Archive for the ‘Accessories’ Category
It’s Theme Thursday and today I’m happy to present two new free themes: Cubic and Wilson.
Designed by WordPress.com’s own Thomas Guillot, Cubic is a clean, simple, and responsive theme.
With its single-column, grid-based design crafted around large featured images, Cubic is the perfect fit for photobloggers.
Read more about Cubic in the Theme Showcase, or activate it on your blog by going to Appearance → Themes.
Designed by Anders Norén, Wilson is minimal yet bold. It’s a clean and simple theme for personal sites and blogs — make it your own with a site logo. Use post formats to highlight your content, add a custom menu, or take advantage of three widget areas.
Read more about Wilson in the Theme Showcase, or activate it on your blog by going to Appearance → Themes.
It’s in the grip of North American winter that I often dream of escape to warmer climates. Thanks to the WordPress.com Reader and the street photography tag, I can satisfy my travel yen whenever it strikes. Here are just some of the amazing photos and photographers I stumbled upon during a recent armchair trip.
In a slightly different form of care-free, we have the muddy hands of Elina Eriksson‘s son in Zambia. I love how his small hands frame his face. The gentle focus on his face and the light in the background evoke warm summer afternoons at play.
Arresting in a slightly different fashion is Rob Moses‘ Ski Hill Selfie, taken in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The juxtaposition of the bold colors and patterns in the foreground against the white snow in the background caught my eye.
Further under the category of fun juxtaposition, is Liu Tao’s photo of the elderly man in Hafei, China, whose fan reminds me of a punk rock mohawk.
From Hafei, we go to Havana, Cuba, and Edith Levy‘s beautifully ethereal Edificio Elena. I found the soft pastels and gentle shadows particularly pleasing. They lend a distinctly feminine quality to the building.
And finally, under the category of beautiful, is Aneek Mustafa Anwar‘s portrait, taken in Shakhari Bazar, Old Dhaka, Bangladesh. The boy’s shy smile is a wonderful representation of the word on his shirt.
Where do you find photographic inspiration? Take a moment to share your favorite photography blogs in the comments.
We’re celebrating the New Year with two free themes: Boardwalk and Sela.
Designed by yours truly, Boardwalk is a clean, simple, and responsive theme.
Powered with horizontal scrolling and built around large featured images, Boardwalk is the perfect choice for photobloggers and those of you looking for an unconventional — yet elegant and creative — theme.
Learn more about Boardwalk at the Theme Showcase, or preview it by going to Appearance → Themes.
Sela isn’t your typical business theme. It’s a vibrant, bold, clean theme with lots of space for large images, designed by WordPress.com’s own Ola Laczek.
Sela puts the focus on your business with a bold front page template, a grid page template to showcase your products or services, and integrated testimonials. To make your website truly unique, you can upload a logo, customize the background, and choose a color scheme from default color palettes. Sela is the perfect canvas to tell your company’s story and looks great on all devices, from desktop to mobile.
Take Sela for a spin – visit the Theme Showcase to learn more, or activate it on your site by going to Appearance → Themes.
Millions of new sites created and posts published later, 2014 is in the books. We could regale you with big numbers, like these…
… but the most important part of Automattic is what you make with the tools we offer. This year, we thought we’d look back at some of your successes, and how we were able to support the incredible things you created and shared.
To Publish a Mockingbird
With beautifully detailed portraits finished with bodies out of a toddler’s dream, the drawings illustrator Mica creates with her four-year-old daughter are captivating — the post of images she published on Busy Mockingbird has been viewed over 1.1 millions times. After over 10,000 readers shared the post to Facebook, few were feeds without the link, and big names soon came calling: Yahoo. Buzzfeed. NBC.
Spurred by the post’s popularity, Mica launched a Kickstarter campaign to self-publish a book that handily met its fundraising goal. They now have a second volume of animal drawings along with the book based on the original collaboration, and the latest post on Busy Mockingbird reports on her recent trip to New York City for a showing of their otherworldly creations.
We love that we were able to help Mica’s many new fans see her beautiful work without a hitch!
The Birth of an Author
Meaghan O’Connell’s touching, raw account of the her labor and first child’s birth has been viewed over 100,000 times. At 14,000+ words, A Birth Story is a reading investment — but one with an excellent return, for the reader and Meaghan.
Meaghan began telling her story in emails to friends, and Longreads editor Mike Dang encouraged her to adapt it into an essay. When it was published, the internet floodgates opened. A Birth Story was picked up by Dave Pell’s Next Draft, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and Hacker News, and made it to the 2014 best-of lists on Gawker and Digg.
