WordPress.com News

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!

National Voter Registration Day 2018

Did you know that today is National Voter Registration Day?  At Automattic, our mission is to make it easier for people to speak their mind and connect with communities across (and beyond) the web — every WordPress.com website, and every blog post you publish with the tools we build, is part of a broader conversation. With the midterm elections coming up in the U.S. in November, we’re thrilled to announce that we’re a proud member of the TurboVote Challenge, a coalition of companies that champion civic engagement. Managed by the nonprofit organization Democracy Works, the TurboVote Challenge is a long-term, nonpartisan alliance of companies and brands that share a simple belief: democracy works better when more people participate. The goal of the TurboVote Challenge is to help reach an 80 percent voter turnout in the U.S. by 2024. Automattic has joined more than 40 other members, including Amazon, Google, Starbucks, Target, Lyft, and MTV. As part of this initiative, we’re also excited to team up with the Civic Culture Coalition, who recently launched I am a voter., a nonpartisan public-awareness campaign to increase turnout in the 2018 midterm elections. The campaign shows how stunningly easy it is to register to vote — in fact, registering takes three minutes (or less!). If you’re eligible to vote in the U.S., please make sure you’re registered today. Visit I am a voter. Still not sure voting should be on your to-do list this November? Did you know that… Hundreds, if not thousands, of races are decided by a single vote every year. When a local election is tied, the winner is sometimes decided by flipping a coin. Roughly two-thirds of Americans say low participation is a major problem with the current election system. All 435 House seats and 35 Senate seats are up for election in November. More than half of all governors — 36 out of 50 — will be elected in the upcoming cycle. This November, millennials will make up the largest voting bloc for the first time. If 50 percent of voters show up this November, it would be the highest midterm turnout in a century. Aren’t these great reasons to get involved and register to vote? Thank you for your participation and thank you for being a voter! #iamavoter

Try Simplenote, Our Fast and Easy-to-Use Notes App

A great note-taking app can help with all kinds of daily routines like taking class notes, writing a shopping list, or jotting down ideas for your next great blog post. At Automattic, we love using Simplenote, which is an easy way to create notes, lists, and more. Our favorite part? It’s backed by a powerful sync engine that syncs notes across all of your devices swiftly and smoothly — and for free! — so our notes are accessible everywhere. The Simplenote experience is all about speed and efficiency. Open it, write some thoughts, and you’re done — saving and syncing happens automatically. As your collection of notes grows, find what you need fast by searching, and keep them organized with tags and pins. You can also share notes and publish them for other people. Simplenote for Windows Simplenote is also built to play nicely with WordPress.com. With the latest update to the app, you can sign in to the app using your WordPress.com account, so you have one fewer password to keep track of. Write something in the Simplenote mobile app and share it directly to the WordPress app, where it becomes a new post. And if you’re a fan of Markdown, your posts will be automatically formatted when published. Sharing a note to the WordPress App Simplenote is available for all of your devices, including iOS, macOS, Android, Windows, Linux, or you can use it on the web. Download it, give it a try, and let us know what you think!

New in the WordPress.com Business Plan: Jetpack Search

The WordPress.com Business plan combines fully managed hosting with the freedom to grow and scale your site without limits. Today we’re adding Jetpack Search to WordPress.com Business so you can enjoy powerful and fast on-site search functionality as part of your plan.   Once you activate Jetpack Search, you’ll be using the same search engine powering some of the largest sites on the web. Jetpack Search provides a more engaging experience for your visitors: it relies on modern search algorithms that take phrase matches and the recency of your content into consideration, which in turn produces better search results. In addition to more relevant matches, you can also configure the Jetpack Search sidebar widget to let your visitors sort their results or filter them by tags, categories, dates, and post types. Whether you run a news site or sell products on your online store, a more engaging search experience will help readers and customers dig deeper into the content on your site and keep them there for longer visits. As recently as three years ago, our enhanced search functionality was a $6,000-a-year add-on to our enterprise plan; we’ve since been able to scale the service and can now offer it as part of a Business plan that costs a fraction of the original price. Moreover, most search solutions come with limits on the total number of indexed posts or the number of monthly queries. Just like the rest of your WordPress.com Business site, unlimited is the name of the game. We want your business to be successful, so we don’t place arbitrary limits on the amount of content or number of searches that your visitors can run. You can join the thousands of websites already using Jetpack Search by upgrading your site to WordPress.com Business today. How to Enable Jetpack Search If you don’t already have it, go to the Plans page and add WordPress.com Business to your site. Go to My Sites → Settings → traffic to enable Jetpack Search on your site. If you want to enable sidebar filtering, customize your site and add the Search (Powered by Jetpack) widget. Configuration of filters is simple and can be done with a few clicks. Read more about this new feature on the Jetpack Search support page.

