Today we are excited to share with you the vision and mission statement of SteemPress, introduce and explain our 2018 roadmap and also announce the launch of our witness @steempress and the shift of our activities from @steempress-io to this account.
Many of you are already familiar with us and also with SteemPress, however, this summer marks the beginning of a new period for us. Starting on the 10th of August, the two of us (@fredrikaa and @howo) will be working on SteemPress and the Steem blockchain full time. To accompany our new commitment to Steem and increased dependence on the success of the blockchain, we see it fitting to also run our own witness. In this post, we hope to detail what major contributions we will aim to make in the short to medium term with SteemPress and hope that you the community will see value in what we bring to the table and thus consider voting for our witness @steempress.
Who we are
First of all, let us introduce ourselves to those of you who might not know us yet. Martin Lees (@howo) is the lead developer of SteemPress and responsible for all technical development and updates to our plug-in. He holds a master's degree in computer science and currently works as a software engineer at Orange. Fredrik Aarrestad (@fredrikaa) is the lead business developer of SteemPress and responsible for market development, partnerships, and communications and marketing. He holds a bachelor's degree in Business and Administration and a master's degree in Economics and currently works at the European Space Agency.
Between the two of us, we believe we possess a diverse and complementary set of skills that can add value to the blockchain. From developing and operating applications and making contributions to blockchain development, to promoting Steem and adding to the conversation of how we can grow its value. With SteemPress initially being only one of many ideas we’ve had for things we would want to build on Steem over the year we've been active here, we hope this new commitment is only the beginning.
But first, what do we hope to build with SteemPress, and how do we think it will add value to STEEM?
The SteemPress Vison
Simply put, our long-term vision is to see all bloggers be empowered by the Steem blockchain to monetize content and reach new audiences.
Steem and Steemit already provide a revolutionary tool for creators and contributors to monetize content and engagement online and for communities and entrepreneurs to co-create and collaborate. However, in a time where tens of millions are flocking to the web to create and share content, we’re still very far away from having the mainstream adopt and benefit from these tools. Equally so, we are also far from making the most use of the potential that Steem as a technology has to offer. With SteemPress, we hope to both expose new creators and consumers to the Steem blockchain while also taking its features to websites where it can help tokenize the web at scale.
In short, our goal is to see the best of WordPress content on Steem, and the best Steem features on WordPress blogs everywhere.
To realise that that vision, we are building tools to allow anyone with a WordPress website to publish directly to the Steem blockchain, while working to allow Steem features to be integrated with existing blogs.
SteemPress will take the content of any WordPress blog to the blockchain to help creators monetize and reach new audiences
This brings us to the 2018 roadmap we have defined for the development of SteemPress.
We see this as a 3 step effort towards a final product:
- Step 1: Deliver a convenient tool for automatic posting from WordPress to STEEM and work with our early users to add features they demand.
- Step 2: Provide a platform to help different communities discover and curate SteemPress content so we can use the wisdom of the crowd to trail them.
- Step 3: Providing full-integration of STEEM comments, upvotes, account login and wallet on a WordPress-blog using SteemPress.
At this point, we consider step 1 to be more or less complete thanks in part to the great feedback and help we have received from our early testers and active Discord community. Although there will always be improvements that can be made, we are happy to see how the current version of SteemPress is already providing value to more than a thousand Steemians every week.
The second stage is nearing its completion. Aside from allowing WordPress blogs to post to the Steem blockchain, we also want to help outside creators who use SteemPress to connect with relevant Steem communities and discover relevant Steem-based DApps that can help them leverage their content. For this, we have built our own custom front-end to discover content posted with SteemPress. So far, we have been able to use this tool to more efficiently review the content of new creators who publish to Steem using SteemPress, as well as allowing curators to find new Steemians who post with tags relevant to their niche. We look forward to releasing the beta version of the website which will also allow all Steem posts to be browsed in a new way where curators can also log in with SteemConnect and build their own whitelists, blacklists and save posts for later review.
However, the end objective is to have a full two-way integration between WordPress blogs and the Steem blockchain. This would include bringing the upvote button, expected post-payout, comments, wallet and other familiar features of Steem directly to SteemPress-based blogs.
What we want the final version to look like
Imagine visiting your favourite blog or website anywhere on the web. Like most, the website consists of a core of content, as well as a set of options to like, share and comment on the post. However, unlike most websites you see that the creator, together with the most constructive people in the comments, is earning something for their contributions. Like on steemit. At the end of the article, where the comment section starts, there is a button saying “log in with Steem”. As a consumer of content, would you prefer spending your time engaging with the content here, or on a website producing similar types of content without the same incentive?
The objective is to have a full two-way integration between the SteemPress-based website and the Steem blockchain. Where comments and upvotes made directly on the blog by people who are signed in with their Steem account is synchronized with the engagement happening on other front-ends that display content stored on Steem such as steemit.com or busy.org.
