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WordPress 6.0 “Arturo” Is Here With Nearly 1,000 Changes

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WordPress 6.0 "Arturo" Is Here With Nearly 1,000 Changes

WordPress 6.0, named Arturo, is launched and ready to go. This update introduces nearly 1,000 updates and enhancements that make WordPress more intuitive to use for both developers and end users.

Some of the changes, like faster website performance , will be felt immediately. Others, like the brand new page creation patterns are features for theme developers to roll out.

Every update to WordPress is named after a jazz artist. This version is named after the Grammy-winning jazz musician Arturo O’Farrill. He is associated with the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.

The official WordPress announcement explains:

“The latest version of the software takes full site editing one step further and looks to consolidate the ‘no code’ experience for site-building, expanding upon the existing customization tools, bringing new blocks, and focusing on the writing and design workflows.

An example of this is the new style switcher for block themes, one of the most anticipated features for the flexibility and creative opportunities it introduces without having to switch themes.

‘With thoughtful updates to the writing experience, building better block functionality, and adding a new intuitive style switcher, I’m really proud of the work that’s been done in this release to make a great site editing experience,’ says WordPress’ Executive Director, Josepha Haden Chomphosy.”

WordPress 6.0 Is An Incremental Update

WordPress 6.0 is the culmination of the work of over 500 people in at least 58 countries, encompassing close to 1,000 improvements.

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Ordinarily when a product undergoes a version change, like a new Android phone model, end users expect to see dramatic changes. That’s not really the case with WordPress version changes.

While this is a “dot 0” release, version 6.0 is best understood as part of a series of incremental improvements meant to preserve backwards compatibility while also introducing improvements.

WordPress 6.0 is a version number change but it’s not on the scale of a revamp. The publishing experience between versions 5.9 and 6 are improved.

According to the official WordPress announcement, there is no need to be wary of updating, encouraging all site owners to update now in order to enjoy the many benefits of this release.

“Site owners and administrators should upgrade to take full advantage of the many stability, performance, and usability enhancements today.

WordPress content creators will enjoy a suite of new features geared toward improving the writing and designing experiences.”

A spokesperson from WordPress shared with Search Engine Journal:

“This release picks up right where 5.9 left off – focusing on bringing full site editing further into view and improving the overall experience of the block editor, wherever you might use it.

6.0 has a collection of new features geared toward improving the writing and designing experiences shared by most WordPress users.

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Of course, like all recent WordPress releases, this one includes performance enhancements, your typical stability improvements of the core code, and a lot of small improvements that enhance the site-building experience.”

WordPress Performance Improvements

WordPress 6.0 ships with performance improvements that will contribute to making WordPress faster for site visitors.

There are improvements to how queries are executed against the database and also to how caches are managed.

This means fewer numbers and types of database calls resulting in greater efficiency that translates to faster performance.

New Features That End Users Will Love

Page Creation Patterns

One of the most important changes is the Page Creation Patterns feature.

Ordinarily, when creating a web page a publisher might start with a blank layout. Page creation patterns is a way to select from multiple layouts as a starting point.

The WordPress core itself won’t ship with the layouts, this is something that theme developers need to build into their themes.

Block Locking

Block Locking is a feature that prevents an end-user from accidentally deleting or moving an important block. The new feature is available through a block settings drop-down menu.

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Andrew Wilder of the WordPress support company, NerdPress (@NerdPress) offered his opinion that while 6.0 ships with “tons” of improvements that end users will like, he believes that the page creation patterns feature is one that they will most appreciate.

Wilder said:

“For many of our clients, the Page Creation Patterns will be really helpful, especially once plugins are available to pre-built patterns that are specific to their content. That could be a huge time-saver!

I’m also glad to see the new Block Locking feature – right now it doesn’t let you lock changes to the block content, but it can stop you from accidentally moving or deleting a block.”

Stack & Row Variations

A useful addition is the ability to create dynamic flex-based containers by stacking blocks into a column or a row layout.

A flex-based container is so-called because it is flexible and automatically adjusts to viewport, shrinking for smaller mobile devices and expanding when necessary.

