Each month the Genesis Shapers meets for one hour to discuss the evolving WordPress landscape and how it relates to the Genesis community.
If you missed any updates, they can be found in the YouTube channel here.
Don’t have time for the video? Enjoy the TL;DW:
- Question: Bill Erickson did a followup podcast with David Vogelpohl about ad & cookie blocking strategies for publishers in a follow-up to our discussion in a past Shapers meeting where Bill discussed 3rd party cookies going away in Chrome by 2022. Is this something you or your clients are concerned about / working to mitigate?
- Answer: The Shapers had a variety of responses on if this was something that concerned them which correlated with folks who served large publishers or not. Jonathan Jeter of Click Here Labs had expressed it’s on the mind of the large publishers CHL works with. The podcast linked above goes into the details of what’s happening and how you could structure your publisher ad strategy in response.
- Question: During the last Shapers meeting Mike McAllister discussed future global style settings for Genesis Blocks. Would it be helpful if blocks you build with Genesis Custom Blocks could inherit those global styles as well?
- Answer: There was a resounding YES in response to this question from the Shapers. Global style all the things!
- Question: What improvements should be made in the process to create your own Sections and Layouts in Genesis Blocks? What about the process to create your own Collections?
- Answer: There wasn’t much progress from Shapers building their own Collections outside of Nahuai Badiola’s OsomPress themes, but many were not aware of the article by Rob Stinson detailing how to create your own Collections. This brought up discussions around better documentation and access to documentation for Collections.
- Question: We’ve recently spent time talking about about Core Web Vitals and Cumulative Layout Shift with Genesis Framework themes. What other strategies are you using to improve performance for CLS or First Contentful Paint for CWV?
- Answer: There were lots of suggestions and ideas, but Bill Erickson of CultivateWP provided a list that summarized the list of recommendations well.. Use system fonts when possible. Style fallback font when using custom fonts so they are similar size. Never use background-image, always use (can replicate similar styling with object-fit: cover;). Sometimes WP Rocket’s critical CSS feature doesn’t catch all the actual critical CSS and causes CLS shifts, so try disabling that and see if there’s an improvement. Lazy load images, replace Youtube embeds with image (setting in WP Rocket)
- Question: 3rd party themes often have lags between when updates are available for their theme and when those updates are available for StudioPress customers due to queues in reviewing updates. What other issues with 3rd party themes could go better for customers / authors on StudioPress?
- Answer: There were comments around how questions on the forums for some 3rd party themes that go unanswered. The group discussed how that wasn’t a requirement to provide support on the StudioPress forums, but that we should keep an eye on unanswered threads and suggest people reach out to support where appropriate. There was also discussions about how many of the unanswered requests are customization requests such as changes that require custom CSS.
David Vogelpohl: Hello everyone. And welcome to the Genesis community live cast. This is our Genesis shapers recap for April 20, 20 shapers meeting, entitled global styles, smore web vitals, and third-party themes. I kind of like poetic type to title there. I never said it out loud until just now
Carrie Dils: it has a nice ring to it.
David Vogelpohl: I knew I like it, uh, for those unfamiliar. My name is David Vogelpohl I’ve, and a proud member of the Genesis community for over eight years. I lead Genesis at WP engine and I love helping the Genesis community get better together with my friends, from the shapers. Joining me for the shapers recap episode.
I’d like to welcome back Carrie dills of Carrie dills.com.
Carrie Dils: Howdy. Thanks for having me.
David Vogelpohl: Kind of lucky that you work for CarrieDils.com. Actually now. I think about it
Carrie Dils: makes it easy to remember.
David Vogelpohl: I know exactly. And, uh, of course also joining us another Genesis shaper I’d like to welcome for the first time on the shapers recap video, but not the first time for the Genesis community live cast.
I’d like to welcome miss Anita Carter of creative diva. Hey Anita, how are you? Do you remember your first Genesis community live cast? Anita
Anita Carter: first Genesis community.
David Vogelpohl: Got some friends with you. You had Sandy and Mike.
Anita Carter: Yeah. And Mike Little, yes. Sharing that a
little bit lately.
