Archive for the ‘Accessories’ Category
Because we want to make WordPress.com accounts as secure as we can, we’ve made it easier for you to set up two-factor authentication for your account, so you can take advantage of the top-of-the-line security standard.
WordPress.com has supported two-factor authentication (2FA) since 2013. Also known as two-step verification, two-factor authentication allows you to protect your WordPress.com account with both a password and a time-sensitive code you get from your mobile device.
To enable two-step authentication, tap your profile picture to jump into the “Me” section and hit the Security tab. Click on “Two-Step Authentication,” and initiate the setup wizard. You can opt to use an independent mobile app, like Google Authenticator or Authy, that will generate access codes for you, or you can get codes texted to your phone via SMS.
Once two-factor authentication is set up, when logging into your WordPress.com account, you’ll use both your account password in addition to the unique code you receive, ensuring that nobody but you can access your information.
Our teams work around the clock to ensure that WordPress.com is the most secure place to host your website and blog content. We encourage our wonderful users to leverage all of the security measures out there, and hope that two-factor authentication will become a part of your daily blogging routine. For extra help, check out our support documentation.
Today, we’d like you to meet the two newest themes added to the WordPress.com collection: Ecto and Coherent.
With a light color scheme, bold typography, and full-width images that draw readers straight to your content, Ecto is perfect for blogs of all kinds.
Inspired by the Casper theme, Ecto lets you add a personal touch to posts and pages with large featured images in the header area. Ecto also includes these features:
- Social Links Menu
- Featured Images
- Site Logo
- Post Formats
- Custom Menus
- Custom Background and Custom Header
Read more about Ecto on the Theme Showcase, or activate it on your site from Appearance → Themes!
Meet Coherent, a simple theme with a robust structure. An optional full-screen featured image lets you give posts visual impact; without one, the theme is more subtle and keeps the focus on your words. An elegant sliding panel houses navigation, social links, and widgets, keeping things streamlined.
- Social Links Menu
- Featured Images
- Site Logo
- Aside Post Format
- Custom Menus
- Custom Background and Custom Header
Read more about Coherent on the Theme Showcase, or activate it on your site from Appearance → Themes!
Today, Google released a change to its algorithm that gives higher search scores to sites it deems “mobile-friendly.” Curious WordPressers might be asking:
- How can I be sure my site is mobile-friendly?
- What can I do if my site is not mobile-friendly?
1. See if your site is mobile-friendly
Visit Google’s mobile-friendly test link and enter your site’s address (e.g., http://dailypost.wordpress.com or http://automattic.com). Google will then analyze your site and declare it mobile-friendly or not.
Did your site pass? YAY! Pass GO and collect $200 from the Community Chest.
2. What can I do if my site is not mobile-friendly?
If your site failed Google’s test, you might be using an older theme that’s not responsive. Responsive themes change their layout slightly when someone visits via tablet or mobile phone to ensure that important content like the site title, post titles, and post content can be read on smaller screens.
Goran is one example of a responsive theme. Here’s a sample of what it looks like on desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones:
Goran’s layout changes slightly to make sure important content comes first, regardless of the type of device you use to view the site.
There are two things you can do to make your site mobile-friendly:
- Switch your theme to a responsive theme. Here’s a search on the Theme Showcase returning all our responsive themes to help you choose.
- If you’d prefer not to switch to a responsive theme, you can enable an option that will show a mobile-friendly, responsive theme to your mobile visitors only. Go to My Site(s) → WP Admin → Appearance → Mobile in your dashboard. Click on the Yes radio button to enable a mobile-friendly theme, and click on the Update button. You’re set.
Now available in a widget dashboard near you, we present the Social Media Icons Widget! No longer do you have to fiddle around with complicated HTML code to add beautiful social media icons to your blog or website.
With this new widget, you can add icons for the most popular social networks in no time. The icons are linked to your social media profiles, making it easy for your readers to follow your latest status updates.
The Old Way
The New Way
Currently, we support adding social media icons for the most popular social networks, including:
If you want to add an icon for a different service, you can do so with a bit of HTML.
After you save your widget, check out your blog to see how the snazzy new icons look. Then grab yourself a cup of tea, and watch your follower count skyrocket!
It’s the time of the week again, Happy Theme Thursday! We’re pleased to present a new free theme, Cyanotype:
Cyanotype, designed by yours truly, is a monochromatic blog theme with a bold, yet simple look that sets your blog apart from the rest. Pick your favorite background color or image to lend your personal flair.
Read more about Cyanotype on the Theme Showcase, or activate it on your site from Appearance → Themes!
