Archive for the ‘Accessories’ Category

One Theme, Five Ways: Customizing Adelle

adelle-showcaseAdelle is a popular free theme — our 47th most popular, to be exact. You’ve probably seen its familiar pink dots, bold menu bar, and pops of magenta as you catch up with your favorite blogs.

Don’t be fooled by Adelle‘s distinctive look, though: there’s a lot more to this theme than polka dots, as these five bloggers ably demonstrate.

MomJeanz

Blogger Elaine chose Adelle for the cleverly-named MomJeanz, then gave it a complete makeover using only free options available to any blogger:

momjeanz

She uploaded a custom header image and swapped out Adelle‘s dots for her own textured background. Everything else stays the same — layout, fonts, colors — but the theme becomes uniquely hers.

(If a custom header image seems beyond your technical or design chops, we’ve got a tutorial that will help you create one in less than fifteen minutes, no special software required. We’ve also got leads on great sites for background-friendly textures and patterns.)

Alligator Toe

Fashion blogger Kristi uses those same free options to tailor Alligator Toe, but ends up with a different feel; it’s simple yet colorful, crisp yet handmade:

alligator toe

She also opts for a custom header, but keeps thing clean with a design that’s text only, then trades in Adelle‘s bubbly pink circles for her own minimalist take on the polka dot. The effect is decidedly modern, and decidedly her.

Girl Lost in the City

Like Adelle‘s nifty features and integrated social sharing icons, but want something even more minimalist? Journalist Emma Gannon blogs at Girl Lost in the City, where she adds the Custom Design upgrade to Adelle — then uses it to strip the theme down:

girl lost

Emma’s take on Adelle loses more than the pink dots; thanks to some custom CSS, even the black menu bar and circles used to highlight the post date get the axe. What’s left is a clean, easy-to-navigate site with a sidebar jam-packed with useful information like links to her popular posts and other profiles and publications where readers can find her.

(Not comfortable with CSS? We’ve got you covered there, too.)

Bangers & Mash

Custom Design isn’t just for paring Adelle back. English mom and blogger Vanesther uses it to change up the colors and fonts on Bangers & Mash to give her cooking blog a homey feel:

bangers and mash

The pink dots are back, but they soften against a warm taupe background, while Adelle‘s default hot pink accents are replaced with a sophisticated teal. The menu bar and social sharing icons take on a deeper version of her background color. A custom header pulls the whole look together.

The Utter Blog

If you’re feeling ready to take your Custom Design skills to the next level, The Utter Blog is an excellent example of how much is possible — you’ve got to look hard to see Adelle‘s bones in this personality-filled wedding planning site:

utter blog

Custom Colors, Fonts, and CSS come together for a bespoke site. The social sharing icons and sidebar are there, as is the black circle highlighting the post date, but everything else is tailored. The dots fade away, the menu bar is replaced with a series of buttons designed to mesh with the wood-paneled background, and a secondary menu pops up along the top edge of the site. The site bursts with charm — perfect for a wedding blog.

You can learn more about and activate Adelle in the Theme Showcase. Once you do, explore all your customizing options in the Customizer

Filed under: Customization, Themes
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Introducing Site Logos: Personalize Your Blog, Display Your Brand

One of the most common requests we’ve received from WordPress.com users is the ability to add a logo to your site. While some premium themes have their own type of logo uploader, as soon as you switched your theme, the logo would disappear. But not any more! Today, we’re excited to announce the new Site Logo feature.

With this new feature, you just need to upload your logo once. Your logo will appear on any of our supported themes, regardless of how often you switch themes. Each theme has been custom-tailored to ensure your logo will look its best and display appropriately, whether on a mobile device or a large screen.

In addition to offering support for over a dozen themes — from our best business-styled themes like Motif and Forefront to all-time favorites like Oxygen — we’ll continue to add support for even more themes over time (as well as new ones upon release).