David Vogelpohl: That was a, such a wonderful way for us to kick off the reboot, the live cast, and, uh, really enjoy listening to you and Sandy and Mike, talk about the contributions by and challenges of the black community word press.
Uh, it was really, uh, I think my favorite thing, a thing like that, like episode or video podcast or whatever, uh, definitely over the last couple of years, it was really, really special moments. So thank you for that. Um, And also, uh, I guess now what we’ll do from here for those that have never seen one of these recap videos before, as we’re going to walk through the questions that we asked in the last shapers meeting, and then Anita and Carrie here going to help with commentary, interpreting what others said.
And of course also giving their own point of view. And I’ve got the Slack up over here, um, just to kind of roll through everything. But the first question we ask in every shapers meeting is, uh, who showed up, who was there? A show of emoji looks like we have Ryan, Ken stra from the Genesis product and engineering team, bill Erickson.
Uh, bill has a new website that I forget what it’s called. I just interviewed him about it. Um, Anita, and, uh, Carrie, do you happen to know Bill’s new company name? It’s it’s I’ve seen it
and if you hadn’t forgot it.
It was very memorable, man. Yes. I’m looking it up on Twitter and I’m giggling right now.
Let’s see who wins. Let’s see, this is the wrong bill Erickson. Oh, here we go. Okay. Here we go. Drum, roll cultivate WP. That’s actually a pretty good name.
Anita Carter: That’s it.
David Vogelpohl: Nice. Um, good to see bill there. Uh, no. Why by Dola out of Spain, Madison Sadler also from the product engineering team, Ryan Murray of 3,200 creative they’ll Johnston product engineering team.
Jonathan Jeter with click here, labs out of Dallas, Carrie you’re late you’re you’re you’re emoji. After the next question, three minutes late, it was a. Unforgivable. I know you’re West coast though. So you get a little bit of a pass, cause that’s like seven in the morning for you, your time three minutes for one minute for each time zone.
Wow. Well thank you for getting up early. Even if you were a little late by Kim Berger, though, it was just as late as you are. So, so don’t feel too bad. I was later. Where were you around later? I don’t even see your waving here. Oh my goodness. You’re like two questions past that. Uh, yeah, Nita. I don’t think, I don’t think we knew if you were saying good morning year here or answering that first question.
Oh, wait, is that, was that your here or is that you’re volunteering
So for those listening or why I have no idea or even referencing, so later in the meeting we ask, who wants to join us for a future shapers recap video, uh, that we publish on the blog. The one we’re doing right now and the first-hand is Anita, but apparently that was your idea.
That’s like, like
Anita Carter: at an auction, I raised my hand at the wrong time.
David Vogelpohl: I don’t know. Yeah. It’s funny. I remember Mike Little talking about getting involved with WordPress, raising his hand to help. So it’s kind of interesting. The adventures you go on when you raise your hand, right? Any of that? Yeah, well, moving on to the rest of the agenda, uh, after the roll call, the, the first question up was, do you need a fresh version of Genesis blocks, uh, pro and custom blocks pro for testing?
Um, some of the shapers, um, don’t have access to those. And so we provide a fresh version for folks to test. That’s what I thought you were waving at Carrie, but yours was just a delayed when, um, it didn’t look like really, it looks like just to put some emoji reactions. Um, but nobody necessarily needed an update at that time.
The next question up this one, um, we actually just read out was he wants to be a joined me for a future shapers recap video. Uh, of course we were able to score the famous Anita Carter here. I like Phil Johnson, Phil Phil’s on the product and engineering team at, uh, for Genesis. And he says, what’s in a recap video and I’m like, Phil, you should watch the recap video here.
Like you should like watch them, but he comes to the meetings. Maybe he feels like he doesn’t need to watch the videos. Let’s see. Okay. Uh, let’s pretty much it on that front. We’ve been cycling through a lot of the shapers in these recap videos. So I think we’re going to be, we’re going to be following up with people who joined us in the past.
Maybe, uh, as we make our way through the list. Next step on the agenda. Um, this is getting a little bit more tactical, uh, but bill Erickson did a follow-up podcast with me on the press, this podcast, um, about a topic we had covered in a prior shapers meeting, focused on ad and. Third party, cookie blocking, uh, strategies for WordPress publishers.
