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25.05.2022 14:00

Introducing WordPress Starter: Make Your Mark

Every site starts with an idea. WordPress Starter is a new, beautifully pared-back plan designed to put that idea center stage. For just $5/month. Like the WordPress Pro plan (more on that below), WordPress Starter brings you the fastest WordPress managed hosting on the planet. Unlimited site traffic. And a …

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Introducing WordPress Starter: Make Your Mark

Every site starts with an idea. WordPress Starter is a new, beautifully pared-back plan designed to put that idea center stage. For just $5/month.

Like the WordPress Pro plan (more on that below), WordPress Starter brings you the fastest WordPress managed hosting on the planet. Unlimited site traffic. And a revolutionary price.

Make Your Mark

From building your audience with a blog. To sharing your business, design, expertise, or experiences with the world. If you’re looking to make your work visible, and make it visual, the Starter plan has you covered.

Let’s take a look at the details.

Put Your Stamp on It – with a Custom Domain

WordPress Starter unlocks custom domains – the ability to make your site’s address on the web your own.

So instead of your web address looking like this:

My-site.wordpress.com

You can put your stamp on it, and make it look like this:

My-site.com

It’s the artist’s signature that separates a Picasso from a print. 

If you want to own a piece of the web, a custom domain makes a powerful statement. And your first year of domain registration is on us.

Make It Visual. Make It Visible.

Photos and images can really set your site apart. Making it visual goes a long way to making it visible.

Starter gives you a big boost in storage – a roomy 6GB for all your photos and images. So you’ll never need to think twice about adding visual flavor to every post. And every page.


From Visible to Profitable – with Simple Payments

As your site and audience grows, WordPress Starter has everything you need to start taking payments from your site visitors.

Simple payments – included with Starter – bring you three ways to do exactly that:


Track Your Success – with Google Analytics

Finally, Starter opens up an integration with Google Analytics. If you’re ready to dive a little deeper than the default WordPress.com stats, connecting your site to GA opens the door to a world of information. 

Who’s visiting your site, who’s coming back for more, and which content is really resonating with them is the tip of the iceberg.

WordPress Starter vs. WordPress Pro

So what’s the difference between WordPress Starter and the recently announced WordPress Pro plan?

WordPress Starter

WordPress Starter unlocks custom domains and the space to make your site beautifully visual and visible. It does that with a big boost in storage for your images – from 1GB on the free plan to 6GB on Starter. It also includes simple payments to get you started selling content, donations, and subscriptions. And with its Google Analytics integration, you’ll always be able to dig deep on what’s resonating with your audience, so you can double down on your success. 

And with Starter, you’ll never have to worry about site traffic. Because traffic is unlimited.

Starter is a solid place to land if you want a great looking, blazing fast blog or website with simple payments baked in, but don’t want or need to dig deeper into design customization, interactivity, or integrations.

Starter costs just $5/month. 

WordPress Pro

WordPress Pro unlocks access to over 50,000 plugins and themes – an infinite, open library of ways to customize the features, interactivity, integration and design of your home on the web. Whatever your ambitions.

Pair that with:

  • Everything included with Starter
  • 50GB of storage for images, audio, and videos
  • A full range of ecommerce and payment tools (with even lower processing fees of just 2.9% +30¢), including the full power of WooCommerce out of the box
  • Advanced SEO, design, and social media tools
  • Beautiful premium themes
  • Google Analytics integration
  • Automated one-click backups
  • SFTP and database access
  • A free custom domain for your first year
  • Unlimited user admins
  • The ability to earn ad revenue from your site
  • Premium expert support by email and live chat 
  • And a lot more than we could comfortably fit into this paragraph. 

Which gives you the raw power to build and grow any site, store, and audience you can think of. Whether you’re starting out, or you’re a seasoned WordPress publisher.

Pro is $15/month, billed annually.

Spoiler: There’s Another Reason We Called It Starter

We called the new plan WordPress Starter because it gives you an affordable way to get a beautiful site started and shipped. But that’s not the only reason.

Coming soon, we’ll be introducing a range of add-ons that pair with Starter to give you an extra boost. It’s an a la carte way to add just what you need to Starter. And nothing you don’t. 

Stay tuned for more updates on that. In the meantime, we’d love to hear what’s important to you in the comments.

Questions? We’ve Got Answers

Your Website Looks Great. So Should Your Emails.

A Fresh New Design For Subscriber Emails

We recently rolled out some fresh, flavorful updates to the design of the emails that go out to your subscribers when you publish new posts to your site. With this new design update we worked on modernizing the out-the-box email templates that come with your WordPress.com website.

Clean, Content-First Design

Let’s take a look at the new look and feel.

Design can have a huge impact on engagement. With the new update, your subscribers will get a fresh looking email when they subscribe, receive a welcome email, and whenever you publish new posts. The new designs put your content first, and look beautiful on any device.

1. Confirmation Email

When a site visitor subscribes to your updates, the first email they’ll get will ask them to confirm their subscription. This helps make sure that the person subscribing is the owner of the email address shared. Just in case.

To put your personal stamp on that email, you can edit the message that gets sent out. Just head to: Settings → Reading → Follower settings → “Blog follow email text”, and you’re all set.

2. Welcome Email

Once your subscriber has confirmed that they’re good to go ahead, they’ll receive a Welcome Email. This one’s really important.

It turns out that the average open rate of Welcome Emails is 82% (GetResponse, 2017). So, for every 100 emails you send out, 82 people will open them. Compare that with the average email open rate of just 21%, and it’s easy to see how making a good first impression really matters.

3. New Subscriber Email

We don’t leave you out, either. 

At the same time your new subscriber gets their Welcome Email, you’ll get a New Subscriber email. So you can celebrate.

4. New Post Updates

Now your subscriber’s all set, they’ll get a fresh new email every time you add a new post to your site. That’s one more reminder that you’re out there and publishing. And one more reason to keep coming back for more.

Getting Started

Email is one of the best ways to reach your site visitors, with 4.3 Billion users around the world forecast for this year alone (Statista, 2021). 

On WordPress.com, tapping into that huge audience is as simple as adding a block to your site. Check out our support guide for the subscribe block to walk you through how to get that up and running.

Adding the block makes it a couple-of-clicks simple for your site visitors to subscribe to your content. 

And once they’ve subscribed, they’ll receive all of your latest updates – with the new, fresh design – direct to their inbox.

New: Free SEO Course

A successful website is a labor of love. I know, first-hand, how much work goes into getting a site launched. But the effort can’t stop there, because for most people, the whole point of publishing a website is to get people to see it. 

If your goal is like mine and you want to see a gradual increase in your site’s visitor traffic, a solid marketing strategy is needed. And no strategy would be complete without good SEO practices. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and as technology is always changing, optimizing your site for search engines, like Google, is a continual undertaking.

This is why we launched our FREE course, Intro to Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

The field of search engine optimization is complex and the sheer volume of information can be daunting and overwhelming for even the most fluent internet surfers. SEO has come a long way since Google first launched in 1996 and many practices that were considered strategic back then are now viewed as black hat tactics, which can penalize your site. 

Luckily, we’ve launched our latest course to provide a straightforward and easy-to-follow introduction to the world of SEO, which will give you a solid foundation of what you can do to ensure people have the best chance to find your content when they search online. 

In this course you will:

  • learn what SEO is and why it’s important
  • understand how to find and apply keywords
  • equip yourself to create stand-out content that gets results

By registering, you’ll get access to our course platform, where you can work through each lesson at your own pace and take your time to really put that knowledge into practice with your existing and future content.

WordPress.com Favorites: The Pelikan’s Perch

Welcome back to our “WordPress.com Favorites” series! In these interviews, we’ll be highlighting bloggers about their passion project. Caution: contents guaranteed to be inspiring.  

Today’s featured blog, The Pelikan’s Perch, dives deeply into a niche of a niche: proprietor Joshua Danley writes solely about Pelikan-brand fountain pens. 

Even if you’ve never written with a fountain pen and know nothing about this graphological hobby, you’ll be captivated by Joshua’s interview below. 

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What do you write about? How long have you been blogging?

First and foremost, I am a father to two sweet and rambunctious little boys and a husband to an amazing wife. Most of the time, you can find me working at a community hospital in the Philadelphia suburbs. I am a pulmonary and critical care physician by trade, working in both in-patient and out-patient settings as well as serving as the medical director of my hospital’s ICU. As you can imagine, my days can be long and intense, never more so than since COVID-19 landed on our doorstep. 

It might surprise some, then, to learn that my blog has nothing to do with medicine or family. Instead, I write exclusively about the Pelikan brand of fountain pens, a brand that is nearly 184 years old. 

I launched my blog, The Pelikan’s Perch, on September 1, 2014, but I’ve been collecting fountain pens since 2012. While studying for my internal medicine boards, I would take breaks from studying by researching my small but growing collection of pens. It was a great way to decompress. I found a lot of great information, but it was fragmented and widely distributed across the varied corners of the internet. I spent a lot of time piecing it all together, really for nothing more than my own edification. 

At some point, it struck me that others might enjoy and benefit from the information that I was gathering for myself. That was the catalyst for the blog. I have no formal writing experience, though I always excelled in my English classes. I sought to combine a colloquial, conversational language that was easy to access while still applying a more rigorous scientific approach to the research behind each piece.

2. Why Pelikan specifically? What makes the brand so special? Why not write about fountain pens more broadly?

I received my first fountain pen in 2009 but have only been collecting them in earnest since 2012. I first collected a broad swath of brands and experienced many unique filling systems, dabbling in anything that caught my eye. It was a great education in the history and design of fountain pens. 

It wasn’t until 2013 that I acquired my first Pelikan, a lightly used white M205. It was love at first sight. The M205 was my first higher-end, piston-filled fountain pen and it stood out for its clean design and perfect balance when posted. It was enough to make me start seeking out other Pelikans. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like I made a snap decision on the spot to dedicate myself solely to one brand, but as I began to gravitate more and more towards Pelikan, I started to forsake all of the others. 

My collection of Pelikans would grow with the addition of an old-style Black/Green M600 and then an M400 Tortoiseshell White. A medical resident’s salary isn’t much to speak about, so I started selling off my earlier non-Pelikan acquisitions to fund my new addiction, a decision that I have yet to regret all these years later. 

What makes the brand so special is that Pelikan pens have an indescribable quality, a character and a discipline, that makes owning and using them a joy that transcends the sum of their parts. There is a rich history and heritage behind the brand that really captivates the imagination when you start digging into it. I don’t write about fountain pens more broadly simply because there are a lot of amazing people already working in that space and putting out great content. I wanted my voice to be unique, so I sought out a niche within a niche. I think that laser focus has allowed me to bring high-quality content to the blog that might not otherwise be possible if I was more broadly focused.


3. You write within a niche of a niche. Do you ever feel constrained or like you might run out of ideas? Is it easy to come up with new content ideas?

Time. Time is what I’m constrained by, specifically the woeful lack of it. My day job keeps me very busy, so my blogging is shoehorned into the odd hours of the night, at least when I’m able to stay awake. A lot of research goes into many of my pieces, and it is time-consuming to try and get things right. It’s not the subject matter that constrains, at least not yet. The Pelikan brand traces its roots back to 1838 and they have been making fountain pens since 1929. That’s 184 years of company heritage and 93 years of pen making, which means that there is plenty of fodder there to write about — if only my time and imagination were equally expansive. It has been a real blast being able to bring some of the more esoteric and buried information about the brand and its pens to the surface. I have a lot more ideas that I’m just waiting to be able to explore.


4. What are the benefits of writing with a fountain pen? What would you say to someone who’s never written with one in order to get them to try?

First, I find the act of using a fountain pen somewhat cathartic. We are so connected and device-oriented these days. There is something special about unplugging and putting pen to paper. That tactile feedback, the nib gliding on a smooth line of ink, seeing your words come to life, that is something very rewarding. It can really unlock your creativity in a way our digital devices can’t. 

It also connects us to the past. While there are plenty of new, modern pens to be had, there are just as many vintage models out there. Picking one up can’t help but evoke images of who might have owned it and what might they have written with it. It’s a fun exercise of the imagination. 

The abstract aside, I think using a fountain pen helps improve retention and can be a stress reliever. Also, it can be very rewarding for those that like to write and send letters. When so much of our mail is junk, receiving a handwritten letter from someone is a rare treat and a special gift that anyone can give. That’s not a fountain pen–specific activity, but the exercise is more satisfying than when using a ballpoint.


5. There’s a robust community of fountain pen enthusiasts out there. What are some of your favorite resources, for folks who might be interested in exploring this vast world?

When I was given my first fountain pen in 2009, I crashed and burned. I had no idea what I was doing, and I didn’t know where to look. That lesson in frustration turned me off to the concept and it took three years before I’d find my way back. The second go-round was much more successful, largely thanks to sites like The Fountain Pen Network and Fountain Pen Geeks which were very influential for me in my early days. I think they are still great repositories of information and there is a lot there for a novice to explore and unpack. 

Other sites are great too, such as r/fountainpens over on Reddit. Those are just some of the bigger forums and discussion boards. It would take way too much space to list all of the other great bloggers and other resources out there that also have great information. The forums make for a good starting point though.


6. Do you have any tips for aspiring bloggers, writers, and/or hobbyists? What has kept you going all these years?

Find your own niche within a niche. Write about something you love, something close to the heart. That will keep you going. 

Keep at it but don’t sweat posting every day or every week. Do what you can, when you can. When it starts to feel like work and you begin to struggle, step away from it. It shouldn’t be a chore. 

For me, the blog has been a therapy of sorts. It’s a refuge where I can go to unplug from the stress of my day job and get lost in a world that has nothing to do with medicine. That stress reliever has been invaluable to my mental health.


If you think you’ve discovered your own niche within a niche, but are a little stuck in getting your site off the ground, check out our free, self-paced Intro to Blogging course.

Also be sure to read the first two features in this WordPress.com Favorites series: The Travel Architect writes all about traveling and doesn’t narrow in on a single geographic area or travel topic; Empish Thomas writes about all kinds of things, from disability advocacy, to book/podcast reviews, to why she loves writing. 

Editor’s note: This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

VideoPress, Take 3

We promised you “more is coming” in our latest update—and now more is here. More features that make the finest video service for WordPress even more powerful. You can upload more content with less effort, reach more audiences, and keep sharing more of what inspires you. In this video, we’ll show you what’s new in VideoPress.

Let’s dive deeper into five of the new features that make VideoPress more powerful than ever:

  • Higher Resolution Videos up to 4K – Watch crisp images on any display and screen size. We’ve added support for displaying your videos in 1440p and 4K formats. 
  • Adaptive Streaming – Videos now play back much faster by automatically adjusting video quality based on bandwidth and display size. The viewer can still choose the quality they’d like in the menu.
  • Progress Bar Color Match – The VideoPress seekbar now adapts its color to match the scenes in your videos. This makes your content really pop.
  • Resumable Video Uploads – You no longer have to restart your uploads if they get cut off for some reason. Simply drag your video into the editor, and the resumable uploader will take it from there, even if a network error occurs.
  • Subtitles, Captions, and Chapters Support – Simply upload your text tracks via the VideoPress block and they will be available on the video as soon as you publish your post.

The most exciting times for video are yet to come. We are committed to keep evolving VideoPress so that you can keep delivering high-quality content, flawlessly and ad-free, to millions of users around the globe.

VideoPress is included in our WordPress Pro Plan on WordPress.com. And if you have a self-hosted site, you can get VideoPress through Jetpack as a standalone product.

Say Hello to WordPrompts!

Earlier this year, we kicked off 2022 with Bloganuary, a daily blogging challenge during the month of January. The feedback we received about the challenge was overwhelmingly positive, and it’s clear that prompts serve as a helpful way to inspire people to write and to connect with other bloggers.

We want to keep that momentum going, so we’re excited to introduce a new set of prompts for creators of all types — whether they participated in Bloganuary or not. Meet WordPrompt, a single-word monthly exercise that aims to inspire you to create new posts, regardless of what or how you publish.

Are you a food blogger sharing recipes? We challenge you to cook up something interesting based on an individual word. 

Are you a photographer with an online portfolio? Show us how the prompt is represented in picture form.

Do you host a podcast or a vlog? We’d love to witness how a single word inspires an episode.

Whatever you publish, we hope you find inspiration in WordPrompts. To join in on the fun, add “WordPrompt” as a tag to your post, allowing your content to be discovered more easily in the Reader, and use the hashtag #WordPrompt when you share your post on social media.


This month’s WordPrompt is:

GREEN


You can find new WordPrompts on our social channels and in our newsletter each month, so be sure to follow us and/or enable the newsletter emails in your account to participate!

Introducing WordPress Pro: One Plan, Infinite Possibilities

Our mission has always been to democratize publishing, one website at a time. Now we’re making all the benefits of WordPress available to more people, with one simple pricing plan.

Hello, Pro

One thing we heard over the years was how hard it can be to choose the right upgrade plan when you’re ready to scale up from Free. 

WordPress Pro radically simplifies that decision by rolling the very best of managed WordPress hosting into a single, affordable plan at just $15/month (paid annually).

50,000+ Plugins in Your Pocket

Plugins are powerful add-ons that make it simple to add limitless functionality to your website in just a few clicks. No coding necessary. With WordPress Pro we’re opening the doors to this unlimited array of extra features at half the price of our previous Business plan.

A Universe of Beautifully Designed Themes

Along with thousands of free themes available, Pro also unlocks a range of beautiful, Premium themes, with more to come in the future. Whatever your goals, you’ll find a hand-crafted, flexible theme to transform your design in minutes, not months. No designer necessary.

From Site to Store in a Couple of Clicks

If you’re ready to start selling, WordPress Pro includes everything from simple payments, donations, and subscriptions, to full-blown stores. 

WooCommerce – one of the most popular ecommerce platforms on the planet – is baked into your Pro plan. Not only does that bring raw, almost infinitely expandable options to your store, it also means you’ll pay significantly less than those other e-commerce options you see in ads everywhere.

Anytime Support, Any Time You Need It

Sometimes you need a little extra help getting it done. WordPress Pro customers can get a helping, human hand with Premium Support over live chat and email. If you’re stuck, we’re here to get you unstuck.

Managed WordPress Hosting For the Rest of Us

WordPress is all about the right to do it yourself. 

With cheap hosting, or even a Raspberry Pi on your counter, you can put up a site in minutes for pocket change. But you’ll run into hours of hands-on maintenance, quickly hit speed, security, and hosting limits, and spend a significant amount of your time keeping it running. Managed Hosting takes away that pain, but often at a significantly higher price.

WordPress.com and the new WordPress Pro plan aim to give you the raw power, flexibility, and hassle-free experience of Managed Hosting, without the huge price tag that usually comes with it. 

In addition to the headline features of Pro, you’ll get:

  • Custom domain names without a separate subscription
  • SEO features that make your site easy to find.
  • Social media tools to promote your website.
  • Hyper-secure protection from DDOS, brute force, and other attacks that could take your site down overnight
  • Super-strong, real-time, automated backups spanning multiple locations, so if the worst ever happens, you’re covered
  • The fastest site speeds of any managed hosting on the planet
  • SFTP access to your files
  • And much more

That means you’ll enjoy a fast, secure, search optimized site, without having to spend countless hours on updates, fixes, and technical maintenance.

What About Free?

Our Free plan isn’t going away.

It’s important to WordPress.com that anyone, anywhere can put up a blog or a site, whatever their situation. With the Free plan you’ll still be able to get the word out, create a beautiful site, and take advantage of the fastest WordPress managed hosting on the planet. And when you’re ready to scale up your ambitions, WordPress Pro will be waiting in the wings.

How This Affects Your Current Plan

While we’re making a few changes to the Free plan, rest assured that if you’re already signed up, nothing will change for you. Ditto, if you’re on one of our legacy plans, nothing will change unless you want it to.

Going forward, new signups and sites will integrate smoothly into our new Free and Pro plans.

Your Money Goes Further. And Further.

WordPress Pro is more than just a simple, competitive way to enjoy rock-solid, super-fast, hyper secure WordPress hosting without the hassle.

Every dollar you spend on your plan helps us to:

  • Support WordPress.com Free plan users around the world, whatever their circumstances. This is more important than ever in 2022.
  • Sponsor the work of 90+ dedicated developers working on the free, open source WordPress project as part of the Five for the Future initiative. That helps to ensure that WordPress will always be free, open, hackable, and hostable by anyone.

We’re Here For You

We’re listening to your feedback, and want to be clear that it will, as always, shape the future of WordPress.com. 

With that in mind, we’re committing to:

  • No traffic limits on either the Free or Pro plan. You’ll enjoy the same unlimited traffic you’ve always had.
  • The new Free plan storage limit will include 1GB of Free storage, and existing Free users will keep the 3GB they already have on hand.
  • Additional storage will be available for purchase at a very reasonable price, very soon.
  • As-you-need them add-ons for both plans, to give you a la carte upgrades. Coming soon. 

It’s important that we keep things simple, honest, and clear in everything we do, and we’re looking forward to hearing from you about your plans, feedback, and ideas!

More Questions?

We totally understand that you might have additional questions about the changes. We’ve answered more of your questions in our FAQ here.

WordPress.com Favorites: Empish Thomas

Welcome back to our “WordPress.com Favorites” series! In these interviews, we’ll be highlighting bloggers about their passion project. Caution: contents guaranteed to be inspiring. This interview has been lightly edited.    

Shortly after Empish Thomas earned her journalism degree in the mid-’90s, she began experiencing severe headaches and sensitivity to light. After a visit to the eye doctor, she was diagnosed with uveitis, a generalized eye inflammation that can quickly escalate to permanent damage. Unfortunately, Empish fell into that category, losing her sight fully within a few years. 

Since then, she’s been a writer, journalist, and advocate for blindness and disability rights, telling stories and championing awareness along the way. 

Empish generously took the time to answer a few of my questions and share some ideas on how we can all be better advocates for disability rights.  

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you write about and why? How long have you been blogging?

I am a freelance writer and blogger. I started off as a writer many years ago and later started blogging in 2013. Although I have a journalism degree, I love writing for the pure pleasure of it. I launched my own blog about two years ago as a safe place to write my own thoughts and ideas about things that concerned me. I write especially about my life as a blind person because when I became disabled 20+ years ago, I rarely saw positive and interesting stories about the disabled.

2. What are some of the most common negative portrayals you see about folks with disabilities in the news or in pop culture?

Well, there are actually two things I notice. One is the “superhero crip” image. That is a disabled person overcoming these incredible challenges and doing amazing things that everyone is impressed by. It sends a message that all disabled people are supposed to or want to be that way. It communicates a false expectation. At the end of the day, we are all human beings and live lives like everyone else.

The second one is that we are not visible at all. Many times, I will read a story or watch a news segment and wonder, “Where are the blind people? What is happening to those with disabilities?” This is not necessarily a negative thing, but more [shows our] exclusion from the storyline.

3. Let’s move to the workplace. How can employers become better allies and advocates for disability rights?

First, making sure that disabled employees get their accommodations to perform their jobs. 

Then, providing the support, encouragement, and motivation to help them move upward in the company the way you would an abled-bodied person. Sometimes I think that people with disabilities are not encouraged to move up into management or higher-level positions. It is like people can’t imagine a blind person as a supervisor or director. But with the right support, they could do the job like anyone else.


A Few of Empish’s Favorite Posts:


4. You’ve mentioned podcasts in a number of blog posts. Do you have any favorite listening experiences to recommend?

Yes, some of my favorite podcasts are HISTORY This Week, LeVar Burton Reads, The Stacking Benjamins, Code Switch, and Grammar Girl

5. What can someone do today to be a better advocate for disability rights, especially in the online space?

For me, being a better advocate is learning as much as you can about blindness and visual impairment. Reading things written by disabled people in their own voices. Through my years of writing about the disabled, I have had people reach out to me to learn more and that is a good thing. 

Also, helping those of us with visual disabilities get access to the internet. I can’t begin to tell you the number of websites I go to with accessibility issues. It is a regular challenge. Reaching out to web developers is hard and exhausting sometimes. But having allies to help in this process would be wonderful. It could be a simple thing like bringing awareness, because people don’t think that blind people are online.

6. Do have any tips for aspiring bloggers or freelance writers? 

Depending on the type of blog you are writing, it is so important to be organized. I use an editorial calendar where I jot down blog ideas for each month. I think about things coming up, current events, trending topics, etc., and add them to the calendar. This helps me to keep a good flow of blog posts.

Once people start subscribing they expect to see posts on a regular basis, and having an editorial calendar helps me stay on track.


Want to learn more about being organized and consistent with your writing? Sign up for our free, self-guided Intro to Blogging course today: 

Customize Your Entire Site With New Block Themes

In case you missed it, we’ve been rolling out a new set of powerful site design tools called Full Site Editing (or “FSE”) and it’s now available for all WordPress.com users!

Don’t worry if you’re just hearing about Full Site Editing for the first time. We’ve been releasing these new tools in a way that doesn’t actually require you to do anything with your existing site(s). If you are up for a change though, we’re happy to announce the launch of a brand new family of themes made specifically with Full Site Editing features in mind. As of this writing we have over two dozen themes available that support Full Site Editing.

These new themes have been designed with a wide variety of sites cases in mind. But their potential stretches well beyond their screenshots and demo sites. Because each theme is fully editable in the Site Editor, every one of these themes can be heavily customized to fit your site’s needs. You can start with theme that features single minimalist homepage, and then add as many menus and sidebars as you wish. Or, you can start with a complex business theme and strip it down to something minimal to suit your vision.

The Site Editor also includes a new feature called “Global Styles,” which allows you to edit site-wide settings for color, typography, and more. You’re free to change your theme’s default color scheme to whatever fits your mood, or even make all site text larger or smaller in a couple of clicks. To kick off this new feature, we’re also providing a few pre-built variations on some of these new themes.

All the new themes and variations can be found in the Theme Showcase. Or, if you’re starting a fresh site, they’ll be offered to you automatically in the site creation flow. This collection of themes is just the beginning, and we’re excited to continue launching a variety of diverse theme options for you. What would you like to see in the next set of themes on WordPress.com?

The Future of Plugin, Themes, and Services Purchases on WordPress.com

Recently we shared that you can now purchase six popular Automattic plugins right from your WordPress.com dashboard. We’re intentionally testing this out with our own products before opening it up to the broader community. This is the first step in our plan to make taking your site to the next level faster, easier, and more flexible than ever before.

But it’s really just the beginning.

What’s coming soon

Today, we’d like to share a vision of what’s coming for instant purchases of plugins, themes, and even services – all from right within your WordPress.com dashboard. This will help you level up your site and make any goal you bring to WordPress.com a reality – with increased ease and convenience. 

Everything you need, one click away

WordPress.com already comes with a suite of powerful, adaptable tools to bring your site, blog, or store to life. On top of those tools, our Business and eCommerce customers have the option of making use of thousands of free and paid themes and plugins from across the wider WordPress ecosystem. In the near future, this will be available for all WordPress.com customers.

The new integrated experience will take that one step further, making getting up and running one-click simple and providing customers with:

  • A curated selection of the best plugins for every need, saving you the hassle of searching for and comparing from the hundreds of options available.
  • Premium themes that are designed to look beautiful the second they’re activated.
  • Professional help to make your vision a reality – even when you don’t have time to do it yourself.
  • Managed Plugins and Themes, giving you the peace of mind that any plugin or theme you purchase is fully managed by the team at WordPress.com. No security patches. No update nags. It just works. Leaving you to focus on the things that matter most.
  • The knowledge that you’re supporting the ecosystem of WordPress community developers and service providers as they support you in turn with your personal or business goals.

Powered by the WordPress community

WordPress isn’t the world’s most popular website builder by accident. Our roots in a huge, and hugely creative, open source community make the platform everything it is and can be.

Giving WordPress.com customers the very best tools and support to achieve their goals will take a village. We’ll be partnering with developers and service providers from across the WordPress ecosystem (and across every part of the world) to make that happen.

As Matt Mullenweg, our CEO and co-founder of the WordPress open source project said recently:

“We’ve got about 2 million people with saved payment details that we can make it one-click easy [for folks] to upgrade, so hopefully this represents a big new potential audience and customer base for people selling things in the WP ecosystem. And of course, we will prioritize working with developers and companies who participate in Five for the Future and contribute back to the WP community.”

Get on the early access list

If you’re a WordPress plugin or theme developer, or you provide professional services for WordPress users, we’d love to hear from you, today.

Drop your details in the form below, and as we work to expand the products and services we’ll bring to WordPress.com customers, you’ll be first on the list when we start reaching out to form new partnerships.

We can’t wait to work with you!

Celebrating Black History Month

For much of Black history in the US, a lot of stories have gone untold. As we wrap up Black History Month, our team at Automattic — the company behind WordPress.com — wanted to share how we celebrated with our fellow colleagues. Throughout February, our Black/African Descent employee resource group, Cocoamattic, shined a light on some of these untold stories.

Each week this month, we shared infographics highlighting notable Black/African Descent people from around the world, from inventors and pioneers to Black-first and culture influencers. 

Join us in celebrating 21 heroes.

Learn more about Cocoamattic and our other resource groups or read more about diversity and inclusion at Automattic.

10 Ways to Avoid Unnecessary Meetings with Asynchronous P2s

“Are all your meetings so effective that you look forward to them?” Our CEO, Matt Mullenweg, recently asked us to reflect on this question. Live meetings have their place, and there are conversations that are better done in real-time, whether in person or through video chat. But they can be costly in terms of time and energy.

At Automattic, we are often asked how we manage remote work and how we avoid excessive meetings, and internal email chains. We use P2, a product powered by WordPress.com, to collaborate with colleagues across time zones. My team, for example, lives everywhere from the Philippines to Romania — there is very little time for us to meet live. P2 is a platform for us to brainstorm ideas, share project updates, and communicate asynchronously. It’s a place where we all start our workdays, no matter where we are in the world, and catch up on what we’re all working on, what tasks need to be done, and what decisions need to be made. Think of it as an internal journal. A bulletin board. A virtual watercooler.

For me, it’s kind of like reading the morning news. P2 can work for different kinds of teams or groups — people who work together within a distributed company, a virtual classroom or workshop cohort, an online business interacting with clients or partners, and more. Wondering how P2 can streamline your work, foster asynchronous collaboration, and eliminate unnecessary meetings? Here are 10 ways: 

1. Offer courses that participants can take at their own pace 

We offer courses to help you make the most of your WordPress.com site. For this curriculum, we use P2 as a community hub where students read lessons, ask questions, get tips, and interact with other participants. This can be done asynchronously — students do not need to join Zoom calls at times that don’t fit their schedule, which makes it accessible for everyone, from wherever they are. 

2. Automate requests across teams and departments

You can use P2 to streamline processes in your organization, such as making requests. Need to send a contract to a new employee? Submit a request on your legal team’s P2. Looking for a designer to make a graphic for an upcoming blog announcement? Fill out a request on your design team’s P2. Hoping to parse stats on a recent campaign? Post a request on your data team’s P2. With these workflows in place, there’s no need to set up meetings to make these requests. Further discussions can happen in the post’s comments as needed.

3. Share status updates from across your company

At Automattic, we have a P2 called Thursday Updates where every team is required to post a biweekly status update, which might include project highlights and high-level summaries. At many organizations, these types of updates are often delivered in PowerPoint or Google Slides at live meetings, often to full rooms with people who don’t need to be there. With P2, you can present information and updates with an array of blocks, including media embeds and project tracking tools.

4. Set up a space to introduce new colleagues

The pandemic has changed the way we work, but traditionally, in many environments, new employees are often taken around and introduced to other staff. Automattic is a fully distributed company, and our teammates live around the world. One company tradition requires every new employee to write a welcome post on a designated P2, where they embed a short intro video about themselves. Other posts as part of the onboarding process include new employee interviews. These are all effective ways of getting to know people and to welcome them to your team — without needing to schedule a bunch of in-person meetings.

5. Create a private site to conduct trials with job candidates

The process of hiring a new employee, from start to finish, can be time-consuming. The entire interview timeline can take weeks, sometimes months, often facilitated through an exhausting combination of phone calls, Slack chats, Zoom calls, and in-person meetings. All roles at WordPress.com and the rest of Automattic involve a trial: a period when candidates work with us on a short-term project, and when both sides can assess whether it’s a good fit. We create P2s for candidates on trial, and at this stage are able to learn a lot about them, particularly the way they think, communicate, and collaborate.  And this is important: we believe a culture of strong written communication is essential for remote organizations.

6. Set up a virtual notepad for meetings and brainstorms

Details of live meetings can be lost, especially when no one takes notes! At Automattic, we document external calls with clients and partners, sharing call notes in P2. And because P2s are searchable, employees — past, present, and future — can access important information discussed in meetings, even ones in which they were not present, to understand why decisions were made or to get the context they need to do their work. If you record video calls, you can also embed recordings on P2 with a number of video blocks, including Loom, Vimeo, and more, to supplement call notes. 

7. Collaborate with partners and clients in a dedicated space

If you run a business, you might find that partners and clients often want to schedule a recurring meeting, even if there are no major updates to discuss. P2 is a great platform to complement — and eliminate unnecessary — live meetings. You can create a P2 for your partner or client and brand it visually with custom colors and their company logo, and tweak the sidebar with relevant links and resources. On this dedicated P2, partners and clients can share written updates, ask quick questions, set up future calls, and correspond with your team throughout the week. You can then schedule meetings only when needed.

8. Celebrate wins, publish retrospectives, and more

As you browse this list, you can see the power and versatility of P2. Powered by WordPress.com, P2 is, at its core, an internal journal — a space where your teammates, students, or group members can make announcements and share recaps. In some offices and work environments, people might schedule an after-work outing to commemorate a successful year, or plan an in-person retreat to discuss the long-term vision of a company. But these days, since it’s become harder to throw in-person events and to get together in person, we also use P2 to celebrate wins, post “state of the business” missives and share other essential longer-form content.  

9. Share meetup guides and event summaries

Teams at WordPress.com and across Automattic periodically meet up in person, giving teammates scattered across the globe a chance to see one another in real life. Planning a meetup can take up a lot of time, from researching locations and booking lodging to ensuring flight and other travel costs are within budget. Meetup planners must also wrangle or be aware of accessibility issues, visa procedures of all attendees, internet speed tests, and other logistics. P2 is a great way to compile details and publish post-trip recaps, and archive travel resources for teams who visit these locations in the future. Folks interested in a particular destination can refer to these guides while planning, which cuts down meetings to essential ones only. (Fun fact: historically Lisbon, Portugal, and Hawaii have been the most popular meetup locations at Automattic.)

10. Publish self-guided resources and internal documentation

Teams across WordPress.com have access to a number of documentation P2s that we call Universities — such as Domain University and Scheduling University — that allow employees to self-train in new areas or brush up on skills. These P2s are quite comprehensive — learning this content might require a full-day live training session — but with these online “universities,” staff can work through resources and tutorials in their own time.

P2 is free for everyone. Ready to get started? Create your own P2 today.

Help us define the next stage of Professional Email

If you’ve been a WordPress.com user in any capacity, you’re probably aware that we believe in democratizing publishing and e-commerce. We believe in designing products for everyone, emphasizing accessibility, performance, security, and ease of use. We believe great software should focus on you, so you can share your story, product, or services, and achieve your dreams. We believe you have a say in this product and how it can make your life easier every day you use it.

Since last year, we’ve been working hard to enable more features for Professional Email and our other email products. One of the things we heard from you is that you want annual payment options, so you don’t have to worry about monthly payouts and pricing. Now, we’re happy to announce that annual plans are officially available for Professional Email. Don’t worry: our 3-month free trial is still available, so that you can try out the best-in-class email product with either payment method — without committing up front.

And we haven’t stopped there. WordPress.com now offers one-click webmail access, making it easier than ever to access and manage your emails directly within your site admin panel. That’s better for you, your community, and your customers. We’re also working on integrating webmail into the admin panel to make it easier to manage Professional Email and save you more time to focus on things important to you.

