WordPress.com News

Join us in a Digital Climate Strike

With fires raging in the Amazon, hurricanes ripping across the Atlantic, and typhoons flooding Japan, our planet and our climate are sending us a message: We can no longer continue with business as usual. The week starting September 20th, 350.org is organizing a Global Climate Strike, in association with Fridays For Future, to show global leaders that the time to act is now. Alongside the people walking out of workplaces, schools, and homes around the world, 350.org is organizing a digital climate strike. Websites participating in the digital strike will promote the physical strikes in the lead-up to the date, and partially block themselves to users on September 20th itself. That is where you come in! Starting today, you can opt into the digital climate strike with your WordPress.com site, showing your commitment to this critical topic and spreading the word about the event. Between now and September 20th, your site will display a small climate strike banner. On the 20th, it will transform into a dismissible full-screen overlay. WordPress.com site owners can head to My Site > Settings. At the top of the Settings menu, you will see a toggle switch — flip it on to join the digital climate strike. Other WordPress sites can also join the movement by installing the Digital Climate Strike plugin from the WordPress.org plugin repository. After the day of action, the banner will automatically disappear (or if you’ve installed the plugin, it will automatically disable) and your site will return to normal. Together we can make a difference, and we hope you’ll join us in supporting this movement.

WordPress.com and Fiverr Partner to Launch “WordPress.com Fundamentals” Course

Getting your new business website ready for launch? Want a little hand-holding — a step-by-step tutorial on setting up a WordPress.com site from start to finish, that you can work on at your own pace and on your own time? “WordPress.com Fundamentals,” a comprehensive video course created with our friends over at Fiverr, walks you through all the fundamentals in 90 minutes. The course covers the basics of setting up a business website, but anyone new to WordPress.com can benefit from lessons on how to create an account, set up a site, customize a theme, publish content, and share it on social media. It was developed by WordPress.com Happiness Engineers with years of experience guiding thousands of new WordPress.com customers in chat, email, forums, and concierge sessions, so you know you’re getting expert guidance from people who know every WordPress.com tip and trick. The entire course is just $31, which includes unlimited access to all the course materials, quizzes, and downloadable resources. Take it all at once, or learn at the pace that works for you — the course is divided into bite-sized chapters that you can refer to as many times as you need. Students are also eligible for a discount of 25% on WordPress.com plan upgrades! So if you’ve been hesitating to explore the advanced features in the Premium, Business, or eCommerce plans, the course gives you both a great introduction to the ease and power of WordPress.com and a lower-cost way to try them out. To get started, head over to the course page on the Learn from Fiverr website. Click on the green “Buy Course” button, and follow the prompts to create an account and purchase the course. And until the end of September, get 30% off the course fee by entering coupon code learnwordpress at checkout. And if you do take the class, let us know what you think. Fiverr will send out a survey to all students after completing the class, so be sure to fill it out. We want to know what works for you, what you’d like to see more of, and where we can improve.

When Experienced Women Engineers Look for New Jobs, They Prioritize Trust and Growth

