Archive for the ‘Accessories’ Category

It’s Time: Apply For Early Access to Your Own .blog Domain Name

If you’ve been looking for the perfect address for your blog, it’s about to get even easier. Millions of new .blog domain names (like yourname.blog) will be available this November — and starting today, you can apply to secure your own domain name.

Just go to get.blog and apply to pre-register the domain you want. Like .com before it, .blog is clear and accessible, and it creates millions of fresh, new options for naming your blog. It’s the perfect way to personalize your home on the web.

With a domain like .blog, you can get a name that truly matches your identity. Plus, you’ll get the same Google search benefits as any other custom domain.

How to apply for your .blog name

Early applications start at $250 USD, and will be open until November 9th. It’s the best way to secure your own .blog domain ahead of the November 21st launch.

After the launch, any .blog domain that isn’t taken will be available at get.blog, starting at the standard yearly price of $30.

Meet Dave.blog, Design.blog, and more

A .blog site can be anything you want! Here are just two great examples:

  • Dave.blog: Dave.blog is the new site from pioneering software developer and writer Dave Winer, one of the founders of the blogging movement.

Get future .blog updates

If you’d like to be notified about other upcoming .blog updates, just sign up here and we’ll keep in touch!

Filed under: Domains, New Features, WordPress, WordPress.com
Go to Source

Three Ways to Showcase Instagram Photos on Your Website

Your Instagram account is a great way to share your life, products, and services online. With all that great content, why not showcase your Instagram account on your website or blog? Learn three ways WordPress.com makes it easy and discover other sites that are doing it well.

Activate the Instagram Widget

The Instagram Widget allows you to display your latest Instagram photos in your site’s sidebar, footer, or other widget areas available with your theme.

La Colombe is a chain of coffee shops in New England. Their blog, The Daily Grind, runs on WordPress.com, using the MH Magazine theme. They display their Instagram account prominently on their site using the sidebar widget area.

 

Daily Grind Blog

If you’d like to show off your latest shots like La Colombe, begin by adding the Instagram Widget to the widget area of your choice. You’ll have to grant WordPress.com access to the Instagram account from which you want to display photos. You can only display images from an Instagram account that you own or manage.

Embed an Instagram photo on a post or page

Whether you’re blogging about your new pair of flip-flops or your recent summer road trip, you can add snaps from your Instagram account to tell the story. Embedding an Instagram photo includes the likes and comments the photo is generating and encourages your readers to follow your Instagram account.

Ily Magazine is a new digital magazine founded by Erika Ramirez. It uses the Goodz Magazine theme and features essays, interviews, and poetry about love, passion, and relationships. 

Ily Cover

In an interview with Amy Forsyth, author Jessica Rovniak includes a throwback Instagram photo right in the body of the post. 

Amy Forsyth Instagram

To embed an Instagram photo in a page or post, copy the link of the Instagram photo on any public account and paste it into the WordPress.com editor. Your photo will appear along with the caption and likes.

Add an Instagram social media icon

Another way to make Instagram a part of your website is to link to your account using a Social Media Icons Widget.

Pine and Crave is a food blog by Mackenzie Schieck. She shares her recipes, home-decor ideas, and lifestyle tips with beautiful photographs and thoughtful writing using the Zuki theme. 

pine-1

Mackenzie features her Instagram account with the Instagram Widget as well as the Social Media Icons Widget in her theme’s sidebar. To help her Instagram followers find the related content on her website, she’s also created a dedicated page called Instagram Bites, where she publishes the Instagram images and links to the related posts.

Pine and Crave website

To add the Social Media Icons Widget just like Mackenzie, launch the Customizer and click on widgets. Select the widget area and the widget, then add your Instagram username in the proper field.

 

If you have an awesome Instagram account to share, try out these features on your website today!

Looking to do more with your website?

If you’re eager to make your mark on the web with a professional website or an impressive blog, consider the Personal Plan.

The Personal Plan includes:

  • A personalized domain that’s all your own.
  • No more ads on your site — just your content.
  • 3GB Storage Space for all your files.

