Archive for the ‘Accessories’ Category

Join Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5k 2016

The Worldwide WordPress 5k (#WWWP5k) is back and better than ever!

Any time between Monday, September 19th to Sunday, September 25th, lace up your running/walking/hiking/hopping shoes and join us for the 5k blogged about around the world!

Automatticians are planning to hit the trail on September 19th during our company meetup in Whistler, Canada. This year, we will also be making a donation to Soles4Souls, a charity dedicated to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of shoes and clothing.

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Automatticians laced up and ready to go! Photo by Naoko Takano.

What is a 5k?

A 5k run/walk is approximately 3.1 miles long. That is roughly equal to:

  • Twelve laps around a track.
  • Approximately 6,000-7,500 steps.
  • Approximately 50-60 minutes of brisk walking.

How do I participate?

You can run, walk, or skip — it’s totally up to you. There’s no time limit and there’s just one requirement: that you participate! You can do it at a gym or outdoors, on a treadmill or on a track, or even swim or bike instead of running/walking — just get moving!

Post about your participation on your site and tag the post “wwwp5k” so that other runners around the world can find you and read about your experience. If you’re not on WordPress.com, link back to this announcement post so others might join in and participate, too.

You’re welcome to blog about your entire route and preparation (a video or gallery, perhaps?), but above all we’d love to see where you are and how you’re completing your 5k.

When can I run?

We’re all busy, but we want you to participate, so we’re giving you lots of flexibility. You can complete the WWWP5k any time between Monday, September 19th and Sunday, September 25th.

Who’s invited?

Anyone who’s ever used or loved WordPress (and your families and friends, too). Heck, the entire internet is invited!

Will you be joining us for the Worldwide WP 5k? Let us know in the comments!

Filed under: Community, Events
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Field Notes: Junior Innovation Camp

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

Today I’d like to share some experiences we had during the Junior Innovator Camp that was part of the Wonder Women Tech conference earlier this summer. I was joined by my colleagues Marjorie Asturias (who also spoke), Sarah Blackstock, Erica Varlese, and Anne McCarthy.

Wonder Women Tech, where Automattic was a sponsor, is a conference that highlights women in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math), and provides a forum for discussing important topics around diversity. The two-day event drew over 150 speakers, all of whom were successful entrepreneurs or business leaders, who shared their triumphs, failings, and learned lessons. The conference offered educational opportunities to a number of area students who were attending on scholarships.

My colleagues and I presented a half-day workshop on “WordPress for the Beginning Entrepreneur” as part of the Junior Innovator Camp aimed at young adults aged 13-17. First up we taught the students how to create websites using WordPress.com, including how to customize the look and feel of a site. After that we walked them through a hands-on branding exercise that explored how to come up with a product or service, how to make your business unique, and what types of people your business would appeal to. We rounded the whole thing out with a crash course in marketing before the students shared their businesses with us.

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Twenty-one students (and their parents) attended this event. Students worked in groups for the workshop, but I was pleased to see the adults following along on their own as well. It’s never a bad day when you can share your knowledge with someone, and this day was no different. Our students were wonderful and enthusiastic. We ended up with a lot of great business ideas and even a few opportunities to talk about future career paths for these young innovators.

I’m grateful to the organizers of Wonder Women Tech who gathered and encouraged such a wonderful group of students. I left feeling reminded of all the ways that technology allows us to be creative, share our unique experiences, and build a future we can all be proud of. Wanting to be part of something big? We’re always hiring!

Filed under: Community, Events
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Introducing Content Options: An Easy New Way to Make Visual Changes to Your Site

We’re excited to announce a newly launched Customizer panel called Content Options.

The Content Options section gives you an easy way to make small visual modifications across your site—like hiding the post date or displaying an excerpt instead of a full post, with no custom CSS needed!

There are three main features for now:

  • Blog Display: choose between displaying the full content of each post or an excerpt on the blog and category, tag, and date archive pages. A “default” option is also available for themes that mix excerpts and full posts based on post format.
  • Author Bio: Hide the author bio on single posts.
  • Post Details: Show or hide the post date, tags, or categories.

You can see Content Options in action in this video:

Check out the full support documentation to learn more about how these new theme options work.

Not all the themes support all these features, but all new free themes will fully support Content Options.

Here’s an extended list of themes that either fully or partially support Content Options:

We also plan to add support for modifying other elements in the future, including the ability to hide featured images and author names. If you have more ideas, we’d love to hear from you!

Filed under: Customization
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Introducing: Data for Breakfast!

 

The Data Team at Automattic is pleased to announce a new blog for everyone who loves data! Data for Breakfast will feature posts about our data stack, trends in WordPress.com usage, and whatever currently tickles our data fancy. We’re data scientists and engineers with a passion for our craft, and we’re starting this blog to share that passion with you!

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In addition to blogging about data-powered WordPress.com features, like search and post recommendations, we’ll share insights we’ve learned from our robust social network.

Over 26% of the web is powered by WordPress! On an average day, the sites on WordPress.com alone stream about 1.5 billion events, and our largest Hadoop cluster does around 32TB of reads and writes. Our largest Elasticsearch cluster has 45 nodes and handles about 35 million queries on a daily basis. We’re continuously developing this data ecosystem, and we’ll share the journey with you.

Why the toaster?

The toaster was originally created by our team’s designer Jan Cavan Boulas as an exercise to illustrate her design process. When the team reacted so positively, she quickly iterated, adding the bimodal slice of toast. With the comment, “Data: it’s not a normal breakfast,” our logo was born!

So, if you like data, please join us for breakfast!

You can find Data for Breakfast at data.blog. Interested in your own custom .blog domain? Apply for early access now!

 

Filed under: Automattic, Stats, WordPress.com
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Level Up with Blogging U.

Thousands of bloggers have used Blogging U’s step-by-step email courses to get started, grow as writers, create beautiful websites, learn the ins and outs of WordPress.com, push their photography skills, and more.

There are ten different courses currently available, for folks of all interests and skill levels. Click any course’s title to learn more about it and to get started!

  • Blogging: Learning the Fundamentals — a solid grounding in the three big components of blogging: publishing, customizing your blog, and engaging with the blogging community.
  • Blogging: Branding and Growth — audit your brand, analyze your stats, explore social networks, learn about SEO, and more in this intermediate course.
  • Blogging: Intermediate Customization — go in-depth into the customization options available on all WordPress.com sites. Learn to work with themes, custom headers, background and fonts, widgets, and basic HTML.
  • Writing: Intro to Poetry — find your inner Dickinson with daily poetry prompts, and sharpen your verse by learning some basic poetic forms and devices.
  • Writing: Shaping Your Story — an intermediate course on the art of revision: four weeks of self-editing and rewriting. Dig into the process of focusing and building a story, whether fiction or nonfiction.
  • Photography: Developing Your Eye I — a fun introduction to the fundamentals of photography, with 10 daily themes and shooting tips. Use any camera you like: the lens on your phone, a point-and-shoot, or a dSLR.
  • Websites: Build a Business Site — create a website to help you meet your business goals. Publish pages and add site navigation, look at themes and customization, understand custom domains and SEO, and more.

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  and you’ll be able to connect with others working through the same course for support, feedback, and friendship.

Click on any course title for more detail on what it covers and to begin immediately (click the “Start” button on the course’s page to enroll) or read on to learn more about how Blogging U. works.

FAQs

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 you’re off and running. Do each assignment as you’re able, and interpret them however makes sense for you and your site.

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 register again.

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 — blogging is fun, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be overwhelming! — 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 more resources and to our customer support folks, called Happiness Engineers.

How do I connect with other bloggers during my course?

Reaching out to other bloggers helps participants get the most out of Blogging U. courses. We encourage you to use the tag for your course when publishing posts (e.g., #bloggingfundamentals) and to browse that tag in the Reader to find and connect with other bloggers. If you don’t know what tag to use or browse, don’t worry — when you begin a course, we’ll tell you.

We also have a weekly Community Pool discussion thread where anyone can seek or give feedback on any aspect of blogging. A new thread opens every Monday. And each Friday, new bloggers are invited to share their first posts with the community in our First Friday thread.

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, Community, Customization, Writing
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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
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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. 

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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.

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Filed under: Customization, Embeds, Features, HowTo, Photos, Social, Technical, Widgets
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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.

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Browser Notifications for WordPress.com as seen in Chrome

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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.

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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
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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
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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
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