Archive for March, 2016

Exploring Your Dashboard: Four of Our Favorite Tools

A few months ago, we launched a spandy-new post editor, updates to the WordPress.com Reader, and a WordPress.com desktop app. They’re all designed to make publishing and managing your sites easier, from more effective auto-saving to quicker creation of image galleries.

Have you discovered everything the new and improved WordPress.com can do? Here are four of our favorite tricks.

Preview your site on any device, right from your editor

As more people access our blogs from phones and tablets, it’s increasingly important to make sure yours looks good no matter how large (or small!) the screen. You can buy a dozen devices to test how your site looks, bug your friends to check your blog on their phones — or preview your site on different screen sizes from right in the post or page editor.

When you click “Preview” in the editor, you’ll see a few icons across the top of the preview pane:

previewing

Click the three highlighted icons, and you’ll be able to see the post (or page) on three different screen sizes: computer screen, tablet, and smartphone. Be confident that your words and images appear just as you intend, no matter the device.

Copy and paste for quick hyperlinks

Links are the lifeblood of the internet; they help us navigate within websites and discover new ones. There was already an easy way to create hyperlinked words (like this) with the “create link” button, but now you don’t need a button at all: just copy and paste.

Copy the URL you want to link to to your computer’s clipboard, then head into your post or page editor. Highlight the text you want to make clickable, and paste the URL directly over the highlighted text, as if you want to replace it. That’s it!

screen-shot-2016-02-01-at-9-40-18-am

The highlighted text will be underlined and blue to let you know it’s a hyperlink. To change a link, move your cursor over the link and click the pencil icon; you’ll be able to edit the URL, and set the link to open in a new window. To remove the link, click the X. (And don’t worry: you can still use the link button if you’re more comfortable with that.)

Everyone loves a list

If you’re like me, you read a lot of blogs — and keeping them organized can sometimes be a challenge. Enter Reader lists, a way to group the blogs you follow. Only want to check out new posts from your favorite food blogs, or political analysts? Want to share all your favorite DIY sites with friends? Make lists!

Head to your Reader. In the left-hand column, click the down-arrow next to Lists and then click Add to open the list tools. Add a title and description; lists are public, so a description helps others understand what they’ll find. To add blogs to the list, paste in the URL of a blog you want to include and click Add (and this can be any site, not just WordPress.com blogs). Here’s a list we made with some of our favorite sketchers and illustrators:

editinglist

(Love art or sketching? Follow the list!)

To share a list, copy its URL from your browser’s address bar. Paste it into a post, page ,or comment so your readers can follow along.

All your posts and pages, from any site

If you’ve got more than one blog on WordPress.com (or self-hosted sites that use the Jetpack plugin), you can manage posts and pages from across all of them from your WordPress.com dashboard.

Log in to WordPress.com and head up to My Sites in the upper left. Click on “Switch sites,” and then “All My Sites.” Once you do, you’ll be able to select Blog Posts or Pages to see every post and page you’ve created across all your sites:

all my sites 2

Use the toggles at the top of the page to filter all your posts and pages — only look at drafts, see everything in your trash cans, or search for particular terms.

We use all four of these nifty features every day while working on DiscoverThe Daily PostLongreads, and more.

Do you have a favorite dashboard trick?

Filed under: Better Blogging, Dashboard, New Features, WordPress.com
Go to Source

Get More Readers to Your Business Blog

Blogging is a great way to communicate with your customers and reach new ones. Business owner Phoebe Clare blogs at Sage and Clare, where she documents her exotic trips scouting merchandise for her online home decor store she runs with Jemma Sage. Learn how Phoebe uses her blog to share inspiration for her curated marketplace while generating visits to the Sage and Clare eCommerce website.

Sage-and-clare-1

Write meaningful content

Sage-and-clare

One of Sage and Clare’s most popular posts was a commentary on a New York Times piece about Loulou Van Damme, a designer with a beautiful home in the hills of India. It spoke to the blog’s design-savvy audience and showcased products similar to the Sage and Clare inventory.

sage-and-clare-2

Regardless of your industry, choose topics that offer value or entertainment to your readers. Share how-tos, industry insights, and thoughtful posts. Don’t underestimate the importance of writing an enticing post title that will draw in your reader. On Facebook and Twitter, your post title is front and center, so it’s worth refining.