How can we increase gender representation in software engineering? Our Developer Hiring Experience team analyzed this topic in a recent user-research study. The issue resonated with women engineers and a strong response enabled the team to gain deeper insight than is currently available from online research projects. Seventy-one engineers who identified as women or non-binary responded to our request for feedback. Out of that pool, 24 answered a follow-up survey, and we carried out in-depth interviews with 14 people. This was a highly skilled group, with the majority having worked in software development for over 10 years.  While some findings aligned with our expectations, we still uncovered a few surprises.  The Job Hunt In initial job hunts, respondents were found to rely heavily on their existing networks and on personal outreach from companies. If they do not have a pre-existing connection with a company, they’ll likely scrutinize it for red flags before they submit an application. Job descriptions are searched for any discouraging language — for example, if parental leave descriptions only refer to mothers. Information — about the job, salary, team, and hiring process — is key for encouraging applications. Stack Overflow is a popular resource for job hunting; whereas Glassdoor is viewed as less useful, and more as a venting forum for former employees or unsuccessful candidates.  The Hiring Process The most favorable hiring processes represent a growth opportunity, rather than being purely evaluative. Communication and responsiveness are important, as is the visibility of other women within the team. For some participants, interviewing is seen as a skill to maintain. These developers are continually keeping an eye on job listings to stay abreast of their options. However, the chance for growth was the most widespread reason for actually leaving a current position.  Job Satisfaction  Consistently being able to have an impact, including leadership opportunities, stood out as important; if this is lacking, experienced women engineers are likely to seek new employment. Dissatisfaction can also be caused by being pushed onto the management track and having to fight to continue to focus on technical work.  The data showed women are looking for more communities focused on connecting to other senior-level women, and around more technical topics. Concerns around online harassment can put women off trying to build their network online.  Changes at Automattic  We are working on Automattic’s employment branding to reflect our findings. We are in the process of gathering resources to better describe work at Automattic, and we’re encouraging existing developers to increase their visibility outside of the company — whether through writing or engaging in their communities.  In job postings, we have removed any gameplay or language that emphasizes hiring as a competitive process — for instance, we no longer mention application volume. Instead, job postings highlight learning and career opportunities for the candidate. Adding the term “Senior” to postings is also being tested. Although this implies a job ladder that does not necessarily exist here, the research clarified that its absence sent the message that all positions are mid-level roles, without the path to growth that women candidates tend to look for.  We are also managing candidates’ expectations by making the whole hiring process more transparent, and have created a public page outlining the hiring process. We’ve made it easier for interested applicants to have casual chats with other women at Automattic. We also offer candidates the opportunity for one-on-one calls with a member of the Developer Experience team during the final stages of hiring; this has started with under-indexed candidates but with a view to rolling it out to everyone. These chats take place outside of the formal hiring process to provide an opportunity for the applicant to ask any questions they have and for the company to better understand their career goals and motivation.  We are tracking the progress made and are excited to be able to contribute data to the field of gender representation in engineering. If you’d like to take a more in-depth look at our study, please do read the more detailed write up on our developer blog, or download the PDF! Interested to learn what positions are currently open at Automattic? We’re always hiring. 

The Second Edition of Our “Learn User Support” Workshop Is Open for Signups

Back in January, we partnered with Support Driven and launched the first version of the Learn User Support Workshop, which helps women in the Asia-Pacific region develop the skills they need to succeed in a technical support role. We had 24 students enrolled in our first cohort. Today, we’re happy to share that the next edition of the Learn User Support Workshop will launch on August 19, 2019. The course is entirely web-based — there’s no need to travel anywhere to attend — and completely free. So if you identify as a woman, are based in the Asia-Pacific region, and are serious about a career in user support, this might be a perfect match for you. Building a better, bigger workshop The strong positive feedback we received from our students earlier this year, as well as the increasingly long waitlist, inspired us to improve the course content and to design it to accommodate more learners.  What topics will we cover? As a participant, expect to learn how to… Develop your own support philosophy.Build successful troubleshooting strategies.Manage challenging interactions.Implement productivity tools.Optimize your approach to applying and interviewing for jobs in support. This six-module course will start on August 19 and will run through September 29. We will publish a new module every Monday, and each learner will have one week to complete it. We’ll include lots of hands-on work, and by the end of the course, each participant will also develop a résumé and portfolio site on WordPress that they can then share with potential employers. Meet your friendly organizers As for your teachers, the people who lead this workshop are Automattic Happiness Engineers — master communicators with deep, wide-ranging experience in distributed technical support.  Automattic, which offers the workshop, is a fully-distributed company — there are more than 930 full-time Automatticians spread across 70 countries and speaking 88 languages. We serve users from every corner of the world via products like WordPress.com, Jetpack, and WooCommerce, among others.  As people who believe in the benefits of distributed work, we love helping remote professionals level up their skills. Our commitment to Diversity & Inclusion leads us to look for ways to make the tech sector more representative of the wide and varied world it serves. As a result, this virtual workshop will equip Asia-Pacific-based women who are — or want to become — support professionals with skills that are specifically tailored to the demands of remote work.   Are you ready to sign up? Just click below: SIGN UP NOW! We have 20 slots for this cohort on a first come, first serve basis. We will get in touch with you via email if you are selected for the course. If you know anyone who might be a good fit, feel free to share this post with them!

