Archive for the ‘Accessories’ Category

New Themes: Affinity and Shoreditch

I’m happy to introduce two new themes in our collection: Affinity and Shoreditch.

Affinity

Affinity

Affinity, designed by yours truly, is a classic one-page theme designed with weddings and family announcements in mind.

Collect everything you need for your big day on one easy-to-customize site — add an R.S.V.P. form, link to your favorite registries, or add stunning photos from the event itself. Keep your loved ones in the loop with a blog, and collect their messages and wishes for you in your guestbook.

However you use it, Affinity is an elegant solution for your wedding or family announcement.

Give Affinity a spin in the Theme Showcase!

Shoreditch

Shoreditch, designed and developed by Thomas Guillot, is a responsive, and multi-purpose theme. Packed with a Panel Page Template and a Full-Width Page Temple, Shoreditch is a perfect solution for a company’s online presence. Although its main purpose is business, Shoreditch looks great as a personal blog theme too, thanks to its flexibility and clean design.

Read more about Shoreditch in the Theme Showcase.

Filed under: Themes
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¿Habla Español? Love Helping Others? Apply to Work with Us!

Karen Arnold, Deborah Beckett, Erica Varlese, and Pam Kocke work on the Happiness Hiring team at Automattic. They hire new Happiness Engineers who support users on WordPress.com and Automattic products. In May and June, they’ll visit WordPress and WooCommerce events in Argentina, Spain, and Austria to meet local WordPress enthusiasts and encourage people to apply to work with us. Don’t be shy! Thinking about applying? We think you should.

Karen,  Deborah, Erica, and Pam will be in Argentina, Spain, and Austria in May and June to encourage Spanish-speaking people to apply to work with us at Automattic.

Karen, Deborah, Erica, and Pam will be in Argentina, Spain, and Austria in May and June to encourage Spanish-speaking people to apply to work with us at Automattic.

Where will you be and when?

We’ll be doing several events in Argentina, Spain, and Austria in May and June 2016. We’re particularly excited about visiting local WordPress communities and meetup groups and speaking at WordCamp Europe at the end of June.

If you’re in Argentina or Spain, come find us to chat at one of the events below:

Argentina (Buenos Aires, La Plata, Córdoba)
Monday, May 9th at 6:30pm

Tuesday, May 10th at 6pm

Wednesday, May 11th at 7pm

Thursday, May 12th at 6:30pm

Europe (Barcelona, Madrid, and Vienna)
Friday, June 17th

Saturday, June 18th at 11:30am

Tuesday, June 21st at 6:30pm

Friday June 24th to Sunday, June 26th

What’s the purpose of the trip?

Part of our mission to democratize publishing means making our tools and services accessible to people all over the world. While the entire Automattic family works remotely — which means we’re located all over the world — we still primarily provide support via English.

We want to help users in their first language. While there are many wonderful tools online to help with translation, nothing beats the feeling of opening a chat box for help and being greeted with someone who can help you in the language you speak every day. We’ve been able to provide localized support for our Brazilian Portuguese-speaking users, and we’d like to expand that to our Spanish-speaking users as well.

To localize support, we need Happiness Engineers that speak Spanish. Our goal with this trip is to meet and connect with the amazing, Spanish-speaking WordPress communities across the globe and, hopefully, entice a few folks to join the Automattic family.

What are you looking for in applicants?

Happiness Engineers are passionate about good support. It helps to have a working knowledge of WordPress, WooCommerce, Jetpack, and the family of Automattic products, but you can also increase your skills on the job.

We spend our days helping Automattic/WordPress.com customers who have a wide range of experience. In a single day, you can chat with someone who’s just starting their first blog to someone who’s been developing websites for a decade. Regardless of who you’re talking with, a successful Happiness Engineer is patient, has a good sense of humor, and is ready to take technical language and make it easy to understand.

We love to see applicants who already spend their time in the WordPress community or online support forums. While technical knowledge is important for success in this role, it’s the added touch of seeking out a way to provide cheerful, honest, personalized support that makes all the difference.

What’s the best way for applicants to get in touch with you?

For questions, feel free to comment on this post and we’d be glad to reply. Otherwise, you can apply for the position via the Work With Us page, following the steps listed at the bottom of the job description. See you soon!