We want to make sure we continue building a product that makes your everyday life a bit better. If you have any ideas for features you’d want us to add, or any cool Professional Email experiences to share with us, drop us a line. We’re in this together!

Not sure where to get Professional Email?

WordPress.com Favorites: The Travel Architect 

Welcome to our brand new series, “WordPress.com Favorites”! In these interviews, we’ll be highlighting bloggers about their passion project. Caution: contents guaranteed to be inspiring.    

First up, The Travel Architect. A teacher from the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, The Travel Architect has been documenting her world-wide travels (usually alongside “the husband”) since 2018. It’s easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole of her writing; she’s always funny and entertaining, provides great tips, and is quite obviously a natural storyteller. Let’s learn more! 

1. When did you realize that you loved to travel, and when did you start making it a priority in your life?

It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact moment in time when I recognized travel as this thing I had to have in my life on a regular basis. Travel was a frequent part of my childhood and youth — cross-country road trips, ski vacations in the Rockies, Jamaica twice before first grade, a class trip to Spain, a month in Belgium as an exchange student, among other adventures — so my love almost certainly stems from those experiences.  

I’ve always been the kind of person who wants to know what’s just beyond the hill in front of me or what’s just around that bend in the river. While I’m not a danger junkie at all (my husband jokingly calls me “Head Safety”), I am attracted to adventure, whether that adventure is trying via ferrata or exploring a new culture. 

There were some lean travel years when I was in college, but after that I went on a two-and-a-half-month Colorado Outward Bound course that involved mountaineering, rock climbing, river rafting, and canyoneering. Shortly thereafter I moved to the mountains of Montana for a new adventure. Those were lean travel years, too, but living in the mountains in a new state felt a bit like travel. There I met my husband and eventually we relocated back to the Midwest, where I did all the mundane things like get a career and buy a house, but I always had to have travel on the horizon.  

That’s the funny thing — I’m actually quite a homebody. I love my home and being at home, but there’s a restlessness there that can only be relieved by travel. Thankfully, I’m married to someone who is a lot like me in that regard. Nearly indistinguishable from my love of travel is my love of travel planning. I know lots of people would sooner take a trans-Pacific flight in the baggage hold of an airliner than plan and book their own travels, but for me it’s pure bliss (except for international COVID travel, when it’s pure hell).

2. Obviously, COVID has totally disrupted “normal” travel. I’m sure some of your plans were set aside — what did you decide to do in place of some of those plans? Was there anything you learned about your passion in the midst of the pandemic?

Yes, aside from a few colleagues at work who tell me they don’t like to travel (huh?!), I hardly know anyone who didn’t have plans ruined. I personally had a solo spring break trip to Sedona that went up in flames, and my husband and I had to cancel our trip to Spain, Andorra, and France. 

Instead, we enacted “Plan B.” We have a little 12-foot travel trailer that we took on a three-week Colorado-Utah-Colorado socially-distanced road trip. 

Once we were vaccinated we felt comfortable flying domestically, so we took a couple of trips out to different parts of California and one to Arizona. That Arizona trip was for my 50th birthday.  I had long planned to do a much bigger trip to mark the occasion, possibly Japan, but that just wasn’t going to work with all the travel restrictions. 

As for lessons learned, I guess it would be about money. When you’re good about saving for travel as I am, and then you don’t have any travel to spend your money on, your travel account can start to get wonderfully plump. That was our state of affairs partway into the pandemic. When we finally started flying domestically to travel, we really splashed out on some nice accommodations in some beautiful spots. I learned that this form of travel, while lovely, can quickly deplete the account that once seemed bottomless. Now that we’re back to traveling a bit more regularly, I’m trying to rein in some of my luxury impulses.

3. Do you have a favorite locale that you find yourself recommending all the time? Maybe you could share one stateside and one international?

Though I was born and raised in Wisconsin, I’m a mountain girl at heart. I will shout from the rooftops my love for Colorado — hands down my favorite state. I’m just transfixed by mountains. I’ve been to Colorado so many times I’ve lost count I and can’t seem to stop going back. Then there’s southern Utah, a close second, followed by the entire Four Corners region, and heck, the entire Mountain West all the way to the Pacific. This is why we haven’t seen much of the eastern seaboard and vast swaths of the southern US — the western United States just keeps calling to us. 

Internationally, for Americans who’ve never traveled abroad before, we often recommend England, which is where my husband is from. It’s a foreign country, but the lack of a language barrier makes it a great first-timer destination. However, our true favorite is France. We love the food, culture, and history. We love practicing our French with the locals. And no, we’ve never found French people rude or unkind. That’s a stereotype I get asked about often. Frankly, I’ve had people be outwardly rude to me only twice on my travels, and those incidents were in England and Italy.


A Few of The Travel Architect’s Favorite Posts:


4. Any favorite travel tips that you can share with our readers? Whether about saving money, or the best apps, or some suitcase/backpack hack — we’re all ears! 

I’m more of a “travel stories” than a “travel tips” kind of blogger, but I do have one or two things I’ve learned from experiences that may help others. First, if you’re renting a car, as soon as you take possession of it, take a photo that includes the license plate, make, and model.  Accommodations usually ask for this information when checking travelers in, and this way you don’t have to run out to the car. 

Second: always, always, always scrutinize your travel documents for accuracy. I failed to do this once and the airline nearly succeeded in denying me boarding on my flight to Jamaica. Another time I didn’t scan a hotel website as thoroughly as I should have and ended up booking a nonrefundable room. That was for the canceled trip to Spain and I’m still on the hook for it. (So far, they keep letting me kick the can down the road.) 

5. When and why did you decide to start documenting your travels in a blog? What have you gained from blogging? 

For me, blogging is the perfect marriage of my two favorite things: writing and travel. For two decades my only writing outlet was my annual Christmas letter. Every year I got compliments on it and people suggested I start a blog, but I always thought, “What on earth would I write about?” My husband, too, often urged me to start blogging. 

One evening, fresh off an afternoon of travel planning and still experiencing some residual giddiness, our dinner conversation gave birth to the idea of a blog based around travel. I had long noticed that, despite being introverted, I could talk at length to anyone as long as travel was the topic. My husband had tried to start a blog once but it didn’t take, so the framework was there. We just transferred ownership of his blog to my name and the rest is history.  

In addition to honing my writing skills, I have gained friends (or what I like to call “blog buddies”) around the world. I’ve even met up with some of them — one in Laos, one in Thailand, and one here in Minnesota.

6. What are your travel plans this year?

After a calamitous trip to England this past Christmas when Omicron was at its peak, we’ve sworn off international travel until the US removes its testing requirement to return home (I check weekly for news of its demise). 

Still, there’s plenty to see and do in this massive country, so we’re taking advantage of that. I have my long-awaited solo spring break trip to Sedona coming up, two years after it was originally scheduled. Then we’re spending a few weeks in June with our travel trailer in Colorado where we’ll be cycling, hiking a pair of 14ers, and soaking in lots of hot springs. My 85-year-old mom and I might head out to (yet another part of) California for a few days mid-summer, an idea that’s just come about and that will provide me with many hours of glorious travel planning. 

Finally, we just booked a week in Death Valley over Christmas. We’ve been there twice before, but always in summer when it’s 125 degrees with overnight lows in the 90s. It’ll be nice to have cooler temperatures so we can finally do some hiking and not have to force-feed ourselves a diet of Gatorade and ice cubes.


Are you inspired to revamp your own blog or bring it back from the dead? Take 10 minutes right now to visit your site and do some writing.

Or maybe you never really got the hang of the basics when it comes to blogging. If that’s the case, our “Intro to Blogging” course will be perfect for you. This free, self-paced course provides not only concrete tips for your site and blog, but also the goal-setting mindset needed to keep a blog going. Register for free today: 

Try Our New Tools for Creating Beautiful Sites

Last week we opened up limited access to a revolutionary array of new site editing tools that will transform how you create, edit, and update the look and feel of your WordPress.com website by leveraging easy-to-use drag and drop functionality. 


Today we’re excited to announce that the wait is over. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be rolling these new tools out to all of our customers. Here’s what that means for you.

Exciting Features Included in This Release

List view for dragging and dropping your content

Until now, you’ve been able to create and customize the key content on your posts and pages by dragging and dropping blocks into any arrangement and style you can think of.

Full Site Editing takes that same idea a giant leap further.

The headers, footers, menus, and other elements of the page previously only editable behind the scenes are now at your complete control via the block editor you’re already used to using. That means you can drag, drop, and visually edit any and all parts of your site without a line of code or an admin dashboard in sight.

Any page, any post, any way

With the new Site Editor, you’ll also be able to take total control of the look and feel of specific page templates. From your home page to individual posts, your 404 page to your blog archive, FSE gives you quick, granular control of the design of each and every element of your site.

Instant visual feedback 

Speaking of granular control, the integrated Styles tool gives you an easy-access way to make subtle or site-wide changes using an intuitive suite of visual design tools.  From your global color palette to fine-tuning your typography, building out a beautiful, consistent look and feel is now an instantaneous, hands-on experience.

What this means for you

You’ll be pleased to hear that you don’t need to take any action at all, whether you have an existing site or are about to create a new one. You’ll be able to continue editing your site in exactly the same way you always have by choosing not to use the new block themes

For new sites

In the coming days, all new sites will give you the chance to choose a theme that takes full advantage of the new Full Site Editing experience. We’ll be rolling out new resources, guides, and help docs to get you up to speed, fast.

For existing sites

Over the next few weeks, we will be rolling out the ability to switch your existing site over to a theme that will give you access to these features. This won’t be automatically switched, so watch out for an announcement and the details on how to access these new tools. 

The WordPress.com advantage

If you follow the wider Open Source WordPress project, you might have heard of ‘releases’ or ‘versions’ of WordPress. Full Site Editing incorporates the tools and features added to WordPress in the latest release, WordPress 5.9, which went out on January 25th

As the fastest WordPress managed hosting provider on the planet, WordPress.com includes everything you’d expect from WordPress 5.9 hosted elsewhere, with blazing fast site speeds and specialized integration into our platform to help ensure that all of our users have a great first experience with these exciting new features from day one.  We’d love to hear what you think of the new experience and are always on hand to answer any questions you have as you make the switch.

Ready to get started?

We’re dedicated to helping you get the most out of the new Site Editor experience. 

If you’re eager to get started, you might find these extra resources a great next step:

Bloganuary: A Resounding Success!

Even though you can build any type of website on WordPress.com, from an eCommerce store to a photography portfolio, blogs still make up the majority of our 60 million plus sites. To improve interaction and connection with these bloggers, we tried something new: Bloganuary, a writing challenge throughout the month of January, where we provided daily prompts to inspire people to publish blog posts.

Never having run a month long blogging challenge before, we didn’t know what to expect. Would bloggers join in? Would the community appreciate this? 

But the results were incredible! Thousands of participants joined in from around the world, blogging in different languages. Perhaps what warmed our hearts the most, though, was we got to see first-hand how close our community of global bloggers really is. People liked and commented on shared posts, watched their audiences grow, and followed new sites they didn’t previously know about. 

But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what some of Bloganuary’s participants had to say (some grammar edits were made for clarity purposes):

An excellent initiative. So much variety. I think, “what will I say?” and then come up with something unexpected. Have been on hiatus with my account through some of [the] lockdown. What a great way to get back into the swing of things. Thank you 
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WordPress.com Has a New Home on YouTube

The promise of the internet is nearly as big as the internet itself. With endless knowledge at your fingertips and electrifying inspiration everywhere you look, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to build your own website — your own way. 

Today, that became easier. We’re thrilled to announce the brand-new WordPress.com YouTube channel.

Whether you’re just starting out or are the seasoned pro your friends turn to, this channel is here to support all your website-building needs. Our step-by-step tutorials will have you up and running in 10 minutes — turning frustration into celebration. Follow along, find the answers you need, and become the authority in your own experience. 

And we’re not stopping at education and support. Above all, this channel will showcase you. Nothing speaks louder than our users’ success stories, and we want to share them all.

From first-time bloggers to ecommerce wizards, we’re going to bring them together to share their stories. What better way to learn than from each other?

With more than 15 years powering the open web, we’re here to support your journey: your successes, your learning experiences, and your fabulous ideas coming to life. Wherever you are on that path, we’ve got you covered.

Join us on YouTube — you won’t want to miss the educational content and community highlights coming to the channel. 
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Buy Paid Plugins Directly on WordPress.com

For users on our Business and eCommerce Plans, plugins are a critical part of the WordPress.com experience. We’re always looking for ways to simplify the process of discovering and installing powerful WordPress plugins.

As a result, we’re now making it possible to purchase certain plugins directly on the WordPress.com plugin page. Not only that, but WordPress.com will offer monthly and annual plugin pricing which provides site owners more flexibility.

Initially, you can purchase six of our most popular WooCommerce plugins on the WordPress.com plugins page.

  • WooCommerce Subscriptions — Allow customers to subscribe to your products or services and pay on a weekly, monthly or annual basis.
  • WooCommerce Bookings — Allow customers to book appointments, make reservations or rent equipment without leaving your site.
  • WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping — Advanced, flexible shipping. Define multiple shipping rates based on location, price, weight, shipping class or item count.
  • WooCommerce AutomateWoo — Powerful marketing automation for WooCommerce. AutomateWoo has the tools you need to grow your store and make more money.
  • WooCommerce Shipment Tracking — Add shipment tracking information to your orders.
  • WooCommerce Xero — Save time with automated sync between WooCommerce and your Xero account.

Purchasing a plugin via the new WordPress.com interface is simple. On the plugins page, click on one of the paid plugin cards to be redirected to a detailed product listing page. When you’re ready, click the purchase button in the top right of the product listing page. Your purchase won’t be final until you confirm your payment method and details on the following page. The plugin will be installed automatically.

This announcement is just the start — look for more paid plugins and other exciting updates over the coming months. Let us know in the comments below what plugins you would like to see available for purchase directly on WordPress.com.

Stay tuned and click here to begin exploring plugins now!

As a reminder, all plugins (free or paid) are currently only available to customers with a WordPress.com Business or eCommerce Plan. If you’re interested in purchasing or upgrading to an annual Business Plan, click here for a 25% discount off your first year.

Promo code: PLUGINSBLOG25

Connect With Your Audience: Integrate Social Media With Your WordPress.com Website

Integrating your social media presence with your WordPress.com website has never been easier. We offer many options and tools that are available on all plans, at no additional cost. Whether you want to auto-share your website posts to a social media platform, display your social media posts on your website, provide links to your various accounts, or encourage your website visitors to share your content, we’ve got what you need to connect with your audience. 

Posting to Social Media

All WordPress.com plans include Publicize, a feature that lets you automate posting to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Tumblr. When you set up and configure these social media accounts to your site, every new post you publish will automatically post to the platforms you’ve selected. This is a great way to repurpose your website content on your social channels, reach your audience where they already are, and drive traffic to your site. 

Integrate Social Media - Publicize

It’s important to note that Publicize cannot push posts to Instagram since Instagram doesn’t allow auto-posting from third-party services. However, if you’re on the Business plan or ecommerce plan, then you could consider using a third-party automation tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite, both of which can be connected to your WordPress.com site using plugins. There may be other tools that offer this feature as well, though you’ll want to research their limitations and plans to learn more.*

*Please note that third-party tools and plugins are outside the scope of WordPress.com support.

Social Media Feeds on Your Site

Another option that WordPress.com offers is displaying your social media platforms on your website. You can add widgets, blocks, or feeds to your WordPress.com site to display posts from your social media accounts in real-time. This can help you stay connected with your audience when they’re taking a break from social media, but still checking your site.

WordPress.com offers built-in features for displaying your social media feeds from Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and TikTok, to name a few. We also provide a number of support documents to help walk you through the options for these embedding features.

Integrate Social Media - Social Media Feeds

Social Media Menus

You can also strengthen the cross-connection between your website and your social media platforms with the addition of social media menus. Many WordPress.com themes offer a dedicated Social Menu that allows you to connect your site to various social media platforms and display their respective icons on your site.

If your theme doesn’t offer this menu option, you can still create social media-style menus using our Social Icons Block. This ensures that your audience knows how to easily find you on your preferred social media platforms.

Integrate Social Media - Social Media Menus

Social Sharing

Last but not least, don’t forget to enlist your visitors to share the love from your website to their social accounts by setting up WordPress.com’s Social Sharing option.

This feature allows you to choose which social platforms you want to encourage your visitors to spread the word by providing a Share button on every piece of content you publish. Nothing connects your audience more than the ability to share.

Integrate Social Media - Social Sharing

WordPress.com provides you with multiple built-in tools to make your website the centralized hub for connecting and integrating with your social media platforms—at no additional cost—so you can connect to your audience smoothly and seamlessly, all while driving traffic to your WordPress.com website.

WordPress.com will be hosting a live special topic webinar on Tuesday, February 22, 2022 at 19:00 UTC. Join our WordPress experts to learn all of the essential tips to integrate social media with your website and how to add Link in Bio pages to your website. Register for free today!

Get Early Access to Full Site Editing!

A big change is coming to WordPress to make it easier than ever to create websites called Full-Site Editing. You can be one of the first to try it exclusively on WordPress.com, before it gets merged into core open source WordPress with the upcoming release of WordPress version 5.9. 

What is Full Site Editing?

If you caught the State of the Word or follow along with news on WordPress.org, you may have heard about “Full Site Editing”, a set of new features that will allow you to edit all parts of your site. This collection of powerful new features empowers WordPress users to easily create and customize their entire websites without needing to know how to code. 

Some highlights of Full Site Editing include:

  • Point and click edits in all parts of your site, including headers, footers, and sidebars!
  • Drag and drop blocks to design beautiful and complex navigation menu bars.
  • Edit items like your header, page content, and footer all in one place. You’ll no longer need to jump out of your page editor to make changes in the Customizer! Everything is available to edit right where you already are.
  • Use all the power of blocks, reusable blocks, and pre-designed block patterns to design every part of your site.

If you’ve struggled to make your entire WordPress website look just the way you wanted in the past, we encourage you to give it another try. Full Site Editing may be exactly what you’ve needed.

What’s Available Right Now?

The WordPress.com team is excited to announce that we’re now offering early access to Full Site Editing (Beta) for all new sites created by our existing English-speaking users! If this describes you, then you don’t have to wait. 

Eager to give it a try? Just spin up a new site from your dashboard.

If FSE is not yet available to you, don’t worry. Stay tuned for more updates as the rollout continues for both existing sites and new users.

Want to know more about Full Site Editing Beta? Check out this free Full Site Editing course created by the WordPress.org team to help you get started!

Get Started with new webinars

Launching a website or learning how to monetize your online store can be overwhelming. But we are here to help you along the way. We are hosting free webinars to help get you on track and answer any questions you have.  We cover different topics and will soon have new ones. Make sure to bookmark the Webinars page for upcoming webinars. In the meantime, check out our January webinars.

The timezones are in UTC but you can click the time to see it in your own timezone.

Getting Started
Mondays1900 UTC
Tuesdays1000 UTC
Wednesdays0600 UTC
Thursdays1900 UTC
Fridays1600 UTC
Making Money
Mondays – hours alternate weekly0600 UTC and 1600 UTC
Blogging
Tuesdays – hours alternate weekly0600 UTC and 1600 UTC
Every other Wednesday at1400 UTC
WooCommerce 101
Thursdays 1600 UTC
Spanish Webinars
Every other Wednesday 1400 UTC

Get the specific dates and registration forms at https://wordpress.com/webinars/

Who’s Invited: New WordPress.com users and anyone interested in learning more about WordPress.com’s website capabilities.

Our WordPress.com customer service team, we call them Happiness Engineers, are experts in helping new users get up and running on their new websites. Across each week of webinars, we’ll cover questions about the basics of setting up your website, handling simple and recurring payments, blogging best practices, and adding in eCommerce capabilities. Come with questions as you’ll be able to make them during the live webinar.

Everyone is welcome, even if you already have a site set up. We know you’re busy, so if you can’t make the live event, you’ll be able to watch a recording of the webinar on our YouTube channel.

Live attendance is limited, so be sure to register early. We look forward to seeing you on the webinar!

WP Courses Helps Launch Creators Into The New Year!

As we approach the new year, we like to encourage our team, our friends, and our customers to look back and celebrate all we were able to accomplish. While this year has had its challenges, we kept creating, connecting, and growing.

We launched WP Courses almost exactly a year ago with our “Blogging for Beginners” course. With all of the excitement around the course, our team was eager to connect with and help more creators so we quickly followed with “Podcasting for Beginners.” With these courses, we’ve been able to connect with a wide range of creators who cover anything and everything from dementia to folk music. What has been more exciting and rewarding for our team is being able to help them grow. The engaged members in our course communities have been able to grow their audience, expand their content, and even monetize their site — getting paid to do what they love!

It’s fair to say we’re addicted to helping creators grow and we don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. We were thrilled to see over 13,000 learners sign up for our free blogging course when we launched it just last month and you can count on us to keep that momentum going into 2022!

As a way to help you build up some momentum of your own, we’re running a sale starting today and going through 1/8/2022. You can use the promo code “Time2Launch” to take 25% off of your purchase at checkout.

  • Engage with a community of peers and learn from their experiences, solicit feedback, and make lasting connections.
  • Join regular workshops and office hours with our experts to help get unstuck or learn new skills.
  • Access to tons of content to help you work through everything from initial set up to growing your audience.
  • Quarterly meetups, exclusive offers, and more!

Stop waiting and start growing now!

Everything you need to launch and grow your idea in 2022. Just use “Time2Launch” for 25% off at checkout.

New Year, New Success with Bloganuary

In a few short days, you’ll surely be asked: What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2022? If starting a blogging habit is one of them, we’re here to help!  At WordPress.com, we’re trying something new for 2022. Instead of individual New Year’s resolutions, we’ll be focusing on a shared goal we can accomplish together.

Say Hello to Bloganuary

We’re running a month-long blogging challenge in January and we invite you to join us! Each day, you’ll receive a new writing prompt to inspire you to publish a post on your blog. There is no right or wrong way to respond to the prompts. Take this opportunity to exercise your creativity and have fun. Maybe you’ll choose to respond with a story, a drawing, a poem, a photo, a comic strip, a recipe, or even a playlist. Anything goes!

By participating in Bloganuary, you’ll join bloggers around the world in the shared goal of creating and/or solidifying a strong blogging habit. You’ll get access to the Bloganuary community site where you can meet and get to know others working toward similar goals. You can share tips, learn from others, reach a new audience for your blog, and make some new blogging friends.

Here’s a badge you can add to your blog to show others what you’re doing and encourage them to join in the fun. 

Join the Bloganuary challenge, stay motivated, and start the new year off on the write track! Click the button to learn more and sign up using your WordPress.com account.

If you’d prefer to journal privately instead of blog publicly, check out the Day One app:

Live from New York … It’s State of the Word!

Yesterday saw the return to a live State of the Word annual address, broadcast to the world from our new NoHo event space in New York City! Suited up and re-energized by a recent trip to Antarctica, Matt delivered his thoughts on the state of WordPress in 2021 and made some big announcements for 2022 and beyond. Check out some highlights below or watch the entire address!

WordPress 5.9 is Coming in January

Originally slated for December 2021, the release of WordPress 5.9 was delayed until January 25 so that full site editing – which allows for greater customization and simpler site building – could be fully realized prior to the 5.9 reveal. In other exciting news, Matt shared that version 6.0 would be coming later in the year and that 2022 could very well see a total of four new releases instead of the usual three. Watch this space!

2021 WordPress.org Highlights: News, Openverse, Pattern Directory

This year, WordPress.org saw the redesign of the News page, which was inspired aesthetically by the playfulness of jazz, as well as the launch of Openverse search engine (named before Facebook’s recent name shift, we swear!). The search engine allows users to easily find openly licensed photos for their sites. There are currently more than 600 million images available on the Openverse, and early 2022 will see the addition of audio files! 

The Pattern Directory was also launched this year, where folks are able to copy and use any of its featured patterns to spice up their sites with little or no coding expertise. Starting with WordPress 5.9, users will also be able to add their own patterns to the directory, empowering them to help others create beautiful online content.

Hey, Hey, It’s the Polyglots

A sign of our ongoing commitment to global inclusivity, accessibility, and the democratization of the internet, 2021 saw a 76% increase in the language packs available as core WordPress plugins. We now have nearly 16,000 active translators in the community, which means that WordPress products can be translated into 71 different languages at release.

WordPress Powers 43% of the Internet (Actually 43.1%, But Who’s Counting?)

The company saw significant growth in 2021, and WordPress software now powers more than 43% of the internet. This year also saw nearly 12% growth in both the number of available themes and total downloads (fresh downloads, not including updates).

It’s a Block (Theme) Party!

At the end of 2020, there were only two or three fully customizable block themes available in the world. As the end of 2021 approaches, we now have 28 – a 1,000% increase! WordPress 5.8 added the ability to manage widgets in the block editor as well as a new Query Block and duotone filters, and next year will see the release of the appropriately titled Twenty Twenty-Two default block theme.

Have a Penny, Leave a Penny. Need a Penny, Take a Penny.

The Five for the Future initiative, launched in 2014, continues to be a top priority. In exchange for all of the benefits that they’ve personally received through their work, Five for the Future asks members of the WordPress community to give 5% of their time back to the community however they see fit – reporting bugs, offering translations, developing plugins or themes, designing code, offering training, etc. – which, in effect, fertilizes the soil for continued future growth.

Watch the Recap 

If you missed the event’s live stream, you can watch the full address below. 

How to Watch State of the Word 2021

Join us tomorrow for State of the Word! This year taking place live from New York City, WordPress co-founder and Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg will take a look back on the past year and share his thoughts on the latest industry trends and exciting WordPress news, including the highly anticipated January release of WordPress 5.9. 

WordPress, the open source software you can use to create beautiful websites, blogs, or apps now powers over 43% of the web. The State of the Word is the annual update on the WordPress project’s progress, plans for the future, and the future of open source. This is your first look to see what new features will be added to the WordPress software, as the features will be on WordPress.com soon. 

Those tuning in will also get to hear Matt’s take on a range of hot topics including the Openverse media search engine, Web3, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). See below for details on how to watch live. 

When:
Tuesday, December 14, at 5 pm ET (10 pm UTC)

Where:
Stream the event live at wordpress.org/news

The folks at wordpress.org have compiled a list of watch parties around the world. If you don’t see an event in your area listed below, check this page on Meetup.com to see if your local WordPress group is organizing one.

Matt’s address will be followed by a community Q&A.

Send questions in advance to ask-matt@wordcamp.org, or join the conversation live!

See you there!

Drive More Traffic To Your Site With a “Link In Bio” Social Links Page

From your social media channels to your storefront, your YouTube channel to your website and everything in between, you have a lot of links you want your audience or your customers to be able to access easily. Social media can be a powerful driver of traffic to your blog or website. This works best when links are displayed on an easy-to-navigate list by creating a Social Links Page. While other companies offer a similar service, did you know you can use your WordPress.com site to create a Social Links Page as well? It is not only simple to create, but requires no additional cost or tools. For social media sites that only allow you to include one link in your bio, such as Instagram and Twitter, consider building a Social Links Page on your WordPress.com site. 

Miller theme links in bio block pattern to create a Social Links Page

The benefits of using your WordPress.com site to create a Social Links Page include customization, analytics tracking, and more. But the best part is that you can create this special page without having to change themes. There are a couple of options for how you might want to approach this, so let’s break each of them down.

Link in Bio Page

With our “Link in Bio” Page Layouts or Block Patterns, a Linktree alternative is as simple as a few clicks.

When you create a New Page with our Block editor, you’re given a variety of Page Layouts to choose from that are divided up into sections. When you click the section for Link in Bio, you’ll see six pre-designed layouts to choose from.

Page layouts for links in bio to create a Social Links Page

Click on one of these layouts and the blocks will be placed on the page for you. Once placed, you can edit the buttons as desired. You’ll also notice that there are a variety of options available in the settings sidebar on right, you can add additional buttons using the + sign, or duplicate existing buttons.

If you want to add a Link in Bio pattern of blocks to an existing page, you can insert a new block before the existing content and then add the block pattern you want to use with the options to edit the buttons as desired.

You could also start with a blank page and add buttons to stack vertically. You could even put them into a Column block, like the example below.

Columns and buttons to create a Social Links Page

Cover Block Panels

The Cover Block is another option to consider to enhance your Social Links Page. When Cover Blocks are stacked on top of each other, they will be seamless on the live site, meaning there won’t be any white space between them (unless you add some by adding a Spacer Block between them). With the Cover Block, there are endless possibilities of what you can do with images and overlays, in addition to a wide array of settings. Watch the video below to see one example.

By building a custom Social Links Page in your WordPress.com site, you have full control over the layout and design; this includes the simplicity or complexity of the look and how many links you want on the page. 

This is a great option for driving traffic directly to your website and to specific pages within your site when your linking options are limited in social media. It can also be created on any WordPress.com plan, including the free plan, without needing any special add-ons.

The Link in Bio page layouts/block patterns and the Cover Block Panel options are both effective in adding a Social Links Page, which will ultimately help the user experience when navigating between your different platforms. The ability to add customization to your Social Links Page will also help you to relay your brand and personality to your users, while the analytics will all be readily available in the back end of your WordPress.com site, at no additional cost to the user. WordPress.com is very extensible, and creating a Social Links Page is simple for all users with no additional tools needed! All of this is possible on WordPress.com, and we are proud to take you a step closer to organizing all of your unique platforms in a seamless and reliable way.

Shining a Spotlight on Podcasts

As we near the end of 2021, it is interesting to note that there are currently over two million podcasts and over 48 million podcast episodes. Those numbers are incredible on their own, but when you realize that just 4 years ago, there were “only” a little more than half a million podcasts, the growth is astonishing. Those numbers might make you think that the podcast market is saturated, but that is definitely not the case. 

The growth of available podcasts is driven by the increase in interest. More and more people are tuning in to the phenomenon as they explore the vast podcast topics available to them.

Despite the number of podcasts being broadcast today, there is still plenty of room for newcomers to the market. Just as there are many websites for every imaginable interest, there’s room for podcasts in even the tiniest of niches. 

To prove this point, we’ll highlight some of our favorite podcasts hosted right here on WordPress.com. What? You didn’t know you could host a podcast on WordPress.com? Well, pull up a chair and check this out. You might find a new fave podcast of your own, and better still, you might even find some inspiration for creating a podcast yourself! Let’s go!

A Podcast for Every Interest

Obviously, we can’t list the millions of niches here, but we can showcase a few that range across a broad spectrum of interest. Here are 7 that have caught our attention here on WordPress.com.

Love to Sew

If you totally relate to the title of this podcast, then you should tune in. The hosts of Love to Sew, Helen and Caroline, are active members of the sewing community. They understand the need to connect and bring that understanding to each episode. In their words…

Our episodes are a mix of technical sewing advice, inspirational storytelling, unpacking feelings around sewing and creating, and loads of words of encouragement.


The Purple Rock Survivor Podcast

Billed as the “The smartest, funniest, most humble, and best Survivor podcast on the internet,” this podcast focuses on discussions of the hit television show “Survivor”. The hosts, John and Andy, along with frequent guest hosts, debate the latest Survivor episode antics each week. As all great armchair quarterbacks do, they use their stellar 20-20 hindsight to diss players, alliances, and the various decisions that caused the latest player to get booted off the show. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll feel right at home listening to this podcast.


The Premier View Tipperary GAA Podcast

The perfect example of targeting a seriously narrow niche, this podcast brilliantly focuses on topics most people may not know exist. These topics include Tipperary GAA, Club and County, Hurling, Gaelic Football, Ladies Football and Camogie. If you’re like me, you’ve possibly heard of Hurling (the sport), and can probably guess at what Gaelic and Ladies Football is all about, but in most parts of the world, you may not know a thing about GAA, Club and County, or Camogie. I think it’s fair to say, however, that the people who DO know what those sports are all about, are probably thrilled to know that there is a podcast out there that caters just to them.  For the rest of us, let’s just simplify and call it “various sports that are local to a specific Irish region”. If you’re into these sports, or just curious, hurl yourself into a comfy chair and get your listen on.


The New Home Owner Podcast

Targeting a specific group of people, new homeowners, this podcast delivers tips and advice surrounding the entire new home building process – from signing contracts to adding the final finishing touches. This is a great example of how a brick-and-mortar business can share its expertise with visitors, while potentially acquiring new clients. When people acquire valuable information from a business, they inherently trust that business a little more than before. Building trust is a great way to convert visitors into clients. 


Sneaker History

Did you know that there is a passionate sneaker community out there? Sneakers have a history and have become a part of pop culture. This podcast’s goal is to “make a positive impact on the sneaker community, culture, and business of sneakers by telling the stories of the people that make this passion enjoyable”. Episodes are gated, meaning you must be a paying member to access them, but if you’re a sneakerhead, this won’t deter you. And if you are just interested in starting your own podcast, your ears will perk up to know that podcasts can be monetized like this. Nice, right?


Travel Babies

No, this podcast doesn’t focus on babies at all. It is an adventure-filled look at the experiences of two sisters traveling the world. You’ll get their expert take on all things travel, including tips and tricks for making your worldwide jaunts much more enjoyable. “Each week they talk about important travel topics to help you decide when, where, and how to explore the world in style.


Kyla Marie Charles MomChat Mondays

If you were bummed that the Travel Babies podcast wasn’t about babies, never fear, MomChat Mondays has you covered. Their own description says it best. “A LIVE #MomChatMonday hosted by Kyla Marie Charles and Amy Eilers of House of Eilers bringing all sorts of moms together to chat about motherhood topics from mundane to controversial. No shame, no judgement, just talking with mom friends and figuring it all out as we go– as moms do!


Of course, these 7 podcasts are just a smattering of cool audible content available on WordPress.com. So tell us, have you ever thought about hosting your own podcast? If so, we have lots of tips and advice to help you succeed. You can start with a few of the posts we’ve shared on the subject, including:

We’ve shown how diverse podcasts can be, but it’s more than just topic diversity that sets a podcast apart. If you are considering starting a podcast, there are some other aspects to consider.

Types of Podcasts (Make It Yours)

No matter the topic, there are various ways to format or organize your podcast. Some subjects lend themselves more closely to one or another way, but many topics are open to multiple presentation formats. Consider the following formats to determine which might work best for you and your topic.

  • Interviews – Some podcasts primarily center around interviews with either famous people or topic experts. 
  • Conversations or Roundtable – In industries where change happens frequently, podcasters often choose a roundtable or conversational format. This style provides a group of hosts, who often know each other well, a chance to converse about trending news or perhaps even a bit of industry gossip. 
  • Monologues – Subject matter experts frequently use this format to inform or teach the audience about various aspects of the niche topic.
  • Storytelling or Theatrical – Rather than conversations, these podcasts are performances. The storytelling format usually involves one host reading chapters or episodes of a story, interspersed with commentary. True crime stories fit this model well. A podcast with a theatrical format is usually a full-blown production with multiple voices/actors. These are like plays, without the visuals.

Of course, some podcasts might be a mix of the above formats from episode to episode, but the most successful will likely stick pretty closely to one format. This consistency provides your audience with a familiar sense of place. Suppose someone enjoyed a storytelling type of format in one episode. In that case, they’d likely hope to experience more of the same in future episodes.

Podcaster Personality Styles (Be Yourself)

Once you’ve figured out the podcast’s topic and style, there’s one more crucial element – you! Great content, told in an interesting format, is lovely, but in the end, it’s your personality that people really want to connect with. Don’t let that worry you. If you weren’t the most popular kid in the class, that wouldn’t stop you from connecting with an audience with your own personality brand. Let’s take a quick look at some examples.

We’ve seen that some topics work better with certain formats than with others, and the same can be true of personalities. A monologue podcast focused on teaching the fine details of investing might not work as well with a goofy personality type. Then again, that odd combination might actually be a huge winner. Who knows? But for most podcasts, matching the topic with an appropriate format and personality type makes the most sense.

