Lucky number 7: 10up’s seventh year

10up turns 7

In our seventh year, we built on our investment in culture and storytelling by expanding our team and depth of services, and by redoubling our investments in open source and creativity.

We welcomed more than 30 new clients to our portfolio in another record sales year. We launched new websites along with web and mobile apps for major brands across verticals as diverse as finance, healthcare, academia, high-tech, big media, consumer packaged goods, food and beverage, and fitness… to name a few.

In a milestone event, we completed an acquisition of Lift UX, a boutique, Emmy-nominated agency that focused on user experience for design-driven websites powered by WordPress. Intended to strengthen our experience design expertise and resources, this investment added executive design leadership and expanded our portfolio of design stories.

A renewed approach to our All Hands Summit yielded our largest and most memorable team event to date. Held in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, our team gathered from around the world to take over a former Carmelite convent for a week of learning, sharing, building memories together, uniting around company goals, and celebrating our successes. Among the conference highlights, we held our first client panel, featuring leaders from companies like Microsoft, McClatchy, and Beasley Radio sharing insights on agency partnerships.

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Transforming text into a natural sounding podcast with Amazon Polly

Amazon Polly

Earlier this week one of our partners, WP Engine, released a plugin that leverages Amazon Polly to transform written content into lifelike speech, directly from WordPress. Being dedicated to helping our clients deliver great digital content experiences, we were eager to help pilot this integration with WP Engine by finding a launch partner. Collaborating with POLITICO in Europe, we transformed their daily political newsletters – Brussels Playbook and London Playbook – into engaging podcasts.

Here’s what POLITICO had to say about their new integration, in WP Engine’s press release:

“Our readers are digesting news and stories through their mobile and voice-driven devices more and more,” said Johannes Boege, Chief Product Officer at POLITICO in Europe. “This is a great opportunity for us along with our agency 10up to test the distribution of our content with voice technology. We are excited to use Amazon Polly to reach more people in new ways.”

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Google Chrome to aggressively enforce Better Ad Standards

As announced in June, beginning February 15th Chrome will remove all ads on websites that do not meet the standards of the Coalition for Better Ads. Sites will have 30 days to address any issues flagged in Google’s compliance report before Chrome begins removing ads.

Google started this initiative in response to a report suggesting that poor ad experiences are responsible for a 30% increase in the use of ad blocking extensions across the web, which “reduces the ability for publishers to continue creating free content and threatens the sustainability of the web ecosystem.” Google is also on the board of the Coalition for Better Ad Standards.

The Coalition for Better Ads is made up of leading international trade associations and online media companies committed to supporting “valuable free content, robust journalism and social connections across the internet” through the use of online ads. Their vision for better online ads aligns with Google’s view, and led Google to join the effort to improve how people experience the web. Knowing that consumers are increasingly frustrated with web ads, the Coalition for Better Ads surveyed over 25,000 internet users to create a set of consumer-friendly standards. Google will apply these standards to review a subset of a site’s pages.

Google Ad Experience Report

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New Relic features 10up plugin

New Relic has included our New Relic Reporting for WordPress plugin in New Relic Connect, a directory that collects recommended integrations for New Relic customers. This plugin makes important WordPress data available in New Relic APM and Insights. You can now see Post ID and User ID for logged-in transactions, theme and template information and more, along with your other application data. We hope this increased visibility will lead to more WordPress developers getting the most out of New Relic.

Learn more about the plugin or download it from GitHub.

Improving WordPress Transients

Modern websites can be complex, especially when a high traffic site offers advanced features that need more intensive server processing. WordPress has a few tricks up its sleeve to help developers improve performance, but as we’ve written about before, those tricks don’t always scale.

If you’ve been engineering performant sites with WordPress, you’ve probably encountered the Transients API—a basic caching method. What developers may not know is, at scale, the synchronous way WordPress handles transients can lead to performance issues that can result in a poor user experience. That’s where Async Transients comes in, our open-source Composer library for WordPress transients.
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Countdown to 2018

With the holidays revving up, 10uppers are taking some time to wind down and recharge before coming back in the new year. We’ll be on break from Friday, December 22nd, through Monday, January 1st, and back at it on Tuesday, January 2nd.

We thought we’d turn last year’s holiday break post into a tradition, so we asked some of our team: what are we doing while we’re away from our keyboards for 11 days?

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Ads.txt Manager for WordPress

We’re making it easier and a bit safer to manage the ads.txt whitelist for publishers using WordPress with our newest plugin: Ads.txt Manager for WordPress. Site administrators can add and edit their site’s ads.txt file from the WordPress admin interface, eliminating the need to upload a new copy of ads.txt with every change or correction, and applying some validation to prevent simple ads.txt mistakes.

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Meet WP Snapshots: share complete snapshots of a WordPress setup

We’d like to introduce you to our latest open source project: WP Snapshots.

WP Snapshots is a command line interface (CLI) tool that empowers engineering teams to quickly share WordPress projects – including files and the database. Up until now, onboarding a new engineer onto a project has been tedious: he or she had to setup a local development environment, check out repositories, install matching versions of WordPress and any plugins, track down and import database dumps, copy over uploaded media, search and replace paths in the database, and so on. WP Snapshots turns a painstaking process into a few simple commands.

WP snapshots command example.

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Ads in a Gutenberg World

Think about those times when ads were intrusive as you read a story on the web: perhaps a distracting video ad interrupting paragraphs just as you were becoming immersed in the narrative, or a tone-deaf ad showing up alongside coverage of a somber event. If you’re a content creator or publisher, think about the times when the “it’s a surprise!” nature of programmatically inserted ads has been a pain point.

As content management systems (CMS) increasingly move to “block-based” editors that are much more visually representative of the final state on the front end, we have an opportunity to design tools that better recognize and integrate advertisements as part of the editorial process. Rather than treating ads as an afterthought, what if we start treating them as a fully integrated component of the content as it’s constructed?

With our preferred CMS – WordPress – heavily investing in a new block-based editor, code-named Gutenberg, our Revenue Strategists and Platform team saw an opportunity to contribute by experimenting with handling ad placement inside of the editor. At the heart of Gutenberg is a block-based method of creating and managing your content, shifting to a unified site-wide “block” concept that further empowers content creators to make their work look just the way they want. We thought: shouldn’t advertisements be one of those blocks?

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Distributor plugin: Share content between your WordPress sites

Meet the newest addition to 10up’s suite of powerful, open source tools for content creators and managers: Distributor.

Distributor is a WordPress plugin that empowers content managers to safely reuse and syndicate content across their websites, supporting sites within a WordPress multisite network and across the web using the REST API. Designed with an intuitive user experience at the forefront, Distributor integrates “push” and “pull” use cases.

The sharing interface is accessible from the admin bar when viewing a single piece of content in the editor or on the front end. Without leaving the content – and with just a couple of clicks – content managers can “push” the content to any other sites where he or she has permission to publish. Think of it as a “retweet” feature for your WordPress sites.

Shares posts across a network

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