WordPress.com News

Three New WordPress.com Color Schemes

Your website’s dashboard should be as welcoming to you as your website’s home page is to your visitors. One way to do that? Customize your WordPress.com dashboard with color schemes. Today, you’ve got three new options for adding a little behind-the-scenes zing: introducing Powder Snow, Nightfall, and Sakura, designed especially for you by our Art Director, Eriko Kawakami. Whether you prefer the gentle monotone of Powder Snow, the darker and soothing colors of Nightfall, or the vibrant, cherry-blossom-inspired Sakura, we hope you’ll find a look you love. As part of our commitment to inclusive design, the new palettes are optimized for contrast and increased legibility. Whichever color scheme you choose, your dashboard will be stylish and readable. Here’s how to customize your color scheme: On your desktop, sign in to the WordPress.com account that you’d like to customize.Click your account avatar in the upper right corner.Select Account SettingsSelect one of the options under Dashboard Color Scheme Click Save Account Settings to apply the change My dashboard, using the Nightfall color scheme. More color schemes are coming, and we want your feedback! What colors do you want to see in your WordPress.com dashboard?

WordPress.com’s Parent Company Announces Happy Tools, a New Suite of Products for the Future of Work

Distributed teams, different geographies, and complex dynamics are redefining the modern workday. Soon, “job perks” like flexible hours and work-from-anywhere will become table-stakes benefits that every company needs to offer to stay competitive. WordPress.com’s parent company Automattic has long been ahead of this curve, growing a global software company of more than 850 people across 68 countries with no central office. Along the way, we’ve found that many business products are still locked into old assumptions about how a company runs, so we had to build our own internal tools to work the way we want. Now, we’re making these tools available to like-minded companies who need a better way to work. Today Automattic is announcing Happy Tools, a suite of products for the future of work. Each product in Happy Tools has been used internally at Automattic to grow our company. The suite is launching with Happy Schedule, a new take on workforce management. Designed to handle the complexities that come up when business goals are planned around real-world schedules, it helps you treat your employees like humans instead of resources. Using Happy Schedule, Automattic is able to plan 24/7 customer support while offering flexible working hours to our 300+ Happiness Engineers spanning many timezones. Happy Schedule helps you meet coverage goals across a distributed team. Happy Schedule is just the start. Over the coming years Automattic will release more of its internal applications into Happy Tools, with smart integrations between the products that make them even better when used together. We hope that by offering Happy Tools, even more forward-thinking companies will be able to move to a new way of working with customer support, internal communication, and people-management. You can get a 30-day free trial of Happy Tools when you sign up for a Happy Schedule demo at https://happy.tools.

Electric Literature Moves to WordPress — Here’s How an Indie Publisher Thrives on the Open Web

Electric Literature launched 10 years ago in Brooklyn, New York, as a quarterly print journal with a mission to make literature more relevant, exciting, and inclusive. And today they’re celebrating the launch of a new website on WordPress, at electricliterature.com. Surviving (and thriving) for ten years as an independent publisher is no small feat. Over the years the nonprofit organization has grown its online audience — with offerings like Recommended Reading and The Commuter — while expanding its membership of readers who help fund its work. The website is free to everyone and relies on the generosity of its community to donate to the site and support its mission. How does an indie website make its business work in 2019? We talked with Electric Lit’s Executive Director Halimah Marcus about some of the lessons they’ve learned in the past 10 years. Slow and Steady Growth Can Be a Very Good Thing Sometimes raising a lot of money from investors means you’ll grow fast — but also burn out sooner. “Slow and steady growth has been important to our longevity thus far. Ten years for some companies isn’t that long, but ten years for an indie online magazine is quite long. We’ve seen many of our peers close during that time and also many publications that were much better funded and larger than us as well.” Focus On Your Mission Marcus and company made a deliberate decision early to become a nonprofit with a mission to support writers. “That was an interesting discussion. For the most part I think it was the right decision, although there are many different ways to look at this question. We were definitely a mission-driven organization. With Recommended Reading we partner with other magazines and indie presses and publications to promote their work and to give an online platform to many stories that have never been published online and never would be published online. “It was our goal to build a literary ecosystem, to showcase how diverse it was and to give access to it. There was nothing about what we were doing that was about making money [laughs]. Becoming a nonprofit to be mission-driven, to be able to have access to grant opportunities, to be able to solicit donations and make those tax-deductible was going to be important for our financial model.” As a nonprofit, Electric Literature receives funding from foundations including the Amazon Literary Partnership, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts — an important source of funding for a publisher when revenue from online advertising can fluctuate dramatically from month to month. Memberships (and Your Members) Matter Direct funding from readers makes a big difference for the business. Electric Literature does not paywall its essays or fiction — the site is totally free and readers have an option to donate or subscribe with a recurring monthly payment. Its membership program hit some bumps when it briefly moved it to Medium — the platform switched its membership model in 2018 and Electric Literature was one of several publishers who were left scrambling. Marcus’s advice? Think carefully about who you let between you and your readers — it’s very hard to regain subscribers after you’ve lost them. Most important of all is making sure those who do donate to your publication feel special. “I think the lesson that I’m always learning and figuring out how to do better is to make those people who have shown you that they care about your publication and that they’re invested in it feel included and appreciated. Make sure they know who they can talk to if they have a question or if they just want to make a comment or they have a problem. That’s something that is so important.” Make Your Home on the Web Your Own “You’ll see that on the new website the look is very vibrant and positive and is pulled through every article and every space. Icons inspired by electrical symbols such as signals and inverters are a part of the design we were able to bring through. It’s important to be able to have control over what our product looks like. Our editorial vision is now able to extend to the way the work is presented and what it looks like.” For more on Electric Lit’s new site, check out Marcus’s letter to readers.