Optimize your blog post

Did you know other WordPress.com users can discover your content through the WordPress.com Reader? Tagging your blog post with descriptive and on-topic tags will help new readers find your blog.

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 11.50.35 AM

Phoebe Clare uses categories and a handful of well-chosen tags to organize her posts and help readers find Sage and Clare’s content. Be selective when you assign tags and categories to posts. Five to 15 tags (or a combination of five to 15 tags and categories) is optimum.

Promote your posts

WordPress.com has built-in features designed for easy sharing. Just like Sage and Clare, you can use Publicize to connect your WordPress.com blog to your social media accounts. Next time you press publish, your post will automatically be shared through the Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn accounts you connected.

Dreaming Of Stevie https://t.co/Q625UHW8NZ pic.twitter.com/2kwCoBUZzj

— sageandclare (@sageandclare) November 11, 2015

Make it easy for any visitor to share a link to your post on their social networks, their blog, or through email by adding Sharing buttons to the end of your posts.

sage-and-clare-4 (1)

BONUS: Help Google find you!

Do you know about the Google Search Console? If your business has a niche, you can tell the Google Search Console to help you position your site to be even more successful in search rankings. We’ll show you how!


Your online presence begins with your website. Make it count by choosing the best of WordPress.com.

Consider upgrading to WordPress.com Premium or Business to unlock features like advanced customization, more space for your photos and videos, and stellar customer support.

Our Premium and Business plans also include a custom domain and access to premium themes.

v2

Filed under: Better Blogging, Tags
Go to Source

Automattic at CMS Africa Summit

Automatticians, the people behind WordPress.com, can be found in just about every corner of the globe, but it’s not every day that we have the singular opportunity to promote open source software and meet some of the amazing communities that help build it in Africa.

Next week, several of our team members will be speaking at the CMS Africa Summit, to be held in Kampala, Uganda, April 1-2, 2016. The conference, sponsored in part by Automattic, will feature workshops and panels on topics ranging from open source software to marketing and social media. Event attendees represent a broad swath of Africa’s fast-growing tech community and include entrepreneurs and marketers, programmers and designers, consultants and students.

Developers of all ages and backgrounds can also test their mettle by participating in a 48-hour Hackathon during the conference. Contributors will be tasked with developing an app that will leverage the power of open source technology and open health data to solve some of the most intractable problems their communities face.

If you’re interested in attending and are in Uganda or plan to be in the area next week, click here to register. You can also learn more by checking out the conference’s Facebook profile and Twitter feed.

We’re thrilled to be a part of this exciting event and hope to meet some new friends within the open source community in Africa!

Filed under: Community, Events, International
Go to Source

Five Engaging Longreads Stories You Might Have Missed

Longreads has been connecting readers with quality stories since 2009, and since joining Automattic in 2014, we’ve published more than 100 pieces of original reporting, essays, and book excerpts from talented writers and reporters from across the globe. Here are five.

“Violet,” by Adele Oliveira

Illustration by: Kjell Reigstad

Illustration by: Kjell Reigstad

Violet was born at 25 weeks and five days—more than three months ahead of her due date. This is a story about becoming parents in the face of uncertainty.

I didn’t think I could handle the loss. But when I saw my daughter’s tiny red body under saran wrap on a tilted, flat bed, a thousand cords and wires attached to her chest, her eyes not yet open, and a ventilator breathing for her, I was not surprised to find that I loved her right away. I knew I’d never love anyone more, and I knew I’d always miss her if she died.

“The Fullness of a Moment,” by Jaime Green

Photo Courtesy: American Museum of Natural History

Photo Courtesy: American Museum of Natural History

Half a century ago, the Hall of New York State Environment in the American Museum of Natural History was not only the future of museum design, but also, one man hoped, the future of democracy itself.

Many things here are lovely or sweet, but almost nothing is beautiful. Nothing beautiful, nothing big, nothing cool. And nothing new. In a museum that otherwise shows visitors the most awe-inspiring science in the most modern and attention-grabbing ways, here is science of the most ordinary things in the world, the science of your humble backyard. Yet it is in the company of blue whales and cosmic wonders, this homeliest and homiest of halls.

