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Our common goal is to democratize publishing so that anyone with a story can tell it, regardless of income, gender, politics, language, or where they live in the world.The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.
We’re happy to announce the addition of a frequently requested feature in the WordPress mobile apps: plugin management! With the 9.1 update for the iOS and Android apps, WordPress.com Business plan sites with plugins and self-hosted WordPress sites with Jetpack can now manage their plugins right in the app.
Instead of going to your dashboard in a web browser for every little plugin change, you can now browse your site’s plugins in the WordPress mobile apps, and activate, deactivate, and update plugins right from your phone. You can also manage auto-updates, remove most plugins, and find a link to the plugin’s page on WordPress.org for quick reference.
Try It Out
To find plugins in your app, make sure you’ve updated to version 9.1+ and have the Jetpack plugin (version 5.6+ required). Once you’re updated, you’ll see a new “Plugins” area under “Configure”.
If you have any questions or feedback on managing plugins in the apps, reach out to our in-app support team by tapping Me → Help & Support → Contact Us.
Today, we’re introducing Conversations: a tool in the Reader that makes it easier for you to monitor and participate in the discussions you care about the most.
Let’s face it: it can be hard to keep track of all the conversations you take part in online. When your favorite posts generate an active discussion, you might miss out on some meaningful exchanges. To find out if a post has new comments, you would have to manually search for it in your stream, or enable comment emails, which would then fill your inbox with every single comment coming from that post.
With the new Conversations page, new comments on your followed posts on any WordPress.com or Jetpack-connected sites will all appear in a single stream, including for sites you don’t follow. You’ll now be able to read and add your replies without having to leave the Reader!
You can also view earlier comments by expanding the row of avatars under a post.
Which posts will appear in Conversations? Any post you’ve Liked or commented on will show up there. You may also manually add a post by choosing the Follow Conversation option when you view the full post in the Reader…
…or directly from your stream.
If you decide to leave a conversation, just unfollow it to remove it from your Conversations stream.
By making it easier for people to monitor and participate in conversations they care about, we can encourage more interaction and allow everyone to easily join the discussions happening on your site.
Give Reader Conversations a try and let us know what you think in the comments below! Thank you, once again, for being part of the WordPress.com community.
Some years go by slowly — not because they’re busier, but maybe there’s just more out there in the world to stop and notice. We hope the WordPress.com and Jetpack community offered you some of those moments this year.
Maybe it was a helpful chat with someone on our Happiness team, or maybe you discovered a cool new feature that made business or blogging even easier. Perhaps you read something on WordPress.com that inspired you. We just want to say thanks for being here, and we’re excited to see what you all accomplish in 2018 and beyond.
Below are some highlights from the year in WordPress.com — and make sure you check out WordPress.com Discover to see more favorite moments from 2017. Happy New Year!
• Robert E. Kelly and his family became worldwide celebrities when his appearance on the BBC was interrupted by his children. “We are just a regular family, and raising two young children can be a lot of work. Because of that, it seems that the video has resonated with parents around the world,” he wrote on his blog.
Robert Kelly BBC World interview on South Korea - YouTube
WordPress.com Business Now Supports Plugins and Themes - YouTube
Of course, no website is an island: it’s more important than ever to distribute your blog posts and pages across social media, so in July we introduced social media scheduling, allowing you to plan tweets and Facebook posts far in advance and resurface popular posts from your archives:
Have you given the WordPress mobile apps a try lately? We’ve been working hard to make sure our iOS and Android apps are simple to use and have the features you need to blog right from your phone or tablet. Here are a few recent additions and updates that make blogging on the go easier:
Add Categories and Tags
Before publishing a blog post, you can add categories and tags right in the app’s post editor. To add categories and tags to a post in the iOS editor, tap the … at the top right, then Options. On Android, tap the gear icon at the top right.
(Need a refresher? Categories allow you to group related posts together on your site, and tags help people find you in the WordPress.com Reader. Keep in mind that the Reader will filter out posts using more than 15 categories and tags total, so stick to 15 or fewer.)
Edit Post Slugs and Excerpts
A post slug is the part of a post’s URL after the .com (or the .blog, .org, .net, or whichever kind of address you use). WordPress generates one for you automatically based on your post’s title — but if your post has a very long title, it will also have a very long URL. Now, you can edit your slugs in the apps to shorten them.
