June 8, 2016 – By Martin, Product Manager

Mobile-friendly Revisited

It’s been a little over a year since the great ‘mobilegeddon’ of 2015, when Google first introduced mobile-friendly scoring to search ranking. With search traffic on smartphones skyrocketing, it had become clear that sites which tailored their experience to mobile visitors deserved greater visibility. Those that offer poor mobile experiences would suffer.

Over the course of the past year Google’s search engineers have continued to refine their mobile-friendly weighting, culminating in the roll-out last month of the first major update to their mobile search ranking algorithms.

Although great quality, relevant content can still ensure good search ranking, with an ever greater adoption of mobile search, the pressure is on for sites to provide a mobile-friendly experience.

Industry blog Search Engine Watch identified some of the major winners and losers of this update in a recent post:

Losers

Instructables.com plummeted in mobile search results, with mobile visibility dropping by 75%.

Moveflat.com, already suffering poor mobile visibility dropped by a further 41%

Hipmunk.com, fell victim to poor handling of Google’s robots, losing a third of their mobile exposure.

Winners

Boardgamegeek.com saw a 73% gain in mobile visibility

Brainpop.com gained 44% mobile visibility, reversing an earlier downward trend

Reuters.com improved mobile visibility by 41%, breaking out of another slump.

What does this mean for you?

As Search Engine Watch notes, better ranking in mobile search, combined with positive user signals such as long engagement time and low bounce rates, will contribute to overall improved ranking across devices.

Although responsive themes promise to adjust their display to fit all device sizes, many site owners find that they require too many compromises and lead to large, slow pages on mobile devices.

WPtouch and WPtouch Pro are recommended by Google for WordPress websites looking to provide a rich, mobile-friendly experience.

You can check your site’s mobile-friendly status using Google’s handy test tool and through their Webmaster Tool’s console and–when you’re ready to make your WordPress website mobile-friendly–download our free mobile-friendly guide and get started with one of convenient license options.

 

March 24, 2016 – By Martin, Product Manager

WPtouch Pro 4.1 Released!

It’s hard to believe it’s been five months since the release of WPtouch Pro 4. Feedback has been tremendous with more site owners than ever before creating beautiful mobile experiences for their visitors.

With spring in the air, we’re excited to release WPtouch Pro 4.1, a major update to our flagship product. WPtouch Pro 4.1 includes vastly improved shortcode handling, powerful multisite management tools and a brand new extension to help you take advantage of Google’s new mobile technology: Accelerated Mobile Pages for WPtouch Pro.

Read on for the complete run-down, or head to your WordPress admin to upgrade to WPtouch Pro 4.1!

AMP for WPtouch

Google recently made its Accelerated Mobile Pages project live in search results. With major publishers onboard for a worldwide launch, it’s shaping up to be a new and interesting way to engage mobile audiences with your posts.

Implementing AMP support can be challenging: the Accelerated Mobile Pages format requires a unique subset of page markup and features – while WordPress-based websites often use incompatible functionality.

AMP for WPtouch leverages the conversion work being done by Automattic, and enriches it with the dynamic branding and customization controls you’ve come to love from WPtouch Pro, along with powerful functionality from our extensions, including brand new ad placement options in Multi-Ads.

The extension can be added to any active WPtouch Pro license and is available for purchase today. If you want to find out more about AMP for WPtouch, read our detailed blog post about the new extension here.

Powerful Multisite Control

Multisite WordPress is incredibly popular with institutions such as schools and universities, many of whom use multisite to provide web hosting to their departments and faculties – or even their students.

Preset themes and preconfigured settings are common in these environments. We’ve heard from many universities and school boards that they love offering WPtouch Pro to their users, but would love to be able to provide a standard theme and have some control over which aspects of the mobile experience can be configured on a site-by-site basis.

WPtouch Pro 4.1 introduces a new set of tools for customers with the Multisite Support license add-on.

Major new features include:

  • Hide settings sections on sub-sites
  • Setup new default settings that sub-sites will inherit (instead of WPtouch’s defaults)
  • Deploy settings from one site to one or several other sites
  • Control available themes and extensions

Starting today you can configure a master site with the theme & branding you want to offer to your sites, then use its configuration as the defaults for every new site in your network and deploy its configuration to all existing sites.