It was a really good episode. Um, if you, uh, go to wmr.fm, you can check out, press this and see that episode with bill Erickson there. If you go to torque mag.io, there’s a version transcribed, um, but really it focused on third-party cookies going away, uh, in major browsers. Um, You know, Firefox one of the more recent with Chrome by 2022, which is the lion’s share of the browser market.
And we asked this follow up question there, the shapers, is this something you or your clients are concerned about or working to mitigate? Um, Anita, I’ll start with you. Uh, I don’t know if you work very often with publishers who monetize your ads, do you, or is that not normally part of the types of customers you work with?
Anita Carter: No, I actually worked with them, but because I provide theme support, I also get a lot of questions from buyers of Genesis child themes about those programs. So, you know, that really came in handy. I didn’t listen to the podcast. So that came in really handy for me.
David Vogelpohl: Yeah, it’s really interesting. Um, what bill kind of detailed was the impact of blocking third party cookies on publishers and specifically it’s a revenue impact.
Um, more so to getting registered users on your site. So you can start to earn their trust and get more of the data that you would be missing with third party cookies being blocked. Carrie, does this come up in your world at all? I was just sort of, uh, being a fly on the wall and, and interested to hear the conversation.
I don’t do a ton of, uh, Not working with sites that are serving ads and that sort of thing. So, um, I was curious to see what everybody else was saying. Yeah. It seems like some people are either involved with publishers, monetizing ads and large folks. Aren’t um, I think Jonathan Jeter’s posts here. He says all ad publishers are working on alternate solutions.
So Jonathan’s agency, he works for works of a lot of big publishers. Um, and you know, particularly those, of course it monetize your advertising. Um, he’s saying that most of the alternative solutions require DNS changes and involve saving data user. Uh, server side instead of client side. So that’s kind of getting back to the point I was making around like registered users strategies.
And so like when we think of things like personalization, I think is a great example. It’s like, you could say like, well with all the user privacy stuff and tracking stuff blocking, um, personalization is going to die or be, will be dead and like, I would say the opposite is true, right? Like if you’re looking at, say like a publishing site and they’re showing articles and you’re building out a site and you’re thinking about like, well, how am I going to deliver, you know, these, um, how am I going to, how am I going to get user data and earn that trust?
Personalization is one of the ways you can do that when you like articles recommended for you or wouldn’t you like this recommended for you or tailor eyes for you. And. In, in delivering that value, you would list it the registration, but then of course you also get some data, hopefully earn that in responsible use the data that comes along with that.
But I would say like the theme for me is that most folks in the shapers did not have a strategy for this as they thought about 20, 22 and beyond relying on you to just keep us in the loop. David Erickson keeps you in the way he’s got the detail. That is a fact. Yeah. Um, but I thought this was really interesting cause you know, I know there’s huge segments, um, of folks out there, uh, that, you know, in the Genesis community that are monetizing, of course, publishing sites, you’re advertising and EDA, you say Amazon is going to need to do the same thing.
One of my clients, ads are blocked and Firefox, which I know is not the browser of choice, but there’s still blocked. So you are noticing client ads, specifically being blocked by Firefox and not be an ad blocker. I’m guessing. Right.
Anita Carter: And did you read the thing about it? It’s not, um, it’s not just Amazon, it’s a lot of other, um, programs like reward styles or shop styles, which is what a lot of the, um, um, lady ladies use for their programs that they’re joined into.
Um, even some media vine. Ads are still being blocked in Firefox. And that’s because they have that, um, enhanced tracking protection automatically turned on when they activated it, they just turned it on and most people didn’t realize
David Vogelpohl: that. And that’s the third party cookie cookie blocking. I’m not familiar with all the Firefox features.
Anita Carter: Yes, that’s what it is. It’s blocking it. And then say for instance, if I went to our local newspaper website, And that was on. I will get that pop up. That would say, you need to turn that off in order to, you know, read this article. But, um, that’s what, you know, a lot of people were upset about is that when they updated their Firefox browser, Firefox, automatically turned it on.