Luckily for those of us who love great writing, we’ll be seeing a lot more of Meaghan: New York magazine offered her a weekly column, and she’s in talks with three different publishers to turn A Birth Story into a full-length book.
We’re thrilled for the successes of Meaghan, Longreads, and all the WordPress.com bloggers who made the leap from pixel to page this year.
Blogging is Not the Hardest Part
Emily Austin started The Waiting (at the clever URL “notthehardestpart.com“) in 2011 to chronicle her experience of parenthood. Her openness and empathy drew in parents and non-parents alike, helping her build a community 13,000 strong.
Her incisive but relatable writing made Emily one of a handful of bloggers nominated as a BlogHer Voice of the Year, and we got to meet her when she participated on a WordPress.com panel at BlogHer’s annual conference.
During our chat, we celebrated another 2014 milestone: her new job as an online communications specialist for a local non-profit. The work she put into creating and nurturing The Waiting — design, writing, community outreach — sparked a new passion and helped her develop a new set of skills that she now gets to use every day.
Think writing a blog is just like keeping a journal? It can be, but Emily knows it can be much more.
Naptime Writing Storms the Stage
Christine Harkin, the writer behind Naptime Writing, was another of the 22 WordPress.com bloggers recognized as a BlogHer Voice of the Year, and another of our mini-panelists.
We were so struck by the humor and writing wisdom on offer during the panel that when the organizers of WordCamp San Francisco were looking for speakers to be part of the event’s blogging track, we suggested her without hesitation. Her presentation, Finding and Maintaining Your Blog’s Voice, was full of her trademark wit — and of course, inspiring, actionable blogging advice.
The strong and vibrant community behind WordPress is its biggest strength, and Automattic works hard to contribute to the fabric.
Behind everything Automattic does are 301 Automatticians:
- 66 Happiness Engineers responded to your requests for assistance 365,212 times.
- Every one of our 134 developers worked on the improvements and enhancements we’ve been rolling out over the past few weeks.
- 9 systems engineers kept everyone’s sites running fast and secure.
- 8 editors shepherded over 22,000 of you through Blogging U. courses.
- 24 themers made 96 stunning new layouts and dozens of customization improvements available.
And of course, along with all 301 of us and the four writers and artists profiled above, there was you, creating those 18 million new blogs and 555 million new posts, giving us the 24,485,420,085,002 bytes of data we moved around every hour.
Those bytes aren’t just little packets of code winging around the internet’s series of tubes (at least, they’re not just that). They carry stories. Memories. Voices. Relationships. Experiences. They’re your essays, your photos, your poems, your drawings. Every time a piece of what you’ve created pops up on someone’s screen, you expand someone’s universe, just a little, and they expand yours — which is the real power of WordPress.com, and of the internet.
Thanks for letting us being a part of your 2014. Here’s to 2015; we can’t wait to see what next year’s look back will contain.
Interested in being a part of our motley but merry crew?
Automattic: it’s made of people!
We hired 95 people in 2014, from systems engineers to theme designers to accountants, and we’ll be hiring many more in 2015.
In 2014, we discovered how much WordPress.com bloggers want to connect with each other and do more with their blogs — tens of thousands of you have participated in Blogging U since it began a year ago!
This year, we’re starting an in-person event series called Press Publish for people who want to take their blogs even further, starting with two conferences this spring in Portland, OR and Phoenix, AZ. These events will focus on inspiration and tools from WordPress.com, though people blogging on any platform will be welcome. Speakers will be a combination of awesome WordPress.com bloggers and staff members including folks from the Happiness Team, Blogging U, and the Theme Team — in short, the WordPress.com experts.
We’re at the “Save the Date” stage: March 28 in Portland and April 18 in Phoenix. We’re putting together the program now, and will start announcing speakers, schedule, and pricing later this month. To get announcements when we start posting this information, head over to the Press Publish site and subscribe to/follow it.
In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you about bloggers/speakers or topics that we should have on our radar. Are there WordPress.com blogs that you can’t live without? Are there any subjects you would really want to see addressed at an event like this, either in terms of creating great content or in terms of using WordPress.com (or Jetpack)? Sound off in the comments, and if mentioning favorite bloggers, please link to their blogs. Thanks, and hope to see you at an upcoming event!
The beginning of a new year is an opportunity to start things afresh — why should your blog not benefit as well? Here are six things you can do to start your blogging in 2015 energized, recharged, and focused.
Explore your new dashboard
We introduced several major upgrades to the WordPress.com dashboard right before the end of last year, including updated Stats and navigation and the ability to manage and edit all your content across sites from one central hub.
