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Tools for WordPress Contributors

December 19, 2014 in Blog, WordPress tips & tricks. 6 Comments

Contributing to WordPress is an exciting and rewarding task – no matter how you go about it, it’s incredibly satisfying knowing that you’re giving back to a platform and community that dominates nearly 25% of the internet. That being said, it can be very tricky to know where to start with contributions. There are so many different avenues that you can go down when contributing that it would be incredibly helpful if you had a guide to show you the way.

Well, you’re in luck – here are a few tools that are designed to help new (and old) contributors find their way in the world of WordPress.

Slack

The absolute best way to find guidance in the world of contributions is by talking directly to other contributors and the absolute best place for this is the WordPress Slack. Slack is a communication platform that the WordPress project uses to enable constant communication between contributors. You can sign up for the WordPress Slack here (free) and dive right into conversations with other like-minded contributors.

WordPress Slack

The bonus of Slack is that all conversations are split up into their relevant channels, which are easily accessible once you have signed in. Want to know more about what channels are available and what would be best for you? Then read on…

Make WordPress

If Slack is the central hub for real-time communication between contributors, then the Make WordPress site is the central hub for all information, updates and news regarding contributions. On this site you will find all the different areas for contributing and each area has it’s own blog so you can keep up to date with news and information regarding contributing in your chosen space. Here you will also find out what Slack channels are setup for each area, so you can easily jump into real conversations with real people.

DevHub

While Slack and Make WordPress are resources for communication, there are also plenty of static resources available that will assist you with contributions on different levels. Once such resource is the WordPress DevHub – this is a source of handbooks for plugin development, theme development and complete code reference (that will be replacing the existing Codex once it is complete).

If you would like to get involved in improving the DevHub resources then jump into the #meta-devhub channel on Slack and someone will help you out there.

Core Contributor Handbook

Just like themes and plugins have their own handbooks for developers that are available on the DevHub, there is also a handbook for core contributors. This handbook outlines and details everything you need to know about contributing to core, but bear in mind that it is not entirely complete as it is always seen as a work in progress.

WordCamp Planning

WordCamp Planning

If you dive into the world of WordCamp organisation (and I highly recommend that you do), then you the first place to start is the WordCamp Planning site. It is the central resource for all WordCamp organisers all over the world and the information it provides you with is invaluable.

Mentors

The final resource that I’m going to list here is one designed specifically for meetup and WordCamp organisers – the mentorship programme. While this isn’t a documented avenue of assistance, it is hugely beneficial. Once you start organising your local meetup and/or WordCamp you will be put in touch with a mentor who has been organising things in their community for a while (if you’re in the EU or Africa then it may even be me). These mentors are a huge help and they will be someone that you can bounce ideas off and find ways to improve your local meetups and WordCamps. I encourage you to take full advantage of your mentor and really dig deep for all the knowledge and experience they have to offer.


With all of these resources available to help you, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t jump into contributions today. So what are you waiting for?

WooCommerce and the 2015 EU VAT Changes to Digital Goods

December 18, 2014 in Blog, Product news. 82 Comments

You may (or may not) have heard by now that the EU are introducing new rules surrounding VAT on digital goods from the 1st Jan 2015. We’ve been aware of these changes for a while now and have been working on some solutions in order to make these changes a little easier to handle. If you’ve not heard about these new rules, this sums them up:

On 1 January 2015 the VAT rules for cross-border B2C supplies of ‘digital services’ (i.e. broadcasting, telecoms and e-services) will change. From that date, VAT must be accounted for in the member state where the customer normally lives, rather than where the supplier of the service is established. – HMRC, Brief 46

And as John McCarthy, CEO of Taxamo puts it, “These new rules flip EU VAT on its head”.

The new EU VAT rules on the supply of digital services affect all companies (EU and non-EU) that sell to consumers inside the EU.

To be compliant you’ll need to do the following:

  • Charge the correct country VAT rates based on customer’s location.
  • Validate the customer’s location and ensure there are 2 pieces of non-conflicting evidence stored (e.g. a billing address and a matching IP Address).
  • Report your VAT to each EU state, or use a MOSS (Mini-One-Stop-Shop) which reports to each EU state on your behalf.

To help you become compliant, we’ve developed a Taxamo extension to integrate with their service, and also updated our EU VAT Numbers extension.