Whether your colour palette changes or you decide to roll out Web App Mode to all your sites, WPtouch Pro 4.1’s Multisite tools mean you can keep your entire network up to date with just a few clicks.

To enable Multisite control on your sites, simply add the Multisite Support add-on to your license.

Shortcode Handling

We first introduced support for desktop theme shortcodes a little over year ago, with WPtouch Pro 3.7. Since then, thousands of WordPress site owners have successfully used the feature to integrate their desktop theme’s custom features and content manipulation with WPtouch Pro mobile themes.

Better developer practices over the past year have meant that more and more theme frameworks are compatible with WPtouch Pro and our desktop theme shortcode support.

WPtouch Pro 4.1 includes overhauled shortcode support for broader support of the various methods shortcodes are employed.

The updated shortcode handling features of WPtouch Pro 4.1 are included free with all licenses.

Other Updates

Refined Featured Slider

Site owners love the featured slider in Bauhaus. It’s a great way to present your visitors with a selection of posts and encourage them to explore your content. Today’s update to Bauhaus includes great new featured slider options, including a new streamlined layout.

Updating WPtouch Pro

WPtouch Pro 4 introduced a convenient Updates Available tab to the admin, which allows site owners to keep their themes and extensions up to date with a single click. With WPtouch Pro 4.1, this screen also keeps the plugin itself up to date, helping you make sure you’re always running the latest and greatest WPtouch Pro experience available.

Web App Mode Payment Options

We’re pleased to add DenonStudio’s ‘PayPal Pro’ to the list of WooCommerce gateways verified to be compatible with Web App Mode.

Wizard Improvements

Although most users only experience the setup wizard once, we want to make sure your first encounter with WPtouch Pro makes for a great experience. WPtouch Pro 4.1 includes some refinements to the wizard, ensuring it’s not only the fastest way to get started with WPtouch Pro, but also the most enjoyable.

March 24, 2016 – By Dale, Co-Founder

All-New Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for WPtouch Extension

amp-on-phone

Since we launched WPtouch in 2008, the main goal of the product has been to make WordPress websites look and work better on touchscreen mobile devices. We’ve accomplished this by approaching the design and development of WPtouch from a speed + user-friendly first ideology.

Google Mobile Friendly

All WPtouch-powered websites pass Google’s mobile friendly tests with flying colors. Google has had many initiatives over the years aimed at improving the mobile web, and we’ve always been committed in helping to accomplish that very same goal.

AMP for WPtouch

Today we’re happy to announce native, integrated support for Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project. The project’s goals are so closely aligned with the same goals we have with WPtouch. It was clear to us that supporting this initiative was the right thing to do both for WPtouch customers and the mobile web.

If you’re not familiar with the project, Google announced the project last October. Recently, they revealed the enhancements they’ve made in revealing this content for mobile searches.

FEB 24th, 2016: Starting today we’ll make it easy to find AMP webpages in relevant mobile search results, giving you a lightning-fast reading experience for top stories.


graphic showing amp results in google

Now when you search for a story or topic on Google from a mobile device, webpages created using AMP will appear when relevant in the Top Stories section of the search results page. Any story you choose to read will load blazingly fast—and it’s easy to scroll through the article without it taking forever to load or jumping all around as you read. It’s also easy to quickly flip through the search results just by swiping from one full-page AMP story to the next.

Not Easy with WordPress

Implementing AMP with WordPress can be challenging on your own: the Accelerated Mobile Pages format requires a unique subset of markup and page features – and WordPress sites often use incompatible functionality. Those who are trying to implement it with their desktop themes are struggling with compatibility issues, or facing significant development barriers in time and costs to add support.

So that’s why we decided to work on how we could implement AMP with WPtouch is as painless simple a manner as possible. What could be easier than zero configuration? With AMP for WPtouch, you don’t have to configure anything, because you’ve already setup your mobile theme. AMP for WPtouch inherits your configuration and adds those settings into what it builds for your amp-powered posts.