Now is the perfect time to get familiar with some of these new features for a smoother blogging experience. Whether it’s from your computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can check out which posts generated the most likes and comments (and much more) on your Stats page, browse through all your posts and pages, and easily tweak your account settings, review your billing history, and visit your trophy case from My Profile.
Sign up for a blogging course
Our free Blogging U. courses are a great way to get you closer to meeting your blogging goals — whatever those might be — while being part of a supportive, engaged community.
Our next Blogging 101 course starts January 5, and is geared toward new bloggers (you can read more about it, and sign up for it, here), but throughout the year we’ll be offering courses that target different levels, and focus on topics like writing, photoblogging, and more. Be sure to follow announcements from The Daily Post to stay up to date on upcoming courses.
Spruce up your site
Bloggers who love their site’s design publish more. Make sure your site’s look matches the quality of your posts with a few easy tweaks, like switching themes (there are some gorgeous new ones in our Showcase, from our annual default theme, Twenty Fifteen, to recent favorites Editor and Plane). Or just customize your current theme to meet your needs — a few simple touches, like a custom header image or personalized image widgets, can give your site a distinct look with very little work. (Need inspiration? Check out our customization and Early Theme Adopters posts.)
Join a blogging event
Becoming active in the blogging community (or at least in a blogging community) can make all the difference between posting sporadically on a near-dormant blog and keeping yourself energized and your audience engaged. There’s so much to choose from: browse our searchable event listings to find one that’s up your alley, or share your work on our weekly photo challenges and Community Pool posts.
Create an editorial calendar
Whether your vision for your blog is to publish once a month or twice a day, your chances of sticking with a regular publication pace increase if you make concrete, sustainable plans. Devoting a little time every few weeks to sketch out an editorial calendar for your blog will help you allocate time, decide on your priorities, and give you the flexibility you need in case unexpected developments keep you away from your blog for a while.
Download our mobile app
Being on the move should never prevent you from publishing a post, engaging in conversations and moderating comments, or keeping up with the latest from your favorite bloggers. With our mobile apps — available for iOS and Android — you can do all of those things wherever you are. You no longer need to wait to get back home to make your voice heard.
Happy 2015 from the entire WordPress.com team! May it be a wonderful year for you and your sites.
New to blogging? A new session of our introductory blogging course starts on Monday, January 5 — and all bloggers are welcome, whether you blog on WordPress.com, a self-hosted WordPress blog, or somewhere else entirely.
Blogging 101 is four weeks of daily bite-size assignments that take you from “Blog?” to “Blog!” — along with a supportive community to encourage you all the way through. At the end of the course, you’ll have a blog you’re proud and excited to publish, and that others are excited to read.
Here’s how it works:
- Assignments fall into three broad categories — publishing posts and pages, customizing your blog, and engaging with the community — and are designed to build on one another.
- We’ll post a new assignment here on The Daily Post each weekday at 12AM GMT. Each assignment will contain all the inspiration and instructions you need to complete it. Weekends are free (but we’ll suggest some ways you might want to spend them).
- Participants will have a private community site, the Commons, for chatting, connecting, and seeking feedback and support. Daily Post staff and Happiness Engineers will be on hand to answer your questions and offer guidance and resources.
You’ll walk away with six (or more!) published posts and a handful of drafts, a customized theme that reflects your personality, a small but growing audience, a good grasp of blogging etiquette — and a bunch of new online friends.
My blog has gone from being dull and plain to having widgets and all this shmancy tech stuff, and from having almost no followers to having a loyal following now!
Ready to kick start your blog? Sign up by filling out this simple form:
Note: you won’t receive an automated confirmation email immediately, but you will get a welcome email with complete instructions prior to the start of the course.
We’re excited to introduce Radcliffe, a crisp new free theme.
Radcliffe is a contemporary responsive theme with beautiful typography. It puts your content in the forefront, featuring gorgeous full-width header images.
Learn more about Radcliffe at the Theme Showcase, or preview it by going to Appearance → Themes.
Our editors dove into the archives to resurface top posts published on WordPress.com this year, from personal essays to comics, and photography to fiction. Here’s a glimpse of what you published — and what the community especially loved — in 2014.
“Ever Wished That Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Would Return to the Comics Page? Well, He Just Did,” Stephan Pastis, Pearls Before Swine
“Bill Watterson is the Bigfoot of cartooning,” writes comic artist Stephan Pastis of the legendary Calvin and Hobbes creator. This summer, Pastis collaborated — in secret — with Watterson. Their awesome idea: Watterson would silently step in and draw Pastis’ comic strip, Pearls Before Swine, for a few days, pretending to be a second grader. Pastis recounts the experience, offering a rare glimpse of Bigfoot.
Pearls Before Swine; Stephan Pastis; June 4, 2014.
“No Apology,” Mehreen Kasana
I will apologize for ISIS when every single white American apologizes for the mass incarceration of black and brown people in the United States. I will post an 8,000 word apology when English people email me individual apologies for what the British Empire did to the subcontinent. I won’t limit this to whiteness only; I will apologize when every single ethnic, religious group apologizes for whatever someone did simply because, under this debauched logic, they owe the world an apology for sharing an identity. When I start seeing these apologies, I will apologize too.
Until then, no apology.
In “No Apology,” Brooklyn-based writer Mehreen Kasana pulls no punches in a bluntly powerful post explaining why she refuses to apologize for Muslim extremists. Her post forces all readers to take a hard look at identity, nationalism, and how we pick and choose who we hold responsible for violence — and who we absolve.
“Meanwhile, Just Outside of Ferguson,” Don of All Trades
Life goes on, even when there’s chaos.
While much has happened in Ferguson, Missouri, since the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, this Don of All Trades post, published not long after the shooting, remains an intimate, resonant read. Don, a St. Louis police officer, recounts just another day on the job, in a town right outside of Ferguson, where life continues as usual and everyone — cops included — is invested in making the community better, safer, and more just.
“A Response to ‘Women Against Feminism,’” Hannah Collins, I Wanted Wings
So before you hold up your anti-Feminist placard proudly and smile at your own sense of empowerment, think not what Feminism can do for you, but what it can do for that one girl.
In a response to the #womenagainstfeminism movement, Hannah Collins says why she is a feminist and explains, especially to those who feel they don’t need feminism, that many people around the world still need it.
“Football the Religion,” Tony Burns, Shooting the World
During a visit to Myanmar, freelance travel photographer Tony Burns documented Buddhist monks playing football on the grounds of their monastery, after a day of classes. His photo essay, “Football, the religion,” is a standout in our photography archives this year.
“Why Nerd Culture Must Die,” Pete Warden
When I look around, I see the culture we’ve built turning from a liberating revolution into a repressive incumbency. We’ve built magical devices, but we don’t care enough about protecting ordinary people from harm when they use them. . . . We don’t care about the people who lose out when we disrupt the world, just the winners (who tend to look a lot like us).
“A Pale Blue Glow,” Shane L. Larson, Write Science
This emotional attachment and personification of machines seems disingenuine to some people; spacecraft aren’t people, they are collections of wires and circuits and nuts and bolts — they don’t have souls to become attached to. I dunno. I think they do have souls. They are the embodiment of every one who ever imagined them, worked on them, or stared at the data and pictures they returned. These little robots, in a way, are us. They are our dreams.
On the collaborative blog Write Science, astrophysicist Shane L. Larson pens a thought-provoking piece on the spacecrafts we’ve sent into the outer solar system, including the Voyagers and Pioneers, that will eventually die. Larson celebrates our human achievements in space, explores our relationships to the machines we build, and reminds us of the beauty and mystery of the cosmos.
“An Earthly Guide to Sainthood,” Giovanni De Feo, Cease, Cows
You cannot answer prayers with miracles involving direct deliverance of suffering. However, you can bring joy. Lottery wins are usually the most simple. The miracolati will later dream of you, which will all go to the glory of our kind. They don’t have to be big wins, we actually encourage little ones, as it keeps them hoping.
In this earthly guide to sainthood, Giovanni De Feo, a speculative fiction writer living in Genova, Italy, offers a glimpse into the rules of an afterlife and the responsibilities of a saint. Published at Cease, Cows, a journal of short fiction and prose poetry, De Feo’s piece encapsulates the writing you’ll find here: strange and exploratory.
“What My Bike Has Taught Me About White Privilege,” Jeremy Dowsett, A Little More Sauce
This is what privilege is about. Like drivers, nice, non-aggressive white people can move in the world without thinking about the ‘potholes’ or the ‘gravel’ that people of color have to navigate, or how things that they do — not intending to hurt or endanger anyone — might actually be making life more difficult or more dangerous for a person of color.
In his popular summer post, Michigan-based pastor Jeremy Dowsett explains how riding his bike has helped him to understand privilege. At once personal and accessible, the piece resonated with a wide audience (and was later republished on Quartz).
“August 14,” Optional Poetry
This isn’t my home,
I am a temporary resident
and my family ties are
but things are soaked
in history here,
you can’t take a step
without stepping in it
In 1963, Medgar Evars, a black civil rights activist, was assassinated in the driveway of his home at 2332 Guynes Street in Jackson, Mississippi. Catherine’s poem, set at the Evars family home, is a subtle but powerful tribute to Evars and his important work with NAACP — and an indictment of a society that is still struggling to realize the dreams and promises of the civil rights movement.