They didn’t give people the, you know, the right to turn it off, their, their permission to do it. You know what I’m saying? So, A lot of sites showed up with, um, we got support tickets saying from users using Firefox. Your theme is giving us white spaces. We have all these white spaces in here and why is it doing that?
And it was because they were in Firefox and that tracking was turned on.
David Vogelpohl: Well, that’s valuable insights. I think, uh, Anita for this watching thinking like, well, wait, why or where did my wide has come from in Firefox was a good clue. Um, you can leverage of course, first party cookie based advertising, uh, in a variety of ways either through.
You know, just placing the image and linking an image. If it’s in a banner ad or text and a text link, if it’s a text ad, um, but you lose the, the ad network component that allows them to do retargeting as folks float across sites. Um, and that as bill, you know, framed, it was really the big driver behind why.
The, uh, RPMs or revenue per thousand impressions was lower on, um, advertising contacts that didn’t couldn’t use these third-party cookies to track fix. He had mentioned some of the ad networks were doing this kind of like federated first party type thing where like you’re collecting the data with permission, of course, from the user.
And then. Um, showing relevant ads based on their interests as fed through a third-party network. But it seems like a lot of this is still up in the air as the ad networks and ads, um, uh, publishers and every in tool kits, um, figure out the best way to preserve publisher revenue as much as possible, uh, while still dealing with these.
Privacy changes in browsers. Um, but I think one thing that’s interesting to me is that while everybody’s freaking out about it, Everybody’s freaking out about it, meaning that, um, all the advertisers, all the publishers have to deal with the exact same scenario. So this, in my mind, this notion of like, Oh my goodness, the sky is falling.
Yeah, I guess so. But like it’s falling for everybody. And so I have this, maybe it’s this naive faith that we’ll work through it. And publishers will ultimately be made whole and advertisers will get the value they need. It is that faith unfounded. Carrie, we’ll get to you this time. I like it. I like it. I go, I don’t have anything good to add to that.
David, you knocked it out of the park. Okay. Okay. What about you, Anita? Should a show you think I should be more cautious here? My positivity. All right. I like it. I like it. Um, and then I love how Jonathan Jeter finishes this off. Um, it’s kind of like a summary statement. All the tracking will continue to happen and it will be creepier.
And then he puts a strike through, through creepier we’re targeted. Yeah. And ever. So I think that’s a really, it’s funny. Joke at that, but like, obviously it’s a good balance to consider like being responsible with people’s people’s data, earning it, and then, you know, if possible then leveraging that to, to try to drive growth.
But, um, obviously it, it becomes very creepy, very fast. Um, next step during the last shapers meeting, Mike McAllister discuss future global styles for Genesis blocks. Um, would it be helpful if blocks you build with Genesis custom blocks could also inherit those global styles as well. Um, Anita, I guess I’ll kick off with you on this one.
Um, and I know, I don’t think you’ve built any custom blocks yet. Have you actually built the custom block with Genesis custom plots? I know you were playing around with it at one point.
Oh me. Yes. Have you built a custom block with Genesis?
Anita Carter: I did one and I was pretty happy with it. I was surprised that I was able to create it myself and actually get it to output properly.
David Vogelpohl: That’s good. But with one, I guess you didn’t have to worry about global styles, so you’re still kind of in your block creation.
Anita Carter: Yeah, I didn’t have to worry about that.
David Vogelpohl: So, Carrie, I know you’ve got a little deeper Genesis custom blocks. So what do you think of this notion of like a global style setting? Um, so you can inherit those global styles as you build out your block library. I think that makes tons of sense of to be able to declare a certain style variables once and then just have them, uh, it across the board.
Carrie Dils: Yes. Cascading, um, That’s a time-saver. So in today’s world through Genesis blocks and custom boxing, I guess generally with the block editor, there’s, there’s really this lack of notion of global styles. Now full site editing of course, is supposed to add to that. Um, have you seen anything in your FSC research carry that would indicate the, I know that in general, they’re looking at like global styles for blocks, but as part of the FSE theme construct, or what have you discovered digging in on the FSC side?
