Archive for the ‘Accessories’ Category
As a company whose mission is to democratize publishing, we believe strongly in helping everyone in our community make their voice heard regardless of their political affiliation. So we’ve teamed up with HelloVote to make it easy to register for the upcoming elections in the US — right here on WordPress.com.
Introducing a quick, easy way to register
The election might be mere weeks away, but it’s not too late to register. HelloVote is a sleek voter-registration tool that allows any US-based visitors to your site to register to vote or check their registration status. If you activate the tool, anyone from the US who’s logged in to WordPress.com will see a small box at the bottom-right corner of your site where, by entering their phone number, they’ll be able to complete their registration (or verify they’re already registered) in under a minute.
The tool will be automatically disabled on October 12, when registration closes across a large swath of states. While we hope many WordPress.com site owners use this feature to get their audience engaged in the upcoming election, we leave this choice entirely up to you. To activate the HelloVote registration tool, simply head to your site settings and enable the “US Voter Registration Form” setting at the bottom of the first section:
We also invite you to use this tool yourself — and encourage others to follow your example.
Today we are adding a new feature to our WordPress.com Business Plan that will make it easier for visitors to discover your site. Our new Advanced SEO tools will help you optimize your site for search engines and social media sharing. Let’s explore!
Custom Meta Descriptions
Typically, search engines will pull text from the post content to create a description that shows up in search results. You can use Advanced SEO to customize the meta description with a summary that does a better job at captivating readers and potentially increase the post’s search page ranking.
Custom Title Formats
To help improve your search page ranking, you can customize how page titles appear for different sections of your site. You can reorder items such as ‘Site Name’ and ‘Tagline,’ and add custom separators between the items.
Search and Social Previews
Before you publish your new post or page, you can use the Advanced SEO preview tool to see how it will look on a variety of networks.
The preview will use the custom description you set in the Advanced SEO meta description settings so you can get an idea on how a post or page will look on the WordPress.com Reader, search engines like Google, and social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.
We hope these new tools will help business site owners on WordPress.com to effectively market themselves and become more successful. Don’t have the business plan? Click here to learn more.
If you’re ready to start customizing your SEO content, head over to https://wordpress.com/settings/seo or the post editor to get started!
From September 19 to September 26, we invited members of the WordPress community to join us in one of our favorite yearly traditions: the Automattic Worldwide WordPress 5K (open to runners, walkers, cyclists, and hikers — and any other type of ambulation). Here are some of the stories and photos people shared from their corner of the world.
Live from Whistler
Our company is distributed, with Automatticians currently based in more than 50 countries. But once a year, we meet for a week to work and socialize in person — and we always set aside some time to run together, too.
Automatticians preparing for their 5K in Whistler, Canada.
This year, our Grand Meetup took place in beautiful Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. And on the morning of September 19, a few dozen of us braved the chilly early-morning weather for a 5K in the lush mountain landscape. If this sounds like your idea of fun, consider joining us in time for next year’s edition — we’re always hiring.
A thought-provoking jog in Austin, Texas
For many of us, a walk or a run are among the rare moments when we have time to clear our minds and reflect on our surroundings. For Johanna Levene, jogging is also a reminder of gender inequality. In a powerful recap of her jog during a trip to Austin, Texas, she discusses her fragile sense of safety when street harassment and assault are rampant:
But I’m a runner. I love running when I travel for work. Last week I left my hotel room with my phone in hand and my room key in my pocket. I don’t wear headphones when I run, because I know it’s not safe. I hate holding my phone when I run, but I’m somewhere strange and no one knows I’m leaving and no one is expecting me back. On the off chance something bad happens I can call. On the off chance something really bad happens the last known location of my cell phone might be traceable.
Stories like Johanna’s remind us of the strong voices in our community — and of all the work that’s still needed to make all communities safe and welcoming to everyone, regardless of our identity. (Visit our new Diversity and Inclusion page if you’d like to learn more about our company’s efforts in these areas.)
WordPressers celebrating local landscapes
WordPress communities are fiercely local, grassroots operations. The annual WWWP5K reminds us of the global reach of this platform, and brings together developers and bloggers, designers and photographers, and everyone else in between who uses WordPress to tell their stories.
In Paris, Houssanti Baraka celebrated her first blogiversary by walking five kilometers in La Villette park:
In South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, the blogger at Dis Ekke shared photos from a muddy (but pastoral!) hike outside her recently flooded town:
And in the US, southeastern Louisiana-based Diana Klein took her mixed run/walk as an opportunity to closely observe the sights and people that make her neighborhood hers:
I’ve passed a few other early exercisers already, but it’s three quarters of a mile in before I see any of the regulars: the speedy woman walker whom I often come up on and to whom I gently call out, “On your left.” She always squeezes her arms into her body to take up less space, preparing for any onslaught I might bring. “Good morning,” I say as I pass her, scenting her gentle baby powder aura. “Good morning,” she always beams back — as though her eighty-odd years have done nothing to quell the joy that determines to exude from her body. I want to be like her — not when I’m eighty, but right now.