“Deaths in the Iliad: A Classics Infographic,” Laura Jenkinson, Greek Myth Comix
At Greek Myth Comix, artist and classic civilization teacher Laura Jenkinson brings the classics to life through comics and infographics. In “Deaths in the Illiad,” she presents an impressive illustrated infographic of Trojan and Greek deaths, battle stats by hero, notable battle performances, and more.
“A Veteran Teacher Turned Coach Shadows 2 Students for 2 Days — A Sobering Lesson Learned,” Grant Wiggins
But in shadowing, throughout the day, you start to feel sorry for the students who are told over and over again to pay attention because you understand part of what they are reacting to is sitting and listening all day. It’s really hard to do, and not something we ask adults to do day in and out. Think back to a multi-day conference or long PD day you had and remember that feeling by the end of the day — that need to just disconnect, break free, go for a run, chat with a friend, or surf the web and catch up on emails. That is how students often feel in our classes, not because we are boring per se but because they have been sitting and listening most of the day already. They have had enough.
This fall, education writer Grant Wiggins shared an account from a veteran high school teacher who shadowed tenth and twelfth grade students for two days. The experience was eye-opening, while the post generated an overwhelming response via comments and emails.
“The Eroticism of Placelessness,” Cody C. Delistraty
Those who choose to remain placeless find that next to us lays either an empty pillow or a body that we feel little affection for, merely a vessel for countenancing this intentional loneliness. Eroticism is not an antidote; it is a Band-Aid.
Cody C. Delistraty, a writer and researcher based in Paris and Oxford, writes about culture, psychology, and the human condition. In “The Eroticism of Placelessness,” he muses on placelessness — inhabiting in-between spaces — and its connections to freedom and romance, but also loneliness. We appreciate Delistraty’s blend of essay, research, and commentary and eloquent discussions to bigger questions.
We’re proud of the global community of bloggers that publish on this platform each day. You’re welcome to browse recent editors’ picks on discover.wordpress.com.
We look forward to reading you in 2015!
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 — from talking about making great products to using design to tackle social challenges.
Recently, Story Wrangler Cheri Lucas Rowlands and Happiness Engineers Carolyn Sonnek, Deborah Beckett, and Jen Hooks attended the third annual BlogHer PRO ’14 conference, an event for professionally minded bloggers looking to take their blogs, brands, and businesses to the next level.
A conference is a great way to dive deeper into your passion of blogging. You invest in specific skills you want to hone and get inspired by big ideas, and also take a break from that glowing screen. It’s fun to immerse yourself in an inspiring setting where avatars become faces and Twitter handles become real people.
Image by Jen Hooks
BlogHer PRO ’14 was a relatively intimate conference — about 200 attendees met in Redwood Shores, California, just south of San Francisco, to talk about how to grow their platforms and products into successful brands, identify their strengths and effectively tell their unique stories, and reach their audience and potential partners. Over two days, bloggers attended info-packed talks and presentations — from a chat with entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki and Simply Recipes blogger Elise Bauer to a keynote conversation between BlogHer’s Elisa Camahort Page and Findery CEO Caterina Fake.
Bloggers engaged in sessions on monetization and video trends, high-impact advertising and alternate revenue streams, mobile site optimization, and putting together a comprehensive marketing plan. Hands-on workshops on building media kits and tackling book proposals, among other topics, helped attendees get up and running.
As a sponsor of the event, we met many people at our WordPress.com booth, and were happy to see that a majority of attendees were self-hosted WordPress users. On day two, Happiness Engineers Carolyn and Deborah took the main stage to talk about the benefits of Automattic’s products and services for self-hosted WordPress users, including super plugin Jetpack, security and backup service VaultPress, anti-spam service Akismet, and poll and survey tool Polldaddy. These products provide self-hosted WordPress users the power, security, and functionalities available to our WordPress.com bloggers.
We were on hand to answer technical questions, offer tailored advice to attendees (from tips to improve site performance to choosing the right themes), and connect with existing and potential users.
If you’re serious about the business and marketing side of blogging and are interested in learning more about BlogHer, visit the BlogHer network. There, you’ll also find wrapup posts about this conference, as well as information on BlogHer’s other conferences. (Our very own Michelle Weber recapped this year’s BlogHer ’14 as well — check it out!)
For more updates from the WordPress.com and Automattic team, follow us on Twitter (@WordPressdotcom and @Automattic) and Facebook (WordPress.com and Automattic). We’ve got many events and conferences lined up in 2015 — stay tuned.