A few typical personality types include:

  • Serious
  • Informative
  • Casual, fun, and goofy
  • Comedic

Casual, fun types work well for entertainment topics. Serious types match well with true crime storytelling, for example, and informative, no-nonsense types click with business or educational topics. You know your topic and your personality best. Find the sweet spot that makes sense to you, and it will likely appeal to others as well.

So let’s put all of this together. Follow our recipe for podcasting success but feel free to throw in your own “seasoning” to truly make it yours.

A Recipe for Podcasting Success

Join Our Podcasting Course!

If you’ve ever wanted to start or grow your podcast, we have a new course designed just for you! Gain all the fundamental (and a few advanced) skills you need to create a podcast you’re proud of. Easily digestible, go-at-your-own-pace lessons, taught by some of the most seasoned podcasters on the internet, will challenge you and help grow your confidence — until you’re a podcasting pro!

New: Free Blogging Course

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a full year since we launched WPCourses.com! In that short time, we’ve been incredibly inspired by the group of ambitious learners we have been able to work with. In fact, we’ve been so moved by the enthusiasm of the community we’ve built so far that we want to ensure this experience is available to as many people as possible.

So we’re happy to announce the launch of our very first free course, Intro to Blogging. In this course you’ll learn about: 

  • What blogging is and why so many people are doing it.
  • How to set up, navigate, and manage your blog or website. 
  • How to create blog content like a pro and create a site people love to visit.
  • How to identify your audience, set goals, and build your own blogging strategy.
Illustration of site editor and paint brush.

By signing up you’ll get access to our course platform where you can work through each lesson at your own pace and take your time to really put that information to use as you build, design, or revamp your site.

We also used our time building out the free course as an opportunity to improve our existing content. We went back through all of our resources, added new lessons and tips, and expanded our curriculum to make sure participants are fully equipped with the most up-to-date set of tools, strategies, and best practices. Our rapid courses offer a more hands-on learning experience where you’ll benefit from: 

  • Helpful tips and tricks that are shared and discussed every week. 
  • Prompts and ideas to help you get unstuck when you need it. 
  • A community of peers who grow and learn with you. 
  • Weekly office hours when you can chat with experts and ask questions in real time.
  • Quarterly meetups led by true industry experts to ensure you’re using the best tools and strategies to grow.

As a way to celebrate the launch of our free course, we’re also offering 25% off our paid courses— just use the coupon code below at checkout. You’ll get access to the course and the community for a full year so feel free to jump in when you’re ready.

time2learn

VideoPress Remake

Introducing the new VideoPress. Still the finest video service for WordPress—now even better.

Video is one of the most powerful tools on the web. It can spark ideas, emotions, conversations, sales, and much more. VideoPress already offers people the ability to upload and serve hours of high-quality video flawlessly around the globe, ad-free. But VideoPress should inspire people to create and share their best ideas as well. 

Now it does. The refreshed player offers creators an intuitive, lightweight design that puts their content in the spotlight.

Creating doesn’t always come easily, so sharing should be a breeze. That’s why VideoPress is fully integrated with the WordPress editor. From effortless drag-and-drop options to broad customization, every feature within VideoPress can be experienced on your WordPress site, without redirecting audiences to external apps. 

Here are just some of the new options available on VideoPress—with many more to come: 

  • Customizable player with colors that match your site’s design.
  • Adaptive bitrates to deliver high-quality playback at great performance speeds.
  • Picture-in-picture and variable playback speeds.
  • Private video options let you offer exclusive content to subscribers.
  • Multi-user access for easier collaboration.
  • Unlimited hosting with WordPress.com or Jetpack plans.
  • No intrusive ads or imposing branding.

With an immersive design and seamless integration, VideoPress is ideal for any videographer, filmmaker, educator, or blogger looking to upload high-quality video—an elevated player for elevated content.

It’s an exciting time for video content, and even more exciting for VideoPress: We’re working on better uploads, smoother library navigation, subtitles, and more. So stay tuned. There’s more coming soon.

VideoPress is included in our Premium, Business and eCommerce plans on WordPress.com. And if you’re self-hosted site, you can get VideoPress through Jetpack, now available as a standalone product.

Behind the Scenes: The Tech Stack of the WordPress.com Growth Summit

Recently, we hosted our second annual WordPress.com Growth Summit and welcomed over 1,300 attendees at the event. The summit was fully online, and it built on the momentum of our inaugural Growth Summit in 2020 after hearing from you, our community, that another conference would be a great learning and networking opportunity for people looking to grow their WordPress.com sites. Based on the positive feedback from last year, this year’s programming continued to be customer-focused by highlighting people — just like you! — who started sites and businesses on WordPress.com and have seen them flourish.

We also changed up the tech stack we used, which allowed us to offer a better user experience and to improve the process of selling tickets and, later, access to recorded videos from the event. If you enjoy building sites with WordPress, tinkering around with design and functionality, I’m pleased to share a behind-the-scenes look at how we got our Growth Summit site to work for us. This explanation might be especially helpful if you’re trying to sell registrations on your site and/or restrict access to content behind a paywall.

Selling Tickets

At WordPress.com, we love to use plugins when building sites, and installing a number of them on the Growth Summit site made ticket sales a breeze for customers.

  • First, we installed the WooCommerce plugin on our WordPress.com site and created a ticket as a simple product in the store catalog. Nothing fancy, just a title and a price. From a design perspective, we determined that it wasn’t ideal to have potential conference attendees visit the product page, so we configured the call-to-action button on the homepage to automatically add a ticket to a visitor’s cart and send them straight to the checkout page. 
  • Then, using Zapier and its WooCommerce extension, we configured a “zap” that was triggered whenever a customer bought a ticket, which in turn alerted Hopin — the virtual event software platform we chose to host the Growth Summit — to create a new attendee registration. 
  • In an effort to simplify the checkout process, and hopefully increase conversion rates, we used the WooCommerce Checkout Field Editor plugin to remove a number of default fields, such as billing street address, phone number, and order comments. We were also able to customize the field layout so that it took up less “real estate” on the checkout page.
  • The MailPoet plugin allowed us to customize the content of the default WooCommerce emails for completed order confirmations. Sure, we could have installed a child theme and then used custom templates to put the text we wanted in the message, but the MailPoet plugin was free for our purposes. Plus we can use it for email marketing campaigns in the future, should we choose.

On-Demand Video Access

Leading up to the Growth Summit, our focus was on driving attendance to the live event. Once the conference wrapped up, we shifted focus to providing access to recordings of Growth Summit sessions for attendees who wanted to watch on demand, and for people who missed the event but wanted to experience it firsthand. With the WooCommerce Memberships extension, we put the videos behind a paywall — in other words, you have to have a membership to view them. To sell memberships, we’re using the same WooCommerce product we used to sell tickets. We just changed its configuration so that buying the product adds the customer to a membership plan that grants access to video content from all the sessions in 2020 and 2021. Additionally, we ensured that anyone who bought a ticket to the live event would get a year of on-demand access automatically. 

Site Design

Aesthetics are as important as functionality. We built the Growth Summit site with the Twenty Twenty-One theme. The homepage uses Gutenberg blocks. Some of the common blocks are Cover, Layout Grid, and Columns. We also used some custom CSS code to tweak the design to suit our needs. 

That’s pretty much it. Did you miss the Growth Summit? Use the coupon code behindthescenes to get 25% off on-demand access to all the video recordings from 2020 and 2021, now through August 2022!

Celebrating UK Black History Month: Learning Resources, a Read & Watch List, and Content Creation Tools

This year’s UK Black History Month theme, Proud To Be, is about celebrating the Black experience. As a distributed company with employees around the world, including the United Kingdom, we believe that the more perspectives we embrace, and the more we learn about our teammates, the better we are at engaging and helping our global community. 

This October, we encourage individuals and organizations to learn more about Black history, heritage, and culture in the UK. “Black British history is British history. It’s more than a month; it is interwoven in everything,” says Ama, a colleague based in Scotland. “We have changed landscapes in education, law, politics, work, and equality for all within the UK.” Black history is deeply embedded in UK culture, says Ama, from institutions — like the National Health Service — to music, sports, art, media, and popular culture.

Interested in learning more? We’ve compiled a list of staff recommendations:

Explore these resources this month — or bookmark them for learning and inspiration anytime.

#PoweredByWordPress learning resources

From the official UK Black History Month hub to the website of the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation, these resources are great starting points for your journey.

Black History Month 2021

All year long, Black History Month publishes news, features, career and education information, and event listings across the UK. Make it your first resource for getting educated and involved.

Black Heroes Foundation

Focused on youth education and development, this London-based community charity raises Black cultural awareness of the general public, educating and uplifting youth in particular. The foundation envisions a world where Black heroes are acknowledged, respected, and celebrated.

Stephen Lawrence Day

The 1993 murder and case of Stephen Lawrence — an 18-year-old from southeast London who was killed in an unprovoked racial attack while waiting for the bus — led to a major shift in the UK in attitudes about racism, the criminal justice system, and the role of the police. The Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation continues to tell Stephen’s story, offers resources for educators and organizers, and works toward creating a just society.

The National Archives

The National Archives is the official archive and publisher of the UK government, documenting over 1000 years of history. Researchers can browse the Black British history section of the website for a guide on social and political history in the 20th century, lots of blog and multimedia content, and records relating to British citizens of African and African-Caribbean descent.

Black History Walks

Partnering with museums, schools, and other institutions, Black History Walks offers a dozen walking tours throughout London, public monthly educational talks, and video courses and resources on Black history. Its diverse programming targets a range of people both in person and online, from students to travelers to businesses.

A read & watch syllabus

Looking for book, TV, and film recommendations about Black history and culture in the UK — or by Black scholars and creators — but aren’t sure where to start? Here are some of our nonfiction, fiction, and film and television picks.

Nonfiction

  • Black and British: A Forgotten History: Published to accompany the BBC Two series noted in the Film and Television section below, this must-read book by historian David Olusoga examines the shared history between the British Isles and the people of Africa.
  • 100 Great Black Britons: In this book, Patrick Vernon and Angelina Osborne — founders of the 100 Great Black Britons campaign — celebrate Black British history and recognize key Black Britons who have helped to shape Great Britain.
  • Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging: A hybrid of history and memoir, Afua Hirsch’s book “reveals the identity crisis at the heart of Britain today” and explores a nation in denial about its imperial past and present.
  • This Is Why I Resist: Don’t Define My Black Identity: In a book that demands fundamental change, activist and lawyer Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu examines the roots of racism and anti-Blackness and calls for meaningful action.
  • The Louder I Will Sing: A Story of Racism, Riots and Redemption: In 1985, when Lee Lawrence was a child, his mother was wrongfully shot by police during a raid on their home in Brixton. Published more than three decades later, his memoir chronicles what it was like to grow up as a young Black man in England and how that day influenced his family.
  • In Black and White: A Young Barrister’s Story of Race and Class in a Broken Justice System: Experiencing a tragedy as a teenager pushed Alexander Wilson to become a barrister — a type of lawyer — so she could make a difference within an unjust system. Her debut book describes her experience as a mixed-race woman in a field lacking in diverse representation.
  • Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire: In this book, author and hip-hop artist Akala blends biography and personal experience with an examination of race and class across topics — from education to politics and the police to the far right.
  • Misfits: A Personal Manifesto: This “coming-to-power manifesto” by Michaela Coel — the actress, writer, and creator of I May Destroy You — builds on an inspiring keynote address she delivered at the 2018 Edinburgh International Television Festival about resilience, empathy, storytelling, and growing up in public housing in East London.
  • What a Time to Be Alone: The Slumflower’s Guide to Why You Are Already Enough: In this illustrated self-help guide, author and influencer Chidera Eggerue, also known as the Slumflower, writes about self-love, empowerment, and creating your own narrative. The book also includes Igbo proverbs from Eggerue’s Nigerian mother.

I recommend David Olusoga’s Black and British: A Forgotten History. It’s a really important book, with new updates on the Windrush scandal and Black Lives Matter from the UK perspective.

—Victoria Jones, UK

Fiction

  • White Teeth: Published over 20 years ago, Zadie Smith’s debut novel focuses on the lives of two unlikely friends and their families in London. Considered a “modern classic of multicultural Britain,” the book is a window into the immigrant experience.
  • Girl, Woman, Other: Weaving a dozen narratives about different people across ages, backgrounds, and professions, Bernardine Evaristo examines topics of identity, race, and womanhood in modern Britain.
  • Love in Colour: This collection of short stories by author Bolu Babalola reimagines ancient love stories and folktales from around the world, from Greek myths to Middle Eastern legends, and centers Black women and strong female characters.
  • Queenie: This sharp and funny novel by Candice Carty-Williams is about the life of Queenie Jenkins, a mid-twenties British Jamaican woman living in London who’s struggling to find her place in the world.
  • Such a Fun Age: One night, a supermarket security guard sees a young Black woman, Emira Tucker, in the aisles with a white toddler. The guard accuses Emira of kidnapping, when in reality she’s the babysitter. In this novel, Kiley Reid takes a look at race, class, power dynamics, and privilege.

I’ve greatly valued Zadie Smith’s work. Her novels — especially White Teeth — are well crafted and offer a mix of comedy and realism that often focuses on social class in England. Her essays are things of beauty. She’s worth a read, no matter the month.

Daryl L. L. Houston, USA

Film and Television

  • Black and British: A Forgotten History: This BBC Two series by David Olusoga, composed of four episodes, looks at the relationship between Britain and people of African origins, slavery, and Black British identity in the 20th century.
  • Small Axe: In this anthology of five films, 12 Years a Slave filmmaker Steve McQueen brings to life the stories of West Indian immigrants in London from the 1960s to 1980s.
  • Black Power: A British Story of Resistance: This hour-and-a-half documentary includes interviews with activists involved in Britain’s Black Power movement in the late 1960s. (The BBC’s larger collection of programming for Black History Month is also worth browsing.)
  • I May Destroy You: Michaela Coel’s recent Emmy-winning drama series is about a promising young writer, Arabella, who is sexually assaulted one night while out with her friends. The show explores consent and trauma, and stars a primarily Black British cast.
  • Black and Welsh: Cardiff-born filmmaker Liana Stewart brings together people from across Wales to highlight its multiculturalism and to share stories from community members about what it means to be Black and Welsh.
  • Hair Power: Me and My Afro: Irish writer and broadcaster Emma Dabiri has intimate conversations with both men and women about their hair, digging into how and why Afro and Black hair is an important and complex aspect of the Black experience.
  • Highlife: This premium reality TV show follows the lives of eight successful, glamorous British West Africans and depicts a different angle of Black life in the UK.
  • Desmond’s: Originally running from 1989 to 1994, this sitcom was set in a barbershop in Peckham, southeast London, and featured a mostly Black British Guyanese cast.

Blog and website resources

Lean on these resources, tools, and organizations during UK Black History Month — and beyond — to publish content on your site that’s fitting for your audience, or to connect with and collaborate with others.

Would you like to recommend a website on WordPress, writing or media by a Black thinker or creator in the UK, or another resource? Tell us in the comments.

Will We See You Tomorrow at WordCamp US 2021?

Let’s meet at WCUS 2021! WordPress.com will be there and we hope to see you there as well!

Although we’d love to be at an in-real-life WordCamp right now, we’re still excited about attending the online version of WordCamp US this year. 

What is WordCamp US 2021?

WordCamps are informal events that are organized and hosted by the WordPress community. WordCamp US 2021 is a one-day online event for the US WordPress community to attend sessions, network with one another, participate in WordPress-related workshops, and more. Of course, it’s not only for US residents – everyone is invited to attend!

Reminder: It’s free to attend, but you need a ticket so get yours now

WordCamps are welcoming places for all WordPress businesses, users, bloggers, and enthusiasts to gather. No matter where you host your WordPress site, no matter how big or small your site might be, WCUS 2021 is the place to be. 

How is WordPress.com Involved?

As a hosted version of the open source software, WordPress.com is also a part of the WordPress community, so we wanted to participate in this event in a big way. We are proud to be one of several sponsors of WordCamp US 2021 (WCUS 2021). Be sure to visit our sponsor page here, which includes WordPress.com-related facts you may not be aware of. For example, did you know that WordPress.com is a hosted version of the open-source software WordPress, delivered on a fast, secure managed WordPress hosting platform?  

What Can You Expect at WCUS 2021?

There are sessions throughout the day, all carefully selected to appeal to the varied interests of WordCamp attendees. Take a look at the schedule and plan ahead so you don’t miss the sessions that interest you the most.

Maybe you’re interested in eCommerce or accessibility. Perhaps you are curious about the future direction of WordPress. Or are you hoping to learn more about community-building? You can delve into these topics and more at this event. 

There will also be plenty of time to network with other attendees, and even hang out and enjoy some music during the day. 

So will we see you there tomorrow? If you see us around, be sure to say hello.

Psst… We may even have some swag available.

A Successful Blogger on Making the Switch

After Kyla Marie Charles grew a successful blog on Blogger for 10 years and made her mark as an influencer, she realized her website was no longer able to support her needs. She began the search for her next platform and discovered WordPress.com. 

“I started to become limited by the features that Blogger offered since starting my own podcast and my growing community with #MomChatMonday,” she writes. When she started out, she needed a platform that was quick and simple to navigate: her own corner of the web for her sporadic recipes. As her site and audience grew, she needed a better solution for her blossoming online community, as well as ecommerce options to help her expand even more. “After all that time and hard work, I didn’t want to keep stifling the ideas that I finally felt capable of taking on professionally.”

Leaving her old platform, Kyla transitioned to WordPress.com — on the WordPress.com Business plan — and discovered she now has infinite possibilities. She has a home for an official #MomChatMonday community, her podcast, and a variety of blog content from recipes, DIY projects, and posts on motherhood. As she ponders her future, she isn’t certain what her next steps are, but she’s excited to do it on WordPress.com. “My new blog,” she writes, “is up for the challenge.”

Photo Credit: Kyla Marie Charles

How Kyla switched to WordPress.com

Building and launching your website can be an incredibly exciting time, whether you’re a blogger sharing your ideas and establishing your brand or a business owner selling your products and services worldwide. But what happens when you’ve outgrown your current platform? Here’s how you can make the switch to WordPress.com, and a few features to consider as you build your new online home.

  • Import your content: People come to WordPress.com from different places on the web, and we have various importers that do much of the heavy lifting for you. Coming from Blogger like Kyla? Here’s the Blogger importer guide.
  • Set up essential pages: Have some fun drafting a new About page like Kyla. Find inspiration from pre-designed page layouts built with blocks to build other evergreen pages like a Services or FAQs page, or a simple Contact page to connect with your audience or start generating leads immediately. 
  • Take advantage of our ecommerce features: Collecting monthly payments? Offering writing workshops? Thinking of setting up a premium service? Kyla, for example, has pondered the idea of launching a book club, offering exclusive access to members. Once your site is migrated and you’re ready to earn money, you can use the Payments block on a site with a paid WordPress.com plan.

Is it time for you to make the switch? Let’s get down to business.

Expanded Button Formatting, New Spacing Controls, and Drag-and-Drop for List View Now in Block Editor

This month, our team released features in the block editor that give your site a little breathing room: spacing controls for buttons and paragraphs. And the List View tool keeps getting better with drag-and-drop.

Powerful Expanded Button Formatting

Buttons never looked so good with custom padding.

Padding is empty space within the border of a block, which can bring clarity to your content and adjust the balance of the page’s layout.

Custom control over a button’s spacing, color, and aggressiveness of the corner radii — all within the visual editor — can elevate it as a powerful design element of your website.

Make a punchy set of buttons themed in your brand’s colors or place an effective Call to Action button to attract your visitors.

To try, add a button with the Buttons block, and in the block’s menu go to the Dimensions section and select Padding. Adjust the padding uniformly around the button by changing the one value. If you click the unlink icon, you can adjust the four sides independently. Experiment with changing the Border and Color as well. To quickly create a grid of similar buttons, select the Options icon (…) in the toolbar above the block in your post editor and select Duplicate.

New Spacing Controls

Manually adjust the padding of other blocks as well, like a Paragraph block.

Custom-indent an entire section of text or generously pad a small amount of text for a big effect.

Experiment by wrapping a couple paragraphs with a Group block. Select the Group block and in the block’s menu go to the Dimensions section and select Padding. You can adjust the padding in this block just as you did with the button.

Drag-and-Drop for Persistent List View

We mentioned updates to the List View in June and July.

Accessible in the top-left menu of your post editor, the List View is the table of contents of all the blocks used in your post — select the diagonal hamburger icon to open this list. For deeply nested layouts, you can expand and collapse certain sections of this list, making navigation more efficient.

Now, with drag-and-drop functionality, you can reposition blocks within your post. Drag-and-drop a block within the list to reposition it, but if you prefer to organize visually, you can also drag the block’s label from the list into the post editor. List View is more powerful than ever to reorganize a post.

Keep Building, Keep Exploring

Your feedback is crucial to expanding the block editor’s capabilities, so keep it coming. Watch here for more updates, and in the meantime, go forth and create!

Meet the Customers We’re Featuring at the WordPress.com Growth Summit

Last summer, as the world adjusted to pandemic life, Jessica Petrie knew that she had to make changes to how she ran her studio, Yoga Next Door

She quickly figured out how to stream her classes from her studio in the beautiful woods of Maine, and adapted her business model to offer video learning and online payment. While looking forward to a return to in-real-life classes and retreats, she refused to be set back by the pandemic, and found a way to allow her students to continue their yoga practice from the safety of their homes. 

We are always learning from customers like Jessica — or Steven Gaither, Wali Pitt, and Tolly Carr of HBCU Gameday. The trio doubled down on understanding their growing audience, while staying focused on their important coverage of sports and culture at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Their expert use of SEO tools has helped them increase site traffic along the way. 

They are not alone: many WordPress.com creators have grown their audiences while publishing on social and cultural movements around the world, signaling their resilience, adaptability, and impact in challenging times.

We are proud to feature Jessica Petrie, HBCU Gameday, and other inspiring customers at the second Official WordPress.com Growth Summit, on Tuesday, August 17 (Wednesday, August 18, for Asia-Pacific timezones). You can still buy your ticket and learn from these incredible customers:

Muslim Girl

Amani al-Khatahtbeh started a website, Muslim Girl, and a movement. Whether highlighting prominent Muslim women in the Olympics or in the media, or diving into issues like human trafficking and marriage in modern Islam culture, Amani has created a platform focused on raising awareness, amplifying young voices, and fostering open dialogue. Beyond this, Amani is building a community around the diverse identities of Muslim women in the West — on #MuslimWomensDay (heading into its sixth year next March) and every day.

CalMatters

CEO Neil Chase and VP of Product Strategy Kim Fox will talk about their nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom, CalMatters, with our own Kinsey Wilson, the head of Newspack (the open-source publishing and revenue-generating platform for news organizations.) CalMatters not only covers policy and politics in California; they also help empower emerging publishers with their digital platforms. We’ll learn how they started, how they sustain their operation, and what they see ahead in digital news.

Zaloa Languages 

Anja Spilker is the founder of Mexico-based company Zaloa Languages, which offers online language learning with native teachers to an international audience. Anja is that rare and powerful combination of founder, CEO, and influencer. She’s equally adept at sharing her life behind the scenes as she is in shifting her business model, significantly increasing revenue, and creating a compelling brand with a sophisticated ecommerce approach. Listening to her tell the story of Zaloa Languages will be a masterclass on its own.

HBCU Gameday 

With HBCU Gameday, Steven J. Gaither spotted an underrepresented niche in the vast sports media landscape. He teamed up with experienced journalist Tolly Carr and digital technologist and video producer Wali Pitt to create a publication with an important focus on HBCU sports stories of culture and substance.  They’re hands-on in understanding how their audience finds them, all while adopting new formats (video!) seamlessly.

Workprint

David Nitzsche is a master of short-form storytelling, and he’s making a business out of it. We’ll learn how he weaves trailers, music videos, and creative for Apple, Marvel, National Geographic, Red Bull, Netflix, Google, and more. David will also talk about how he’s evolved his career from freelance editor to launching his own post-production studio, Workprint, in Los Angeles in the middle of the pandemic.

Yoga Next Door 

If the story of how Jessica borrowed her son’s GoPro camera to quickly experiment with offering her classes by online video doesn’t inspire you, Yoga Next Door’s return to real-life retreats will. But you just may learn most from Jessica’s  on-the-fly business savvy, including how she set up a digital library for customers while continuing to share her mindfulness and yoga expertise willingly. (So willingly that she’ll offer attendees a mid-Summit yoga and mindfulness session.)

STATURE

Which of Nick Engvall’s ventures can you learn most from? We found him via Sneaker History, the podcast he launched with and for fellow sneakerheads, drawing on his own content-creating background with brands like StockX and Finish Line. But we’ll also explore his creative agency STATURE, his hands-on thought leadership for podcasters and creators, his advocacy of WordPress, and how he finds time for it all!

If we have time, that is. Because all of these speakers have many stories to tell and ideas to share, and we have a packed Summit agenda that also includes sessions with our own talented Happiness Engineers, who will lead workshops on blogging, podcasting, building an audience, and SEO.

We hope you’ll join us at the Summit this week — and just as importantly, we hope you’ll keep working on your thing, too. We’d love to feature you someday soon.

Faster, More Flexible Editing of Your Sidebars, Headers, and Footers: Blocks for Widgets

The block editor makes site creation fast and flexible. Now, you can use that same huge library of blocks available when editing your pages and posts to edit and customize your sidebars, headers, and footers.

What are Widgets?

Sidebars, headers, and footers on your WordPress.com website are powered by widgets. Widgets are small but powerful modules to arrange and display content and tools around the edges of your posts and pages. Until now, widgets have been the best way to insert a variety of content — from calendars to social icons — into the sidebar, header, and footer of your site.

Flexibility with the Block Editor

Setting up and managing widgets was a very static and often tricky process. The block editor you’re familiar with in pages and posts is now part of the widgets editor. This aims to put editing power in your control.

You’re no longer limited to just widgets — any block is for your choosing.

For example, in your sidebar, header, and footer, you can now:

  • Tweak the structure by adding columns or spacers
  • Quickly add content like a Search block or a header
  • Format content via colors and rich text editing

What About Older Widgets?

Every widget that exists today will be incorporated into blocks.

But don’t worry — your current widgets will still work and can be used alongside your other blocks. Even legacy widgets that don’t have a block equivalent will work. Just use your preferred method of inserting a block, search for the widget’s name, and insert.

Getting Started

If you’ve never edited the content in your sidebar, header, or footer, now is a great time to experiment!

To edit the content, go to Appearance → Customize → Widgets and you’ll now be able to directly add widgets and any blocks, while previewing exactly what they’ll look like on your site.

This update is just one more step on the way to a more intuitive site editing experience. Go forth and create!

5 Ways to Get Started On Your Side Hustle

At Automattic, we believe in making the web a better place by helping people get access to powerful tools that help them tell their stories and turn their passion into an income generator.

During the pandemic, we noticed that people were focusing on their side hustle and building a trusted brand online. We’re focused on making it easier and quicker to launch your website, so that you can focus on building your community. 

Here are five ways to get started: 

  1. Create your website on WordPress.com
  2. Get your own domain name to make it easier for people to find you
  3. Setup Professional Email to connect with customers using your own domain
  4. Create a logo to make your brand memorable
  5. Start collecting payments with Earn tools 

Whether you’re a blogger, an entrepreneur, a small business owner, an artist, an educator, or you have a new idea you want to turn into a side hustle, we want you to have the opportunity to amplify your message through the web and find your own community and customers here. We’re ready to help you get started on your journey. Are you ready?

Start my three-month free trial for Professional Email!

Heading Font Weights and List View Toggles Arrive in Block Editor and WordPress 5.8

Let’s dive into some recent block updates meant to improve your efficiency and spice up the look of your blog or website.

Stylish Heading Font Weights

Headings not only draw your audience in, they help get your message across. Now you can enhance the font weight of headings with the click of a dropdown menu. Between the options for font size and font weight, you’ll be able to create the perfect look you’ve been aiming for.

To start experimenting, select the Heading block you want to edit, then head to the right-side block menu. Under Typography, change the Font weight. When you select a new option in the menu, you’ll see your heading font change on the left.

Persistent List View Toggles

As we mentioned last month, the List View button acts as a table of contents and outlines all the blocks in use on your page or post. And most importantly, this outline is persistent — meaning it won’t disappear as you edit your content so you can quickly find and edit any block on the list.

The List View just leveled up: you can now expand and collapse nested blocks in the list.

Deeply nested layouts will benefit from this feature. But even for straightforward layouts, certain elements such as content in columns can make the List View a little daunting. Less searching + more focus = improved editing.

WordPress 5.8

WordPress.com updated to WordPress 5.8 on July 20. This release starts the wave of functionality centered around Full Site Editing.

Full Site Editing aims to bring blocks to every aspect of the WordPress experience, including navigation menus, site logos, templated content, global styles affecting your site’s overall look, and much more. Between adding functionality to your site or editing what’s already there, Full Site Editing will allow you to do it with a visual editing experience — without the need to learn code.

Learn more about Full Site Editing here.

Keep Building, Keep Exploring

Your feedback is crucial to expanding the block editor’s capabilities, so keep it coming. Watch here for more updates, and in the meantime, have fun experimenting!

The Second Annual, Official WordPress.com Growth Summit is Coming and You Won’t Want to Miss It

You’ve got an idea; let’s get it online.

Join us online for the second Official WordPress.com Growth Summit on August 17th in the Americas + EMEA and August 18th in APAC. 

Calling all creators, small businesses, and publishers! 

Are you a blogger looking for ways to drive traffic and attract more visitors? Are you a small business owner that wants to start selling products and services on your site? Are you an artist or creator who wants to learn how to share your work and generate leads? The WordPress.com Growth Summit will cover these topics (and many more). We’ll provide indispensable advice to help you succeed!

Speakers include:

You’ll have direct access to our Happiness Engineers —  ask your most pressing support questions and check out on-demand product demos. 

Social network with fellow attendees to grow your community connections.

To stay accessible to a global audience, we’ll hold the event twice:

  • Americas + EMEA — August 17th, 2021.
  • Asia Pacific — August 18th, 2021.

Register today to take advantage of the special rate of $25 USD at checkout. Special pricing ends July 31!

Make Your Best Photos Shine

We’ve recently launched an upgraded photo carousel experience that takes photo viewing to the next level on mobile devices. Now your visitors can swipe, zoom, and double-tap with ease and get the best look at those beautiful snaps!

Video Overview

Here’s a short video overview of using the photo carousel on a mobile device and the upgrades we’ve introduced:

What’s New

Smooth, Hands-on, High Resolution Photo Viewing

  • Full-width photos expand to the display of your device
  • Swift, smooth pinch-to-zoom, and double-tap-to-zoom through your photos
  • New, higher resolution images that stay crisp and clear however far you zoom
  • A simpler, faster tap-to-close button to move back into the thumbnail gallery view

Faster, Clearer Navigation Between Photos

  • Responsive, fast swiping between your photos
  • Clear photo numbering navigation to show where you are in your gallery
  • With 5 or less photos, a dot navigation system you can tap to jump to any photo in the sequence

Easy Access Metadata and Comments for Every Photo

  • One-tap metadata for every photo
  • Per-photo comment notifications, with a single tap to view comments

Getting Started

If you’ve previously used our image carousel feature, your site has been upgraded automatically so your visitors will get the new experience starting right now.

If you haven’t added a carousel to your site so far, now’s a great time to give it a try. Simply insert a gallery block using our editor and your photos will show using the carousel whenever your visitors click or tap an image.

WordPress.com Managed Hosting Webinar with Rudy Faile, Automattic Systems

On June 16, 2021, WordPress.com presented a live webinar focused on Managed Hosting with WordPress.com. The topic expert was Rudy Faile, Automattic Systems Engineer. Hosting the webinar was Sam Vaidya, Automattic Happiness Engineer. If you missed the live event, don’t worry. You can watch the recording at your convenience on Youtube or view it right here.

What Does the WordPress.com Managed Hosting Webinar Cover?

In this webinar, you’ll learn from WordPress.com Happiness Engineers and product experts how to build a fast, secure, and scalable website using WordPress – the publishing platform that now powers over 41% of the web. 

Managed hosting is a convenient service offered by WordPress.com, which is 100% dedicated to hosting the open-source WordPress software. Managed hosting is an excellent option for people who don’t want to deal with running a website’s back-end technical operations. You get all of the freedom of WordPress, with none of the hassles. 

Here’s what you get with WordPress.com managed hosting: 

  • A faster website. 
  • Powerful, built-in SEO. 
  • Security and systems experts. 
  • Scalability and uptime you can depend on. 
  • Automatic WordPress Updates. 
  • Real-time backups.

Watched the Webinar but Still Have Questions?

Attendees at the live event asked great questions throughout the presentation. We’ve created an FAQ that answers many of them, along with other questions you might have. If you want to know more about WordPress.com’s managed hosting, the FAQ is a great place to start.

Popular Podcast App Pocket Casts Joins Automattic

We’re excited to announce that Pocket Casts will be joining Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com. More than 80M people in the US listen to a podcast weekly, and this critically acclaimed podcast app makes it easier for fans to discover podcasts and customize their listening experience. Pocket Casts has been recognized by The New York Times, WIRED, The Verge, and other top publications for its exquisite design and user-friendly features.

Pocket Casts should be the podcast app you listen to and through which you distribute your content. Here’s why:

  1. Discover hidden gems with powerful search tools and human-curated recommendations. Pocket Casts helps you discover premium content with next-level search and discovery tools. You can use the episode search feature to look for a topic or special guest you want to learn more about or rely on the advice of human curators to help you find new podcasts that you’ll enjoy.
  1. Easily navigate with a beautifully designed interface. Pocket Casts is a thoughtfully designed app built by podcast listeners for podcast listeners. Easily follow and find your favorite podcasts and build a playback queue for a seamless listening experience.
  1. Personalize how you listen. With built-in features like variable speed playback, trim silence option, volume boost, a sleep timer, personal media storage, and standalone playback for Apple Watch, Pocket Casts delivers a streamlined and customized listening experience that users love.
  1. Listen on the go across all of your devices. Once you are ready to hit play on your next podcast, Pocket Casts allows you to listen anywhere across platforms, including iOS, Android, Web, Windows, macOS, CarPlay, Android Auto, watchOS, Alexa, and Sonos.

As part of Automattic, Pocket Casts will continue to provide you with the features needed to enjoy your favorite podcasts (or find something new). We will explore building deep integrations with WordPress.com and Pocket Casts, making it easier to distribute and listen to podcasts. We’re thrilled that we can continue to give our users a multitude of ways to tell and engage with stories that matter.

Co-founders Russell Ivanovic and Philip Simpson will continue to lead Pocket Casts as part of Automattic. 

6 Ways WordPress.com Courses Help You Grow

WordPress.com experts invite you to join our community-driven courses to get your blog or podcast started, launched, or taken to the next level. Join today for on-demand content, access to a course community of peers, weekly office hours with our dedicated experts, and virtual meet-ups to connect with other learners like you. Start learning here

Overheard on our Blogging for Beginners Course Community: “Taking this course has pushed me to think beyond my comfort zone and take a step back in my journey to become a better blogger and focus on what I truly want to write about.

Join the WordPress.com Course Communities here.

Build a Blogging Habit with Reminders in Your WordPress App

Writing regularly on your blog both improves your writing skills and engages the readers that visit your site. The more you write, the better — you can meet your posting goals while also building an online audience that keeps coming back for more.

But to keep up a good habit, sometimes you need a nudge. So, we’ve added Blogging Reminders to the WordPress mobile apps to help keep you on track.

Choose the days you prefer to blog, and a push notification will remind you to write your post.

You’ll see a promotion for this new feature in your app, available from version 17.7. You can set it up as follows: 

  • Go to the My Site tab.
  • Scroll down and tap on Site Settings.
  • You’ll see Blogging Reminders under General.
  • Select the days you want to write, and you’ll be reminded with push notifications.