In addition, WordPress.com Plans come with fast, friendly help from our expert Happiness Engineers: ask any question from theme help to setting up pages to adding widgets on your WordPress.com site. We’re ready to help make your site even better.

v2

Filed under: Customization, Embeds, Features, HowTo, Photos, Social, Technical, Widgets
Go to Source

Browser Notifications on WordPress.com

Today we’re launching a feature that will show instant notifications for new comments and likes — even when you are not actively using WordPress.com. Browser notifications give you a real-time sense of your readers’ reactions, allowing you to stay more engaged with your audience. Notifications will show up in Chrome or Firefox in the same location where each browser normally displays notifications. They will appear whether or not you have WordPress.com open, as long as your browser is running.

miki_chrome.png

Browser Notifications for WordPress.com as seen in Chrome

shaun_firefox.png

Browser Notifications for WordPress.com as seen in Firefox

You’re in complete control. You can enable browser notifications from the notifications page of your personal settings. If your browser supports them, you’ll see an option at the top of the page to enable browser notifications.

pn-settings

Browser notifications are supported in the latest versions of Chrome and Firefox — if your browser isn’t up to date, make sure you update to the latest version.

 

Filed under: Admin Bar, New Features, Notifications, WordPress.com
Go to Source

Field Notes: Podcast Movement 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 in the community. This week, we share our experience at the Podcast Movement 2016 conference.

People use WordPress.com to share many types of stories, from written essays and photo galleries to podcasts. Podcast Movement has quickly become the conference to attend for audio storytellers, so we were excited to be there to support the podcasting community and spread the word about podcasting tools on WordPress.com.

Live from the WordPress.com booth

Cesar Abeid, Trevor Montgomery, and Dustin Hartzler, Happiness Engineers at Automattic, attended the latest installment of this exciting event earlier this month in Chicago, Illinois. The conference, now in its third year, drew over 1,500 attendees. WordPress.com was a sponsor, so we had a great opportunity to engage with the community from our booth — and to feel the love for WordPress!

Podcast Movement 2016: A Recap

There were sessions on how to get started with podcasting, how to monetize your show, best practices for conducting interviews, and many other topics aimed to help podcasters take their shows to the next level. This year’s speakers included Alex Blumberg, former producer for This American Life and Planet Money on NPR, and Dan Miller, bestselling author of 48 Days to the Work You Love.

Hundreds of conference goers stopped by the WordPress.com booth, where we talked about using WordPress for podcasting and the different tools to publish and promote a show. We were also available to offer hands-on help with bloggers’ WordPress sites.

Podcasting on WordPress.com

While many podcasters are using self-hosted WordPress.org sites, some attendees did not know that WordPress.com also supports podcasting.

Did you know: according to Todd Cochrane from Blubrry, creators of the PowerPress podcasting plugin for self-hosted WordPress sites, there are over 200,000 active podcasts in iTunes. Since Blubrry powers over 60 thousand of them, at least 30% of all currently active podcasts are running WordPress!

WordPress.com makes it very easy to get started with podcasting. All you need to do is create a new post category, change a few settings in your dashboard, and submit your podcast to iTunes and other catalogs. Just follow these steps to launch your podcast (if you don’t have a WordPress.com site yet, get one here).

Some of the advantages of podcasting with WordPress.com:

  • Simplicity: Both your website and your media are hosted in the same place, making it easier to manage your content.
  • Security: Your podcast and site will be protected by WordPress.com against attacks and spam.
  • Backups: All content published on WordPress.com is protected and backed up so you don’t have to think about it.
  • Maintenance-Free: Your WordPress.com site is always running the latest version of WordPress, and you will never have to worry about updates.

We continue to work on tools for podcasters here at WordPress.com, and would love your input on how we can make them better.

What’s your show?

Do you have a podcast? Tell us about it and post a link to it in the comments below!

Filed under: Automattic, Community, Events, WordPress.com
Go to Source

Engineering Happiness en Español

As part of our effort to build a localized Spanish-speaking support team, the Happiness Hiring team at Automattic recently had the opportunity to connect with WordPress communities in Argentina and Spain. From speaking engagements to networking events, our trip was a great way to meet local communities that are passionate about WordPress and exemplary customer support.

Last year at Automattic, we built a localized Brazilian Portuguese-speaking support team to help provide support to a subset of the WordPress.com community in their primary language. We strongly believe in the power of an excellent customer support culture — after all, that’s why we call our support team members Happiness Engineers! Customer service isn’t just about answering questions, but making an educational experience memorable and empowering.

