Concept for a WordPress Development Workflow with VersionPress

I’ve been looking for a way to optimise the WordPress development workflow we use at Digital Leap and have constantly hit walls when it comes to managing database changes from dev machines to staging, production, and then all the way back (as we make changes to code and content at each stage).

When it comes to managing code changes, using version control tools like Git or SVN (actually, don’t use SVN) is quite common and there are robust and reliable. When it comes to database changes, on the other hand, merging databases from multiple places is quite tricky. There are a few projects that try and allow for syncing of production and live sites (WP Migrate Pro is a great example) but, from what I understand, it doesn’t cater for merge conflicts.

If you imagine a basic workflow in a team environment, a developer would do some custom code in his dev environment whilst the front-end dev is busy with setting up the theme and pages. Once they’re both done, they have to synchronise and merge what they’ve done and put it onto a staging site for someone to do some QA on it. The major issue is when the person makes changes on the staging site and a developer and / or designer has made changes in their dev environments. This is where VersionPress comes into the picture.

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Possible WordPress Development Workflow with VersionPress

At this stage, I’m not sure if it is possible – I’ll be honest with you. VersionPress is still very young and because of that, it’s still lacking very important features. However, the major functionality of merging database changes is there which, I would say, is the most important part of a solution.

At this stage, you can easily merge changes using WP-CLI (this makes it less of a user-friendly solution) and also clone a WordPress website into another staging site on the same server. The fundamental part that is missing, is being able to do this across environments like production, staging (on another server) and dev machines.

I think a possible solution (this is where my limited knowledge of Git shows) is to allow the VersionPress Git repo (yes, it is reliant on Git) to have a remote to your central Git server like Github, Bitbucket etc. Although, I could imagine that this carries its own complexities.

This is no solution but it’s definitely a couple of steps forward and at least allows developers to develop features into websites whilst still being able to bounce back into production copies.

If you’re reading this and going “There is a much easier way to do this!” then I’d love to hear from you!

Is Webfluential the Answer to Building a Blogging Business?

I have been blogging for a number of years but I have never really monetised this blog to a point where it has been worthwhile. I have earned a little off Google AdSense but never enough to write home about. Then a number of years ago, a company called Webfluential popped onto the radar. At first, I thought it was just another company offering to pay money for spammy PR style content supplied for you to publish. However, over the years, it has really turned into a tool that is pro influencers. Webfluential emphasises what you can do for the brand rather than the other way around. Are they the answer to building a blog business?

It seems as if they are. Their dashboard is pretty fancy and integrates into every channel you can supply. By integrates. I mean it actually fetches data for them to use for brands. The whole integration basically builds your brand profile with real-time data on your markets and reach (no more fooling anyone around).

Is Webfluential the Answer to Building a Blogging Business?

I’m a massive fan of being open and transparent especially when it comes to working with brands. For a long time, brands were burnt by false Google Analytics reports from “influencers” that had highly inflated numbers. These stats were used to charge brands a fortune to utilise their “reach”.

Is it worthwhile for bloggers?

I haven’t picked up any brands from Webfluential but that’s because I’ve mainly put my thoughts through the Digital Leap blog. Now that I’ve defined more clearly what each blog will do, I’m hoping to utilise my platforms and grow some influence in the coming months. I see the value in it and I’ve only heard good things about it. They also don’t mess around with price which means you can invest time into creating great content.

I would love to hear about your experience with Webfluential, if you’ve had any.

Thoughts on why we are Becoming Educated Buyers

There is has been a massive shift at Digital Leap over the last month as we realised many our clients were looking to really understand the digital space and how they could be effective. During this new journey, we realised that we had been trying to sell to people who wanted to find out as much information as they could to make an educated decision. I totally buy into this and we’ve made it our sole marketing strategy over the last year.

As I was writing another blog for the business tonight, I stopped to think about why selling is becoming buyer-centric and sales people are having to change their strategies. Here they are.

1. Quality is not a Given

Back in the day, you could buy a Ford or Chevvy and it would run for decades. In fact, there are still a few that are running today that were made in the 60s! However, these days we can’t be sure if the car we are buying shifted a couple of millimeters on the assembly line and is going to have a deffect (nevermind the fact that we could have been lied to about the actually specs of the car – think VW).

This means that most people will actually research anything before they will buy to see what other people are saying about the product and its quality.

2. Knowledge is Power

I don’t know about you but when it comes to anything especially gadgets, I want to find out exactly how they work even if I don’t own one yet. I want to dive into the technology that is under the hood and the amazing advancements that were made to get whatever it is that I’m buying to where it is.

People are craving knowledge and even more so when it’s about something they will lay their hard earned money down foore.

3. How Will it Help me?

This is probably the biggest reason for this shift. People are spending less on things they don’t want and even need. This doesn’t mean that fancy cars are going out of fashion but if it doesn’t fulfill a need for the person, you’re never going to sell it to them.

You can phone me every day and almost give me a mobile data contract for free and I would not take it. Why? Because in the end I have fibre at the office, ADSL at home and enough data on my phone to make it inbetween both locations. However, come and offer me fibre at home and I’ll sign up on the spot. The point I’m making is to pin point someone’s actual need.

My need isn’t more internet connectivity options. It’s a single reliable internet connect that is super fast.

It’s super interesting seeing this shift and it’s helped us really focus on what matters to buyers rather than what matters to our bottom-line (important but only over the long term).

Have you noticed the shift?

WordCamp Joburg 2016

It’s official, WordCamp is finally coming to Joburg and you’re invited, get your WordPress swag ready!

About 3 months ago I approached WordPress and said I’d be interested in organising it. Much to my surprise, they said that someone is already in final discussions with about running WordCamp Joburg. So what is WordCamp?

A WordCamp is a non-profit conference focused on all things WordPress and is relevant to everyone from new users to experienced developers, designers and everyone in between. It is not only a great place to learn from some of the most influential people in the WordPress community, but also to meet plenty of new and interesting people who share similar passions.

I’m pretty excited to get involved and attend it. If you are too, then head over to the website for more information:

Book Review: Rich Dad Poor Dad

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki has been recommended to me many times and I finally got down to reading it. It really does make sense of investment strategies and the flaws in pretty much everyone’s thinking – which is great. However, if you’re looking for investment advice and how to invest, this book won’t really cover the step-by-step directions on where and how to make money from your money.

I would say that it is enlightening to the fact that there’s a lot more to investing than you think and what the book reveals is that what you’ve been told (most likely by your parents) is that saving isn’t going to make you rich. What I get from the book is that you actually need to educate yourself to understand finances – what he would call “financial intelligence”.

If you’re looking for a “get rich quick” book then this probably isn’t a book for you. If you’re looking to really understand where to start making your money work for you and to actually point you in a direction, then Rich Dad Poor Dad will definitely help you with that.

Rich Dad Poor Dad Book Cover Rich Dad Poor Dad
Robert T. Kiyosaki, Sharon L. Lechter,
Business & Economics
Business Plus
January 15, 2001

Personal finance author and lecturer Robert T. Kiyosaki developed his unique economic perspective from two very different influences - his two fathers. This text lays out Kiyosaki's philosophy and his relationship with money.