We hope this encourages a regular blogging habit! We’d love to hear your feedback. Reach out to us from within the app by going to My Site, tapping your photo on the top right, tapping Help & Support, and then selecting Contact Support.

P2 Puts Easy, Flexible Project Tracking Tools In Your Hands

From to-do apps and day planners, to spreadsheets and full-blown subscription services, making your work trackable and visible can really help with productivity.

P2 is the tool we use at Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com), and today we’d love to share some ways you can do the same.

What sets P2 apart from other project tracking tools?

There is no shortage of project management tools out there, but the killer feature of P2 is its total flexibility.

Instead of having to adapt to a particular, fixed way of working, P2 adapts to the way you and your team work.

That’s made possible by the baked-in integration of the WordPress block editor, giving you a really flexible tool that can adapt to whatever you need to throw at it. 

P2 is your project tracking canvas

From a blank page upwards, P2 makes it easy to track and feature what’s most important to you, using any of the nearly 80 (and growing) blocks at your disposal.

In practice that means that any page can include images, Google Calendars, PDF embeds, Figma designs, checklists, and a wide spectrum of video players and social media integrations (just for starters). And of course, you can arrange them on the page any way that meets your needs.

Three project tracking blocks you can add to your P2 today

Among the options available to you on P2, three blocks in particular can be really useful for project tracking. Let’s take a look at those.

1. Task block

Tasks are the atomic unit of getting things done. 

With the Task block, you can add your team to-dos and assign whoever’s responsible for them right from the editor. Clicking the “cog” button in the top right of the editor will open up further options to set start and end dates. 

Here’s an example of a Task block in action:

Four Task blocks with two items marked as complete, one item assigned to somebody, and one item with a start and end date.

2. Project Status block

Tasks often add up to a bigger project. The Project Status block does what it says on the tin by tracking a group of tasks together.

Just add it to your post, optionally set a due date and assign tasks, and then update it as tasks are in progress and are completed:

A progress bar updates as items are being checked off in a task list.

Find advanced tips on the Task and Project Status blocks here. 

3. Changelog block

A changelog is a log or record of all notable changes made to a project. If you’d like to call out those changes visually, the Changelog block lets you assign colorful preset or custom labels, with a description for each:

Changelog blocks with "Launched", "Improved", "Fixed", and "Metric" labels.

At Automattic, we use the Changelog block to summarize the work status for a team or product. But P2’s Changelog block can really be used for any projects that you want to keep a record of.

Find advanced tips on the Changelog block here.

How to add project tracking blocks to your P2

Once you have a P2 up and running, you can add the Task, Project Status, or Changelog blocks to your post or page by either:

  • Using the “+” button on the top left of your editor and typing the first few letters of the block name
  • Typing “/” anywhere in the editor itself, and searching for the block that way by starting to type the name of the block

How do you P2?

Signing up for P2 is free. Take a look around our demo P2 to see some ways we use it at Automattic.

We’d love to hear how you use P2 and its project tracking blocks in your work. Let us know in the comments.

Built-in Duotone Image Filter, Editor Navigation via Persistent List View, and Other Block Editor Improvements

The next batch of exciting updates to the block editor is live on WordPress.com. Powerful duotone image editing, a persistent list view to edit your page or post, and an update for picking table colors are all ready for you to build and improve the look of your site. Let’s take a closer look.

Built-in duotone image filter

Duotone is a much anticipated feature that allows you to choose between any two colors for an image’s shadows and highlights. Think black and white photos, but in any color combo of your choosing. What was once the power of standalone image-editing software is now at your fingertips in the block editor.

Establish a consistent tone across your site’s images or draw your audience’s eye with a catchy color combo for a big post.

Try it out by adding an Image or Cover block, select “Apply duotone filter” from the floating block menu, and experiment by choosing colors.

Editor navigation via persistent List View

Level-up your editing game by selecting the List View in the top menu bar—this displays the entire block structure of your page or post. It’s essentially a Table of Contents of all the blocks currently in use. List View is now persistent, meaning it will remain expanded in the sidebar as you edit. 

This update will vastly improve the navigation of complex content and the editing of nested blocks.

And there’s a bonus! Anchors added to blocks are also shown in this List View for easy identification.

Customize your Table colors

Background and text colors are easily edited within the Table block for a more consistent feel across your site.

Keep building, keep exploring

Your feedback is crucial to expanding the block editor’s capabilities, so keep it coming. Watch here for more updates, and in the meantime, go forth and create!

WordPress.com Welcomes the Award-Winning Atavist Magazine to the Platform

At WordPress.com, part of our mission is to support and empower storytellers and publishers of all sizes. We’re thrilled to announce that the award-winning Atavist Magazine has moved to WordPress.com, joining its sister publication, Longreads, on the platform. Atavist is built on Newspack, a suite of features and plugins designed specifically for the needs of newsrooms and publishers.

For more than a decade, The Atavist Magazine has been a pioneer in digital storytelling, publishing one blockbuster story every month. Each story showcases a unique, sophisticated, immersive design. A nine-time National Magazine Award nominee and one-time winner — and the recipient of many other accolades — Atavist shines as a space on the web for thoughtful, deeply reported stories, and as an outlet eager to publish up-and-coming writers at a time when journalism opportunities are narrowing.

“We are thrilled to now be part of the WordPress.com ecosystem, with all the open source tools and support it provides,” says Atavist editor in chief Seyward Darby. “We just celebrated our 10th anniversary, and we can’t think of a better way to ring in a new decade of telling great stories and championing the people who create them than this move.”

Built on Newspack, an open source platform for news publications

Supported by Newspack, a publishing and revenue-generating solution for small- to medium-sized newsrooms built on WordPress, Atavist joins a network of 100 news publishers and counting, including Reveal, Sahan Journal, Hong Kong Free Press, The Oaklandside, Transitions Online, and other local and regional news outlets worldwide.

“WordPress.com’s block-based editor and Newspack’s built-in subscription, payment, and other news-focused features will power us into the future and help us grow,” says Darby. “We’re honored to join Longreads as a flagship WordPress.com publication, showcasing how flexible the world’s most popular CMS is for storytellers of all types.”

Is Newspack right for you as a publisher? Learn more or get in touch.

Just launched: a new Atavist podcast

If you’re a fan of podcasts, get a feel for Atavist’s storytelling on its first-ever narrative podcast, No Place Like Home, launching this week and available wherever you listen to your favorite shows. It’s about the theft of a pair of ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz from a small museum in Minnesota, and the 13-year quest to get them back. Listen to a preview:


Explore the redesigned Atavist Magazine and dive in to your next great read.

Let’s Celebrate Pride by Supporting Nonprofits

It’s Pride month; perhaps you’ve noticed from the rainbows all over everything?

A most unusual Pride month it is, too — the familiar sights of parades were missing last year, and those happening this year are somewhat cautious by comparison to years past. The representation and visibility that Pride was conceived to address has been obscured by the pandemic, and the queer community, though strong and passionate, has seen quite enough historical isolation already.

To make matters worse, the redoubled attacks over the last year on the queer community’s rights, especially the direct lobbying against trans rights in the UK and US, have made it clear that the vulnerability all humans faced during 2020 hasn’t really ended for many of those in the queer and trans communities; while we’re slowly putting the pandemic behind us, the disease of discrimination still infects far too much of humankind.

While allying with the queer community is a noble intent, the nonprofits, charities and organizations that make up the core of the queer community’s ongoing battle for equal rights have been taking much of the strain through this pandemic.

This year, we’re taking a constructive approach to Pride by celebrating and highlighting the work of important queer organizations, charities, and nonprofits tirelessly working to ensure the queer community is respected and protected through these turbulent times. To uplift and support a community, it’s important to uplift those who already do so, and who continue to do so all year round, long after the rainbow flags come down again.

We invite everyone, queer and ally alike, to support these critical organizations in the work they do. If you’re unsure where to start, take some time to visit a few of their websites and get a sense of what they do, follow them on social media and reshare the information they post, and please take heed of volunteering and direct donation opportunities to support their work, too!


Stonewall UK

Stonewall UK

An internationally-reaching queer and trans rights organization, advocating for the rights of the queer community and providing frameworks for equitable employment and treatment of queer and trans people. #standforstonewall

stonewall.org.uk


Out In Tech

Out In Tech

The world’s largest nonprofit community of LGBTQ+ tech leaders, creating opportunities for members to advance their careers, grow their networks, and leverage tech for social change.

outintech.com


Trans Lifeline

Translifeline

A grassroots hotline and microgrants nonprofit organization offering direct emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis — for the trans community, by the trans community.

translifeline.org


GLSEN

GLSEN

Every day GLSEN works to ensure that LGBTQ students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment.

glsen.org


The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project

The leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning young people under 25.

thetrevorproject.org


BTAC

National Black Trans Advocacy Coalition

The only social justice organization led by black trans people to collectively address the inequities faced in the black transgender human experience.

blacktrans.org


Gendered Intelligence

Gendered Intelligence

A trans-led and trans-involving grassroots organization with a wealth of lived experience, community connections of many kinds, and a depth and breadth of trans community knowledge that is second to none.

genderedintelligence.co.uk


GaymerX

GaymerX

GaymerX is a nonprofit dedicated to celebrating and supporting LGBTQ+ people and culture in the world of gaming, with a focus on video games.

gaymerx.org


It Gets Better

It Gets Better Project

The It Gets Better Project’s mission is to uplift, empower, and connect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth around the globe.

itgetsbetter.org


Mermaids

Mermaids

Mermaids has been supporting transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse children, young people, and their families since 1995.

mermaidsuk.org.uk


Black & Pink

Black and Pink

Black & Pink coordinates a nationwide pen pal program in which we match incarcerated LGBTQIA2S+ people and people living with HIV/AIDS with pen pals who correspond, build relationships, and participate in harm reduction and affirmation.

blackandpinkpenpals.org


Lambda Legal

Lambda Legal

A national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education, and public policy work.

lambdalegal.org


GLAAD

GLAAD

GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love.

glaad.org


There are lots of ways to support these critical organizations year-round, not just at Pride! Remember — check them out, follow them on social media, and consider volunteering and donating where you can.

Day One, the Journaling App, Joins Automattic

We’re excited to welcome Day One to the Automattic team. Day One is a private journaling app that makes writing for yourself a simple pleasure. A beautifully designed user experience has earned the app prestigious awards including App Store Editor’s Choice, App of the Year, and the Apple Design Award, along with high praise from The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, Wired, and more.

Share what matters most to you

While WordPress.com and Tumblr have you covered for sharing your thoughts with the world, journaling with Day One is just for you. In fact, privacy is at the heart of Day One, thanks to the full end-to-end encryption applied to every entry, in every journal.

That doesn’t mean that everything you journal has to stay private, though. When you want to share specific entries – or even entire journals with the world – you can expect seamless integrations with both WordPress.com and Tumblr to do just that. On the flip side of that, importing your favorite content from WordPress.com and Tumblr into Day One is on the near-term roadmap. 

If you decide you’d like a wider readership still, Day One journals can be published as beautiful hardcopy books to savor, gift, or thumb through on a rainy day.

Start journaling with Day One

Journaling is one of those great habits that can change your life. It reminds you of where you’ve been and helps you figure out where you’re going. Join the more than 15 million people that have downloaded Day One from all over the world – Day One is free to use and available on iPhone/iPad/Watch, Mac, Android, and Browser Extensions. 

A beautiful journaling experience

As part of Automattic, Day One will continue to create beautifully designed and innovative experiences with features that include: 

  • End-to-end encrypted cloud sync
  • Rich text formatting with markdown
  • Daily prompts
  • Journaling templates
  • Instagram Importer
  • Audio recording with dictation
  • Journal via email or text messaging
  • Location history
  • Physical book printing

Day One will remain under the leadership of Paul Mayne, Founder and CEO.

WordPress.com is the Fastest WordPress Host in Review Signal’s 2021 Test

For the past eight years, Review Signal has published its WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks, and 2021’s results are in.

We’re happy to report that not only did WordPress.com earn Top Tier status once again, but we were proven to be the fastest WordPress host in any pricing tier.

WordPress.com … had perfect 100% uptime on both monitors, zero errors across both load tests and the fastest WP bench of any company in any price tier this year. – WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks 2021

The goal of the WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks is to run unbiased, data driven performance tests to determine how well different WordPress specialized hosting companies could handle a lot of traffic.

Although testing WordPress hosting performance is complex and imperfect, Review Signal’s methodology is extensive, transparent, and as close to reliable as one could reasonably expect. The tests are designed to measure peak performance and consistency. Review Signal describes this process this way:

Peak performance is measured using load testing services (LoadStorm and K6) which emulate large numbers of users visiting a website and watching how well the hosting responds under these stressful conditions. Consistency is measured using uptime monitoring to make sure that the servers remain available for a longer duration of time.

Full test results can be found here.

WordPress.com is the fastest WordPress host

But WordPress.com’s hosting performance didn’t stop there. Review Signal also runs a separate WooCommerce test, and WordPress.com dominated that category as well.

WordPress.com earned Top Tier status [again this] year. Perfect uptime. The second fastest K6 average response time. A solid Load Storm test. They also absolutely showed off on the WebPageTest results taking 10/12 fastest response times. The fastest WP Bench I’ve ever seen and the second fastest PHP Bench. A definite Top Tier performance.

WordPress.com fastest WooCommerce host

In both tests, WordPress.com had “the fastest WP Bench.” In the WordPress hosting test, WordPress.com rated as “the fastest WP Bench of any company in any price tier this year,” and in the WooCommerce tests, WordPress.com nailed it with “the fastest WP Bench I’ve ever seen and the second fastest PHP Bench.”


We couldn’t be more proud of our WordPress.com Systems Engineers, including our PerfOps team, and everyone who contributes to making WordPress.com the best, fastest WordPress host in the world.

Not only is WordPress.com the fastest WordPress host, but we offer so much more. Ready to unlock the full potential of your site? See everything that WordPress.com’s Business plan offers, including enterprise-grade security, generous storage, and advanced developer tools.

The Best of Both Worlds: WordPress.com Managed Hosting

How you can get the total freedom to create without the hassles that come with managing your own website. 

The open source WordPress project has given the world a powerful publishing platform that now powers 41% of the web. While this is the most widely adopted CMS on the internet, you’re also going to need a hosting provider to make your website available online. 

When choosing a web host, it’s important to think about how hands-on you’d like to be with maintenance. If you aren’t familiar with technical website operations, it can be daunting to install updates, fear of breaking something or forgetting to backup! (it’s ok, we’ve all been there) Good news: there’s another way and it’s called managed hosting. 

Managed hosting is a convenient service offered by WordPress.com, which is 100% dedicated to hosting the open source WordPress software. Managed hosting is a great option for people who don’t want to deal with the backend technical operations of running a website. You get all of the freedom of WordPress, with none of the hassles. 

Here’s what you get with WordPress.com managed hosting: 

A faster website. 

Because slow websites are the worst! Especially if you plan on growing your audience and customers. To keep it fast, WordPress.com runs on its own global CDN with 28 state-of-the-art data centers (and counting) all over the world with servers, switches, and routers we own instead of lease. This environment is especially unique because it’s specifically designed and optimized for WordPress sites, so you’re never at the mercy of another provider. The result: baseline page load speeds for a website running on a WordPress.com Business plan clock in around 1 second compared to the industry standard 2.4 seconds. That’s more than speed. It’s a platform that you can depend on. 

Powerful, built-in SEO. 

WordPress.com has great SEO right out of the box. That means you don’t have to do anything extra to reap the benefits. In fact, WordPress takes care of 80-90 percent of the mechanics of SEO for you, according to Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team. All of our themes are optimized for search engines, which means they are designed to make it easy for the Googlebot (and other search engines) to crawl through them and discover all the content.

WordPress.com also automatically sends notifications to Google every time you publish or update a post or page. This is similar to how your subscribers get email updates. Every time you post, you’re telling Google, “hey! Check this out.”

Security and systems experts.

Your website is only as good as it is safe. And managed hosting makes security simple by handling patches, spam protection, updates, and more without having to lift a finger. At WordPress.com, we take security a step further with dedicated systems and security teams who make sure your site stays secure. 

Scalability and uptime you can depend on. 

What’s the worst thing that could happen if your site gets popular? Crash. We’re here for you when it really matters and we’ll make sure this doesn’t happen. Our systems are built to scale as you grow and we have experience hosting some of the largest brands on the internet, like Facebook, Spotify, Microsoft, and CNN. We know how to seamlessly scale your website for millions of visitors, without additional costs for increased traffic. 

Automatic WordPress Updates.

One of the ways we keep your site working in top condition is by automatically handling all version upgrades to make sure you’re on the latest version of WordPress. The best part is that you won’t even notice that we’re doing it for you, so there’s no need to stress about doing something wrong. 

Real-time backups.

We don’t want anyone to lose their hard work. That’s why all WordPress.com plans come with automated backups to save your content. With the Business plan, we take that a step further and do real-time backups so you’ll always have peace of mind. We also diversify our locations, so each time you upload an image to WordPress.com, six copies are made in different locations with a 7th going to an Amazon s3 bucket –– just to make sure.  Losing all your content is the worst feeling on earth. Constantly having to think about manual backups is a pain. That’s why we do it all for you. 

This is just a small sample of how managed hosting can make running your website easier. When you leave the website maintenance to us, you can save so much time that you can refocus towards making your content instead. Plus, there’s no need to install WordPress software – it’s ready to go instantly –– as soon as you sign up. 

If you’d like to learn more about how our managed hosting services can help your website run better, join us at our upcoming webinar Wednesday, June 16th at 1am PT | 11am MT | 12pm CT | 1pm ET | 5pm UTC.

 

One-click Portfolio Designs, Instant PDF Embeds, and More Improvements to the Block Editor

We have some exciting new block editor updates to share with you today including fresh collection of Portfolio block patterns, a new and improved way to embed a preview of PDF documents, and better editing tools for Cover and Buttons blocks.

Let’s dive in!

One-Click Portfolio Layouts

Block patterns are pre-designed templates that make creating beautiful pages a breeze. This time we’re bringing you a curated collection of portfolio patterns, perfect for showcasing your creative work. 

To access block patterns, click on the + icon in the WordPress Editor, and switch to the Patterns tab. All portfolio patterns can be found in the Portfolio category.

Embed PDFs with the File Block

The File block allows you to place a download button for documents and other files on your website. With the latest block editor update you can also use it to show a preview of a PDF file. The preview will be displayed automatically, with an option to be disabled from the block settings panel.

Go Large on Buttons

Capture your audience’s attention with eye-catching buttons! You can now make the buttons bigger by customizing the font-size and line-height settings.

Drag-and-drop Cover Block Backgrounds

This update makes it easier to swap the Cover block background image. Simply drag a new image over from your computer, and it will automatically replace the current one.

You keep building, we’ll keep improving

Your feedback helps us make the editor better – thank you! We’re excited to see what you build next with the block editor. In the meantime, watch this space for more updates!

Happy editing!

Introducing a new design for the WordPress apps

The WordPress mobile apps are the best way to manage your site from anywhere. If you’re already using the app, you might have noticed a new visual design that’s been rolling out. That rollout is complete in WordPress 17.1, which is available today for both Android and iOS. If you’re not already using it this is the perfect time to give it a try!

Our new visual design as seen on iPhone and iPad.

We add new features and improve the WordPress apps in every release, but our visual design hasn’t changed much in the last few years. Over the last few months we’ve thought about how to modernize the design of the apps. As we’ve implemented features like Dark Mode, we’re taking advantage of new components made available in the latest versions of iOS and Android.  

Bigger, bolder headers call out key product areas and create a distinction between the top level tabs and deeper levels of the apps. A new color palette pairs a more neutral background that lets your content shine with brighter blues that make interactive elements even more noticeable. A new serif typeface is a nod to WordPress’s roots in writing and publishing.

Dark Mode is available on both iOS and Android devices.

We hope you enjoy these updates as you use the apps and we’d love to hear your feedback. Reach out to us from within the app by going to My Site, tapping your photo on the top right, tapping Help & Support, and then selecting Contact Support.

What’s New in the Block Editor: New Page Layout Picker, Better Block Transformation Options, and More

Here’s a peek at the latest changes in the block editor — subtle-yet-practical enhancements that help you create beautiful posts and pages more efficiently:

  • New page layout picker experience.
  • Convert text and images into Columns block.
  • Improved spacing options for social links and buttons.
  • Streamlined behavior of the writing prompt.

Let’s dive in!

New Page Layout Picker


Page layouts are pre-designed templates that make creating beautiful pages a breeze. In this update we focused on improving the layout picker, making it easier to quickly browse different categories and select your layout.

Convert text and images into Columns Block

Transforming one block into another is a nifty trick that can greatly improve the editing experience. With the latest update, text (and images too!) can be automatically converted to a Columns block with the click of a button.

Select two or more blocks (these could be Paragraph, Heading, Image, etc.), click on the grouped block icon, and select “Columns” from the list of transformation options. The number of blocks selected will correspond to the number of columns.

Improved spacing options for Social Links and Buttons

Get creative with new ways to arrange your social links and buttons. This update brings you greater control over spacing and unlocks some neat layout ideas.

The correct alignment will be visible once you finish editing the Social Icons block.

Streamlined behavior of the writing prompt

You’re probably familiar with the writing prompt that greets you every time you start a new post or  page. Until now you’d also see it on every new line in your document. We’re happy to report that’s no longer the case! To streamline the writing process the prompt will now only appear once. There will be no subsequent prompts with every new line — just space for you to write your thoughts without distractions.

You keep building, we’ll keep improving

We can’t wait to see what you build with the improved block editor. In the meantime, we’ll keep new updates coming your way.

Happy editing!

Introducing Milestone Notifications

Your website is a product of your hard work and passion. Therefore, when your site hits a milestone — it shouldn’t go unrecognized. To make it easier for you to keep track of your site’s achievements, we’ll be rolling out a new celebratory notification that will alert you when your site reaches or surpasses a certain number of views

We hope these celebrations are meaningful and motivational for you and that they inspire you to take time to pause, reflect, and celebrate. 

If you have the WordPress app on your mobile, we also have a little surprise for you each time you unlock a milestone! Be sure to update your WordPress app to the latest version. If you don’t have the app yet, download it for free on both Android and iOS.

We’d love to hear your feedback! Reach out to us from within the app by going to My Site, tapping your photo on the top right, tapping Help & Support,  and then selecting Contact Support.

WordPress.com Design Update for a More Intuitive Experience

We’re excited to tell you more about WordPress.com’s new navigation experience. The update makes managing your entire site more intuitive and creates consistency across all parts of WordPress.com. This update also allows you all to take advantage of the wider WordPress open source community, creating the same admin menu as WordPress.org that you see referenced in lots of documentation and tutorials.

As we continue to grow, we’ve heard that navigating WordPress.com could be confusing because of different sidebars layouts, menus, etc. We listened to your feedback and ran usability tests on new designs to improve the experience.  

Updated Sidebar Menu Design in WordPress.com

This design update combines sidebars and menus that were mismatched and streamlines them into one dashboard that’s consistent for everyone.

For many of you, there will be little to no change in how you use WordPress.com. For those of you who access advanced features, you can easily enable wp-admin as your default view in your Account Settings. We’re surfacing most menu items from third-party plugins and themes by default. You can learn more about interface and account settings here.

While you’re in Account Settings, give your WordPress.com interface a new color scheme. You can now choose a color for your dashboard.

Thanks for the continued feedback to make WordPress.com more intuitive to use for all. And we’re not done yet – we’ll continue to listen and evolve as WordPress.com grows. Happy WordPressing!

Publish and Update WordPress Posts Directly From Ulysses

If you use Ulysses for Mac, iPad, and iPhone, you already know that this Apple Design Award-winning writing app offers a focused, pleasant writing experience. You might also know that Ulysses publishes to WordPress with just a few clicks or taps. If so, you’ll be happy to hear that the newest version improves the already-smooth integration between WordPress and Ulysses.

For anyone who might be unfamiliar with the writing tool, Ulysses provides a distraction-free Markdown editor that is customizable to fit your style. Its powerful features help you organize your writing projects and be more productive. When you are satisfied with the content you’ve written, Ulysses can export the text into several formats. Most importantly, it is easy to publish your creation directly to your WordPress.com or self-hosted WordPress site.

Let’s take a closer look at how publishing from Ulysses to WordPress works. First, you will need to connect Ulysses to your WordPress account. If you are a WordPress.com user, you will simply input your user name and password. WordPress self-host users will also supply the URL of the WordPress site. Once the connection is made, Ulysses will also sync with your other devices. You’ll now be able to turn any text you write in Ulysses into WordPress blog posts via the app’s export feature. 

Ulysses is unique because it automatically transfers not only images and text but also other settings and characteristics. Some of its smart features include: 

  • Your text’s first heading will become your post’s title.
  • Keywords you attached in Ulysses will become tags or categories if they match your blog’s tags or categories.
  • If there’s an image attached to your text, it will become your post’s featured image.
  • If there’s a note attached to your text, it will become your post’s excerpt.

You can, of course, edit any of these smart settings during publishing. Furthermore, you can set your post’s slug and choose to publish instantly, schedule for later, or upload as a draft. This video walks you through the process.

And now for the big news — with the latest Ulysses version, you can also update previously published posts directly within the app, which adds even more convenience to your publishing workflow. Consider this common scenario: 

Sometimes when blogging, a typo or other issue escapes our notice, and we only spot it when looking at the published post or the post’s preview. Until now, Ulysses users needed to switch to WordPress to edit or publish the post a second time. With the latest version, that process is unnecessary. Editing text in Ulysses now enables you to update the corresponding WordPress blog post right within the app. During the publishing workflow, Ulysses will highlight the changes you’re about to make.

Ulysses’ newest version improves its time-saving integration with WordPress, making publishing and revising WordPress posts even more convenient than before.

Here’s a fun bonus! To celebrate this latest integration update, Ulysses is giving away five (5) free one-year licenses! To win, simply comment below, letting us know that you’d love to try the Ulysses app. Remember: this is an Apple product, so it only works with Mac, iPad, and iPhone. The first 5 people who ask for it in the comments will win. We’ll send the name and email address you supply when you comment to Ulysses and they’ll contact you with the details on how to claim your one-year license.

Introducing new Stats widgets for iPhone

You may already know that WordPress mobile apps are the easiest way to manage your WordPress site any time, anywhere.  Helpful features in the apps include our Stats widgets, which make it simple to keep an eye on your site’s activity without even opening the app. We recently rebuilt our widgets for iOS 14, and we’re happy to announce that they’re available now in WordPress 16.9.

Now, your WordPress Stats can live right on your iPhone or iPad’s home screen, always visible and up to date when you unlock your device. With one tap, the widgets will open WordPress straight to the Stats page for your site. They are available in a variety of sizes, from small ones that give you a bite-sized piece of information at a glance, to large ones that give you a comprehensive look at your site activity. 

Three types of widgets are available: Today, This Week, and All Time.

The Today widget focuses on the most up to date information: how many views, visitors, likes, and comments has your site received today? This Week lets you compare your daily stats from the past week to see the rise and fall of your site’s activity. All Time shows the total number of views, visitors, and posts on your site as well as the views from your best day ever. 

If you have multiple WordPress sites, you can edit a widget after placing it on your home screen to choose which site’s stats you want it to display. You can even mix and match multiple widgets to create a dashboard that shows you how all your sites are doing at once.

Widgets adapt to Dark Mode when it is enabled on your device.

The new widgets are available for WordPress.com sites as well as WordPress sites using Jetpack. Once you’ve updated to the latest version of WordPress on your device, you can use these instructions to add a widget to your home screen. Your device must be running iOS 14.0 or higher to use the new widgets. If you use an Android phone, widgets are available there, too.

We hope our new widgets make it even easier to keep up with your site’s activity. We’re always thinking about how we can make the apps more useful for you. What other kinds of widgets would you like to see in WordPress? Let us know in the comments!

What’s New in the Block Editor: Edit Your Images, Drag and Drop Blocks and Patterns, and More

From time-saving features to enhancements in your favorite blocks, these block editor improvements will help you build posts and pages on your site, no matter what you publish:

  • Crop and rotate your images with built-in editing tools
  • Drag and drop blocks and patterns for more control
  • Display a list of your pages with the new Page List block
  • Match your brand palette with an improved Social Icons block
  • Strategically place your CTAs with a better Buttons block
  • Manage your preferences in a refreshed panel

Let’s take a closer look.

Crop and rotate your images with built-in editing tools

Tired of switching between WordPress.com and an editing tool like Photoshop or Canva to make quick fixes to your images? There’s no need to leave the block editor to crop or rotate your photographs — you can now make changes with a few clicks in the toolbar that appears above the image.

Your original image is always saved in your Media Library, so you can crop and re-crop until you get it just right.

Drag and drop blocks and patterns for more control

Here’s a usability win: you can now drag and drop blocks and block patterns from the Block Inserter on the left directly into your editor canvas on the right. This gives you finer control over where you place new content on a post or page.

Display a list of your pages with the new Page List block

Say hello to the new block on the block: the Page List block! Let’s say you want to show a list of all of your recipe blog’s pages on a single page so readers can see an overview of your culinary content. You can use the new Page List block to automatically compile and display a hierarchical list of all your site’s published pages.

Match your brand palette with an improved Social Icons block

Does your current site background make certain social icons invisible or difficult to see? Do you want to customize the colors? With updates to the Social Icons block, you can now set custom colors for the icons and the icon background by using the color picker or specifying a HEX color code. Match your business or brand palette if you wish!

Strategically place your CTAs with a better Buttons block

A strong and visual call to action, or CTA, encourages interaction on your site, whether you’re a tax consultant seeking new leads with a Contact Me page or an online meditation teacher presenting your membership tiers on a Services page. Using the Buttons block, you can align your CTA buttons on a page, either horizontally (in a row) or vertically (stacked in a column). You’ll see this new vertical option in the block’s settings, so you can switch between layouts with ease.

Manage your block editor preferences in a refreshed panel

We’ve repackaged various options and settings for your block editor into a separate panel, sorted into four sections: General, Appearance, Blocks, and Panels. We hope this more streamlined panel helps you set up your block editor exactly as you want it.

Keep building with the block editor. We’ll keep improving it.

The block editor is continuously growing and improving as a result of your feedback — thank you. We can’t wait to see what you build next with it. In the meantime, we’re working hard behind the scenes, with more updates to come!

Introducing WordPress Stories: A New Way to Engage Your Audience

Since the early days of Snapchat, which made the format so popular, Stories have become a powerful way to engage audiences on social media. Today, over 500 million Instagram accounts use Stories every day. Now, you can publish Stories on your website — a place where you truly own your own content.

With Stories, you can combine photos, videos, and text to create an engaging, tappable, full-screen slideshow that your visitors will love. You can conveniently publish Stories from your phone, giving you more ways to keep your site fresh and optimized for your increasingly mobile audience.

Stories are the perfect format for: 

  • Step-by-step guides 
  • Recipes and cooking tutorials
  • Updates on your DIY or art projects
  • A behind-the-scenes look at your latest product

The Stories you know, but better

WordPress Stories are different in a few ways. 

Stories are published on your site as a blog post, which means they can be viewed, liked, and commented on by your site visitors, just like any other blog post. Your Stories have a permanent URL that can be shared and linked to from other platforms. And if you’re using the Publicize feature on your WordPress site, your Story can automatically be shared with your social media fans and followers, expanding the reach of your content. 

We know it takes a lot of effort to create great content. Unlike the Stories you’re familiar with on other social platforms, Stories on your WordPress site won’t disappear after 24 hours! This means you can edit or add to your Stories long after you first publish them. 

Ready to try it out? 

You can start using Stories on your site today with the free WordPress app for Android or iOS. The Stories feature will be available for iPad and in the desktop block editor in the near future. 

For a detailed, step-by-step guide, visit the Story Block support page.

Turn Your WordPress.com Blog into a Podcast with Anchor

Blogging on WordPress.com is all about sharing your unique voice, and starting today, you can extend that to another platform: Anchor. We previously shared some tips and tricks for getting started with a podcast on WordPress.com and are thrilled to share this new option.

Anchor, part of the Spotify family, powers the most podcasts worldwide, with free tools to easily create, distribute, and monetize, no matter how you record — including podcasting with your WordPress.com blog!

Creating an Anchor podcast from your site is free and seamless. After all, you’ve already got a whole blog’s worth of written content to use. With Anchor, all that’s left is converting your words into audio, which can be as easy as using your blog to quickly record a text-to-speech version.

Blog-to-podcast benefits

Making a podcast out of your blog breathes new life into the work you’re already doing — you can make your unique blogging voice actually audible! By converting your blog into a podcast, you’re leveraging the power of audio to grow your brand, audience, and income — without any extra work. Hundreds of millions of listeners (and counting) consume podcasts every day, and they’re constantly looking for fresh voices and perspectives. Whether you have a built-in WordPress.com audience to bring over or not, an audio extension of your blog means another avenue for exposure — to your existing followers and new ones. And then there’s monetization: Anchor Sponsorships lets you read ads in your own voice during a break in your podcast; Anchor’s Listener Support feature, meanwhile, allows your biggest fans to support your work via a recurring monthly donation.

A podcast version of your WordPress.com blog also introduces an entirely different audience to your work, and frees listeners up to do what readers aren’t able to: multitask! There are, of course, many benefits to readers fully immersing themselves in the written content of a blog. But audio enables listeners to consume your work while performing everyday activities, like going for a walk, driving, cooking, or just relaxing. Last but not least, turning your blog into a podcast unlocks it for those who are visually impaired or may otherwise have difficulty accessing the written version.

Let your words do the talking


Connect your site to Anchor and your existing blog posts will import as episode drafts

Your blog can almost literally do the talking for you with direct text-to-speech, similar to an audio transcription of an article. This is a great option for blogs less dependent on top-notch production value and more focused on the content itself — such as well-researched news, sports, essays, and wellness stories. With text-to-speech conversion, your blog can be podcast-ready in a few minutes.


Converting your blog post to podcast-ready audio and distributing your new show takes just a few minutes.

Of course, if you want to create a podcast that highlights your actual speaking voice, you can record it by reading a transcript of your blog post, which will be imported directly into Anchor for easy access.

You can get more creative, too, by using your blog as a jumping-off point to host an audio discussion about the blog topic. Or let your blog serve as inspiration for a more traditional podcast, where you host and interview guests, record scripted segments, and much more, in ways amplified by audio!

Create a podcast today

There are a number of different ways to turn your WordPress.com blog into a podcast. The amount of work it takes can be surprisingly minimal — or more hands-on if you like. Whether you just want to create an audio version of your blog, expand your blog concept to a different platform, or simply try your hand (and voice) at a new medium, there’s a podcast structure for you. Most importantly, your written work means you’re not starting from scratch.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for creating a podcast on Anchor from your existing posts on WordPress.com:

You can also convert all of your newly published posts into podcasts as well.

If you’re looking for inspiration, a perfect example is TheDesignAir, whose blog covers aviation design and product news. Check out their text-to-speech podcast with Anchor:

Ready to turn your blog into an Anchor podcast for free? Get started by creating your Anchor account. Happy podcasting!

Build a Beautiful Site in the WordPress Mobile Apps with Predesigned Page Layouts

Your WordPress mobile app is a convenient way to create and manage your WordPress site. Now, you can design a new page right from your phone or tablet — and build the site of your dreams — with predesigned page layouts.

Introducing starter page layouts

Not all of us are designers, and building a page on your site with the layout in your mind can be intimidating and time-consuming — but it doesn’t have to be that way! Now when you create a new page on WordPress for iOS or Android, you can choose from premade layouts. You can also customize them to fit your needs, right from the block editor.

Choosing a layout

When you create a new page in the app, you’ll see a list of premade page layouts, including about pages, contact pages, team pages, services pages, and more. Whether you’re the owner of an online shop of sustainably made clothing, the founder of a newly formed digital magazine, or a financial strategist who’s just launched a consulting business, you can use these premade layouts to build the most essential pages on your website.