WordPress published a video to show how it works:

Multi-Select: Select Text Across Multiple Blocks

In the new blocked-based WordPress editors, creating a web page layout is done using what’s called blocks, building blocks, so to speak.

Blocks are like containers where content can be inserted. Content can be images, text, whatever.

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An example of an incremental but exciting change in WordPress 6.0 is the ability to select text across multiple content blocks.

This allows a user to select the content within multiple blocks without selecting multiple blocks themselves. This gives publishers the ability to write and control content in an expected manner, contributing to a more intuitive writing experience.

WordPress published this animation to show how multi-select works:

Wilder of NerdPress tested this new feature ahead of time and is enthusiastic.

He says:

“I’m pretty excited about being able to select text across multiple blocks.

That sounds like a small detail, but it’s something that’s been frustrating for me at times — and these kinds of little details really add up to make a nicer, easier editing experience.”

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Style Variations

Another exciting new feature is called Global Style Variations.

Style variations allows theme authors to provide their customers a way to easily change the look and feel of their website without having to edit CSS or HTML, dramatically speeding up the process of getting a website up and running.

This is a feature that is implemented on the WordPress theme developer side which improves the WordPress publishing experience for end users.

The WordPress team shared with Search Engine Journal:

“The introduction of style variations in block themes allows theme authors to provide multiple options for folks to switch up the look and feel of a site all with a few clicks in a single theme.

This means you can quickly change things like font weights and default colors in a cohesive way without editing CSS.”

Noteworthy Changes For Developers

I asked the WordPress team what the most important changes that developers should know about.

They responded:

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Accessibility Improvements To WordPress 6.0

There have been many improvements to WordPress accessibility which have been documented here.

Among the highlights are:

Aria-Related Accessibility Fixes To WordPress 6.0

RichText: Reverse disableLineBreaks to determine aria-multiline state.

Remove role attributes on SVGs meant for “decoration.”

This is how WordPress described changes to how media is handled in 6.0 for accessibility:

  • “Preserve attachment properties on cropping custom logo. This means that the alternative text, title, description, and caption of an image will migrate over to the cropped copy of the image after cropping.
  • Stop arrow keys switching media if URL focused.
  • Add a “Copy URL to clipboard” function to the list table view.
  • Set break-word on sample permalink so the full permalink will be visible on mobile devices in posts, media, and comments.
  • Remove target blank attribute from media uploader edit links.
  • Remove target=”_blank” from the link to change permalink structures and change link text to clarify link purpose.”

The official WordPress announcement states:

“Accessibility is an integral part of the WordPress mission of fostering an inclusive community and supporting users of all types around the world.

With this in mind, WordPress 6.0 includes more than 50 updates specifically focused on enhancing the accessibility of the platform. You can read about these updates and learn more about the accessibility initiatives that are ongoing.”

WordPress Full Site Editor Beta Label

Something that may be useful to consider about WordPress 6.0 is that the Full Site Editor (FSE) is still labeled as Beta.

WordPress 6.0 improves the editing experience for the end users by making the process of writing easier as well as making it easier to dream up unique website layouts without having to deal with code. But FSE is still considered as a Beta product.

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The good news, according to what the WordPress team shared with Search Engine Journal, is that the full site editor will see continued improvement.

The WordPress team shared:

“While 6.0 moves WordPress in the right direction, there’s more work to be done around creating a cohesive site editing experience, so if you’re waiting for full site editing to feel more intuitive, expect that to come in 6.1 and beyond.”

Citation

Read the Official WordPress Announcement

WordPress 6.0 “Arturo”

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How We Used a Video Course to Promote Ahrefs (And Got 500K+ Views)

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How We Used a Video Course to Promote Ahrefs (And Got 500K+ Views)

Creating and selling educational courses can be a lucrative business. But if you already have a product to sell, you can actually use courses as a marketing tool.

Back in 2017, about two years after joining Ahrefs, I decided to create a course on content marketing.

I had a very clear understanding of how an educational course would help me promote Ahrefs.

  • People like courses – Folks like Brian Dean and Glen Allsopp were selling theirs for $500 to $2,000 a pop (and rather successfully). So a free course of comparable quality was sure to get attention.
  • Courses allow for a deeper connection – You would basically be spending a few hours one on one with your students. And if you managed to win their trust, you’d get an opportunity to promote your product to them.