Boost Visitor Engagement and Grow Your Mailing List with the Mailchimp Block

Keeping your visitors interested is the key to a successful website—and one great way to do that is with email. A smart email outreach plan piques peoples’ interest, keeps them engaged, and brings them back to your website. To send emails, you need a mailing list, and Mailchimp is the list-building tool of choice for lots of folks. With WordPress.com’s new Mailchimp block, you can add a signup form to any post or page. Give visitors the opportunity to join your list wherever they are on your website. Using the Mailchimp block If your website is on WordPress.com or uses Jetpack (version 7.1 or higher), the Mailchimp block is already waiting for you in the block editor. Open a post or page, add a new block, and either search for “Mailchimp” or select it from the list of available blocks. Once you’ve inserted the block into your content, you can customize the following aspects of your form: Placeholder text in the field for email address. Once your visitor starts filling out the form, this placeholder text will disappear.Text on the submit button.Terms of service disclaimer at the bottom. These terms and conditions are the contract between you and the subscriber. Success message text that will appear after visitors submit their email.Error message text if there was a problem in submitting the form. First-time setup The first time you add a Mailchimp block, you’ll need to to connect your Mailchimp account to your WordPress website and specify the mailing list that your new subscribers will join. You will need: A Mailchimp account. If you don’t have one yet, you can sign up here for free.At least one list created on this account. Mailchimp has a good resource on that here. Once you have a Mailchimp account, open wordpress.com/sharing, choose your site and select “Mailchimp” from the list of connections. Mailchimp connection details in the Sharing section. Once you click “Connect,” you will be prompted for the login and password to your Mailchimp account. Once you’re logged in, you will be taken back to WordPress.com: Connection details after successful Mailchimp authorization. After connecting your account, remember to select your Mailchimp list. You can read more about setting up your configuration options here. Grow your audience with email Email helps you build a relationship with your readers. Not sure what to send? Try: Sending updates about new posts or products.Sharing other interesting articles from around the web.Writing more personal updates.Expanding on your blog posts. Offering discounts or early access to premium content. Forging an email relationship can turn a one-time visitor into a loyal follower or customer. And the people who trust you with their email addresses are often your biggest fans, so it makes sense to give them some extra goodies. Build better landing pages Email signups are also perfect for landing pages or “Coming Soon” splash pages. A landing page is a simple one-page website that serves only one purpose: to collect email addresses. Usually, it’s a placeholder for a fuller site to come, or a new product or service that will launch in the future. With a Mailchimp block, you can collect emails right on your landing page: Here’s a quick example of how easy it is to set up. Collect the email addresses of interested visitors while you build your product or a larger site behind the scenes. Once your creation is ready to be unveiled, you can email your list to let them know. You can use lots of different features to build and engage your audience — social sharing, blog comments, the WordPress.com Reader — and now you’ve got one more tool at your disposal!