Over the past few months, we’ve been working to provide the same level of localized support to Spanish-speaking customers on WordPress.com. We’ve promoted the Happiness Engineer (ES) role through blog posts, Twitter, and Facebook, but we decided to reach out to local Argentine and Spanish WordPress communities in person as well.

“Connecting with Spanish-speaking WordPress communities is invaluable for both sharing our experience with customer support and letting others know what it’s like to work on our support team at Automattic.”

—Karen Arnold, a member of the Happiness Hiring team

Connecting with the Argentine Community

The WordPress community is global, spread across many cities, states, and countries. This decentralized aspect of the WordPress.org open source project plays a large part in Automattic’s philosophy of distributed work. It’s better to have the best candidate for the job, period, than the best candidate in your city.

What’s the difference between Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, and the WordPress.org project? Learn more about .com vs .org.

Karen, along with Deborah Beckett, another member of the Happiness Hiring team, connected with the WordPress community in Argentina to set up events around customer support. On their visit, they spoke with members of the WordPress Buenos Aires Meetup, WordPress Córdoba Meetup, and the new WordPress La Plata Meetup, as well as members of the local tech community through their networking event at Sugar Bar in Buenos Aires and various co-working and incubator spaces, such as Co-Innova and The Tech Pub.

El equipo detrás de @WordPressLPL @retrofox @LauraICL @karenalma Mercedes Barreda @eliorivero @ofwald @Globant ???????????? pic.twitter.com/ovce02TzsV

— Agencia Vovopad (@agencia_Vovopad) May 13, 2016

“We were excited to connect with Automatticians and ask questions about Automattic’s unique customer support philosophy and what it’s like to work remotely with so many teammates,” said Juan Francisco Aldasoro, a WordPress Buenos Aires Meetup organizer. Juan also owns a remote WordPress-related company — and understands the value of distributed work.

Automattic is a distributed company, currently with 478 Automatticians in 45 countries — and growing! Learn more about our distributed work culture.

The conversations Karen and Deborah had in Argentina were enlightening: they shared their expertise on developing a customer support philosophy, but also had the opportunity to hear real questions and challenges facing community members who are building their own projects and companies with WordPress.

Talking Shop in Barcelona and Madrid

Pam Kocke and I flew to Spain to speak with local WordPress and tech communities. We spoke to a dozen or so members of the Barcelona WooCommerce Meetup, and later to the WordPress Barcelona Meetup and WordPress Madrid Meetup.

These were helpful conversations, especially around how to build a reputation for great customer support. “[Good support] not only applies when your company has a product,” said Joan Artés, an organizer of the WordPress Barcelona Meetup. “It also applies when you own an agency.”

“Customers are also users, and they must be happy.”

—Joan Artés, WordPress Barcelona Meetup organizer

@automattic @pyjammy and @ericavarlese are teaching us about the importance of good support pic.twitter.com/yH2CMnKIg5

— MadridWordPress (@MadridWordPress) June 21, 2016

Customer support can often be seen as an afterthought, but we believe in using your interactions with users as a way of building your reputation and goodwill amongst the tech community. When speaking with community members in Barcelona and Madrid, we were impressed by how much thought and time they’d already put into providing excellent support. When an audience member in Barcelona asked for advice on how to work with customers who are deeply frustrated, we emphasized the importance of validating customer concerns — and always going above and beyond.

We had insightful conversations, both on stage and off, and chatted with quite a few people who are equally passionate about providing exceptional customer service. We look forward to building these relationships, as well as our Spanish-language support team.

Think you’ve got the WordPress chops? We’re accepting applications for the Happiness Engineer (ES) role — and many others. Apply today!

Filed under: Community, International, Localization, Support, WordPress.com
Go to Source

Blogging U. for Photography: Developing Your Eye

Lots of us like to share photography on our sites, so we’re excited to add two photography courses to the Blogging U. library!

These free 10-day courses help you sharpen your visual eye so you can create a beautiful photoblog, enhance your website with images, or just get more comfortable with your camera (or all three!). Use a big fancy DSLR, a cameraphone, or anything in between — everyone is welcome.

Developing Your Eye I

Developing Your Eye I introduces you to the fundamentals of photography. You’ll get an email each day pairing a theme to inspire your image with a related shooting tip. We may ask you to consider composition or image orientation one day, or experiment with color on another.