How It Works

With AMP for WPtouch, AMP-specific versions of your posts are created automatically and are served on your website like this:

For each post, the AMP version is served by adding /amp/ to the end of the post url. Google identifies this automatically for indexing. Anywhere AMP results are preferred by Google, your content will appear. It’s really that simple.

Available Today

AMP for WPtouch is available today as an extension for WPtouch Pro, and it costs just $20. You can add it to any active license easily by visiting wptouch.com/extensions/amp.

Apple News

In addition to AMP support, we’re investigating ways we can extend WPtouch in a similar way to support other accelerated pages initiatives, such as Apple News. Stay tuned for information in the future regarding native support in WPtouch.

January 13, 2016 – By Dale, Co-Founder

WPtouch Pro 4 — Available Now!

themes

Get Ready for 4.0!

We’re happy to announce that we’ve released WPtouch Pro 4, the next major version of WPtouch Pro, so here’s a guide on what’s new and how to upgrade.

There are literally hundreds of changes inside WPtouch Pro 4— we’ve jokingly referred to it as our Snow Leopard release around the BraveNewCode offices. Version 4 represents 8 months of work by our team making improvements, refinements and some big changes in how you use the plugin to create the mobile version of your WordPress website.

By far and away the biggest visual changes are in the admin panel— we’ve completely revamped the process of using WPtouch Pro. In version 4, we’ve added a setup wizard, re-designed our settings administration panel, and moved all of your theme’s customization to the WordPress Customizer. More on that in a bit.

4.0 Wizard

The first time you install and run 4.0 (or upgrade from a previous version), you’ll see the new wizard when you visit the WPtouch settings panel.

Simply follow the wizard to get all setup with 4.0. The wizard is new in 4.0, and is designed to help expose some core settings, handle theme and extension activations, and if you’re running Multisite, choose whether you want to run WPtouch Pro in a controlled manner on not.

4.0 Customizer

By far and away the biggest change to WPtouch Pro in 4.0 brings live visual changes by way of the WordPress Theme Customizer. No other mobile solution for WordPress offers customizations in real-time with the WordPress Theme Customizer.

Having WPtouch theme setup in the Customizer makes configuring easier than ever. No product update since its original release over 7 years ago has offered a more profound improvement in the usability and functionality of WPtouch.

Using a Custom Theme?

Since we are not able to thoroughly test custom themes (they’re your customizations, after all) we’re looking for feedback and information on how your custom themes are working on 4.0. Early feedback from our beta testing has shown that custom themes are working great under version 4, but please be sure to check and make sure that yours is working fine.

We’ll have a guide in a few weeks on how to port them to a 4.0 custom theme if you wish, but you can leave them as is, we’ve worked hard to support that. As long as your custom or copied theme was built on WPtouch Pro 3.5 or higher, it should without issue on WPtouch Pro 4.

Menu Setup

Menu setup has moved— there are a few settings for menus still present in WPtouch Pro’s settings, while activating menus, and assigning icons have moved to WordPress’ native Appearance -> Menus setup area.

3 New Extensions

Along with updates for all of our extensions, we’ve added 3 new extensions — Basic Advertising, Web App Mode, and Related Posts. 

Formerly inside the product in previous versions, we’ve upgraded them to Extensions for a few reasons: Firstly, we have new features planned for each of them and continuing to add more complexity in the core of the product for features which not everyone may use didn’t seem like the right thing to do. Secondly, they were features which led to extra WPtouch Pro product updates which, as Extensions, mean we don’t have update the whole product just to ship a new feature or fix in Related Posts, for example.

We have more features for existing extensions, as well as some all new extensions planned going forward. We know you like extending the capability of WPtouch in different ways, and the changes in structure within WPtouch 4.0 make more room for that.

Cost

We think WPtouch 4 is by far and away the best version of WPtouch we’ve ever made. After hundreds of releases, 8+ million downloads and nearly a decade of work, our team has created the most polished, professional and powerful mobile tool for WordPress websites. And we want to see everyone using it and enjoying it.

We’re happy to announce that WPtouch 4.0 will be a free update for all  customers with active licenses.

As well with 4.0, all new version 4 updates for themes and extensions that you own will also be free with active licenses.

If your license expires soon, renew today to ensure you receive the 4.0 updates.