Uh, well, there’s a, uh, universal theme that Jason filed that declares all the, all the basic style support. Um, and my understanding is that that will be, uh, used, um, for themes to be able to inherit those colors all the way through and as well for, uh, core blocks that are shown in that theme. But they’ll match the theme versus the, the core block.
All right. Good deal. Well, John Brown says, I’ve said a billion, all caps times, anything that’s standardized styling across all blocks and the Genesis ecosystem would be a major win similar standard markups, similar classes, same, same, same, same, same, um, from the block context or share, um, that’s what McAllister was referencing.
They’re looking at from the product and engineering perspective. All right. Next question on the agenda. What improvements should be made in the process to create your own sections and layouts and Genesis blocks. Um, and then, then the thought for that is what about the process to create your own collection?
David Vogelpohl: So in Genesis blocks, and let me show you some of this here and I’ll do the screen sharing deal so we can quit just like talking about these visual things. Okay. Get it going. All right. Good deal. So first and foremost, if you haven’t checked it out on the, uh, studio press blog yet, um, y’all can see my screen, right, Carrie.
Yeah. Okay. Sorry. Okay. Good deal. I just want to make sure I share the right screen there, but you can see this blog post from Rob Stenson and what Rob details is, how to build your own collection in Genesis block. So for those unfamiliar, um, we’ll go ahead and see what a collection looks like. I’m going to go ahead and add a new blank page.
Well, go ahead and choose the layout selector added by, uh, Genesis blocks. The cumulative layout shift on this WP admin is too much carrying core web bottles on the brain here on my things are moving around. I put that little browser add on, on mine too, and everywhere I go, it’s just red. Oh really? I didn’t do that.
Audio scanning stuff slows my browser down. I invoke it when I need it. There you go. Um, all right. So we have, of course the block editor in general and Genesis blocks, we have sections, which are part of a page. We have something called layouts, which are a whole page worth of blocks. There we go whole page where the blocks and then a collection, like if you were a theme developer or say you were working internally for a brand and you wanted to enable your customer stakeholders with like a bunch of editable block-based demo content, you could essentially do that through a, uh, through a collection.
And so what the collection does is it has all that block-based content. But as you can see, uh, when you create one, you would most likely create it to all follow the same style system. And so now we can just jump right in and start editing our blocks. So the question was related to the process of building the collections and then the layouts and sections within them.
Carrie, have you built a collection yet? It’s okay if you haven’t, you can say no, I haven’t. Okay. No collections. Yeah, but you’re not building like a lot of themes per se. I don’t know. It feels like you don’t have a lot of use cases to do it these days, or maybe you do. Um, I’m doing more of, uh, finding finished products and taking them apart then building new stuff.
You’ve built one block, right? So no collections for you yet?
Anita Carter: Correct? Just the one black collection collection. You building
David Vogelpohl: collections over there. Mr Vogel pole I have, but you know, who has, is know why by Dola of awesome press and know why, uh, the, the collections are fairly new and the Genesis box context.
Um, and they’re fundamentally designed, of course, it’s kind of like the Alexa sort of like theme demo content is the way I think about them. And so theme providers are the first group we expect to adopt making their own collections. The biggest issues we’ve had so far with folks trying to build their own collections is time, which you two are great examples of that.
And, uh, and then just need, is it helpful for them, for that individual to build that type of thing? Um, and, uh, you know, uh, documentation was the other one, you know, matter of fact, the blog post I was showing by, uh, Rob Stenson not only explains how to do the build, but it has code examples. And then there’s also a zip in here where you can actually download this collection that Rob made, uh, as part of this.
Um, project or to building this post? Um, yeah, absolutely super awesome. From Rob’s perspective there, I need to get him to make one of those like layout export or deals carry like you did with the full site editing examples. Ooh, that would be cool. So, um, but anyways, the long and short of it, there is that, um, the feedback we’ve gotten so far has been documentation, documentation, documentation.
Um, I think getting some more tutorials out would help around that too, but it’s, it works today. So if you want to make your own collection, go check out that post on the city of press blog. All right next up. We mentioned this earlier. We’ve recently spent time talking about core web vitals and cumulative layout shift with Genesis framework themes.
