It's your fave WordPress weekly email, now at issue 85!

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Welcome back to MasterWP Weekly, your weekly newsletter for WordPress professionals 👋

Alex profile picAlex is moving to Oxford! He’s making his way through every cafe in Oxford to find his favourites. This issue of MasterWP is part-written from Turl Street Kitchen.

Ben profile picBen is hacking away on his Gutenberg theme, and making tiny plugins that fix problems as he goes.

This week we have some startup funding, thinking about attention, and more Gutenberg.

- Alex and Ben


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Gutenberg Cloud

The ultimate open source project?

Gutenberg cloud is amazing. Not only have the Drupal project, one of WordPress open source ‘competitors’, adopted the editor - but they have created an open source resource collating common blocks.

Currently it’s the website is quite sparse, but WPTavern have given some additional background info.

There’s going to be a WordPress plugin that will allow users to browse blocks from within WordPress, much like we do plugins currently, and then install and use them. This makes so much sense.

Currently the best way to get additional blocks is to install plugins like Atomic Blocks or CoBlocks. However you will, invariably, end up installing a bunch of blocks that you don’t use just so that you can get access to the one or two you want.

Gutenberg cloud solves this nicely. You just install the blocks you want to use. And they will work on WordPress or Drupal (and maybe more in the future?).

I love the idea that WordPress and Drupal can collaborate. The projects themselves are quite different but working together to improve Gutenberg will benefit both projects.

The Tavern also reports that they are considering how to charge for blocks. So not only have we got increased efficiency, but we in terms of only installing what you need, but it’s another potential revenue stream for theme & plugin developers.

All round this is a great development and I really hope it all comes together as they hope. It can only benefit everyone.

The only downside I can see if that all future ‘how to optimize your blog’ articles will include ‘delete any blocks you’re not using’ as one of the items! ;) - Ben.

Create Responsive Photo and Video Galleries with Envira Gallery

What happened next for the Envira Gallery purchase?

There’s been a small but growing movement towards plugin acquisitions in recent years, and quite a few of them have involved Awesome Motive, Syed Balkhi’s company. One earlier example of this was Envira Gallery, a gallery plugin which was sold at the end of 2017.

This is an insightful interview with friend-of-the-newsletter Brian Link, on The Plugin Economy. Brian talks to Nathan Singh, who acquired the plugin. Nathan’s background comes from a string of digital product successes, acquisitions, and then purchases.

Nathan notes the extent to which the WordPress ecosystem is different from other products: the community plays a huge role, and you can’t just sit on the sidelines. There are, however, other parallels with products outside the WordPress space; most notably the primary focus on building a great product.

It’s interesting to note what is working for Envira: “Our continued success has been a healthy mix of Facebook retargeting, laser focused content marketing, industry affiliate relationships, and listening to our customers by delivering updates that matter to them. If you haven’t yet, send surveys to understand what they want.” - Alex.

Gutenberg Showcase

Custom WordPress Blocks for Amnesty International

This video is a great example of Gutenberg being used in a real world project. It’s essentially a WordPress VIP case study but it shows how custom Gutenberg blocks are used on the Amnesty International site to put together a super flexible page layout.

I think this would be great for agencies to look at since it’s a really cool example of how Gutenberg can be used to give clients the ability to build custom layouts within predefined boundaries and not make something ugly that you have to go in and fix. - Ben.

How To Grow Your Sales Of WordPress Plugins And Themes

Freemius on growing your product sales

Another post on products this week! This is from Kobe Ben Itamar, co-founder of WordPress product platform Freemius. Part of Freemius’ offering is “we help you with sales” as part of their product (similar, to some extent, to what Ellipsis offers), and this post pulls out some key “lessons learned”. The post touches on actually making a good product, user experience, and a bunch of conversion rate optimisation points.

The main chunk of the post, however, advocates offering a free trial of your WordPress product. This is a key part of Freemius’ offering, so I’d take their recommendation with a pinch of salt. They also don’t include like-for-like data, which makes it hard to actually answer if offering free trials, after additional costs like support for trial users, results in higher profits. Regardless of the data here, the post is certainly worth a read if you have a WordPress product business. - Alex.

Am I Happy At Work?

Obsessively tracking detail

I enjoyed the almost obsessive attention to detail in this post, from an engineer who’s been tracking a set of data on day-to-day happiness. The analysis is interesting for its self-introspection, and willingness to ask mildly uncomfortable questions around working, not working, and finances etc. Certainly a good read for getting some ideas. - Alex.

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