Once you find a layout that you’d like to try, tap it to select it. After you’ve selected a layout, you can either preview it or create a new page with the chosen layout.

Ready to try these new Starter Page Layouts? Be sure to update your WordPress app to the latest version. If you don’t have the app yet, download it for free, on both Android and iOS.

We’d love to hear your feedback on these new layouts. Reach out to us from within the app by going to My Site, tapping your photo on the top right, tapping Help & Support,  and then selecting Contact Support.

Showcase Your Figma Designs on WordPress P2

Figma — one of the most popular and fastest growing digital design tools today — was recently voted “the most exciting design tool of 2021.” 

In many organizations, a smaller group — often the design team — uses Figma on a daily basis. But designers need a seamless way to share their work and gather feedback from other disciplines across the organization. Enter P2. P2 is a product powered by WordPress.com that boosts remote, asynchronous team collaboration. With P2, team members can share ideas, collect feedback, and assign tasks to one another.

You can now embed Figma files on P2 and get contextual feedback from everyone, creating a more inclusive environment, eliminating the need for others to learn and navigate design-specific software. 

Sharing Figma files on P2 allows teams to review designs and comment where everyone collaborates. It integrates all work in a single spot, helping track project progress. P2 is fully searchable for future reference too! As you iterate in Figma, your files will magically sync on P2. No more messy screen grabs or wondering which Figma file is the most up-to-date.

Step 1 : Copy the link to the art board or prototype from Figma Step 2: Add the Figma block and paste the link into it

Get P2

Want to know more about how P2 can help improve communication and collaboration on your teams? Check out a demo. You can also create your own P2 here and take it for a spin. Any questions? Feel free to comment on the demo P2.

Building Single-Page Websites on WordPress.com

WordPress.com supports a wide range of features for building your online presence: blogs, online stores, newsletter signup forms, and more. These tools are invaluable for many customers, but they can seem excessive for folks who are just looking to create a straightforward single-page website. If that’s you, read on for examples of how you can also create one-page websites here on WordPress.com. 

Both examples use WordPress.com’s freshly-launched Blank Canvas theme, which is optimized for single-page websites. It comes with no header, navigation menus, or widgets, so the page you design in the WordPress editor is the same page you’ll see on the front end. The theme also comes with a handful of ready-made Block Patterns to help kick start your site. 

About Me

By using the “About Me” block pattern, your website can be a special, concise introduction to who you are and what you do. 

Start with the new Blank Canvas theme. Once that’s installed and activated, open your homepage in the WordPress Editor. If you have homepage content already, feel free to select it all and delete it. 

With a blank slate in place, you’ll want to open the block selector, and switch over to the Patterns tab. By default, this will show you the single-page patterns that are included with the Blank Canvas theme. Selecting the “About Me” pattern will provide you with a beautiful starting point to begin customizing. 

With just a few clicks, you can personalize the images, text, and social media links to make your site your own. 

Collections of Links

Sending your followers to a single link is increasingly important. A handful of social media services only allow you to link to one single webpage (I’m looking at you, Instagram). Or maybe you’re a musician, and you want to point folks to your new album on their music service of choice — Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp, or Tidal. Having a single page full of links is becoming a necessity — and Block Patterns provide a simple path to creating a standalone page full of links on WordPress.com. 

Again, let’s start with the new Blank Canvas theme. Open the homepage, and delete existing homepage content, if you have any. From there, you’ll want to open the Block Patterns panel again, but this time, select the “Links” pattern. 

This will provide you with a template you can use to begin your list of links. Customize or delete the user photo, add your name, links, and a description if you’d like. Each sample button can be customized or removed, and you can add as many links as you’d like. 

Once you have this the way you like it, copy your site’s address and paste it into social media!


If you have an existing site that you’d like to convert into a single-page site, we have you covered too. We’ve added a new setting to 20 of our most popular themes that will let you hide the header and footer elements on the homepage. This will provide you with a blank slate for customizing your homepage. 

What other types of websites (single-page or otherwise) would you like to see more resources for? Share in the comments below! 

New Theme: Twenty Twenty One

Twenty Twenty One is the latest WordPress default theme, which is now available to all WordPress.com sites. Designed by Mel Choyce-Dwan, the muted tones and timeless design will let your work shine.

Twenty Twenty One takes advantage of all the latest features of the Block Editor — the new block patterns allow you to create a beautiful layout in seconds.

Learn more about TwentyTwentyOne, or check out the demo site!

Let Our Experts Build Your Dream Website

If one of your 2021 resolutions is to launch a business or move an existing one fully online, our WordPress.com experts can help you make it happen.

Launched in beta in the fall of 2020, our premium website building service was developed with your needs in mind. Whether you need a fast and performant eCommerce store for your products and/or services, a polished website for your professional services firm, or an educational website for your online courses, our experts can build it for you on WordPress.com, the most powerful platform for businesses and enterprises large and small.

You’ll work with a dedicated engagement manager throughout the entire project, ensuring that your vision is carried through from start to finish — freeing you to focus on the other critical parts of your business.

Interested in learning more? Fill out the brief questionnaire below, and we’ll respond within two-three business days. The questionnaire helps us learn more about your project. It doesn’t commit you to anything, but the detail you provide helps us evaluate whether the service is the right fit for your needs.

We look forward to working with you!

State of the Word 2020

State of the Word is an annual keynote address delivered by WordPress project co-founder, Matt Mullenweg. Catch this year’s keynote in the video below!

New to State of the Word?

If this is your first time hearing of this talk and want to learn more, you’re in luck! Check out previous recordings below.

New from WordPress.com Courses: Podcasting for Beginners

Would you like to learn how to create your own podcast or improve your existing podcast? WordPress.com Courses is excited to offer our new on-demand course, Podcasting for Beginners. We’ll help you get started, learn how to publish, and even how to use your podcast to make a living.  

Our courses are flexible. You can join, and learn at your own pace. But that’s just the start. Podcasting for Beginners is more than just a course —  it’s a community that gives you access to weekly Office Hours hosted by WordPress experts. A place where you can ask questions, share your progress, and pick up a few tips along the way. 

Lessons include step-by-step videos covering:

  • The Foundations (Curating your content and an editorial calendar.) 
  • Interviews (Recording, editing, and outreach.) 
  • Configuring Your Site (Integrating your podcast into your site and distributing it.) 
  • Growing Your Community (Engaging with listeners.) 
  • Making Money (Monetization basics and preparing for the future.) 

Let us take you from “What is podcasting?” to launching a podcast of your own.

Cost: A $99 annual subscription gives you unlimited access to course content, our online community, and virtual sessions.

Join now as our first 100 customers will enjoy 50% off the subscription fee with the code PODCAST50.

Recommended Reads for International Day of Disabled Persons

WordPress.com, as my colleague Anne recently wrote, continues to be a space for people to tell their personal stories and amplify their voices. Today, International Day of Disabled Persons, we’d like to highlight a few perspectives and thoughtful reads to raise awareness of the myriad experiences of disabled people.

This reading list is merely a starting point — be sure to explore more posts tagged with “disability” in the WordPress.com Reader, for example. We hope it introduces you to writers and disability rights advocates whose work you may not be familiar with.


“How to Properly Celebrate a Civil Rights Law During a Pandemic in Which Its Subjects Were Left to Die” at Crutches and Spice

Imani Barbarin at Crutches and Spice writes about life, current events, entertainment, and politics from the perspective of a Black woman with cerebral palsy. Read her reflections on the death of actor Chadwick Boseman, or the anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (which turned 30 this year), excerpted below.

Prior to the pandemic, disabled people were told that the accessibility we needed was cost-prohibitive and unlikely to be implemented only to watch as the institutions that barred our inclusion make those tools available now that nondisabled people needed them. We called for polling places and voting procedures to be made accessible only to watch as politicians shut down polling places in predominantly black neighborhoods. We begged for businesses to be inclusive and accessible to disabled customers only for accessibility to be pitted against small businesses and workers’ rights.

And now, unironically, they celebrate.

They celebrate not weighed down by their own words calculating the amount of acceptable death it would take to reopen the economy. They post our pictures celebrating their own “diversity and inclusion” without confronting the fact they only became accessible because of a pandemic and as they loudly push to reopen, they amplify our voices for now with no plan to continue to include the disability community as businesses start to reopen.

I’m angry.

But I am also filled with love and gratitude for my community.

#ADA30InColor at Disability Visibility Project

Founded by Alice Wong, The Disability Visibility Project is a community focused on creating and sharing disability media and culture. You’ll find a range of content, including oral histories, guest blog posts, and a podcast hosted by Wong and featuring conversations with disabled people.

If you’re not sure where to start, dive into the 13 posts in the #ADA30InColor series — it includes essays on the past, present, and future of disability rights and justice by disabled BIPOC writers. Here are excerpts from two pieces.

More than anything, however, it was my blindness that allowed me to experience perhaps the biggest impact of this transition. Being able to attend a “regular” school as opposed to the school for the blind and take classes with sighted peers every day, becoming friends with classmates who have different types of disabilities, having Braille placards by every classroom door at a school not intended solely for only blind students, meeting blind adults with various jobs — ranging from chemist to statistician to lawyer — was my new reality. Even as a teenager, I knew it was a great privilege to be in this new reality — America, where there were laws in place to protect the rights of disabled people to live, study, play, and work alongside the nondisabled. At the same time, this reality began to feel like a multi-layered burden as I began to form and understand different elements of who I am: a disabled, 1.5 generation Korean-American immigrant. 

“Building Bridges as a Disabled Korean Immigrant” by Miso Kwak

Even with medical documentation on file, disabled BIPOC face added suspicion, resistance, and stigma from instructors, particularly for invisible disabilities. We are also stereotyped in racially coded ways as unreasonable, aggressive, and “angry” when we self-advocate. We are especially heavily policed in graduate and professional programs, and this is apparent in our representation — while 26 percent of adults in the US have a disability, only 12 percent of post-baccalaureate students are students with disabilities. This is even lower among some ethnicities — only 6 percent of post-baccalaureate Asian American students have a disability.  

“The Burden and Consequences of Self-Advocacy for Disabled BIPOC” by Aparna R.

“My Favorite Wheelchair Dances” at Alizabeth Worley

Alizabeth Worley is a writer and artist with moderate chronic fatigue syndrome. She writes about topics like health and interabled marriage (her husband has cerebral palsy). In a recent post, Alizabeth compiles YouTube clips of beautiful and inspiring wheelchair dances, some of which are from Infinite Flow, an inclusive dance company. Here’s one of the dances she includes in her list, featuring Julius Jun Obero and Rhea Marquez.

“The Intersection of Queerness and Disability” at Autistic Science Person

Ira, the writer at Autistic Science Person, explores the parallels between queerness and disability, and the way other people make assumptions about their body.

I often put down Female for medical appointments even if there’s a Nonbinary option, as I don’t want to “confuse” them. It’s just easier for everyone, I think. I worry about backlash I would receive, or the confused looks I would get if I put down Nonbinary. I think about people tiptoeing around my gender. I can’t deal with even more self-advocacy in a medical visit as an autistic person, so it’s just not worth it, I think. I’m reminded of the time I carried folding crutches to my unrelated medical appointment. Both the staff and doctor asked me why I brought crutches when I was “walking normally.” I had to explain that I needed them on my walk back for my foot pain. Both explaining my disability and explaining my gender — explaining the assumptions around my body is exhausting.

No matter what, people will make assumptions. Both ableism and cisnormativity are baked into our brains and our society. The things people have to do to accommodate us and acknowledge us involves unlearning their preconceptions. Society really doesn’t want us to do that. This is why there is so much defensiveness for both providing accommodations and acknowledging someone’s gender, pronouns, and name. People don’t want to do that work. They don’t want to be confronted with structural changes, the issue of gender norms, and the problems that disabled people face every day. They just want to go on with their lives because it’s easier to them. It’s easier for them to ignore our identities.

“The Last Halloween, The First Halloween” at Help Codi Heal

“The first Halloween my daughter could walk was the last Halloween that I could,” writes Codi Darnell, the blogger at Help Codi Heal. In a post reflecting on her fifth Halloween in a wheelchair, Codi reflects on change, pain, and the firsts and lasts in her life.

It was all automatic — all done without realizing the ways these simple acts of motherhood were deeply engrained in my identity. All done with zero understanding that something so simple could be snatched away — and how painful it would be when it was.

Because a year later I would not hold her hand up the stairs or scoop her up and onto my hip. I wouldn’t stand beside her at the door or see her face light up when — in her big two-year-old voice — she managed all three words “trick-or-treat”. A year later, I would understand the fragility of our being and know intimately the pain of things taken away. But I would still be there. 

“Even If You Can’t See It: Invisible Disability and Neurodiversity” at Kenyon Review

At Kenyon Review, author Sejal A. Shah writes a personal essay on neurodiversity, depression, academia, and the writing life.

Maybe things would have turned out differently had I requested accommodations, had I known about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990), had I understood my “situation,” as my aunt calls it, counted as a disability. The ADA law was amended in 2008 to include bipolar disorder. I began my job in 2005 and finished in 2011. It would have been helpful to know about the law and my rights under it.

I didn’t know the laws then; I didn’t know them until writing this essay. I looked normal; I passed. Would my career have turned out differently had I been willing to come out (for that’s what it felt like, an emergence into a world that might not accept me)? I was certain the stigma of having a major mood disorder would have hurt me professionally. Even had I disclosed my disorder, HR and my supervisors may not have agreed to modifications in my work responsibilities. I would still have needed to advocate for myself — would still have needed the energy to provide documentation and persist. For years, I had been ashamed, alarmed, and exhausted from trying to keep my head above water.

“The Outside Looking In” at Project Me

Project Me is the blog of Hannah Rose Higdon, a Deaf Lakota woman who grew up on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. In “The Outside Looking In,” Higdon offers a glimpse into her experience as a child who was born hard of hearing, and whose family had very little access to the support she needed. (Higdon is now profoundly Deaf.)

I look up as my uncle talks to me. I nod. I smile. And I pretend I know just exactly what is going on. The truth is I have no clue what he’s saying or why he’s laughing, but I laugh too and mimic his facial expressions. I would never want to draw any more attention to myself than necessary. You see, I might only be 5 years old, but I know just how important it is to pretend.

“How to Center Disability in the Tech Response to COVID-19” at Brookings TechStream

Organizer, attorney, and disability justice advocate Lydia X.Z. Brown calls on the tech industry to carefully consider how policy affects marginalized communities, looking at algorithmic modeling in hospitals, contract tracing and surveillance, and web inaccessibility.

For disabled people who are also queer, trans, or people of color, the deployment of algorithmic modeling increases the risk of compounded medical discrimination. All marginalized communities have long histories and ongoing legacies of surviving involuntary medical experimentation, coercive treatment, invasive and irreversible procedures, and lower quality of care — often justified by harmful beliefs about the ability to feel pain and quality of life. These health care disparities are exacerbated for people who experience multiple forms of marginalization.

Spoonie Authors Network

The Spoonie Authors Network features work from authors and writers about how they manage their disabilities or chronic illnesses and conditions. Managed by Cait Gordon and Dianna Gunn, the community site also publishes resources and produces a podcast. Explore posts in the Featured Author or Internalized Ableism categories, like the piece below, to sample some of the writing.

When my neurologist suggested that I get a parking pass, I turned it down.

“I’d rather that go to someone more deserving,” I said. “There are people out there who are far more disabled than I am. Let the pass go to one of them.”

“You have difficulty walking. What would happen if it was icy or there were other difficult walking conditions?” she said kindly. “This is for your safety.”

I nodded and accepted the parking pass, even though I felt it made me look weak. I wasn’t disabled enough to warrant a parking pass. I can walk. I didn’t need it, I told myself.

“Not Disabled Enough” by Jamieson Wolf

More recommended sites:

Note on header image: Six disabled people of color smile and pose in front of a concrete wall. Five people stand in the back, with the Black woman in the center holding up a chalkboard sign that reads, “disabled and HERE.” A South Asian person in a wheelchair sits in front. Photo by Chona Kasinger | Disabled and Here (CC BY 4.0)

Run With Us! Join the 2020 wwwp5K Movement

If you’re like us, you’re eager to send 2020 off to the dustbin of history. So grab your running/walking/yoga shoes and join us as we resurrect the historic #wwwp5K and celebrate reaching the 2020 finish line! As an added incentive and in the spirit of the season, we’ve also created a special wwwp5K Givz page, where participants can make a donation to three of our favorite charities: Black Girls Code, Internet Archive, and the WordPress Foundation. Automattic will match every dollar donated to any organization through the Givz page, up to $50,000.

What’s a 5K?

A 5K is the equivalent of about 3.1 miles. The virtual run will work on the honor system, but if you want to be accurate, apps like Strava, Garmin Connect, Runkeeper, Fitbit, and many others can help you measure the right distance.

Sounds awesome! How do I participate?

The virtual wwwp5K officially kicks off tomorrow, December 1, and will be open through December 31st. You can run, skip, walk, hop, walk backwards, or even swim the equivalent distance in an indoor pool — as long as you’re practicing appropriate safety precautions given local conditions and staying healthy, your activity counts.

Everyone is welcome! WordPress fans, friends, and family, as well as Automatticians around the world.

When you’re done, don’t forget to post a selfie on your WordPress site and tag it with “wwwp5k” so that we can share the love and others can read about your experience. Of course, you can also blog about your journey preparing for the wwwp5K, but most of all, we’d love to see your smiling face and happy shoes as you complete the 5K.

Is there swag?

What would a virtual run be without swag with a custom logo? To commemorate the 2020 run, we’ve created a limited edition technical shirt featuring the official wwwp5K Wapuu!

They’ll be available for purchase in the WordPress Swag Store starting tomorrow until supplies last, so don’t forget to place your order.

Will you be joining us? Let us know in the comments!

Join Us in Honoring Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today, November 20th, people around the world pause to bear witness to Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day dedicated to honoring the memory of those murdered because of anti-transgender prejudice. Transgender Day of Remembrance reminds us to fight against forces that devalue transgender lives every day. To bring awareness to this important day, we want to pause to share a few stories of transgender people who have found their voice on WordPress.com. We posed a question: “What does Transgender Day of Remembrance mean to you?” Below, we’ve shared a few responses from creators on our platform.

We welcome you to share your own response on your site. In the meantime, read slowly and soak in the hard-fought words of the brave voices who are willing to share their experiences. 


Dr. SA Smythe (They/Them) of essaysmythe.com:

Some of us have been counted, but most of us are counted out—unthought and unthinkable. And so we do it ourselves. We account for Tony McDade. We are accountable to Muhlaysia Booker. We recall Riah Milton. We recollect the fierce life of one of our greatest contemporary remembrancers, the trans griot Monica Roberts. We name the nonbinary people who continue to be treated as unnameable as we slip through the matrix of binary gender. The competing racialized pandemics of our time continues to be intensified for trans people, especially Black trans women, in this year as with any other. We live with that reality and demand non-trans people do the same because our resilience is nothing without their reckoning for the violence they allow to continue against us. Trans Day of Remembrance is not only about how trans people have been stolen from us too soon, but how we continue to survive and thrive and persist against all odds. Has there ever been anything as beautiful as that?

Read more


Laura Kate Dale (She/Her) of laurakbuzz.com:

Going and spending some time in the company of other trans people was wonderful. I got to see trans people from a variety of backgrounds, some who had grown old and found love, and see proof that I could live a long and happy life as a trans woman. But the tone of the evening was contrasted by sitting with the knowledge of why we were all gathered, the knowledge of far too many lives cut far too short. I was surrounded by the trans people who had survived and thrived, as well as the memories of those who had not.

Read more


Nicole Eldridge (She/Her) of transgendersupport.org:

My name is Nicole Eldridge. I’ve been transgender since third grade. As I started to transition, I would read stories online about transgender people dying. This is absolutely terrifying if you want to do what they did. I never gave up and transitioned. Transgender Day of Remembrance means to me that we remember the transgender people that have died and carry out their goal of an equal future for all transgender people. Every time I listen to a Transgender Day of Remembrance speech, it brings me back to Martin Luther King’s speech, “I Have a Dream.” What King said about everyone being equal and having equal opportunities is so true when I hear the transgender people’s names who have died. It breaks my heart to hear all of the transgender people that died for the year. In spite of the hatred toward transgender people, I rise above it all and help transgender people all over the world with my website transgendersupport.org. This is what Transgender Day of Remembrance means to me.


Tallulah Ker-Oldfield (She/Her) of transrites.wordpress.com

Trans people are nothing new. Gender and its expressions have been changing throughout cultures, and trans people have existed throughout history with notable examples in the many ancient pantheons, including deities. There’s nothing new to consider, no trans question – we’ve been here all along, and the only terrible things that happened because of it happened to us

***

And so I’m remembering trans lives lost this year, and trans lives filled with trauma, and everything that trans people have to do to simply… be. If you ever thought this year was scary, oppressive, isolating, challenging to get through and potentially fatal to be around people… you’ve been living a lot of the worst parts of the trans experience. Yet I’m remembering the powerful joy of my community, how our bonds through the pandemic have been strong, how well accustomed we immediately became to 2020, having lived our own version of it for most of our lives, creating found families, love, laughter, understanding and sometimes rainbows out of the unforgiving raw material of compromise.

Read more


To read more writing by transgender people, explore these sites on WordPress.com:

We pride ourselves on being a platform where anyone can share their perspective, and we’re honored to be able to create a space for the personal stories of transgender-identifying individuals. Take the time to read their words and remember that it’s not enough to honor transgender people just one day each year. What we do matters every day. Follow these sites and others you come upon and, as a result, show your support in the days to come. 

Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new course

WordPress.com is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually. 

How it works: Upon registering, you will receive access to review the lessons at your own pace. Our curriculum includes:

  • Foundations of blogging
  • Getting started with block basics
  • Building your blog
  • Understanding audiences 
  • Designing your blog
  • Writing for the internet
  • Branding and growing your blog
  • Earning money with your blog 

You’ll also be able to connect with WordPress.com experts and other aspiring bloggers, who will create content alongside you. Beyond the modules, this course provides: 

  • Monthly office hours with WordPress experts to answer your questions 
  • A certificate of completion
  • Access to a private blogging community online
  • Virtual meetups scheduled quarterly

Cost: A $49 annual subscription gives you access to all of these on-demand blogging resources, community events, and course updates. That way, you won’t have to waste time looking for answers all over the web—you’ll be able to get started right away.

Join by Thursday, December 10th and enjoy 50% off with code WPCOURSES50.

We are looking forward to reading your new blogs soon!

The Spearhead Theme: A Minimal Design and Clean Slate for All Content Creators

When AngelList and Venture Hacks co-founder Babak Nivi came to us and wanted to donate a theme, our team was excited to work on the design to make it available to everyone on WordPress.com for free. Designed by Cece Yu and originally developed for the Spearhead podcast, the new Spearhead theme is fully block-powered and the first among our themes to support dark mode.

Spearhead works seamlessly with the block editor, supporting a wide range of blocks — Audio, Video, Image, TikTok, Loom, and many more — so you can customize posts and pages as you like and showcase various types of content, from podcast episodes to video tutorials and more. And while Spearhead shines as a theme for media, its sparse design also displays long-form writing and text and images beautifully.

Spearhead comes with some block patterns, or collections of predefined blocks, to give you a boost as you start building your site. There are a couple of patterns you can use to show a list of places where people can listen to your podcast, as well as a custom archive page.

Being the first theme on WordPress.com to support dark mode, Spearhead’s default color scheme has a white background, but if your operating system shifts into dark mode, the theme will change and display a dark background with light text.

Our team especially loves the theme’s clean design, which lets the content you create shine through. Your listeners and readers can sit back with their cup of coffee — headphones on — and enjoy your latest episode and read along with the transcript!

Explore the Spearhead demo site to see the design in action, and then visit the Spearhead page to activate the theme.

Expert Advice: How to Improve Remote Education Collaboration

As we’re witnessing with schools and learning communities around the world, education is shifting dramatically. With the right set of tools, your class, team, or group can learn to communicate and collaborate more efficiently online. Since our company was founded over fifteen years ago, the people behind the scenes at WordPress.com have worked from home — or from anywhere they choose in the world — and have learned a lot along the way.

A tool we call P2 has been indispensable to us, and to a growing number of educators. Want to learn our tips and tricks? Join us for a free webinar on Thursday, November 5, so you and your team can learn to make the most of this tool for remote collaboration. You can also sign up for the free beta version of P2 that is now available.

  • Date: Thursday, November 5, 2020
  • Time: 10:00 am PT | 12:00 pm CT | 1:00 pm ET | 18:00 UTC
  • Registration link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/4016033198190/WN_WjX8jQhIQ0iZVPpfGAklhQ
  • Who’s invited: Anyone looking to improve internal team collaboration or build a public forum with P2 are welcome, but this webinar is specially designed for educators and teachers.

Register for the webinar today! We look forward to seeing you.

Introducing Patterns: Prebuilt Blocks for Beautifully Designed Websites

The WordPress Editor is a powerful tool that can help bring your design ideas to life but one of the best parts is, you don’t have to start from scratch. Building sophisticated designs can be as easy as picking Patterns from our growing library, and snapping them together to create beautiful-looking posts and pages. As of today, we’re now offering over 100 individual Patterns — with more being added all the time!

If you’ve never used Patterns before we’ve got an introduction to help you get started and also highlight some new features.

The best way to introduce Patterns is to use them. Here’s how you can add them to a post or a page on WordPress.com.

  1. Head to the WordPress Editor and click the + icon to add a new block.
  2. Click on the Patterns tab.
  3. Click on the Pattern you’d like to see in your document and it’ll be inserted at the location of your cursor.

Here’s a quick demo that shows how to add an image gallery. 

If you’re familiar with the Block Editor, the process will look similar. Once you’ve inserted a Pattern into a post or a page, you’ll be able to see how you can customize and edit the Pattern by clicking on different areas. The image below reveals the editing options that appear with our example. 

Each Pattern is a collection of different blocks carefully put together to help you produce great looking blog posts and pages in the Editor. In the example above, it’s a collection of Image, Paragraph, Spacer, and Column Blocks. All pre-arranged into a simple but elegant Pattern for displaying images. Using Patterns in the Editor is kind of like having a WordPress web designer right there with you building up a design element by element.

The idea is that, once you’ve inserted a Pattern, you can start customizing it to make it yours.

For even more customization options with Patterns, try combining them with the updated fonts on WordPress.com.

Over 100 Patterns to Choose From

This is where the number of Patterns gets exciting. Think of it like having over 100 templates you can add to your posts and pages. You can browse by category to see all the available Pattern options.

Taking a look at a few all together might be helpful. Here are some of my recent favorites. 

They’re not favorites because they look great, but instead because these Patterns use so many different Blocks to produce a unique and useful design. Take the center Registration Form Pattern, for example. It combines a Heading Block, Paragraph Blocks, the Form Block, and the Columns Block into one Pattern that together, can make up an entire page.

More Patterns are on the Way

We’re just getting started creating new Patterns for you. What type of Pattern would make it easier to create Posts and Pages on your site? More are on the way and we’d love to hear your ideas and feedback so we can make your publishing and site-building experience even better.

And if you have anything to share that you’ve made with a Pattern or with the Editor let us know! We’d love to see and hear how you’re using Patterns on WordPress.com.

Automattic Awarded Coveted Spot on Forbes Cloud 100 List

Automattic — a leader in publishing and e-commerce software and the parent company behind the industry-leading brands WordPress.com, WooCommerce, WordPress VIP, Jetpack, Tumblr, and more — was awarded a coveted spot on the prestigious Forbes Cloud 100 list, the annual ranking of the world’s top private cloud companies. In partnership with Bessemer Venture Partners and Salesforce Ventures, the Forbes Cloud 100 recognizes standouts in tech’s hottest categories from disruptive startups to internet giants.

A pioneer in democratizing publishing and e-commerce, WordPress powers 38 percent of all websites globally, has 10x the content management market share of its nearest competitor, and is the platform of choice for tens of millions of websites around the world. 

WooCommerce, Automattic’s e-commerce solution, powers 30 percent of the top one million global e-commerce websites — allowing anyone to sell anything from anywhere. With WooCommerce, people can build exactly the business they want, with everything they need to run their store on a single platform. 

Automattic’s technology also powers the largest brands on the web. The WordPress VIP Platform is used by more than 250 enterprises, including Salesforce.com, Facebook, Microsoft, New York Times, Spotify, and CNN, to publish content to hundreds of millions of readers and users.  VIP’s purpose-built infrastructure delivers flexibility, security, and control with unrivaled performance and effortless scaling.

Automattic’s innovation is also attracting a growing and diverse array of platform interactions  —  e.g. 1.7 million new users registering each month across the Automattic ecosystem, 1.2 billion monthly unique visitors on WordPress.com, and 9 billion monthly page views on Tumblr. 

“We are incredibly proud to be included in the Forbes Cloud 100 list — for the fifth year in a row — among so many other noteworthy companies,” said Matt Mullenweg, CEO, Automattic. “Our passion is making the web a better place, and I credit the extraordinary results over the years to the talented and wonderful people — both inside and outside our organization — who bring the Automattic vision to life every day.”

A New Way to Publish Your Blog Posts Simultaneously as Twitter Threads

Publishing WordPress content on Twitter just got a whole lot easier. You can already bring single Tweets or threads, also known as Tweetstorms, over from Twitter to WordPress, and now we’re bringing the process full circle. With just two extra clicks, you can transform your entire blog post into a Twitter thread. By publishing your quality content on Twitter, you can open new lines of engagement and conversation.

WordPress.com blog with corresponding Twitter thread at right

When you share a WordPress post as a Twitter thread, nothing is left behind: Text, images, video, and embeds will be inserted into the thread right where they’re supposed to be.

Text, video, and image galleries like this are included in the Twitter thread

We know that Twitter threads work best without breaks and other quirks. That’s why, in building this feature, we paid special attention to formatting. If a paragraph is too long for a single Tweet, for instance, it will automatically be split into multiple Tweets. And rather than squishing as many words as possible into the first Tweet and letting the rest spill to the second one, the break will come at the end of a sentence. Also, if you have a list block in your post, it will be formatted as a list on Twitter.

To give you extra control, while you’re writing a post, we’ll show you where Tweet splits will happen. That way, you can shape how your post will appear on Twitter as you write.

How to publish a blog post as a Twitter thread

  1. At any time while you’re working on a post, you can click on the Jetpack icon that’s located on the far right of the header menu at the top of the page.
  1. If you don’t already have your Twitter account connected to your website, click “Connect an account” to allow WordPress to publish content on your Twitter feed. You can add multiple Twitter handles if you’ll be Tweeting from more than one account. You only need to connect each account once.
  1. Make sure the right Twitter handle is selected, write a custom message, and then choose whether you want to share a single link to your blog post or all of the post’s content as a thread.
  1. Hit publish! Your blog post and the Tweet or thread will be shared simultaneously. Be sure you’ve selected your Twitter account when you publish, as this is the only time you’ll be able to share your blog post as a Twitter thread.

Sharing your full blog posts on Twitter is a great way to amplify your content, increase engagement, and build an audience for your work. You most likely have a number of followers on your WordPress blog who aren’t following you on Twitter, and vice versa. This feature allows you to tap into both groups.

Connect your Twitter account to your WordPress site today, and start publishing to both platforms at the same time. Get creative, and have fun. We’re excited to see how you use this first-of-its-kind tool.

The New Jetpack Search Add-On

As your website grows, it becomes challenging for visitors to find exactly what they need. Being prolific and publishing lots of posts and pages is a net positive for engaging and growing your audience, but it also means visitors may be more likely to find content that isn’t relevant to their interests.

This is where Jetpack Search comes into the picture: It turns your website into a place where visitors can search, refine their results, and find the specific content and products that interest them. 

Built by the same team that created WordPress.com, Jetpack Search is a powerful search solution backed by Elasticsearch (an open source search platform), Jetpack Stats, and our globally distributed data centers — the very same ones that keep your WordPress.com website up, running, and secure day in and day out. Jetpack Search uses multiple technologies to build a modern search experience that improves website engagement. You can now add Jetpack Search to your WordPress.com site with just a few clicks.

What makes Jetpack Search better than regular search?

A modern search experience combines great result rankings with a fast and intuitive user interface. Most WordPress themes can’t do this yet, because the default WordPress search function offers only basic options to show the most relevant content to viewers.

Jetpack Search combines modern ranking algorithms with your traffic stats so that the best results will float to the top and engage your visitors. Our search algorithms work well with numerous languages and provide custom handling for 29 of the most widely used languages in the world. A large percentage of searches contain typos or spelling errors, but Jetpack Search instantly corrects the search query when there are no matches — so if a potential customer is looking for, say, collectables, they will still see the most popular collectibles you offer on your online store. Any changes you make to your site will be reflected in your search results within a few minutes.

Great algorithms are not enough, though. Jetpack Search displays results instantly, as your readers type into the search box. It does its magic equally well on both mobile devices and desktop computers, and in any theme — even those without widget areas. As the user refines their search terms or filters the results, Jetpack Search continues to update the results instantly. The user’s search terms will be highlighted in the results, which they will be able to narrow down further with displayed filters. 

Instant search, spelling correction, and filtering on TwentyTwenty theme.

All of these benefits come together to provide a compelling and beautiful user experience that will encourage people to stay on your site longer.

Get Started with Jetpack Search

We wanted to make Jetpack Search accessible for website owners of all stripes, from those who publish a personal blog to owners of thriving online stores. So we’re offering this new add-on at a price that takes into account how many searchable items — posts, pages, products, and custom post types — your site contains.

Record LimitPrice Per Month
100$5
1,000$10
10,000$25
100,000$60
1,000,000$200
Over one million$200 per million

All purchases are fully refundable for 30 days. Even better, when you add Jetpack Search to your site with an annual subscription, you get two months free — so you only pay for 10 months every year. When your purchase renews after a year, the price will automatically adjust based on the number of items in your search index.

We think you’ll love Jetpack Search — but more importantly, your site visitors will love it too.

Follow the link below to purchase your Jetpack Search subscription. Once you buy it, Jetpack Search will automatically be enabled for your site. You can then customize the colors, filtering, and other details if you’d like — though the out-of-the-box settings work great, too.

Get Jetpack Search

Read about how we made Jetpack Search

Deepen Engagement on Your Website with Loom Video Embeds

Video has quickly become one of the most engaging mediums on the internet. Whether you have a personal blog, virtual classroom, business vlog, collaboration website for your team, or something in between, there’s no doubt that you’ve come across video as a way to build and engage your following. By 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic – 15 times higher than in 2017! (Cisco)

Videos come in all shapes and sizes, and we know that the ability to easily add and embed them is important for engaging your audience. We’ve been hard at work making sure that you can add the video content you want to your WordPress.com website.

We’re pleased to share today a new Loom block that supports Loom video embeds on any page or post. Loom is a video messaging tool for work, and now all you need to do is copy and paste a Loom URL directly into a new block to embed it.

Embed videos with blocks

The new Loom block joins a number of other video embed features available to WordPress.com users—for instance, you can copy and paste a video URL from YouTube, TikTok, DailyMotion, or Vimeo, or you can use a Video block to upload your own video files.

3 Simple Steps to Embed a Loom Video on Your Website

  1. Grab your Loom video URL – copy it.
  2. Paste that URL directly into the WordPress editor in a new block.
    • Alternatively, you can search for “Loom” in the block selector or enter /loom and hit enter in a new line to add it quickly. Then paste the URL into the block interface from here.
  3. Publish!

Adding video content to your website is as easy as 1-2-3. Trying adding some to a page or post today to kick off deeper engagement with your site’s visitors.

A Look at How We Updated Fonts on WordPress.com

We recently updated WordPress.com’s fonts and wanted to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how we chose the list. Here’s an example of a few of them in use.

We looked at several criteria when curating our selections to give your site’s visitors the best experience.

First, we looked at the overall popularity and quality of each font, paying close attention to the letterforms of the most common and most quirky characters.  We made sure that these worked well in specific layouts, at different scales, and as part of the entire collection.

