WooCommerce product blocks for the new editor and that is basically what you're getting if you update this article shows you what the new product blocks are. There's the featured products, individual handpicked products, best sellers slash top rated newest products, sale products and products with specific attributes or terms. And also we have a new way of making the your WooCommerce websites more performance because they've decided to restructure the way that the data is saved in the database. And so for example, you're able to access things more quickly because it's a, it uses a, a less costly database join process.
Nathan Wrigley: 11:06 So that's good. Um, I'm not sure because I don't really use, WooCommerce too much whether or not this, um, you know, has caused any backwards compatibility. They claim on the website that it absolutely doesn't, it should be absolutely 100% back portable and there's more, they've got a new admin dashboard area as well, so you can see your statistics and it all looks rather nice and very professional indeed. Okay. Number two on the plugin section is all about woo pack. This is the guys over at power pack for beaver builder. They've got a couple of things that they've added to their WooCommerce offering. The first one is WooCommerce mini carp module. And it adds a, an option in your menu usually at the top. So if you add something to the cart, it updates and you know if you add one thing it has a little little image of a warm and if you add three more things it goes up to four.
Nathan Wrigley: 12:01 And then when you click on that it will show you your cart. And we've seen this a thousand times before but it's now part of um, part of WooPack and powerpack for beaver builder. And they've also got a WooCommerce off canvas carts module so you can add things to your cart and that little number increases. And then when you click on it, instead of it being a kind of dropdown, it a whole menu item from the right hand side of the page swoops in and it looks really nice actually. And you can, you know, you can go to the checkout from there and so on. It's just two ways of making your cart easy for your customers. And the next one is all about BuddyPress. I'm not going to go into the list, but essentially BuddyPress of you're using it has now rolled over to 4.3 0.0 and this is all about security and maintenance.
Nathan Wrigley: 12:47 Uh, essentially the security items seem to be the most important. This is about half a dozen privilege escalation vulnerabilities, which were fixed a couple of XSS vulnerabilities and so on. And they're all very specific. But if you're using body press, this article might be for you and we're on now 4.3 0.0 okay in the last one is all about WP, you devs Branda plugin, nice new features added. They updated about a month ago with a complete overhaul. But since then they've added a couple of features in the last month. So you can now make it so that people signing up to your websites, you give them a specific link and it therefore applies a specific user role to them. So for example, you give them a link and it makes them an editor when they've joined or you give them a link and it makes them into a subscriber or whatever. You've also got loads of options for importing exported branding settings so you can configure that you want the admin bar and the dashboard feeds and so on and so forth to be the same as the one that was exported from another site.
Nathan Wrigley: 13:53 And they've also made it possible to hijack the PHP mail function so that you can send from an SMTP server of your choice, including a whole bunch of third party add ons, you know, MailChimp and all of that kind of thing. And you can hire you. They're their own branding of their superheroes if you like as well. So if you used wpm you depth, that's quite a nice update on WP Builds over the last week. We had Amir Helzer on, we've had him on a couple of times before talking about toolset, but this time he was talking about WPML which is the translation plugin that they have. He explains how it all works, how you can use it and, and how you can integrate with third party providers to get your transcriptions done. Um, I'm not a heavy user of, of multilingual plugin because most of my sites are done in England for English speaking people.
Nathan Wrigley: 14:43 But if this is a requirement and you are building websites, I don't know, for example, if you're in Canada and you have a requirement for French and English, then this is certainly a plugin worth looking at. And Amir explains it very, very well indeed. And that's it for the WordPress news. Got Three items today about non-WordPressy stuff. Just a lovely one. I'm not going to do any spoilers, but you know, there's a new Avengers movie out and it involves a character called Thanos in the previous movies. He's clicked his fingers and terrible things have happened to half the population. Well if you now search on Google the word Thanos a picture appears next to the word Thanos a glove, the glove that he wears in the film. And if you, if you click on that glove, interesting things happen to half of all the search results should we say.
Nathan Wrigley: 15:31 So, uh, stop this podcast now. Go and search on Google the word fan os and then click on the on the golden glove and see what happens is quite entertaining. This next one is on the search engine journal.com website and it says that 10% of Twitter users are creating 80% of the tweets. It's something I've suspected for a long time but didn't really have any data about it. It we all know don't we that the majority of stuff that comes across your feed is people who are habitual about their use of things like Facebook and Twitter, but a an 80% to 10% ratio surprises even me. Apparently that 10% is more likely to be women. And it also goes into statistics about what kind of level of education those people are likely to have and what their overall average income is likely to be. And obviously if Twitter is a great big tool that you're using for promoting your content than knowing this kind of information could be useful.
Nathan Wrigley: 16:30 And the very last piece that we've got today is again, over on the search engine journal.com website and it says 72% of people have used voice search through a digital assistant in 2019 72% of people have used some kind of um, Amazon Alexa or Google home or the home pod by apple. And it's really interesting what they're doing with it's 72% of people have used it. Um, for sort of general searching, 35% have used a smart home speakers. So I'm presuming that the 72% involves the speakers and a phone, but it's interesting what they're looking for. 68% of people are just just looking for quick facts. 65 are looking for directions to places 52 are looking for a product or service. 44% say that they've conducted additional, uh, additional searches after the original search and 31% of people so that they, um, use, use it to compare products and services.
Nathan Wrigley: 17:31 Many of those things I didn't even know that they could do. Um, and he also says that in the, in the gears to come, they're expecting that this, these numbers are just going to go up and up to the point where it will become the norm and goodness only knows how we, how we manage our websites in an era where search is the, is done through voice. Okay, that's it for the WordPress weekly news this week. I really, really hope that you found something of value in it. If so, please reach out, leave some comments on Facebook or on our website that would be most most grateful and if you feel like giving us a five star review on Itunes, I'd be really grateful about that as well. The WP Builds newsletter was brought to you today by Kinsta. Kinsta takes managed WordPress hosting to the next level, powered by the Google cloud platform. Your site is secured like Fort Knox and runs on speed obsessive architecture. You get access to the latest software and developer tools such as PHP seven ssh and staging environments, and the best part that expert team of WordPress engineers are available 24 seven. If you need help, you can migrate today for free at Kinsta dot com okay. Hopefully we'll see you on Thursday for the podcast. If not, maybe we'll see you on Monday for the next WP Builds newsletter. Bye Bye for now.