Four New WordPress.com Color Schemes

We heard you: You want bolder and brighter colors on WordPress.com. Today we’re bringing your WordPress.com dashboard to life with four new color schemes: introducing Midnight, Sunset, Ocean, and Contrast. You may recognize some of these colors as old friends. Midnight, Sunset, and Ocean are based on early versions of WordPress — a nod to our roots as we evolve: If bright and bold isn’t your jam, you might prefer Contrast, a black-and-white scheme meant to bring your WordPress.com dashboard into sharp focus: 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 remains 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 SchemeClick Save Account Settings to apply the change

More Stats, Better Stats, Faster Stats: A Whole New Mobile Experience

If you’re like me, Stats is one of your most-visited screens in your WordPress app — we all want to know people are reading! Whether you use iOS or Android, the latest versions have Stat updates that bring you more useful data, faster. Updates to the layout, available statistics, and how they’re handled behind the scenes mean you can hone in what’s most important to you and to your site’s growth. What’s new? All-new design Stats got a facelift! The numbers are easier to read, easier to compare, and easier to track over time. Customise your stats Blogger who wants to keep an eye on your follower count, a business owner who wants a quick update on daily views? Insights Management lets you choose what stats to include so your at-a-glance updates include what’s most important to you. (This feature is only available on Android at the moment, and is coming soon to iOS.) Zero in on time periods Use the new dedicated date bar on the days, weeks, months and years tabs, to explore date ranges. Stats at a glance Your Insights tab is now optimised for quick updates so you can get key information about your site’s performance all on one screen. How do I find this? Update your app to the latest version. You can find them here, or in your Apple Store or Google Play. And that’s it! Head to Stats for any of your site for a new and improved analytics experience. We understand how important stats are — we run websites, too! — so we’re always working to develop and improve them. We’d love to hear about your experience with the latest and greatest!

Want to See a More Diverse WordPress Contributor Community? So Do We.

The mission of WordPress is to democratize publishing: to make it possible for anyone — no matter their background, location, or identity — to bring their ideas to life on the internet. This mission inspires thousands of volunteers all over the world to contribute to the WordPress open source project, building and supporting the software that makes this possible. But as in most technology organizations, the people who work on WordPress aren’t always representative of all the people who use WordPress. The majority of WordPress core developers, conference speakers, and other volunteers are young men. That’s where the WordPress Diverse Speaker Training Working Group comes in. Breaking Down Barriers A group of WordPress community organizers and volunteers, led by freelance developer Jill Binder, is working to change this. They’ve developed a workshop that trains women and other people from traditionally underrepresented groups in technology who’d like to present at conferences and WordCamps. These training events are organized by local WordPress meetup groups, and are always completely free of charge. WordPress Vancouver Speaker Training Workshop, 2015 The workshops help attendees address some of the common barriers and fears underrepresented people have around public speaking: “I don’t know what I could speak about.” “I’m not an expert.” “I don’t know how to write a proposal.” “I don’t know how to create a presentation.” “I don’t have any experience speaking in front of groups.” In 2018, the group supported and advised 55 WordPress communities in 26 different countries. New speakers were trained in 12 different WordPress meetup groups in the US, Canada, Brazil, South Africa, and Venezuela.   All of the communities that held this workshop experienced a real change in the speaker roster for their annual conferences; many of their WordCamps went from having 10% women speakers to having 50% or more women speakers in less than a year. In 2017, Seattle had 60% women speakers and in 2018, Vancouver had 63%. Why WordCamps? Jill Binder, speaking at a WordCamp Speaking at WordCamps is a consistent path to leadership in the WordPress community, so having more diverse speakers directly supports the goal of more diverse leadership in the WordPress open source project. WordCamps are where many WordPress enthusiasts choose to become professionals. When more people see speakers like them on stage and feel welcome in the community, a more diverse group of people participate in the WordPress project. When WordPress events are more diverse, the WordPress project gets more diverse — which makes WordPress better for more people. Help Us Grow This Work Jill kicked off the Diverse Speaker Training Working Group at the beginning of 2018, and dedicated a year to it training facilitators and supporting organizers as an unpaid volunteer. This year, Automattic has signed on as a 50% sponsor of Jill Binder’s diverse speaker outreach and training work. Her work is already making a noticeable impact on the WordPress project, and we want to make this training as accessible as possible to WordCamps globally. Like anything worth doing, this is a marathon and not a sprint — it’ll take time to see a more diverse contributor pool — but we’re dedicated to making sure this necessary groundwork happens. Would you like to help foster diversity across the WordPress project? Automattic invites interested partners to pick up the other 50% of this project’s costs. Get in touch with Jill today!