Gender Balance is a Business Issue

Today is International Women’s Day! We’d like to celebrate it by highlighting gender balance and how important it is to us here at Automattic. While gender balance in itself is definitely something worth pursuing for ethical reasons, we also strongly believe that it makes good business sense. As our CEO Matt Mullenweg said in his recent TED talk, we believe that talent and intelligence are equally distributed throughout the world, but that opportunity is not. As a distributed company with 850+ people in over 69 countries, we’ve seen that the world is pretty big, and that talent and intelligence are definitely not limited by geography, race, gender, or sexual orientation. Being a distributed company gives us the opportunity to hire talented people like Valentina, a team lead in Spain who uses smart scheduling to have a high impact with her team at work and with her family at home. If we had a more traditional work setup requiring staff to come into brick and mortar offices every day, we would likely miss out on valuable contributions from people like Val. Another great example of diversity making better business sense for us is Khyati, a Happiness Engineer in Mumbai, India. If we only hired in the US, we would not have the benefit of Khyati’s understanding of the needs of users in her part of the world, and we would also need to require overnight shifts from staff in North America to support those same users. While the benefits of a distributed workforce are clear, the path to getting there is less so. Most traditional recruiting methods like job boards, career fairs, and recruiting agencies are focused on specific locations. How do you get the word out that you’re looking to hire… all over the world? Recruiting additional support staff to work with our customers in the Asia-Pacific region has been a high priority for several years. This has led us to holding events in person in select cities and advertising on regional job boards like Seek in Australia and Jobstreet in the Philippines. We were surprised to find that as we increased our recruiting, the rate of applications from women in the region was actually dropping over time. It’s not that fewer women were applying overall, but as awareness of the position grew, many more men than women were learning about the job and submitting applications. We realized that if we wanted to hire staff with a gender balance that reflects our customers, we’d need to actively reach out to women in this region. We did this though Workshops for Women that we held in person over 2018 in India and Singapore. For 2019 we decided to go virtual and offer an online course for women in the region to level up in their WordPress troubleshooting and customer support skills. In partnership with Support Driven, Automattic offered a six-week course on user support. We enrolled 24 women in our pilot version of the course, which just finished its initial run. Automattic is committed to diversity and inclusion in our approach to gender balance. This tweet sums up why both are important: The reason your D&I initiatives are failing is because you don’t know how to do the I part, so your D is leaving. — mia (@mialoira) February 22, 2019 Why isn’t recruiting for diversity enough? What does inclusion even mean? The typical entrepreneur is a white male in his 30s from a wealthy background, according to entrepreneur.com. As small companies grow, founders are likely to build their teams by recruiting from their personal networks. These networks usually consist of people with similar backgrounds to the founders. Having the longest tenure, these same initial hires are the people who take on leadership roles and make decisions about product development, company culture, and who else to hire. The result is that even when companies genuinely want to attract diverse talent, the company’s top leadership has already been established from a group of very similar people. The true benefits of a diverse workforce can’t be achieved without the contributions of diverse staff at every level. "Diversity is the mix and inclusion is getting the mix to work well together". – Prof. Uduak Archibong MBE #MISAConference2016 — INSA (@meieinimesed) November 29, 2016 It’s clear then that hiring is only part of the D&I picture. While we’re always working on recruiting a workforce that reflects the diversity of our global user base, we are also keen on creating equal opportunities for career advancement internally. As a part of these efforts, we took inspiration from Laura Hogan’s fantastic post on sponsorship, and recently set up an internal sponsorship program that matched senior female Happiness Engineers from across the division, with junior counterparts in Asia. As our hiring efforts in Asia only scaled up in the last few years, many of our colleagues there do not have women in their immediate leadership. This sponsorship program gives less-tenured women frequent access to women in leadership and other senior positions within our Happiness division, so they can see first-hand what it’s like being a leader. This sponsorship program aligns with our belief that representation matters — if you see someone like you in a position of leadership, you are more likely to feel empowered to work towards that same position yourself. We are indeed entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance, and as one of the largest distributed companies around, we are proud to be leading the way in creating the workplace of tomorrow, a workplace that is better balanced by default. We’re always looking for more great people to join our team. Check out all of our open positions here!