Um, what other strategies are you using to improve performance for cumulative layout shift or first Contentful paint for CWV? I feel like I know more acronyms now than I ever wanted to know with this core web vitals launch FCP CLS. CWV sounds like a roster of dad, nineties bands or something. So, um, Anita, what have you seen with CLS?
Has this been on your radars has been something coming up with your customers or are they not bothered with it right now?
Anita Carter: No. In themes support is an actual nightmare.
David Vogelpohl: People know that Google has delayed their algorithm update for core web vitals, and that is not happening in may.
Anita Carter: Aye. Aye. A lot of them know, but they’re still writing into port as well as to like me personally, but through our theme support again, this is another thing that’s sending everyone and making everyone crazy.
And it’s to the point where even using something like WP rocket, or another type of optimization plugin, It’s they’re asking for everything to be stripped out of their website completely just to get this perfect score. But they don’t realize that by doing that, their website is not going to function properly, or it may not appear properly on a mobile device.
They do it. And then they write in and they say, well, my website doesn’t look right now. Why is because of the optimization that you’ve done with your plugin, but then they write back in and say, how am I supposed to get a perfect score? If I can’t turn these things on? So we’re, we’re in that battle with them.
And then, you know, they think it’s the theme, designer’s responsibility to fix everything that’s wrong in their website or their scores. And that’s not their responsibility to do that.
David Vogelpohl: That’s a really interesting point because like, and I think one of the reasons Google delayed the launch of their algorithm.
So it’s for those watching or listening, it is not happening in May, 2021. So the rush to beat may is, is no longer there. Um, but this was just a random thing introduced by Google it seemingly out of nowhere. And, you know, everyone feels they have to re you know, a lot of people feel they have to react to it.
And it’s really interesting when you look at the tools that support the web. And I think a lot of this fed into Google’s decision to the lay there. It’s like, you just can’t drop this on people and be like, Hey, guess what’s happening in four months. I forgot exactly when they announced it, but like, it wasn’t a lot of lead up time.
Um, As we’ve done our investigations into studio press main themes. Um, one of the biggest culprits is Jen, uh, Google fonts. Um, and replacing those with, um, you know, either local versions or other font options, but just like it’s ironic. Yeah. Our car went vinyl scars, and somethings is from cools pond, which it’s their thing that we’re trying to.
Yeah. um, but it’s, it’s. It’s been a really interesting moment on the web. And I think then backing off, um, you know, at least in terms of timing was good that said ever since I’ve learned, uh, more information about cumulative layout shift, I noticed sites that have problems with it all the time. And as a matter of fact, when I read the article about Google delaying their launch of core with vitals, the algo update, it was on a site that I couldn’t really read because the ads and the content were jumping around so much and he just had a better CLS score.
I wouldn’t be having this problem. But that
Anita Carter: goes back to the apps. Again, it goes back to their ads. How can you ask their ads through the ad sense and their own program? Cause a shift. So how are people supposed to fix their shift shifts coming from their
David Vogelpohl: ads? Well, and I think that’s a really good point, which is whose responsibility is it to make a better web and to what standards do we hold ourselves?
Right. I always think of web design and development is this balance between suffering and joy, the joy of introducing a new experience on the page information. Um, features whatever, but then the pain of the extra load time, it takes to load that information. But that’s in my view, the decision for the web developer and the site owner to make, like, I either want big ass images, pardon my French, or I don’t.
Right. You make that decision and you make that trade-off for, you know, beauty over speed, maybe for whatever reason. And it’s, it does feel awkward sometimes to have this outside party role in, in, in, via. You know, there’s search market share kind of force you to do it the way they want, um, when that might not necessarily be the best choice for your website.
Right? What are your thoughts on that? We’ll go with Carrie on this one. Do you like, does it bother you when people tell you how you have to do things or you just like roll with the punches? It’s been this way forever. Yeah. I mean, I’m just kidding. I do think it’s kind of annoying. Um, Maybe not unlike full site editing, kind of being dropped into to core on short notice and just it’s optional.
You don’t have to use it. That’s
Anita Carter: true.