To make the cut, fonts had to contain a breadth of styles and weights, including true italics.

It was important to select fonts with broad character and language support beyond basic Latin. We also looked to showcase a diversity of type designers and open source fonts.

Careful consideration of all the criteria mentioned above allowed us to end up with a list that facilitates attractive font pairings for headings and body text.

Here’s a closer look at a few patterns you can create with a keen typographic eye.

For an even closer, hands-on look, you can check them out in Global Styles and the Customizer today. We’re looking forward to seeing how you use custom fonts on WordPress.com! Your feedback will help us continue to grow, refine, and improve the font choices we offer.

A Better Way to Discover Blogs and Get Inspired

WordPress is home to millions of sites across countless topics. It’s a big and beautiful world, and we want to make it easier for you to discover new voices. Over the past few months, the mobile team has been working hard to improve the experience of your WordPress Reader on the mobile app. In particular, we’ve been exploring different ways for you to discover new blogs and find inspiration.

The new Discover tab on your Reader will recommend blogs and posts based on topics you follow. These changes give you more control over what you see, making it easier for you to find interesting voices, while also giving you and your site the opportunity to find a bigger audience. 

How it works

Add appropriate tags and categories when drafting your blog posts — this helps us recommend your posts to the right audience. 

The topics you now see in your improved Reader are a combination of tags and categories. If you want to find interesting blogs, follow topics you care about. The Discover tab will then show you recommended blogs and posts based on those topics.

Each post on the Discover tab has a list of topics on top. If you want to go deeper into a topic, tap on it to see a feed of blog posts from that specific topic.

If you’d like to see more posts from a particular topic on your Discover feed, tap the Follow button from that topic feed.

Soon we’ll be rolling out improvements to posts on the Reader as well. To give blog posts more room to shine, the featured image will be more prominent. 

If you’d like to try the new Discover tab, make sure you update your WordPress app to the latest version. If you don’t have the app yet, you can download it for free, on both Android and iOS. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the new experience. For specific feedback on the updates, reach out to us from within the app by going to My Site, tapping your photo on the top right, tapping Help & Support → and then selecting Contact Support.

Toward zero: Reducing and offsetting our data center power emissions

Following the massive Australian bushfires earlier this year, I was motivated to act within my role as a data scientist at Automattic to help fight anthropogenic climate change. Together with colleagues from across the company, we formed an employee resource group focused on sustainability. We are pleased to announce that as a result of our efforts, Automattic now offsets data center power emissions produced from non-renewable sources. This means that the servers running WordPress.com, WordPress VIP, Tumblr, and other Automattic services contribute net zero carbon emissions to our shared atmosphere.

Measuring and offsetting emissions is not a trivial task. In the interest of transparency, this post provides more details on the decisions we made and answers questions that readers may have on the topic. We hope that this will benefit other organizations that are in a similar position to Automattic. We welcome feedback and are happy to answer any other questions you may have.

The decision: For 2020, we decided to purchase offsets from Simoshi via the United Nations’ offset platform. These offsets are produced by improving the efficiency of cooking stoves in Ugandan schools. Emission reductions are achieved by using less wood to cook the same amount of food. This project also has third-party certification from the Gold Standard, and it contributes to nine of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including No Poverty, Quality Education, and Gender Equality. See the project page and the following video for more details:

Why did we choose this project? Anyone who’s tried to purchase offsets knows that it can be complicated. We don’t have in-house sustainability experts, so we relied on publicly-available information to better understand the topic. Resources we found useful include: Carbon Offset Guide, atmosfair, and Greenhouse Gas Protocol. As the price of offsets varies widely, we chose to follow Microsoft’s approach and set our own internal price of $15 per metric tonne of CO2e. Simoshi’s project stood out because it matches our budget, has a clear emission reduction mechanism, is certified by the United Nations and the Gold Standard, and has many benefits beyond emission reductions, which align with our company’s values.

What emissions do our offsets cover? Automattic has servers in many data centers around the world, operated by different providers. As we don’t control the data center providers’ choice of energy utilities, we treat the emissions from data center power use as being in Scope 3, i.e., as indirect emissions from our value chain. For each data center, we used publicly-available information from our providers to determine whether they’re powered by renewable resources. This led us to conclude that approximately half of our data center energy use is covered by renewables paid for by the data center providers. For the other data centers, we used our servers’ power consumption logs to get the estimated power used over a period of one year. We then multiplied these figures by 1.5 to obtain a conservative estimate that accounts for power usage effectiveness. Using a variety of resources on grid carbon intensity, such as those published by the American Environmental Protection Agency and the European Environment Agency, we converted these power use estimates to emission estimates. This gave us an overall figure of 1,850 tonnes of CO2e for 2020.

Why offset rather than reduce emissions? We are aware that offsetting is an imperfect solution. Ideally, we would source all our energy from renewables. In a perfect world, it wouldn’t even be possible to buy energy generated by burning fossil fuels. However, given the current reality, setting our own price on carbon and offsetting non-renewable data center emissions is a good temporary solution. This also gives us a financial incentive to work with providers and shift toward greener data centers. In fact, this sort of shift happened last year when we changed our main European data center to a provider that operates on 100% renewables. We hope to continue making such changes in coming years, i.e., reducing emissions where feasible and offsetting the rest.

Why aren’t we doing more? From watching the climate action space, it seems like every announcement is greeted with demands to do more. This is a positive thing — society should hold companies accountable for their actions. As a company, we believe that we can always do better: The opening sentence of our creed is “I will never stop learning”, and we know that we are “in a marathon, not a sprint.” It is our hope that as we learn more about the space and our impact, we will be able to take stronger climate action.

What are we planning to do next? Automattic is a fully-distributed company. This means that our employees aren’t required to commute to central offices, which leads to significant savings in carbon emissions. However, we historically relied on flying to in-person meetups a few times a year to foster collaboration and bonding. Since March 2020, all business travel has been suspended, and it is still unclear what travel will look like in the post-pandemic world. In any case, as an employee resource group, we are planning on quantifying our travel emissions, and advocating for reducing avoidable trips and offsetting emissions from trips that are deemed essential. One change that is already taking place is aligning more teams around fewer time zones. In addition to helping with synchronous collaboration and decreasing isolation, this will reduce the distance traveled per person once meetups resume. We will share more on other actions we take in the future — watch this space! We also welcome feedback from our customers, so please comment on this post or contact us to share your thoughts.

Start Taking Donations, Tips, and Contributions for Your Creative and Professional Pursuits

With our growing suite of payment features, we want to make it easier for you to earn money on WordPress.com. With the Donations block, you can now accept credit and debit card payments for all types of donations, earning revenue and growing your base of supporters. Collect donations, tips, and contributions on your website to fuel your creative and professional projects or to support and grow your business or organization.

Donations block example for an arts organization

What can you accept donations for?

You can collect financial contributions on your website for just about anything — the sky really is the limit. Here are examples of things people support through donations:

  • Creative pursuits for musicians, artists, designers, writers, and more
  • Concrete creations like podcasts, video games, music clips, and photography
  • Bloggers and content creators of all shapes and sizes
  • Everyday passions like news summaries and mindfulness exercises
  • Professional endeavors including civic engagement and professional development
  • Nonprofits and community, religious, and political organizations

Donations block examples for a musician and radio station

Continue to build your community by engaging with your supporters in a unique and authentic way. People can opt to support you through one-time, monthly, or yearly contributions, and the Donations block lets you engage with each level for a more custom experience. For example, you might send your monthly supporters additional content and information on top of what you send your one-time supporters.

As you ask for support, we’ll handle the rest — the credit and debit card payment processing, sending receipts, reporting, and more.

Ask for your first donation

Above all, the first step in earning money on your website is to ask for it. You can add a Donations block to your website in a matter of minutes; watch this short video to learn how. Alternatively, a step-by-step guide follows below.

How to use Donations block to earn money on your WordPress.com website
  • To use the Donations block, you’ll need a WordPress.com website with any paid plan — Personal, Premium, Business, or eCommerce.
  • On any page or post, add the Donations block.
  • To set up your first donation request, create a Stripe account if you don’t have one already. Stripe is the company we’ve partnered with to process credit and debit card payments in a safe, secure, and speedy way.
  • After you’ve connected to Stripe, configure the block’s settings, like how often you’re asking for donations. It can be any combination of single (one-time), monthly recurring, or yearly recurring donations.
  • Set three donation amounts that you’d like visitors to choose from for any of the payment intervals. These are fully customizable. Be sure to set your currency as well.
  • You can also allow visitors to donate what they want — essentially a blank box for them to fill out how much money they would like to give.
  • Review all of the text in your Donations block — you can edit every single letter, so be sure to provide enough information for your visitors about their donation, why you’re asking for it, etc.
  • Publish your block!
  • You can manage your supporters, see earnings, and keep an eye on other metrics in the Earn dashboard.
  • Last but not least, tell others about what you’re doing! Share on social media, email, and however you best communicate with people who might donate to your cause.

A suite of payment features to fit your needs

Looking to accept payments for something else? There are several other payment features on WordPress.com to suit your needs and help you make money with your website. In addition to the new Donations block, here are other features:

  • Payments block: Accept one-time or recurring payments on your website for physical items, digital downloads, services, memberships, subscriptions, and more.
  • Premium Content block: Create one-time, monthly, or yearly subscription options to share select content with those who pay for it — text, images, videos, or any kind of content. Exclusive content can be sent to email inboxes or viewed on your website.
  • Paid newsletters: Using the Premium Content block, you can share your site’s latest premium content via email newsletters in a fully automated way.
  • eCommerce Store: Turn your website into an eCommerce store and sell products and services seamlessly.

If you’re interested in setting up a membership- or subscription-based website, learn more about getting started with memberships and subscriptions.


Add the Donations block and start earning money with your website today!

Expert Advice: Stay On Top of Your Business with Jetpack CRM

Customers are the heart of your business, and the best way to maintain your vital relationships with them is with a world-class CRM (customer relationship management) system.

Join us at our next free webinar on Thursday, September 17th, to learn how you can turn leads into customers, track business metrics, leverage data, and monitor activity profiles to better serve your customers—all by using Jetpack CRM.

Date: Thursday, September 17, 2020
Time: 8:00 am PT | 10:00 am CT | 11:00 am ET | 15:00 UTC
Registration linkhttps://zoom.us/webinar/register/8015988855022/WN_ZMyGfL7dRsm_4yzwivSnzw
Who’s invited: All are welcome, but this webinar is designed especially for small business owners, freelancers, consultants, and anyone else interested in learning how they can improve their sales process.

Jetpack CRM was built specifically for WordPress, so that you can manage your leads as they navigate your sales funnel, all on your WordPress dashboard. Mike Stott and Woody Hayday, the founding developers and lead engineers behind Jetpack CRM, will be co-presenting in the webinar, which will include a 15-minute live Q&A at the end of the 45-minute presentation.

Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the live webinar, though! A recording will be available on our YouTube channel a few days after the event.

Live attendance is limited, so be sure to register early. We look forward to seeing you!

Seedlet: A New, Sophisticated Theme Fully Powered By the Block Editor

Is your WordPress.com site ready for a refresh? Today, we’re unveiling Seedlet, a new theme that’s simple yet stylish.

Screenshot of the Seedlet theme demo page home screen

Designed by Kjell Reigstad, Seedlet is a great option for professionals and creatives seeking a sophisticated vibe. Classically elegant typography creates a refined site that gives your writing and images space to breathe — and shine. 

Seedlet was built to be the perfect partner to the block editor, and supports all the latest blocks. Writing, audio, illustrations, photography, video — use Seedlet to engage and direct visitors’ eyes, without the theme getting in the way. And the responsive design shifts naturally between desktop and mobile devices.

Learn more about setting up Seedlet, and explore the demo site to see it in action. 

Our team is hard at work developing new block-powered themes. Watch this space for updates!

Expert Advice: How to Build an Accessible Education Website on WordPress.com

Learn the basics and best practices of building an accessible and inclusive website for your classroom, school, or class assignment. This is a free, one-hour live webinar open to all, but is especially geared toward educators, teachers, school webmasters, and students.

Date: Thursday, August 27, 2020
Time: 10:00 am PT | 12:00 pm CT | 1:00 pm ET | 17:00 UTC
Registration linkhttps://zoom.us/webinar/register/2715977718561/WN_RFyhYfGNTOikZxw4aAsMXA
Who’s invited: All are welcome, but this webinar is designed for stakeholders within education, including teachers, educators, school webmasters, students, and parents.

Melissa Silberstang and Fernando Medina are WordPress.com Happiness Engineers and accessibility advocates who have helped thousands of people build websites on WordPress.com. They’ll help you understand what makes a great, accessible website, and what customizations to look out for as you build.

During the last 10-15 minutes of the webinar, attendees will be able to ask questions during the live Q&A portion.

We know you’re busy, so if you can’t make the live event, you’ll be able to watch a recording of the webinar on our YouTube channel.

Live attendance is limited, so be sure to register early. We look forward to seeing you on the webinar!

The Classic editing experience is moving, not leaving

With the introduction of the Block editor, the WordPress.com Classic Editor was set for retirement at the beginning of June. We pushed that back a bit to make time for more changes that ease the transition to the Block editor — and now it’s time! With the new and improved Classic block, you have the best of both editors: the flexibility and stability of the Block editor, and the Classic editor interface you know.

From August 11 all WordPress.com accounts will switch from Classic editor to the new Block editor. It will happen in phases, and you’ll get an email to let you know to expect the change.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re a fan of the Classic editor experience.

Why the change?

There are exciting new features in the pipeline that require the new WordPress editor. It’s not technically possible to retrofit them into the older, Classic editor, and we want to make sure everyone can take advantage of them as they become available. With all WordPress.com users publishing with the Block editor, all WordPress.com users always have the latest and greatest.

Can I create simple blog posts the way I always have?

Yes, with the Classic block! It provides an editing experience that mimics the Classic editor — the same options and tools, in the same spot.

To use it, add a Classic block to your post or page, then add and edit both text and media right inside it.

What about editing posts and pages already created in the Classic editor?

Many of you have lots of pages and posts already created and published with the Classic editor. Previously, editing them in the Block editor led to a lot of prompts asking you to convert the content to blocks. Now there’s a single “Convert to blocks” menu item to take care of it in one go.

Use it to upgrade your posts and pages to block-based content at your leisure.

Can I combine the Classic block with other blocks?

The Classic block gives you the best of both worlds. You can continue writing and editing your posts with the simple Classic interface — but when you want to experiment with more complex layouts and functionality you can play with the flexibility of blocks. For example, have you ever wanted an easy way to show off your favorite podcast?


The Block editor also has updates to bring in some of your favorite classic features, like a clean editing screen. The Block editor displays pop-up options and menus as you type — they give you lots of control, but you might not always want them visible over your content. Turn on Top toolbar mode to keep them pinned to the top of the screen. It’s a great way to experience the full flexibility of the block editor while still allowing distraction-free writing.

Look out for the email letting you know when to expect the Block editor switch! In there meantime, learn more about working with the Block editor and the Classic block.

Introducing a New, Convenient Way for Your Customers to Contact You

The world is mobile, and your visitors and customers expect to be able to easily contact you using their mobile device. With WordPress.com’s new WhatsApp button, you can provide a one-click, secure way for people to open WhatsApp, with your phone number and a message pre-filled.

Insert the WhatsApp button with your phone number and a custom message pre-filled.

Adding the button is easy. In the block editor, create a new block and search for WhatsApp:

whatsapp block

The WhatsApp button is available now to all WordPress.com sites on a Premium, Business, or eCommerce plan. You can upgrade your site to one of these plans, try it out for 30 days, and if you’re not satisfied with your upgrade we’ll grant you a full refund.

If you decide to cancel your paid plan after you’ve already accepted the free custom domain, the domain is yours to keep. We simply ask that you cover the costs for the domain registration.

We hope the WhatsApp button helps you connect with your customers and visitors in new ways. Give it a try today!

Manage Posts and Pages with the Block Editor Sidebar

We wanted to make it easier to manage posts and pages when you’re working within the Block Editor. With the Block Editor Sidebar you can view, create, edit, and manage posts and pages right from the Block Editor!  

Wait, another sidebar?

Have you ever finished editing something and then needed to make a quick edit to an existing post, or start a new one? Previously this meant navigating to your dashboard and to the posts list.

The Block Editor Sidebar allows you to view and access your site’s posts and pages — whether they’re drafts, published, or scheduled — and create new ones right from the editor.

Using the sidebar

The sidebar is available in the Block Editor when editing both posts and pages. For now, when editing a post you’ll only be able to see recent posts, and create new posts. Similarly, if you’re editing a page you’ll see a list of your recent pages and a link to create a new page.

The following steps refer to posts, but you can use the same steps to edit pages.

Open an existing post or create a new one to open the editor.

Select a post from the posts list

To view the sidebar, click on the WordPress.com logo at the top left of the editor.

Click on the WordPress.com logo

To return to your posts list, select the View Posts link.

Block Editor Sidebar - view all posts

To load an existing post, select the post title in the list of recent posts. Unless it’s already been published, the post’s status will appear next to the title, for example “Draft” or “Scheduled.”

Block Editor Sidebar - select a post to edit

To create a new post, click on the Add new post link.

Block Editor Sidebar - add a new post

To dismiss the sidebar, click anywhere outside the sidebar or press the “Escape” key.

What’s next?

Now that we have the Block Editor Sidebar in place, we’ll extend its capabilities with more tools and shortcuts to help you manage your site’s content.

Do you have ideas for site-level features you’d like to see in the Block Editor Sidebar? Or suggestions about how we can improve this feature? Please let us know in the comments!

Starting Your Own Podcast on WordPress.com

I am very inspired by creative podcasts. Entertaining guests and the unscripted nature of the conversations make me feel like I am right there, chatting about world affairs or the deep societal transformations of the connected age. I decided to start my own show with a group of friends  — loosely about blogging, but delving into all sorts of things.

It took three hours, with a total cost of $5/month, including our own domain name. In this post, I’ll share my journey of launching a brand-new podcast on WordPress.com, and later promoting it on iTunes and Spotify.

Why start a podcast?

Podcasting has been hailed as “the new blogging.” According to Edison Research, 51% of Americans have listened to a podcast, and hosts have created over one million podcasts on iTunes Podcasts.

Starting a podcast comes with a lot of perks:

  • You can connect with your audience on a much deeper level, thanks to your voice and the unscripted nature of the conversation.
  • It’s a fantastic excuse to reach out and meet interesting people.
  • Podcasting pairs really well with other projects — blogging, writing, or even a corporate ”day job.”

A group of Polish bloggers and I had been dreaming of a foray into podcasting for a while. We created the Placebo podcast in hopes of meeting interesting people and, frankly, having fun.

The tagline in Polish reads: “Your dose of absolutely nothing. Confirmed clinical efficacy.”

How does it all work?

You may have listened to a podcast on iTunes, Spotify, or another app — but did you know the content you’re enjoying doesn’t originate there? The beating heart of every podcast is its RSS feed. It is a particular format for content that services like iTunes or Spotify can process and display in the appropriate apps — iTunes, Alexa devices, and other services.

When you upload an audio file to your blog (for example, an .mp3) and hit publish, the new post (including the file) shows up in your RSS feed. From there, iTunes, Spotify, Pocket Casts, or another podcast app downloads the file to play it to your listeners.

WordPress.com also has built-in podcasting tools to make that job easier. To upload audio files, you’ll need a paid plan — any plan, including the Personal plan at $5/month, will do.

What do you need to start?

The name

The name of your podcast helps listeners find you in their favorite podcasting app. With Placebo, our main concern was making it memorable; our secondary goal, humor. (Which is related — funny is memorable!) We came up with “Placebo — a podcast with a confirmed clinical efficacy.”

Other memorable name examples include therapist Esther Perrell’s podcast, Where Should We Begin, Matt Mullenweg’s podcast about remote work, Distributed, and Joe Rogan’s The Joe Rogan Experience. If you are still stuck, try out our recently launched business name generator to help you brainstorm.

Recording

We didn’t want to get expensive gear. It’s better to start simple with the equipment you already have. The Placebo podcast is recorded over Zoom, with video-call headsets. I recommend recording at least three episodes, so when you publish, your listeners will have a better taste of your style.

The Distributed podcast has a great walkthrough of the various recording options you can try.

Cover art

In addition to your name, there are other ways to stand out from all the other podcasts and voices: strong cover art and a succinct, solid summary. (You can add all three on WordPress.com in My Sites → Settings → Writing → Podcasting.) 

The cover art should be easy to recognize. Since our podcast is named Placebo, we decided on a satirical medical vibe. We found a nice graphic, and after a few tweaks, tada!

Placebo podcast cover image

Pro tip: Cover art should be 1400×1400 px, so be sure to use an image that’s big enough.

The summary

When writing your summary on iTunes, you must distill the description of your podcast content to 250 characters or less. For Placebo, we wanted to give listeners a taste and encourage them to give us a try:

Placebo is a podcast with confirmed clinical efficacy. Artur, Agnes, and Michael chat about building your online home, technology, culture, business ideas, and being the best citizen of the Internet you can be. More on placebo.pro

We also included the link to our site, where listeners can learn more.

Here is where you upload your cover art and summary on WordPress.com

Light audio editing

Some podcasts (like Distributed) are edited to equalize audio levels or condense the episode. We opted to publish the raw audio — I only attach the pre-recorded intro music in GarageBand. I delve into details of audio editing on my blog Deliberate Internet

Before I upload a new episode to iTunes Podcasts, I add relevant ID3 tags in the iTunes player (where you edit rather than publish). ID3 tags are used by the iPhone Podcasts app to display your cover image. Import each one of your recorded files in iTunes player and select “Information.” There, you can tweak the image, category, and title of the audio file.

After you edit the information in iTunes player, or wherever you are editing your podcast, upload your cover art and click “OK”; your episode will appear in the iTunes Player Podcast library on your computer. You can find this file in your Home Directory → Music → iTunes → Podcasts.

Your audio files are now ready for distribution! That’s where WordPress.com comes in.

Uploading to WordPress.com

Create a separate WordPress.com post for each episode of your podcast. This gives you a unique link to share with your audience, a way for them to listen to your episode without the app, and a place to add extra notes and links.

To publish a podcast post:

  1. Create a new post. Add any extra notes or info you want to share with the podcast.
  2. Add the Audio block and upload your podcast file.
  3. Give the post the Podcast category.
  4. Publish the post.

This guide on the WordPress.com Support Site has more details.

Time to go live

You have your domain and a site for your podcast. You’ve recorded and uploaded a few episodes. Now it’s time to share your podcast with the world!

Your podcast is available on your WordPress.com site, but the majority of people consume podcasts through an app — iTunes podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, etc. Fortunately, they all work by checking your RSS feed. Once you submit your RSS feed to those services, new episodes will appear there automatically.

Spotify 

  1. Copy the RSS URL from the WordPress.com podcasting settings page
  2. Go to Podcasters Spotify
  3. Submit your RSS feed
  4. Wait two to three days for your podcast to appear

iTunes

  1. Copy the RSS URL from the WordPress.com podcasting settings page
  2. Go to Podcasts Connect
  3. Submit your RSS feed
  4. Wait about a week for them to review and approve your podcast

When the podcast is reviewed, approved, and appears in the Spotify and iTunes libraries, add those links to your site. That way, you can promote your nifty WordPress.com custom domain, and visitors can choose their preferred podcast consuming technology. We put these buttons right up at the top:

You can download these buttons here:

The lucky number seven

Recording new podcast episodes are plenty of fun, but can sometimes feel like work. Podcasts with seven or more episodes are likely to continue growing. The Placebo podcast crew has pledged to record at least eight.

And don’t forget to enjoy it! The conversations with interesting guests are why we do it.

I’ve published the full version of “How to Start a Podcast” on my personal website. There, I’ve expanded on my process to record episodes over Zoom, and how I later edited them in GarageBand. Dive deeper if you’re interested!


Cover Photo by The Teens Network Daytime Show Studios on Pexels.com

Improve Your Remote Collaboration With P2

P2 powers internal collaboration at WordPress.com — and now it’s free for everyone.


As more collaboration is happening remotely and online — work yes, but increasingly also school and personal relationships — we’re all looking for better ways to work together online. Normally, teachers hand out homework to students in person, and project leaders gather colleagues around a conference table for a presentation. Suddenly all this is happening in email, and Slack, and Zoom, and Google docs, and a dozen other tools.

At WordPress.com, our 15 years as a fully distributed company with over 1,200 employees working from 77 countries relies on P2: an all-in-one team website, blog, database, and social network that consolidates communications and files in one accessible, searchable spot.

It powers work at WordPress.com, WooCommerce, and Tumblr. And today, a beta version is available for anyone — for your newly-remote work team, your homeschooling pod, your geographically scattered friends. P2 is the glue that gives your group an identity and coherence. 

What’s P2?

P2 moves your team or organization away from scattered communication and siloed email inboxes. Any member of your P2, working on any kind of project together, can post regular updates. Discussions happen via comments, posted right from the front page and updated in real time, so your team can brainstorm, plan, and come to a consensus. Upload photos or charts, take a poll, embed files, and share tidbits from your day’s activities. Tag teammates to get their attention. Your P2 members can see updates on the Web, via email, or in the WordPress mobile apps. 

Keep your P2 private for confidential collaboration. Or make it public to build a community. How you use it and who has access is up to you. And as folks come and go, all conversations and files remain available on the P2, and aren’t lost in anyone’s inbox.

The beta version of P2 is free for anyone, and you can create as many P2 sites as you need. (Premium versions are in the works.)  

What can I use P2 for?

Inside Automattic, we use P2 for:

  • Companywide blog posts from teams and leadership, where everyone can ask questions via comments.
  • Virtual “watercoolers” to help teammates connect — there are P2s for anything from music to Doctor Who to long-distance running.
  • Project planning updates.
  • Sharing expertise to our broader audience. We’ve got a P2 with guidance on how to manage remote work, and WooCommerce uses P2 to organize their global community.

P2 works as an asynchronous companion to live video like Zoom or live chat like Slack. It’s a perfect partner for live video and chat — you have those tools when a real-time conversation gets the job done, and P2 for reflection, discussion, and commemorating decisions.

How can you use your P2?

  • Plan a trip with friends and family — share links, ticket files, and travel details. (See an example on this P2!).
  • Create a P2 for your school or PTA to share homeschooling resources and organize virtual events.
  • Manage your sports team’s schedules and share photos from games.
  • Let kids track and submit homework assignments remotely, with a space for Q&A with your students.

How can I learn more?

Visit this demo P2 to learn the P2 ropes! Check out a range of example posts and comments to see how you can:

  • Post, read, comment, like, and follow conversations. 
  • @-mention individuals and groups to get their attention. 
  • Share video, audio, documents, polls, and more.  
  • Access in-depth stats and get notifications.

Ready for your own P2?

Visit WordPress.com/p2 and create your own P2.

Hosting Live (Virtual!) Events: Lessons from Planning the WordPress.com Growth Summit

Back in January, my team at WordPress.com was busy planning another year of exciting in-person events — community meetups, conference keynotes, booths, and in-person demos — at large exhibit halls and hotels around the world.

Then the world changed overnight, and because of a global pandemic, our Events team — just like many of you running your own businesses — had to rethink everything about how we connect with people. 

So we went back to work. We’ve learned so much in just five months, and it culminates in the upcoming WordPress.com Growth Summit — our first-ever multi-day virtual conference. It’s going to be a jam-packed program full of expert advice from business leaders and entrepreneurs. We’ll also have breakout sessions with our own WordPress experts, the Automattic Happiness Engineers, taking you through everything you need to know about building a powerful, fast website that works great for SEO, eCommerce, and growing your business. 

In the lead-up to the Summit, we wanted to share everything we’ve learned so far about running virtual events, from YouTube to webinars to Facebook Live and ticket sales. There are dozens of great solutions for staying connected to and supporting your audience — here’s what’s been working for us: 

Live webinars 

In April, we launched a series of daily webinars, 30-minute live demos and Q&As direct from our Happiness Engineers, five days a week. These webinars walk people through the basics of getting started with WordPress.com. We also launched a few topical webinars — deeper dives into specific topics: eCommerce 101, growing an audience, using the WordPress app, and podcasting, to name a few.

We chose Zoom to host these because it’s a popular platform that allows for key webinar elements like pre-registration/signups, screen sharing, and Q&A. We pulled these together quickly, so going with a familiar solution was key for us and our audience. 

To expand our reach, we also streamed to our Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube channels. This was a simple integration that Zoom offers already, and we saw our viewership grow exponentially. 

Pre-recorded vs. live instruction 

At virtual events, one question always comes up: pre-recorded or live? We prefer a combination! Live is great when possible; it gives attendees an opportunity to interact with speakers, speakers can personalize the content based on questions being asked, and attendees can interact with one another, forming connections with like-minded content creators and entrepreneurs. 

Live content also has challenges: internet connections can cut out, computers can shut down unexpectedly, and there are more opportunities for interruption (does anyone else’s dog bark the minute you get on a live video?). It also requires all participants to be online at the same time, which can be logistically challenging.

Our advice: Test, test, test! If a speaker isn’t comfortable presenting live, there is the option to do a combination — a pre-recorded session with a live Q&A in the chat. We’ve found it to work really well, and it gives attendees the same access to the presenter.

The Growth Summit 

We helped folks to get online quickly with our daily webinars and dove into deeper topics each month, and now we want to help you grow your site. Enter The Official WordPress.com Growth Summit, happening next week, August 11-13.

We gathered frequently asked questions over the past few months, listened to your requests for live sessions across more time zones, and found inspiration from users that we felt needed to be shared widely.  

The Growth Summit takes a deeper dive into topics and offers hands-on WordPress training for anyone looking to get online. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions live, connect with speakers, visit our virtual Happiness Bar for 1:1 support, and connect with other attendees during the networking breaks. 

Some key highlights from the agenda

  • Using the block editor
  • Customizing your site
  • Growing your audience
  • Improving your content ranking (SEO)
  • Creating a marketing plan 
  • Expanding from blogging to podcasting 
  • Making money with your site
  • And so much more… 

We wanted a platform for this event that would act as an immersive event experience. There are many great platforms for this, including Accelevents and Hopin. We’ll be experimenting with many of them in the coming months (Remember: test!). A few key features we looked for: 

  • Ease of self-production
  • Ability for simultaneous sessions
  • Overall user experience
  • Flow of the event — central location for agenda, speaker bios, networking, and more
  • Networking features
  • Audience engagement — polling, live chat, and more
  • Analytics
  • Registration within the platform
  • Accessibility
  • Customization
  • Speaker (virtual) green rooms

The best part? This event is being offered twice a day so that we cover all time zones. And if you can’t join us live, attendees will have access to all content from all time zones, after the event.

Industry Experts and Pro Bloggers Come Together to Inspire, Teach, and Help You (and Your Site) Succeed

At the Official WordPress.com Growth Summit, the two-day virtual conference running twice from August 11-13, you’ll have access to about 50 speakers and presenters across 90+ breakout sessions and keynote conversations. The varied lineup will appeal to new and established bloggers; professionals in tech, media, and marketing; and anyone ready to build or expand their presence on the web.

Event highlights include a talk from Smitten Kitchen creator and cookbook author Deb Perelman; panels with Newspack founder Kinsey Wilson on the state of independent and local journalism amid a struggling media landscape and in the age of COVID-19; and sessions with founders and representatives from companies and organizations like Xbox, Google, Sandwich, African Queer Youth Initiative, Out in Tech, Looka, and more.

Wondering what to expect? Here are 10 entrepreneurs, founders, bloggers, and developers scheduled to speak at the summit.


Jason Snell

Jason is the founder and editor-in-chief of Six Colors, a site that covers Apple, technology, and the intersection of tech and culture. Previously, as the lead editor for Macworld, he covered every major Apple product release for more than a decade.

In a breakout session on content and community with web designer and A List Apart founder Jeffrey Zeldman, they’ll share blogging and podcasting tips, advice on growing your audience, and making money with paywalls, stores, advertising, and more. “Membership programs can build loyalty and provide the most enthusiastic portions of your audience with more of what they love,” says Jason. “I switched to WordPress in order to build a richer — and more marketable — membership program, and the results have been excellent.”

Tina Wells

“The 4Ps of marketing — product, place, promotion, and price — have changed dramatically,” says Tina Wells, the founder of Elevation Tribe, a community and lifestyle publication focused on helping women of color launch, grow, and lead their businesses. In her breakout session, Tina will talk about creating a marketing plan for beginners and small businesses. “We’ll go back to basics and discover how we can make the right changes to help your business not only survive, but thrive.”

A business strategist and passionate entrepreneur, Tina believes in the power of an effective online presence. “Your website is your first storefront, and it tells the story of your brand,” she says, noting that a strong visual identity and fresh design are critical. You can see both in action at Elevation Tribe and on Tina’s website.

Kristin Smith

“My authenticity is what allows me to share my brand with others. Being yourself — and transparent — is what people see and keeps them coming back. There’s only one of you, and that alone is enough,” says Kristin Smith, food blogger at Krisp X Kristin and podcast co-host of At the Bar.

In Kristin’s breakout session, you’ll find out how she turned her passion for cooking into a popular blog and podcast. She’ll share what she’s learned, giving you a set of actionable steps to inspire you to overcome your fears and get started on your website.

“Sometimes in the beginning it’s hard to see a finish line. But, keep your head down and keep working. Throw yourself into it, network with other likeminded people, and continue to learn,” says Kristin. “It all will pay off in the end.”

Paul Bakaus

“The web used to be the best platform for content creation, distribution, and consumption,” says Paul Bakaus, a senior staff development advocate at Google. “But today the walled garden — closed social apps and platforms — are drinking our milkshake. I say it’s time we stop letting them! We need to, as a community, work on making the web more visual, frictionless, and bite-sized. Web Stories are our approach to help with that, and we can’t wait for you to join us.”

In his breakout session, Telling Web Stories with WordPress, Paul will introduce you to Web Stories — a mobile-first tool that allows storytellers to create visual narratives with engaging animations and tappable interactions — and show how you can use them on your website with the Web Stories for WordPress plugin.

Anton Diaz

“We want to contribute to an awesome post-COVID-19 world,” says Anton Diaz, traveler, founder, and creator of Our Awesome Planet. “We’re helping food businesses to connect with foodies and travel destinations to engage with travelers.”

In his breakout session, Anton will share the principles that have guided his food and travel blog for 15 years. “There are core beliefs that have helped Our Awesome Planet stand out,” says Anton. “We make sure that all the food and travel experiences we feature are based on first-hand experience, grounded on our original vision: documenting the food and travel adventures of our family as our four sons — Aidan, Joshua, Raphael, and Yugi — have grown.”

Deb Perelman

Deb Perelman, the longtime food blogger at Smitten Kitchen, is a WordPress.com community favorite. What started as a food blog and side project in her tiny New York City kitchen has grown into one of the most popular food blogs on the internet, as well as a series of best-selling cookbooks.

“I just really, really enjoy blogging,” Deb said in an interview with WordPress.com several years ago. “I love having a place where I can share what I’m working on in an immediate way and have a conversation with people who are equally excited about it, and who encourage me to try more stuff that scares me in the kitchen.” At the conference, Deb will share her story and the journey of Smitten Kitchen, from start to present.

Kim Newton

Kim Newton, a global marketing executive with over 20 years of experience working with corporations and brands, is the creator of The Intentional Pause, a project that empowers women to follow their dreams using the power of pause. “I give every woman permission — yes permission — to just stop and think,” she writes on her website. “I want to help women to embrace pausing as a powerful way forward, with intention, to achieve their dreams.”

Kim has had many successes in consumer marketing, corporate strategy, and business development, and will share her insights on marketing and PR at the summit.

Chris Coyier

Chris Coyier, the co-founder of CodePen, is a front-end developer and designer. He’s also the creator of CSS-Tricks, a resource that’s all about building websites, mostly from a front-end perspective, and was built on WordPress since day one. “I’m a solo developer for the most part on CSS-Tricks. Just me over here. I don’t have the budget for a fancy development team. But I still want to feel powerful and productive. That’s one of the things that WordPress has given to me. I feel like I can build just about anything on WordPress, and do it in a way that doesn’t feel like a mountain of technical debt that I would struggle to maintain.”