Upgrading

In order to see the update for WPtouch Pro 4 in your WordPress admin, make sure your installation is licensed. If upgrading fails for any reason, you can alternatively download version 4 and install it manually from your account page on our website.

October 19, 2015 – By Dale, Co-Founder

Today Marks 5yrs @ BraveNewCode for Emilio Rivera, Our Support Lead

emilio-5yrs

We first met Emilio in our old support forums for the original WPtouch Pro release, over 5 years ago. Emilio impressed us as a customer whom was jumping into other users’ threads and helping out left, right, and centre. There were times where he seemed to demonstrate a knowledge of the product as if he wrote it— a clear, intrinsic understanding of the intent of the software and the best ways to use it.

We were so impressed we offered Emilio a job with us, and take over the support role for our customers (up until that point Duane and I did it ourselves). He took the plunge, and ever since he’s been making BraveNewCode customers happy with help that frequently goes above and beyond what most expect from software support.

Support can be trying for many people— whether you’re our customer or you’re our employee trying to provide assistance, WordPress’ quirks and quarks, along with server environments, themes, and other plugins make answering seemingly simple questions quite difficult. Emilio has consistently found a way to help customers through difficult circumstances time and time again— and many customers have remarked over the years that Emilio has provided them with the best support they’ve ever received, anywhere. Incredible!

Put simply, his dedication and commitment to excellence in providing quality, care-full support of our products and services is an inspiration for our company.

5 years is a long time in the tech world. Thousands of start-ups have come and gone in that time, and Emilio has continued to provide customers with every growing expertise throughout the growth of our business and maturity of WPtouch. By keeping with us, he has truly attained a mastery in knowing of the world in which he provides help, and I think most customers would be amazed to discover just who they’re getting help from :)

We strive to create great software, and work tirelessly to improve our products everyday. But it is not lost on us that providing customers with timely, smart and supportive help is a big part of what we offer. To that end, we feel confident that Emilio can always be there for our customers when they hit a snag.

To us, he’s the best feature WPtouch has ever gained.

Congratulations on 5 years Emilio— we wish you all the best in continued success with us!

August 14, 2015 – By Dale, Co-Founder

WPtouch 4: Customize your website for mobile devices like never before!

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 2.39.37 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 2.40.59 PM

Full Customizer Support

With WPtouch 4, we’ve redesigned our admin panel and added native support for the WordPress customizer.

Unlike responsive themes, you can control exactly what your visitors will see when they visit your website on a mobile device.

Setting up a WPtouch theme has never been easier: Play with colours, fonts, logos in just a few clicks, all while instantly live-previewing your changes.

Experiment with featured sliders, post and page options. Tinker with featured images, social sharing, and menus— and when you’re done, simply save and publish and go live.

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 2.42.08 PM

New Wizard

In WPtouch 4 we’ve added an all-new setup wizard to guide you through getting started with WPtouch. The wizard makes sure you’re made aware of the things you need to do to get setup quickly, and even helps you along by automatically discovering your WordPress environment.

Use Google Analytics? WPtouch 4 can tell, and will automatically add your analytics code into its themes. Use a different template for posts and your home page? WPtouch will configure them automatically, yet also lets you choose something different (if you want to change it for mobile visitors).

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 2.05.43 PM

Streamlined Settings

If you’re configuring a theme’s appearance, that’s all done in the WordPress theme customizer now, where it should be. Setting up menus for WPtouch? That’s done in the WordPress menu settings, too. In WPtouch 4 we’ve examined the entire setup process to make more sense for you, and flow logically.

For example, a new user will go through the setup wizard to configure key settings, then on to the customizer to choose appearance settings and experiment with look and feel. Going from activation to publishing your mobile website has never been as clear and easy.

For all the settings that don’t belong in the Customizer Settings, they’re all in one new location, the WPtouch Settings. There you’ll be able to modify the “under the hood” options, along with adding or activating additional themes and extensions.

WPtouch 3.x Support

When you update to a new major version of WPtouch you don’t want to have to setup a theme all over again. In the past we made major changes that we weren’t able to rectify with older WPtouch installations. In WPtouch 4, you don’t have to worry— all 3.x themes running WPtouch 3.5 or newer will “just work” with WPtouch 4.