David Vogelpohl: That’s true. Didn’t mean to be a haters, gonna hate. All right. Well, um, there was a lot of discussion from the rest of the shapers, kind of following the same vein, like whose responsibility is it? Why should we be doing this? Um, you know, lots of discussion around CLS and kind of the, the good parts, if you will, of optimizing for it.
Uh, I like bill Erickson’s list here. I’m just going to read it out. It’s so good. Use system fonts when possible style fallback font, when. Using custom fonts. So they are a similar size, presumably for CLS, never use background dash image always use the image tag. Um, it’s interesting. And he says sometimes WP rocket’s critical CSS feature.
Doesn’t catch all the actual critical CSS and causes CLS shifts. So try disabling that and see if there’s an improvement. It sounds like he discovered that through a lot of trial and error. I’m lazy letting, uh, lazy load images, replace YouTube embeds with image. Um, Oh, that’s interesting. So he must mean like, instead of putting a YouTube in bed, just put like a screen grab of the video and let people click through or something.
Uh, very interesting. All right. Next question. On the agenda third-party themes often have lags between updates are available for their theme. This is a fun one. And when those updates are available for studio press customers due to cues and reviewing those updates. So basically a third-party theme provider sells their theme and the studio press marketplace.
They later make an update for it. They submit it to studio press and our product and engineering team, but depending on their workload and their queues, that update may take a while before it gets into the hands of users. Meanwhile, the theme authors already released the update on their own store and, uh, people are aware and as a studio press customers don’t have a latest update while we, you know, catch up in the queue depending on timing and notifications and all these things.
Um, so the question is to the group, what other issues, or even related to that. Uh, with third-party themes could go better for customers authors on studio, press Anita. I know this is like a, uh, a passion topic for you in a lot of ways. Um, and you say, uh, two things, how long will they stay in there? And is there a requirement that they get updated in any way?
Um, so help me understand more about that. And any other thoughts you have on this question?
Anita Carter: Well, it goes back to, you know, theme support and engaging with members over on the community forum. Um, some of the themes are older. They’re out of date on a third parties. Um, but then if they have trouble, um, they need to download a fresh copy.
They may have to go through a third, one of the third parties to get that thing. Some third parties. Are charging for that update, if you can go directly to them. So it’s either pay for the update from the third party, or wait until studio press. It gets the fresh copy to put it over into their account. So that’s, that’s a struggle there for many people that I’m seeing, um, because if they were ever pro pack member, they would feel that they should automatically get that.
Why should they have to pay for the update?
David Vogelpohl: Yeah. If you bought the theme, if someone bought the theme through studio press, they definitely don’t have to pay for the update. Um, there are cases where updates are lagged between their, when they’re released by the author and when they’re applied into the portal.
And part of that is we have to review the documentation, do a code review, get it slated for the team to do. And depending on when they release it in other contexts versus let us know and have a copy of it. Sometimes that’s the same day. Now, if there are third-party themes that were sold or are sold and distributed through the city of press marketplace, and there are updates available that the author is forcing people to pay for to that specific theme.
Uh, let me know offline Anita we’ll we’ll make sure folks are taken, uh, made the whole there, but. Um, I know of other cases where authors have like sunsetted a theme and then made like a new theme with a different name, but like similar designs and stuff. And I’ll be like, Oh, that’s the new version of that other kind of theme we had, but it wasn’t really a true theme update.
And I know that that’s caused some issues for some folks. I won’t name the provider. By name, but like, I have seen that happen where it’s like, we, we archive this other one. Well, we made this new one, which is our kind of analog to that one in the new way. Um, and that caused issues. Was that specifically what you were referencing there?
Anita Carter: Yeah, because people were thinking that they were supposed to get an up, up, they were looking at it being an update versus. Their new version, actually being a new version or a completely new thing, or like how you put it. One was put not obsolete, but it was retired. So to speak, it was retired.
David Vogelpohl: Maybe. Yeah.
Um, we have had, uh, you know, good conversations with the folks whose themes or this would have been affected by. I think this was largely a messaging issue. Like the construct that was happening was that they were winding down one theme and they launched a new theme. It didn’t use the same. Uh, software, it wasn’t an update to the software of that theme, but it may have used design elements from it.