That was my raw thought process going into this venture.

And I absolutely didn’t expect that the lifespan of my course would be as interesting and nuanced as it turned out to be.

The lessons of my course have generated over 500K+ in total views, brought in mid-five-figures in revenue (without even trying), and turned out to be a very helpful resource for our various marketing purposes.

So here goes the story of my “Blogging for Business” course.

1. The creation

I won’t give you any tips on how to create a successful course (well, maybe just one). There are plenty of resources (courses?) on that topic already.

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All I want to say is that my own experience was quite grueling.

The 10 lessons of my course span some 40K words. I have never attempted the feat of writing a book, but I imagine creating such a lengthy course is as close as it gets.

Scripts of the course in Google Docs.

I spent a tremendous amount of time polishing each lesson. The course was going to be free, so it was critical that my content was riveting. If not, people would just bounce from it.

Paid courses are quite different in that sense. You pay money to watch them. So even if the content is boring at times, you’ll persevere anyway to ensure a return on your investment.

When I showed the draft version of the course to my friend, Ali Mese, he gave me a simple yet invaluable tip: “Break your lessons into smaller ones. Make each just three to four minutes long.”

How did I not think of this myself? 

Short, “snackable” lessons provide a better sense of completion and progress. You’re also more likely to finish a short lesson without getting distracted by something. 

I’m pretty sure that it is because of this simple tip that my course landed this Netflix comparison (i.e., best compliment ever):

2. The strategy

With the prices of similar courses ranging from $500 to $2,000, it was really tempting to make some profit with ours.

I think we had around 15,000 paying customers at Ahrefs at that time (and many more on the free plan). So if just 1% of them bought that course for $1K, that would be an easy $150K to pocket. And then we could keep upselling it to our future customers.

Alternatively, we thought about giving access to the course to our paying customers only. 

This might have boosted our sales, since the course was a cool addition to the Ahrefs subscription. 

And it could also improve user retention. The course was a great training resource for new employees, which our customers would lose access to if they canceled their Ahrefs subscription.

And yet, releasing it for free as a lead acquisition and lead nurturing play seemed to make a lot more sense than the other two options. So we stuck to that.

3. The waitlist

Teasing something to people before you let them get it seems like one of the fundamental rules of marketing.

  • Apple announces new products way before they’re available in stores. 
  • Movie studios publish trailers of upcoming movies months (sometimes years) before they hit the theaters. 
  • When you have a surprise for your significant other (or your kids), you can’t help but give them some hints before the reveal.

There’s something about “the wait” and the anticipation that we humans just love to experience.

So while I was toiling away and putting lessons of my course together, we launched a landing page to announce it and collect people’s emails.

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The landing page of the course.

In case someone hesitated to leave their email, we had two cool bonuses to nudge them:

  1. Access to the private Slack community
  2. Free two-week trial of Ahrefs

The latter appealed to freebie lovers so much that it soon “leaked” to Reddit and BlackHatWorld. In hindsight, this leak was actually a nice (unplanned) promo for the course.

4. The promotion

I don’t remember our exact promotion strategy. But I’m pretty sure it went something like this:

I also added a little “sharing loop” to the welcome email. I asked people to tell their friends about the course, justifying it with the fact that taking the course with others was more fun than doing it alone.

Welcome email with a "sharing loop."

I have no idea how effective that “growth hack” was, but there was no reason not to encourage sharing.

In total, we managed to get some 16,000 people on our waitlist by the day of the course launch.

5. The launch

On a set date, the following email went out to our waitlist:

Course launch email.

Did you notice the “note” saying that the videos were only available for free for 30 days? We did that to nudge people to watch them as soon as possible and not save them to the “Watch later” folder.

In retrospect, I wish we had used this angle from the very beginning: “FREE for 30 days. Then $799.”

This would’ve killed two birds with one stone: 

  1. Added an urgency to complete the course as soon as possible
  2. Made the course more desirable by assigning a specific (and rather high) monetary value to it

(If only we could be as smart about predicting the future as we are about reflecting on the past.) 