To get started, check out the Site Logo support page for details on adding, changing, and removing a logo to your WordPress.com site. Enjoy!

Filed under: Customization, Features

site-logo

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Longreads’ Best of WordPress, Vol. 2

Here’s the second edition of Longreads’ Best of WordPress! We’ve combed through the internet to put together a reading list of some of the best storytelling being published on WordPress. (You can find Vol. 1 here.)

As a reminder: If you read or publish a story on WordPress that’s over 1,500 words, share it with us: just tag it #longreads on Twitter, or use the longreads tag on WordPress.com.


Before You Know It Something’s Over (Riese Bernard, Autostraddle)

On grieving after the loss of a parent at a young age:

My father died on November 14th, 1995, when I was 14. Every day since the day he died I am one day farther away from him than I was before. This is the truest thing about me. It is the most important and worst thing to ever happen to me. It is me. My father died when I was 14. I will tell people this forever. It is the truest thing about me. I was 14 when he died. My father. I was 14.

Read the story

How the Other Half Works: An Adventure in the Low Status of Software Engineers (Michael O. Church)

“There was a time, perhaps 20 years gone by now, when the Valley was different.” Michael O. Church looks at the state of the software engineer — perhaps paid well, but not elevated to leadership roles even within Silicon Valley companies.

Read the story

Inside the Box (Mike Christman, The Giddy Summit)

“After learning to hover you were taught to land, then what to do when an engine failed, then to fly off your instruments in the clouds.” A marine learns to fly a helicopter and goes to combat in Afghanistan.

Read the story

Perdition Days (Esmé Weijun Wang, The Toast)

Esmé Weijun Wang writing for The Toast on her experience with psychosis:

“Let’s note that I write this while experiencing psychosis, and that much of this has been written during a strain of psychosis known as Cotard’s delusion, in which the patient believes that she is dead. What the writer’s confused state means to either of us is not beside the point, because it is the point. The point is that I am in here, somewhere: cogito ergo sum.”

Read the story

The New Science of Evolutionary Forecasting (Carl Zimmer, Quanta Magazine)

Scientists may not be able to predict what the world may look like 100 million years from now, but they may be able to look at how diseases like the flu will evolve in a few months, which has the potential to save lives:

Lässig hopes to be able to make predictions about future flu seasons that the World Health Organization could consult as they decide which strains should be included in flu vaccines. ‘It’s just a question of a few years,’ he said.

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Stand Down (John Lorinc, The Walrus)

The victims of police shootings are often people with mental illness. The city of Memphis, Tennessee, has found a solution:

Memphis, one-quarter of Toronto’s size but with a homicide rate nine times higher, has developed a progressive approach to de-escalate high-tension confrontations, improve police attitudes toward those suffering from mental illness, and divert them from the criminal justice system. The Memphis Crisis Intervention Team model centres on dispatching specially trained beat cops to emergency calls as quickly as possible, and giving them the authority to take charge of the scene. That approach triggered a revolution in policing that has now been emulated in 2,700 jurisdictions across the US, including large urban centres such as Chicago and Los Angeles. A handful of Canadian cities, among them Hamilton and Vancouver, have also adopted the CIT model. While the TPS has not, senior officials claim that all of its 5,500 uniformed officers receive some training in how to handle mental illness, which makes the recent proliferation of shootings that much more perplexing.

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Islands in the Stream (Bob Stanley, The Paris Review)

The Bee Gees were pop music geniuses whose work in 1978 “accounted for 2 percent of the entire record industry’s profits.” Yet they were still underappreciated — and also still capable of making ill-conceived creative decisions.

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One of a Kind (Seth Mnookin, The New Yorker)

Seth Mnookin reports the story of how one couple, Matt Might and Cristina Casanova, worked with researchers to diagnose their son’s disease and connect with other families whose children also had the same genetic disorder. Mnookin’s story also exposes some of the problems within the cloistered research community.

