Archive for the ‘Accessories’ Category
Today, we’re welcoming a new free theme to our collection: Pique.
Pique is a stylish and modern theme designed as a one-page scrolling site, giving your customers easy access to all your information in one place. Personalize your site by adding featured images to your pages and tweaking the colors to create a site that’s perfectly suited to your brand. Upload your logo and custom header image to make your site distinctive.
Designed specifically with coffee shops in mind, Pique is particularly well-suited for small, independent businesses. Use it to build an online home for your bakery, hair salon, shop, or cafe.
And of course, it’s completely responsive, so it will look good on any device your customers are using, whether they’re on the road or at home.
Pique has lots of fantastic features that will allow you to create a beautiful and dynamic showcase for your business, including:
- Upload your own Site Logo
- Customer testimonials
- Optional sidebar on post pages
- Custom menus in both the header and footer
- Custom headers and backgrounds
- Featured images on posts and pages
- A large footer with three widget areas
- Social menu support
Single posts in Pique are clean and elegant and feature an optional sidebar for additional content.
Give Pique a spin on the Theme Showcase!
You may not bother with resolutions for the new year, but setting goals for your blog helps you to (re)focus and shape your online home. We asked a diverse mix of bloggers:
What’s the most important goal you have for your site in 2016?
Lisa Jakub, lisajakub.net
My resolution is very simple and not so easy: I want to create work that tells the truth. Writing, for me, is all about connection, and nothing creates connection like open-hearted honesty. It’s about putting letters and spaces together in a way that reaches out and allows all of us to feel less alone. It’s about finding our commonalities and celebrating our individual authenticity. And if we can laugh about it in the process — even better.
Emily J. Petersen, The Bookshelf of Emily J.
My goal for my blog in 2016 is to re-personalize it! I started out by writing about my memories and experiences as they connected with books, and I’ve gotten away from that. I’m working on a PhD and finishing my dissertation this year, so I’ve become preoccupied. My book reviews tend to be just that: book reviews. I think what made my blog special in the beginning were the stories I told about my life as they related to books.
So in 2016, I plan to make my posts more personal, more engaging, and more sincere. I read a lot of books, but I’d rather write about my personal reaction or connection to a book than repeat the plot line. I think this personalization will help me to reconnect with my loyal readers and to find new ones. I love the community aspects of blogging, so I hope to reinsert myself there by sharing who I am and opening up more.
Sam Nathapong, Sam in Bangkok
Sam Nathapong wants to share your tales of Bangkok.
I’m interested in free speech in 2016. Bangkok, Thailand, has been under the military government for more than a year, since the May 2014 coup. The military junta has created a climate of fear among us, from small bloggers to journalists and academics all over the country.
My blog is small, so I’m not trying to be all Katniss Everdeen about it — and Bangkok is far more than what is described as The Hunger Games’ District 12. On Twitter, it feels especially tense for those of us writing in the English language from Thailand. But with this global language, I want to reach more people and let them know that there are still reasons to smile under such conditions — and to tell my own part of this story.
Bangkok is still rich in culture, and we have so many visitors each year. I believe that everyone has their own unique Bangkok story inside of them, and my goal is to reach out to these people. My door is open if they have a story to tell.
In 2016, I want Sam in Bangkok to be a blog where we can share and discover stories about Bangkok — freely.
Summer Pierre, Paper Pencil Life
New for 2016: an online comics course from Summer Pierre.
I have always been a conflicted blogger, feeling slightly apologetic for keeping what can seem an indulgently personal project in a public forum. Yet after this year of feeling more connected than ever to a growing audience, due to telling my imperfect and personal stories, it hit me: Who am I kidding? I love my blog. If it weren’t for my blog I would have never tried half of what I’ve done. It is both my lab and my studio, and although I might have made comics and written essays without it, I doubt I’d ever have felt as connected to people on such a consistent personal level through my work.
Without my blog, I would never have come up with my latest endeavor: teaching an online class on comics in the New Year. The class is a direct extension of everything I’ve made on my blog and feels like a natural progression as an artist on WordPress. I feel more excited than ever to continue to tell my own story through words and pictures, and to extend the reach by helping others tell their own. What could be better?