Join WordPress.com for an International Women’s Day Livestream Panel

On International Women’s Day this Friday, WordPress.com parent company Automattic is hosting four outstanding women tech leaders for a livestreamed conversation about professional advancement, technology, and mutual support as we strive for equity in the workplace. It’s happening Friday, March 8 at 6 pm UTC / 1 pm ET / 10 am PT. Signups are limited to 500 people, so RSVP now to reserve a spot. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter at the hashtags #a8cIWD2019 and #IWD2019. We’re proud to welcome panelists with a diverse range of expertise. Eli Budelli is WordPress.com’s lead of mobile development; Yelp software engineer Tanvi Patel is part of the review platform’s core web team and an outspoken advocate for equality in tech and health; Crystle Johnson, senior manager of diversity and inclusion at Pandora, is an expert in embedding inclusion in hiring and talent retention; she is also the founder of the Red Lip Collective, which empowers young women of color through mentorship and professional development. And Diana Chiu, senior manager of business development at DuckDuckGo, brings deep knowledge of partnerships and M&A cultivated over a decade working across tech, aviation, and biotech. The event will be moderated by Maria Scarpello, customer success advocate for Automattic. Share tweet. The hour-long discussion will cover how to develop women leaders, create support systems for sustainable careers, and harness the power of self-awareness and self-validation. As a distributed company with more than 800 employees in over 60 countries, Automattic sees inclusion and diversity as a constantly evolving idea. We know that diverse teams make better products, and we also know that there is always more work to do. We hope that attendees of this panel, across career stages, gender, and location, will leave with at least one new strategy for using their voice at work and uplifting the voices of others.

Free Domain Privacy Protection

Keeping your data safe is as important to us as it is to you. Privacy protection for domains that are registered at WordPress.com is now free, so you don’t have to choose between your site and your security. What is domain privacy protection? When you register a new domain, you have to provide personal contact information. This information is stored at WHOIS, a database containing the details of every registered domain. In the past, WHOIS made this information publicly accessible unless you opted in to — and paid extra for — privacy protection. If you chose not to buy privacy protection (or couldn’t afford to), spammers and marketing firms could look up your domain and get access to your name, address, email, phone number, and other information about you or your business. Privacy protection replaces this public information with generic data, so WHOIS gets the necessary details but keeps your personal info safe from prying internet eyes — but at a cost. What’s changing? In May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect for EU citizens. It resulted in changes to WHOIS that, in many cases, prevent contact information from being publicly published whether or not someone purchases enhanced privacy for a domain. We’re committed to protecting your data and believe online safety shouldn’t depend on where in the world you live, so from now on, every domain registered through WordPress.com also includes privacy protection at no extra charge. How do I turn it on? Head to My Site > Domains, pick a domain, and turn Privacy Protection on. If it’s blue, you’re all set. If not, toggle the setting to turn it on!

Introducing Six New Business-Oriented Themes

Today we’re excited to announce six new themes with an entrepreneurial spin: Calm Business, Elegant Business, Friendly Business, Modern Business, Professional Business, and Sophisticated Business. Designed by Takashi Irie, each theme in this collection is based on a clean, easy-to-navigate layout that’s well-suited to a wide range of businesses — but with six unique styles and tones, there’s a version that suits your distinctive brand. The sleek minimalism of Modern Business brings focus to your high-end fashion photography; Sophisticated Business brings a moody palette and stylized typography to complement the style of your upscale restaurant. Calm Business’s softness matches the peaceful tone of your small yoga studio, while and Friendly Business adds subtle but uplifting touches to create a welcoming online home for your hobby farm. Not to be outdone, Professional Business is solid and grounded to echo the integrity of your accounting firm, and Elegant Business’s combination of warmth and sophistication makes it a perfect fit for coffee shops. Each themes has a bold accent color you can customize to match your business’s branding. They all also include full support for the new WordPress block editor, allowing you to create a wide range of content for your site. You can learn more about each of these themes in our showcase!

Announcing Newspack by WordPress.com — A New Publishing Solution for News Organizations