Filed under: Community, Hiring, International
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Three WordPressers Making a Splash

We love celebrating the achievements of those who use WordPress to share their talents with the world, so here are three recent success stories we thought you’d enjoy. If you’re thirsty for more in-depth profiles of WordPressers and their accomplishments, be sure to browse through our Discover features.

Modern love, modern families

Jerry Mahoney has been documenting the ups and downs of gay parenthood for years at his blog, Mommy Man (which also inspired a book by the same name). Last month he added another accolade to an already impressive list when his essay “Mom/Not Mom/Aunt” was featured on the New York Times’ Modern Love podcast, narrated by none other than Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson:

I loved reading for the #ModernLovePodcast! nyti.ms/1WLJ2RT Thank you, @WhyJerryWhy, for the touching story. https://t.co/e9V0bvogX9


Jesse Tyler Ferguson (@jessetyler) March 24, 2016

While you’re at it, be sure to read Jerry’s recent — powerful — post, “Why I Put My Family on Display.”

Pushing a hallowed artform into the present

Harmony France is a Chicago-based theater actor who’s had enough of the body-shaming and narrow-minded casting decisions she’s been subjected to in her decade in the industry. So she took to her blog to express her frustration — and her hope for a better future for performers:

Theaters wonder how to stay relevant; how not to die off once their main audience literally dies off. This is how. We need to start casting in a way that looks like the world that we live in. Casting predominantly white and male is antiquated. It doesn’t fly anymore. If we don’t change with the times, we will become irrelevant. And worse, it’s UNCREATIVE in a CREATIVE art form. We have so many more types of stories to tell with so many more different types of people. Let’s do better.
The message of “Do Better” clearly resonated — the post went viral on Harmony’s blog as well as on the Huffington Post, and was written up around the web, from Mashable to the New York Times.

A book you’ll want to judge by its cover

If you’re like us, you may have wondered what Matthew Ramsay — the chef and food stylist behind PornBurger — has been up to. And why it’s been so long since he shared any new, extravagant, gravity-defying burger creations with the salivating masses.

Well, the answer is here:

pornburgerbook matthew walsh

Ramsay’s been hard at work on a new “cook-and-look” book, PornBurger: Hot Buns and Juicy Beefcakes, which is now available for pre-ordering (the official release date is May 17). That’s quite a bun-to-blog-to-book success story.

What achievements have you and your blog been celebrating lately? Leave a comment to let us know.

Filed under: Community, WordPress.com
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Field Notes: CMS Africa Summit 2016

Automatticians, the people who build WordPress.com, participate in events and projects around the world every day. Periodically, they report back on the exciting things they do when not in front of a computer.

Today I share my experiences meeting and getting to know some of the most active members of the open source community in East Africa during the CMS Africa Summit, held in Kampala, Uganda, earlier this month. I was joined by my colleagues Job Thomas, Konstantin Obenland, Matty Cohen, Deborah Beckett, and Gareth Allison

CMS Africa Summit, where Automattic was a title sponsor, celebrates not only WordPress but open source software in general. The two-day event featured a jam-packed agenda of workshops, breakout sessions, keynotes, and even a hackathon, all targeting the fast-growing community of developers, business owners, startup founders, and bloggers in East Africa. Speakers from around the continent (and beyond) shared their expertise on building a business based on open source software and contributing to the community, to name just two topics.

My colleagues and I offered workshops on launching an eCommerce site and using Jetpack to expand WordPress’ functionality. Job, Konstantin, and Gareth gave a joint keynote presentation on contributing to the WordPress project, while I offered tips on marketing a business both offline and online, based on my personal experiences running a successful startup for several years.

Job with fellow speaker Adedayo Ajibike and her family.
From left: Matty, Nelson Kwaje, Gareth (rear), David Wampamba, and Job.
Marjorie with an attendee.
Gareth and Job discussing open source with an attendee.
Yoza app founder Solomon Kitumba excelled as event emcee.
Grace Kokunda loves WordPress.
Matt Mullenweg made a "surprise appearance," too.
Konstantin connects with an attendee.
Lunchtime!
The registration table.
Deborah chats with an attendee about hiring at Automattic.
Konstantin and attendee David Wampamba.
From left: Oduor Jagero (CMS Africa Summit co-organizer), entrepreneur Solomon Kitumba, and Job.