Um, and you know, talked around that messaging component and making sure that people understand when something old is being retired and something new is being watched versus it being like an update. Um, and in that case, I believe it was something old being retired and something new being launched, but it wasn’t clear, I feel in the communication side.
Um, so that’s one area is, you know, working with our theme partners in the marketplace to make sure that the messaging is clear and people understand what they’re getting or not getting. Uh, certainly from our perspective, making sure that our partners are living up to their obligations. So if there is an update, customers are getting access to that, not being forced to pay.
Um, and you know, I’d say. In total for the partners we have in there. They’re, they’re, they’re excellent at that. And certainly have some road bumps along the way. Um, but one of the things we’re looking forward to, to the future is really improving the experience in the superior press marketplace, uh, for third party theme authors, but, but.
More importantly, the people buying and using those themes. Um, and so we’re in the middle of doing some research now around some changes we want to make to how that works, hopefully to provide a better experience to everybody involved. Um, but this question is really about unpacking some of those common concerns.
I’m going to go back to you and Nita, cause I know this is such a deep area. Um, any other curious, you talked about like forum authors participating, I’m sorry. Theme authors participating in the forums. Any other key areas that stand out to you?
Anita Carter: You said for me? Yes ma’am. Um, yes. If, if there, things of someone is posting about their theme, their, um, do they have a responsibility to reply or, you know, provide some type of visibility over there on the community forum or, um, should moderators, you know, post a message that they should.
You know, reach out to them directly. So I think that’s been a little bit confusing.
David Vogelpohl: We don’t require the theme authors to monitor the forums. Um, we do require that if they’re selling themes through the studio press marketplace, that they provide the level of support that was promised to the customer. Uh, of course, um, Typically, of course, if someone has a question they should ask the author directly and if they don’t know how to contact the author for support and you purchase it through studio press, um, you can log into your portal and get that information, or even ask our support and we’ll direct you to the right place.
But I would personally send folks there first and then Nita. I know, you know this well, but the biggest. The issue that comes up though, is the definition of what is supported and what is not. And I think, you know, people go to the theme, authors, ask a question, the theme author says, that’s customization. I don’t really provide support on that level.
And so they then go to a community medium, like. Forums or Facebook group to go ask the question and people either help or don’t help, depending on who’s reading the forum and knows the answer or not. Um, that at the end of the day, that’s just like par for the course with WordPress products on some level, like if you look at plugin and theme providers across the community, the same problem exists, like over and over and over and over and over again.
So I think it’s just part, uh, kind of the nature of the beast, Anita, but I definitely think there’s room for improvement. Um, So that’s all our calendars. You’re digging, like the next one’s coming up. Um, Carrie, your turn, anything to add on this one? Or did it need us, uh, whereas it quite well, I think that was a pretty darn good summary.
All right. Good deal. Well, that was it for the agenda items, uh, for this, uh, April, 2021. I think I said 20, 20 earlier, uh, April 20, 21 shapers meeting. Um, Anita, thank you for joining us today.
Anita Carter: Thank you for having
David Vogelpohl: me. Of course, Carrie, thank you as well. Thank you.
Anita Carter: Good to be here.
David Vogelpohl: All right. She learned, like to learn more about what carries up to you.
You can visit Carrie deals.com and if you’d like to learn more about what a need is that too, you can visit creative diva.com and it’s spelled C R E eight T I V E. Diva.com. How how’s that spelling? You have a faster way of saying it? No,
Anita Carter: that was, I have to spell it slower like that, too.
David Vogelpohl: All right. Good deal.
Well, a real big fan of you, Anita, and the services you provide a creative diva is a freelance and agency business of Anita. So if you have need check her out, uh, thanks to everyone else for listening today, and please stay tuned for future episodes of the Genesis community live cast. Again, this has been your host, David Volvo, Paul.
I have been a proud member of the Genesis community for over eight years. I lead Genesis at WP engine and I love helping the Genesis community get better together with my friends, from the shapers.
As a reminder, the Genesis Shapers are a global, hand-selected, and diverse group of people representing companies from across the community who share a representative voice for the strategic direction of Genesis, which is combined with the feedback we receive directly from customers across social channels, and through Genesis WP on Slack.