Over the past 15 years, WordPress has grown to become the world’s most popular publishing platform for the open web — and it’s especially true for news organizations. Through WordPress.com and our enterprise service WordPress.com VIP, we’re proud to host sites for some of the most trusted names in journalism — from Time.com and CNN to FiveThirtyEight and Quartz, as well as individual sites for reporters and bloggers all around the globe. Today we’re excited to announce funding for a new platform, Newspack by WordPress.com, aimed at small- and medium-sized news organizations. Google, through the Google News Initiative, is taking the lead in backing the project and has committed $1.2 million. Other funders include The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, which is contributing $400,000; ConsenSys, the venture studio backing Civil Media, which is contributing $350,000; and The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which is contributing $250,000. An additional $200,000 from a fifth source is expected to be contributed toward the project later this month. News organizations interested in being part of the pilot launch can go to newspack.blog to learn more. With many local news organizations struggling to find sustainable models for journalism, we’re seeing a need for an inexpensive platform that provides the technology and support that lets news organizations build their businesses and focus on what they do best — providing critical reporting for their communities. Our hope with Newspack is to give them a platform where they can continue to focus on what they do best, while we focus on providing world-class technology and support across their editorial and business operations. In addition to WordPress.com parent Automattic, partners in the project include Spirited Media, which operates local digital news sites in Denver, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, and News Revenue Hub, a spinoff of Voice of San Diego, which provides revWenue solutions for digital publishers. For more information, and to sign up for email updates, go to Newspack.blog.

Customize Your WordPress.com Dashboard

We’re happy to announce new improvements to your WordPress.com dashboard for a more accessible and customized experience. From your desktop, you can now customize your dashboard by choosing one of our two new color schemes, Classic Bright for a fresh modern feel and Classic Blue as the standard you’ve known and loved. As part of our commitment to inclusive design, these new colors have been optimized for higher contrast and increased legibility with a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1. Color Grayscale We’ll soon be introducing additional color scheme options that will continue our mission of a better more accessible web for everyone. Here’s how to customize your color scheme: On your desktop, sign in to your WordPress.com account that you’d like to customize.Click your account avatar in the upper right corner.Select Account SettingsUnder Dashboard Color Scheme select an option Have ideas for color schemes you’d like to see? Please comment below.

Introducing the 2019 ‘Anything Is Possible’ List

A coffee co-op owned by its farmers, a sewing community empowering people of all body shapes and sizes, and a 12-year-old journalist are among those named in WordPress.com’s first-ever “Anything Is Possible” List for 2019, celebrating 14 extraordinary people and organizations who are using the web to make the world a better place. This year’s inaugural list includes nonprofits, artists who are using their work to raise awareness, and bloggers who created community when they saw a critical gap. Here are 14 inspiring sites for 2019, where Anything Is Possible: NappStar Congolese-American sisters Melissa and Annette Roche started NappStar, an innovative hair salon specializing in loc hairstyles, after growing up watching their mother work on people’s hair in their community in Maryland. They now operate a thriving business in New York City. It Gets Better Project The It Gets Better Project was launched in 2010 to help LGBTQ+ youth feel supported and connected in the face of bullying and intolerance; over the years, the organization has collected a massive archive of over 60,000 stories all sharing the same theme of empowerment. Orange Street News Hilde Lysiak started Orange Street News, her small town’s only newspaper, at the age of 9. She’s been serving her community nonstop since then, reporting on everything from snow days to the local drug crisis. The Sewcialists The Sewcialists is an online global community that brings together sewing and knitting fans committed to celebrating their craft, making it accessible to people of all body shapes and sizes, and focusing on sustainability and empowerment. Beer&Body Craft Beer Girls In an often male-dominated industry and cultural niche, Kate Christensen decided women who enjoy craft beer need to have a safe community space in which to connect, educate one another, and discuss responsible consumption, health, and wellness. Stephanie Land A blog-to-book success story — Stephanie was a single mother facing homelessness when she started blogging about her experiences living with poverty and working as a house cleaner. After going viral a couple of years ago, she now has a new memoir, MAID, coming out in January. The Spelling Champ High-school senior Cole Shafer-Ray finished third at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2015; after coming so close to winning, he decided to channel his talent and energy into empowering others to excel at competitive spelling bees, starting a successful consulting business. Pachamama Coffee Based in Sacramento, Pachamama Coffee has a powerful story of social entrepreneurship: it’s a grower-owned cooperative through which coffee farmers from Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru sell their fair-trade beans across farmers’ markets, co-ops, and retailers around the U.S. Ideas Beyond Borders A nonprofit aiming to correct misinformation and fight against extremist narratives, Ideas Beyond Borders was founded by Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, who arrived in the U.S. as an Iraqi refugee in 2013. The organization focuses on educating and bridge-building via translation, bringing English texts on human rights and adjacent topics to Arabic-speaking communities in the Middle East. Rebrand Cities Founder Hajj Flemings identified a major obstacle for small businesses in American communities, including many owned by people of color: they are still on the analog side of the digital divide. Rebrand Cities works to bridge that gap by bringing small businesses online and opening up new opportunities for small business owners across the country. Kelsey Montague Street artist Kelsey Montague explores the interaction between public art and the human experience, having created street murals in cities including Cape Town, Galway, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Manchester, and New York City. She will be painting a new mural in collaboration with WordPress.com in January, to be featured in Los Angeles. Maeband Maeband founder Holly Kjar and two of her kids. While pregnant with her fourth child, Holly Kjar was frustrated by the lack of affordable maternity wear. So she teamed up with her mother to create a brand new belly band, and launched a new online business on WordPress.com that allows women to keep wearing their favorite clothes during pregnancy and empowers them to stay active while saving money. Faces of Auschwitz Faces of Auschwitz project lead Marina Amaral Faced with growing ignorance about the Holocaust among younger people, master photo colorist Marina Amaral decided to bring victims’ stories and humanity to life by colorizing photos from the Auschwitz Museum archives. They can now be explored on the website of the organization she leads, Faces of Auschwitz. Corvid Research Seattle-based wildlife scientist Kaeli Swift launched a WordPress.com blog as a grad student to share the knowledge she’s collected through her research on urban crows. Her site has become a thriving online community for others who share her passion for these fascinating birds — and an entry point into the study of nature for people all over the world. To read all of the Anything Is Possible stories, go to wordpress.com/do-anything.