You can also add and edit excerpts — little summaries of your posts — in the app. Some themes display post excerpts on your home page; if yours does, you’ll want to add one to each post. They also display in the WordPress.com Reader, giving you more control over what appears there.
To find the slug and excerpt in the apps, go back into your post’s settings: head to a post and tap on … → Options (iOS) or on the gear icon (Android), Scroll to the bottom of the screen to find the slug and excerpt options.
Add a Featured Image
Lots of themes use Featured Images to draw readers’ eyes to your posts and pages. And when readers share your posts, the Featured Image is often used by Twitter, Facebook, and other networks. It’s the first part of a post most people see, and plays a big role in whether people decide to read.
To add a featured image to a post, open a post and go back to — you guessed it! — …→ Options (iOS) or the gear icon (Android). You can change an existing featured image there, too.
Easier Reading and Accessibility
The apps have seen several changes to make them easier to use, including better button and image descriptions for screen readers and improved zooming to increase text size. If you’ve had trouble with small text in one of the apps before or found something to be inaccessible, give it another try and be sure to let our support team know if you see areas where we can improve further.
If you have any questions, you can reach our support team right in the apps by going to Me → Help & Support → Contact Us. We’d love to hear your feedback!
Small Business is a new premium theme for your entrepreneurial endeavors. At an introductory price of just $5 (or free with the Premium or Business plans), it’s a worthwhile investment for your business.
Small Business was designed with a simple, single-column layout for a consistent reading experience no matter the device or screen size, and uses system fonts to reduce page-load time. We’ve also included a few tailored features just for small businesses, like:
Contact Information: Your customers are busy people – that’s why easy access to essential information like your phone number and address is so important. Small Business displays a banner with your contact information on every page and turns all the information into links, so your customers can call, email, or find you on a map with a click.
Promo Area: Do you have a new product coming out? A seasonal sale? A special event? Whatever it is, you’ll want to put this information right on the front page to make sure your customers see and act on it. Small Business includes a Promo Area area that makes it as easy as flipping a switch!
Style Packs: If Small Business’ bold design doesn’t feel right for you, choose one of the three included Style Packs — Modern Flair, Country Charm, or Classic Elegance — for a different look and feel with the click of a button.
Photo Blog is our new premium theme for visual storytellers. It’s available for $36, or comes free with the Premium or Business plans.
Photo Blog comes with many features that help your photographs shine:
Layout: Along with its default square layout, Photo Blog comes with two additional layout options. The Grid layout adds space between your images, while Masonry creates an interlocking grid, which respects your image orientation and pieces them cleanly together.
Featured Images Filter: Photo Blog comes with a variety of image filters you can apply to your Featured Images. Choose from faded Reyes, black-and-white Willow, saturated Lo-fi, or one of the other 23 options.
Style Packs: If you’re searching for a different look for Photo Blog, check out its Style Packs — Elegant, Retro Photo, or Vintage Paper — to change up your site’s appearance.
Here are some of the updates you’ll see:
We included real-world, concrete examples to illustrate our policies and give you a clearer picture of how we collect and use personal information. For example, to explain our disclosures about access to mobile device data, we say: “[i]f you give us permission to access the photographs on your mobile device’s camera roll, our Services may access the photos stored on your device when you upload a really amazing photograph of the sunrise to your website.”
We provided more information, in the “Choices” section, about how you can limit and control the data that you provide to us when you use our services.
….And Stay Tuned for What’s Next
Some of these efforts are in anticipation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — a new EU privacy regulation that will affect Automattic and many of our customers. You can read more about our GDPR-readiness plans here.
We’ve given one of our favorite features a boost! You can now manage your profile photo, or avatar, right on WordPress.com. This avatar, powered by a service called Gravatar, is the image that represents you online — a thumbnail that appears next to your name when you interact on blogs and websites. With this recently refined feature, you can upload, edit, and update your avatar at wordpress.com/me.
Your avatar shows up in many places on WordPress.com. For example, you’ll see it on your site next to your blog posts:
And when you like someone’s post:
Or when you comment on a post:
As you can see, your avatar helps to establish your identity and credibility on WordPress.com — but also across the internet. It will also appear on other websites that use Gravatar, like Stack Overflow and Hootsuite. This means that you don’t have to re-upload the same photo multiple times across the web.
