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The History of WordPress

A History of WordPressToday marks WordPress’ 15th anniversary, and how far the platform has come. Looking at the history of WordPress, you may be amazed to find the rollercoaster ride wasn’t always so smooth. 

Yet after over 317 separate versions, several funding campaigns, and the creation of one of the digital world’s most iconic mascots, WordPress now has over 59.3 million posts per month and a continually expanding user base. Boasting a staggering 60% share of the CMS market, it’s easy to forget that WordPress had humble beginnings.

To celebrate WordPress’ birthday, we’ve put together a brief history of the platform, complete with some of the things that make WordPress, well, WordPress.

2001: WordPress Before WordPress

b2 cafelogA long time ago, before WordPress, there was B2/Cafelog.

B2/Cafelog was an unmaintained and straightforward blogging tool released in 2001. Created by a French programmer known as Michel Valdrighi, it wasn’t intended to take over the market, but rather to improve blogging by increasing accessibility.  

The platform was easier to use than competitor products and several people made the move to B2/Cafelog. Disaster struck, however, in December 2002. Valdrighi disappeared and support for the B2/Cafelog platform immediately ceased. With no support, bloggers moved elsewhere. Had it not been for Matt Mullenweg, B2/Cafelog would likely have disappeared entirely.

In January 2003, Matt Mullenweg forked B2/Cafelog and began work on what became known as WordPress.

historical wordpress 0.7WordPress 0.7. Image Credit: ChurchMag

2003: WordPress Is Released

Following the disappearance of Valdrighi, Mullenweg decided that it fell to him to create a platform to replace B2/Cafelog. WordPress (0.7) was officially announced May 27, 2003.

In creating WordPress, Mullenweg didn’t just copy B2/Cafelog. Instead, he took the program and added several improved features, including a better admin interface, enhanced templates, and a straightforward user experience.

It was immediately well received, with several bloggers noting the ease of use that came with the new platform and praising Mullenweg’s improvements over the existing system.

2004: Plugins Become Available

In 2004, Mullenweg expanded the capabilities of WordPress in version 1.2 (Mingus) by adding plugins. Designed to increase functionality by allowing independent developers to implement new code quickly, the WordPress community started to expand at a staggering rate.

While WordPress was opening itself up to the community with plugins, competitors (now largely faded into obscurity) were headed in the other direction. Moveable Type released new licensing terms unliked by many of its users. These users subsequently left Moveable Type and joined WordPress. It was at this point in WordPress’ history that things started to truly look up.

2005: Themes Are Released and Funding Raised

In early 2005, WordPress 1.5 (Strayhorn) was released. Strayhorn introduced themes and pages. At this point, the themes were still relatively simple and nothing like the modern WordPress themes you see today. However, Strayhorn offered users the ability to create their own, instead of being limited by the platform’s developers.

As Mullenweg stated:

In 1.5 we have created an incredibly flexible theme system that adapts to you rather than expecting you to adapt to it.

This release was an immediate success and was downloaded more than 900,000 times.

Again, in business, 2005 was a good year for WordPress. By October, Automattic – the company behind WordPress – managed to raise $1.1 million in funding, including from investors such as True Ventures and CNET.

Historical wordpress 2008

2008: WordPress Redesigned

In 2008, WordPress decided it was time to improve on their already popular admin interface by implementing new design features. Starting from WordPress 2.5 (Breker), the design company Happy Cog officially began work on the WordPress UI with testing and implementation. 

This led to the development of Crazyhorse, a UI prototype that was eventually released as 2.7 (Coltrane). By 2.7, WordPress had also incorporated features such as built-in plugin installation, one-click updates, and shortcodes.


Wapuu the WordPress MascotImage credit: SiteLock

2009: The idea of a Mascot Is Conceived 

Following a WordCamp Tokyo session, during which Matt Mullenweg asked attendees how they could better market WordPress in Japan, the concept of a mascot was proposed. After exploring other options, it was decided that a mascot was the best way forward and illustrator Kazuko Kaneuchi was hired.

Over the next two years, an intense development process took place in which Kaneuchi worked with the WordPress community to create a mascot that embodied the blogging platform. On February 19, 2011, the mascot was unveiled at WordCamp Fukuoka and in a WordPress blog post. On August 2, 2011, following an online survey, it was given the name Wapuu.

2010: WordPress Expands

In 2010, the company behind WordPress (Automattic) became known as the WordPress Foundation. The WordPress Foundation, in its simplest form, was intended to help ensure that WordPress remained free; “to democratize publishing through Open Source, GPL software”.