In his breakout session — Putting WordPress to Work — Chris will take us behind the scenes at CSS-Tricks, sharing “just how powerful WordPress can be as a platform to run a publishing business on.”

Amy Chan

For Amy Chan, blogging provided the path to a publishing career. Amy is the founder of Renew Breakup Bootcamp, the world’s first breakup bootcamp, and the author of Breakup Bootcamp: The Science of Rewiring Your Heart. “Heartbreak is something that affects everyone, so people were able to connect quickly with the company’s offering,” says Amy.

In Amy’s breakout session — How I Accidentally Became a Thought Leader By Blogging — she shares her own story, and how you can transform your side gig into something bigger. To start, Amy says to just do it: “Stop hiding. Stop waiting. Stop perfecting. Perfection is procrastination in disguise,” she says. “Start the blog, launch the event, put your creation out in the world. Whatever it is, just get in a mindset of taking action. Create as a way of being. Launch it now and develop it later.”

Danica Kombol

Danica Kombol founded Everywhere Agency to help brands tell better stories through social media and influencer marketing. As CEO, she leads a team that works with brands to launch content-driven campaigns and to create meaningful conversations with followers in powerful, measurable ways.

Danica also launched Everywhere Society, a network of about 5,000 established influencers and bloggers, which powers the agency’s influencer campaigns and brand ambassadorships. Her session will cover blogging for purpose and profit.


Browse the agenda for all sessions, demos, and talks. Buy your ticket now for early bird pricing of $79, which expires after July 31!

Does Your Project Need a Great Name? Try Our New Business Name Generator

Are you starting a new online store? A brick-and-mortar salon? A freelance consultation service? The new business name generator by WordPress.com is a one-stop tool to get you started with your next big idea.

Choosing a compelling, catchy name is a crucial step in any new project. That’s why we’ve launched a powerful tool that generates dozens of creative options for your business, store, or any other venture.

The business name generator is free and easy to use. Just enter one or more keywords, and it will generate dozens of potential names for you. 

When you find a name you like, you can instantly take the next step and buy a custom domain — a web address — that uses it. Ready to start a shiny new website for your business? You can do that with a few clicks, all without leaving WordPress.com.

Ready to take the business name generator for a spin?

The First-Ever WordPress.com Growth Summit Is Coming, and You Won’t Want to Miss It

Join us for The Official WordPress.com Growth Summit on August 11-13! At our first-ever virtual conference you will learn how to build and grow your site, from start to scale. Are you a blogger looking for ways to drive traffic and get more visitors? Are you a small business that would like to start selling more products and services on your site? Are you an artist or creator who would like to learn how to share your work? The WordPress.com Growth Summit will cover these topics (and many more) and provide indispensable advice to help you succeed.

The goal of this event is to inspire, connect you with the tools you need, and help you build your community. Sessions will take place across three tracks: blogging, business, and creative. You can take sessions on any or all tracks, and they’ll focus on four main topic areas: 

  • Site Structure & Design: Make your website look its best.
  • Content: Create great content to help your website grow.
  • Marketing: Grow your audience and reach.
  • Making Money: Monetize and scale your website.

Each day includes sessions with industry and business leaders, successful bloggers, and creatives, who will join WordPress.com experts for engaging talks and hands-on demonstrations to help your site grow. Hear from speakers like…

You’ll also have the opportunity to connect directly with our Happiness Engineers to ask your most pressing support questions. 

To stay accessible to a global audience, we’ll hold the event twice, with live sessions in all regions:

Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Africa — August 11-12, 2020

Asia Pacific — August 12-13, 2020

Want to learn more about the event and to take advantage of the early-bird pricing (available through July 31)?

 

The WordPress.com Referral Program: Encourage Others to Start a Website

All of us know interesting people with unique talents. Some have business ideas. Others write beautiful poetry. Some are inspired to make the world a better place. 

If they’re not online, they should be. If you’ve ever encouraged a friend or family member to create a blog, launch a podcast, or sell what they make online, the WordPress.com Refer-a-Friend program is your chance to help them get started.

How the referral program works

With the Refer-a-Friend program, you and people in your network can earn credits for your WordPress.com websites. When you invite friends, family, and colleagues — or even your own site visitors — to build a website, they’ll receive a US$25 credit toward a WordPress.com plan. (Note: referrals need to be new WordPress.com customers.)

Every time someone you refer purchases a plan, you receive a US$25 credit, too! The credit will be applied within two months after your referral signs up and makes an eligible purchase.

Under current pricing, a $25 credit offers more than 50% off the first year of a Personal plan and more than 25% off the cost of a Premium plan. Plus, your referrals also receive a free custom domain name for their first year.

Here’s how to start:

  1. Log in to your WordPress.com account and go to Tools → Earn.
  2. Locate your unique referral link in the Refer-a-Friend section.
  3. Copy the link and share it via email, social media, or text message.

Not sure what to say? When reaching out to a referral, tell them why you use WordPress.com and how you believe it will help them, too.

Want to send along some inspiration? Check out the websites and customer stories featured on Discover!

Unroll Your Twitter Threads Into WordPress

Have you ever written a Twitter thread, and then wished you could turn it into a blog post? You can now do it in seconds.

Writing Twitter threads, also known as tweetstorms, can be a great way to clarify your thoughts: keeping each paragraph under 280 characters forces you to focus on your message.

Threads are great for engagement and sudden bursts of inspiration. But when the thread is done, wouldn’t it be nice to have a quick way to capture the full conversation in one place — one page to read, one link to share, all your thoughts captured on a website you own?

Now, when you embed a tweet that’s part of a larger thread, you’ll see a new “Unroll” button on the block toolbar. Click or tap it to import the entire thread into your post.

Publish the whole thread as one easy-to-read post — and since WordPress has no character limit, add any extra thoughts that have popped up in the meantime!

Originally tweeted by WordPress.com (@wordpressdotcom) on July 17, 2020.

We hope you enjoy this new way to make your WordPress site the canonical place for everything you publish — leave a comment if you have any questions, suggestions for how we can make it easier for you to share content between your site and other platforms, or if you’d like to share a link to a post that started as a Twitter thread!

Expert Advice: Learn How to Podcast on WordPress.com

Podcasting isn’t just for professional broadcasters or celebrities. If you have a passion for a topic — no matter how niche — and want to explore your options beyond blogging and tweeting, consider launching a podcast! All you need to get started is a decent microphone and headset, an internet connection — and our next free webinar to learn the basics.

Date: Thursday, July 23, 2020
Cost: FREE
Time: 8:00 am PDT | 9:00 am MDT | 10:00 am CDT | 11:00 am EDT | 15:00 UTC
Registration linkhttps://zoom.us/webinar/register/5115944218471/WN_DEIBungPRlSs4hIKhN6ezA
Who’s invited: Bloggers, business owners, and anyone else interested in starting a podcast.

Your hosts, expert podcasters and Happiness Engineers Richard and Damianne, have years of experience in podcasting, radio journalism, and of course, helping our users get the most out of their WordPress.com sites. They’ll walk you through the basics of hosting your podcast on WordPress.com and adding it to the most popular podcast directories. They’ll also share some tips and best practices on crafting a successful podcast.

Please note that to host audio files on a WordPress.com site, your site must be on the Premium, Business, or eCommerce plan.

The one-hour webinar will include a 45-minute presentation and 15 minutes of live Q&A. Dustin, one of our veteran Happiness Engineers and another longtime podcaster, will also be on hand to answer questions over Zoom chat during the webinar.

Seats are limited, so register now to save your seat. We look forward to seeing you then!

Celebrating Pride Month: Perspectives on Identity, Diversity, Communication, and Change

Throughout June, we’ve published a series of Q&As at WordPress Discover featuring members of the Automattic team. These conversations explore personal journeys; reflections on identity; and diversity and inclusion in tech, design, and the workplace. Here are highlights from these interviews.


“In a World That Wants You to Apologize or Minimize Who You Are, Don’t.”

Gina Gowins is an HR operations magician on the Human League, our global human resources team. In this interview, Gina examines identity and language; communication and trust-building in a distributed, mostly text-based environment; and how her life experiences have informed her work.

I am particularly attached to the term queer as a repurposing of a word that was once used to isolate and disempower people — it was used to call people out as problematically different and other. From my perspective, there is no normal and no other; instead, we are all individual and unique. Identifying as queer allows me to take pride in my own individuality.

Language changes over time, and how we use language shapes our values and thinking. In a culture that is aggressively governed by heteronormative values and where it can still be dangerous and lonely to be LGBTQIA+ — such as the United States, where I live — defining myself as queer is also my small act of defiance. It is a reminder of the consistent fight for acceptance, inclusion, and justice that so many people face, and our inherent value and validity as humans.


“Reflect What Is Given, and In So Doing Change It a Little”

Echo Gregor is a software engineer on Jetpack’s Voyager team, working on new features that “expand Jetpack’s frontiers.” In this conversation, Echo talks about gender identity, pronouns, and names; and how xer identity and experiences have impacted xer approach to development and work in general.

Earlier in my transition, I called myself “E” sort of as a placeholder while I pondered name things. One late night, on the way home from a party, I had a friend ask if they could call me Echo, as it was the callsign equivalent for “E.” I immediately fell in love with the name, and gradually started using it more and more, until I made it my legal name.

I like that it’s simple and doesn’t have many gendered connotations in the modern world. I also appreciate it’s mythological origin! In the myth, Echo was a mountain nymph cursed by the goddess Hera — to be unable to speak, and only repeat the last words said to her.

I think there’s a lot of parallels in our world to that idea. We’re part of systems that are so much bigger than us that it’s rare any one of us can be loud enough to bring meaningful change, to speak new words. But echoes don’t perfectly repeat things. They reflect what is given, and in so doing change it a little. I like to try and live up to that by bringing a bit of change to the world, not by being the loudest, but by reflecting things back in my own way.


“Living My Life Freely and Authentically”

Mel Choyce-Dwan is a product designer on the theme team. In this Q&A, Mel tells us how she got involved with the WordPress community through a previous WordCamp, about her observations of tech events as a queer designer, and about the importance of inclusive design.

Show a lot of different kinds of people in your writing and your imagery, and don’t make assumptions. Talk to people from the communities you’re representing if you can, or read about their own experiences from their perspectives. Don’t assume you know better than someone else’s lived experience. When in doubt, talk to people.

And don’t just talk to people about how your product should work, talk about how it shouldn’t work. Talk about how people think others could hurt them using your product. People of marginalized identities often have stories of being harassed, stalked, or abused on the web. We need to think about how our products can be used for harm before — not after — the harassment.


“Every Person and Voice Has the Opportunity to Be Heard”

Niesha Sweet, a people experience wrangler on the Human League, says she feels like she was destined to work at Automattic. In this final interview, Niesha reflects on her Pride Month traditions and what she finds most rewarding about her HR work.

I would say that we all have to apply an additional level of empathy, understanding, and openness when working together. Just with communication alone — English is not the first language for some Automatticians, and some cultures’ communication style is direct. Assuming positive intent and having an additional level of empathy for one another allows us to effectively communicate with each other, while also appreciating our differences. 

The reward that comes with our diverse workforce is that every person and voice has the opportunity to be heard. Impostor syndrome is real, so some Automatticians may not feel as though they can share their ideas with anyone at the company, but we truly can. Our level of diversity is truly outside of what the typical company is aiming to achieve. That’s not to say we’re not looking to hire more diverse Automatticians, or increase our workforce with non-US hires, but we’re not limited by age, sexual orientation, race, and gender identity. Diversity has a different meaning in a lot of the countries where we have Automatticians, and that alone is rewarding. 


Learn more about diversity and inclusion at Automattic. We’re currently hiring — apply to work with us!

Editing and Enhancing Images in the WordPress Apps

The WordPress app on your Android or iOS device is your companion wherever you go. Manage your site, write and publish, and even add images to your posts — from anywhere you are. Oftentimes, the most engaging posts include visuals, like the photos you take on the go: pictures from last week’s walk, snapshots of your afternoon picnic, or portraits of the family with your puppy.

Have you ever needed to edit your images on your phone? Maybe the lighting wasn’t quite right, or the framing and composition were off. You can now make small retouches right in the WordPress app, like cropping, rotating, and even adding a filter to change the mood of your photos.

Editing photos

You now have the option to edit an image. If your photo is already in the post, tap it, then tap the icon in the top right corner and select Edit. When you’re finished editing the image, tap Done and the previous image will be replaced with the new one.

If you’re adding a new image, you can edit it before inserting it into the post. For example, add a Gallery Block, tap Add Media, and select Choose from your device. Select one or multiple photos, then in the bottom left corner, tap Edit. Edit your image, tap Insert, and that’s it!

If you’re offline, you can still add, edit, and insert new images to a post. 

Making small adjustments

Need to adjust or enhance an image? You can now rotate a photo or crop the borders:

Adding a filter or drawing over an image

If you’re using the iOS app, you can apply a filter to your picture:

And if you have iOS 13 or later, you can also draw over an image, either with your finger or with your Apple Pencil:


We’re thrilled about these new updates to the Media Editor! Let us know what you’d like to see in upcoming versions. We’d love to hear your feedback.

Expert Advice: Manage Your Site on the Go Using the WordPress Mobile Apps

For many people, the go-to tool for updating a website is a laptop or desktop computer. Did you know, though, that the computer you carry around in your pocket has as much power as the one on your desk? The WordPress mobile apps are packed with features that make it possible to manage your site no matter where you are.

Want to become a WordPress app pro? Register for our next webinar, “WordPress Mobile: Your site. Your inspiration. Anywhere.” We’ll be sharing bite-sized tips that will transform the way you manage your site and connect with your audience. 

Some of the topics we’ll cover include:

  • How to create a site from your phone.
  • Using stats on the mobile app for a deep dive into your site’s performance. 
  • Leveraging the activity log to keep an eye on what’s going on around your site.
  • The recently introduced WordPress editor and the ways it has revolutionized mobile content creation. 
  • Starter page templates and how they can jump-start your page designs.
  • How to use the WordPress.com Reader to find new content and expand your site’s audience. 
  • Making the most of real-time notifications and alerts.

Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Time: 10:00 a.m. PDT | 11:00 a.m. MDT | 12:00 p.m. CDT | 1:00 p.m. EDT | 17:00 UTC
Cost: Free
Registration link

Eli Budelli and I will be your hosts — we work on the WordPress mobile apps, so you’ll be learning and sharing with the people who are crafting your mobile experiences. No previous knowledge using our mobile apps is necessary, but we recommend a basic familiarity with WordPress.com and installing the WordPress app to ensure you can make the most from the webinar. The session will cover both iOS and Android, last about 40 minutes, and conclude with a Q&A session (15-20 minutes), so start writing down any questions you may have, and bring them with you to the webinar.

Attendee slots are limited, so be sure to register early to save your seat! But if you can’t make it, we’ve got your back. A recording of the webinar will be uploaded to our YouTube channel a few days after the event.

See you then!

Enjoy a Smoother Experience with the Updated Block Editor

Little details make a big difference. The latest block editor improvements incorporate some common feedback you’ve shared with us and make the editing experience even more intuitive than before.

We’ve also updated the categories we use to organize blocks, so you can find exactly what you need, fast. Read on to learn about recent changes you’ll notice next time you open the editor.

Move on quickly after citations and captions

Have you ever felt as if you were stuck inside a block after adding a citation? Now, when you hit Enter or Return at the end of the citation, you’ll be ready to start typing in a new text block.

Quotes were a bit sticky…

Much smoother now!

Quotes, images, embeds, and other blocks now offer this smoother experience. It’s a small change that will save you a little bit of time, but those seconds add up, and less frustration is priceless.

Streamlined heading selection

Another subtle-yet-helpful change we’ve introduced is simplified heading levels. Before, the block toolbar included a few limited options with additional ones in the sidebar. Now, you can find all available heading levels right in the block toolbar, and adjust the heading directly from the block you’re working on. (For even more simplicity, we’ve also removed the dropdown in the sidebar.)

Select a parent block with ease

Working with nested blocks to create advanced page layouts is now considerably smoother. Some users told us it was too difficult to select a parent block, se we’ve added an easier way to find it right from the toolbar. Now it’s a breeze to make picture-perfect layouts!

Filter your latest posts by author

Sites and blogs with multiple authors will love this update: you can now choose a specific author to feature in the Latest Posts block.

To highlight recent articles from a particular writer, just select their name in the block’s settings.

Renamed block categories

Finally, the next time you click the + symbol to add a new block, you’ll notice new, intuitive block categories that make it both easier and faster to find just the block you’re looking for.

What’s new:

  • Text
  • Media
  • Design

What’s gone:

  • Common
  • Formatting
  • Layout

You keep building, we’ll keep improving

Thank you for all your input on how the block editor can be better! We’re listening. If you have more ideas, leave a comment below.


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Earn Money on Your WordPress.com Website with Premium Content and Paid Newsletters

Make money while you build an engaged following for your website: use the WordPress.com Premium Content block to create monthly and yearly paid memberships that give followers access to the premium content of your choice – text, photos, videos, and more. You can now automatically deliver your new premium posts right to subscribers’ inboxes as a paid newsletter!

Anything that you can publish on a WordPress.com site with a block can become part of your premium content offering. Summer recipes, podcasts, fitness instruction videos, photography portfolios, music samples, access to digital downloads, poetry, political remarks —  people on WordPress.com include all of that and more in Premium Content blocks, and they make money for sharing their expertise.

Premium Content block examples

Premium Content memberships also offer you a new way to engage your most engaged fans. Create membership tiers with different costs and content access levels. Craft targeted messaging for each one. Want to send special emails and offers or ask for suggestions about what kind of content you might create next? You control what content and messaging goes to your paying members via Premium Content blocks.

You focus on creating amazing content. We’ll handle the credit and debit card payment processing, reporting, and providing the right access for paying members to view your premium content or get your newsletters.

Launch your first membership

  • To use Premium Content blocks, you’ll need a WordPress.com website with any paid plan — Personal, Premium, Business, or eCommerce.
  • Create a new page or post, and add a Premium Content block.
  • To set up your first paid membership or subscription, create a Stripe account (if you don’t have one already). Stripe is the company we’ve partnered with to process credit and debit card payments in a safe, secure, and speedy way.
  • Set the cost of the membership and decide whether people will pay monthly or yearly. Want to offer multiple kinds of memberships with access to different kinds of content? Add separate Premium Content blocks for each one to create multiple membership options.
  • Add content that’s included with this particular membership to the Premium Content block. You’ll add content using blocks, and can add as many blocks within the Premium Content block as you like.
  • To let followers opt into receiving new premium content via email, turn on the “Posts via email” option in your paid membership plan settings. Your membership payments are processed by a WordPress.com feature called Recurring Payments, which powers seamless credit and debit card processing for the Premium Content block.

And just like that, you’re a membership organization! Share your new membership offerings with your network — social media, email, and word of mouth are all great places to start — and start building your following along with your stable, recurring revenue.

Support the Fight Against Inequality: Resources and Ways to Act

The past few months have been tiring for everyone. As the coronavirus spread across the globe, most of us thought that we were going to live with the uncomfortableness of shelter-in-place for a few months before things could return to normal. We thought that what would consume most of our free time was TikTok videos, Animal Crossing, Netflix, and maybe a reignition of hobbies. Unfortunately, this has not been the case.

Fast-forward to today. Society has not returned to normal and instead, we have had more time to engage on the topic of race on a global scale — specifically, how unfairly Black Americans are treated in American society.

We are not only bearing witness to how disproportionately the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Black and Brown Americans, we are seeing the injustices and violence Black Americans face daily in an amplified manner. Whether it’s having the cops called on you following a simple and reasonable request in the park, going jogging in your neighborhood, or being asleep in your own home, the world is watching and finally responding to these injustices. From Eric Garner to George Floyd, the list of people we grieve over is far too long.

We are hurt, confused, frustrated, angry, and just tired.

We are tired but never done.

How can you support your Black colleagues and friends?

  • Give them a bit more time, space, and compassion.
  • Understand that some of them are whiplashed and at a loss for what to do.
  • Let them come to you with causes you can support.
  • Collectively agree on a way of showing wordless support, like an emoji for example:

How can you support this movement?

Understand that this movement is not history, nor will it soon be over. We need to fight for equality until life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are available for all.

Here is a list of places you can amplify, donate to, or sign petitions for change:

Donate

Donate to any of these organizations and petitions to show support and help advance the agenda for equal representation and justice.

Sign

Sign any of these petitions to show support for change and accountability in our judicial system.

Do

Educational resources

Dedicate time to learn more deeply about institutionalized racism in America, and how to safely take action against it.

Mental health resources

  • Ethel’s Club – A Black-owned and -operated social club that offers access to Black therapists and a multitude of creative events for People of Color. 
  • Crisis Text Line – A different approach to crisis intervention, Crisis Text Line offers you help when you text 741-741. You’ll be able to chat with someone who is willing to listen and provide you with additional resources.
  • Shine Text –  A Black-owned self-care app through which you can sign up to receive cheerful texts and tips every day. 
  • Therapy for Black Girls – A Black-owned directory to help you find Black therapists in your area. 
  • BEAM Community – A Black emotional and mental health collective committed to the health and healing of Black communities.
  • Self-Care Tips for Black People Who Are Struggling With This Very Painful Week – A resource on VICE with tips that may provide a bit of relief.

Tips for protesting

Lastly, let’s celebrate solidarity and beauty when we see it:

Stay safe out there!

Not Sure How to Get Your Blog Off the Ground? Join Our New Workshop.

Starting a blog is easy and free on WordPress.com. But what if you’re new to blogging? If you need guidance on best practices, actionable tips on how to grow your audience and find inspiration to write, and constructive feedback from experts and fellow bloggers, you should join us at Blogging: From Concept to Content. It’s a three-day, hands-on, intensive workshop that will take you from “I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing?” to “I’m a blogger!”

Date: June 16–18, 2020
Time: 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. PDT | 8:00 a.m. –12:00 p.m. MDT | 9:00 am-1:00 pm CDT | 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. EDT| 14:00 – 18:00 UTC
Location: Online via Zoom and private blog
Cost: Early Bird Price — US$99 until 23:59 UTC on June 8, 2020. Regular price — US$179 from June 9 – June 15, 2020.
Register now: https://wordpress.com/blogging-basics-workshop/

Featuring guest speakers and WordPress.com experts in areas like content and writing, SEO, design, and digital marketing, the workshop will include daily assignments and interactive discussions. You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to interact directly with the instructors as well as with Happiness Engineers. At the end of the workshop, you’ll walk away with:

  • A ready-to-launch blog.
  • An editorial calendar for the next 8–12 weeks.
  • A well-stocked toolkit of tips and techniques to continue to develop your blog and grow its reach.
  • Finally, and at least as important: a community of new blogging friends to learn from and grow with long after the workshop has ended.

We created this workshop for new bloggers who crave a structured, step-by-step approach to creating a blog that reflects their vision and voice, and who don’t want to waste time looking for answers all over the web. Be prepared to dive in and do the work! You won’t regret this investment, and you’ll be in great company.

Seats are limited to facilitate interaction between participants and instructors, so register now to save your slot. By registering this week, you’ll take advantage of our Early Bird Price of US$99 through June 8, after which the regular registration price of $179 will take effect.

See you then!

Celebrating Pride Month with Out in Tech

Happy Pride Month! Last year, I shared resources and highlighted organizations doing awesome work in the LGBTQ+ community. This year, I’m excited to tell you more about Out in Tech, an organization that Automattic has partnered with for the past four years. I’m proud to say that this year, the Queeromattic Employee Resource Group — an employee-led collective for LGBTQ+ initiatives at Automattic — is co-sponsoring this partnership for the first time. 

“We’re a global nonprofit community of 40,000 members working toward a world in which LGBTQ+ people are empowered, well-represented in the tech industry, and have full agency, from intern to CEO,” says Gary Goldman, the Senior Program Director of Out in Tech. As the Queeromattic Lead, I’ve been fortunate to benefit from the wonderful and empowering community Out in Tech has created through their Qorporate Roundtables, vibrant Slack community, and virtual hangouts in light of COVID-19. It brings me great joy to share more about Out In Tech with you all in this recent interview with Gary. 

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself! How do you identify? How did you get started with Out in Tech?

I identify as a cisgender gay man. Before Out in Tech, I worked as a United Nations consultant for five years in data management. During that time, I was a volunteer for Out in Tech as head of the New York chapter. It has been a dream come true to transition to being a staff member and work for my actual favorite organization out there. 

Q. Can you share any exciting things Out in Tech has planned for Pride?

The unsung heroes of the LGBTQ+ community are the activists working on the ground in the 70+ countries where being queer is illegal (and sometimes even punishable by death). 

On June 20, we’ll be building WordPress.com websites for 10 incredible organizations in these countries; they’re planning on using these sites to advocate for policy change, grow their community, and fundraise.

We’re also hosting a virtual Pride series the second week of June for those working in customer experience (June 10) as well as a day of workshops for folks currently navigating the job market (June 13).  To learn more, visit outintech.com.

Q. Is there one person you’ve helped over the years (or a project you’ve worked on) that stands out in your memory?

I’ve noticed that a lot of people in the LGBTQ+ tech community have been eager to leverage their skills to make the world a better place. 

Derrick Reyes was an early recipient of the Out in Tech Coding Scholarship. Since graduating, they’ve been leveraging their new skills to create an incredible company called Queerly Health, which helps you find and book LGBTQ+ friendly health and wellness practitioners. It was a real full-circle moment to welcome them as a panelist at an Out in Tech event back in January. 

Q. Has partnering with Automattic helped your work?

This partnership has made all the difference in Out in Tech’s work, and that’s not an understatement. When I was a United Nations consultant, I traveled to dozens of countries where being LGBTQ+ is outlawed, and where activists needed a digital platform to amplify their voices. 

WordPress turned that vision into a reality. 

Since 2017, the Out in Tech Digital Corps has built over 100 WordPress.com websites for activists in 50+ countries. 

Automattic provides these activists with hosting, themes, and domains free of charge. We also have Automatticians support us technically during the Digital Corps build days — a special shout-out to Mindy Postoff, who has been to over 10 build days!

Simply put, Out in Tech is powered by Automattic, and we’re incredibly grateful to Marlene Ho, Megan Marcel, and Matt Mullenweg for making it all happen. 

Q. In this time when organizations have pivoted to digital events, can you tell us about your virtual events and other ways to participate in your community?  

Out in Tech’s mission is to create opportunities for our members to advance their careers, grow their networks, and leverage tech for social change. During COVID-19, we’re still doing just that — but digitally. 

Every week, members have an opportunity to hear from dozens of companies that are actively hiring and to network with each other during Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC) socials and even RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing parties. We also have virtual events featuring prominent LGBTQ+ tech leaders, such as Arlan Hamilton, the founder of Backstage Capital, and Jeff Titterton, the chief marketing officer of Zendesk. 

When it comes to leveraging tech for social change, 100 volunteers built websites for organizations in Senegal, Uganda, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe (among others), and we’re doing it again in June. This spring, our mentorship program connected 83 LGBTQ+ youth to tech mentors for eight weeks. They’re graduating at the end of this month, and we hope some of you reading this will hire them as interns!

Q. What do you look for when partnering with organizations and LGBTQ+ activists around the world?

Out in Tech accepts applications from LGBTQ+ groups on every continent on a rolling basis. When our Digital Corps leadership team reviews applications, they assess four main criteria: 

  • Does the LGBTQ+ organization have a good reason for needing a website? This can range from needing to crowdsource input from the community to applying for grants. 
  • Do they already have a website and just need a revamp? We only select organizations who either do not have an existing web presence, or whose website is very challenging to navigate. 
  • Has the organization been around for more than one year? We want to ensure that the groups we support are established and are going to stick around for the long haul after we build their shiny new website. 
  • Does the organization have at least a few volunteers to keep the website active and up to date once we deliver a user guide to them? We regularly track and monitor which sites are active and how they’re being used.  This helps us to continuously improve our efforts to unite the global LGBTQ+ community.

Community is so important, especially in these times, and I’m doubly thankful for people like Gary who have helped the LGBTQ+ community remain strong. What organizations are you celebrating this month? How are you creating community from afar? Share in the comments below!

At WordPress.com, we strive to be a platform that democratizes publishing so that anyone can share their stories regardless of income, gender, politics, language, or where they live in the world. This month is a great reminder for why we work hard to expand the open web.

Improved Navigation in the WordPress Apps

An app should be intuitive to use, so you can do what you need to do while you’re in a hurry or on the go. The newest versions of the Android and iOS mobile apps are reorganized based on how you actually use them. Publishing and finding what you need have never been faster, so you can spend less time hunting and tapping — and more time creating and engaging.

How did we decide on these changes? We analyzed our apps for pain points and hard-to-do tasks. We looked at the data and talked to people about which features are most important to them. We interviewed WordPress users and showed them prototypes. All these changes come from you — thanks!

Fewer tabs for faster focus

We’ve simplified the app into three main sections focused on the key things you do every day: managing your site, finding and reading great content, and keeping up to date with notifications.

Your account, where it should be

People expect to find account information and settings in the upper-right corner, so that’s where it is now: get to your profile and account by heading to the My Site screen and tapping on your photo. It’s where you expect it to be when you need it, and out of the way when you don’t. 

Start drafting, right now

There’s one button to tap to create new posts or pages. It’s big. It’s pink. It’s got a plus sign on it. It’s always there on the My Site screen, waiting. Tap it and type away!

The links you use the most, right at the top

There are a lot of things you can do with your site, but there are some things you do more often than others — check stats, edit posts, upload photos. We made links to those actions big, and we put them at the top of the My Site screen, right under a more prominent site name and logo.

Content discovery, your way

You’ll now see great content from the sites you follow as soon as you open the Reader. Use the top tabs to switch between different streams of content, or narrow things down with the filter bar if you’re only interested in specific sites or tags.

To see the improvements, make sure you’ve updated your app. The WordPress mobile apps are free and available for both Android and iOS devices. If you have any questions or feedback, reach out to us directly from the app — in My Site, tap your profile image → Help & SupportContact Us.

Many of you are increasingly building your sites and reading other sites on mobile devices, so we’re constantly looking for ways to make our apps easier to use. Look out for upcoming changes that streamline site management and further refine the reading experience!

Working Remotely Isn’t Just About the Work

With COVID-19, the business world has come to a fork in the road: Down one route, shuttered offices. Down the other, companies embracing remote work, showing us how businesses can survive — and thrive! — with a fully remote workforce. And that includes fostering strong team bonds and employee relationships; just because there’s no physical break room or water cooler doesn’t mean companies can’t create opportunities for colleagues to connect.

Not all businesses can operate with remote employees, and the world’s frontline workers don’t have the luxury of dialing in from home. But for those companies that can function without a central office, there are myriad benefits to a distributed workforce. Automattic has always been fully distributed, and we’ve learned a lot about how to build a productive and happy remote workforce over the past 15 years. (CEO Matt Mullenweg is sharing many of these lessons and chatting with other folks running distributed companies on Distributed.blog and on the Distributed podcast.) Lots of companies find themselves suddenly switching to a remote work environment, and there’s a learning curve.

One of the things that can be seen as challenging is social interaction on the job, which plays a vital role in productivity and mental health. When employees build friendships and strong interpersonal relationships, they enjoy their work more and do a better job overall. And if you’re reading this, thinking you don’t know anyone whose work improves when they have strong social bonds among colleagues, you do now — it’s me! As an extrovert, I get energized when I’m able to see people and faces, especially in person, but also online. I’m a conversational learner, too, so ideas stick better in my brain when I have the chance to discuss and brainstorm topics in real time with teammates.

These days, it seems teleconferencing software is as commonplace as coffee shops in Seattle. “Zoom” has become part of our vocabulary, helping us to remain close with family and friends (albeit not physically), and it’s become fodder for marketing and advertising campaigns.

It’s also our preferred conference tool at Automattic, and we use it for a wide range of work gatherings, like town halls and team meetings. But that’s not all we use it for. Knowing that social communication is vital to ensuring a strong culture of camaraderie, we use Zoom to hang out together: We host open mic nights, break out our pencil crayons and color collectively, or do some chair yoga with one another. We’ll also grab a beverage of choice — coffee, beer, Soylent, tea, a crisp rosé — and join a happy hour.

In addition to maximizing online communication tools, we strengthen our collegial relationships offline. For example, we take advantage of the fact that we are distributed all over the world and send postcards to one another.

Whatever we do, we do it because we know that social connection is important. That we’re not going to work in the same physical office just means that we have to be more intentional about making the time, and carving out the (virtual) space, to connect with coworkers. To help inspire other businesses with newly distributed workforces, we’ve put together a resource that lists the many ways we communicate socially at Automattic. You can find it on this page.

Add a Post Carousel and Embed a Podcast Player in Seconds with Our Two Latest Blocks

The WordPress editor keeps expanding its library of blocks, adding new and exciting functionality to websites on a regular basis. After a crop of new business-related blocks last month, our most recent additions will appeal to three communities we hold close to our heart: podcasters, podcast lovers, and bloggers.

Use the Podcast Player block to spread the word about your favorite episodes

Podcasts have been an unstoppable cultural force for several years now — and the format seems to have only grown in popularity in recent months, as so many of us are at home and looking for entertainment and (occasionally?) enlightenment.

Are you a podcaster? Add the Podcast Player block to share your passion project with your visitors, embedding your podcast’s latest episodes on any post or page on your website. If you haven’t launched a podcast (for now, anyway), but are still an avid listener, you can now embed episodes from others’ shows within your own content so readers can listen to them without ever leaving your site.

Once you choose the Podcast Player block from the available blocks in the editor, you won’t need any special codes or embed links. The only information you’ll have to provide is the podcast’s RSS feed URL (not sure where to find it? The information will be readily available on your preferred podcast platform.) Here’s what the podcast player will look like on your site — the example below features the latest episode on the Distributed podcast, hosted by Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg:

Episode 20: Adam Gazzaley on the Distracted Mind During a Crisis Distributed, with Matt Mullenweg

  1. Episode 20: Adam Gazzaley on the Distracted Mind During a Crisis

You can customize the Podcast Player block in a number of ways, from specifying how many of the most recent episodes to display, to deciding whether or not you’d like to show each episode’s description. Whether you feature your own podcast or someone else’s, you get to design the listener’s experience on your site. Learn more about adding and customizing the Podcast Episode block.

Keep readers reading with the Post Carousel block

Sooner or later, both veteran bloggers and newer creators encounter a similar issue: publishing frequently helps energize your audience (and gives you an SEO boost, too), but also makes older posts tougher to find.

The Post Carousel block comes to the rescue, providing an easy gateway to the treasures in your blog’s archives.

Add the Post Carousel block to any post or page on your site to encourage visitors to explore more posts (by default, the block will display your most recent ones). For a post to show up in the carousel, it needs to have a featured image; the idea is to engage and entice readers with strong visuals they’ll want to click on. To get a taste of the carousel in action, here’s one highlighting the five most recent posts on the WordPress.com Blog:

For a more curated experience, you can customize what the post carousel shows. A post about your cauliflower taco recipe might call for a carousel showing other recipes that share the “vegan” tag or category. If you run a multi-author online magazine, consider presenting other stories by the same contributor. You can also configure how many items each carousel displays and whether it automatically slides from one featured post to another (among other options). Learn more about adding and customizing the Post Carousel block.


We hope you give these two new blocks a try — leave a comment if you have any questions, or if you’d like to share a link to a post where you’ve already used them.

Expert Advice: SEO and Content Marketing

You’ve launched your website or started a blog. Congratulations! Now it’s time to attract an audience. You built a website to reach people with your art, ideas, or products and services. We’ve created a free online session to help you do just that. 

Register for our next 60-minute webinar, Traffic Control: How to Find and Grow an Audience for your Website, to get advice and guidance on attracting the right people to your site.

