Podcast Episode

353 – WordPress.com for Business


Is there a plugin for that?

With more than 50,000 plugins in the WordPress repository, it’s hard to find the perfect one. Each week, I will highlight an interesting plugin form the repository.

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TranslatePress is a better way of translating your WordPress site, with full support for WooCommerce and site builders

WordPress.com for Business

One of the most exciting things that has launched this year at Automattic is the ability to now upload themes and plugins to WordPress.com sites.

Typically, this was the way to differentiate between self-hosted and WordPress.com.

The plan is just $24.92 per month or $299 per year. See All the Details Here

Here are some of the great features:
– Custom Domain Name
– Email and Live Chat Support
– Unlimited storage
– No WordPress.com Ads
– Simple Payments
– VideoPress
– SEO Tools
– Install Plugins and themes
– Google Analytics
– Simple store
– Backups and spam prevention

A few limitations
– No FTP access
– No wp-cli access
– Not easy to transfer a self-hosted site
– Must have a WordPress.com account
– No email comes with the Business plan

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Full Transcript

Business Transcription is provided by GMR Transcription.

On today’s episode, we are going to talk about something brand new from Automatic. That is a new product called WordPress.com for Business, right here on yourwebsiteengineer Podcast, Episode No. 353.

Hello, everybody. Welcome to another episode of yourwebsiteengineer podcast. My name is Dustin Hartzler and today we’re going to be talking about the new thing called WordPress.com for Business. Before we dive in, real quick, I have two announcements and one plugin of the week that I want to share with you. The first thing that I want to do is talk about an article that I saw this week on WP Tavern and this is an article that lets us know that now on the WordPress repository it allows the plugins and their authors to specify a minimum PHP version requirement. So, although WordPress Core currently maintains backward compatibility all the way to PHP 5.2.4 plugin and theme authors are not required to do so. So, when developing new features that require more recent version of PHP it could break sites and it could just cause unexpected behaviors.

So, in part of a larger effort to try to get more people using a newer version of PHP, WordPress.org now allows user to specific the minimum PHP version in the readme.text file. That comes with every plugin. So, you’ll see this now with the version number, the last updates, active installs, where it says what WordPress version it requires and now it will say requires PHP version. So, this is something that is a great new feature and it allows WordPress developers to not have to focus so much on keeping the backwards compatibility to technology that was released in 2011. So, if you are a plugin developer, I recommend going in and specifying what version of PHP works well for your plugin. You can find out more on WPTavern or there’s a link in the Show Notes for Episode No. 353.

The other interesting article that I found this week is not so much about WordPress but more about Wapoo and how Wapoo created a culture for WordPress and Wapoo started a few years ago and it originated when Matt Mulinweg went to Japan and it was asked why WordPress didn’t have a mascot, so he could challenge the local community to build a GPL licensed design. The original Wapoo hugging a blue WordPress logo was borne and then the files were uploaded to get all to share. So, that’s kind of like the backstory behind Wapoo. It’s kind of the logo for WordPress and then it’s been iterated and designed and changed very often. This is – I’ve seen it done for different word camps or different products or different things but Wapoo, since it’s open source, it can be holding different things or it can be dressed like a certain area, or whatever.

So, that’s kind of cool. It’s just a neat way to bring a mascot and a lot of people to design it and use it for its own purposes. So, if you want to know a little bit more about Wapoo and a link to a site where you can see a bunch of Wapoos, then head on over to the Show Notes for Episode No. 353 and you can check that out as well. Moving onto the is there a plugin for that section of the show is – I just want to highlight this plugin. It’s not one of the 50,000 that’s on the WordPress repository but it’s one that I found and it’s called Translate Press and it is a plugin that anyone can use to have a better experience translating your WordPress site with full support for WooCommerce and SiteBuilder. So, translating plugins is one of the hardest things with WordPress. It’s one of the hard things to wrap your mind around and try to figure out how to do it. There’s a couple of plugins that we recommend for WooCommerce support when people want to change different texts inside their store. If WooCommerce isn’t fully translated in their language and one is a plugin called Say What. It basically looks for certain strings and you can change it into another certain string depending on the language. Another one is called Local Translate. Those two do a pretty decent job of going in and finding the text that you need and then changing it to the text that you need. But they’re really complicated.