New Theme: Twenty Nineteen

We’re pleased to announce that Twenty Nineteen — the new WordPress default theme designed by Allan Cole and Kjell Reigstad — is available to all WordPress.com sites. Twenty Nineteen was designed with simple but sophisticated typography and a pared-down, open aesthetic, making it a great foundation for a variety of websites. It also fully supports the new WordPress Editor, which allows you to create a wide range of content for your site. Twenty Nineteen gives your featured images a bold treatment on posts and pages: the images cover the full width and height of the screen, along with a color overlay which can be changed in the Customizer. Learn more about WordPress’s latest default theme here, or check out the demo site!

Now Available in the Mobile Apps: Revision History

The ability to load a previous version of a page or post is invaluable when you need to make a quick correction or compare your current revision to earlier ones. What about viewing your content’s revision history on the go? This can be a real life-saver, as we’re not always at our desktops. Well, we’re thrilled to announce that you can now review your content’s history and load revisions for both pages and posts directly from the WordPress mobile apps. View History The revision history of every page or post you’ve worked on is available right from the editor. Just tap My Sites → Site Pages or Blog Posts → any page or post → three-dots button → History. The history list shows you the time each revision was created (organized by date), the author of the revision, as well as the number of additions and deletions for each revision. To view the content of each revision, tap it on the list. Load Revision If you’d like to continue working on an earlier version of your page or post, tap the Load button while viewing the content of a revision. You can view the content in either HTML or a visual format — just tap the three-dot menu and select HTML preview or Visual preview, respectively. Send Feedback The WordPress mobile apps are free and available for both Android and iOS devices. If you have any questions or feedback, reach out to our support team directly from the app — tap Me → Help & Support → Contact Us. If you’re a developer and would like to contribute to the project, learn how you can get involved.

Announcing Free .blog Subdomains

Over the last thirteen years or so, the number of sites on WordPress.com has grown — a lot. Every one of those sites gets a unique wordpress.com address. And since there are millions of sites created each year, it means the address you’d like isn’t always available. Today, a whole new range of possibility opens up: free .blog subdomains. What’s a subdomain? Glad you asked! This site’s address is is blog.wordpress.com. Here, wordpress.com is the domain and blog is the subdomain. Say your name is Molly and you’re starting a food blog. The domain mollysfoodblog.wordpress.com — that is, the subdomain “mollysfoodblog” on wordpress.com — is already taken by someone. Or you’re starting a website to offer tech advice; but there’s already a site using techadvice.wordpress.com, drat! Now you have more options: you can choose to use a free subdomain with a .blog address, like mollys.food.blog or advice.tech.blog. There’s a list of popular .blog domains we’ve reserved just for this: art.blogbusiness.blogcar.blogcode.blogdata.blogdesign.blogfamily.blogfashion.blogfinance.blogfitness.blog food.bloggame.bloghealth.bloghome.bloglaw.blogmovie.blogmusic.blognews.blogphoto.blog poetry.blogpolitics.blogschool.blogscience.blogsport.blogtech.blogtravel.blogvideo.blogwater.blog These .blog subdomains work just like the regular wordpress.com subdomains — they don’t expire, they’re free to use for the lifetime of your site, and you can always replace them with a custom domain at any time. How do I get one? First, create your new site. In the first step of signup, we’ll ask you about your goal for your site — select only the “Share ideas, experiences, updates, reviews, stories, videos, or photos” option. In our experience, the people who select this option generally find that a .blog subdomain fits their site well. Fill out the other fields as well, and click Continue.  Now, in the next step when searching for a site address, you’ll see a free option at the top of the list. We’ll suggest a .blog subdomain related to the terms you entered in the first step. For example, if you searched for “Tech Advice,” we might suggest advice.tech.blog as an address for your site. Click Select next to the address you choose, and you’re all set, Your new website and its perfect address are only a few clicks away. If you start a new site with a .blog subdomain, let us know in the comments! We’d love see what you create.