It was the most fun conference I’ve ever attended. How many tech events have you ever been to that included a giant “cash box,” a tattoo competition, or, inexplicably, an enormous, glowing white orb dotted with the iconic W logo? My favorite part of the entire event was running into a young attendee in the women’s bathroom — she was applying what appeared to be a couple dozen of the temporary WordPress tattoos we’d brought along as swag giveaways. None of us were surprised when we learned that she ultimately won the competition. Clearly, the love for WordPress (and WordPress swag) runs deep here.

What we took away from the event, however, were the astounding energy, drive, talent, and intelligence that we witnessed during those remarkable two days, and the thirst we observed for open source software and what it can do to transform communities. Africa’s technology sector is booming, and we’re excited to have met many of its most passionate and inspiring pioneers.

Filed under: Community, Events
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New Themes: Rowling and Scratchpad

It’s Theme Thursday time, which means we have some more awesome themes to share.

Rowling

Originally designed by Anders NorénRowling is a clean, simple, and elegant magazine theme that’s versatile enough for you to use on just about any kind of site or blog.

The theme offers responsive design and great typography, as well as many opportunities for customization. Some of the highlights include two Custom Menu locations, a Social Menu for sharing buttons, custom accent colors, a custom site logo, and a special Gallery Post Format.

rowling-devices

Want to explore Rowling? Head over to the theme’s Showcase page!

Scratchpad

screenshot

Scratchpad is great way to add a touch of whimsy to your writing, photos, and drawings. Its bright colors and illustrative details help your posts pop, and the theme pays special attention to different post formats for visual variety. This fun theme is a perfect fit for sharing projects, recipes, stories, and more with family and friends.

scratchpad-devices

Check out Scratchpad today on the Theme Showcase!

Filed under: Themes
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New on WordPress.com: Sharing Buttons for WhatsApp, Telegram, and Skype

Our users — and your sites’ visitors — share millions of WordPress.com posts every day across social networks, and today we’re excited to announce sharing buttons for three more services: WhatsApp, Telegram, and Skype.

whatsapp-telegram-skype-icons

whatsapp-telegram-skype-buttons

Here’s how to set up the new buttons:

  1. Go to My Sites → Sharing.
  2. Select the Sharing Buttons tab, and then Edit Sharing Buttons.
  3. Select any of the three new options (in addition to our many other sharing possibilities).

Learn more here, or watch this handy video:

Now, in addition to sharing on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, you can share on some of the world’s most popular messaging apps.

We’re excited to offer these new buttons — and, as always, you can contact us in support if you have more questions.

Filed under: settings, Social, WordPress.com
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HTTPS Everywhere: Encryption for All WordPress.com Sites

Today we are excited to announce free HTTPS for all custom domains hosted on WordPress.com. This brings the security and performance of modern encryption to every blog and website we host.

Best of all, the changes are automatic — you won’t need to do a thing.

As the EFF points out as part of their Encrypt the Web initiative, strong encryption protects our users in various ways, including defending against surveillance of content and communications, cookie theft, account hijacking, and other web security flaws.

WordPress.com has supported encryption for sites using WordPress.com subdomains (like https://barry.wordpress.com/) since 2014. Our latest efforts now expand encryption to the million-plus custom domains (like automattic.com) hosted on WordPress.com.

The Let’s Encrypt project gave us an efficient and automated way to provide SSL certificates for a large number of domains. We launched the first batch of certificates in January 2016 and immediately starting working with Let’s Encrypt to make the process smoother for our massive and growing list of domains.

For you, the users, that means you’ll see secure encryption automatically deployed on every new site within minutes. We are closing the door to un-encrypted web traffic (HTTP) at every opportunity.

Web encryption provides more than security

Protocol enhancements like SPDY and HTTP/2 have narrowed the performance gap between encrypted and un-encrypted web traffic, with encrypted HTTP/2 outperforming un-encrypted HTTP/1.1 in some cases.

Google also announced HTTPS is used as a ranking signal in search results, with HTTPS-enabled sites ranked above their plaintext counterparts.

As a WordPress.com site owner, keep an eye out for this feature on your custom domains. Once your site is HTTPS-enabled, you should see a green lock icon in your browser’s address bar. All plaintext HTTP requests will be automatically redirected to their encrypted counterpart (your URL will begin with https:// instead of http://). We will transparently handle the all the complexities of SSL certificate management for you.

We take security seriously, and we’re proud to offer this to WordPress.com users. For more information about encryption, please see our support documentation.

Filed under: Features, Security
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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
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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
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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
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