Here’s an overview of some of the most interesting WordPress articles and pieces of news from last month. Check it out and get yourself up to speed with or revisit the project’s latest developments.
An Honest Guide to the Best SEO Plugin for WordPress
We begin August’s recap with an honest and comprehensive guide to the best SEO plugin for WordPress, written by Claire Brotherton and published on WPShout. The post is a detailed comparison of the top 5 WordPress SEO plugins: Yoast SEO, All In One SEO Pack, Rank Math, SEOPress and SmartCrawl. (Spoiler alert: all of them are great, but RankMath is the winner.)
She also provides valuable tips and information beyond just the analysis of different plugins, such as the general features of SEO plugins and what to consider when choosing one. The screenshots and details for each individual plugin also contain a lot of valuable SEO advice, so the post is definitely a great resource even if you’ve already decided on a plugin.
Introducing v2.0 of the official AMP Plugin for WordPress
The second post this month is an announcement of a new major version of the AMP plugin for WordPress. It both provides an overview of all of the plugin’s capabilities and what has been updated in version 2.
The plugin streamlines the publication of AMP-optimized WordPress pages, and the new version brings improvements to both the editor and developer experience. For example, v2 introduces the option of turning off Developer Tools for non-technical users and as such tailoring the experience to a specific user type.
Some of the other notable features include an improved settings screen, an onboarding wizard that helps with initial configuration, and important enhancements to the Reader template mode.
WordPress founder claims Apple cut off updates to his completely free app because it wants 30 percent
We continue with a less technical and more news-y article, which followed Matt Mullenweg’s calling out of Apple after they removed the ability to update the WordPress iOS app unless it allowed in-app purchases, apparently on the basis of the paid tiers of the offers on wordpress.com.
According to Matt, Apple also rejected his offer of blocking users from navigating to information on the paid tiers from the free app, however unlikely it had been in the first place.
Not wanting to fight, Matt initially agreed to add in-app purchases within 30 days; fortunately, however, Apple also realized they may have been in the wrong, apologized to Matt and WordPress, and withdrew their demand.
WordPress 5.5 “Eckstine”
Moving on, we have two blog posts concerning the latest minor release of WordPress, version 5.5 dubbed “Eckstine” after American Jazz singer Billy Eckstine. The first of these two is the traditional post by Matt, in which he gives an overview of the release’s new features and thanks everyone who has made the release possible.
WordPress 5.5. introduces quite a lot of new things: lazy loaded images improve performance, and an XML sitemap is now included by default, which is of course great for SEO. There are also accessibility improvements and new features for the block editor, as well as several changes that improve the developer experience.
WordPress 5.5 is here! 5 things you need to know
The first thing Joost highlights are the improvements to the block editor, the most interesting ones being block patterns and the block directory. What’s also new is the ability to edit images right within the editor.
Additionally, version 5.5 introduces better options for content preview, which now works on more devices. The final two features Joost discusses are automated updates for plugins and themes, and the now default XML sitemaps which we’ve already mentioned under Matt’s post.
WordPress Auto-Updates: What do you have to lose?
In another interesting post from August, Matt Barry of WordFence takes a deeper look at one of the aforementioned new features of WordPress 5.5., automated updates. While still turned off by default, developers and site owners can choose to enable these for specific plugins and themes on their sites.
Matt provides a general account of how automatic updates work, then discusses the reasons for the addition of this feature (i.e. better security with less manual work needed) and its pros and cons. He finishes his post with the three approaches to automatic updating (on for all, on for some and off for all plugins) and the use cases where each fits best.
WordPress Cancels All In-Person Flagship Events Until 2022
The WordPress community was one of the first to start canceling important international conferences in early 2020 when it started to become evident that the latest Coronavirus would bring about a global crisis.
Most conferences and other events have been postponed until 2021 and/or have transformed into virtual events, but due to the uncertainty and stress around Covid, WordPress will not accept any more applications for online flagship events in 2021.
Due to the size of these events and the fact that participants come from all over the world, even those events that are already confirmed for 2021 will take place online, in order to prevent the potential spreading of the virus as much as possible.
Discovering Your Place
Let’s end on a positive note, with Tammie Lister’s HeroPress story (you know we love these!). She describes how she went from a blogger having just discovered WordPress as a new blogging platform, to working with the theme team on WordPress core.
It led to her getting more and more involved with WordPress and BuddyPress, speaking at WordCamps and even writing a book on BuddyPress theme development. She never fails to acknowledge how much the community has helped and supported her in all this.
Above all, Tammie is grateful for the opportunities that working in WordPress has given her. She finishes the article with a powerful motivational message to everyone who is reluctant to start contributing for one reason or another.
We hope you enjoyed this month’s recap and found some interesting content. Check back early next month when we’ll be doing a recap of top September posts!