Then there’s other ways that you can go in and find a PO file and you can use an MO file and you can change these things around. You can edit and modify it and then you upload that to the languages folder in your plugin repository, like inside your FTP client and it is just kind of a pain. So, this is a new spin on things. It is a simpler way and I didn’t get a chance to try this because I found this right as I was getting ready to record the episode. It’s currently under Beta and if you want to test it out you can enter your email address on their website and just go ahead and see, when they give you access, what that is and how well it looks. I know that I’ve signed up for the Beta and I’m excited to see is it easier or how does it work in comparison to some of these other options that we give customers when they come and ask about how to translate certain parts of their website.

So, that’s over at translatepress.com. All right, moving right along today, I want to talk about a brand-new thing from Automatic and that’s called WordPress.com for Business. This is something that we’ve been working on behind the scenes for a really long time and now that it’s launched I’m finally excited that we can talk about it on the show and I can share some of the benefits and some of the gotchas with the WordPress Business Plan. So, let’s go ahead and dive right in and look at it. So, WordPress.com for Business is this brand-new thing. It’s this exciting new feature and the big part of this allows you to upload themes and plugins to a WordPress.com site as long as you have the business package. So, the big differentiation that we used to have was self-hosted work for us is you could upload themes with plugins. WordPress.com you could not.

Now, that that line is getting a little bit blurred, it’s going to be a little bit harder to distinguish what’s the difference between what’s the difference between WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress or WordPress.org. So, that’s kind of in a nutshell what it is. But I also wanted to kind of share some of the other big things that you can do with the WordPress.com Business Plan. The Plan, just to set your expectations, is $299.00 per year. That works out to $24.92, so just under $25.00. For that $25.00 price point you are getting a WordPress Manage Toast that is very reliable, that is up all the time, and it has a bunch of additional features. Now, let’s talk about those really quick. So, if you’re starting a site from very scratch and it’s brand-new, you also get a custom domain name, so you’re going to save $10.00 to $15.00 based on that.

You also get all the Jetpack essential features. So, you get things like uptime monitoring. You get things like SEO and spam protection, social sharing, site stats, all that good stuff that comes with Jetpack and premium versions of Jetpack. You also get email and LiveChat support and since it is the highest tiered plan on WordPress.com, then that is eligible for premium LiveChat and email support. So, that means that the emails will get much faster responses and they’ll be looked at more often, so you’ll get answers quicker based on the questions that you have about your WordPress.com site. You also get access to unlimited premium themes, so WordPress.com has hundreds of premium themes that run anywhere between like $49.00 and $79.00 or $99.00 and you get access to all of those in case you don’t want to upload a regular plugin that you’ve purchased somewhere else or you have from somewhere else. You get unlimited premium themes. You also get advanced custom design and what this means is you can – there’s built-in color schemes that are built into WordPress.com that you can use.

You can change background images or background designs and you have complete control over your entire website with CSS. Some of the WordPress.com packages do not have the ability to add custom CSS and so that’s built into the business plan as well. You also get unlimited storage that’s up from the premium plan. I guess the premium plan is $99.00 per year, which is about $8.00 per month, and so you are upgrading for the extra $200.00. You get unlimited storage space so instead of just 13 gigs of storage space, you get unlimited storage space. You also, with the business plan, have the ability to remove WordPress.com ads, so it won’t look like you are even on WordPress.com. You won’t have any of those ads. You can also monetize your site but putting ads on a special thing called Words Ads if you like.

You have that ability to add those to your website and start generating some revenue. It’s almost like AdSense from Google but it’s a little bit different. It is just all through WordPress.com. You also get VideoPress support, which is embeddable with VideoPlayer that you can add to your post if you dont’t want to put your content out on YouTube for the whole world to see. You can upload it to your media library and it will automatically work with VideoPress. VideoPress is a responsive player so it works really well, depending on whether you are on bubble or a tablet or even on your desktop. So, there’s are some things that are built into WordPress.com for Business. A few more things though that kind of set it apart from some of the other plans are you get the ability to attend live courses.