We don’t write blogs purely for ourselves — we write them to be read. For people who live far from family and friends, blogs serve twin readerships: they give the intrepid traveler a simultaneous way to chronicle travels for a broad audience and update those back at home.
We love following the worldly adventures of these four expats and nomads, and we’re sure their friends appreciate the virtual lifeline, too!
Writer J.D. Riso is a self-identified dromomaniac — a person with an uncontrollable desire to wander. Wish I Were Here is her record of a lifetime of global peregrinations, told in in musings and photos.
Her blog isn’t a real-time travelogue, which makes it all the more fascinating. You might find yourself reading about the legacy of Communism in Bratislava, Slovakia; the urban renaissance of Skopje, Macedonia; violence against women in Papua New Guinea; an unexpected epiphany in Narita, Japan; or an unwanted travelmate in Costa Rica. Wherever the destination, J.D.’s keen eye, unflinching honesty, and rhythmic reflections create a strong sense of place, heightened by her well-chosen photos.
Like the look of J.D.’s blog? She uses the Hemingway Rewritten theme with a whimsical custom header.
Tricia is a communications professional and citizen diplomat — a traveler engaged in cultural exchanges, not just tourism.
Her most recent posts take us on a stroll through Genoa, Nevada; a tour of the Enzo Ferrari museum in Modena, Italy; and an afternoon at the beautiful monastery in Ettal, Germany. Past posts let us tag along on trips to Marrakech, Morocco; Toronto, Canada; Luang Prabang, Laos; and dozens more destinations.
For those who finish one of her posts inspired to pack a bag and get on the road, each one ends with planning pointers: maps, logistical information for any locations mentioned in the post, recommended lodgings and restaurants, and other helpful local links.
Are Tricia’s bold photos and clean layout just what you’ve been looking for? You’ll find them in the Photographer theme.
Maura Malfatto Elia moved from Italy to the United States thirty years ago, but still has her Italian accent. She offers thoughtful commentary on both her home and adopted countries at American Life. The Italian Way.
Maura reflects on the differences between the educational systems in the two countries, looks at the Italian influence on the US in a post about Montessori Schools, and talks with other Italians about the experience of being an expat in the US. Her blog is just getting started, but her posts and perspective already have us intrigued.
Maura’s high-impact home page comes courtesy of the new free theme Cubic.
Rob and Diane of Experimental Expats are technically expats-to-be. They’re about to turn the last page on the American and Canadian chapters of their lives and start a new one — in Malaysia.
So far, Experimental Expats has followed Rob and Diane as they’ve prepared to retire, sold their California house, and filed the paperwork needed to become Malaysian residents. In six more weeks, the site will transition to their expat adventure, as they finally touch down in their new Malaysian home.
Experimental Expats has clean menus, a custom header, and a flexible two-column layout — it must be the Twenty Twelve theme!
Want to do a little more armchair traveling? Here are a few more great blogs to fuel your wanderlust:
- Oh God, My Wife Is German follows the (often unintentionally) hilarious life of an American expat adjusting to a German wife and German life.
- Kate Goes Global follows Spanish-born Katharina as she moves from Spain to Switzerland to the UK, and racks up thousands of other travel miles.
- TinyExpats proves that a nomadic life isn’t just for twenty-something singles — this blogger, her spouse, and their two daughters are now in Pardubice, Czech Republic, following stints in Hamburg, Germany; Shanghai, China; and Moscow, Russia.
- Om the Road is true evidence of our increasingly boundary-less world — it’s written by an Australian and Hungarian who first met in Peru and now live in Indonesia.
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.
Two weeks ago, Happiness Engineers Karen Arnold, Marjorie R. Asturias, and Jamil Abreu, as well as Code Wrangler Damian Suarez, attended the sixth annual Hispanicize conference in downtown Miami, Florida. The event, which took place from March 16-20, is billed as the “largest annual event for Latino trendsetters and newsmakers in journalism, blogging, marketing, entertainment, and tech entrepreneurship,” drawing over 2,000 attendees. Marjorie shares her experience meeting and getting to know some of the most influential bloggers in the Latino community.
The statistics are hard to ignore: with an estimated number of about 53 million in the United States, according to the 2012 US Census, Hispanics represent one of the fastest growing segments of the US population. The majority (62%) speak English or are bilingual. They’re the most active users of social networking sites.