Read the story

I Am My Own Wreckage; I Am My Own Black Box (phonaesthetica)

A personal story about dealing with the feelings of loss that come with unexpected fertility problems.

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The Heart You Save Won’t Be Your Own (Anya Groner, Guernica)

A young social worker fights Medicare to cover a homeless teenage boy’s medication, forfeiting her own idealism in the process:

The year I worked at Hudson Outreach, we found mistakes in over half the Social Service denials we saw. Of the cases we argued, we overturned a third. People who had previously been denied heating assistance or rent got much needed checks from the state. Another third of our clients received grants from us. The final third received nothing, not from us and not from Social Services. Often they became homeless.

“You mean to tell me,” I said to Mrs. Stafford, “that the caseworkers at Medicaid are making your son wait for the medicine he needs to survive?”

Read the story

Filed under: Reading, Tags, WordPress, Writing
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Just Pressed: New Books by Authors on WordPress.com

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 4.12.45 PMGabrielle Bell, a cartoonist based in Brooklyn, New York, has published a new book, Truth Is Fragmentary: Travelogues & DiariesRaw, revealing, and sometimes surreal, this comic diary serves up what Gabrielle is known for — her humor and introspection — as she muses on daily life and chronicles her travels around the world, from France to Sweden to Colombia.

Gabrielle is a WordPress.com blogger to watch: in the past, her work has been selected for numerous notable anthologies (such as the Best American Comics series) and her last book, The Voyeurs, was named a best graphic memoir of 2012.

In addition to Truth is Fragmentary, check out her multi-part series, Siberiaand other cool projects — from panels to posters — on her blog.

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 4.25.53 PM

* * *

Marilyn R. Gardner, the blogger at Communicating Across Boundaries, also has a new book released this month: a collection of essays, based on her blog posts, titled Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging.

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 4.47.35 PMMarilyn started her blog in 2011 after returning from a relief trip to Pakistan — with the hope of finding her voice.

Three years later, Marilyn has grown her blog into a space for thoughtful writing on cross-cultural communication, faith, third culture kids, travel, and the Middle East.

Between Worlds, which weaves these themes into one compilation, is tangible proof that Marilyn indeed found the voice she had been looking for.

Are you an author on WordPress.com? Have you recently published a book? Leave a comment and let us know.

If you’re interested in previous book releases from WordPress.com authors, check out our May and April 2014 editions. For a glimpse of how authors use their blogs to promote their books, take a look at this post on author websites.

Filed under: Community, WordPress.com, Writing
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Heading to BlogHer ’14 next week? So are we!

BlogHer 2014, the 10th anniversary celebration of the popular women’s blogging network, kicks off next Thursday, July 24th in San Jose, California. There’s still time to register, and we hope you do — we’ll be there, too!

This year, along with a Happiness Bar offering in-person support for your WordPress sites, we’re hosting a series of short workshops on the topics you care about most. We’re also excited to welcome some of the amazing WordPress bloggers nominated as BlogHer Voices of The Year — they’ll join us for a series of informal panels where we can chat all things blogs and blogging.

Interested? Here’s the schedule:

Friday, July 25

  • 10 AM: Talking Shop with BlogHer Voices of the Year
  • 11 AM: WordPress.com or Self Hosted: Which One is Right for You?
  • 12:30 PM: Own Your Content: Tips for Switching Blog Platforms
  • 1:30 PM: Talking Shop with BlogHer Voices of the Year
  • 2:30 PM: Getting Great WordPress Support
  • 3:30 PM: Master Your Domain

Saturday, July 26

  • 10:30 AM: Own Your Content: Tips for Switching Blog Platforms
  • 12:00 PM: Plugins: Taking Your WordPress Blog to the Next Level
  • 1:30 PM: Fight for Your (Copy)Right: Intellectual Property Basics
  • 2:30 PM: Get Social: Your Content, Your Networks
  • 3:30 PM: Talking Shop with BlogHer Voices of the Year

The WordPress booth will have everyone from editors to developers to Happiness Engineers to VIP managers there to talk about every aspect of the blogging (and Automattic) experience.  BlogHer ’14 is jam-packed with inspiring and educational programming, but we hope you’ll find a few minute to swing by — we’d love to say “hi!”