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WooTrip 2014 Highlights Video

December 12, 2014 in Blog. 3 Comments

Heard about our 2014 WooTrip to SF? You can read the roundup here and if you’re a video person here’s the highlights video put together by the very talented Nic Smal of Derick Watts And The Sunday Blues fame.

Look like fun? Check out our Careers Page to become a part of the family / action.

A year in review for WooThemes

December 12, 2014 in Team news. 15 Comments

December is nearing an end and it’s time to reflect on another mammoth year filled with so many memorable and noteworthy moments. At Woo HQ there is a good buzz in the air and we’re looking forward to rest and good food with family and friends over the festive holidays.

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Goodbye Timthumb, thanks for the memories

December 11, 2014 in Blog. 5 Comments

tl;dr  The image resizing script, Timthumb, has been retired. We’re removing Timthumb from the WooFramework. Please update your copy of the WooFramework and run the “Remove Timthumb” feature we’ve added, to ensure your website remains secure and up to date.

At the beginning of October we announced that we would be officially retiring Timthumb, the image manipulation library that has been used in many popular WordPress themes for years, from our themes including our WooFramework.

Why?

The main reason is ultimately improved security, as Timthumb itself is no longer under development, and this means that no improvements, bug fixes, or security holes will be patched by its creators.

WordPress has also come a long way in terms of how it handles images, and there is no reason to use a third party library anymore.  We’ve kept Timthumb in our themes for a long time mostly due to our commitment to backwards compatibility in all our products.

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How to Use Enhanced eCommerce for Google Analytics

December 10, 2014 in How to sell online. 9 Comments

How to Use Enhanced Ecommerce for Google AnalyticsGoogle recently announced a program called Enhanced eCommerce for Google Analytics, which utilizes further data for eCommerce site owners, not only helping you understand what types of customers are coming to your website, but how they respond while moving about the site.

It replaces and adds to the current reports you receive for Google Analytics, but it incorporates a funnel system to hone in on the areas that you weren’t able to see before. Now you can view where people drop off in the checkout process and even find products that require more marketing efforts.

Let’s take a look at how to setup Enhanced eCommerce for Google Analytics and walk through an overview of the most powerful reports.

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Rotimatic Case Study: It’s about time robots helped us eat better!

December 9, 2014 in Blog. 5 Comments

Rotimatic is the world’s first fully automated robot roti-maker. While it looks like an oversized bread maker it’s actually a fascinating piece of engineering that combines motors, sensors and hundreds of parts to spit out baked rotis at a pace of about one per minute.

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Top 10 Things You Need to Do to Have a Successful eCommerce Holiday Season

December 8, 2014 in How to sell online. 5 Comments

Consumers spend around $52 billion on holiday shopping, and 90 percent of people will complete at least some of their shopping online. Those are some huge numbers, potentially bringing holiday cheer for all eCommerce website owners and businesses that are preparing for that holiday rush.

In short, the holidays are a good curse. As an eCommerce business you are pushed to your limit and have to prepare like no other time throughout the year. And mistakes do occur. Websites slow down, and customers get frustrated when the slightest mishap strikes during their shopping experience.

You can’t really blame them either, since the holidays are stressful and they just want to get their shopping done—until next year, of course.

There are two types of eCommerce sites during the holiday season: Those that are prepared and those that are unprepared. Your preparation creates your fate as to whether or not that eggnog goes down well. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top 10 things you need to do to have a successful eCommerce holiday season.

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Case Study: Trendy Resumes

December 5, 2014 in Blog. 2 Comments

Given the importance of the moment a prospective employer opens a job application and reviews a resume it’s mind-blowing how many are badly formatted, vanilla or stuck in the nineties.

Trendy Resumes are offering a solution in the form of a user-friendly, online platform powered by WooCommerce  and we chatted to Antonio Iacopino, Trendy Resumes CEO.

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A WooConf Highlight

December 4, 2014 in WooConference. Leave a comment

It seems wild that it’s been just over a month since we pulled off a very successful conference all about WooCommerce, if I can speak for and brag on our planning team. They did an incredible job with the first ever WooConf, and for many, the first conference they’ve helped plan. Of course, this wouldn’t have been nearly so awesome or even possible without the gracious team we worked with at A2E. Kudos to everyone involved!