Walking the halls of the InterContinental Miami, I felt the energy driving those numbers. Sponsors eager to tap into this thriving demographic rolled out the red carpet — literally, in some cases — and splashed out on swag-filled, interactive booths. At night, attendees could take their pick: Independent film premiere? Awards ceremony featuring Miss USA? Concert featuring some of the hottest Latino musicians? Yacht party (this is Miami, after all)?
The most memorable part of the event, though, was meeting the bloggers, whose presence was the crown jewel of the conference. It seemed as if nearly all of them had WordPress sites, and they didn’t hesitate to express their love for all things WordPress! They poured into the Happiness Bar, emptied our swag tables, asked questions about everything from Akismet to Yoast, gave lots of hugs, and took lots of photos. Latinos are renowned for their close family ties, and everyone who came to our booth definitely went out of their way to welcome us as part of their blogging familia.
We hosted a full day of WordPress sessions on Tuesday — dubbed WordPress Latino Day! — where we shared tips on getting started with WordPress, popular plugins, and little-known but critical features available on WordPress.com. We also offered several other sessions on SEO, social media, and responsive design. Damian and Jamil conducted popular bilingual workshops especially for beginning bloggers.
Packing up the booth at the close of the conference on Friday evening was a melancholy affair. We’d made so many new friends and connected with an engaging and passionate community of bloggers. Sure, being in the same room with Miss USA and Don Francisco, the longtime host of the Univision powerhouse variety show Sabado Gigante, were pretty thrilling moments, but nothing beats sharing WordPress stories with fellow bloggers.
Special thanks to Kathy Cano-Murillo (of Crafty Chica fame!), PR guru Vanessa James, and Sebastian Aroca for helping to spread the word about WordPress, sharing their connections, and even getting us access to exclusive events! We hope to see more of y’all in 2016!
It’s Theme Thursday, and we’re happy to present a brand new free theme for your enjoyment.
Lingonberry is a bright, personable blogging theme by Anders Norén with bold colors and accents and a playful, modern twist. Formatted posts stand out from the rest, space for your site logo adds a personal touch, and footer widget areas for additional content give your posts and pages plenty of room to shine. Lingonberry also adapts to your device, for a flawless reading experience no matter the screen size.
Get to know Lingonberry on the Theme Showcase, or give it a spin by activating it from Appearance → Themes!
April is National Poetry Month, and we love each day’s flurry of new posts tagged #nationalpoetrymonth in the WordPress.com Reader and across the internet. WordPressers are busy in the #napowrimo tag as well, participating in NaPoWriMo, Maureen Thorson’s annual project that encourages and challenges poets to write a poem a day in April.
Let’s look at some poetry we’ve stumbled upon recently across the WordPress.com community.
She was a sixth grader, who mistook my lamppost legs and power line arms for a fifth grader. She was as old as the boys throwing grass in each other’s hair, rolling around in a kind of awkward tango towards manhood.
Poetry is the largest influence on the comics of Summer Pierre, a cartoonist and illustrator in New York. In “I Allow Myself Poetry,” she illustrates her world, where poetry and comics meet.
I guess this is where poetry and comics meet so clearly — neither art form will most likely pay the bills, but they both go along way to keep on the lights.
Today again I paid to learn, watching refugees sit and wait for their bus, and asked the doctor what the term really means— she couldn’t say exact qualifications, just that for some recognized reason, a person had to leave their homeland.
Tychogirl focuses on poetry about astronomy, uses found materials, and publishes mixed media art. Exploring the blog is like hunting for treasures.
This verse is not free, and this poem is no poem— it’s a red flag waving at death, at the comical futility of the poet’s every utterance be it rational or absurd, sublime or grotesque; its rhythm is neither tranquil nor its inspiration divine.
Nicole Marie at Words and Other Things spends her time penning short fiction and poems and is the assistant poetry editor at Philadelphia Stories. Her recent poem on pregnancy and motherhood, “A Poet to Her Son,” is a community favorite. Here’s a sample:
and you -- you are practicing self defense beneath my flesh; to you, the only world there is.
Writer and editor Stan Carey publishes book spine poetry under his “bookmash” tag. We love his latest offering, “After the fire,” in which he finds inspiration in Jared Diamond, David Sedaris, and more:
Red gold Beyond black, Incendiary collapse When you are engulfed in flames: A bright red scream From out of the city, After the fire A still small Voice.