If you’re not able to be there but want to follow the fun on Twitter, follow #BlogHer14. We’ll also be tweeting with the #WPlovesBlogHer hashtag.

BH14_10th_Fundentity_v3

Filed under: Community, Events
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Attention, Writers: The Next Blogging U. Challenge Is Here

Last month, more than 4,000 bloggers joined us for Writing 101: Building a Blogging Habit, where they challenged themselves to carve out time to write regularly, and to experiment with new forms and styles. The result? Thousands of posts, comments, and follows, and countless new friendships.

We’re excited to announce Blogging U.’s next offering, which begins next Monday, July 21st. Writing 201: Finding Your Story will invite participants to take their craft to the next level by focusing on more advanced storytelling and self-editing tools, from finding the right angle from which to narrate your story, to coming up with strong opening sentences.

Good writing is essentially rewriting.

— Roald Dahl

Writing 201 is a self-directed course on the art of revision: four weeks dedicated to self-editing and rewriting, looking at our work with a magnifying glass, and improving it. If you have existing posts that you’d like to work on, expand, or refocus, whether as a result of Writing 101 or not, this course will be ideal for you.

The nitty gritty

Over four weeks, we’ll present four different workshops, each published on a Monday. You’re free to read each workshop at your own pace — absorb it all in one day, or tackle parts of it throughout the week.

There is no assignment or posting requirement at the end of each workshop, but we’ll offer a series of questions and discussions to reflect on every week. In your own time, you’ll experiment with these techniques in the specific pieces you’re working on. You’ll decide how much time and effort you’d like to spend each day.

Just like in Writing 101, you’ll be invited to join the Commons, a private forum for conversation, support, and feedback. Given the emphasis on editing, the Commons is a key component of this course: it will be the space to workshop your material. Workshopping is all about collaborative brainstorming: you’ll offer specific, constructive feedback to others, and they’ll do the same for you.

If you’re a self-motivated blogger and think your writing can benefit from intensive feedback and greater focus, then Writing 201 might just be the perfect next step for your blog and for your craft. You’ll find the signup form (and more details) here.

Filed under: Better Blogging, Community, Writing
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Street Art: Around the World in Eight Photos

Whenever I get the chance to travel, I always photograph local street art. The topics, colors, and scenes help me absorb the feel and atmosphere that makes each destination truly unique. Join me for a tour of some amazing street art from around the world, right from the comfort of your armchair.

Welcome to Berlin, Germany, our first stop on the tour, where we find Christine Estima‘s photo of street art by ElBocho. I love the bold lines and striking expressions:

#ElBocho Berlin Baby Photo by Christine Estima

#ElBocho Berlin Baby (Photo by Christine Estima)

And now, over to Cardiff, Wales, for something slightly more muted. DIFF GRAFF did a great job capturing Rmer‘s portrait of Marlon Brando as the Godfather. It’s quite striking, wouldn’t you agree?

Marlon Brando by the artist Rmer Photo by DIFF GRAFF

Marlon Brando by the artist Rmer (Photo by DIFF GRAFF)

Heading to Dunedin, New Zealand, we stop off at Dunedin Wears the Pants. The site, run by Caitlin and Helen Owen, celebrates Dunedin’s vibrant creativity. Continuing with our more muted palette is an incredible, perspective-boggling piece by Daniel Mead:

Baldwin Street Art by Daniel Mead (Photo by Caitlin and Helen Owen)

Baldwin Street Art by Daniel Mead (Photo by Caitlin and Helen Owen)

Hop over to the Xochimilco borough of Mexico City, Mexico, and feast your eyes on the vibrant colors of American expat Shannon‘s photo essay, “Who are the people in your neighborhood?” on her blog, Casita Colibrí:

From the photo essay, Who are the people in your neighborhood? by Casita Colibrí.