So, there’s special courses that are set up specifically for WordPress.com Business users on how to use WordPress, how to use the new Calypso interface, how to just do things in WordPress. There’s also the ability to get a one-on-one concierge appointment with a Happiness Engineer to help set up your site and help you figure out in a one-on-one environment, a 30 -minute session, with screen sharing and voice and it gives you the ability to talk to somebody and a Happiness Engineer can help you set up your website or get things working in the way that you like. So, that’s built into WordPress.com for Business. Then, of course, they install themes, upload plugins – those are the brand-new features that we’re so excited to talk about. So, this is, for as much as I know, it’s for ANY plugin that you want or any theme that you can find out there on the WordPress repository or even the themes or plugins can be premium plugins, you know, a backup buddy or you can go over and get the genesis theme and upload it. There’s really no limitations and so it makes it like it’s a self-hosted website. You can pretty much do whatever you want with themes and plugins. The Business Plan also has Google Analytics integration built right in so you don’t need an extra plugin. All you need is the UA Code that comes with Google Analytics. You plug that in and you can start tracking your website and you can get all the Analytic details as well. So, that comes with – you know, you have the WordPress.com stats but you can also get more in-depth stats with Google Analytics. The last piece of WordPress.com Business is you actually can remove the WordPress.com branding and so all the other plans on WordPress and with the terms of service you have to keep at the bottom of your service built with WordPress.com or some variation of that.

But with the Business Plan, you can remove that and you don’t have to have any affiliation or it doesn’t have to show that it is part of a WordPress.com site. So, those are some of the features in the new Business Plan and I ran a test drive for Podcast Movement. I was putting together a website and you can actually see it over at PodcastonWP.com and that is a site that I’ve uploaded certain podcasting plugins, the Power Press plugin, the Smart Podcast Player, the Simple Podcast Press. I added Yoast SEO. I was in the process of setting up WooCommerce for like a WooCommerce store and those were some things that I was getting ready to do. Another thing that I guess I want to share with the Business Plan is there is also built-in store feature that you can start adding features to the store without having to add WooCommerce.

You can sell simple products or digital products right from your WordPress without having to install WooCommerce, which is really cool. This is a new feature that’s also rolling out to business users only. So, those are some things that I wanted to share and this is what we talked a lot about at Podcast Movement and how you can share this up. This may not be perfect for EVERYONE but for some people this is a really great plan. You don’t have to worry about updating WordPress. You don’t have to worry about backups or spam protection. That’s all covered for you. So, you can even, with the Calypso interface, you can turn on automatic updates for your plugins, so you can just flip all the switches and then those will automatically update as well.

So, if you want a site that maybe you don’t get used very often or maybe it’s like a site for a golf outing or something that only gets updated and you use it one month out of the 12 months of the year, this may be a perfect plan to set up because you put it on WordPress.com because everything will stay updated throughout the year and then when it’s time to actually use it you don’t have to spend hours just getting everything up, you know, update all the plugins and update all the things. So, that’s what WordPress.com for Business is. Now, you might be saying, “Dustin, are you going to use this for any of YOUR sites?” This is a great question. I have really thought about it back and forth a LOT.

Would I use this for YourOwnWebsiteEngineer.com and there’s a few limitations and I don’t think the limitations are super, super huge. So, I’m going to talk about them and just so you’ll know, here’s some of the sticking points of why I’m not switching quite yet but I can see myself in a year or two maybe. Maybe some of these things get worked out and maybe there is a chance that I will move my website, yourwebsiteengineer.com over to WrodPress.com for Business. So, the first thing right away is there is no ftp access, so if this is something that you need or you use ftp regularly, then WordPress.com for Business isn’t going to be quite the best site for you, just because you don’t have that ftp access. You also don’t have WP CLI access. I guess I don’t use ftp TOO often, but I do use a service that uses ftp.

So, I’ve talked about this in the past and I have a webinar that’s on my website about how I set up my sites but I run everything locally and then I save a version of every change that I make to GitHub or to Git, I guess, then I push that change to GitHub. Then from GitHub there is a service that’s looking in the background to see any changes that I’m making on GitHub and then when that happens it automatically pushes my site live. I think it’s called DeployHQ and that will automatically send that to my server. It only changes the files that have changed. This works really, really well for me as a workflow but it needs ftp credentials to be able to do that. I also like being able to go in and just using WP CLI to activate the deactivate plugins and that can’t be done quite yet with WordPress.com for Business.