Spine poem by Stan Carey
Christine Murray compiles poetry from Irish and women poets on her site, Poethead. In a post celebrating International Women’s Day, she gathers work from a number of poets, including Nessa O’Mahony and Shirley McClure. Here’s a bit from McClure’s poem, “Mastectomy”:
and on these fine mornings let me tell you it is good to know that there are two
At Leaf and Twig, Catherine Arcolio explores the intersection between nature, photography, and poetry and celebrates the natural world with photo posts and succinct poetic musings. She looks forward to spring in “Resurrection,” her post from April 1:
the ground begins to make itself known again
We’ve spotted some great newspaper blackout poetry, which is created by blacking out lines and words in a newspaper piece using a permanent marker. Here’s a poem called “Memoirs of a Teacher (Day 1)” from a seventh grade English teacher:
I have not yet taught Albert Einstein or President of the United States, but I strive for a great foundation, grand schemes of profound comments and creations, comfort, constant learning.
First, I should note: I am not related to Jennifer Armstrong. But! I have followed her writing closely over the years — first during her years at Entertainment Weekly, and more recently as the author of books like Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted (Simon & Schuster), which offered a definitive history of the classic TV series. Her blog also happens to be a must-follow on WordPress.com: She gives glimpses into her current work (she’s doing a Seinfeld book next) and she’s refreshingly transparent about the business (and hard truths) of being a freelance writer in 2015. I spoke with her via email about the business of writing and tips for how she makes time for her own blog.
You are in the middle of writing a book about Seinfeld, but you are also quite prolific on your blog right now, with posts about your book research and the business of freelancing and book publishing. Do you force yourself into a schedule, or is this more free-flowing, when the mood strikes you?
It’s a little bit of both. I’m finishing edits on my Seinfeld book, so that will no longer be taking up much time very soon. (And it was off my plate for a while right after I turned it in.) I absolutely have a daily schedule for working on weekdays (roughly 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a lunch/rest break from 1 p.m. to 3-ish). And this includes time in the morning dedicated to checking/responding to email, playing on social media, and blogging. I vaguely aim for daily posting, or at least daily thinking about posting; but I don’t force a post if I have nothing to say. I fall off this a bit if I have a lot of pressing deadlines for paid work.
Wait, so you respond to email BEFORE writing? I feel like all the Lifehacker blog posts tell us to ignore email until we’ve pumped out 700 words.
I like to get all my possible procrastination out of the way FIRST. Plus as a freelancer I get a little itchy not knowing what’s going on in my email/not responding to stuff right away. So I do one run at email (I like an inbox-zero when possible), a basic pass at Facebook and Twitter, then blog. I also like to know what’s going on in the world a little before I blog; if everybody’s talking about something that I want to write about, that’s good to know. This honestly often takes up most to all of my morning, but then when I come back to my desk after lunch I can just write up a storm for a few solid hours. I’ve always been better in the afternoon anyway. 3 to 6 p.m. tends to be my most productive time.
Your most recent writing on your blog has been about the business of freelancing, and what I appreciated about your original post and your follow-up post was how explicit you were about what’s required to actually make a freelance writing career really happen. Is it really still possible in 2015?
I do think it’s possible, because I’ve been doing it for three years and seem like I’ll make it another year. I also know other people who are doing it.
Your posts are also transparent about finances — like what you might be able to get from a book deal — and it seems like you look for a very delicate balance between being helpful and encouraging to those who want to pursue a freelance career, but clear about the realities of the publishing business right now.
No matter how many times people tell you how hard it is to be a freelance writer, you never truly understand until you do it. I guess we all like to believe we’ll be the exception. And that’s okay, as long as you’re prepared mentally. I teach at Gotham Writers’ Workshops, and sometimes I get students who are clearly thinking they’re going to just become freelance writers. It’s hard for me, even with lots of experience. If they still want to do it, that’s great; I just want them to know the reality.
In that same vein, I think my approach in general when teaching writing and doing one-on-one coaching with writers is exactly what you said: being encouraging while still being very tough-love realistic. I don’t want to get too “boo hoo writing is so hard!” Because it’s a great job. But you have to have a specific temperament that’s immune to rejection and loves the hustle. These traits don’t come naturally to all writers. I also think it’s important for us to talk a little more openly about money. There’s something specific to writers that makes us shy about it. Maybe because of writing’s proximity to art, like we’re supposed to be doing this only out of the depths of our soul and money shouldn’t matter? Writing really is a skill, and journalism definitely is. We should be paid for our work. Other professionals enjoy their work, too, and get paid decently for it.
Based on your past experience, what does the freelance market look like right now? Is it better or worse than it was, say, five years ago? I feel like we’ve seen a lot of new media startups take off, but it’s unclear to me whether many of them are using freelancers or simply hiring full-time staff.