From the photo essay, Who are the people in your neighborhood? (Photo by Shannon)

In search of more brilliant colors, we stop in San Francisco at Stan Santos‘ blog Simple Kitchen Seasons. Here’s a sample from a recent series of photo essays by Stan featuring sights on the streets of San Francisco. The brilliant blues are stunning in this piece:

Photo by Stan Santos

Photo by Stan Santos

For a more minimalist feel, check out this photo essay by Jan Kalserud taken on the streets of Taipei, Taiwan. For more incredible street art, check out Graffiti Taiwan, a blog by Jan Kalserud and David Jiang dedicated to documenting street art and graffiti in Taiwan’s public places.

Photo by Jan Kalserud

Photo by Jan Kalserud

Spinning the globe, let’s stop at Rotterdam Street Decorations, a blog dedicated to sharing the ingenious creations found on the streets of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Here’s some political commentary in bold purple:

Lastplak @ Noorderkanaalweg VI (Photo by Rotterdam Street Decorations)

Lastplak @ Noorderkanaalweg VI (Photo by Rotterdam Street Decorations)

Our final stop on the street art armchair tour brings us to Reyjavik, Iceland, for some words of wisdom, courtesy of Dawid, the blogger behind Adnotator. Be sure to check out his colorful photo essay in full.

Photo by Dawid

Photo by Dawid

If you’re sad the tour has come to an end, be sure to explore the street art tag in your Reader.

What are your favorite pieces of local street art? Please share links to your work in the comments!

Filed under: Community, Photos
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New Themes: Adaption and Isola

This week we’ve got two great free themes designed here at Automattic. How cool is that?

Adaption

Adaption
Adaption is a brand new free theme, designed by yours truly. This theme is flexible and adjusts itself for every aspect of your site — your content, your design, and the device you’re using. The focus is on your content, with full-width images and simple, supportive design elements, and the layout adapts with an optional third column that appears if you add widgets. Adaption truly adapts to make sure your readers get the best possible experience.

Isola

IsolaIsola gives you a fresh, clean slate to showcase your writing, photographs, or videos. Its primary menu and widget area are tucked behind a handy button, giving your content plenty of room to breathe and keeping it beautiful regardless of the device or screen size. Designed by Automattic’s own Joen Asmussen, Isola was inspired by a “less is more” philosophy and was influenced by mobile design patterns.


Both Adaption and Isola are free. Check out each theme’s showcase by clicking on its screenshot above, or preview it on your blog from Appearance → Themes.

Filed under: Themes
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Early Theme Adopters: Worldview, Collective, and Alto

At the end of April, we announced three new premium themes, Worldview, Collective, and Alto. As with every theme we add, the real fun happens when you get your hands on them — here are interpretations we’ve loving of each of the three.

Kate goes Global

Was global nomad Kate swayed by Worldview‘s name when she chose it as the theme for her travel blog? Whether she was or not, she uses the theme to lovely effect on Kate goes Global.

worldview comparison

We particularly like how she uses custom image widgets on her home page (above, right) to echo the circular Gravatar that’s part of the theme’s default look. Then, on single posts, she takes advantage of the theme’s full-size images to show off her travel photography.

kate single

 

Versu

Collective was designed with teams in mind, as a bold way to help organizations highlight their members. Game startup Versu looked at it; saw the easy navigation, expansive area to highlight images, and flexible layout; and knew they’d found the home page for their new gaming platform:

collective comparison

Below the splashy graphic, they use the page to tell visitors a little more about Versu and highlight some of the great press their project has already received. And since the main menu remains on-screen even when readers scroll down the page, it’s simple for visitors to explore their site.

versu two

 

Breach of Close

Alto is stripped-down, crisp, and puts all the focus on your content, whether that means words, images, videos, or any combination thereof. The popular WordPress.com blogger behind Breach of Close uses it to help readers focus on his thoughtful, long-form musings.

alto comparisonA single, well-chosen image at the top of each post provides visual interest and is a simple but effective way to create breathing space between his longer posts. Rather than layering the post title and category over the image, as in the theme demo, he keeps things minimal and lets the image and title stand on their own.