Introducing the Simple Payment Widget

Since the introduction of the Simple Payment Button, we’ve been looking for more ways to streamline payments on WordPress.com and Jetpack-enabled sites. Today, we’re introducing a new variant of the Simple Payment Button, available to WordPress.com Premium and Business plan subscribers and to Jetpack sites on Premium and Professional plans. Take payments anywhere on your site with the Simple Payment Widget Use the Simple Payment Widget to add a quick payment option to the sidebar or footer of your WordPress.com or Jetpack site. (If you have Jetpack site, make sure its running version 6.3.3 or higher.) Then add the widget to your site via the Customizer, by going to Personalize → Customize → Widgets. Using the Customizer You’ll be able to select an existing Simple Payment Button or create a new one to add to your sidebar, header, or footer. Simple Payment Widget on a Site’s Footer The widget also gives you the ability to manage all of your products or services from the Customizer — set pricing, add images, and write product description right in the widget settings: Edit a Product on the Customizer Once you’ve create multiple payment buttons, you can choose between them any time you add the Simple Payment Widget. And any button you create or edit via the Customizer is instantly available to use on the rest of your site, on any post or page. Add a product created on the Customizer to any page or post. We hope you enjoy this new feature and make the most of it. Let us know what you think in the comments! And if you run into any issues setting up your new widget, take a look at the support documentation or reach out to support.

Podcasting on WordPress.com

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of podcasts — their beautiful storytelling and engaging news delivery add a whole new dimension to the media landscape — and podcasters. We happily support podcast creators, from sponsoring events like Podcast Movement to supporting embeds from services like RadioPublic. Did you know that WordPress.com allows you to host your own podcast, right from your WordPress.com website? And we’ve recently updated our podcasting tools, simplifying the process of starting or managing your podcast. Whether you’re about to hit “record” on your first podcast or have used WordPress.com for your podcast for years, we think you’ll love these updates. Configuring Your Podcast Channel We’ve redesigned the Podcasting Settings page to be faster and more intuitive. Visit Settings > Writing > Podcasting to set up and manage your podcast channel. Pick a podcast category, add details like your podcast’s title and cover image, and you’re ready to go. The new Podcasting Settings page. Creating and Editing Podcast Episodes The post editor also got some new indicators to make it more apparent when you’re creating or editing a podcasting episode. To publish an episode, create a new post, assign it the podcast category you designated on the Settings page, and upload or embed an audio file. A podcast episode in the post episode. Added Support for Google Play, Spotify, and Alexa Behind the scenes, we’ll do the heavy lifting to support services like Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, and even Alexa Daily Briefings. Submit your feed to each service once, and then publish episodes whenever inspiration strikes! We’ll make sure every episode gets listed. My first episode on Apple Podcasts! Podcasts can add a new dimension to any site — and they encourage visitors to subscribe and return frequently. If you have requests for other updates to our podcasting tools, let us know in the comments! We’ll continue to refine our podcasting support. In the meantime, you might want to check out some of these great podcasts that are already hosted on WordPress.com: Bundyville: “A never-before-heard chronicle of the rise, fall and resurgence of the Bundy family, the armed uprisings they inspired and the fight over the future of the American West.” – from Longreads, in partnership with Oregon Public Broadcasting. You Are Not So Smart: “A show about psychology that celebrates science and self delusion.” – hosted by David McRaney. You’re Wrong About…: A podcast “about historical events or famous people that the public has forgotten or misremembered” – hosted by Michael Hobbes and Sarah Marshall. Hilltown Family Variety Show: A community radio show from Western Massachusetts that’s been around since 2007!