This is likely one of the main reasons for why WordPress has become such a dominant force in the world of modern CMS. The ability for anyone to download and learn WordPress has meant a continuously expanding community with ever-expanding support.

By the beginning of 2011, WordPress powered over 12% of all websites around the world.

historical WordPress version 3.8WordPress 3.8 Parker

2013: WordPress Is the Most Popular CMS in the World

Fast forward several years and WordPress had become the most popular CMS in the world, occupying over 59% of the CMS market.

Late 2013 also saw the default theme “Twenty Thirteen” appear, which you may still recognize today. In addition to this, video and audio support was added, as was an improved autosave feature designed to help limit data loss. Version 3.8 (Parker) saw a dashboard revamp for the first time since version 1.0, adding responsiveness and improving usability.

2014: Content Editor

WordPress 4.0 (Goodman) was released in 2014, with the aim of improving WordPress’ writing and management experience. Embedding and media uploading were improved vastly, as was content management on-page. This was largely thanks to WordPress changing the WordPress editor to fit content as you wrote it.

2015: Customization Remains the Focus

With the release of 4.3 (Billie), customization remained an important focal point for the WordPress team. Advanced tools were included directly in the blog editor, and the ability to customize and add menus was included. Keyboard shortcuts, such as using ## before and after a line to make it a title, were also included.

On top of this, further improvements were made to the admin interface, improving WordPress’ responsiveness and adding the ability for editors to work on any device.

2018: Onwards

With 27% of the internet powered by WordPress, it’s safe to say that WordPress has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Currently, there are over 55,000 plugins for WordPress and countless more themes.

One of the biggest changes coming to the platform is WordPress Gutenberg: “a new way to publish”. Gutenberg takes the historical WordPress publishing interface and changes it by employing something called ‘blocks’.

For a full breakdown of the new Gutenberg interface, and a link to download it, head to our Introduction to Gutenberg.

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10 WordPress Plugins That Use AI and Machine Learning

10 WordPress Plugins Which Use AI and Machine LearningMachine learning and AI are everywhere. While only 33 percent of consumers believe they use an AI or machine learning service, the reality is that 77 percent actually do. WordPress sites are no exception, with several plugins that incorporate machine learning and AI technologies on the market.

By AI and machine learning, we mean a system or application which can manage a task that formerly required a human being. With machine learning, this means being able to read data and draw conclusions from it, then use those conclusions to add value to a service. For instance, machine learning can help you to adapt and present your content in a better way by analyzing how your average visitor interacts with it. If one piece of content is better than another, an AI and machine learning service might try to show more similar content.

In order to help you better adapt your WordPress site to the advantages of artificial intelligence and machine learning, we’ve put together a list of the 10 most useful WordPress machine learning and AI plugins you can install on your website. We’ve also separated these under the headings of better content, bigger reach, better intuitiveness, and better security. 


WordLift Machine Learning Plugin

WordLift: Create Incredible Content

WordLift helps WordPress content creators to develop better content by using data to motivate content choices. Images, graphs, data points, and more, are found by WordLift’s machine learning algorithm based on the type of content your audience has favored in the past.

Content recommendations are made regularly. Reliable facts and sources are provided, in order to make sure your content is correct and relevant to the audience it’s aimed at. You’ll also find recommendations designed around schema markup and AI-powered SEO considerations. WordLift also allows you to create your own site wiki – a helpful tool for modern content marketing.


Recomendo WordPress AI plugin

Recomendo: Present User-Tailored Content

When you load Netflix, YouTube or another video streaming website, you are presented with a list of recommended videos. That list if curated based on several different data points collected from your past viewing and search habits. Recomendo does the same thing, except with WordPress content.

One of the great things about Recomendo is that it requires practically no setup. Simply install the plugin on your WordPress site, drag the widget into your theme, and let the AI and machine learning algorithm do its job.


watsonfinds AI WordPress Plugin

WatsonFinds: Understand How Emotional Your Content Is

WatsonFinds was developed by IBM in order to analyze the emotional impact of content. If you think your content falls flat with its readers, this is a brilliant way to find how you can increase engagement and resonance.

The plugin works through your WordPress post editor interface and gives your content an emotional score based on the words you choose and other contextual factors.

Take WatsonFinds with a grain of salt. While the app is useful for checking as to whether you’re entirely off-base, it doesn’t always get it right. Bear in mind that as more data become available to it, its accuracy will increase.


After the Deadline WordPress PLugin

After the Deadline: Improve Your Writing

Do you need to get a post out today and feel you haven’t had enough time to check it? After the Deadline comes as a part of Jetpack and enables last-minute contextual spell check. The AI-driven plugin learns from previous mistakes, making it more accurate than conventional spellcheck (see: Word) and will offer you smart suggestions on how to improve your language and create more engaging content on a micro level.After the Deadline will detect style errors, cliches, misused words, biased language, and more.

Similar to other content analysis tools, you’ll find After the Deadline in your WordPress post editor, where you can enable it with a click.  

Live Chat 247 Chatbots for WordPress

Live Chat 24/7: Have a 24/7 Presence

51 percent of consumers state that a business needs 24/7 availability. For larger organizations, this just means hiring more staff to cover traditionally “out-of-hours” periods. However, for smaller businesses, this can be a problem. Enter the WordPress AI plugin Live Chat 24/7.

As one of the best chatbots for WordPress, Live Chat 24/7 will automatically build a knowledge base to connect questions and answers. This will allow your brand to remain online 24/7 and chat with customers. Because of its AI elements, it doesn’t just repeat stock sentences but learns from real-life conversations you have with customers through the service. Definitely one of the most intelligent and useful chatbots for WordPress.


GTranslate WordPress Artificial intelligence Plugin

GTranslate: Open up a World of Possibilities

Access a worldwide market, regardless of what language they speak, with the Google language translator plugin. Simple load the plugin onto your WordPress site and add the translator using either a widget or shortcode.

While Google translate uses a machine learning algorithm to gradually improve its translations, it’s still not 100%. The language will sound awkward in some cases. Several WordPress publishers have found that indicating the content being presented was translated by an app can help to reduce bounce rate.



WooCommerce Darwin Pricing Integration machine learning

Darwin Pricing Integration: Increase WooCommerce Store Revenue

Have you noticed that some of your discounts perform better in certain locations? Darwin Pricing aims to optimize your discounts by monitoring your competition in real-time and use artificial intelligence to deliver geo-targeted sales campaigns.

The WooCommerce Darwin Pricing Integration plugin allows for you to integrate this with your WooCommerce store. Instead of targeting customers with a one-size-fits-all approach, you’re able to segment them based on how they’ll perceive discounts and product offerings.

Moreover, as the plugin continues to collect data, it will begin to provide you with future recommendations for your business based on customer behavior in the past.



Did you mean machine learning wordpress plugin

Did You Mean: Make 404 Pages Better

404 pages are the worst. Dead or missing content can immediately turn a reader off to your website or blog. The Did You Mean plugin makes things a little better by displaying on any 404 pages and presenting visitors with the most contextually similar post available.

Instead of running into a dead end, visitors are then able to continue on your website through a convenient and easy to use funnel. Moreover, Did You Know also helps improve your WordPress search but providing a more user-friendly experience.


akismet WordPress machine learning plugin

Akismet: Defend Against Spam

Askiment is one of the two plugins that comes pre-installed on your WordPress website. It is a tool for detecting and removing spam comments from your site. For a number of WordPress websites, this is incredibly important. There’s nothing worse than having your comment section filled with adverts for products and services you don’t want to endorse.

While Akismet may come loaded with stock WordPress, we’ve included it as it does use AI and machine learning in order to filter spam comments. This plugin is used by millions of WordPress websites, which makes It an example of AI and machine learning technology people use without even realizing it.


Quttera Malware Scanner

Quttera Malware Scanner: Defend Against Malware With AI

Quttera is a malware scanner with a twist: it runs in the Cloud and uses AI and machine learning techniques to achieve the best results.

Instead of just sticking to a predefined list of threats, Quttera adapts over time and recognizes emergent threats which haven’t been seen before. Its ability to recognize unknown threats and protect your site is one of it’s best features and gives it a definite advantage over other malware scanners.


Machine Learning, AI, and WordPress

Machine learning in the WordPress community is relatively new. While the plugins shown above are great for expanding the capabilities of your website, they don’t always work the way you want or expect them to.

We highly recommend testing the plugins with your WordPress site and a small user group, before pushing them live to your entire readership. Recomendo or Kindred Posts may not create too much disruption if they don’t work correctly, but Live Chat 24/7 can.

However, with 72 percent of business leaders agreeing that AI is a “business advantage”, employing these technologies on your site is quickly becoming a case of staying up-to-date with the competition.

Don’t forget to make sure that you manage your WordPress plugin security by following these simple steps.

What machine learning and AI WordPress plugins do you use?

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April 2018’s Best Magento, CMS, and Design/Development Content

It’s time for our April  Roundup! If you’re looking for the same great articles the rest of the year, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Enjoy and let us know if we missed anything important in the comment section. WordPress and WooCommerce 6 Best WooCommerce Reports And Analytics Plugins For Your Store – Upgrade…

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