Our upcoming webinar will help you get started with your e-commerce site.
Are you taking your first steps in selling a product or service online and don’t know where to start? Be sure to register for our upcoming WooCommerce 101 webinar, where our expert Happiness Engineers will walk you through everything you need to know about setting up an online store with WooCommerce and WordPress.com managed hosting.
Date: Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Time: 16:00 UTC | 18:00 CEST | 12pm EDT | 9:00am PDT
Who’s invited: business owners, entrepreneurs, freelancers, service providers, store owners, and anyone else who wants to sell a product or service online.
What you’ll learn
Whether you’re an e-commerce veteran or this is your first business, join us for the inside scoop on launching a store that’s fully customizable, completely yours, and ready to grow from the start. In this live webinar, our Happiness Engineer will demonstrate how to:
Instal Woo on your existing WordPress site
Use the setup wizard to get up and running fast
Set up simple products, basic shipping, and tax support
Collect payments through WooCommerce Payments and other gateways
No previous e-commerce experience is necessary, but we recommend a basic familiarity with WordPress.com to ensure you can make the most from the webinar. A Q&A session will follow the walkthrough, so be sure to bring any questions you might have! Seats are limited, so register now to reserve your spot. See you then!
Unleash your inner educator and boost your blog’s impact with these interactive blocks and course-building LMS features.
One of the biggest benefits of our Business and Commerce plans is that you can add additional WordPress plugins to enhance the functionality of your website.
Below, we’re highlighting two of the newest additions to our plugin marketplace, now available at a hefty exclusive discount for WordPress.com users.
Create courses with Sensei Pro
Automattic, the same company behind WordPress.com, creates Sensei LMS. We’ve collaborated to bring our Learning Management System and course creation tools to WordPress.com sites in one seamless experience.
With Sensei Pro, you can create online courses with quizzes, certificates, cohorts, and detailed student reports. Lessons are edited just like WordPress posts or pages, so you will already know how it works.
You can enable the distraction-free Learning Mode to provide students with an optimized mobile-friendly learning environment that keeps your course content front and center.
Videos are often a big part of online courses. WordPress.com sites also come with our VideoPress service, which lets you upload videos directly to your site without dealing with a third-party tool or embed codes. Especially important for video courses, you can mark a video as “private” to ensure it won’t be downloaded or linked to, and will only be available to course students.
Even better, with Sensei’s Interactive Videos block, you can create pause points with additional content to any video. For example:
Add a quiz question in the middle of a course video.
Add a contact form to the end of a sales video.
Show links to additional resources to a blog post video.
Add Interactive Videos to any WordPress page or post. They are not limited to courses or lessons.
In addition to the Interactive Videos, Sensei also comes with interactive and educational content blocks, including:
Using these blocks, you can craft compelling content that captivates and keeps your readers engaged. Whether writing an educational blog post or creating a sales landing page, you can add these blocks to any WordPress page or post.
Sensei Interactive Blocks — interactive videos, accordions, image hotspots, flashcards, and task lists. Creating courses is not needed to be able to use these blocks. Get Sensei Interactive Blocks here.
If you’re a blogger or content creator who wants to reach a wider audience, the ActivityPub plugin is perfect for you.
We’re excited to announce that Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com, has acquired the popular WordPress plugin ActivityPub.
This innovative plugin brings a whole new level of social networking to your website by integrating it with the wider federated social web. When installed, the plugin allows you to easily share your content and interact with users on Mastodon and other platforms that also support the ActivityPub protocol.
Just as Automattic aims to do with all of our products, this plugin helps to decentralize the web, break down silos, and foster a more connected online ecosystem.
Why you should use the ActivityPub plugin
If you’re a blogger or content creator who wants to reach a wider audience, the ActivityPub plugin is perfect for you. Just as Jetpack Social — another one of our great plugins! — automatically shares content to large social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, ActivityPub automatically allows anyone on a federated network to follow your blog’s posts, which will show up in their Home feed. The federated networks include:
Responses on those platforms show up in your WordPress post’s comments, allowing you to interact directly with readers across the fediverse, streamlining engagement and creating a more cohesive online presence.
Moreover, in using ActivityPub for WordPress, you’re supporting the open source movement, promoting transparency and collaboration, and empowering users to take control of their online experience and contribute to a more diverse and inclusive internet landscape.
How to install ActivityPub for WordPress
Installing the ActivityPub plugin is a breeze, even if you’ve never added a plugin before.