Developing Your Eye II

Want to keep shooting? Developing Your Eye II offers ten more days of themes and tips. Experiment with light and motion, learn to lightly edit your images, and more. We’ll build on the tips and practices from the first course, but it’s not a prerequisite — you can take this first, or as a stand-alone course.

Both courses are based on our previous Photo 101: A Photo a Day four-week course. For more info about Blogging U. and how it works, check out these FAQs.

Looking for other photography resources? Check out a roundup of four of our favorite photo-focused themes,  or explore the “Craft of Photography” category over on The Daily Post.

Get started

Start and stop these courses whenever works for you. To get started, visit the Blogging U. homepage and click the “Sign up” button next to the course you’re interested in, or visit the course pages (Developing Your Eye I | Developing Your Eye II) and click the “Sign up for this course” button. You’ll get a welcome email immediately, then your first assignment ten minutes later.

Not interested in photography? There are a range of other Blogging U. courses for you to choose from:

Enjoy!

Filed under: Better Blogging, Photos
Go to Source

New Theme: Karuna

It’s Theme Thursday, and I’m excited to present a new free theme called Karuna!

Karuna

Karuna WordPress Theme

Karuna, designed by Mel Choyce, is a clean business theme designed with health and wellness-focused sites in mind. With bright, bold colors, prominent featured images, a sleek responsive design, and support for customer testimonials, your business’ brand is sure to shine with Karuna.

Karuna, a Responsive WordPress Theme for Health and Wellness Businesses.

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

Filed under: Themes
Go to Source

Customize Your Site’s Footer Credit

Every WordPress.com site displays a footer credit — a line of text at the bottom of the page — which links to our homepage and to the theme you’re currently using. These links help your visitors set up a WordPress site of their own, and highlight the reach and scope of our community. It’s a way to show the world the pride we take in building WordPress.com, which so many of you have chosen as your home on the web.

Over the years we’ve received feedback about the footer credit, where the language didn’t always align with the goals for your website or blog. So today, we’re rolling out the ability to customize the footer credit. We wanted to give you more control over your site’s appearance while maintaining an important part of WordPress.com.

Custom Footer Credits

What’s new? As of today, all WordPress.com users can choose among several options for the footer credit, from a minimalist WordPress.com logo to new options like “A WordPress.com Website” or “Powered by WordPress.com.” If your site is on our Business plan, you now have the option to remove the footer credit altogether.

To find these options, head to My Sites → Customize and select the site you wish to change. In the Site Identity section, look for the Footer Credit option. Choose the option you would like to use — the Customizer will let you preview how each one looks on your site — and hit Save & Publish when you’re ready. Your site will be updated instantly.

We currently offer five footer options, but we’ll keep an eye on your feedback, and will consider adding other alternatives in the future. If you have a suggestion, we would love to hear it — leave a comment with your ideas. Enjoy!

Filed under: Customization, Features, Themes, WordPress.com
Go to Source

Two New Blogging U. Courses Available On Demand

Ready to dig deeper into the nuts and bolts of your WordPress.com site? We’ve got two new Blogging U. courses on demand to help you do just that.

Build a Business Site

Build a Business Site is a brand-new, ten-day course that helps you plan, build, and promote your business website. We’ll help you define your site’s raison d’être and plan content, choose the theme that fits your brand, and examine whether blogging can help boost your business. Along the way, we’ll cover specifics like pages and menus, domain mapping, widgets, using social networks to promote your site, and SEO.

Intermediate Customization

This ten-day course takes you in-depth into the free customization options available to all WordPress.com members. Find and understand your theme’s details. Delve into how headers and titles are displayed, and create a totally unique custom header. Coordinate your background, get comfortable with widgets — including custom widgets and widget visibility — and learn basic HTML for even finer control over how your content displays.

Not what you need right now? There are five other courses available as well:

Ready to start? Head to the course that interests you, and click the “Start course” button!

FAQs

What is Blogging U?

Blogging U. is a collection of self-guided courses to help you get the most out of your WordPress.com site. Courses give you a daily assignment or writing prompt, along with the technical help you need to complete the task and insider advice from both our editors and the wider blogging community; each course has a handy resource page collecting everything in one place for you to refer back to whenever you’d like. Publish new posts using the course’s tag — don’t worry, we’ll tell you how! — and you’ll be able to connect with others working through the same course for support, feedback, and friendship.