In development for 4.0, we left 3.x themes intact and worked rigorously to ensure that they could live in the 4.0 world without issue. Our team poured over configurations and different scenarios to ensure that we maintained full backwards compatibility with any custom or copied theme(s) you’re running today.

WPtouch 4 themes offer more control and customizability in the WordPress Customizer, but 3.0 themes will also benefit from the customizer and a variety of their settings will automatically work with the WordPress Customizer when you update to WPtouch 4.0.

Cost

We think WPtouch 4 is by far and away the best version of WPtouch we’ve ever made. After hundreds of releases, 8 million downloads and nearly a decade of work, our team has created the most polished, professional and powerful mobile tool for WordPress websites. And we want to see everyone using it and enjoying it.

When it’s released this fall, we’re happy to announce that WPtouch 4.0 will be a free update for all licensed customers.

Along with 4.0, all new updates for themes and extensions that are included with your license will also be free.

If your license expires soon, renew today to ensure you receive the 4.0 update.

There’s lots more packed into 4.0, and we’ll have some blog posts over the coming weeks to highlight them all.

Not a customer, but interested in receiving updates directly to your inbox? Sign up for the WPtouch mailing list today.
We send out infrequent, periodic updates on what’s new in the WPtouch world.

July 9, 2015 – By Martin, Product Manager

3.8.2 Updates Released

Today we released updates to WPtouch and WPtouch Pro that provide improvements to some of the functionality included in the 3.8 release.

WPtouch Pro’s desktop theme shortcode handler has been given improved support for sites that use a mix of theme and plugin shortcodes (in particular Royal Slider), as well as more robust handling of delayed shortcode registration.

We have received a fair bit of feedback since the release of 3.8 about the new system for preventing cache plugin conflicts. Following the successful completion of additional testing and compatibility validation, we are delighted to remove the requirement that WordFence’s Falcon cache engine be disabled on sites that wish to run WPtouch or WPtouch Pro in this release.

Our thanks to everyone who has reached out to us with comments and questions. We value every opportunity to hear your feedback.

Should you have difficulties with the cache plugin warning system, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via support@wptouch.com or (for Pro customers) by opening ticket on our support site.

June 24, 2015 – By Dale, Co-Founder

New version of WPtouch & WPtouch Pro 3.8 Released

New version of WPtouch

Today we’ve released new versions of WPtouch and WPtouch Pro— a major release which includes many new changes, enhancements, bug fixes and optimizations. We’ve also released updates for a number of our themes and extensions.

WPtouch & WPtouch Pro 3.8

In the core of the product, we’ve made several improvements. In the admin we’ve improved the styling and design of the Theme & Extensions page, and improved styling for non-English languages, including RTL languages.

Smart Conflict Detection

Over the years we’ve seen many users and customers face a common conflict which isn’t a “bug”— caching plugins. Popular solutions W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, and Wordfence— are all great plugins to speed up your WordPress website. Yet, due to the nature of the way that these caching plugins work (caching dynamic pages and making them static), there’s no way to know that they’re not setup correctly to work with WPtouch.

You may have encountered the issue yourself: users often tell us that WPtouch is “showing my desktop theme on mobile” or “showing my mobile theme to desktop visitors”— both signs that you’re running a cache plugin and it has cached pages indiscriminately, and is serving them to devices just the same.

In 3.8, we’ve added new abilities for WPtouch to detect these plugins, and suspend WPtouch from running until the problems are resolved. When we detect you’re running any of these plugins we’ll put up a notice in the admin with a message link to our resource on modifying your cache plugin configuration to get them working together nicely. Once you get them setup correctly, we can detect this and will release WPtouch to start serving mobile visitors. This prevents poisoning your cache until you get it setup.

Themes & Extensions

We’ve also released some bug fixes for our extensions like Infinity Cache & jQuery Enhanced, along with updates for Bauhaus, MobileStore, Open and Simple themes.

In particular, MobileStore gets the largest update with new options for controlling the appearance & layout, and also gains better compatibility with older versions of WooCommerce (we’re looking at you, 2.1 users!). Improved support and compatibility with 3rd party payment gateways has also been added.

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