Ready to try something new? Learn more about AltoCollective, and Worldview in the Theme Showcase. If free themes are more your speed, take a look at our archive of Early Theme Adopters posts for plenty of  no-cost inspiration.

Filed under: Customization, Themes
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Field Notes: European Beer Bloggers Conference

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. This week, editor Ben Huberman shares his experience from the annual European Beer Bloggers Conference, an annual gathering of brewers, beer lovers, and bloggers who are one or the other (or both).

One of the best aspects of my work is that I get to interact with bloggers on a daily basis, whether it’s in an email to a Freshly Pressed blogger, the comments section at The Daily Post, or the Blogging U. Commons. Still, meeting WordPress users in real life is a particular pleasure. It’s a real privilege to see the faces and hear the stories of the people who bring our software to life.

This year’s European Beer Bloggers Conference was held in pint-obsessed Dublin, Ireland. The jovial atmosphere on the streets was alive and well in the conference as well, from the craft brewers who were excited to offer a taste of their ales and stouts, to the staff of the beautiful venue — a converted church that once hosted the wedding of Arthur Guinness (founder of guess-which-beer-dynasty).

The conference brought together a diverse, multinational crowd, from Polish beer guru Tomasz Kopyra to Irish craft-beer documentarian Sean Monaghan, with many other representatives from Belgium, England, Austria, and other countries (and even one Floridian — Carol Dekkers, aka the blogger behind MicroBrews USA).

We often say that blogging is all about community. It was wonderful to see how what might sound like a platitude is, in fact, true.

Over the course of the two-day event, I constantly saw bloggers helping each other out, sharing tips, promoting each other’s posts on social media, and, above all, simply enjoying the camaraderie of their far-flung beer buddies. It was just as impressive to see the collective power and influence wielded by citizen bloggers, who drew the attention of big industry names like Fergal Murray, Master Brewer at Guinness, and Vaclav Berka, Pilsner-Urquell’s Brewmaster.

Fellow Automattician Derek Springer, a home brewer and beer expert (who also happens to be a Code Wrangler), attended as well, and was very much in his element. Derek gave an excellent, full-bodied talk about the ways in which bloggers can maximize the impact and reach of their stories.

And such great stories they are — over the course of the conference, I chatted with numerous bloggers who are using their sites to tell theirs. People like beer historian Martin Cornell, who wrote an extensive history of British beer, or Belgium-based Breandan Kearney, who runs a beer-and-chocolate blog with his wife, Elisa (he covers beer, she’s on the chocolate beat).

Thirsty for more beer-blogging goodness? Try Liverpudlian author Chris Routledge’s site, or Irish blogger Simon Broderick.

beerbloggers2

If you’ve been blogging for a while and yearn for face-to-face interaction with like-minded writers, a blogging conference, whether general interest or niche, might be just what you’re looking for. Even if you don’t yet know any of the attendees, you’re bound to make new friends (and follow a bunch of new blogs) in no time. (For a crash course on blogging conferences, check out our handy guide).

In case a beer bloggers conference sounds like the Best Thing Ever but you were nowhere near Dublin last week, you’re in luck. The people behind this event in Dublin are also organizing the American edition of this conference in San Diego, California, in August, and WordPress.com will be there as well. If you make it, be sure to stop by our table for some beer talk, blog talk, and swag.

Sláinte mhaith!

Filed under: Community, Events, WordPress.com, Wrapup
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