Celebrating Pride Month with WordPress.com

Happy Pride Month! My favorite parts about celebrating this month are the stories shared from LGBTQ+ folks, their loved ones, and organizations looking to show support. At WordPress.com, we strive to be a platform that democratizes publishing so that anyone can share their stories regardless of income, gender, politics, language, or where they live in the world. This month is a great reminder for why we work hard to expand the open web. For me, democratizing publishing means more than just my ability to publish my own story. It’s about being able to share, but also being able to receive. As I celebrate Pride Month as a young, queer person, I think back to early online communities on which I found other LGBTQ+ people and how much I resonated with their stories. I feel lucky to be able to share my own story, but there are many LGBTQ+ folks who can’t. To this end, we wanted to provide resources, inspire, and highlight organizations to support as you celebrate Pride Month in your own way, whether that’s seeking out stories or writing your own. Resources The LGBTQ+ community is vast — I’m part of it, but I’m still learning new things daily. Whether you identify as LGBTQ+ or not, make sure you properly represent the community at large when you share your story with the help of these resources:   It Gets Better Project’s GlossaryThe Trevor Project’s GlossaryILGA Europe’s Glossary We know how important it is to find an image that perfectly fits your writing and, since stock-image libraries have historically struggled to represent all experiences, we wanted to share some free image options to ease your search this month: The Gender Spectrum Collection from VicePexels’ Pride ImagesPexels’ LGBT Images Have any resources to recommend? Please share them in the comments below! Part of our company creed is to never stop learning, and I’d love to learn what resources you all have found useful. Tip: Use the #celebratingpride tag to connect with other folks sharing their stories. Here’s more information about using tags. Inspiration from WordPress.com Bloggers If you want to write but are feeling stuck trying to find the words, take some inspiration this month from these writers with strong voices and varied perspectives: CN Lester, the author of Trans Like Me, shares their experience at A Gentleman and a Scholar. Sam Dylan Finch explores queen/trans identity, mental health, and self-care on his personal blog, Let’s Queer Things Up! Blogger and memoirist Lori Duron shares her parenting journey of raising a gender–creative child at Raising My Rainbow.Marlo Mack writes about her experience as a single mom of a transgender daughter at Gendermom. Tip: Make sure to follow these sites so you don’t miss any future posts. Organizations to Support from Around the World In partnership with Out in Tech, volunteers, including some of my awesome colleagues, have worked together over the last few years to create websites for LGBTQ+ organizations around the world. As you look to find organizations to support, remember to think globally, especially considering there are still 73 nations with laws against being LGBTQ+. We hope this list gives you a great place to start: Roopbaan (Bangladesh)Samabhabona (India)Almas Cautivas (Mexico)TransWave Jamaica (Jamaica)TweetIndia (India)Hombres Trans Panamá (Panamá)Russian LGBT Network (Russia)Diversidad Dominicana (Dominican Republic & Carribean)SAIL: Stop Aids in Liberia (Liberia)African Queer Youth Initiative (Across Africa)Rainbow Egypt (Egypt)Rasan (Iraq)The Rustin Fund (USA) Happy WordPress-ing. Happy Pride. For those of you sharing your own stories of being LGBTQ+ in this world, thank you for your bravery and vulnerability. For those of you who can’t share your story, please know that it gets better and that you aren’t alone this month. For those of you seeking out other people’s stories, thank you for being supportive, being open, and seeking to expand your perspective.

Publishing to WordPress from Bear Just Got Better

Sharing is a core part of the iOS experience, and WordPress is committed to helping people share their stories, products, or services freely and widely.  So when the fine folks at Shiny Frog—makers of the excellent writing app Bear—asked for an easier way turn Bear notes into WordPress posts, we enthusiastically said yes. We’ve been working together to create a great publishing experience, and today Bear and WordPress both have app updates that incorporate this latest and greatest integration. Go ahead, give it a try! The Bear and WordPress apps work together seamlessly to turn your note into a fully-formatted blog post. Update your Bear and WordPress apps to make sure you’re using the latest versions.Open Bear, and tap the share icon at the top right of a note.Tap WordPress in the top row of options (learn how to enable app extensions on iOS).The WordPress app will open and prepare a new blog post with the contents of your note, complete with proper formatting of headings, links, formatting, lists, and even photos. To automatically give your blog post a title, make sure your Bear note begins with an H1. You’re all set—the only thing left to do is publish. How we did it If you’re curious about the technical details: our mobile team updated the app to support TextBundle files shared from other apps. On Bear’s end, the app now knows WordPress for iOS supports TextBundle, and automatically shares notes in that format. TextBundle is made for sharing plain text files that include attachments like photos, and since it’s  built on an open standard, other developers can integrate their apps with it. If you’re an app developer looking to improve your WordPress publishing experience, you can start with Shiny Frog’s open source TextBundle library, the same one that’s used in WordPress for iOS. Finally, if you try out this new integration, let us know what you think! Download the WordPress mobile app for iOS and Android.

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.

Pages

Recommended Content