Sharing Options from WordPress.com to Facebook Are Changing

We wanted to update you about an upcoming change Facebook is introducing to their platform, and which affects how you may share posts from your WordPress.com website to your Facebook account. Starting August 1, 2018, third-party tools can no longer share posts automatically to Facebook Profiles. This includes Publicize, the tool for WordPress.com and Jetpack-powered sites that connects your site to major social media platforms (like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook). Will this affect your ability to share content on Facebook? It depends. If you’ve connected a Facebook Profile to your site, then yes: Publicize will no longer be able to share your posts to Facebook. On the other hand, nothing will change if you keep a Facebook Page connected to your site — all your content should still appear directly on Facebook via Publicize. (Not sure what the difference is between a Page and a Profile? Here’s Facebook’s explanation.) If you’ve previously connected a Facebook Profile to your WordPress.com site and still want your Facebook followers to see your posts, you have two options. First, you could go the manual route: once you publish a new post, copy its URL and share the link in a new Facebook post. (You can also share right from the WordPress mobile apps after a scheduled post goes live.) The other option is to convert your Facebook Profile to a Page. This might not be the right solution for everyone, but it’s something to consider if your website focuses on your business, organization, or brand. While Facebook is introducing this change to improve their platform and prevent the misuse of personal profiles, we know that this might cause a disruption in the way you and your Facebook followers interact. If you’d like to share your concerns with Facebook, head to their Help Community. In the meantime, WordPress.com’s Publicize feature (and social media scheduling tools) will continue to be available to you for posting to Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms.

Welcome Atavist! A Groundbreaking Publishing Platform Joins the WordPress.com Family