WordPress Support Workshops for Women in the Asia-Pacific Region

Automattic wants to build a new web, and a new type of workplace.  We want to deliver world-class 24/7 support to our users, and an innovative, exciting, and healthy work environment for our staff worldwide. As a part of  this, we recruit from all timezones so that everyone has the freedom to choose their own work hours. In Happiness in particular, we want to provide better support coverage in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, and our APAC recruiting efforts have included everything from advertising on social media and job boards to in-person networking at WordCamps and WordPress Meetups. While we’ve hired some great Happiness Engineers, we discovered that the ratio of women applicants was dropping over time. As awareness of Automattic as a distributed employer has grown in the region, the number of applications from men has grown faster than those from women. Given Automattic’s commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion, we brainstormed ways to reach women more effectively. This turned into a series of workshops on WooCommerce held for women in India and Singapore throughout 2018. In 2019 we’ll take our message to a broader audience by offering an online workshop. This will let us reach women in many more countries and cities than we could ever visit in a calendar year. We’re partnering with Support Driven, an online community of support professionals, to promote support as a career for women who may have the relevant skills but haven’t applied for these roles. In January 2019 we’ll launch the first online workshop for women in APAC focused on developing skills in WordPress support. The course will cover: Goals of great customer support Developing your own support philosophy WordPress troubleshooting Productivity tools Support as a career By the end of the course, students will have developed a résumé and portfolio site on WordPress to share with potential employers. Want to be notified about this and other upcoming workshops? Sign up here! Photo by Elijah O’Donnell on Unsplash.  

Setting Up Your Site on a Mobile Device Just Got a Lot Easier

Starting a new website is always exciting: you’ve chosen a topic, found the right name, and started building it on WordPress.com. Now you may be asking yourself, “What’s next?” Well, when you create a site on the WordPress for Android or WordPress for iOS mobile apps, the answer will became a lot easier with the introduction of Quick Start, a new tool that guides you through the setup process. How Quick Start works After you create a new site on your WordPress app, you’ll see a prompt asking if you want some assistance setting it up. Tap Yes! and you’ll find Quick Start: a short list of to-do items that will set you on the path to success. With Quick Start, you’ll be able to… View your site from within the apps. Select a new theme. Customize your site. Create a new blog post. Set up your sharing preferences. Follow new sites in the WordPress.com Reader. These are all tasks that will help you start on the right foot. Exploring these options won’t take very long, but once you’ve gone through the list you’ll have a website ready to welcome its first visitors — and all the pieces in place for future growth and success. Available now Quick Start is part of the WordPress for Android app (version 10.8 or higher) and WordPress for iOS (version 11.1). If you’ve got an iPhone, iPad, or Android device and have been thinking of launching a new site, this is the time to take the plunge!

A New Way to Manage Your Pages on the WordPress Mobile Apps

We’ve made a small change to the WordPress mobile apps to make it easier for you to navigate and edit your pages. In previous versions of WordPress for iOS and Android, your pages were ordered by the date they were created as opposed to what your actual page hierarchy looks like on your website. Users told us they found it difficult to find the page they were looking to edit, so we’ve now updated this section to match the layout of your site. Here’s how to try it out First, make sure you’ve updated your WordPress app to the last version. Open the app, go to the My Site section, select a site and then select Site Pages. If a page has one or more child pages, the new layout represents the hierarchical view using an indentation on the left. If a page is a top level page, it won’t be indented. Set a parent page To set a parent page or a top level page, click on the [3 dots menu] on the right of the page you want to edit, then select Set Parent. The app will show you the list of the available pages and the Top level option. You can use the search bar at the top to easily find the page you are looking for. Select the option you require and tap the Done button. Send feedback The WordPress mobile apps are free and available on both Android and iOS. If you have any questions or feedback, reach out to our in-app support team by tapping Me → Help & Support → Contact Us. If you’re a developer and would like to contribute to the project, learn how you can get involved. Enjoy!