Russell Jackson, Draw the Public
Blog resolutions for 2016, by Russell Jackson at Draw the Public.
Samara Speaks, A Buick in the Land of Lexus
In 2016, I would like to parlay my blog into a successful freestyle rap career and share my rhythmic wisdom across the globe. Sadly, I have zero rapping skills. Can I change my answer?
For 2016, I would like to actually HAVE goals. For two years I’ve flown by the seat of my pants. (What does that even MEAN? Sounds painful.)
The grown-up bloggers set goals. They use editorial calendars and blog organizers. Blog organizers? I can’t even find a clean bra. Check my Google Analytics? I get lost at Walmart.
I’m reasonably intelligent, but blog tech jargon makes me hyperventilate. Someone says, “determine a niche to develop your overall SEO strategy.” I hear, “Blerghity blergh blergh.”
Did you know Pinterest can be used to drive traffic to your blog? Do you know what custom CSS is? Bounce rate? Meta tags?
Samara‘s goal is to remain goalless.
Did you know that the Amish are a real culture of people and not just an old-timey group of actors who are just really into it? Do you realize that our presidential elections are basically a national scam and we’d be better off electing a God of Cake?
So, for 2016, my big goal is to SET GOALS.
Guess what? I checked with Lady Google, and only 8 percent of goals are ever met. If seven of us are answering this question, only .56 of us are going to meet our goals. Not even ONE WHOLE PERSON!
Maybe winging it IS the way to go. I’m not rich or famous. But I must be doing something right, because I have the coolest blog family on the planet. The people who read my blog make it what it is. I don’t have to change a thing.
So, I guess my goal is to remain goalless. I am, after all, a non-conformist. Just like everyone else.
J.S. Park, jsparkblog.com
Every blog can hit a stride, and then the pressure’s on. With enough diligence, dark roast, and in-brain mud-wrestling over the perfect click-worthy title, we can get what we always wanted: a steady stream of readers.
The problem is we try to duplicate lightning in a bottle, and we hold too many bottles, and we stretch ourselves thin with thunder. Either the blog will turn into Swiss cheese, or we will. Or in my case, both.
For devout atheist-turned-skeptical pastor J.S. Park, blogging in 2016 means slowing down.
I rode a wave this year that culminated in the best blog performance since I started 15 years ago, with a tsunami surge of clicks over the summer. But it came at the cost of my restless desperation. I had to write on everything. I had to have an opinion. I had to ride the momentum to rapture.
I knew it was bad when I thought, I can’t stop now. I thought stopping meant quitting, and quitting in my Eastern Asian world is harakiri by pen.
My posts became passive-aggressive, choppy, less coherent and thoughtful. I got emails that said, “Sounds like it’s been rough lately, sorry.”
Their concern broke through. I had to rest.
I treat rest like an annoying pause-button before I get back to work, but rest is the living actual life that makes the work make sense. I forget to enjoy and cherish the downtime: which isn’t really downtime, but real time. I forget to remove myself from stats and post schedules to live life itself, so that I can have something to say at all. And I had to quit superimposing those moments into social media, to just let them breathe without an obligation to post them.
Rest is the room to breathe.
My hope is to write less and live more. Rest more and write better. Be still in the balcony and regain perspective. It’s this space that cultivates creativity, for better thoughts, and more thunder.
We wish all of you a Happy New Year — and can’t wait to see what you create in 2016.
Twenty Sixteen is a fresh take on the traditional blog format, with great features including:
- Optional sidebar
- Multiple menu positions and a social menu
- Overhanging large images
- Post intro and pull quotes
Handy customization options let you create your own look. You can choose from several beautiful color schemes or create your own, and further customize by adding your own background or header.
Twenty Sixteen has many accessibility features and is universally designed for a wide range of WordPress users, whether you’re a first-time blogger or seasoned pro. Since the theme is developed with a mobile-first approach, it will look great no matter what device you’re using to view the site.