The other sticky feature is there is no easy transfer way. It’s not really too easy to transfer a self-hosted website to a business site quite yet. So, they’re still working on the tools. Like, you don’t have access to the database so you can’t go in and export a database and import it back in. The only real way to move it, say, from Bluehost to WordPress.com for Business is to go to the export feature and then the import feature and then you have to upload all your plugins and you have to upload all your themes and then you have to configure all your widgets and configure any theme settings and whatnot. So, it’s a little bit on the tedious side but it CAN be done. It’s something that I plan on trying at least at some point to see how tedious it is.

I’ve got a few sites that I could definitely put on for WordPress.com for Business and just see what happens and just see what that process looks like. So, not super easy to transfer but it is possible. So, that’s a little bit of a sticking point as well. You also have to have a WordPress.com account. That’s really not that big of a deal because all of the products now are at Automatic, so either using Jetpack or using WordPress.com or WooCommerce, all of those need a WordPress.com account. So, that’s something to think about and then the other kind of sticking point or gotcha that’s a little different from a self-hosted site is that no email comes with the Business Plan.

So, if you are using a Bluehost or a GoDaddy or A2 Hosting… any of those that have email built in and then you just forward that email account. Like, you set up an email account for your website and then you send that to your Apple mail or your Outlook, or whatever that is, then you’re not going to get any of that with the Business Plan, so you’d have to sign up for another service like maybe Google Suite or I know Hover has an email program or you can set up email boxes though Hover through your domain. So, that’s something to think about as well. So, those are some limitations and the other thing too is that WordPress.com for Business, like I said, was $300.00 per year or $25.00 per month and that is on a site-by-site basis. So, that’s another little sticking point as well. You may be paying $25.00 for you host right now but you can have unlimited sites there for that $25.00 per month. But with WordPress.com for Business you have to have, you know, it’s $25.00 per month per website. So, if you’ve got a dozen websites, that’s going to cost a little bit more to do that than on some of these other platforms that are out there, but that’s really what I wanted to share with you today… just some of the benefits and you can see more.

You can see what all the offerings are at WordPress.com/pricing and you can get all the information there. I wouldn’t say that you have to jump ship right now. Like, depending on what you’re current hosting strategy is but if you are interested or if this sounds like something that’s interesting to you, definitely reach out to me. If you want, you can send me an email. Actually, you can email me over at dustin@automatic.com and that is a great place to catch me there. I can answer that during business hours and talk you through some of the different things about using WordPress.com for Business or you can use the contact form, of course, as always and I can get a response back from you as well. If you want to know, hey, can I do this with WordPress.com for Business or can I do that for WordPress.com for Business?

That’s some of the things I can talk through and look at and try to figure out if that’s right for you. So, it may be one of those things that, oh, my hosting or my renewal for my hosting (my yearly package) is up in six months. Maybe in four or five months start exploring this and seeing if it will fit all of your needs because it is definitely something that is really cool and we’re excited to talk about it and we’re excited to share it. The other neat part is you can sign up and we have a 30-day money-back guarantee, so if you try it and you don’t really like it or it’s not really working for you or it doesn’t have “x” feature and we’re not able to offer that, then definitely you can just ask for a refund and with no questions asked we will refund anything within the first 30 days.

So, that’s what I wanted to share with you today all about WordPress.com for Business and it’s an exciting new feature from WordPress.com and I’m just happy to share it and happy to talk about it on the show. If you have any questions specifically, like I said, use the contact on yourwebsiteengineer.com or send me an email at Dustin@automatic.com. That’s what I wanted to share with you this week. Next week I’ve got an interview with some of my colleagues at Podcast Movement and we’re going to talk about what it’s like to work at Automatic. So, until then, take care and we’ll talk to you again soon. Bye-bye.

    • Joey Reply

      Business plan seems quite interesting. Only allowed to customize CSS (cannot modify PHP files from themes)?

      Sep 11, 2017
      • Dustin Hartzler Reply

        You can customize your CSS thru the Customizer and you could modify PHP by making changes to the theme and uploading the changed version to WordPress.

        Sep 12, 2017

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