Today we’re announcing that Atavist, a multimedia publishing platform and award-winning magazine, will be joining WordPress.com parent company Automattic. This news is exciting to me on a few levels — eight years ago I had my first introduction to Atavist when I met a journalist named Evan Ratliff for coffee at Housing Works in New York. He showed me the first pieces of what became a bold new platform for long-form storytelling, which he created with co-founders Jefferson Rabb and Nicholas Thompson. At the time I had just started Longreads, so we shared an interest in seeing a revival for long-form journalism on the open web. Fast-forward to today and we’re thrilled to have the Atavist and Longreads teams now together under the WordPress.com banner. Atavist’s publishing platform will be moving over to WordPress, and its award-winning magazine The Atavist will continue to serve up outstanding in-depth storytelling with a new feature each month, under the editorship of Seyward Darby. Also joining the team is Atavist CEO Rabb and head of product communications Kathleen Ross. I chatted with Rabb, Darby, and Ross about what’s next. Jeff, Seyward, Kathleen, we’re excited you’re here! You’ve had a terrific run over the past eight years — leading innovation around the design and process of multimedia storytelling, winning many awards along the way — what are your hopes and priorities for Atavist moving forward? RABB: Thank you, I’m thrilled to be here! My number one hope in joining [WordPress.com parent company] Automattic is to bring everything we have built and learned to an audience that is orders of magnitude larger. I’ve spent the past eight years honing a toolset and sensibility for digital journalism, and now I’m excited to put this to use for a mass audience. When these are integrated into WordPress, I am hoping we will have an unbeatable product for storytelling and journalism. There are many fascinating challenges and problems in journalism today, and now more than ever I want to be part of the solution. DARBY: I’m also excited to be here! I’ve been at The Atavist Magazine for the last 15 months, and it’s the best job I’ve ever had. The list of things I love about our publication is too long to include in full, but some highlights are the intimate collaborations with creators, the anchoring belief in the timeless power of cinematic storytelling, and the commitment to nurturing the next generation of long-form writers. Certainly, we work with big-name journalists, but we’re also a magazine that supports up-and-coming narrative writers who want to take a swing at a really, really big story. I love nothing more than helping someone crack the code on a 15,000-word feature’s complex structure. (I’m a big fan of Post-It notes and story trees, and of fist-pumping to no one in particular when an article section falls into place.) Moving forward, the magazine’s foundational priorities will remain the same: We’ll tell great stories, design them beautifully, treat our collaborators well, and have a lot of fun in the process. My hope is that, by combining forces with WordPress.com, we’ll get to push the boundaries of our projects: dive into more multi-part narrative investigations, produce more original video or audio where it makes good sense, improve the diversity of our roster of writers and artists, and provide journalists with the resources and time they need to report the hell out of topics they’re passionate about. Winning awards and getting our stories optioned for film/TV, which we also have a strong track record of doing, will be goals, absolutely, but never at the expense of providing a quality experience to every person who contributes to or reads The Atavist. Tell us about some of your favorite stories you’ve hosted. DARBY: I’m proud of every story I’ve shepherded as the executive editor, so it’s hard for me to pick favorites. The most successful Atavist stories share the same key ingredients: a propulsive, satisfying narrative, rich characters, and scenes that make readers feel immersed in the world the writer is describing. At first blush, Kenneth R. Rosen’s story “The Devil’s Henchmen,” about what is being done with the bodies of the ISIS dead in Mosul, doesn’t seem to have much in common with Amitha Kalaichandran’s “Losing Conner’s Mind,” about a family’s quest to save a child from a rare, fatal disease; Allyn Gaestel’s “Things Fall Apart,” about an over-hyped art installation in Nigeria; Mike Mariani’s “Promethea Unbound,” about the tortured life of a child genius; or David Mark Simpson’s “Not Fuzz,” about a millionaire hotelier who moonlights as a serial police impersonator. Yet these stories all have compelling plots about everyday people whose lives are shaped by sheer will and unpredictable circumstance. You can’t put them down because you want to know what’s going to happen. As for Atavist stories that predate my time at the magazine, I’ll award a few superlatives. Quirkiest goes to Jon Mooallem’s “American Hippopotamus,” about a bizarre plan to alter the national diet. Most Lyrical goes to Leslie Jamison’s “52 Blue,” about the world’s loneliest whale. Most Ambitious goes to Evan Ratliff’s epic “The Mastermind,” about a crime lord whose empire spanned pretty much the whole world. (It’s soon to be a book and TV show.) And Couldn’t Get It Out of My Head goes to Will Hunt and Matt Wolfe’s “The Ghosts of Pickering Trail,” about a family living in a haunted house. I’ll stop there, but I really could go on and on. ROSS: Before I worked for Atavist, I actually worked right down the hall, so I have been reading the magazine for a long time. To me, the best Atavist Magazine stories are transporting: in “Welcome to Dog World,” Blair Braverman shows us Alaska; socialites head to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for an early feminist victory in “The Divorce Colony” by April White; and James Verini’s “Love and Ruin” (the title story of our 2016 collection) is a romance and historical epic all in one, and I think about Nancy Hatch Dupree’s library in Afghanistan often. “A Family Matter” may be one of the most important stories we’ve done. Finally, I love stories about spectacular failures, so I have to mention Mitch Moxley’s article “Sunk,” which is about a disastrous attempt to make an epic movie about mermaids; plus, the piece has some excellent moments of maximalist design, including pixelated fish that bob across the page. RABB: I have a soft spot for the very first stories such as “Lifted,” “Piano Demon,” and “My Mother’s Lover.” In addition to being great pieces of writing, they were the petri dishes in which our experimental approach to storytelling was born. They included ideas such as pop-up annotations, maps, and immersive sound elements. Even though the way we distribute our articles has changed dramatically since those stories were published—back then, they were exclusively on the Atavist mobile app and Kindle—many of the concepts and approaches in them formed the DNA of our company’s product. Developing those first few stories was an exciting and vital time for me. Finally, I’m wondering what you think about the state of storytelling on the open web today. Where do you think things are headed? DARBY: There are so many stories being told in the digital space right now, in so many ways, and to so many different audiences. Take SKAM Austin, which D.T. Max recently wrote about for The New Yorker. It’s a teen drama told entirely through Facebook posts, Instagram stories, texts, and other digital scraps and marginalia—a story crafted for its young target audience, based on the way they consume information and communicate with one another. That project is fictional, but there’s similar experimentation happening in the non-fiction space. Certainly, publications are pushing the envelope on transmedia (multi-platform storytelling) and rethinking story structure based on how events now unfold in real time in the palm of your hand. I’m thinking of projects like WIRED‘s story on police brutality, “How Social Media Shaped the Three Days That Shook America,” and National Geographic‘s partnership with ProPublica, “How the U.S. Triggered a Massacre in Mexico.” Recently, I was a fellow at the Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Lab, an incubator for storytellers who work with emerging technologies like VR, AR, and AI. It was incredible to hear the ways that this diverse group is reimagining how to create and deliver narratives. I can’t wait for all of the projects they were workshopping to be out in the world, and I hope to bring what I learned there to bear on my work at Automattic. That said, I’m a journalist first, and when it comes to technology, I always have this nagging fear that form might compromise substance. No one should tell a story entirely via social media or VR or video just because they can; they should do so because there’s actual benefit—to the story itself, to the audience reached, and so on. I’m reminded of my very first job out of college, back in the aughts. I was a journalist in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and I also conducted research on media training needs in the region. I met lots of aspiring journalists who said, “This international NGO helped me set up a blog, but I don’t even really know how to conduct an interview or fact-check. Can someone help me with that?” The experience has always stuck with me as a reminder that the basics of great journalism should apply no matter the platform. At The Atavist, we like to say that story comes first, and by that we mean plot and accuracy, then form and reach.