Exactly! I am always loathe to say things are getting “worse,” though it certainly seems like it was more fun and profitable to be a freelance journalist, say, in the 1960s (or ’70s, or ’80s, or ’90s …). There are tons of startups now, and with venture capital. (That’s key because they don’t have to be profitable for a while, and yet they still have gobs of money.) I’m hopeful that this will work out well for freelancers. Those places are staffing up, but I’ve also successfully pitched a few. I certainly have a long list of targets right now! There’s also a lot more demand for the kind of stuff I write — pop culture stuff. So it’s still early to tell if Vox and the like are going to make a difference for us, but it does seem like the more outlets needing material, the better off we all are.
Do you think this influx also creates an opportunity for established freelancers to “auction” their stories to a highest bidder? Say, similar to book publishing’s system? It feels like online publishers for a long time benefitted from the lack of competition for story pitches, allowing them to keep their rates down, and I wonder if that is changing too.
I hope so! I do feel like I have a few more options, and find myself sorta auctioning them in my head. That is, strategizing to start with the place most likely to pay well. Some digital outlets also pay surprisingly well, which is a change that just started to happen after the terrible “free” trend of several years. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with a few digital outlets recently when they told me what they’d pay for something.
Beyond the freelancing advice on your site, you’ve written a lot of great posts about your books in progress—including your forthcoming book on Seinfeld. Do you have a strategy for how you write about your books that aren’t yet released? Do publishers have “feelings” about how much you share and when?
I used to think I shouldn’t reveal ANYTHING. But honestly, the more I’ve read about this, the more I think the opposite is true. Little tastes of books get people excited, and sometimes I sort-of “workshop” stuff online. If people seem excited about it or have questions, maybe I’ll put even more in the book. Also, when I’m really in the thick of a book, it’s hard to blog about anything else! I’ve shared more about the Seinfeld book than any other I’ve done, and it feels like it has gained me followers and helped build excitement for the book, which is great. And so far my publisher hasn’t expressed any feelings! I do know that with previous books, they didn’t want EVERYTHING online. But a little bit strategically seems to work.
I think that makes a ton of sense. How did the Seinfeld book idea first come together for you?
Well, I write about TV shows, and it’s hard to imagine a show that’s had more cultural impact. It’s as simple as that: This is a show that went off the air 17 years ago, and somehow people are still constantly talking and writing about it! If you write books about TV, you can’t do better than that.
Were you always a fan? I remember not really loving it (or perhaps more appropriately, not getting it) when it first aired.
I don’t think I’ve ever identified as a Seinfeld Fan (with a capital F). That made me nervous at first about tackling the book because I know how passionate some of the fans are. (Many, many people are sure they are THE biggest Seinfeld fan.) I always liked it and thought it was smart. I’d almost always watch the reruns when I encountered them while flipping through channels. I never got tired of the show. (Miraculously, I am still not.) But I think not identifying as the biggest Seinfeld fan ever helped me, ultimately, in writing the book. It gave me some distance from the show and the phenomenon.
I wonder if working on something that has had such a huge cultural impact presents its own challenges when putting together a book—the material is plentiful, but perhaps too plentiful?
And yes, there is tons of information! Ultimately that ends up being a good thing when you’re writing a book, but it was more challenging to organize than my previous books. The other challenge is finding anything new to say about it! But I’m happy to report that I did get a few “scoops.” I also tried to look deeper into how and why the show struck such a chord and continues to have such relevance to this very second. That, to me, is what makes the show unique among its contemporaries, and even among all other classic TV. It feels like it’s still on today, it’s so pervasive in our culture, even though the last episode was filmed in 1998.
Back to your blog: Do you have friends or colleagues with whom you share your draft posts before you publish them? Or is it more of an off-the-cuff process for you? I’m just wondering whether there’s a process for professional writers when it comes to when you decide you need or want a second set of eyes.
I don’t usually do that much with blog posts; only if I’m writing something delicate that I want to make sure comes through the right way. Otherwise I usually churn out a post and move on. But I am generally a huge fan of having people read stuff, especially longer pieces. I won’t turn any book or proposal in without doing this. I’m lucky in that my partner turns out to be a great editor (though he’s not a professional). I also have some friends I go to over and over for this, most often my friend Heather Wood Rudúlph, with whom I wrote Sexy Feminism. We ran a website together for about eight years, so we know we collaborate well. We read each other’s stuff and have monthly-ish phone meetings to bounce pitches off of each other. I love doing this as a freelancer because we don’t have the advantage of story meetings like staffers do. Ideas always get better when you talk about them.