Today is Election Day in the United States. Please Vote!

A few weeks ago we announced our partnership with voter-registration initiative TurboVote Challenge. Well, today is the day! From coast to coast, voters in the United States head to the polls for the 2018 midterm election. Hopefully, by now you’ve made a plan to get to the polls. If you have any questions about your polling location (or if you need help getting there), we have some important resources for  you below. If you’ve voted, like this post, share it with your friends, and leave us a comment below. Better yet: blog about it! Remember to tag it with “#2018Midterms” and “#MidtermElections2018” so that others might find it in the WordPress.com Reader and join the conversation. Election Day Resources Learn where to cast your ballot #VoteTogether Rock the Vote Lyft & Uber to the polls Free rides from Lime  

Introducing Activity

Knowing what’s going on behind the scenes of your site is key to engagement and security.  Who published a post? What comments need to be approved? When was a plugin activated or deactivated? What images were added to a specific page? Now, there’s a new tab in WordPress.com where you can see all your site’s activity outlined in an organized, readable way: It’s called Activity, because monitoring your site should be as simple as possible. Activity shows you a chronological list of all the changes and updates to your site. It’s useful for site owners who want to keep an eye on the big picture of their site, as well as for admins on larger sites with multiple contributors. Activity shows you things like: Published or updated posts and pages. Comment submission and management activity. Settings and options modifications. Login attempts by registered site users. Plugin installations, updates, and removals. Theme switches, installations, updates, and deletions. See the complete list of activities for WordPress.com and Jetpack sites. Head to Activity right now, and you’ll be able to see your site’s 20 most recent changes and updates. On WordPress.com or Jetpack sites with a paid plan you’ll see events from the last 30 days, and if you have the Business or Professional plan respectively, you’ll see events from the last year. All sites with a paid plan have the added ability to filter activities by type and time range so you can quickly find the information you’re looking for. To keep things scannable, sequential events of the same type are grouped in a single item — expand it to see details for all of the collected actions. Activity is also a great place for Jetpack subscribers to investigate site downtime or bugginess. See what changes happened around the time of the issue, and use the details to focus your troubleshooting and get back up and running, fast. You can also view your list of activities on the WordPress mobile apps. Stay up to date on the latest theme and plugin updates For sites with plugins and uploaded themes, keeping them up to date and knowing what was updated when are key to security and stability. Activity not only shows you all the details in one place, but lets Jetpack and WordPress.com Business plan subscribers update themes and plugins directly from the Activity tab. We’re constantly striving to be better Give Activity a try on your sites and let us know if you have any feedback — we’d love to hear it! Please leave a comment below or open an issue in our GitHub repository.

New Theme: Photos

Today we’re happy to introduce Photos, an image-centric theme with a clean layout and a design that showcases your favorite snapshots. When we designed Photos, we put extra care into making it look and feel great on mobile devices. But that’s only one of the theme’s highlights — here are a few others. Photos first: Photos features a familiar three-column grid to display your photos on your blog’s homepage, archive pages, and search results. The full-width grid appears on smartphones and tablets. It scales up to a fixed-width grid on desktop and laptop displays. Mobile navigation: When visitors view your site on a mobile device, the menu button is fixed at the bottom of the page, closer to your thumbs. The menu then slides up from the bottom, keeping your site-navigation items within easy reach. Standard fonts: Photos uses system fonts — fonts that are already available on mobile devices and computers — rather than loading its own custom fonts. This reduces page-load time, and benefits people browsing your site on mobile devices or slower internet connections. Like in any other WordPress.com theme, you can always change the font using the Customizer. No sidebar: For a more consistent experience between desktop and mobile screens, Photos has a single-column, no-sidebar layout. This helps sites retain the same look and feel regardless of the device your visitors use to view it. You can learn more about Photos by checking out the Showcase page or the theme’s demo site!

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