Bookmark Posts with Save For Later

Maybe you’re reading a blog post while sipping your morning tea when you suddenly realize it’s getting late, or you’re browsing on the bus — but you just got to your stop. The WordPress.com Reader is a great for to catching up with your favorite blogs or exploring interesting new reads. And now, you can save those posts and resume reading at your leisure with Save For Later. How does it work? First, make sure you have the newest version of the  WordPress app on your phone or tablet — version 10.2. Open the app, and head into the Reader. Saving content for later Whenever you find a post you’d like to save for later, tap the bookmark icon (). The icon will change from an outline to a solid color () so you know the post has been saved. Repeat the process as many times as you like! You can save posts from your list of Followed Sites, Discover, Search, or My Likes — anywhere in the Reader. Reading your saved content When you’re ready to read, open the app again, go back to the Reader, and select Saved Posts. Everything you saved will be waiting for you there, even if your device is offline. Once you’ve read a post, you can remove it by tapping the bookmark icon again. A few other notes In this initial release, images aren’t guaranteed to be available offline. More importantly, Saved Posts is currently a device-specific feature — saved posts aren’t synced between devices or the web, so they’re only available on the device where you saved them. Logging out or uninstalling the app will delete them. Give feedback and get involved 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. Happy reading, now or later!  

Field Notes: WooCommerce Workshop for Women

Automatticians, the people who build WordPress.com, participate in events and projects around the world every day. Periodically, they report back on the exciting things they do in the community. Members of Automattic’s Happiness team have traveled to Southeast Asia three times since last September to meet people in communities across the region. Our goal? To encourage people based in South Asia to apply to join us in supporting WordPress.com, WooCommerce, and Jetpack users. In January 2018, the Happiness Engineer Hiring team, our Events Team, and Mahangu Weerasinghe, a Happiness team lead, collaborated to take a slightly different approach to recruitment in the region. Automattic is a company that aims to build a diverse and inclusive work environment, yet we’d been seeing significantly lower numbers of women applying from South and Southeast Asia. There are a few efforts in the WordPress community to encourage and empower women to get more involved, and we decided the add our voice by organizing a workshop for women. Our plan was straightforward: a free, one-day workshop to inspire participants to set up an online store for themselves or put their newfound skills to use for clients. We talked about the Membership and Subscription extensions for WooCommerce and the Sensei plugin — invaluable tools for enhancing an online store, setting up recurring payments, and managing memberships. The first workshop took place in January. We chose Udaipur, India, thanks to its strong WordPress community. We attended WordCamp Udaipur, which was organized by an all-female team, and took the opportunity to staff a booth there while our colleague, Rahul Gupta, gave a presentation about how WordPress helped him put food on the table. The next day, we welcomed 40 women to the workshop, exceeding our expectations and requiring us to bring in extra seats! After the workshop, we invited the community to join us for networking over tea and chatted again with some of the folks we’d met the day before. While the main focus of our trip was outreach to women, we also wanted to do something for the larger community. One of the attendees was Digication’s Surbhi Jain, who works on digital literacy and skills in India and runs WordPress workshops for students — including in remote areas — increasing awareness and teaching WordPress hands-on. Surbhi attended our workshop to level up her skills and to network, and she’s been helping us spread the word about our hiring efforts since the event. From Udaipur we traveled to Mumbai, where we taught an abbreviated version of the workshop to women of the local WordPress meetup community. We invited them to learn about options they could use to turn their online store into a membership site and to create and manage products with recurring payments. We had such a positive response in India that we decided to try the workshop model in Singapore, a city with a strong technology community. The Happiness Engineer Hiring team, affectionately known as Athena, met up with Leviosa, another Happiness team, to co-host the workshop. Two team members, Kruti Dugade and Rose Pajaroja, led the sessions. Kruti had recently joined Automattic — after attending our visit to the Mumbai WordPress user group in September! Again, we drew from the local WordPress community to find attendees and also reached out to other women-in-tech groups. Just like in India, we had a very positive response. One of my favorite moments during this trip happened at the networking event directly following the workshop. I was standing