3. Once activated, you can click “Manage plugin,” which allows you to choose the type of content that will show up in fediverse feeds — if you’re not quite ready for that, you can always access it later under “Settings” → “ActivityPub.”
At Automattic, our philosophy has always been to democratize publishing and make the web a better place. In our acquisition of ActivityPub for WordPress, we’re doing that for the social web.
How would you like to use one of your domains as your handle across the web? Here’s a first step towards making that a reality.
WordPress.com is an organization — like others within Automattic — that is heavily invested in Open Source and the democratization of the web. We genuinely believe that everyone should have control over their presence, their data, and even their social experiences. That’s why we’re really excited about some of the work Bluesky is doing.
What is Bluesky?
We’re building a new foundation for social networking which gives creators independence from platforms, developers the freedom to build, and users a choice in their experience.
Think about all of the different pieces tied to any one of your social accounts:
Your username – how people identify you in that platform
The content you’ve created
The media you’ve uploaded
The conversations you’ve had with others
Your connections to influencers, brands, and businesses
Purchases within a specific platform
Now, imagine being able to bring all of that with you when you get frustrated with changes on one social network and rediscover the magic of one you had *almost* forgotten about. 😉
This is exactly what Bluesky is trying to accomplish with its AT Protocol, and we can’t wait to see how it evolves.
That’s so cool! Why is that cool?
So glad you asked!
We’re all probably familiar with the “blue checkmark of officialness” used across many social platforms. It’s essentially a way for users to identify the real accounts for famous and notable people/brands/things.
Bluesky lets you claim a domain that you own as your username/handle, and they automatically verify it by checking your domain for a simple text record. That may soundcomplicated, but it’s actually quite simple — especially on WordPress.com.
Think of it like any kind of certificate you might get, which often requires a signature from you as well as from some sort of official before it’s considered a verified document. It’s just like that, except that instead of collecting dust, this unlocks a digital superpower: a consistent way for anyone to find the real you (potentially) anywhere on the web.
How do I add a text record to my domain?
I’ll cover some simple steps for those of you who manage your domains here on WordPress.com. If you have domains registered elsewhere on the web you will have to check that registrar’s documentation. If you’d rather just manage it here, you can check out the steps to transfer it over.
Note: You will need an invitation to join to the private beta of Bluesky before you can set up an account and use this feature.
Step 3: Identify the domain you want to use and click on the vertical elipses on the right. Click “view settings.”
Step 4: Click on the arrow to the right of “DNS Records” to expand the information. Click on “Manage.”
Step 5: Click the “+ Add Record” button at the top of the screen.
Step 6: Change the record type from “A” to “TXT.”
Step 7: Add the Bluesky information to your record.
Add _atproto in the “domain name (optional)” field.
Add the Bluesky “Value” in the “Text” field.
Step 8: Click the “Add DNS record” button.
I’m always pleasantly surprised by how fast our DNS is. In this case, I was able to verify the record in the Bluesky app less than 30 seconds after I saved it on WordPress.com. Here’s what the app looks like while you’re setting up, after it’s verified, and after you officially update your handle.
If you made it this far, you’re at least a little bit interested. Let us know what piqued your interest in the comments!
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What’s New on WordPress.com: Fresh Buttons, Sticky Headers, and Time-Saving Shortcuts
Our latest batch of new features includes updated buttons, sticky blocks, and tools for more efficient site editing.
At WordPress.com, we’re always pushing our platform to do even more so that you can create, design, and publish amazing things with ease. Our newest features go a little deeper into the settings, making them particularly suited to those who call themselves tinkerers. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a pro, get in there and play around anyway! You’re more capable than you think, and if you break something our team can always get it back — we’ve all been there.
And in this case, a little experimentation can reap big rewards. All it takes is a small change or two to make a huge difference in how people see (and interact with) your website.
Let’s jump in and take a look.
Make your site’s buttons pop
Giving your buttons a shadow effect is an easy and powerful way to give your pages some extra panache. Now, new preset options available in the Styles menu let you apply that across your site.
From the Styles sidebar, click “Blocks,” and then “Buttons.” From there, you’ll see four options for how to style your buttons. This feature is only available on block themes.
When to use this feature: You’re a master of the CTA (call to action) and you put a button at the end of every blog post asking readers to watch a YouTube video, listen to a podcast, or buy a book. You’ve been thinking that those buttons are looking a little stale and flat. Use the new shadow presets to invigorate your default buttons with a depth and freshness that wasn’t there before.