“The Freelancers’ Roundtable,” by Eva Holland

Illustration by: Kjell Reigstad

Illustration by: Kjell Reigstad

A conversation between veteran freelancers Eva Holland, Josh Dean, Jason Fagone, and May Jeong about pitching stories, negotiating contracts, and breaking into a tough industry.

Josh Dean: I think we’re probably all going to agree that finding ideas is the single hardest thing about this job. It’s surely the single hardest thing about any kind of writing, at least once you get some experience and have built enough of a reputation to get past the gatekeepers. I can imagine that if there were a very young and new writer in this group, he or she would say that getting attention, getting ideas looked at, is the hard part.

“The Queen of the Night,” by Alexander Chee

Illustration by Carl J. Ferrero, Design by Sarah Samudre

Illustration by Carl J. Ferrero, Design by Sarah Samudre

The first chapter from Alexander Chee’s much-anticipated second novel.

When it began, it began as an opera would begin, in a palace, at a ball, in an encounter with a stranger who, you discover, has your fate in his hands. He is perhaps a demon or a god in disguise, of­fering you a chance at either the fulfillment of a dream or a trap for the soul. A comic element—the soprano arrives in the wrong dress—and it decides her fate.

“Rebel Virgins and Desert Mothers,” by Alex Mar

Illustration by Matt Lubchansky

Illustration by Matt Lubchansky

In partnership with Atlas Obscura, we produced this story about the radical women of early Christianity.

Many of the female leaders of Christianity—in the Catholic Church in particular, with its 1.25 billion followers around the world—are barred from being fully ordained and are closely overseen by men. But this was not always the case. Scores of early Christian women—like Marcella, the desert-dwelling Susan, or the scholars Melania and Paula—embraced radical lives, helping the young religion fan out across the Roman Empire and beyond.

Each of these stories were made possible by readers like you who’ve become Longreads members to fund stories by outstanding writers and publishers. Visit Longreads to read more engaging stories hand-picked by our team.

Filed under: Reading
Go to Source

Fashion Trends for SS16

Spring is almost here and that can only mean one thing – it’s time for a round-up of all of the lovely spring/summer 2016 trends that we can expect to see this year, including the fabrics, the cuts, the brands and the accessories that everyone will be wearing this year.

Back to bed

According to Vogue (http://www.vogue.com/slideshow/13360870/best-spring-2016-runway-trends/#1) we’ll be seeing lots of nightwear as daywear this year – no, we’re not talking about onesies and dressing gowns, as cosy as that sounds, this trend is all about being sexy and seductive.

Silky satins and lace will be bang on trend in the form of light and floaty blouses cut like PJ tops, beautiful slip dresses that cling to curves and pared-back makeup to match.

It’s all very Courtney Love circa the early ’90s, and it’s a gloriously glamorous rock ‘n’ roll look that we’re sure will take the high street by storm.

That ’70s look

Last year saw button-through denim miniskirts and turtle neck sweaters come back in fashion, along with leather skirts and knee high boots.

It’s not over – this summer the ’70s look will be even more popular, with gorgeously floaty maxi dresses (http://www.vogue.com/slideshow/13360870/best-spring-2016-runway-trends/#30) making appearances on lots of the big name catwalk shows. Think romantic in a ‘summer of love’ kind of way.

It’s an amazing look to wear for a summer wedding, whether you’re a bride or a guest this summer – flowing fabrics and girly prints are the watchwords here.

Luxe sportswear

We’ve been seeing bits of ’90s trends filtering through for several seasons now, and we can safely say that sportswear is back with a vengeance (http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/news/fashion/550957/ss16-fashion-trend-report-the-best-women-s-fashion-trends-for-spring-2016.html). It’s all about brand names and stretchy fabrics; leggings are a trend that’s no longer limited to the gym and trainers have replaced ballet flats as our go-to footwear.

It’s an easy trend to wear and you don’t have to go all out to embrace it; rather than wearing head-to-toe sportswear just add a cool pair of trainers, a baseball cap or a hoodie to your wardrobe.

There are loads of other trends we’re seeing emerge at the moment and luxury is key among almost all of them; high end organic fabric and beautiful craftsmanship will always stay in style and keeping it high end will ensure that you’re always in style too!


Go to Source