in a circle of six women — three young women who worked at a web-design firm together, one woman in her 50s who was running a successful family-powered marketing business, an expat from the US, and me. We chatted for quite a while as they shared the struggles and joys of tech in Singapore. It was fascinating to get a glimpse of their work and lives, and learn about the commonalities and differences in our experiences of navigating both. Since this series of events, we’ve seen an increase of applicants from the region, both male and female. We’ve already hired two new Automatticians from among the people we met during our trip and hope to welcome more in the months to come. As we strive to provide world-class support to our customers in South and Southeast Asia, we want our team to reflect as many of the diverse communities across this vast region. If you or someone you know is interested, we’re hiring. Meeting new WordPress friends in India in Singapore was a wonderful experience. While we don’t currently have plans for similar workshops, we hope to have more opportunities in the future to connect with people from other regions.

New Privacy Features and Updated Policies

We’re rolling out updates to our privacy features and policies in the coming weeks. You’ll have more control over your personal information and more detail on what information we keep and what we do with it. The updates will also make sure we comply with new privacy laws, and will help you do the same for your own website or store.   Our New Privacy Features Over the past several months, we’ve upgraded many of the privacy-related features on WordPress.com, Jetpack, WooCommerce, and other Automattic products. We want to give you more visibility into the personal data we use and more control over the data you share with us. In recent weeks, we’ve added: More detailed information on the data our products collect and use, like the information you’ll find in the new Jetpack Privacy Center, as well in-product notifications for privacy-related information. Opt-outs for data uses, like the ability to turn off Automattic’s first-party analytics system on your Jetpack site.   Additional contracts (Data Processing Agreements) for paid users who require them to comply with data protection and privacy laws. If you need a Data Processing Agreement, let us know by contacting support for your product. Over the coming weeks we plan to launch: A way for users to request access to their personal data. Account closure for WordPress.com accounts. Opt-outs for Automattic’s first party analytics system for WordPress.com users. An updated cookie policy that explains the cookies we use in our services. We’re also releasing features to help you and your site meet the requirements of new privacy laws, like Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) that goes into effect on May 25, 2018. You can read the full text of the GDPR, as well as the European Commission’s summary. Our new features include: a new “cookie and consent” notification that WordPress.com and Jetpack site owners can add to their sites, and tools for our WooCommerce.com merchants to manage data access and deletion requests from their customers. These updates are in addition to the privacy protections we’ve always had in place to help you control your content, keep it secure, or even move your site to another WordPress host. What’s New in Our Policies? We also updated our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Service. Here are some of the updates you’ll see: We GDPR-ized our Privacy Policy. You’ll now see sections explaining your data protection and privacy rights, how long we keep information, and how we handle transfers of personal data outside the EU. We included WooCommerce.com and Polldaddy in our Automattic-wide Privacy Policy. No more fragmenting: we’re retiring WooCommerce.com and Polldaddy’s separate privacy policies — our privacy practices should be straightforward and easy to understand, so now you only have to understand one. We included more real-world, concrete examples in our Privacy Policy to give you a clearer picture of how we collect and use personal information. There’s specific information about how we make Reader recommendations, how Gravatar works, and how we use information for our marketing.   We added a new Privacy Notice to explain the data that we collect, on behalf of our users, about visitors to our users’ websites.  We updated our Terms of Service to reflect the importance of data protection and privacy laws. Our Terms of Service (and those for Automattic Ads) require that our users comply with applicable laws and regulations as the site owners, and, for added clarity, we included privacy and data protection laws as one of the specific examples. Our new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service will take effect on May 25, 2018. We’re releasing them now to give you time to take a look at them. If you continue to use our services on or after May 25, 2018, you acknowledge that your use will be subject to our new Privacy Policy and you agree to be bound by our new Terms. And there’s more to come! We’ll announce more detailed information about privacy features on privacy.blog — follow us there for the latest.

