Archive for the ‘Accessories’ Category

New Theme: Revelar

On this Theme Thursday, I’m happy to present a brand new free theme for your enjoyment.

Revelar

Revelar WordPress Theme

Designed by Automattic’s own Filipe Varela, Revelar is a single-column blogging theme with a fresh, modern look. Designed to showcase your gorgeous photography and complement your writing, it’s a perfect choice for photographers, travelers, and authors. With support for large featured images, multiple post formats, and footer widget areas for additional content, Revelar gives your posts plenty of room to shine.

Find out more about Revelar on the Theme Showcase!

Filed under: Themes
Go to Source

Customizing Twenty Sixteen: Four Takes on Our Annual Theme

Every year we release an annual flagship theme as a blank canvas for bloggers, artists, professionals, and business owners. This year’s creation, Twenty Sixteen, is a gorgeous theme that celebrates a classic WordPress layout yet injects it with new energy and precise, minimalist flare.

Twenty Sixteen‘s customization options allow it to support any type of site — from a traditional blog to a professional web page. Here are four sites that caught our eye.

Shakespeare Confidential

shakespeare confidential twenty sixteen
Some of you might know blogger John Kelly from his superb etymology blog, mashed radish. John has embarked on a new adventure this month. Since 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, he intends to read the Bard’s entire corpus of plays and poetry by year’s end, and chronicle the journey on his blog.

He chose Twenty Sixteen for this project, and the theme’s crisp typography and nods to print culture work perfectly with his topic — check out the neat post intro which gives readers a hint of the post’s content (see screenshot above: “In 2016, it’s not the shrew that’s the problem. It’s the taming.”), or the magazine-like pull quotes (below).

A few other well-chosen elements, like a clean serif font (Libre Baskerville) and a custom header image based on a famous Shakespeare etching, come together to create an unobtrusive but memorable look.

YINKABOKINNI

YINKABOKINNI twenty sixteen

A pop of color, a punchy tagline, strategically positioned social icons: with just a few brushstrokes, D.J. and radio presenter Yinka Bokinni has crafted a homepage full of personality.

Yinka, a UK-based music and fashion lover, hosts a morning show at London’s Rinse FM, and you sense something of that early-morning, big-city vibe in the site’s design, from the shocking pink custom background to the slender sans-serif fonts she uses (like Droid Sans Mono in the site’s title).

Yinka has opted for a static front page, but the site’s other sections — her blog and contact info, for example — along with her other social profiles are all one click away thanks to the well-placed custom menu and Social Media Icons Widget.

Lucão

lucao twenty sixteen

Even if you don’t read Portuguese, Brazilian poet Lucão’s blog is a hymn to the virtues of minimalism — in writing as well as in design.

lucao detail

Lucão — real name Lucas Brandão — has cultivated a huge audience on social media, with more than 300,000 followers on Instagram alone. His blog — where he gathers all his handwritten, aphorism-length poems — is a comfortable hub where readers can explore his deep archives (he’s been publishing here for almost a decade). The black-and-white aesthetic of the poems work especially well against the backdrop of Twenty Sixteen, whose clean lines and focus on readability let the words speak for themselves.

Three Hour Brunch Friend

three hour brunch friend

In our book, any food blog with “brunch” in its name is already ahead of the curve; Patricia, a Toronto, Canada-based food blogger went a few steps further and used Twenty Sixteen to create an inviting, bright space for her recipes.

three hour brunch friend detail

Patricia’s blog demonstrates how the theme’s out-of-the-box look, including its default font and white background, are the perfect foundation for lovely photos and fun food writing. She’s added a handful of widgets — an Image Widget to introduce herself, a Categories Widget for easy navigation, an Instagram Widget for even more eye candy — and let the theme (and a winning custom header image featuring bacon) take care of the rest. We particularly liked how her wider images overhang the text (see the screenshot to the left), one of Twenty Sixteen‘s signature touches.

Have you added your own tweaks to Twenty Sixteen? Have you seen other beautiful customizations of the theme? Let us know in the comments.

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

New Themes: Escutcheon and Orvis

Happy Theme Thursday, everyone! Today we have two new free themes for your perusal.