Suddenly, people will no longer have to go to a dedicated front-end for the Steem blockchain to consume content. Instead, consumers can do that directly on the blog itself like they normally would. Furthermore, consumers engaging with content on the SteemPress-based blog will connect directly with those browsing the same post on any Steem-based front-end. Thus amplifying the engagement on both websites as they both connect through the same core infrastructure: Steem. With hard fork 20, we hope that new people can create their own Steem account quickly and effortlessly directly on the blog.
SteemPress will allow any content creator to connect to several new audiences through different DApps and front-ends via the Steem blockchain
As a result of our efforts and those of many other Steem DApps, we hope that Steem will become the blockchain consumers and contributors expect to connect via to engage online. We want visitors of websites everywhere to demand the opportunity to log in with their Steem account to curate and engage with content in order to earn their share of the value they bring through engagement. Then, similar to how Disqus is commonly found as a log-in feature on many comment sections at different newspapers and blogs, Steem should be what people expect to find on websites they visit.
Benefits to Steem
We believe SteemPress will be making direct contributions to the value of STEEM and the success of Steem-based DApps and communities for many reasons. Some of them include:
On-boarding new users from WordPress at scale
The first goal of SteemPress is to onboard as many WordPress users as possible. WordPress currently powers 30% of the web or 70 million blogs. With ~50k users interacting with Steem every week according to SteemReports, this means that if we capture 0.1% of the WordPress bloggers, we’ll already more than double the activity on the blockchain. That’s only taking into account the content bloggers themselves, and not the thousands of consumers who will learn and participate in the Steem ecosystem.
Lowering the barriers of entry for creators and consumers
For most people, mastering how to make effective use of steemit.com, let alone understanding the fundamentals of Steem, has a steep learning curve. With SteemPress, creators can make use of the blockchain from the comfort of their own websites, while consumers can now continue to engage with the content the way they are used to and enter Steem with simply one click.
Connecting users with STEEM Communities
SteemPress is already working closely with communities and curation groups on Steem. This includes providing a convenient way for them to browse and discover content related to their niche that is posted with SteemPress, as well as trailing their votes. This is done to help the communities on Steem grow as we attract new creators and consumers of content with an interest in the topics relevant to the community.
Marketing STEEM externally
All marketing of SteemPress will also include marketing Steem, as the benefits to bloggers of using SteemPress are the same as the benefits of Steem generally. Furthermore, the simple integration of Steem features with SteemPress will expose the audiences of our users to Steem and the idea behind it.
Allowing people to make tailor-made front ends for different types of content
The UI of steemit.com and popular DApps seems to be where most Steemians see room for improvement. However, it is difficult to satisfy everyone at the same time as different types of content may benefit from different forms of display. SteemPress will allow any user interested in trying a new way of displaying their content to make their own website for themselves or their community.
Synergies with SMTs
Since the beginning of SteemPress, we’ve seen multiple use-cases where a group of writers, film reviewers or artists collectively run a website that they want to connect with the Steem blockchain. We see these users as perfect examples of websites and communities who can benefit from Smart Media Tokens (SMTs) and we hope to be able to provide SMT consulting, setup and integration as a Pro-version for communities.
Perceived value of the token
As consumers of content observe how the bloggers they already trust, and the community in the comments they have interests in common with, both look to STEEM to monetize content and engagement, they also see value in the token. We hope this can create a cycle where consumers demand the opportunity to log-in with Steem from the creators, which again exposes more consumers to Steem, etc.
SteemPress has previously presented at the London Crypto Currency Show. Going forward, we plan to attend WordPress and blogging specific workshops and events to present SteemPress to new users.
The decision to leave lucrative jobs in order to work full time with Steem-based projects has already tied us more closely to the blockchain and made us dependant on its success and the value of STEEM. It therefore makes sense for us to want to have our own witness both to contribute to the development and security of the blockchain, as well as to have greater influence in its future direction. While the development of SteemPress is our main priority, the two of us have been and continue to be engaged in numerous Steem communities and projects. This is something we want to do more of going forward.
Hopefully, this post has given you a good idea of our commitment to the Steem blockchain and of our desire to get increasingly involved with its development. We hope that on this basis you will consider voting for our witness and wish for our success the way that we also want to help see other DApps and communities built on Steem grow and succeed.
Note: As mentioned, SteemPress is moving its activities from the @steempress-io account to the @steempress account. Upon our founding at the start of the year, the @steempress account was already taken. However, thanks to @jesta who has been kind enough to give us the account following his initial plans to create a WordPress-related service of his own, we now possess this account and will aim to use it going forward.
If you have any questions, visit us on our discord channel!
To download SteemPress, find our plug-in at https://wordpress.org/plugins/steempress/
Thank you for reading this far and for being interested in SteemPress!