Reuse a beautiful design
Not only can you copy and paste text from one block to another, you can now copy the entire styling of a block — colors, typography, and anything else — and paste it to another block of the same type.
From a block’s settings menu, select “Copy Styles.” Then once you add a new block, select “Paste Styles” from the settings menu to transfer all those design goodies.
When to use this feature: You’ve spent some time playing with gradients and type settings to make a Quote Block look really nice, and it’s paid off — now you want to bring that primo styling over to a Quote Block on a different page. Rather than recreating the steps you took, simply use “Copy Styles”/”Paste Styles” and get a gold star for efficiency.
Give readers a sticking point
A “sticky” component on your website is a piece of content (often a header + menu, though not always) that stays stuck at the top no matter how far down you scroll through a page or post. It’s a handy feature for visitors to your site, especially on mobile, where scrolling back up to a menu can be annoying.
There are other uses as well, such as an important announcement or promotion that you want visible at all times.
However, only a group can be made sticky rather than any individual template part. So you’ll first wrap your desired sticky blocks in a group, select that group, then access the “Sticky” option from the settings sidebar.
When to use this feature: Your website features long pages or posts that require a lot of scrolling. Maybe you’re a baby name consultant and have numerous lengthy lists of names. Utilize a sticky header and menu so that visitors don’t have to scroll all the way back up in order to quickly access the next category of names to peruse.
Twice as nice: copy your entire site!
Are you a professional in the web-building space? We’ve launched a new feature that allows you to easily copy the entirety of a site. Once you create your base template site, you’ll be able to spin up new client sites without starting entirely from scratch.
An important note: copying a site creates a new plan as well. For instance, copying a business site creates a new business plan at the same time.
From the wordpress.com/sites dashboard, click the three-dot menu, hit “Copy site,” go through a couple confirmation steps, and you’ll be set. This feature is available on Business and Commerce plans with Hosting Features active.
When to use this feature: You’re a solopreneur website builder and you often use previously built sites as inspiration for current builds. If you’re working on a new site and thinking about using a framework or feel that you’ve already created, copy the site with a single click and start the project with some of the work already done.
In Case You Missed It
If you missed our other recent updates, below is a quick snapshot.
Automattic’s Cocoamattic ERG Partners with Nappy.co to release a collection of 90+ images featuring Black people interacting with technology.
Ask and most small business owners or bloggers will tell you how difficult it can be to find high-quality, openly licensed stock photography for their websites. If a campaign or website calls for diverse and inclusive stock photography, you’ll more than likely come up short.
That’s why WordPress.com is excited to announce the release of the Black x Tech stock photography collection! The Cocoamattic ERG, an employee resource group at Automattic, partnered with Nappy.co to release a collection of 90+ beautiful photos of Black people interacting with technology. Nappy, a company on a mission to increase the representation of Black and Brown people in openly licensed stock photography, was a natural fit to collaborate on the initiative. Nappy co-founder Jacques Bastien is a long time WordPress user, and shares the same passion for open source.
Cocoamattic ERG co-lead Santana Inniss said of the collection, “Cocoamattic is a group that represents Black/African diaspora employees working at Automattic. Part of our mission is to increase representation of Black folks in tech. We know how impactful representation can be, and seeing yourself represented in media about technology can be the jumping off point for getting into a career in tech.”
Seeing that representation of Black folks creating or engaging with technology was sorely lacking in stock photography, Cocoamattic wanted to tackle the problem head on. Santana continues, “Getting a beautiful, authentic collection of stock photos representing Black folks onto WordPress.com was so important to us. We selected Nappy for the synergy of mission, but also because photos on Nappy.co are now indexed through Openverse.org.”
Openverse, an aggregator of openly licensed media, makes the Black x Tech photos accessible from your WordPress.com website via the Media Library, or the Image and Gallery blocks.
It doesn’t take a professional designer for your website to have a professional look.
Our latest batch of design tools empower you to create a consistently compelling style across your entire website with just a few clicks. Today we’d like to zoom in on the “Styles” settings, which allow you to make sitewide changes and create new style defaults right from the Site Editor.
Professional design without a designer
From basic options like colors and typography, to more advanced parameters like content dimensions, padding, and block-specific settings, you’re sure to find our style customizations useful no matter your level of design expertise (or lack thereof!).
Though a number of themes come with style variations that you can test out, using custom Styles gives you even more freedom and flexibility to experiment and play around with various design pieces.
Utilizing these settings creates new default styling for elements on your site, such as headings, paragraphs, and buttons. This means that any new pages or posts created will automatically inherit these styles, making the entire process much more efficient. Additionally, any changes you make will be reflected across the entire site, ensuring a consistent look and feel.
Our Site Editor design tools are perfect for those who want to save time and effort while maintaining a consistent look and feel across their website.
How to DIY design, with ease
From the Site Editor (on the left sidebar, navigate to Appearance → Editor), click the “Edit” button at the top left of the page, and then the Styles icon on the top right. A sidebar will come up with a number of options to explore. (Note: This option may not appear if the theme you’re using isn’t compatible with the Site Editor.)
The best place to start is with the Style Book. Using Style Book, you can explore the various color and typography schemes and get a sense for what different blocks will look like before implementing them:
Once you’re out of the Style Book, you can click “Browse Styles,” which allows you to preview what those style elements look like on your actual site. Remember, nothing is set in stone until you hit the “Save” button.
From there, you can experiment with specific settings for typography, colors, and layout. You can also fine-tune design aspects for specific blocks. For example, if you tweak the color or text size in the Heading Block, it’ll change every heading on your site as well as become the new default for any new headings.
When you set a block-specific style from the Site Editor, any changes you make on specific pages or posts will only apply to that placement – though you can hit the “Apply globally” button to incorporate them across the entire site.
Styles tools are available on Premium plans and above.
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Why Arborists are Essential for a Healthy Environment
As the world’s population continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly important to take care of our natural environment. One of the most important parts of the environment is the trees that surround us. Trees are vital to the health and well-being of our planet, and they provide a wide range of benefits that we simply cannot ignore. In this article, we will explore the many benefits of trees, and explain why arborists are essential for maintaining a healthy environment.
Trees Help to Combat Climate Change
One of the most significant benefits of trees is their ability to combat climate change. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in their trunks, branches, and leaves. This process, known as carbon sequestration, helps to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which in turn helps to slow down the rate of global warming.
Trees Improve Air Quality
In addition to combatting climate change, trees also improve air quality. Trees absorb pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide, and release oxygen back into the atmosphere. This helps to improve the air that we breathe, and reduces the risk of respiratory illnesses.
Trees Help to Reduce Urban Heat Island Effect
The urban heat island effect occurs when urban areas experience higher temperatures than their rural counterparts. This is due to the large amount of concrete and asphalt that absorbs heat from the sun. Trees can help to combat this effect by providing shade and reducing the amount of heat that is absorbed by these surfaces.
Trees Provide Habitat for Wildlife
Trees are also an important habitat for a wide range of wildlife, from birds and insects to mammals and reptiles. As cities and towns continue to grow, it is becoming increasingly important to protect the natural habitats of these animals. Arborists can help to ensure that trees are properly cared for, and that they continue to provide the necessary habitat for these animals.
Trees Increase Property Values
Finally, trees can also increase property values. Trees provide shade, which can help to keep homes and buildings cool during the summer months. This can reduce the need for air conditioning, which in turn can reduce energy costs. In addition, trees can make a property more visually appealing, which can increase its overall value.
Why Arborists are Essential for a Healthy Environment
While trees provide a wide range of benefits, it is important to ensure that they are properly cared for. This is where arborists come in. Arborists are professionals who specialize in the care and maintenance of trees. They are trained to identify and treat a wide range of tree-related issues, including disease, pests, and structural damage.
Arborists can also help to ensure that trees are properly pruned and trimmed. This can help to prevent branches from falling and causing damage to property or people. In addition, arborists can help to ensure that trees are planted in the right location, and that they are properly cared for throughout their lifespan.
An Open Source Approach to Creating Company Events
How does a global, fully distributed organization do successful company events?
Serendipitous connections, like discovering a shared interest with someone in line at the coffee shop, look slightly different in distributed organizations. This year, leveraging the values of open source, Automattic shared the planning and organization of a company-wide 24-hour online event among the entire company, in order to create space for serendipitous connections.
What followed was energy, diversity, and abundant creativity!
The Purpose: Intentional Random Connections
As we welcomed 2023, this event was an invitation to connect across divisions, timezones, and geographies across 90+ countries:
Intentional: We scheduled a date one month in advance so that people could create space to join at times that were convenient to them and their team.