How do I start a course?

Visit the page for the course you’re interested in and click the “Start” button — that’s it! If you’re logged in to WordPress.com, you’ll receive an introductory email right away, and your first assignment a few minutes later. If you’re not logged in, we’ll prompt you to do so, and then you’re off and running.

What if I want to stop?

No problem — every email you’ll receive includes an unsubscribe link at the bottom. Click it, and the course stops.

This won’t affect any of your other WordPress.com emails, like notifications. And if you want to give the course another try, you can restart it.

How many courses can I take? Can I take them more than once?

As many as you’d like, as many times as you’d like. We recommend taking one course at a time, but you’re free to take multiple courses simultaneously.

What if I need assistance during the course?

Every assignment includes expert advice from our staff as well as links to resources and to our support folks. We also encourage you to use the tag for your course when publishing posts, and to browse that tag in the Reader to find and connect with other bloggers.

What if I don’t blog on WordPress.com?

All general assignments (publishing posts, customizing your blog, leaving comments, etc.) are applicable to any blog, anywhere. However, you’ll need to have a WordPress.com account to register for a Blogging U. course, and any specific how-to guidance we offer will be specific to WordPress.com.

How much does each course cost?

Nothing. Blogging U. courses have always been free, and still are.

Ready to register? Head to the Blogging U. home page to get started!

Filed under: Better Blogging, Customization, WordPress.com
Go to Source

Field Notes: Grow Leadership Academy 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 in the community. This week, we share our experience at the Grow Leadership Academy.

On May 24th and 26th, Hugh Lashbrooke (WP community manager), Gareth Allison (WooCommerce marketing designer), and Job Thomas (WooCommerce education lead) visited Athlone, near Cape Town, South Africa to teach a module in the Grow Leadership Academy.

The Grow Leadership Academy was initiated in 2011 by WooThemes, RLabs, Silulo, Webgrowth, and the GivenGain Foundation in Cape Town, South Africa. The Academy trains high school graduates in challenging environments to help them enter a difficult job market.

Growing the Grow Academy

In less than five years, over 550 youth have graduated. Graduates have made over 500 job applications and started close to 40 businesses.

Starting with a one-week “bootcamp” in 2011, the program currently takes place three days per week — for an entire semester! Students learn about leadership skills, entrepreneurship, design, technology, community development, project management, and social innovation. The sessions mix in-class instruction and practical work mirroring real-life situations.

Whole lot of WordPress

During the first modules, the students helped locals by setting up projects to support the community. We helped them make websites for those projects which will be showcased on the Entrepreneurship Pitch Day on July 1st, 2016, at the Vangate Youth Café. During three-hour sessions, we taught the students how to set up a business website on WordPress.com, including setting goals, making accounts, creating content, designing, and connecting to social media. Check out three of the student sites: Green Patch, Take it Outside, and Transcycle.

Though it was a lot to take in for some students who had never worked with WordPress before, they did an amazing job and made some very nice basic websites. We encouraged them to continue to play around and make their websites their own personalized online homes.

All three of us loved getting involved with this great initiative. Helping young and eager people discover the magic of building websites and publishing online is inspiring. The students’ fresh enthusiasm reminded us of the great opportunities WordPress has given us. It’s a privilege to share our knowledge with the next generation. In doing that, we can contribute to the hope Grow Leadership Academy gives youth in overcoming a challenging job market and achieving their dreams! Publishing online empowers students, allowing them to voice their world views, and even assist those in need in their local community.

Our slides of the session and the sample website we created can be found at growwp.org.

Below are some pictures taken by the in-house photographer of Grow Leadership Academy, Hendrik Louw. Thanks to Rabia AdamsonCyril Mphanga, and Nathaniel Dicks for their help! (Rabia, Cyril, and Nathaniel are all Grow Academy grads employed with RLabs. Huzzah!)

Hugh introducing WordPress.com
Student brainstorming on goal of her website
Job talking about homepage design
Student brainstorming on goal of her website
Facilitator Nathaniel helping out
Students working hard on their websites
Students working hard on their websites
Gareth teaching WordPress.com basics
Student spreading WordPress love
Facilitator Cyril assisting a student
Job helping student
Students enjoying their WordPress sunglasses
Filed under: Community, Events, International
Go to Source