Once it was live, the course started to promote itself. I was seeing many super flattering tweets:

We then took the most prominent of those tweets and featured them on the course landing page for some social proof. (They’re still there, by the way.)

6. The paywall

Once the 30 days of free access ran out, we added a $799 paywall. And it didn’t take long for the first sale to arrive:

This early luck didn’t push us to focus on selling this course, though. We didn’t invest any effort into promoting it. It was just sitting passively in our Academy with a $799 price tag, and that was it.

And yet, despite the lack of promotion, that course was generating 8-10 sales every month—which were mostly coming from word of mouth.

A comment in TrafficThinkTank.
Eric Siu giving a shout-out about my course in TTT Slack.

Thanks to its hefty price, my course soon appeared on some popular websites with pirated courses. And we were actually glad that it did. Because that meant more people would learn about our content and product.

Then some people who were “late to the party” started asking me if I was ever going to reopen the course for free again. This actually seemed like a perfectly reasonable strategy at the time:

7. The giveaways

That $799 price tag also turned my free course into a pretty useful marketing tool. It was a perfect gift for all sorts of giveaways on Twitter, on podcasts, during live talks, and so on.

Giving away the course during a live talk.
Me giving away the course during a live talk.

And whenever we partnered with someone, they were super happy to get a few licenses of the course, which they could give out to their audience.

8. The relaunch

Despite my original plan to update and relaunch this course once a year, I got buried under other work and didn’t manage to find time for it.

And then the pandemic hit. 

That’s when we noticed a cool trend. Many companies were providing free access to their premium educational materials. This was done to support the “stay at home” narrative and help people learn new skills.

I think it was SQ who suggested that we should jump on that train with my “Blogging for Business” course. And so we did:

We couldn’t have hoped for a better timing for that relaunch. The buzz was absolutely insane. The announcement tweet alone has generated a staggering 278K+ impressions (not without some paid boosts, of course).

The statistics of the course announcement tweet.

We also went ahead and reposted that course on ProductHunt once again (because why not?).

All in all, that relaunch turned out to be even more successful than the original launch itself. 

In the course of their lifespan on Wistia, the 40 video lessons of my course generated a total of 372K plays.

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Play count from Wistia.

And this isn’t even the end of it.

9. The launch on YouTube

Because the course was now free, it no longer made sense to host it at Wistia. So we uploaded all lessons to YouTube and made them public.

To date, the 41 videos of my course have generated about 187K views on YouTube.

"Blogging for Business" course playlist.

It’s fair to mention that we had around 200,000 subscribers on our channel at the time of publishing my course there. A brand-new channel with no existing subscribers will likely generate fewer views.

10. The relaunch on YouTube [coming soon]

Here’s an interesting observation that both Sam and I made at around the same time. 

Many people were publishing their courses on YouTube as a single video spanning a few hours rather than cutting them into individual lessons like we did. And those long videos were generating millions of views!

Like these two, ranking at the top for “learn Python course,” which have 33M and 27M views, respectively:

"Learn python course" search on YouTube.

So we decided to run a test with Sam’s “SEO for Beginners” course. It was originally published on YouTube as 14 standalone video lessons and generated a total of 140K views.

Well, the “single video” version of that same course has blown it out of the water with over 1M views as of today.

I’m sure you can already tell where I’m going with this.

We’re soon going to republish my “Blogging for Business” course on YouTube as a single video. And hopefully, it will perform just as well.

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The end

So that’s the story of my “Blogging for Business” course. From the very beginning, it was planned as a promotional tool for Ahrefs. And judging by its performance, I guess it fulfilled its purpose rather successfully.

A screenshot of a Slack message.

Don’t get me wrong, though. 

The fact that my course was conceived as a promotional tool doesn’t mean that I didn’t pour my heart and soul into it. It was a perfectly genuine and honest attempt to create a super useful educational resource for content marketing newbies.

And I’m still hoping to work on the 2.0 version of it someday. In the past four years, I have accrued quite a bit more content marketing knowledge that I’m keen to share with everyone. So follow me on Twitter, and stay tuned.



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