Blockchain, blockchain, blockchain…
If you’ve ever talked to that Bitcoin dude at a party, you know that blockchain is going to change the world…mannn.
Jokes aside, there is something to that – blockchain has a ton of powerful uses beyond cryptocurrency. And in this WordProof review, we’re going to look at a plugin that brings blockchain to WordPress to help you claim and verify the content that you publish on your WordPress site.
This can help you with copyright issues and content thieves, as well as with building trust with your audience.
In this post, I’ll explain what WordProof does and how that can help your WordPress site. Then, I’ll set up WordProof on my own test site and show you how it works.
Side note – we’re also now using WordProof here at WPLift – you can see it in action at the bottom of this post.
What Does WordProof Do? How Does It Help?
WordProof helps you timestamp every version of your content on any EOSIO blockchain.
Basically, this creates a verifiable record of every piece of content, including when you published it and every change that you make to it.
So why does this matter?
At a basic level, it lets you authoritatively prove that you own your content. This can help with copyright protection and deter content thieves. WordProof has some interesting case studies on its site of real businesses using blockchain timestamps in this way. WordProof is even working on a claim helper tool that can help you generate a copyright infringement letter with just a few clicks.
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I also think there are some real benefits when it comes to building trust and authenticity with your audience. It’s become common practice to update old content, often without telling visitors about exactly which changes you made.
With blockchain timestamping, you have the option of showing a verifiable edit record for every change that you make. That way, visitors can verify that there’s no funny business going on, which helps you build trust. This is optional – you don’t have to show the edit trail if you don’t want to.
Finally, there’s also an interesting argument for incorporating blockchain timestamping in structured data so that search engines like Google can verify the original creator of a piece of content and give it a ranking boost accordingly. This last one is not in practice yet – but it is an interesting look at how timestamping could be beneficial in the future.
How Blockchain Timestamping Works on WordPress
Once you set up WordProof, it adds a new link below your content that prompts visitors to view the timestamp:
If users click that, it will open a popup (without leaving the page) that shows key details on the content, like the verified author and when the content was last modified:
There are two things I like about the popup:
- The design is really well done. It looks great and does a good job highlighting important information.
- It includes the “Why is this important?” link. Some of your visitors might not understand what they’re seeing at first. The explanation tells them why it’s important.
If visitors want more proof, they can click to go to the actual blockchain and/or view the input of this timestamp:
Again, you’ll see another “Explanation” link that helps people understand what they’re seeing.
Beyond marking when a piece of content was published and who the author is, visitors can also track changes and see when a post was last modified:
If visitors click the View previous versions button, they can track the exact changes to the post. You can turn this off if you don’t want it:
Now, I’ll show you how to set that up…
How to Set Up WordProof
The WordProof Timestamp plugin is available for free at WordPress.org. Once you install and activate the plugin, here’s how to set it up and start timestamping your content.
1. Go Through the Setup Wizard
As soon as you activate the plugin, it will display a prompt to launch the setup wizard.
This wizard gives you two options:
- Manual – you’ll need to configure your own blockchain account and wallet. It requires some tech-savviness, but the developer gives you detailed instructions.
- Automatic – you just create a WordProof account and get started – super simple. This is a subscription, but you can test-drive it with their free plan.
I always like simple things, so I’m going to use the Automatic method. With that being said, if you prefer the manual approach, the developer has detailed video and text instructions that you can follow to set up your blockchain account and wallet.
If you want to use the automatic method, you’ll need to register for a WordProof account, which only takes a few seconds:
Once you register for an account, you’ll see a site key in your WordProof dashboard:
All you do is copy that value and paste it into the setup wizard in your WordPress dashboard:
Then, you can choose which post types to automatically timestamp (including any custom post types that you’re using, like WooCommerce products).
You can also choose whether or not to show revisions to visitors. This will let your visitors see how a piece of content has changed over time:
Finally, you can customize the link that visitors will click to see your timestamp. This link appears below each piece of timestamped content on your site:
And that’s it! You’re all set up and ready to start timestamping your content.
2. Start Timestamping Your Content
At this point, WordProof will automatically timestamp all your new content and edits – you don’t need to do anything manually.
However, you might have older content that you still want to timestamp.
If that’s the case, you can go to the list page for that post type in your WordPress dashboard. For example, Posts → All Posts.
There, you’ll see a new WordProof column that shows you the timestamp status of each piece of content.
If you want to timestamp an older piece of content, all you do is click the Timestamp this post button:
You’ll also see time stamp details in the editor for individual pieces of content, as well as the WordPress toolbar. You can also display a dashboard widget, too, if you want to see timestamp details from your main Dashboard area.
You can also download your certificates from your WordProof dashboard on the paid plans — the certificate comes as a PDF download.
If you use the manual method and set up your own blockchain account and wallet, WordProof is 100% free.
If you prefer the convenience of the automatic WordProof service (which is what I used to set everything up), you can timestamp 10 pieces of content per month for free forever.
If you need timestamp more than that, you’ll need to purchase a plan based on how many pieces of content you plan to timestamp per month. Each plan also comes with a bonus allotment of timestamps that you can use to timestamp your existing content:
Final Thoughts on WordProof
If you look at the bottom of this post, you should see the WordProof timestamp certificate, so that’s a pretty good indicator that we feel positive about this plugin.
Overall, WordProof brings a novel application of blockchain to WordPress, helping you:
- Claim verifiable ownership over your content and protect it from content thieves.
- Build trust and authenticity with your audience by being transparent with how your content changes over time.
Beyond the features, another thing that struck me about WordProof is how well designed both the backend and frontend interfaces are. You can tell a lot of thought has gone into the design, and it’s definitely one of the more polished WordPress products that you’ll find.
The plugin is free and open-source, so you won’t pay anything if you set it up with your own blockchain account and wallet. Or, if you want a simpler approach, you can also let the WordProof service to do it for you. There is now a free plan to get started. The devs are also rolling out additional features there, like the ability to quickly create copyright infringement letters.
If you want to get started, click the buttons below. And if you want to check out this post in the blockchain, you can view its certificate below, too: