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The WordPress.com Blog

  • You Can Now Schedule Your Social Media Posts from WordPress.com

    Keeping up with social media can feel like a full-time job these days -- and for many it is. Posting your content on Twitter and Facebook during specific hours, and keeping things evenly spaced out, means that you need to tend to your profiles pretty often.

    We wanted to make it easier for WordPress.com users to create great content on their websites -- and share it across different social media networks.

    The new Advanced Social Media feature for Business and Premium plan users (and for Jetpack Professional and Premium users) lets you schedule specific times that your content will be automatically shared on places like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You can also preview your social updates before sending them, so you know exactly how it will look when it goes out.

    With Advanced Social Media, you can:

    Resurface older "evergreen" posts to share them to your newer followers. Plan your social media posts in bulk to save time. Craft messages specifically to fit the profile or network where you are posting. Preview upcoming tweets, Facebook posts, or LinkedIn updates. See the previous shares of the post.

    You can access all of these features by selecting the "Share" button under a post in your posts list.

    When you select "Share" you can share a post immediately or select the calendar to pick a future time:

    To make sure you get the best result, use the "Preview" button:

    This is just one of the many social media features we've built into WordPress.com to help you share your best work with others. We hope you enjoy, and happy tweeting!


    Filed under: Jetpack, Social, WordPress.com

  • WordPress.com Teams Up with Rebrand Cities to Bring Local Businesses Online

    Cities are collections of neighborhoods -- and neighborhoods are powered by small business. From coffee shop owners to fitness instructors, therapists to thrift stores, it's the people we see in the storefronts next door who build and reinforce the unique character of our cities.

    At WordPress.com, we want to support local businesses as they grow their own communities (and their revenue!) on the open web. That's why we've teamed up with Rebrand Cities, a project founded by Hajj Flemings to bring small businesses online, in pursuit of an audacious goal: 10,000 new websites for 10,000 small businesses and to tell their stories.

    Eighty-one percent of people research a business online before making a purchase -- but of the 28 million small businesses that drive the American economy, 46 percent still operate without a website. We want to change that.

    Rebrand Cities, a national civic design and brand project, is a multi-disciplinary collaboration with residents, community stakeholders, and local governments to strengthen the fabric -- both concrete and virtual -- of our cities. We're starting with Detroit, Miami, Newark, and Philadelphia.

    Our collaboration kicked off in Detroit, where we hosted a hackathon to work with local entrepreneurs. You can see the results of that collaboration here:

    We'll be announcing more cities soon. For more information on how your business can participate, go to Rebrand.city.

    Upcoming City Info Sessions and Exploratory Events

    Detroit, MI: July 12, 2017 Newark, NJ: July 14, 2017 Portland, OR: July 17- 20, 2017 Philadelphia, PA: July 25, 2017


    Filed under: Community, WordPress.com

  • Join Us in the Fight for Net Neutrality

    Automattic strongly believes in a free and open Internet and it's hard to imagine a truly open Internet without Net Neutrality.

    What Is Net Neutrality?

    "Net Neutrality" is the simple but very powerful principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally. Whether you're reading a blog post on WordPress.com, streaming Game of Thrones on HBO GO, or browsing handcrafted tea cozies on Etsy, your Internet service provider delivers the Internet to you at the same speed, without blocking, throttling, or charging extra tolls based on the content you're viewing. You can learn more about Net Neutrality and why it's important by visiting battleforthenet.com.

    Net Neutrality gives all online businesses, large and small, a chance to reach customers and succeed. It also protects important free speech rights online by prohibiting Internet providers from slowing or blocking sites or messages they don't agree with.

    Net Neutrality means an Internet where businesses, products, and ideas thrive or fail based on their own merit -- not on whether they have a preferred deal in place with a broadband service provider.

    We think this is the way the Internet should work, and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) agreed when they adopted their landmark Open Internet Order in 2015, enshrining Net Neutrality into law.

    The debate leading up to the Order's adoption saw scores of Internet companies (like Automattic) and millions of Internet users - including the President of the United States - stand up against powerful cable monopolies, and in support of strong Net Neutrality protections. Our voices won an important victory for the open Internet.

    But...

    Net Neutrality is Under Attack, Again

    In May 2017, under the very misleading moniker: "Restoring Internet Freedom," the FCC, led by Chairman Ajit Pai, proposed to repeal the popular Net Neutrality rules. Though millions of Internet users support the rules, powerful cable and Internet providers would like nothing more than to repeal them, so that they can act as paid gatekeepers of what we see online. Indeed, without Net Neutrality, the Internet would look a lot more like cable TV, where the content you see is what your cable provider is paid to put in front of you.

    We have to stop that from happening.

    Take Action to Protect Net Neutrality

    July 12 is an Internet-wide day of action in support of Net Neutrality. If you share our love of the free and open Internet and want to join the fight to preserve it, please join in!

    Please take a moment today to help by:

    (1) sending a message of support to the FCC, which you can do by visiting battleforthenet.com and

    (2) enabling the Fight for Net Neutrality Plugin on your WordPress site, to show your support and encourage others to take action, too. Instructions for installing the plugin on your site are below.

    Fight for Net Neutrality on Your WordPress Site

    For this day of action, we've built a "Fight for Net Neutrality" plugin that you can enable now on your WordPress site to show support for this important cause.

    For WordPress.com sites:

    Turn the plugin on by going to your Settings tab on your dashboard. At the top of the Settings menu, you will see a toggle switch - flip it to on (blue) to enable the Net Neutrality plugin:

    For WordPress sites (not hosted on WordPress.com):

    First, visit the WordPress.org plugin directory to download and install the Net Neutrality Plugin - here.

    Then, once installed on your site, go to your wp-admin, Settings > Fight for Net Neutrality, and enable the plugin, like so:

    Regardless of where you host your WordPress - enabling the plugin will replace a few of the posts on your site with a "Still Loading" spinner...to show what life will be like on an Internet without Net Neutrality, that features dreaded slow lanes.

    The plugin will also display a banner that shows your support for Net Neutrality, and links to battleforthenet.com, where visitors to your site can send a letter to the FCC about this important issue.

    After the day of action, the plugin will automatically disable, and your site will return to normal.

    Together we can make a difference, and we hope you'll join us in this important battle for the open Internet!


    Filed under: Admin Bar

  • WordPress.com Gets a Perfect Score from the EFF for Digital Privacy Rights

    At Automattic, we're proud of our commitment to fighting for the digital rights of our users and of our work to keep the internet free and open. Today we're honored to receive another perfect score from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in its annual Who Has Your Back? report.

    The EFF is a well-known nonprofit organization committed to defending digital privacy, free speech, and innovation, and their report evaluates internet companies on how well they safeguard user information when governments come knocking.

    This continues our streak of perfect scores. We received 5/5 stars in the last Who Has Your Back? report that we were included in (2015), and 5/5 stars in the EFF's most recent Who Has Your Back?: When Copyright and Trademark Bullies Threaten Free Speech report (2014).

    In this year's report, the EFF awarded stars to WordPress.com for:

    Following industry-wide best practices. Promising to notify users about law enforcement requests before turning over data. Refusing to voluntarily provide government with access to any data about users for law enforcement, intelligence gathering, or other surveillance purposes. Fighting for user privacy in Congress by taking a public position against the re-authorization of Section 702. Standing up to National Security Letter (NSL) gag orders.

    This last criterion is especially important in this day and age. NSLs are a legal tool that give the FBI power to demand data about ordinary American citizens without judicial review, while also prohibiting service providers like Automattic from informing the public or the users affected by the requests. The potentially indefinite gag orders associated with NSLs worry us, and many others.

    Fortunately, there are new legal procedures that allow internet companies like us to request judicial review of the troublesome gag orders associated with NSLs. Unfortunately, we can't provide specifics, but we can tell you that our policy is to ensure that every NSL gag order imposed on us (if any) is reviewed by a judge, as now allowed by the law. On the numbers of NSLs that we receive, we report the most we can under the law in our transparency report, which as you can see is not very much.

    Outside of these criteria, we continually work to make our own legal policies and practices for safeguarding user information as user-protective as possible. We have stringent requirements for disclosing user data in response to government requests, we push back on any overreaching demands, and we're as transparent as we are allowed to be (within the law) about the requests we receive. You can check out our bi-annual transparency report here.

    We're very encouraged that many companies in this year's report scored well, and are thrilled to be in good company. This isn't a zero-sum game; companies can work together (and with the EFF!) to advance policies and practices that protect internet users. We do what we can to protect our own corner of the internet, but also like to share our learnings with others who might build on or improve what we've done. This is why our Legal Guidelines, legal forms, DMCA templates, Terms of Service, and Privacy Policies are all licensed under Creative Commons licenses, and many of these documents are available on GitHub.

    We hope other companies, especially smaller startups, can use or take inspiration from the policies we've built to further user rights on their own sites and platforms.

    Thank you to the EFF for including us in your report, and for all of your work to advance important digital rights online. And thanks especially to every WordPress.com user for continuing to trust us with your sensitive information and content. We've got your back.


    Filed under: Admin Bar

  • The Best of WordPress.com: Summer Edition

    Hi everyone! Here's a snapshot of some of the excellent WordPress.com community advice, insights, and updates that we enjoyed over the past month.

    What's new

    Introducing Your New Social Icons Widget

    The Social Icons Widget allows you to connect your site to your favorite social media networks. You can activate it by going to My Site -> Customize -> Widgets. Check out the full guide to using the new widget or just watch the video above to learn more.

    An All-New Media Library for the WordPress iOS App

    In May we launched a new media picker for Android iOS users, and in June, we announced a new media library in the 7.8 release of WordPress for iOS. It includes a top-level section for each site you manage. With one tap from the details menu, you can view all your media, search, edit metadata, delete items, and upload new items. How's that for efficiency? Download the easy to use WordPress app for iOS and Android.

    Designing for [X]: Visual artists

    New Theme: AltoFocus

    The AltoFocus theme features a tiled layout that's designed to help visual artists showcase their talents. The grid automatically shifts to accommodate new posts, no matter the screen size. Try it out, leave a link to your AltoFocus-themed site in the comments, and tell us how well you think it shows off your best work.

    In your toolbox: inspiration insights

    Blogging Made Easier: Five Tricks You Should Know

    Leif Singer, part of the design and research team at WordPress.com, shared a few features that streamline your publishing experience, including how to easily add images to posts and respond quickly to comments. We hope these tricks help you accomplish your site and blogging goals.

    101 Books to Dive Into This Summer

    Illustration by Maya Sariahmed

    TED Ideas (powered by WordPress.com VIP) compiled dozens of recommendations by TED speakers and published a summer reading list to conquer all others. Whatever your areas of interest, you'll find something excellent on this list.

    Quotables: "We are-or at least I am-equipped with this expansive mental chest of drawers. Each drawer is packed with memories, or information. There are big drawers and small ones. A few have secret compartments, where information can be hidden. When I am writing, I can open them, extract the material I need and add it to my story." - Haruki Murakami's Advice to Young Writers (Longreads).

    Now following

    WordPress.org's new monthly updates, which has launched with a few awesome announcements for June.

    Photographer Sean Strecker's new site, strex.blog, shows off works like this photo of a winter sunset overlooking Burleigh Beach.

    Follow us on Twitter for insights about the WordPress.com community, writing tips, plus the top daily business, technology, and social media news. Tweet using the hashtag #PoweredbyWordPress to share your latest work.

    That's all for now!

    What did you love about your own work in June? Comment with a link to a post you're proud of or something new you learned about designing your site. Feeling motivated? Download the WordPress app on iOS and Android.


    Filed under: Community, Discover, WordPress, WordPress.com

  • Connect to Your Fans and Followers with the New Social Icons Widget

    We're excited to introduce the new Social Icons Widget, which allows you to connect with visitors on your favorite social media networks.

    The new widget supports over 40 popular social platforms, from the ubiquitous Facebook and Twitter, to crafter haven Etsy, to artsy enclaves like DeviantArt and Dribbble. Highlight music or podcasts through SoundCloud or iTunes, or connect with your community via Meetup or Yelp. Business owners will also appreciate being able to hook up their company's LinkedIn page.

    The new widget offers more flexibility, letting you choose from among three icon sizes: small, medium, and large. Pick the one that looks best on your site! You can even drag-and-drop the links in your Customizer to reorder your social icons.

    Activate it now by going to My Site -> Customize -> Widgets. For self-hosted WordPress users, this new widget will be available in Jetpack soon.

    If you've been using the old Social Media Icons Widget, never fear -- your widget will not disappear. You can keep using it if you prefer, but we'd encourage you to switch to the new widget for greater flexibility and more options.

    Check out our full guide to using the new widget, or take a look at the video below.


    Filed under: Widgets

  • Blogging Made Easier: Five Tricks You Should Know

    Writing interesting blog posts, creating attractive pages, and interacting with your visitors -- these are essential ways to help you build a body of work, a successful business, or a growing audience online.

    I'm part of a team focused on design and research at WordPress.com -- I like to find ways to improve your experience, and to help you reach your website or blogging goals. In this post, I've compiled five of our favorite WordPress.com features that streamline your publishing experience and help you make an impact with your work faster.

    Post Settings That You Can Hide

    We've recently moved things around a bit in the editor. The settings for your post or page are now on the right -- and can be hidden! Just click the cogwheel icon above your toolbar.

    If you yearn for a more minimal experience, hide the post settings so you can focus on your writing.

    Add Images in a Snap

    Visuals make posts and pages more compelling. But going through the steps to add image files often takes time and interrupts your flow.

    Did you know you can add images simply by dragging and dropping? Just drag an image file from your computer into the browser window and drop it in your post.

    In the screen capture above you might have noticed a smaller, rectangular area on the right where you can drop your featured image. Many themes use featured images as header images or when displaying posts in lists. It's an important image, if not the most important image, that you can set for your post.

    A Visual Page Hierarchy

    On WordPress.com, you can nest pages -- a page can have a few "child" pages, and these child pages can have their own child pages, and so on. Many themes then use this information to display different levels of navigation. Super useful!

    But until recently, it's been a bit cumbersome to understand this hierarchy when working on your pages, and impossible to see at a glance. But not anymore!

    At My Site -> Pages, we now show the page hierarchy on the pages list (if you have fewer than 100 pages). This makes it much easier to scan your site's structure and directly find what you're looking for.

    Change Your Slugs

    When you give your post or page a title, WordPress.com automatically creates a slug for it. That's useful, but if you'd like to change it, you can do so yourself by clicking on the chain link icon to the left of your post or page title:

    You can shorten the slug or even rename it entirely. For example, let's say you had a page called "Our Restaurant's Menu" -- WordPress will create it at "/our-restaurants-menu." But now you know: You can make it accessible at the shorter and simpler "/menu." Ideally, you do this before you hit publish, so that your readers will have the correct URL going forward.

    Reply to Comments From the Posts List

    For many of you, being able to interact with your site's visitors is one of the most important aspects of having a website. Did you know you can respond to your comments all in one place?

    Take a look at your post list at My Site -> Blog Posts. If a post has comments, you'll see a small chat bubble among the icons on the bottom right. Did you know you can reply to comments right from here?

    Try it out the next time someone comments on one of your posts. And if you get a lot of comments, this is an easy way to streamline conversations and keep in touch with your readers or customers.

    ***

    We work to make WordPress.com a bit better every day, and we hope that these tricks help make blogging, writing, and designing your site easier and faster for you.

    Do you have a pet peeve -- a small thing that you think could be made even faster, simpler, or just better? Let us know in the comments.


    Filed under: Better Blogging, Features, Resources, settings, WordPress.com

  • An All-New Media Library for the WordPress iOS App

    We recently launched an all-new media picker for WordPress for Android. Now, iOS users, you're next! The new 7.8 release of WordPress for iOS includes a top-level Media Library section for each site you manage -- making it even easier to share your images, video, and other media with the world.

    With just one tap from your site's details menu, you can view all your media, search, edit metadata, delete items, and upload new items.

    We know that for many of you your smartphone is your camera. We want the WordPress mobile apps to be the easiest way for you to store and share your photos and video on the open web. This is just the beginning of the improvements you can expect to see for
    WordPress for iOS.

    If you haven't already, download WordPress for iOS from the App Store, give it a try, and let us know what you think!


    Filed under: Mobile, New Features, Photos, Video

  • New Theme: AltoFocus

    Today we're happy to announce the latest addition to our collection of free themes: AltoFocus!

    AltoFocus is a spinoff of the original AutoFocus theme from a few years ago. Its elegant tiled layout helps artists, photobloggers, and other creatives showcase their talents.

    Designed by Allan Cole, it highlights featured images in a way that engages readers and then gets out of the way of what truly matters -- your work. The grid automatically shifts and re-forms to accommodate each new post you publish, creating an ever-changing collage of your creativity that draws visitors in while remaining clean and easy to navigate. And of course, it does this no matter the screen size.

    Read more about its features on the Theme Showcase, check out the demo site, or dive right into previewing it on your blog from Appearance -> Themes.


    Filed under: Themes

  • The Best of WordPress.com in May

    Hi everyone! Check out some of the new updates, designs, and insights that helped make May a great month for the WordPress.com community.

    What's new

    How a Detroit Hackathon Turned into WordPress.com's First-Ever TV Spots

    A team of developers launched new sites for small businesses in Detroit during a 48-hour Hackathon in February, an event which inspired the creation of our first-ever TV spots for WordPress.com.

    Happy Birthday, WordPress!

    Celebrating 14 years since the very first release of WordPress, co-founder Matt Mullenweg says he's "waking up every day excited about what's coming next for us."

    Launching: All New Media Picker for Android

    "YES!! This is so awesome! I use my phone for photos so much and it was always so many steps to add pictures to the library to add to a post. Thank you!!" - Nel

    Register for a Free Webinar on June 6: How to Start a Successful Blog

    Whether you're new to WordPress.com and want to learn about all of your options for publishing online, or have been blogging for a while and would like to hone your practice, consider this upcoming webinar on June 6 from 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. MST (Mountain Standard Time) / 5-6 p.m. UTC.

    May the Bot Be With You: How Algorithms are Supporting Happiness at WordPress.com

    Each month, we respond to 60,000 support requests on topics ranging from plugins to mapping existing domains to WordPress.com. Recently, in looking at how machine learning and natural language processing could be useful to Happiness Engineers in responding to support questions, we discovered two places where these technologies offer value.

    Designing for [X]: inclusion

    Inclusive Illustrations, By Design

    Automattic partnered with independent artist and designer Alice Lee, who seamlessly integrates abstract ideas with concrete solutions. Read an interview with Alice and John Maeda that is followed by another interview with Joan Rho, the designer who led the project.

    In your toolbox: inspiration insights

    "The Backfire Effect" Is the Cognitive Concept of the Moment

    There's a good chance you came across this lovely viral Oatmeal comic in May. It's based on a three-episode sequence from You Are Not So Smart, a popular podcast and WordPress.com site devoted to the backfire effect, the name of a detrimental cognitive phenomenon which encourages us to shut out information when it doesn't fit into what we already think we know.

    What's New at Film School Rejects

    Film School Rejects migrated back to WordPress from Medium in May, unveiling a new site design. Publisher Neil Miller talks to WordPress Discover about the move, what's to come, and how he and his team pick the "perfect shot."

    Quotables: "All of us from time to time would think, What am I doing here? But we all had families back home that we needed to send money to." - Chasing the Harvest: 'If You Want to Die, Stay at the Ranch' (Longreads).

    Now following

    Antonio Santos's new site, antoniosantos.blog, features an excellent profile of Rosemary Musachio, Chief Accessibility Officer at Ruh Global Communications.

    We're digging the fresh, mobile-friendly layout of Nick Gray's new site, NickGray.blog.

    Hang out with us on Facebook for daily news and insights to inform and inspire your writing, design, and business dreams.

    That's all for now!

    What did you love about your own work in May? Comment with a link to a post you're proud of or something new you learned about designing your site. Feeling motivated? Download the WordPress app on iOS and Android.


    Filed under: Design, Diversity & Inclusion, New Features, WordPress, WordPress.com



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