Date: May 27, 2020
Time: 10:00 a.m. PDT | 11:00 a.m. MDT | 12:00 p.m. CDT | 1:00 p.m. EDT | 17:00 UTC
Cost: Free | Register now
Who’s invited: Content creators, online publishers, and small businesses looking for the best ways to build an audience of loyal customers and dedicated readers.

Topics will include:

  • Understanding your audience.
  • Demystifying SEO.
  • How to optimize your site for local visitors.
  • What does “quality content” really mean?
  • Using email, social media, and paid advertising.
  • How to take advantage of WordPress.com’s marketing tools for audience growth.

Hosts Chris Smith and Kasey Steinbrinck run their own sites and both have worked with a variety of businesses to help them optimize their websites and create strong content. They’ll help you choose what to focus on so that you can make the most of your time. 

After working as an SEO specialist for many years, Chris supports WordPress.com customers with expert advice as a Happiness Engineer. Kasey started his career as a TV news producer and entertainment writer before becoming a content marketer and an independent blogger. Today he works on WordPress.com’s content strategy.

The 60-minute webinar will include detailed instructions on WordPress SEO as well as a Q&A session. Seats are limited so register today to reserve your spot.

10 Ways to Make Your Site More Accessible

Today, Global Accessibility Awareness Day, raises awareness around digital access and inclusion and improving the web experience for everyone. This year, WebAIM analyzed one million homepages for accessibility issues and found that 98% of websites had at least one WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) failure on their homepage, such as low-contrast text, missing image alt text, and empty links. These types of accessibility barriers make it difficult or impossible for some visitors — people who are blind, deaf and hard of hearing, and disabled, for example — to use your site.

We encourage you to audit your site to ensure it’s accessible for all readers; the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool can identify various errors on your site in seconds. Here are some web accessibility tips to get you started, and be sure to explore the guidelines and resources on the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) website for deeper learning.


Use an accessibility-ready theme

You can choose from among a variety of designs for your site, but some themes have features that add complexity, making it harder for disabled people or visitors using screen readers to access your content.

When choosing a theme, consider an accessibility-ready design, like Balasana, a free minimal theme for your business website; or Mayland, a free visual theme that’s great for photographers and storytellers. These themes have been checked by the Theme Review Team and pass basic accessibility requirements.

Examples of six accessibility-ready designs from the WordPress.com Theme Showcase

Display your site title and tagline

Many themes allow you to upload a custom header image, which is a visual way to brand your site, display the title of your blog, or promote the name of your business. But some themes may not support alternative text, or the written copy that appears in place of an image on a page if the image fails to load on your visitor’s screen.

Instead of conveying your site title and tagline within a header image, display your site title and tagline text. Go to Manage → Settings, and at the top under Site profile, fill out your Site title and Site tagline. Then, head to Design → Customize, go to Site Identity, and check the box next to Display Site Title and Tagline.

The module in My Sites where you insert your Site Title and Site Tagline

Structure your pages and posts with appropriate headings

Add headings with the Heading Block to organize pages and posts and make it easier for readers to follow your content, which is especially important for longer pages and posts. Click on the “i” icon in the top toolbar of the block editor to view any errors and incorrect heading sizes.

A popup box that appears in the block editor with information on headings and the structure of your post or page

Select fonts and colors for legibility

Fonts and colors are essential components on your site, adding personality and style and strengthening your visual identity online. Avoid font styles and sizes and color palettes that make your site difficult to read, and pay attention to contrast, or the difference between the darkness of your text and the lightness of your background.

The block editor will display an error message in Color settings when it detects poor color contrast in the specific block you’re working on.

An error message that is displayed in the sidebar of the block editor when low color contrast is detected

Clearly describe your links

When linking to another page or post on the web, make your linked text descriptive. For example, “click here” is not as effective as “learn how to apply to my writing workshop.”

A short paragraph with correctly linked text

Include captions with your images

When adding an image with the Image Block, add a description of the image in the caption underneath it. While captions are optional, they improve the experience for all readers by providing more context.

A photo of a vintage typewriter with a caption

Add alt text to your images

Alt text is essential for people who are blind or use screen readers (they can hear alt text read aloud), or people who have disabled images for speed or bandwidth reasons. Alt text is also important for your site’s SEO — it helps search engines understand what your site content is about.

When adding an image with the Image Block, go to the block’s settings on the right and add the alt text in the box under Image settings.

An example of image alt text written in the Alt Text field in the Image Block's settings

Learn more about W3C’s image accessibility guidelines.

Create easily clickable CTA areas

With the Buttons Block, you can add call-to-action buttons to your pages and posts quickly. For those of you who design and embed your own buttons with Image Widgets, make buttons, icons, and other CTA elements with wide-enough areas that are easy to click or tap from different devices.

You can apply this tip to text links as well. Tapping a linked hashtag or asterisk within a sentence, for example — especially on a small screen — may be difficult for some people.

Include captions or transcripts for multimedia content

If your site includes video content, consider adding captions or including transcripts (documenting speech, sounds, as well as actions seen on-screen). Podcast transcripts are also incredibly helpful; here’s a transcript of a recent Distributed episode with neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley.

It’s best if video and audio content does not auto-play, but if that’s not possible, options to pause or adjust the volume should be obvious on the page.

Never stop learning and improving

This list is just an introduction to a few best practices and guidelines! If you’re interested in learning more, explore the resources on the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) website. You can also explore ways to get involved in improving the accessibility of WordPress.


Learn more about Global Accessibility Awareness Day and participate in online events, webinars, and podcasts.

Say Hello to the WordPress Block Editor

On June 1 we’ll be retiring our older WordPress.com editor and transitioning to the more recent (and more powerful) WordPress block editor. Want to know how this may affect your site and what you can expect? Read on.

If you’ve launched your WordPress.com site in the past year and a half you may have never seen our older editor and are likely already using the more recent WordPress editor. Those of you who have an older site, though, might recognize this editing experience:

We know it can be frustrating to get used to an online tool only to see it change or go away. Retiring an entire editor — the place where you publish posts and pages on WordPress.com — is not something we would ever do on a whim. What inspired us to take this decision is the positive experience site owners have had with the newer WordPress editor.

Why switch to the WordPress editor? Let us count the ways.

The WordPress block editor was released over a year and a half ago. Since then, it has improved in numerous ways thanks to thousands of enhancements and fixes  — to the point that we’re certain it offers a far superior experience compared to the older WordPress.com editor. Not sure? You can take the WordPress editor for a spin. In case you’ve never encountered it before, here are only some of the features you’ll find in the WordPress block editor that aren’t available in the older WordPress.com editor.

Over 100 content blocks for publishing virtually any type of page or post
Content blocks can be mixed and matched to customize the content of any page or post.

A growing collection of block patterns
Block patterns are simply collections of blocks pre-bundled together to form beautiful designs.

Dozens of beautiful, built-in page templates
Page templates simplify the creation of common pages within WordPress by giving you a beautiful predesigned template to get started.

Customizable styles directly within the editor
You can now customize the look and feel of your website by testing out different fonts directly within the WordPress editor.

What other options do I have?

We hope you give the WordPress editor a try — it’s been the editing experience of choice for millions since it arrived on the scene. That said, we know some of you might prefer to avoid this change. We’re offering two options for those who’d rather  stick with an older way of editing your content.

1) Use the Classic block
Within the new WordPress editor you’ll find the Classic block, which replicates the functionality of the Classic editor — that’s the editor that used to be the default until several years ago, well before we introduced the WordPress.com editor. Here’s what it looks like:

2) Opt to use the Classic editor
You also have the choice to switch to the Classic editor. Here’s what it looks like, in case you haven’t seen this one in a while (or ever):

We hope you enjoy the new WordPress editor — give it a try today to get a taste ahead of June 1!

Coming Soon: Make Your Site Private Until You’re Ready to Launch

When you create a new site, you may want to personalize it before making it public. On WordPress.com, we give you a safe space where you can work on building and editing your site until you’re ready to share it with the world.

Until recently, this Coming Soon mode was limited to new sites without plugins or custom themes installed. We realize, however, that many users — regardless of how long they’ve had a website on WordPress.com — might want to make updates, change the design, or add new functionality without making these changes visible to the public until they’re complete. Now, all sites have this Coming Soon option, and you can toggle it on or off as you wish.

To set your site to Coming Soon, go to Manage in the sidebar, select Settings, scroll down to Privacy, and select the Coming Soon button. Be sure to click on Save settings for the change to take effect.

While in this mode, site visitors will see a landing page with your site’s title. You and other logged-in people that you invite will see the full website.

To invite people to view your site while in Coming Soon mode, add them as new users from the ManagePeopleInvite button. Users will need to at least be a Contributor to view the site in this mode.

To make your site public again, go to Manage in the sidebar, select Settings, scroll down to Privacy, and select the Public button. Again, be sure to click on Save settings.

Private sites for all

If instead of sharing your site with everyone, you want to keep it private, and only available to invited members of the site — for instance, a private blog for your family, made up of photos and videos of your children or pets — you can use the Private option under ManageSettingsPrivacy.

In this mode, instead of the Coming Soon landing page, logged-out visitors will see a more discreet prompt to log in.

No matter what you want to do on your site — whether making a few tweaks, refreshing your site design, or building a fully fledged online store — use the Coming Soon feature to keep it private until you’re ready to unveil it to the world.

We hope you enjoy this new feature!

Expert Advice: Business Fundamentals for Creative Professionals

Are you an artist, photographer, or freelance writer? How about a website designer, master metalsmith, or musician? If you’re in any creative profession and would like to learn more about how to market and sell your services and work online, we’ve created a free webinar just for you.

We’ve partnered with our friends at FreshBooks, the leading invoicing and accounting software for creative entrepreneurs, to offer tips on how to build your online store and automate your sales and accounting, leaving you with more time to focus on your craft.

Date: Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Time: 10:00 a.m. PDT | 11:00 a.m. MDT | 12:00 p.m. CDT | 1:00 p.m. EDT | 17:00 UTC
Cost: Free
Registration link
Who’s invited: Artists, writers, musicians, website and graphic designers, photographers, marketers, and anyone else interested in learning how to sell their creative services online.

Your hosts will be Jonathan Wold, Community Manager at WooCommerce, and Irene Elliott, Senior Community Manager at FreshBooks. Dustin Hartzler, a WooCommerce Happiness Engineer, will moderate questions. After the 45-minute presentation, we’ll open up the (virtual) floor for a 15-minute Q&A session.

Attendee slots are limited, so be sure to register early to save your seat! But if you can’t make it, we’ve got your back. A recording of the webinar will be uploaded to our YouTube channel a few days after the event.

See you then!

Earth Day Turns 50 with a Massive Livestream Event

As the world fights to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control, another crisis looms.

In late 2018, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that if we want to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we need to cut global carbon emissions almost in half by 2030. This decade will be critical.

As we’ve stated in the past, the time to act is now — we simply cannot continue business as usual, and this proves resoundingly true this year. We are in a time of maximum uncertainty and urgency.

Earth Day Live: April 22-24

Earth Day Live is a three-day livestream and an epic community mobilization to show support for our planet, through which millions of people can tune in online alongside activists, celebrities, musicians, and more. The massive live event — which starts on April 22 and concludes on April 24 — is organized by climate, environmental, and Indigenous groups within the US Climate Strike Coalition and Stop The Money Pipeline Coalition.

Starting today, you can opt into displaying a banner that promotes Earth Day Live on your WordPress.com site, showing your commitment to this critical topic and spreading the word about the digital event and livestream. On April 22, sites with this feature enabled will automatically display a full-screen overlay message. Your site visitors will be able to dismiss the banner once viewed.

Promote this global movement on your site

To activate the banner, go to My Site → Manage → Settings. At the top of the Settings menu, you will see a toggle switch — flip it on to join this digital climate strike.

Self-hosted WordPress sites can also join the movement by installing the Earth Day Live WP plugin from the WordPress.org plugin repository. 

After the livestream ends, the banner will disappear on its own — no further action is required on your end. (If you’ve installed the plugin, it will automatically disable.)

Together we can make a difference. We hope you’ll join us in supporting this movement.


Visit Earth Day Live for event details, and explore more digital Earth Day initiatives and resources on WordPress so you can take action on April 22 — or any day.

Expert Advice: Get Started on Your New Website

Starting a new website can be a bit overwhelming but we’re here to help! Beginning Monday, April 20th, WordPress.com will host free, 30-minute live webinars to cover those initial questions that come up as you start to build your website. Each day will cover a different topic, all designed to give actionable advice on how to create the type of website you want. 

Date: Starts April 20, 2020 and repeats daily Monday thru Friday

Weekly Schedule:

  • Mondays – Getting Started: Website Building 101
  • Tuesdays – Quick Start: Payments (Simple and Recurring)
  • Wednesdays – Quick Start: Blogging
  • Thursdays – Quick Start: WooCommerce 101
  • Fridays – Empezando: Construcción de Sitios Web 101

Time: 09:00 am PDT | 10:00 am CDT | 12:00 pm EDT | 16:00 UTC

Who’s Invited: New WordPress.com users and anyone interested in learning more about WordPress.com’s website capabilities.

Register Here: https://wordpress.com/webinars/

Our WordPress.com customer service team, we call them Happiness Engineers, are experts in helping new users get up and running on their new websites. Across each week of webinars we’ll cover questions about the basics of setting up your website, handling simple and recurring payments, blogging best practices, and adding in eCommerce capabilities. Come with questions as you’ll be able to submit them beforehand—in the registration form—and during the live webinar.

Everyone is welcome, even if you already have a site set up. We know you’re busy, so if you can’t make the live event, you’ll be able to watch a recording of the webinar on our YouTube channel.

Live attendance is limited, so be sure to register early. We look forward to seeing you on the webinar!

Expert Advice: How to Start Selling on Your Website

Are you just taking your first steps selling a product or service online and don’t know where to begin? Be sure to register for our next 60-minute webinar, where our expert Happiness Engineers will walk you through the basics of eCommerce and show you how to set up your online store.

Date: Thursday, April 16, 2020
Time: 5 p.m. UTC | 1 p.m. EDT | 12 p.m. CDT | 10 a.m. PDT
Cost: Free
Who’s invited: business owners, entrepreneurs, freelancers, service providers, store owners, and anyone else who wants to sell a product or service online.
Registration link

Hosts Steve Dixon and Maddie Flynn are both veteran Happiness Engineers with years of experience helping business owners and hobbyists build and launch their eCommerce stores. They will provide step-by-step instructions on setting up:

  • Simple Payments — perfect for selling a single product or service.
  • Recurring Payments — great for subscriptions and donations.
  • WooCommerce — ideal for entrepreneurs who want to build an online store and automate sales.

No previous eCommerce experience is necessary, but we recommend a basic familiarity with WordPress.com to ensure you can make the most from the webinar. The presentation will conclude with a Q&A session (15-20 minutes), so you can already note down any questions you might have and bring them with you to the webinar.

Seats are limited, so register now to reserve your spot. See you then!

Import Your WordPress Site to WordPress.com — Including Themes and Plugins

It’s been possible to export your posts, images, and other content to an export file, and then transfer this content into another WordPress site since the early days of WordPress.

Select WordPress from the list of options to import your site.

This basic WordPress import moved content, but didn’t include other important stuff like themes, plugins, users, or settings. Your imported site would have the same pages, posts, and images (great!) but look and work very differently from the way you or your users expect (less great).

There’s a reason that was written in the past tense: WordPress.com customers can now copy over everything from a self-hosted WordPress site — including themes and plugins — and create a carbon copy on WordPress.com. You’ll be able to enjoy all the features of your existing site, plus the benefits of our fast, secure hosting with tons of features, and our world-class customer service.

Select “Everything” to import your entire WordPress site to WordPress.com.

To prep for your import, sign up for a WordPress.com account — if you’d like to import themes and plugins, be sure to select the Business or eCommerce plan — and install Jetpack (for free) on your self-hosted site to link it to WordPress.com. To start the actual import, head to Tools → Import in your WordPress.com dashboard.

Then, sit back and relax while we take care of moving your old site to a new sunny spot at WordPress.com. We’ll let you know when it’s ready to roll!

Make Your Business More Accessible with New Blocks

From our support sessions with customers each month, we know that growing your brand or business is a top website goal. And in this unprecedented time in which more people around the world are staying at home, it’s important to promote your products and services online to reach a wider audience and connect with more people.

Our team has been hard at work improving the block editor experience. We’ve launched six new blocks that integrate WordPress.com and Jetpack-enabled sites with popular services — Eventbrite, Calendly, Pinterest, Mapbox, Google Calendar, and OpenTable — enabling you to embed rich content and provide booking and scheduling options right on your blog or website.

Whether you’re an online boutique, a pilates studio, an independent consultant, or a local restaurant, these blocks offer you more ways to promote your brand or business. Take a look at each block — or simply jump to a specific one below.


Promote online events with the Eventbrite block

Looking for a way to promote an online event (like your museum’s virtual curator talk or your company’s webinar on remote work), or even an at-home livestream performance for your fans and followers? Offering key features of the popular event registration platform, the Eventbrite block embeds events on posts and pages so your visitors can register and purchase tickets right from your site.

Quick-start guide:

  • To use this block, you need an Eventbrite account. If you don’t have one, sign up at Eventbrite for free.
  • In the block editor, click the Add Block (+) button and search for and select the Eventbrite Checkout block.
  • Enter the URL of your Eventbrite event. Read these steps from Eventbrite if you need help.
  • Select from two options: an In-page Embed shows the event details and registration options directly on your site. The Button & Modal option shows just a button; when clicked, the event details will pop up so your visitor can register.

Learn more on the Eventbrite block support page.


Schedule sessions with the Calendly block

Want to make it easier for people to book private meditation sessions or language lessons with you? The Calendly block, featured recently in our guide on moving your classes online, is a handy way for your clients and students to book a session directly on your site — eliminating the time spent coordinating schedules. You can also use the Calendly block to schedule team meetings or group events.

Quick-start guide:

  • To use this block, you need a Calendly account. Create one for free at Calendly.
  • In the block editor, click the Add Block (+) button and search for and select the Calendly block.
  • Enter your Calendly web address or embed code. Follow these steps from Calendly if you need help.
  • Select from two styles: the Inline style embeds a calendar directly onto your site; the Link style inserts a button that a visitor can click to open a pop-up calendar.
  • This block is currently available to sites on the WordPress.com Premium, Business, or eCommerce plans. It’s free on Jetpack sites.

Learn more on the Calendly block support page.


Up your visual game with the Pinterest block

Strong visuals help to provide inspiration, tell your stories, and sell your products and services. Pinterest is an engaging way for bloggers, influencers, and small business owners to enhance their site content and expand their following. With the Pinterest block, you can embed and share pins, boards, and profiles on your site.

Quick-start guide:

  • In the block editor, click the Add Block (+) button and search for and select the Pinterest block.
  • Paste the URL of a pin, board, or profile you’d like to display and click Embed. Note that you can only embed public boards.
  • Pro tip: in the block editor, go to Layout Elements and select Layout Grid to create a visually striking layout with pins, boards, and profiles, as shown above.

Display locations with the Map block

A map on your site is a quick visual way to display a location, like your restaurant’s takeout window or the drop-off spot for donations to a local food bank. Powered by mapping platform Mapbox, the Map block embeds a customized map on your site. Show the location of your business, a chain of boutique hotels, the meeting spots for your nonprofit’s volunteers, and more.

Quick-start guide:

  • In the block editor, click the Add Block (+) button and search for and select the Map block.
  • In the text field, type the location you want to display and select the correct location from among the results that appear.
  • Click on the red marker to edit the title and caption of the marker.
  • Explore the toolbar for block-specific settings. Add more markers, for example, by clicking the Add a marker button.
  • In the sidebar, customize your map’s appearance (including colors, height, and zoom level).

Explore more settings on the Map block support page.


Share your calendar with the Google Calendar block

Are you an author planning a book tour (or a series of online readings)? A digital marketing consultant hosting social media workshops? A neighborhood pop-up bakery? With the Google Calendar block, you can display a calendar of upcoming events or your hours of operation.

Quick-start guide:

  • In Google Calendar, click the three dots next to your calendar name and select Settings and sharing.
  • Under Access Permissions, ensure Make available to public is checked.
  • Click on Integrate calendar on the left and copy the code under Embed code.
  • In the block editor, click the Add Block (+) button, search for and select the Custom HTML block, and paste the code you copied in Google Calendar.
  • Publish your post or page. The next time you edit this post or page, you’ll see the code has been converted to shortcode.

Explore more settings on the Google Calendar block support page.


Streamline reservations with the OpenTable block

If you’re a restaurant or cafe owner, a primary goal of your site is to increase the number of bookings. Sure, people aren’t dining out right now, but you can be ready to take reservations in the future. With the OpenTable block, people can reserve a table directly from a post or page instead of calling or booking through a different reservation service.

Quick-start guide:

  • To use this block, your restaurant must be listed on OpenTable. Create an OpenTable listing now.
  • In the block editor, click the Add Block (+) button and search for and select the OpenTable block.
  • Enter your OpenTable Reservation Widget embed code. Check this OpenTable guide if you need help.
  • Explore the block’s toolbar and sidebar settings. For example, choose from four different embed styles: Standard, Tall, Wide, and Button.
  • This block is currently available to sites on the WordPress.com Premium, Business, or eCommerce plans. It’s free on Jetpack sites.

Learn more on the OpenTable block support page.


Which blocks are you most excited about?

Stay tuned for more new blocks soon!

Create With Confidence — and Better Blocks

In the last few years, the teams working on the block editor have learned a lot about how people build sites now and how they want to build sites in the future.

The latest version represents the culmination of these discoveries, and the next stage in the editor’s evolution.

With better visuals and more advanced features, it’ll keep designers, developers, writers, and editors productive and happy, and — tension-building drumroll — it’s in your editor right now!

What’s new

With a comprehensive visual refresh, a plethora of new features, and dozens of bug fixes, the new block editor comes with a lot to unpack.

What follows is just a small (but delectable) sample of the many ways we’ve upgraded your editing experience. (You can get the full list of goodies in the release notes.)

We hope you enjoy.

A revamped editor UI

The first thing you’ll notice is the slick UI. Buttons, icons, text, and dropdowns are all sporting a contrast boost, with bolder colors and more whitespace between buttons, text labels, and menu items.

The world is made of blocksThe new block editor’s UI

As you navigate through the editor’s menus, individual items are clearly highlighted, allowing you to quickly identify what you’ve selected.

Active menu items have distinct highlights

The block toolbars are now simpler, displaying the most commonly-used features. For example, paragraph blocks show only bold, italic, and link formatting buttons. You’ll find all the extra options in the dropdown menu.

The block toolbar options are simpler and uncluttered

What’s more, instead of listing blocks within a fixed-height container, the block inserter now spans the height of the window. You’ll now see more blocks and block categories at once with less scrolling.

Block inserter spanning the full height of the windowThe block inserter spans the full height of your screen

Introducing block patterns

With the block editor as your canvas you can design almost any layout you can imagine – but building intricate page structures should never get in the way of your creative process.

Here’s where the blocks really shine: along with individual blocks, the editor now includes block patterns, a library of predefined and reusable block layouts, that you use on any page or post.

To check out the list of available patterns, click on the block pattern icon (on the top right) to reveal a collection of pre-built layouts:

Block patterns are groups of individual blocks combined to create elegant layouts

Pick the pattern you want to use, and it will appear in your editor ready for you to customize with your own content.

Right now, you’ll find a few introductory patterns – Two Columns of Text, Two Buttons, Cover, and Two Images Side by Side – but we’ll be adding more and more patterns as they’re available. When the block patterns API opens up to third-party authors, you’ll also be able to develop and share your own.

(Have an idea for a great pattern? The block editor developer community is actively seeking ideas. The more ideas they receive, the better your editor will be!)

Colors, colors everywhere

When it comes to words and columns, websites aren’t newspapers: things don’t have to be black and white.

Use the new Text Color selector tool to change the color of sentences, and even individual words and letters. Highlight the text you’d like to change, then click on the arrow dropdown and select “Text Color.”

Select “Text Color” from the options
Pick the color of your word or character

 

To change the background colors of your columns, select the column and head to the sidebar, to Color settings.

Columns get background colors too!

The road ahead is paved with blocks

There’s still a long way to go, and the editor’s community of contributors hasn’t given its collective keyboards a moment’s rest. Work on polishing UI elements like the sidebar and dropdowns continues along with advancements to block patterns and other exciting features.

Are there ways we could improve the site editing experience even more? Please let us know! We’re always keen to hear how we can make the web a better place for everyone.

How to Move Your Classes Online — and Charge for Them

We are proud to host many websites for language tutors, yoga schools, and personal fitness coaches around the world.

It’s exciting to see how educators and consultants across different industries are getting creative with their online offerings: language teachers conduct 1:1 sessions to help students hone pronunciation, yoga studios livestream group sessions, and instructors lead writing boot camps via Zoom breakout rooms. Even my own strength coach is monitoring my workouts — I launch the camera on my phone, place it against the wall, and do deadlifts while he supervises.

Last year we launched Recurring Payments to support creators, consultants, small businesses, and other professionals in establishing dependable income streams. We were very pleased to discover that online educators using this feature are thriving as well!

Marta, for example, runs Spanish Teacher Barcelona, a Spanish language school located in — you guessed it! — Barcelona. She offers 1:1 sessions and classes in a coworking space in the city’s Gracia neighborhood. For customers that cannot meet in person, she hosts private lessons online, available with a subscription. She offers three subscription plans to meet the variety of needs of her students.

Ready to set up your own subscription-based service or move your existing classes online? Here’s a quick guide to get you set up with the right tools, so you can focus instead on providing the best educational environment possible. 

Set up your online class today

Below, we’ll cover the steps you can take to get your classes or private lessons up and running with the Recurring Payments feature. We’ll also recommend tools to make scheduling 1:1 sessions and operating your classes easier, like the Calendly block and various video conferencing tools. 

1. Create a “Subscribe” page to promote your class or service

You need to convince your customers that your subscription is worth paying for. A typical way to do this is with a “Subscribe” page where you explain the benefits of your services.

Take a look at the “Join” page on Longreads.com, an online publication that publishes and curates nonfiction storytelling on the web and funds stories with memberships:

A few tips to make your offer irresistible:

  • Focus on the benefits for the customer.
  • Provide a few subscription options, such as classes at different frequencies and at different price points.
  • Add testimonials if you can — people love to read reviews.

Create this page by going to My Sites → Pages → Add New.

2. Add a subscription with the Recurring Payments feature

Recurring Payments allows you to create renewable payments. Your subscribers will enter their credit card details, and will then be charged automatically every month or every year.

Recurring Payments is currently available on any of our paid plans. To get started, you’ll need to create a Stripe account, which is a global money transfer service. We partner with Stripe to make sure payments end up safely in your bank account.

You can start collecting Recurring Payments in five minutes.

On the “Subscribe” page you created above, search for the “Recurring Payments” block:

After clicking “Connect to Stripe,” you’ll be able to connect your existing Stripe account or create a new one.

Now you can create your first subscription.

Set the price, frequency (we recommend monthly for start), and the title of your subscription, like Writing Bootcamp, 3 breakout sessions/month or Conversational French for Beginners, 4 classes/month.

That’s it! Your subscription is now created. Once you publish the page and activate your Stripe account, your customers will be able to subscribe to this service.

Subscriptions are dependable: your subscribers will be automatically charged at the beginning of the next renewal period (in a month or a year). You don’t have to remind or nudge them, and they also don’t have to remember to pay you — everything is handled.

For more details, please read this Recurring Payments support article.

Would you rather sell access to your services as a one-time purchase? Check out the Simple Payments feature.

3. Schedule your lessons

Your subscribers can set up a time for their lessons using a service like Calendly, a handy tool that allows them to select a free slot in your schedule. We recently created the Calendly block to bring some of the service’s key features to you. While editing your page, search for the “Calendly” block.

Remember to check if the subscription is active

Before hopping on an online meeting, you need to confirm that the person scheduling a call is indeed a paying subscriber. Check the list of your active Recurring Payments subscribers located in your WordPress.com dashboard under My Sites Earn Payments.

Read more about managing your list of subscribers.

4. Select a tool to host your class

Video conferencing tools are very useful for teaching. Apart from seeing the other person, you can share your screen, send files, or even host a session for multiple people, lecture-style.

You can use Google Hangouts, Skype, or Zoom (which is what we use for our meetings here at WordPress.com). Zoom has put together a handy tutorial for teachers.

If you’d like additional setup tips on selecting a theme for your website, adding content and media, and adding students as viewers or contributors, read our support tutorial on building a virtual classroom.

What amazing class are you going to launch?

Expert Advice: How to Make a Great Website for Your Small Business – Webinar

Whether you already own a small business or are exploring the idea of starting one, you’ll come away from this free, 60-minute live webinar with a wealth of actionable advice on how to maximize your digital presence.

Date: Thursday, April 2, 2020
Time: 11:00 am PDT | 1:00 pm CDT | 2:00 pm EDT | 18:00 UTC
Registration link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/4215849773038/WN_at0PB64eTo2I0zJx-74g2Q
Who’s invited: Business owners, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and anyone interesting in starting a small business or side gig.

Hosts Steve Dixon and Kathryn Presner, WordPress.com Happiness Engineers, have many combined years of experience helping small-business owners create and launch successful websites. They’ll give you tips on site design, search engine optimization (SEO), monetization, and mobile optimization. You’ll be able to submit questions beforehand—in the registration form—and during the live webinar.

Everyone is welcome, even if you already have a site, and even if your site wasn’t built on WordPress.com. We know you’re busy, so if you can’t make the live event, you’ll be able to watch a recording of the webinar on our YouTube channel.

Live attendance is limited, so be sure to register early. We look forward to seeing you on the webinar!

On Working Remotely: An Automattic Reader

How does a distributed company — a group of people with shared business goals but spread out around the world, representing different cultures, family settings, and local health considerations — stick together during a major health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic?

We don’t intend to make it sound easy. And we are aware — from our families, our communities, the businesses we support, and our customers — that many, if not most companies cannot actually work 100 percent remotely because of the nature of their business.

For those who can transition to distributed work in the wake of this evolving crisis, we wanted to suggest ideas that might help colleagues work well together even when you’re no longer all sharing the same physical space.

We’re lucky that many Automatticians have shared advice and best practices based on their many years of working from home — and we’ve compiled some of these resources below to empower others to listen to and support their coworkers during a difficult and disruptive time.

Of course, from his first post on remote work to his most recent one reflecting on the COVID-19 pandemic, to his Distributed podcast and beyond, founder and CEO Matt Mullenweg is a prominent voice on remote work and distributed culture. To send you off on a lighter note, Matt published his first “What’s In My Bag” post in 2014 and has done it again several times since.

We hope these resources are helpful to you during these trying times, and that you and everyone in your communities stay safe.

WPBlockTalk: A Free Online Event Focused on the Block Editor

Ready to explore the possibilities with the block editor? WPBlockTalk is a free and live virtual event that will bring together designers, developers, and other WordPress enthusiasts from across the WordPress community.

Topics to expect:

  • Building the block editor: what it takes to develop the block editor, what features are on the roadmap, and how you can contribute
  • Developing blocks: inspiration and ideas for developing your own custom blocks
  • Designing with blocks: learn more about using blocks to make powerful and versatile layouts and templates

If you’re passionate and curious about the future of WordPress, then this April 2 event is for you!

If you’re busy that day, don’t worry — all the talks will also be published on WordPress.tv for you to watch (and re-watch) whenever you like.

In the meantime, join the WPBlockTalk email list for registration details, speaker and schedule updates, and more. We look forward to seeing you online!

Announcing a New Scholarship for LGBTQ+ WordPress Community Members

The Queeromattic Employee Resource Group, Automattic’s LGBTQ+ internal organization, is proud to announce a scholarship for LGBTQ+ WordPress Community members who need financial support to attend a WordCamp flagship event for the first time. 

For those unfamiliar with WordCamps, they are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other. There are currently four flagship events each year: WordCamp Europe, WordCamp Asia, WordCamp US, and WordCamp Latin America. We’re going to sponsor one member of the LGBTQ+ community to attend each of these events!

Our hope in sponsoring folks to attend an initial WordCamp flagship event is that it will provide a career-enhancing opportunity for folks to connect more deeply with members of the WordPress community and level up their own WordPress skills to take back into their everyday life. Many of us at Automattic found our way here through the wider WordPress community and we’re really excited to share that chance with folks from the LGBTQ+ community who might not have the opportunity otherwise. 

Right now, we’re accepting applications to WordCamp US 2020. If you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a WordPress user, we encourage you to apply: https://automattic.com/scholarships/queeromattic/  To be considered, please apply no later than Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 12 a.m. Pacific Time.

If you know someone who would be perfect for an opportunity like this, please share it with them! We want folks from all over the world to have the chance to benefit from this new scholarship.

Turning a Page with Page Layouts

Need to add a new page to your site but don’t know where to start? Making a brand new site on WordPress.com and want to design a homepage quickly? There’s a new addition to the WordPress experience that’ll help with exactly that.

Let’s take a look at Page Layouts! They’re pre-designed pages you can drop content into, without needing to decide what to put where.

To add a Page Layout to your site, head to My Sites > Site > Pages and click the “Add New Page” button — it’s the pink one:

Next, we’ll show you a selection of layouts you can choose from — there are layouts available for

  • About pages
  • Contact pages
  • Services pages
  • Portfolio pages
  • Restaurant Menu, Team, and Blog pages
  • and even starting points for Home pages

Here’s one of the available Portfolio Page Layouts, for example.

These layouts are all made using blocks in our block editor, which means you can edit the images, content, and layout all in one place. Start by replacing the default images and text, and you’ll be on your way!

You can use Page Layouts to make great-looking pages with only a few clicks. For inspiration, here are a selection of layouts using a variety of WordPress.com themes.

What other types of pages and designs would be useful for your site? Let us know what you’d like to see — we’d love to hear from you!

A Crash Course in Remote Management

Remote work is a prominent topic lately, as people around the world are doing their best to live their lives and keep themselves and their families safe and prepared during the COVID-19 outbreak. The impact of this outbreak is felt across societies and cultures as well as in the workplace.  

Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, is a primarily distributed company with more than 1,000 employees across 76 countries. I’m an engineering lead, currently working on the Developer Experience team. As Automattic has grown, we’ve learned a lot about working remotely and across time zones, and have shared insights on what we see as the future of work on the Distributed podcast, hosted by our CEO, Matt Mullenweg. 

This week, Nicole Sanchez, the founder of Vaya Consulting and an expert on workplace culture, and I had an opportunity to co-present a Crash Course in Remote Management, a free one-hour webinar hosted on Zoom. Nicole has previously held social impact and leadership roles at GitHub and the Kapor Center for Social Impact.

Nicole and I walked an engaged audience through proven practices and what they’ve learned about leading, communicating with, and measuring the success of remote teams. Participants offered insightful questions, leading to lively discussions around:

  • Collaboration and relationship-building.
  • The cost, benefit, and ideal frequency of bringing teams together for face-to-face interaction (in general, if not as commonly right now).
  • Communicating and prioritizing messages across a variety of channels. 
  • Encouraging people to go outside, exercise, spend time with family, or otherwise step away from the computer (also known as being “AFK,” or “Away From Keyboard”) without the fear of being judged or anxiety over being less productive.

Some companies are encouraging employees to experiment with working from home, which can feel very different from in-person and office work. If you’re interested in learning more, please check out the full video recording of the course:

Matt’s latest blog post, “Coronavirus and the Remote Work Experiment No One Asked For,” is also worth a read. For more information and advice on COVID-19, please visit resources from the CDC, World Health Organization, and other health authorities.

Improved Offline Publishing

The best technology is invisible and reliable. You almost forget it’s there, because things just work. Bad technology never disappears into the background — it’s always visible, and worse, it gets in your way. We rarely stop to think “My, what good Wifi!” But we sure notice when the Wifi is iffy.