Transfer Your Existing Domain to WordPress.com

Giving your WordPress.com website its own custom domain has long been a powerful way to make your site stand out — a personalized web address helps you tell the world who you are and what you offer. If you registered your domain on WordPress.com, you already had the power to build a website and manage a domain all in one place. But what if you didn’t? The one missing piece was the ability to transfer existing domains you’d already registered elsewhere. Today, we’re happy to announce that domain transfers from other providers are welcome at WordPress.com. If you’re already itching to move your domain, our support page will guide you through the process. If you’re not ready to transfer your domain to WordPress.com, no worries. You can still leave your domain registered at your current registrar and map it here instead. Not sure which option is better for you? There are several advantages to moving your domain to WordPress.com: It’s easier to manage both your site and your domain from the same place. The domain credit that comes with any WordPress.com plan you buy can be used to transfer a domain. When your plan renews, so does your domain. Instead of paying a registrar for your domain and paying us to map it, a single charge covers both. If you’ve already used the domain credit to map your domain, we have good news: you can transfer that domain to WordPress.com for free! Not sure whether you should transfer your domain here or map it? You can find more information to help you choose the best option for you. If you’ve already transferred your domain to WordPress.com and want to share your experience, or have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.

Find the Perfect Image with the Free Photo Library

You’re finishing up a blog post and want to add a photo, but you don’t have the right image. There’s a solution right in your WordPress mobile app: the Free Photo Library. As part of our never-ending mission to improve Media in the WordPress apps, you now have access to over 40,000 free, high-quality photos (courtesy of Pexels) right from the WordPress mobile app. It’s available to every WordPress.com member. (Did we mention that they’re free? And so are the WordPress apps, if you still haven’t downloaded one!  They’re available here.) How does it work? To get started, make sure you’ve updated the WordPress app on your phone or tablet to the latest version (9.9). Once you’ve updated the app, you can find and add free photos to your library directly from the post and page editor, or from within the Media Library: Adding from the Editor Open the Editor by either creating a new post or opening an existing one. Once you’ve opened the Editor, tap the  icon to open the Media Picker. You’ll see a few different options to choose from: device, camera, or WordPress media. If you’re on Android, tap the Device Media icon (  ), and select “Choose from Free Photo Library” from the menu. If you’re on iOS: tap the ••• icon, and select “Free Photo Library” from the options. Next, search for a photo to add to your post. Select as many images as you’d like and tap the “Add” button on the bottom right of the screen. That’s it! The images are inserted  into your post or page, and they’re also added to your Media Library seamlessly. (Note: these images will count against your site’s media storage limits.) Adding from the Media Library To add from your Media Library, navigate to My Sites (  ) and choose your site. From there, navigate to “Media, tap the  button in the top right corner, and select “Free Photo Library” from the menu. From here, the process is the same: select as many photos as you want and tap “Add” to put them into your post or page and your Media Library. Give Feedback and Get Involved The WordPress mobile apps are free and available on both iOS and Android! 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.

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