Random: We invited any and all wonderful ideas to the agenda. We believe that great ideas can come from anywhere and anyone.
Rather than deciding the agenda up front, we entrusted the agenda to the whole company. We invited people to contribute what they’d like and then join any sessions that interested them. (This structure is built on the values of Open Space by Harrison Owen.)
Hosting a session was simple — all one had to do was choose a topic and add it directly to a shared Google Calendar which we created for the day. All that was left from there was to arrive on the day at their selected time to host their session with the folks who chose to join.
Movement among sessions was welcome and everything was optional.
The Outcomes: Abundant Creativity!
In total we had 38 sessions hosted over 24 hours (both synchronous and asynchronous). The creativity, energy, and diversity that was created far exceeded what any one person could have planned on their own.
We had cat parties, dog walks, asynchronous virtual raves, collaborative poem writing, role playing games, lego sessions, language lessons, art parties, parenting discussions, muffin making, company trivias, children’s book readings, open mics, musician parties, walks around the globe, and a lot of games! For the full list of sessions see the bottom of this post.
While many companies report difficulty getting engagement in online company events, the survey feedback from this event showed that:
100% of participants would recommend future events like this
95% of participants met with someone they’d never met before
100% of people who hosted would host a session again
For a 2,000-person company, these are pretty staggering results. The value of distributed ownership and co-creation speaks for itself!
We hope these results convince you to try this out in your own organization!
A Peek Into Some of the Sessions
Full List of Sessions
Hidden Identity Games x2
Mandarin Conversation: 中文聊天網聚
Tabletop Roleplaying Games 101
Dungeons & Dragons for Newbies
Children’s Book Reading and Conversation
Bavarder en Français: French Conversation
LEGO AFOLs Unite
Cyberpunk 2077 Roleplaying Session
Make Banana Muffins with Greg
Defuse a Bomb x2
Virtual Dog Park
Charla en Español
Parenting Teens Conversation
Brazilian Portuguese Conversation: Papo Farofa
Play Gartic Phone
Let’s Speak Italiano!
Tales from the Table
Animal Crossing Parade of Homes
Silly Games and Snacks
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What’s New on WordPress.com: Tools to Make Designing Your Site Easier Than Ever
Our newest features are largely design-focused, giving you the confidence to explore a variety of styles and then easily apply them across your entire site.
At WordPress.com, we’re always adding features and pushing our blocks and Site Editor to do more so that you can create, design, and publish amazing things with ease. Our newest features are largely design-focused, giving you the confidence to explore a variety of styles and then easily apply them across your entire site.
Let’s jump in and see what’s new.
Browse Mode: An easier way to navigate the Site Editor
Browse Mode allows you to easily explore, navigate, and edit your site’s templates and template parts, including adding new templates right from this interface. To play around with Browse Mode, simply click your site’s icon from the Site Editor.
When to use this feature: You want to see how all the pieces of your site fit together — and to jump between your templates and template parts for easy editing.
Clearer access to your advanced block settings
With more powerful blocks comes the need for easier, more intuitive access to advanced settings for those blocks. To that end, we’ve split block settings into two tabs within the sidebar. On the left side, you’ll find standard customization options like color, typography, and spacing. On the right side, you’ll find more advanced options, like layouts, custom CSS, and a button to apply changes across your entire site (more on that below).
When to use this feature: You’re working on your navigation menu and need more customization than just color or typography options. Go over to advanced settings to change the orientation of the menu from horizontal to vertical — among other things!
Preview style options with the Style Book
A number of themes, including staff favorite Twenty Twenty Three, now come with styles, which change the look and feel of your site — color, spacing, etc. — within the overarching design aesthetic of the theme.
With the newly launched Style Book, you can now see how various styles affect different blocks. You’re able to preview colors, typography, embeddable media, and more.
When to use this feature: You’re curious about switching up the colors or typography on your site, but you want to know what it’ll look like, especially within specific blocks, before committing.
Apply design changes across your entire site
When working and designing in the Site Editor, it’s easy to find yourself having created a certain style that you really like and want emulated across your entire site. With our new “Apply globally” button, you can do just that.
When to use this feature: You’ve spent some time styling a heading (or other block) on your homepage or a page template, and you want that look to carry over across all the headings (or whichever block you’re working with) on your site.
In Case You Missed It
In the midst of holiday season business, you may have missed some of our other recent and exciting updates: