Archive for the ‘Accessories’ Category
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.
Last week, Happiness Engineers Marjorie R. Asturias and Andrea Badgley attended the fifth annual Wine Tourism Conference in Loudoun County, Virginia. The event brings together leaders in the wine industry — from tour operators to wine bloggers — to talk about wine tourism and digital marketing (and to share a glass or two). Here’s Andrea’s account of her experience at the conference.
Vintners and tour operators from Canada, the UK, and Portugal flew into Virginia last week to connect and talk about how to reach out to wine enthusiasts and welcome them to the growers’ tasting rooms.
Tourism data or emerging markets aside, these folks are passionate about wine. They’d be crafting, drinking, and talking about it even if wine tourism weren’t a growing industry.
You know you’re in the right place when at 9 o’clock in the morning, you’re talking about wine.
— Beth Erickson, president of Visit Loudoun
Marjorie and I enjoyed meeting and connecting at a one-on-one level with the 175 conference attendees to hear their personal stories. Most proprietors we met operate small, intimate wineries, where they do all of the work, from growing the grapes to bottling the wine. The couple who owns the La Finquita winery cultivate and harvest their grapes themselves, and they even custom etch their wine bottles. Similarly, tour operators execute every aspect of their business, from booking the tours to balancing the books, and from managing the website to driving the bus. They do this work because they are passionate about it.
This passion is perfect for blogging. Everything has a story in wine tourism: the architecture of the tasting room, the land, the family, the wine. These are small businesses that feed naturally into the Go Local movement, in which customers want to meet the people who are growing and making local food and wine.
Wine tour guides and emerging wineries are small businesses. They have minimal advertising budgets, but they have fascinating stories to tell. Websites, blogs, and social networking are powerful, inexpensive tools for connecting with their customers and getting the word out about the wine and land they love so much.
Vintners poured wine and shared their stories and passion with us, and Marjorie and I were thrilled to return the favor. We talked about blogging as a guerrilla marketing tool, stressed the importance of having a website and an online presence, and even helped a local wine concierge, Vino 301, ensure her site is mobile ready. In addition, Marjorie presented a much-appreciated session on Designing Websites for 2016 and beyond, and I succumbed to the beauty of the region, taking notes for when my husband and I one day get away to explore the wineries of Virginia.
What if WordPress.com helped you…
… update your pages and respond to comments from a desktop app?
… manage all your WordPress blogs and sites in one spot, on any device?
… spend less time on administration and uploading and more time creating?
… find the best content people publish with WordPress every day?
What if we rebuilt WordPress.com from the ground up to make it all possible?
Welcome to the new WordPress.com. We can’t wait to see what you create.
Your home on the web has a home in your dock
The WordPress.com for Mac app is the next step in a suite of improvements that help you realize your vision on the web — and it’s an app you already know how to use. Look familiar?
Use the desktop app to focus on your content and design with no other browser tabs to distract you — or to keep your sites sidelined but accessible. Build your site anywhere, in whatever way helps you get your best work done: the app is powered by the same technology that runs WordPress.com, creating a seamless experience for publishing and browsing whether you’re in a browser, a mobile app, or the desktop app.
And all of WordPress.com, app included, is built with new technologies that are faster and smoother. Use the time you save uploading photos or configuring menus to focus on your magnum opus instead. WordPress.com should be nimble enough to keep up with you, today, tomorrow, and ten years from now — and now it is.
(Windows and Linux users, we haven’t forgotten you! Visit the download page and sign up to be notified when your apps are available.)
Publishing tools for anyone — and everyone
This isn’t just for WordPress.com. The Jetpack plugin now gives your self-hosted sites access to the new WordPress.com publishing and site-building tools and the app, along with a host of features to speed up, secure, and simplify site administration like automatic backups and plugin auto-updating.
And because everyone should have access to publishing tools for building a more beautiful web, we open-sourced the entire codebase on GitHub — anyone can see, copy, and work with the code that now powers WordPress.com.
The cream of the (one-quarter of the web) crop
The web is about both creation and discovery, and your tools should help with both. Say hello to Discover: a new way to hone in on the good stuff and celebrate the beautiful things published with WordPress. You’ll find it right in your Reader, both online and in the app.
Browse recommended posts and sites. Dive into blogger interviews. Find original work from your favorite new writers. It’s all lovingly curated and edited by the WordPress.com Editorial team to shine a spotlight on some of the greatest writing, photography, and art published across WordPress, including self-hosted WordPress sites.
Since WordPress now powers over 25% of the web, it’s a one-stop shop for the best voices out there — yours.
What will you build with WordPress?
Every day, we watch you push the boundaries of WordPress.com. With the new WordPress.com, you can spend less time dealing with the mechanics of your site, and more time telling your stories. Sharing your photos. Building your businesses. Finding your fans. And isn’t that the point?
Want more? Take a guided tour of the new WordPress.com:
Telling stories has power; they connect us, help us work through the raw emotion, and give us a way to make sense of events. After last week’s devastating violence in Paris and Beirut, these nine bloggers shared theirs, helping us do just that. Reading their posts may not be easy — but it is important.
Cultive le Web, “Attentats à Paris, j’étais rue de Charonne“
A writer from Cultive le Web was out for an evening with friends Friday night when shooting began on the rue de Charonne. The staccato phrasing of this play-by-play post captures brings readers some tiny measure of the fear, panic, and disbelief. It’s an unvarnished outpouring we wish he had no occasion to write, but are glad he did.
9:45 p.m. Noise, screams. A fight? A rowdy crowd there at the bar? They must be drunk, like on any Friday night in Paris, right? I come closer. A group of people has formed on the other side of the sidewalk. “Kalashnikov shots.” “Casualties.” “Dozens of casualties.” “Broken glass, everywhere.” There’s a gush of details — who to believe? What to make out of this? What are they talking about? A shoot-out? Settling scores like in Marseille? But thinking about it, why not a terrorist attack? I ask, naively. “Obviously it’s a terrorist attack!” answer the patrons who’d fled running, all at once.*
*Translated from the French by WordPress.com editor Ben Huberman.
The Seventy Fifth, “Sense and Senselessness“
Patrick lives in Paris’ 11e arrondissement, a short walk from Le Bataclan. Waking up the morning after Friday’s attacks, he looks for patterns in the violence that might give him hints for staying safe — but finds none.
It makes sense, sadly, that an attack may occur at or near a French football match – the President was there, after all. We can avoid large displays of nationalism, sports, culture or otherwise. But must we also avoid all American rock bands? Was it something about the name Eagles of Death Metal? Do we stay inside on Friday the 13th? Never patronise Cambodian restaurants? How long is a piece of string?
Hummus for Thought, “Beirut, Paris“
Paris isn’t the only city in mourning; bombings in Beirut last week left over 40 people dead. Lebanese blogger Joey reflects on the lack of global attention on Lebanon, with sense of resignation tempered by the hope that we can do better.
‘We’ don’t get a safe button on Facebook. ‘We’ don’t get late night statements from the most powerful men and women alive and millions of online users.
‘We’ don’t change policies which will affect the lives of countless innocent refugees.
This could not be clearer.
I say this with no resentment whatsoever, just sadness.
A Separate State of Mind, “From Beirut, This is Paris“
On A Separate State of Mind, Elie reacts with more anger than resignation — anger at the world for caring more about Paris, but also at his countrymen and women for seeming to do the same.
We can ask for the world to think Beirut is as important as Paris, or for Facebook to add a “safety check” button for us to use daily, or for people to care about us. But the truth of the matter is, we are a people that doesn’t care about itself. We call it habituation, but it’s really not. We call it the new normal, but if this [is] normality then let it go to hell.
In the world that doesn’t care about Arab lives, Arabs lead the front lines.
Everybody’s Talking at Once, “How Refusing to Be United Makes Us Stronger“
Video game blogger Drew turned to more serious topics after the attacks on Paris, penning a thought-provoking post on whether being “united” against terror is a laudable goal, or a positive idea at all.
It’s a sobering (and, it must be said, fundamentally French) thought: That the people killed in Paris “had declared war” on terrorism not because they imagined themselves conscripted into a fighting force, and certainly not because they marched in cultural and rhetorical lockstep, but specifically because they weren’t in lockstep. They were living out the messier, more joyful, less “united” way of life that terrorism seeks to undermine…
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.
John Scalzi, “Paris“
Author John Scalzi also veered from his regular bailiwick, science-fiction. His short but impassioned piece exhorts us to avoid giving credence to the Islamic State’s black-and-white worldview by refusing to conflate “Muslim” and “terrorist.”
Don’t do what ISIS wants you to do. Don’t be who ISIS wants you to be, and to be to Muslims. Be smarter than they want you to be. All it takes is for you to imagine the average Muslim to be like you, than to be like ISIS. If you can do that, you make a better world, and a more difficult one for groups like ISIS to exist in.
Idiot Joy Showland, “How to Politicise a Tragedy“
Analyses of tragic situations are quickly followed by calls to stop politicizing tragedy — i.e., to stop analyzing at all, and allow people space to grieve. Idiot Joy Showland‘s Sam Kriss rejects that request, explaining why in this cogent piece.
When it’s deployed honestly, the command to not politicise means to not make someone’s death about something else: it’s not about the issue you’ve always cared about; it’s not about you. To do this is one type of politics. But there’s another. Insisting on the humanity of the victims is also a political act, and as tragedy is spun into civilisational conflict or an excuse to victimise those who are already victims, it’s a very necessary one.
Natalia Antonova, “In Paris they ask the right questions“
Natalia’s poem was written well before last week’s events but published this week, a fitting tribute to the city of love.
In Paris they ask the right questions:
“Cognac, armagnac, or calvados?”
And, “Why are your eyes so blue?”
“Do you know how to get back home?”
“Is it finally time to kiss you?”
Pascale Guillou, “Restoring Hope and Innocence“
Illustrator Pascale, a Frenchwoman living in the Netherlands, reacted with pen and ink. Her lines are simple but heartbreaking, reminding us of something we all want but can’t have — whether we’re in France, Lebanon, or anywhere else.
Please feel free to share the posts that moved you and made you think in the comments.
From parents and poets to journalists and politicians, WordPress.com’s publishing tools allow people to make their voices heard.
We have heard your excellent feedback on our interim editor and today, we’re excited to introduce our new editor: a faster, cleaner, and more streamlined way to create posts and pages, and share, promote, and manage content across all your WordPress sites.
Highlights: instant saving, quick sharing
- It’s fast, responsive, and allows you to create posts and pages quickly on desktop and mobile devices.
- Easily manage your posts, whether you run an individual blog or wrangle multiple sites, authors, and posts.
- Access draft posts with one click so that you can iterate and revise quickly when inspiration strikes.
- Content is automatically saved, allowing you to focus and write — free of distraction.
- Drag and drop photos, music files, documents, and videos right into your post or page.
- Tags, categories, and sharing tools are at your fingertips, so you can make your content easier to find in the WordPress.com Reader and across your social networks.
- Scheduling is a breeze with the revamped post calendar.
- It’s available for self-hosted WordPress.org sites, too! Just install the Jetpack plugin and activate Manage.
A big thank you
We love that you’re passionate about WordPress.com, and most importantly, that you share that passion with us. If you’ve got feedback about the latest editor updates, we’d be grateful if you’d take a moment to share it with us in our support forum.
This Theme Thursday, we’re introducing a new free theme: Dyad.
Dyad pairs text and images in a balanced, dynamic layout, making it perfect for blogs where words and photographs need equal weight. Featured Images are displayed in different sizes and dimensions, depending on screen size and device.
Check out Dyad in the Theme Showcase!
What makes a great blog post? We all have our pet criteria: sharp prose. Enlightening content. Stunning photos. (“Lots of GIFs?” Sure, why not?) Beyond its style or tone, a standout post invites us to take a peek into another person’s home or field of expertise, and offers a glimpse of that individual’s mind at work.
The five recent posts featured here touched a nerve with readers, and have the buzzing comment sections and social media shares to show for it. Read them and you’ll see why: smart, well written, and engaging, you might feel the urge to jump into the conversation yourself.
If you’ve been on the internet in the past five years and/or are a Game of Thrones fan (that’s roughly 103% of those reading this right now), you likely know that actor Sean Bean’s characters always die violent, gruesome deaths.
But do they? Science writer and comedian Dave Steele took this piece of conventional wisdom, soaked it in a rich marinade of stats, pie charts, and humor, and ended up with an insightful reflection on the way our perception works, especially when it comes to popular culture.
Back in September, British magazine The Spectator published a polemical article about the supposed dearth of great women composers. Musician-blogger Emily E. Hogstead would have none of it.
Luckily the “goodness” of music is a totally scientific and quantifiable thing that allows no room for personal preference, bias, or interpretation.
She responded with a sharp, witty, point-by-point takedown of the original article’s claims, while also educating her readers about — surprise! — some great women composers (and their struggles to be recognized).
It’s college application season in North America, when millions of high school students polish their essays, list (and/or embellish) their extracurricular activities, and anxiously await an invitation to an interview with alumni/ae of their top choices.
Teacher and math lover Ben Orlin won’t be among them, having decided no longer to conduct interviews for his alma mater, Yale. Orlin bemoans the randomness and excessive emotional toll of the admissions process, and uses his trademark stick figures to make an important point about the American fixation on getting into the right school.
Michelle, blogging at The Green Study, charts the arc of her writing life, giving us an honest and uncompromising account of her achievements — as well as her struggles and failures.
I’m putting a spin on my forties, when I decided I’d become a martial artist, super mom, Japanese ink painter, personal trainer, officer of the law, marathoner, web genius, everywhere volunteer and organic vegan superfreak. It was all research for writing. It sounds so much better than a midlife panic.
It’s time to ante up or fold. I’ve run off in a thousand different directions and always, always, I come back to writing. And the only opposition to me seriously pursuing it, is me.
This post perfectly channels the angst and self-flagellation that often follows writers in their careers regardless of their success. But it ends with a renewed commitment to the act of writing, however frustrating and humbling it might be.
Matt LaRoche, writing at the The Gettysburg Compiler, a student-led history blog, asks an ever-important question: how can we preserve the lessons learned through the horrors of past wars once the last survivors pass away?
The hundreds of thousands of unknowns of the Civil War were just as raw to the loved ones they left behind as the one thousand-plus unknowns of Srebrenica are to this day.
He goes on to argue that it’s through listening to those who had to endure more recent atrocities — like victims of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia in the 1990s — that we can capture some of the lived experience of war, in the hope that we avoid perpetuating it.
We’re less than a month away from the inaugural WordCamp US, the largest WordPress conference in the world. Join us in Philadelphia for two days of informative sessions and stimulating conversations with everyone from blogging newbies to the most experienced WordPress developers in the world. WCUS will be on December 4–5 (with Contributor Day on the 6th), in Center City at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
In previous years, WordCamp San Francisco has acted as the official annual WordPress conference, where WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg gives the “State of the Word,” sharing the latest WordPress developments, answering questions from the audience, and offering his thoughts on what’s next for WordPress — and the future of the web. This year’s “State of the Word” will happen at WCUS!
The event is packed with two tracks of sessions plus lightning talks, including “From Blog to Book: Re-purposing Your WordPress Blog into an eBook,” “Starting/Growing Your WordPress Meetup Community,” and “Publish in 10 Minutes Per Day.” Check out the schedule to find your favorites — there are topics for everyone, from seasoned developers to new bloggers.
We encourage everyone in the community to participate! Tickets are $40, which includes access to both conference days (December 4 and 5) and Contributor Day (December 6), a limited edition t-shirt, lunch each day, and admission to the after-party.
If you can’t make it in person, you can grab a Live Stream ticket for $10, or a Live Stream ticket plus a t-shirt (which will be mailed to you) for $20. We expect this event to sell out, so get your tickets now!
Attending a WordCamp is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the community, learn about new trends, and meet other WordPress users as passionate as you. If you can’t make it to Philadelphia for WCUS, consider upcoming WordCamps in Dayton, Miami, Paris, and other locations in the next few months.
For more information on WordCamps all over the world, check out the WordCamp Central site to find a WordCamp near you. Many cities also have informal monthly or regular meetups that are open to all: browse the entire list of WordPress Meetups. Automatticians, the people behind the scenes at WordPress.com, are often in attendance, and so we’d love to see you!
When you create a free website on WordPress.com, your site’s default address will look something like example.wordpress.com. When you’re ready to build your professional presence, buying a custom domain — such as yourgroovydomain.com — is a great next step to personalizing your site and carving out a space for your business online.
You can register a domain in a few clicks, but choosing the right name for your site can be a challenge. Here are a few tips to consider before you settle on a domain name.
Choose a Domain that Represents Your Website
If you’re a professional such as a freelancer, artist, or consultant, your domain should represent who you are or what you do. You can claim your own name as a URL or incorporate your profession in your domain.
Elizabeth Hunter is a fantasy and paranormal romance author. Her domain, elizabethhunterwrites.com, includes her name and hints at what you’ll find on her website.
Your business domain should be consistent with your business name and branding across social media platforms. Take a peek at comedy blog The Annual: they registered theannualonline.com, which is in line with their name, branding, and overall purpose.
Choose an Easy Name to Remember
Your domain name should be easy to say and remember. Domains that are long or difficult to spell might confuse your customers instead of getting them to your website. Puns can be fun, but not at the expense of clarity. If it takes more than seven seconds to explain your domain, it’s probably too confusing.
Visual artist Emily Jeffords blogs at beautifulhelloblog.com, which is both easy to say aloud and read on paper.
Chaitanya Chunduri runs the marketing blog brandednoise.com, a simple and clever combination that’s easy to retain.
Make Sure It’s Available
Don’t panic if the domain you want is already taken! In addition to popular Top Level Domains like .com and .net, WordPress.com offers other extensions, including .org, .co, .me, .biz, and more.
Richard Gendal Brown, a professional in the field of technology and global financial markets, blogs at gendal.me. He snagged a short and relevant URL using the .me extension, which looks both personal and professional.
A fun trend in domains is getting creative with extensions. Well-known sites like deli.cio.us, the social bookmarking site, and bit.ly, the link-shortening tool, make use of unique extensions beyond .com. Our very own staff member Michelle Weber made her extension a part of her photoblog’s full domain name picturesofthin.gs.
If you register the perfect domain name, don’t let it expire accidentally. You can set up annual automatic renewal for your WordPress.com domains. Renewals are processed 30 days before the domain expires, so you’ll get a heads up if there’s a problem with your payment.
Ready to take the next step? Claim your personal web address, starting at $18 per year, through WordPress.com. We streamline the registration, mapping, and setup process so your new address is up and running in no time.
Whatever you choose, always be sure to double-check spelling before you confirm registration. Already have a domain registered elsewhere? Find out how to map it to your WordPress.com website.
Planning on Turning Your Website into a Lean Mean Marketing Machine?
Our Premium and Business plans include a custom domain and loads of other features like access to premium themes, advanced customization, more space for your photos and videos, and stellar customer support.
Try a plan for 30 days. (Note that for the domain registration-related portion of the upgrade, the refund window is 48 hours.)
Happy Theme Thursday, all! Today I’m happy to present a new free theme in our collection, Button.
Button is a theme that’s as cute as its name. With detailed accents, featured images, gallery slideshows, and a soft color palette, Button is designed with crafty blogs in mind. Show off your sewing skills, chronicle your latest DIY endeavors, or keep a running list of your favorite things from around the web. However you use it, Button is a sweet theme that’s sure to delight.
Get to know Button on the Theme Showcase!
Last week we asked the WordPress.com community to join us for 5 km of walking, jogging, running, or hiking as part of our annual Automattic Worldwide WordPress 5K. The response was fabulous — check out some stories and photos from bloggers who participated around the world.
Surprises on the trail
With a bald eagle rumoured to be nearby, nature photographer Leola Durant overachieved the 5k, walking 7.57 miles on October 27th. While a great shot of the eagle eluded her, she did capture many beautiful photos of birds and animals on her walk. Our favorite is this fuzzy racoon leaning out of a tree.
Photo by Leola Durant
From elusive eagles, we go to brazen barred owls. Paula, in addition to reporting on her 3.1 mile run for the event, offers advice to unlucky runners in Lake Stevens, Washington, who might find themselves subject to barred owl attacks during their outings:
There are reports of owls dive-bombing runners and people during this time of year. It’s mostly the barred owls and great-horned owls who do this. They become highly territorial at the start of winter, hunkering down and preparing their nests for upcoming baby season. Owls are brave and think nothing of “attacking” humans. Wave your hands slowly overhead back and forth to keep them at bay and then leave the area. They’re just trying to protect their home, so don’t take it personally.
The reasons we run
Author James Schannep dedicated his WWWP5K to raising money for a friend. He asked readers not only to do their own WWWP5K, he also promised to shave his head and beard if his readers amassed $1500 in donations toward speech therapy for Alan Martinez, a US Air Force Academy classmate recovering after being hit by a drunk driver in 2012.
James Schannep dedicated his WWW5k to his friend, Alan Martinez
Blogger Philip took us for an early-morning run along the idyllic waterfront in Copenhagen, Denmark:
The run starts in Copenhagen’s new hip neighborhood, Sluseholmen. From there you simply follow the waterfront trail enjoying the morning mist hovering over the water and the swooshing sounds of oars as they glide by.
Photo by Philip
Blogger Jillian took us on a photo tour of her 5k walk in Brisbane, Australia, where the Jacaranda trees are in full bloom. She enjoyed her walk so much, she’s decided to extend her usual 2.5k route to 5k, regularly!
Jacaranda tree photo by Jillian
Solo, but never alone
Automattician Andrea enjoyed the fresh autumn air and captured some beautiful scenery along her route:
While she ran the WWWP5K solo, she wasn’t alone:
Solo but with others is kind of the story of my life right now. As an employee of a distributed company, with teammates all over the world, I am physically alone in my home office, but am mentally together with people all day long. I chatter online at with customers from around the world and with colleagues in California, Florida, Texas, Washington, Canada, Wales, Sweden, England, Austria, Brazil, Malaysia, Australia…
I never feel alone, even though I am the only one in the room.
Congratulations to walkers and runners the world over who participated in this year’s Worldwide WP 5k! For more reports, check out the #WWWP5k tag in the Reader.