Check out Twenty Sixteen right here.
Now you can manage your sites, write and publish, and even customize your site and view stats from a dedicated app in your Windows Start Menu. Use it for your sites on WordPress.com, as well as for self-hosted WordPress sites. (For the latter, you’ll just need to have the Jetpack plugin installed to connect your site.)
And just like the rest of WordPress.com, the new Windows app is simple, seamless, and blazingly fast.
The new Windows app includes:
- The My Sites dashboard for managing multiple sites, whether WordPress.com or self-hosted WordPress with Jetpack.
- The new WordPress.com Editor, with in-app previewing and draft auto-saving.
- The Reader, which lets you follow and read any of your favorite sites, and the all-new Discover, which recommends outstanding content from across all of WordPress.
- Insights and Stats, which show you exactly how your site and posts are performing.
- In-app notifications, so you can see comments, likes, and new follows all in one place.
This, of course, is just the beginning. We’re excited to have you try it out, and thanks for all your continued feedback and support.
Learn more about the new WordPress.com in the video below. Since its launch you’ve already published upwards of 3 million posts using the new editor!
It always makes us happy to hear about the achievements of writers, photographers, and artists who choose WordPress.com as their home on the web. Today, let’s celebrate recent exciting news from Gaia Vince, Max Becherer, and Rolli.
A writer with a message
The resulting book, Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made, is an absorbing (and chilling) account of the ways in which humans are rapidly transforming the environment — often for the worse.
Earlier this fall, Adventures in the Anthropocene won the prestigious Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books, bringing Vince’s work, along with the important topics she covers, back to the spotlight. She joins a list of illustrious past winners, including Stephen Hawking, Stephen Jay Gould, and Jared Diamond.
Going underground in Afghanistan
Photojournalist Max Becherer has been covering war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003, and his work has appeared in leading publications like TIME and the New York Times. His latest project, however, leaves war in the background; instead, he focuses on Afghanistan’s less-known emerald miners (and the communities around them).
Dynamite and Prayers: Emerald Miners of Afghanistan contains visceral, dynamic portraits of people and landscapes that far too often remain invisible. You can hear Max discuss this project — and his work more broadly — in an interview on HeatherBlog.
A new platform for an accomplished artist
Based in Regina, Saskatchewan, writer and cartoonist Rolli has published several books, including the recent I Am Currently Working On a Novel. His comics regularly appear in the Wall Street Journal, Adbusters, and elsewhere.
Rolli has recently embarked on another exciting adventure, finding his cerebral, off-kilter work a new home at The Walrus, one of Canada’s most prestigious magazines. You should check out his weekly contributions — both his flash fiction pieces and comics are bite-sized, thought-provoking treats.
Do you have an achievement to celebrate with us? We’d love to hear about it — let us know in the comments.
We always strive to make your sites run as quickly and smoothly as possible, both on the front end and under the hood. So we’re happy to announce that the WordPress.com image service, which delivers the beautiful images you use in your posts to your site’s visitors, now offers seamless support for the WebP image format.
What does this mean for you and your audience? This new feature provides size reductions of up to 34 percent for served images compared to a JPEG image of an equivalent visual quality level. Your viewers will save a lot of time loading your pages — time they can better spend enjoying the content you publish.
|JPEG File Size – 43.84KB||WebP File Size – 29.61KB|
Visually identical images in JPEG and WebP format with their respective sizes.
While WebP isn’t currently supported by all browsers (see the WebP FAQ for more details), you don’t have to worry about anything. We auto-detect which browsers your readers are using to make sure they can enjoy your travel photography, family pictures, or recent illustration work at the best possible quality. Our system will always serve your viewers the best image format at the highest speed possible.
If you’d like to learn more about this fast-loading image format, check out the following links:
- Information on the WebP image format.
- A comparative compression study between WebP and JPEG, conducted by Google.
- A page comparing JPEG and WebP images and their respective sizes (you’ll need a WebP-enabled browser to view the WebP images on this page).
- Our Photon image service has supported the WebP format since June.
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.