With that said we wanted to capture the energy and vibe from WooConf somehow, so we had a couple of us run around with a camera and mic to see what others thought of our conference. We quickly stuck a camera in people’s faces in-between talks and during breaks and said, “Tell us what you think of WooConf!” We talked to our very own Mark Forrester, who helped kick off the conference, and chatted with some speakers, sponsors, our own ninjas, and plenty of attendees!

We then created a fun video with people’s reactions to WooConf. Check it out below and be sure you catch the main point, it was a blast and you better be there next year! :)

*We will be posting the sessions from WooConf as we edit them. They’ll be ready soon!

Storefront Lookbook: volume 1

December 4, 2014 in Blog. 5 Comments

lookbookv1

In the Storefront lookbook we explore different aesthetics you can create using Storefront core and the optional extensions available for purchase.

The following designs can be created without touching a single line of code and help demonstrate the creative power that Storefront and it’s suite of extensions provides. In volume 1 we’re looking at the shop page in particular.

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When Upselling Hurts: How Too Much Cross-Promotion Can Kill Conversions

December 3, 2014 in How to sell online. 1 Comment

First of all, don’t get me wrong: cross-selling and upselling, employed in moderation, are extremely useful. As you may know, it’s six to seven times easier, and cheaper, to sell more to an existing customer than to hook in a new one.

But it’s crucial that it be done right.

For example, most eCommerce retailers believe that product recommendations will always increase the number of sales and the profits from them. But that’s not always true. According to an e-tailing group merchant survey, 6 out of 10 retailers don’t actually know how recommendations affect their business. It goes without saying that relatively few retailers are testing and optimizing their performance, as well.

The truth is that product recommendations’ performance depends on how and when you display them. And not everyone gets this right. Cross-selling and upselling are the bane of many customers just because they’re so often done poorly, with the focus put on the business’s aim of selling extra stuff instead of the customer’s aim of making sure the extra stuff will actually benefit them.

Here are some ways that tends to happen and how to avoid them, to boot.

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How to Create a High-Converting Email Opt-in Form

December 2, 2014 in How to sell online. 1 Comment

Not everyone who looks at your site will buy something the first time. In fact, 98.5% won’t. However, most people who visit your site without a reason to come back probably won’t do that either.

How do you remind them, then? Well, you could get them to like your Facebook page, but the chances they’ll see any particular status update are negligibly small. You could use an RSS feed, but they’re not that effective, either. Yes, even after twenty years of development in technology, the most effective way is still good old email.

That’s why, in order to retain a significant number of customers, you need to get their email addresses. The form that viewers input their email into is called, straightforwardly enough, the opt-in form.

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Case study: Dark Horse

December 1, 2014 in Blog. 2 Comments

WooThemes tend to have a soft spot for anything South African and Dark Horse is no exception. I met co-founder, Jarrad Nelson at The Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town last year and heard a little of their story (whilst drooling over a very beautiful leather satchel). Dark Horse were early adopters of WooCommerce and our company journeys have tracked over the years. We caught up to hear about their recent site overhaul.

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6 Tips To Improve eCommerce Customer Retention

November 28, 2014 in How to sell online. 2 Comments

It’s always been cheaper to get your previous customers to make additional purchases than it is to find new customers. This is especially true in eCommerce, where there are more and more sites competing for a finite number of internet users.

Customer profits also tend to increase the longer a customer spends shopping with you. However, retaining customers is also one of the most difficult jobs for an online store owner, so in order to tackle it, let’s look at it from a few angles.

Let’s start with why customers leave.

68% of customers go because they’re unhappy with the customer service. Compared to that, the rest of the reasons seem minuscule with 14% finding the products unsatisfactory and 9% finding a better deal from a competitor. So naturally, the first step would be to…

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A very Black Friday (and weekend and Monday)

November 27, 2014 in Blog. 1 Comment

This year for Black Friday we’re doing something a little different… The more you spend the more you save with our sitewide Sliding Discounts and we’ve created three buck-saving Bundles.

These offers will be live until 12am PST on Monday 1 December as a second wave of celebration for Cyber Monday:

bf-shopnow@2x

We’re thankful for a good year, have a blast making the most of #allthedeals over this crazy period!

Black Friday