WordProof is a relatively new plugin that uses a decentralized database to help, as it puts it, democratize publishing.
Last year, it won the “Blockchains for Social Good” contest by the European Commission and it seems to be gaining increasing popularity.
In this post, I’ll tell you what is WordProof, how you can use it, and all you need to know.
What is WordProof
WordProof was founded in 2019 by Sebastiaan van der Lans. Sebastiaan has spent over 15 years working with open-source initiatives to make the Internet a better place, and WordProof is no exception.
This open-source tool protects your content and makes it trustworthy by timestamping it. By content I mean:
When you timestamp your content, it gets added to the blockchain where anyone else can see all its changes, anytime. That helps you protect your ownership and be transparent with your audience.
The timestamp is indisputable proof that you created that content and it shows when the content was last updated so visitors can verify what you are saying.
But let’s slow it down a bit.
I mentioned words like open-source and blockchain; however, maybe you’re not quite aware of what they mean. Let’s dive in, shall we?
How does WordProof work?
WordProof seeks to democratize the Internet and give power to the people. Like WordPress, people at WordProof preferred community rather than corporate structure. That’s why they work with software and databases that are completely open to anyone.
Their software is open-source, meaning, it’s free to anyone who wants to use it.
When Sebastiaan started with open-source, it was controversial. The WP GDPR tool, the previous plugin he created, is also open-source and he got no direct profits from it. However, now there are tons of plugins that you can download for free.
Some popular examples of open-source software are Firefox, Linux, and, of course, WordPress.
Currently, open-source is seen as pretty cool. Developers are excited about working with these companies, and both they and content creators benefit from this software.
With the same concept in mind, that is, democratization, we have blockchain. Blockchain is a way to store information and it’s completely open to anyone.
You might have heard or read about blockchain when bitcoin comes up in the news. Indeed, it became popular thanks to cryptocurrency. However, blockchain is a technic that was originally created to timestamp digital documents.
WordProof assigns a hash (a unique fingerprint) to each piece of your content and the hash is added to the blockchain.
And what is so democratic about it? Well, instead of using a central entity to manage the chain, blockchains use a peer-to-peer network. And as the information is recorded in the blockchain of all the networks, it becomes very difficult to change it.
If someone wanted to tamper with it, all the people on the network should have to accept that to happen.
Shout out to Simply Explain who uploaded the video on blockchain that helped me understand this!
So WordProof uses blockchain to timestamp content and makes this certificate trustworthy and available to everyone. It’s beneficial both for the content creator, who can prove they wrote it, and for the reader, who can confirm this information is legit.
Why is it such a big deal?
As we’ve been saying, Sebastiaan worked for years with open-source and believes that fixing Internet problems is the way to save the world. As computers enable human-to-human connection, the Internet needs to be a trustworthy space.
Sebastiaan. has a long experience working on the Internet. He previously founded one of the first WordPress agencies in the Netherlands (Van Ons) and it’s the creator of the WordPress GDPR plugin, so he’s seen a lot.
According to him, there are 5 challenges the Internet needs to solve ASAP:
- Spread of wealth
- Lack of inclusivity
- Fake news
How many times has a family member sent you a piece of article on some shady and doubtful information? Too many, right? Wouldn’t it be nice to tackle this misinformation?
Sebastiaan claims that we can take back control with open source because it helps democratize:
- and business
We won’t go through finance and bitcoin here, but if you are interested, let us know in the comments for future articles.
Anyway, WordProof handles the first solution: it helps democratize publishing.
How to use it
After all this explanation, you might expect a complicated setup, but WordProof is actually quite easy to use. I’m going to share with you how to use it on WordPress but keep in mind this tool also works in:
- Lightspeed eCommerce
Plus, in May, the search engine Presearch announced that WordProof timestamping will be added to their search results. Sebastian is also working on allowing API in other platforms. And chances are as time goes by, more and more platforms will be included!
Now, the simple steps for using WordProof in WordPress:
- Log in to your WordPress dashboard. Go to plugins and install WordProof. Naturally, you’ll need to have a WordPress Business plan to download the plugging.
- Launch the Setup Wizard and choose the Automatic mode to have content timestamped automatically.
- Follow the steps that lead you to https://my.wordproof.io/signup and choose a plan.
- Enter your information: website URL, name, email, and password.
- Copy the Site Access Key and paste it into the Setup Wizard.
- That’s all! You should see the certificate on the front end of your website.
How does it look
It’s important to understand how the timestamp will look on your site. So I’ll use some examples from WordProof own website so you can give yourself an idea.
The first thing is the text link to the timestamp. By clicking the text, visitors will open the pop-up. The text style will match your site’s style and is easily customized.
Then you’ll see some basic information like when the content was last edited (May 18) and who published it (Sebastiaan). Websites usually show when the content was last edited but what they say isn’t always true. With timestamp, they can’t lie!
In this case, Sebastian stan didn’t make any revisions. But they timestamp everything on their website, so here is a look at how people will see the changes you make from another timestamp:
Finally, visitors can view the timestamp in the blockchain. They just need to click “view on Blockchain” and they’ll be redirected to a page like this one:
WordProof is free to a certain extend. The free plan only includes 1 website with 10 timestamps per month. Should you want more features, you’ll have to go with one of the paid plans:
If you are a publisher or enterprise, contact the team to learn what pricing suits you.
Benefits of using WordProof
We already know the core values of WordProof but the concrete benefits for its users might not be that clear still. You may be wondering, why should I use WordProof, in the first place? Well…
- Trust. With WordProof, you show people you created your content. You are transparent. Sebastian says that in 5 years from now if you don’t timestamp your content, you’ll be considered a fraud!
- Copyright. A big problem of search engines is duplicate content. With WordProof you can claim your content. You can actually prove that you own your content. Or say who can use it. There’s no need to hire an attorney to protect your work.
- Accuracy. Suppose you are writing a blog post and you put some outbound links. The owner of the content you link to might decide to update it or change some things. With WordProof, you can link to the version of the article that suits you.
Last but not least, there’s another big advantage of using WordProof that I know you’ll like: SEO.
How does WordProof impact SEO?
You’re worried about what will happen to your site’s ranking once you use WordProof. The answer is: it will probably raise your position.
The ranking in search engines is about quality. Sure, is great to use Schema and other techniques designed for search engines, but the key to reaching the top is always writing for humans.
Good work will always, eventually, impact your position. Take a look at Yoast. The SEO company partnered with WordProof after realizing its potential.
The fact is that WordProof fights against spam, which is really harmful to SEO. As we said, WordProof detects duplicate content and automatically sends requests to violators to take down the content.
Search engines also hate fraud and blockchain is your proof that you didn’t tamper with the content and are being 100% honest.
Finally, for everyone that’s concerned about structure data, WordProof outputs your blockchain timestamp as structure data in Schema.org markup. I mean, they really got you covered, right?
Even if you’re still not convinced, remember this: Google’s algorithm, as well as social media’s algorithms, is constantly changing and considering new criteria regarding search ranking. When it officially takes timestamping into account, you’ll want to have started timestamping earlier.
So begin now, before your competition!
WordProof is a promising tool. Not only for your content safety and your search engine optimization but for the whole Internet. This seems to be a new step towards better information, trust online, and decentralization.
Timestamping your content will help your website and the Internet’s standards.
What are you waiting to try WordProof?