Submit Your WordPress Blog to Apple News

Back on June 8, 2015 Apple announced their newest iPhone/iPad operating system, iOS 9, and along with it comes a new app that will be of interest to most WordPress bloggers.  This new app is called Apple News, and it will on the home screen of 190,000,000 iPhone users sometime in September 2015. As a WordPress blogger you are going to want to make sure your content is available to these users when they are setting up their News favorites by getting your content submitted ahead of time.

Submit Your WordPress Blog to Apple News

  1. Access the Apple News publisher portal.
  2. Sign in to the Apple ID you want to associate with your Apple News submission. At this point Apple will ask you to agree to their End User License Agreement for News.
  3. Provide Apple with your personal information: name of your WordPress blog, address, phone number, etc.
  4. Provide your channel information: Desired name of channel, website address, primary audience (or multiple audiences), territories and languages, etc.
  5. Submit your RSS feed.

Once these steps are completed, your WordPress website will be reviewed for inclusion in Apple’s new News service!!

Coming Soon: Apple News Format

We’re working on bringing you a brand new format you can use to create signature content for News. With Apple News Format, you’ll be able to create beautifully crafted layouts with custom typography, rich photo galleries, videos, and animations. Author once and News will optimize your content for all iOS devices. You’ll also be able to connect your existing content management systems to News, and get access to a rich suite of tools for measuring user engagement.

My Favorite Blogging Furniture: Sumo Lounge Bags

Although it is somewhat off the topic of WordPress, I’ve always enjoyed it when bloggers discuss their blogging setup with their readers. After all, the typical blogger ranges from spending an hour a day blogging to doing so as a full time job, making the topic of comfort an important one. I’ve been blogging regularly for almost nine years now and most of the early years where spent huddled over a desktop computer; however, thanks to improvements in technology and changes that were made to my blogging habits, I’ve now almost completely moved away from using a desktop for my daily blogging routine. Instead, I find it more comfortable and productive blogging from my Macbook Air laptop, or even occasionally from my iPad Air with keyboard.

As a result, I spent some time talking to fellow bloggers and getting input on some more comfortable furniture for blogging. I’ve tried a couple of different things ranging from laptop stands, to computer desks and chairs/couches or other pieces of furniture, but hadn’t really found anything I could highly recommend to others….until trying a sumo giant bean bag chair.

This past week I had the opportunity to try out a product called the Sumo Gigantor bean bag chair courtesy of Sumo Lounge. My research showed that it had been featured in many magazines and received a lot of great reviews from trusted websites, so I decided to give one a try.

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WordPress Continues to Take Over the Top 100 Blogs

Back in 2006 blogging was still in its infancy and I remember searching for a platform to launch my first blog.  TypePad and Blogger were both big at that time, was around and growing, and Moveable Type, Joomla, Drupal, and were also good options.  In fact there were so many good options that it was difficult to decide what foundation I would use for what I hoped to be my new job. 

For my first few months of blogging I actually went with TypePad, but quickly found that it was very limited and wasn’t a good fit for my needs. I went back to the drawing board at that point and knew I needed something that was flexible and was also going to be around for the long haul. At that time open source was really starting to take off in the mainstream and was leading that charge in the blogging niche, so I decided to align myself with the WordPress community and re-launched my first blog.  Between the WordPress plugins and both the free and premium WordPress themes available, I knew I had made the right choice and was able to quickly make a custom design with little work on my end. The flexibility and the excellent open source community was the key to creating a great experience for me, and many I talked to felt the same way. 

Fast forward 7 years and WordPress continues to meet my needs and validate my early decision. One report I use to determine this is released annually by Royal Pingdom, which has done a study of the Top 100 blogs each year since 2009 and recently published their 2013 report. This report shows WordPress continues to grow as the top choice among the most prominent blogs.  Initially back in 2009, WordPress was on 32% of the Top 100 blogs.  Last year it was up to 48%.  For 2013, WordPress is now on 52% of the Top 100 blogs, and I expect that percentage to continue to grow over the coming years thanks to its flexibility and the fact that it is very user friendly.


According to Wikipedia, WordPress is used by over 14.7% of the top 1 million websites and manages over 22% of all new websites created as of August 2011, boasting a total of over 60 million websites.  Its hard to imagine what these numbers will look like next year or several years from now.

Google+ Comments for WordPress Plugin

google-plus-commentsFor many years now Facebook has had a very popular login feature and also offered the ability to easily integrate blog comments using your Facebook account. These options have proven to be very popular with all types of webmasters as they provide several convenient features and also help to discourage spammy or anonymous comments.

It always surprised me that Google wasn’t in this game, but the introduction of Google+ seems to offer Google the ability to offer these features to webmasters and be the ones collecting this information.  According to reports, apps that support Google’s login are now getting favorable search treatment and Google is starting to really push this feature.  Then last month, Google announced that Google+ comment integration is now available for Blogger users. So, what about WordPress users?

Not long after the Blogger integration was announced, the necessary code was discovered to do this manually using the following code:


<script src="">

Valid HTML5 version:

<script src="">

Comments counter HTML (replaces < g:comments >):

<g:commentcount href="[URL]"></g:commentcount>

Valid HTML5 version (replaces < div >):

<div data-href="[URL]"></div>

Replace ‘[URL]’ with the URL of your web page and fit the ‘width’.

Link your web page to your Google+ profile to verify authorship.

Dynamic Google+ Comments HTML:

<div id="comments"></div>
gapi.comments.render('comments', {
    href: window.location,
    width: '624',
    first_party_property: 'BLOGGER',
    view_type: 'FILTERED_POSTMOD'

Google+ Comments Counter:

<div id="commentscounter"></div>
gapi.commentcount.render('commentscounter', {
    href: window.location

Google+ Comments for WordPress Plugin

Fortunately, the WordPress community has already come through with an easier solution, the Google+ Comments for WordPress plugin. This plugin makes the comment section tabbed by seamlessly adding tabs for Google+ Comments, Facebook, Disqus, WordPress Comments, and Trackbacks. Early reviews are promising and I manage this plugin will continue to evolve over time.

If you decide to give this plugin on your website leave us a comment and let us know how the setup went.

PSA: Massive Botnet Attacks on WordPress Installations

Over the past 24 hours it has come to our attention that a large network of over 90,000 IP addresses have ramped up their use of a brute force attack to target WordPress blog installations. According to several published reports, the botnet is attempting to gain access to WordPress installations by using the default Admin user name and trying multiple passwords. By default, WordPress allows unlimited login attempts either through the login page or by sending special cookies. This allows passwords (or hashes) to be brute-force cracked with relative ease.

Popular hosting providers CloudFlare and HostGator are reporting that the scale of the current attack is much larger than what they typically experience, with some reports claiming that they are blocking 60 million requests per hour during peak times. After reviewing our logs we’ve already noticed several failed login attempts using the username Admin.

What can I do to protect my WordPress installation(s)?

  1. If your username is currently set as Admin, change it to something custom. The easiest way is probably by using something like the Better WP Security WordPress plugin.
  2. Change/strengthen your password. Your password should include capital letters and symbols (%+!#)
  3. Install a plugin to limit login requests.  We use the appropriately titled Limit Login Attempts WordPress plugin, but there are several other plugins with similar functionality.

Once that is done, sit back and hope for the best!

Update: HostGator has provided additional tips.