Escutcheon

Escutcheon WordPress Theme

Escutcheon, designed by Automattic’s own Mel Choyce, boasts a smoky color palette and bold typography. It’s a striking theme for writers who want to stand out, with a front page that gives just enough information to entice your readers. Individual posts and pages are stylish and easy to read.

Find out more about Escutcheon on the Theme Showcase, or activate it on your site.

Escutcheon Responsive WordPress Theme

Orvis

Orvis: Portfolio Page Template

Orvis, designed by Thomas Guillot, is the perfect companion for all photographers and designers. It is a minimalist, vibrant, and flexible theme, whose bold grid design keeps the spotlight on your projects, and scales to fit any screen size. Orvis also lets you share your thoughts and engage in a conversation with your visitors through the blog, which shares the same minimal look.

Orvis: Responsive Design

Check out Orvis on the Theme Showcase, or activate it on your site.

Filed under: Themes
Go to Source

“Discover” Great Features You Might Have Missed

Late in 2015, we launched Discover — a site to showcase the people who use WordPress and the amazing things they make and do. There, we publish editors’ picks from across the WordPress landscape as well as in-depth features on WordPressers making a splash in the world. Here are five thought-provoking features you might have missed.

Anne Thériault: one gutsy feminist

Image: "Fight" by seven_resist, (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Image: “Fight” by seven_resist, (CC BY-SA 2.0).

You may already know Anne from her incisive blog, The Belle Jar, where she writes candidly of her experiences as a woman and a mother. In “Too Loud, Too Outspoken, Too Feminist: Anne Thériault Writes Her Truth,” Anne talks about learning from her mistakes, protecting her family’s privacy and safety, and handling trolls. She has great advice for women bloggers who may shy away from sharing their true thoughts online.

If I had to give advice to a woman who wanted to write but thought no one would care, I would tell her that reading stuff by other women has been so incredibly validating and affirming and enlightening. Hey women! Please keep writing! And if you’re thinking about writing, please do it! You are a treasure and your thoughts are interesting and don’t let anyone tell you differently.

— Anne Thériault

Curiosity meets camera: on the passions of Cameron Karsten

Photo by Cameron Karsten.

Photo by Cameron Karsten.

Cameron Karsten is a visual storyteller. Armed with his camera and innate curiosity, he travels the world to document people, customs, and raise awareness of environmental causes. In
“Stories of the World: A Q&A with Photographer Cameron Karsten,” Cameron shares his passion for the people, places, and causes he photographs:

I look forward to photographing people when I pick up a camera. I approach a person not as a subject but as a person who has needs and wants, a history of joys and sorrows, of gains and losses. I’ve never connected with the industry’s idea of using a camera to hide behind a lens as if to separate myself from the rest of the world. People aren’t subjects to me. Inanimate objects are what I call a subject. I first try to relate to and connect with a person by just being myself. Taking the photograph comes later.

— Cameron Karsten

Lori Duron blogs through fear and finds her community

Photo courtesy of Lori Duron.

Photo courtesy of Lori Duron.

When Lori Duron started to blog about the questions, fears, and challenges of raising C.J., her gender non-conforming son, she — like many of us — had no idea what she was doing. In “Raising a Rainbow: An Interview with Author Lori Duron,” Lori talks about why she writes about her parenting journey and the overwhelming support she’s received from the world community.

I received emails from parents who were struggling with the gender identity of their child; they felt alone and helpless like I once did. I tried to help them the best that I could. I have readers in more than 190 countries. There are little gender-nonconforming boys in Ireland, the Philippines, Iran, all around the world. And, their parents need help.

— Lori Duron

An exercise in process: 365 projects across WordPress

In addition to personal profiles and interviews, Discover features roundups highlighting the things people create with WordPress. “365 Days, 52 Weeks: Bloggers on Posting Daily or Weekly in 2015” profiles a handful of bloggers who participated in a 365-day or 52-week project and posted their sketches, stories, and essays online.

I write because Writing is a box under the category Creativity under the list Happiness that I have the luxury of checking off every morning. For nearly six years, I committed to writing and posting daily because on the days I didn’t write, I felt an itch of discontentment, and sooner or later, I realized it was because I hadn’t created something.

— Yi-Ching Lin

Danny Gregory on making creativity a habit

Danny Gregory -- self portrait.

Danny Gregory — self portrait.

Ever wanted to learn to draw, but felt you lacked that special talent? Danny Gregory will be the first to tell you that anyone can learn to draw with practice. In “Making Creativity a Habit: An Interview with Danny Gregory,” the prolific author and Sketchbook Skool co-founder shares the best advice he’s received on establishing a creative habit and his advice on sticking with your drawing dream.

My advice: keep making and stop critiquing. And think about how what you are doing matters to the world in some way, how your creativity solves problems or brings joy. Get out of your head and your own concerns and see how you can make a difference with your art. It’s just a drawing, you say? Well, what if drawing something can bring you peace? Or give you an insight you can share? What if that drawing stimulates your imagination so you can solve a problem that’s been vexing your family or your coworkers? What if that drawing is a way of honoring yourself, of investing in yourself, in freeing yourself…

— Danny Gregory

Don’t miss out on inspiration — be sure to follow Discover in your Reader and check out editors’ picks and features.

Filed under: Community, Discover
Go to Source

New Theme: Toujours

Special milestones deserve special websites. This Theme Thursday, we’re introducing a fresh take on our classic wedding theme.

Toujours

toujours-news-post

Toujours — a refresh of our popular Forever theme — has a simple, elegant design that’s perfect for planning and sharing moments from your wedding. The theme includes a large slideshow, a unique layout for recent posts, and a special Guestbook template. The theme’s subtle color palette and large featured images will help your words and photographs shine.

toujours-responsive-trio

Add a map to your venue, collect RSVPs, or create a page with pictures from your wedding Instagram hashtag: with its responsive design, Toujours looks good on any screen, big or small.

Find out more about Toujours on the Theme Showcase!

Filed under: Themes
Go to Source

Three Ways to Refresh Your Website in 2016

The new year is a great time to hit refresh and set new goals. If your website looks and feels a little stale, now is the time to make a change! Here are three quick ways to freshen up your personal or business website:

Take Inventory

Is your content still accurate? Do you need to update your photos? Are the important links working? Take a step back to think about your site’s purpose and audience. Have your personal or business goals changed since you launched it? Make a list of what needs to be fixed and set a timeline to get it done. Take a look at your most popular posts to know what’s working and target those posts and pages first.

In 2012, three friends — Jeri, Erin, and Allysa — founded a full-service event and styling company, bon évé Events. After refocusing their company’s priorities and goals, they recently relaunched their website. Their rebrand includes a new name (My Simple Soirée), a logo, and WordPress.com website.

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 11.31.25 AM.png

Refocusing our business meant an extensive rebrand and rename. This can be challenging for a small business as your brand and name are your lifeline. WordPress.com made it easy to implement the changes we needed for social media first impression.

— My Simple Soirée

Evaluate your website in light of your objectives and make the most of what WordPress.com has to offer, from uploading a new site logo or custom header image to exploring our Premium and Business plans to unlock more space for media, design customization, and eCommerce integration. 

Boost Your Brand

Every website can benefit from custom branding, from hobby blogs to eCommerce websites. Create a cohesive brand experience by aligning all the elements that identify and set your website apart: domain name, website name, and logo. 

Adding a logo to your website is an achievable first step to branding your site. In your menu, click on Customize to launch your Customizer, and click on Site Title, Tagline, and Logo. Here, you can upload a new image or select one from your Media Library.

site-logo-initial-9-4-15

Click the Save & Publish button at the top right of the Customizer to activate your new logo.

In a few clicks, you can take your website to the next level with a custom logo. (And if you switch to and from any logo-supported theme, your logo will still be there!)

Textile artist Krista blogs at Looming Jane. She has a custom logo at the top of her website — a stylish cursive display of her brand and shop name. While each theme’s default fonts are carefully selected, you can transform the look of a theme by swapping out the Header Text with your own designs.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 12.59.31 PM.png

Add Fresh Content

The best way to have a vibrant and active website is to publish new content regularly. If you feel stuck, look to Automattician Andrea Badgley, who has developed a great strategy to help you meet your blogging goals this year.

In her post Publish in 10 Minutes Per Dayshe shares her secret sauce for blogging regularly. It has two ingredients: carve out 10 minutes per day and keep topics on hand.

Giving yourself meaningful topics to write about and then carving out the time to write will get you not only practicing, but will get you publishing again. It will make your blog active and will bring visitors to your site.

Andrea Badgley

Committing to a blogging schedule can be a challenge, so a New Year’s resolution is the perfect motivation to kickstart a new routine. Make your resolutions a reality by investing in your WordPress.com website.

Planning on Turning Your Website into a Lean Mean Marketing Machine?

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. Try it out for 30 days.

post_cta_v2

 

Filed under: Customization, WordPress.com
Go to Source

New Theme: Canapé

It’s the New Year, and we’re excited to kick it off with a new free theme!

Canapé

Canapé

Canapé is a bold and refined theme, designed to help you create a beautiful online presence for your restaurant. Integrated with food menus, testimonials, and the Open Table widget, it’s the perfect choice for any food-related business.

Canapé can be personalized to match your brand by adding a logo, tweaking the fonts, and choosing a color scheme from six free palettes. The Front Page Template with a full-width featured image, featured menu sections, and three widget areas gives you ample opportunity to build a unique welcome page for your visitors.

Canapé's Menu Page Template

Canapé’s Menu Page Template

Of course Canapé is responsive, so your content will retain its elegant and sophisticated look on mobile, tablet, and desktop screens.

Get to know Canapé on the Theme Showcase!

Filed under: Themes
Go to Source

The 2015 WordPress.com Year In Review!

Here’s an incredible fact: together, you published more than 660 million posts on WordPress.com in 2015, and made more than 655 million comments.

That’s a whole lot of joy, laughter, tears, insight, and thoughtfulness. And it’s just one part of a huge global community of people — WordPress now powers more than 25% of the internet — with interests ranging from the news shaping our world to personal stories that shape our own families and lives.

We talked about the serious and the mundane, the silly and the sorrowful; we talked about creativity, sports, marriage, parenthood, politics, love, romance, differences, divisions, and identity.

From all of us at Automattic to everyone in the WordPress.com community: it’s been a thrill to watch, participate in, and support your work.

Here’s a quick roundup of notable moments from 2015:


Viral Hits of 2015

I thought, if there’s one person society won’t f— with, it’s a marathon runner.

Kiran Gandhi, who ran the London Marathon while free-bleeding, in the viral post, “Sisterhood, blood and boobs at the London Marathon.”

We have all learned, either by instinct or by trial and error, how to minimize a situation that makes us uncomfortable. How to avoid angering a man or endangering ourselves. We have all, on many occasions, ignored an offensive comment. We’ve all laughed off an inappropriate come-on. We’ve all swallowed our anger when being belittled or condescended to.

—Gretchen Kelly of Drifting Through on “The Thing All Women Do That You Don’t Know About.”

There is no After – happily ever or otherwise. There is only today. Just today – During.

—Lisa Durant (Can Anybody Hear Me?) in “The After Myth,” on losing weight, and facing questions about identity along the way.

For mothers in the workplace, it’s death by a thousand cuts—and sometimes it’s other women holding the knives. I didn’t realize this—or how horrible I’d been—until five years later, when I gave birth to a daughter of my own.

—At Fortune, Katharine Zaleski writes an apology to the moms she used to work with.

Five-year olds shouldn’t straight line.

Why did this one?

Because of gun violence in the city.

—The story of “A Senseless Death,” from don of all trades.

Girls can do anything that boys do but it turns out that sometimes they get killed for it.

—In “Being a Girl: A Brief History of Personal Violence,” Anne Thériault (The Belle Jar) traces a lifetime of gendered assault, harassment, and threats starting at age six.

Curry isn’t a product of the math; he’s so good that he has his own math. Indeed, the math is so far in Curry’s favor that the Warriors — and even basketball in general — may not fully understand what they have yet.

—At FiveThirtyEight, Benjamin Morris looked for a mathematical answer to the question: just how good is Stephen Curry?


Covering World Events

Photo by Lionel Beehner

Photo by Lionel Beehner

From the tragedy of the EU refugee crisis to the community coming together to uplift each other following attacks in Paris and Beirut, WordPress.com bloggers offered unique perspectives on what happened around the world in 2015:

“Most never thought they’d be in this position.”

—From Lionel Beehner’s visit to the Zaatari refugee camp. More blogs featured in On the Run: Blogging the European Refugee Crisis.”

We don’t have to be united. We don’t have to agree. We don’t always have to “stand together,” even. That’s precisely what makes us strong, and that’s precisely what makes our way of life worth defending.

—Drew Messinger-Michaels (Everybody’s Talking at Once) on the Paris attacks. Featured in “Don’t Be Who ISIS Wants You to Be”: Bloggers on Paris and Beirut.

This is a day for celebrating equal treatment by the law, and equal recognition by the state.

—Lela Urquhart, at Tropics of Meta, on the history of marriage. Featured in the roundup “#LoveWins! LGBTQ Bloggers Make Their Voices Heard.”

 


WordPress.com Bloggers with Books

BooksSome of the most talented, creative people in the world are part of this warm, cozy WordPress.com community — here’s just a few who announced new books in 2015:

Jenny Lawson

New York Times bestselling author Lawson (also known round these parts as The Bloggess) published her second book, Furiously Happy — CBC named it one of its Best of 2015 and Entertainment Weekly called it “a strange but beautiful fusion of mental health awareness and understanding that, while serious in parts, will have you snorting into your coffee or laughing loudly on the subway.”

Patrick Wensink

The author of five books released Fake Fruit Factory this year, and NPR named it one of 2015’s best.

Rachel Roddy

Roddy (of rachel eats fame) published her book Five Quarters: Recipes and Notes from a Kitchen in Rome, and it will be released in the U.S. in 2016.

CN Lester

Lester (A Gentleman and a Scholar) will have a book out in November 2016 with Virago Press (Little, Brown), titled Trans Like Me: A Journey for All of Us.

John Scalzi

The sci-fi author (Whatever) published his latest book, The End of All Things, in August.

Jennifer K. Armstrong

In 2016 the pop culture writer will release her next book, Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything, an examination of the history and cultural impact of Jerry Seinfeld’s beloved TV series.

Alexander Chee

The author behind Koreanish is publishing his next novel, The Queen of the Night, in 2016.

Randall Munroe

The xkcd creator offered up his latest, Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words.

Kevin M. Hardcastle

The author released a new short story collection, Debris, in September.

Mary Laura Philpott

The author and illustrator published Penguins with People Problems in June.


Notable Quotes & Bloggers in the News

News

“No one tells you that you will break down and bawl and abandon your cart in the cereal aisle at Safeway because what woman, what mother, doesn’t know what her children want for breakfast.”

Teri Carter, in The New York Times, on “A Stepmother Losing Her Marbles.”

There is no joy now without a shadow of bittersweet sorrow, but I experience my feelings more fully; as if a dial has been turned and my emotions amplified — the good and the bad.

Hannah Richell, in Harper’s Bazaar Australia, on grief and losing her husband.

Let me tell you something you already know: Your housekeeper spies on you.

—Stephanie Land (stepville), in Vox, on her experience cleaning houses for rich clients.

Perhaps this is what MTV has brought us in thirty seasons of hot-tub parties and blurry night-vision footage of under-the-sheets trysts that everyone regrets in the morning—it has helped train us to see our daily lives as a continual acting out of identity in public.

—Amanda Ann Klein (judgmental observer) on “Thirty Seasons of ‘The Real World’” in The New Yorker.

Murders over money, over women: In any other neighborhood, we would call the killers youths committing crimes. In neighborhoods like Englewood and Auburn Gresham, we call them gang members, a label that has very real consequences.

—Jason Harrington (Taking Sense Away) wrote on Chi-raq and the changing nature of gun violence in Chicago for The New York Times Magazine.

“The Facts” distills the essentials of the How to Be a Girl series into a primer of sorts , the perfect starting point for newcomers who want to find someone under the age of 6 who can give them a master class in personal growth.

The Atlantic on Marlo Mack (gendermom), whose podcast was named a Best of 2015 pick, and who was featured on Longreads earlier this year.

Over the century since its creation, the Periodic Table of Elements has been studied almost as much, if not more, comprehensively than the Harry Potter universe. It is far past time that the two academic schools of thought were combined.

Lauren James, at The Toast, with “The Hogwarts Houses of the Periodic Elements: A Critical Analysis.”

“I try but I can’t think of a single aspect of having cancer, start to finish, that isn’t an act in a pantomime in which my participation is guaranteed however I believe I choose to play each scene. I have been given this role. . . . I have no choice but to perform and to be embarrassed to death.”

Jenny Diski, writer for the London Review of Books, profiled in The New York Times Magazine this year.


Our Community, IRL

StoryNightFrom the Press Publish conference in Portland and Phoenix, to the Longreads Story Night in San Francisco and New York, our community got together in person to celebrate our work, share advice, and seek inspiration from writers and editors like Christine Lee, Mary Laura Philpott, John Herrman, Ananda Leeke, and more.

#DigitalSisterhood selfie moment with fellow author/blogger Christine Lee at #PressPublish Portland Conference

A photo posted by Ananda Leeke (@anandaleeke) on Mar 28, 2015 at 11:39pm PDT

Here’s a breathtaking moment from our Longreads Story Night in New York, with The New York Times Magazine’s Nikole Hannah-Jones:


The All-New WordPress.com Goes Live

NewWordPresscomThis past year marked the 10th anniversary of WordPress.com, and we celebrated by working behind the scenes to radically improve the experience. In November, we flipped the switch on an all-new WordPress.com: faster performance, a brand new editor, desktop apps for Mac, Windows, and Linux, the Discover Editors’ Picks showcase, and so much more.

It was all part of a new open-source project we codenamed Calypso, and we are thrilled that this is just the beginning. We’ll continue to make improvements so publishing is simple, seamless and fast — on any device.


A Warm Welcome for Woo!

AutomatticWoo.jpgEcommerce continues to grow in importance for people building their own sites and businesses, and this year one of the biggest names, WooCommerce, officially joined our parent company Automattic. Together, we’re excited to do even more to make it easy for businesses (large and small) to create and manage beautiful online stores.


WordPress: Now Powering More than 25% of the Internet

25-percentWordPress.com is just one piece of a huge, open-source WordPress community, and together we hit a new milestone in November: WordPress is now powering more than 25% of all sites on the Internet.

The full history of WordPress is now documented in a new book, Milestones, released on GitHub in December.


New on WordPress in 2015

NewonWPcomA lot of notable companies and publishers created new sites on WordPress.com and WordPress in 2015. Here’s a few:

Feminist FrequencyThe Online Safety Guide

The groundbreaking site and nonprofit organization, created by Anita Sarkeesian, is now part of the WordPress.com family, and we were proud to work with her on a new project: The Online Safety Guide for protecting against online harassment.

RED.org

We worked with the global AIDS charity (RED) on their new site. The organization is aiming to help “deliver the first AIDS-free generation in over thirty years.”

Kill Screen

The videogame arts & culture magazine launched a successful Kickstarter this year to reinvent their print magazine, and we helped them reinvent their site on WordPress.

The New York Review of Books

The legendary literary publication, founded by Robert Silvers and Barbara Epstein in 1963, joined the WordPress community in December 2015.

Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings

Popova’s treasure trove of interestingness has been on WordPress for a long time, but this year she unveiled a fresh new design.

Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman

The award-winning blogger, bestselling author, Food Network TV star, and longtime WordPress publisher brought her site to WordPress.com in 2015.

Upvoted

Reddit turned its massive community into an editorially (or “Redditorially”) curated magazine on WordPress.com.


Join Us! Help Make the Web a Better Place

gm-2015-final

We had quite a growth spurt this year: 139 new people joined WordPress.com’s parent company Automattic in 2015, and all of us are dedicated to helping you express yourself, share your passions, or build your business.

We expect 2016 to be a big one, too: Come work with us!

Filed under: Admin Bar, Community, Hiring, WordPress, WordPress.com
Go to Source

New year, new blog? Start on the right foot.

Registration for January’s course is now closed – Blogging 101 will be back in February!

Thinking of starting a blog, or re-committing to an older one? Blogging’s more fun with a little help from your friends: join us in Blogging U. for Blogging 101: Zero to Hero this January, and give your blogging skills a boost.

Blogging U. courses combine expert advice with personalized help and a supportive community. Reach your own creative goals, improve your technical know-how, and make new friends!

Blogging 101 is our foundational, get-started course: three weeks of bite-size blogging assignments that take you from “Blog?” to “Blog!” January’s course runs from Monday, January 4 through Friday, January 22.

Here’s how it works:

  • Every weekday, we’ll send you one new, bite-sized assignment to help you publish a post, customize your blog, or engage with the blogging community.
  • You’ll write posts and work through the assignments on your blog, to develop and focus it.
  • When you need a helping hand, you’ll have access to a private site, The Commons. There, you can connect with other participants, share your work, and get support from WordPress.com Editors and Happiness Engineers.
  • You’ll walk away with a stronger focus for your blog, several published posts and a handful of drafts, a theme that reflects your personality, a small (but growing!) audience, a grasp of blogging etiquette — and a bunch of new friends.

Whether you’re just getting started or want to revive a dormant blog, we’ll help you build good blogging habits and blogger connections that will keep you going over the long haul. And of course, it’s completely free!

 

Filed under: Better Blogging, Community
Go to Source

What Was Your Favorite Post You Wrote in 2015?

The last few weeks of the year are the perfect time to look back and reflect on our most memorable work, so we asked a few bloggers to tell us about one blog post they put together in 2015 that they especially liked. Here are their responses.

Myfanwy, myf draws apparently

Favorite post: “How I experienced the life of a model, with Gudrun Sjoden”

stockholm-diary-p1-myfanwy-tristram

I think I’d have to say that my favorite post was my account of traveling to Stockholm in Sweden to be an unlikely fashion model; it describes a rare and treasured couple of days, and then I got to relive the pleasure all over again by drawing and sharing it on WordPress.com! The comments were so warm and appreciative that I really got the feeling I’d added just a little bit of joy to the internet.

It was a welcome affirmation that people enjoy my view of the world, even if that view comes from a middle-aged aficionado of thrift shopping. That’s one of the real pleasures of blogging: showing who you are, and finding the people that appreciate that.

Sarah E. Bond

Favorite post: “Searching for the String: Labyrinths in Classical and Medieval Art”

My favorite post is actually about labyrinths. When I was younger, my favorite movie was Labyrinth (1986). The film spoke to my already steadfast love of muppets and no doubt fostered an early appreciation for David Bowie, but it was the movie’s maze — a character in the movie in its own right — that stuck with me year after year.

screen-shot-2015-11-19-at-12-22-22-pmAfter graduating high school, I decided to become a classicist, and began to learn more about the ancient origins of the labyrinth. Although mazes and even the word labyrinth predate the myth, it is the Greek tale of Theseus and the Minotaur that gave us the famed Labyrinth of Crete (as it turns out, Jim Henson was also a fan of the myth.) In Greco-Roman antiquity, the symbol of the labyrinth became popular on coins, in mosaics, and in various literary works. Although you might think the pagan myth would die out in the transition to the early Christian period, it was again adapted for new purposes well into the Middle Ages and again in the Renaissance. The labyrinth, in its various iterations, often served as a metaphor for life in general. Whether a Greek or a medieval pilgrim, any person can relate to the feeling of being lost and searching for the string that Ariadne provided Theseus to allow him to escape.

In my own professional quest, I moved four times in the past six years: Chapel Hill, Lexington, Milwaukee, Iowa City. Along the way, I have gained and lost relationships, lamented how long it would be until I saw my family again, and wondered if there was any real purpose to this academic labyrinth. It took a lot of heartache, but I finally feel like I found the string I am supposed to follow. The reason the labyrinth has remained a malleable symbol for so long is that it speaks to humanity’s persistent questions of purpose, salvation, and creation. At the end of Labyrinth the movie, young Sarah realizes her own power to solve the puzzle and to escape the grasp of Jareth (David Bowie). She discovers that she is the heroine of her own story, and I guess I had to learn something similar. Perhaps that is why this is one of my favorite blog posts this year.

Tommy Tomlinson

Favorite post: “Our Old Dog”

FredYou always hear that you should tell people how much they mean to you before it’s too late. I’m not sure how this applies to pets, but I wanted to write something about our dog, Fred, before he got to the end. He was such a big part of our lives. After I wrote this piece I heard from readers all over the world who shared memories of the pets they loved. It was one more moment of beauty that Fred was responsible for.

Catherine Ryan Howard

Favorite post: “I’ve Been Bursting To Tell You: I Got a Book Deal!”

I remember quite clearly setting up my very first WordPress.com blog in early 2010. A few months earlier, I’d made the drastic decision to quit my awful, soul-destroying office job and use what little savings I had to go “all in” on my dream of being a published novelist. Part of my plan was to self-publish some non-fiction and use the proceeds to keep myself in coffee grounds and ink cartridges (both crucial novel-writing tools, I’ll have you know), and the blog was where I was going to publicly chronicle my self-publishing (mis?)adventures.

I had to admit why I was doing it, which meant I had to publicly declare my goal of being a published novelist. I remember thinking, What if it never happens? What if I never get to write “the” blog post? What happens if the end of this journey is a quiet fade into public failure?

littlecatThe next five years were one hell of a ride. My posts about self-publishing were a hit and they helped make my self-published books hits too. I began to speak on the subject, got a job working with a major publishing house as a social media marketer, and connected, through my blog, with fellow writers all over the world — some of whom became good friends in real life.

Then, in May of this year, I got to write the blog post I’d been dreaming of writing ever since I started my blog back in 2010, the one in which I shared the news I’d been dreaming of having all my life (as evidenced by the photo I included in it, one of me aged 7 or 8 banging away on the typewriter Santa gave me while Barbie’s Pink Magic Van sits to the side). Now I’ll be using my blog to chronicle my next adventure: my debut thriller will be published by Corvus/Atlantic in Ireland and the U.K. on May 5, 2016.

Where will your blog take you?

Sarah Kelly, Extra Dry Martini

Favorite post: “The Beach”

img_4997

Extra Dry Martini is my diary. I document my life, and in particular, the challenges inherent in navigating an uncertain future while trying to heal from tremendous loss and grief. My writing is raw and honest, but also, I believe, hopeful, and ultimately about redemption. This year has been a rollercoaster — with incredible highs and lows — so when WordPress.com asked me to pick my favorite post, it felt a bit like asking me to pick my favorite moment from the whirlwind that was 2015.

I settled on “the beach,” a piece I wrote this summer that’s essentially a love letter to the place where I grew up. It’s a place where all of my happiest childhood memories are contained, but also a place that harbors a great darkness underneath the sunshine and saltwater and sea air. I didn’t realize it at the time of publication, but the beach would also end up being the place I’d travel to a mere six weeks later to see my beloved grandfather through hospice.

In good times and bad, the beach is my constant. Writing this post made me realize just how important this place is, both in my life, and in my writing.

Anne Thériault, The Belle Jar

Favorite post: “Being a Girl: A Brief Personal History of Violence”

10385463_10154373034305215_8972420320531447358_nI chose this post because it came from such a place of personal vulnerability and yet seemed to resonate with so many people. I think that all women have stories similar to mine — a fact that’s both infuriating and a sort of unifying force. It’s so powerful to understand that our experiences of misogyny aren’t unique. They didn’t happen because of anything we did or because we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. They happened because we live in a culture that dehumanizes women. I also think my post was a sort of wake up call for a lot of men who maybe don’t realize how relentless and grinding misogyny is. I hope that’s the case, anyway. Because as much as women can push back against all the awful sexist stuff we endure day in and day out, the only people who can end the behaviors of men is men.

* * *

Explore the latest from more great bloggers at Discover!

Filed under: Community, WordPress, Writing
Go to Source