Have you participated in the Worldwide WordPress 5K? Tell us how it went in the comments, or share a link to a post you published about it.
Hi everyone, it’s been a busy few weeks in the world of WordPress, WordPress.com, and Automattic, so I thought I’d share a roundup with all of you! Here’s a rundown:
Welcome to WordPress
- We are proud to host the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s new Biohub, with a bold vision to invest in science, technology and human ingenuity “to help cure, prevent or manage all diseases by the end of the century.”
- Harvard Gazette: The university’s news site is now on WordPress.com VIP! Here’s their latest story, on Harvard alum Colson Whitehead’s acclaimed new novel, The Underground Railroad.
- New York Times Journeys: A new travel vertical from the Times.
- The San Jose Mercury News: Silicon Valley’s newspaper, now on WordPress.
- The Brookings Institution: The nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC, with a mission “to conduct in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national and global level.”
Fresh New Look
Our friends at Feminist Frequency got a beautiful new design for their site.
Book Deals, Books Published, and WordPress-ers in the News
- Belle Boggs published her much-anticipated book, The Art of Waiting, a memoir and exploration of the natural, medical, psychological, and political facets of fertility.
- Congrats to Stephanie Land (Stepville), whose viral essay for Vox has led to a book deal with Hachette. “I celebrate today with all of you, my friends, and followers, who have stuck with me through all of these years. Thank you for your support. Thank you for reading. I can’t wait to share my book with you.” We’re excited to read MAID: A single mother’s journey from cleaning house to finding home.
- Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries, a book by Kory Stamper at Harmless Drudgery, will be released in March 2017. Kory is a lexicographer at Merriam-Webster.
Notable and Viral: Stories from WordPress Publishers and Bloggers
- Nate Silver and FiveThirtyEight are tracking the presidential poll data as we get closer to the U.S. presidential election in November.
- Fortune’s Erin Griffith looks at the startups working to build a driverless future for cars.
- Longreads published some excellent new original essays, including Maria Bustillos on her daughter’s MS diagnosis, Rob Tannenbaum on intersex Olympic champion Stella Walsh, a collaboration with The Marshall Project and Pulitzer Prize finalist Tom Robbins, and a partnership with the new Racquet Magazine.
- Automattic’s new Design.blog featured thought-provoking posts on design, inclusion, and careers — from contributors such as Jessica Helfand, Kevin Bethune, Alice Rawsthorn, Julie Zhuo, Lena Groeger, Ti Chang, and John Maeda, our new Global Head of Computational Design and Inclusion.
- We launched Data.blog, a new site from the data team at Automattic. Read about network science and mapping the communities of WordPress.com.
New Features for WordPress.com
How We Work
“This pioneering tech company figured how to make work-from-home work.” Our parent company Automattic was featured in this new Quartz story by Alice Truong about our distributed work model. How do we get things done with 500 employees in more than 50 countries? (Hint: There’s a lot of blogging and Slack-ing behind the scenes.)
Other News from Around Automattic
- We are proud to share our commitment to diversity and inclusion at Automattic. See our new page here.
- The .blog domains are starting to appear! Design.blog, Dave.blog, Data.blog, and more. The .blog names will open up to everyone starting November 21.
- Pressable scored high marks from Review Signal for its WordPress-hosting service and performance — and our enterprise WordPress.com VIP got this rave: “I’m also not sure what sort of hardware they are running by they blew my WPPerformanceTester PHP bench out of the water… they put on an amazing show and easily earned Top Tier Enterprise WordPress Hosting status.”
- Our own Derek Powazek spoke at this year’s XOXO Fest to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Fray, the pioneering online community devoted to personal stories, which he launched in 1996.
- Congrats to our CEO and WordPress cofounder Matt Mullenweg, recipient of the Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment, and named to Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40” list.
- Our company is now 500 Automatticians in 57 countries, speaking 70 different languages. We all got together last week in Canada for this group photo. Oh, and we’re hiring!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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:
- Big Brother
- Forefront (premium)
- Hemingway Rewritten
- Twenty Sixteen
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!
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!
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!
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: Commenting Basics — a short course to get you comfortable with reaching out to other bloggers and commenting etiquette.
- 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: Finding Everyday Inspiration — a longer course to spark a daily writing practice and explore ways to find new post ideas all around you.
- 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.
- Photography: Developing Your Eye II — 10 more days of themes and tips, getting progressively more in-depth. Take it after Developing Your Eye I, or on its own!
- 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.
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!
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.
- Design.blog: We’re proud to launch this new site, co-led by WordPress.com’s design team and featuring stories by and about people who love to create. Follow the site for contributions from people like Alice Rawsthorn, Cassidy Blackwell, Jessica Helfand, and John Maeda, our new Global Head of Computational Design and Inclusion.
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!