How to Update Your Avatar
While logged into your WordPress.com account, go to wordpress.com/me or click your profile icon at the top-right corner of the screen. You’ll see the edit screen for your profile:
From here, you can either click on your photo to change it:
Or drag and drop a new photo from your computer:
You can also edit the photo — rotate, flip, or crop — before setting or changing it:
When you’re happy with your image, click Change My Photo and you’re all set!
Sometimes it’s the extra touches that make all the difference; on your website, that’s the photos and video that give your content life.
You asked for streamlined access to your media library and the camera and photos on your device, to make uploading and inserting photos and videos easier. We hear you loud and clear! A freshly-updated media picker is now available in version 8.5 of the WordPress app for iOS.
The new media picker was designed to allow quicker access to your media right from the new Aztec editor. Now you can insert videos and photos without leaving the editor. Click the plus sign — just like in the desktop editor:
The picker’s toolbar has buttons that provide full screen access to media already on your device, the camera, and your site’s media library.
Whether you need to insert a photo you’ve already uploaded, capture a new video with your camera, or peruse all the special moments already on your device to find the perfect pic, you’re covered.
Open Source and Proud of It
Giving back to the software development community is part of Automattic’s DNA. That’s why our Android and iOS apps are 100% open source and will remain that way. In fact, the new media picker is a stand-alone iOS library that can be used in your own projects. We encourage you to try it out!
The Mobile team truly appreciates all of our wonderful users. Our goal is to build tools to help you make your site the best it can be. We look forward to your feedback and hope you enjoy the new media picker as much as we do.
Today we’re happy to introduce Radcliffe 2, a refreshed version of a tried-and-true WordPress theme. We’ve optimized it for speed, and added new features specifically with small-business websites in mind.
Radcliffe 2 was a collaborative effort by several members of WordPress.com’s Theme Team. We wanted to update the popular theme for a more mobile-centric landscape, and to add new features that our small-business customers need.
Some specific design considerations for mobile include:
Standard fonts: Radcliffe 2 uses system fonts — fonts that are already available on computers and mobile devices — rather than loading its own custom fonts. This reduces page-load time, since sites no longer have to load special font files, and benefits people browsing your site on mobile devices. Like with other WordPress.com themes, the fonts can be changed using the Customizer.
No sidebar: For a more consistent experience between desktop and mobile screens, Radcliffe 2 has a single-column, no-sidebar layout. This helps sites retain the same look and feel, regardless of the device used to load it.
We’ve tailored Radcliffe 2’s other major features for small-business sites:
Logo Resizer: For a perfect fit, increase or decrease the size of your logo.
Style Packs: Looking for a different feel for your site? Style Packs allow you to customize your design to match your brand in seconds. Check out Modern Bauhaus, Vintage Paper, or the Upbeat Pop Style Pack options! Each pack includes unique colors and fonts that create a cohesive style.
Contact Information: This is an easy way to display your phone number, email address, physical address, and hours of operation in your website’s header or footer. Mobile visitors can simply tap on your number to directly call your business’s phone.
Featured Prompt: Create an eye-catching area with text, a linked button, and a background image to draw visitors to a specific area of your site.
The original Radcliffe was released almost four years ago by Anders Norén, a prolific and talented themer.
Chatting with Anders about his theme, it’s clear we can credit Radcliffe’s bold images and typography to its predecessors. “Radcliffe was my fourth free WordPress theme,” says Anders. “The previous three, Lingonberry, Hemingway, and Wilson, are all pretty traditional blog themes with a thin content column and (in the case of Hemingway and Wilson) a sidebar with widgets. I wanted to do something a bit different with Radcliffe. Something that used the full width of the screen for people who want their images to take up more space.”
The original Radcliffe theme.
The result was a theme that balanced eye-catching featured images with a deft treatment of the written word.
Anders’s passion for creating free WordPress themes, originally a hobby, led to his career in web design. He notes that while technology and WordPress have changed, some things haven’t.
“The basic tenets of what makes a WordPress theme — and a website — great are still pretty much the same. Accessibility, a good layout, thought-through typography, smart functionality, and a couple of small, user-experience enhancing flourishes here and there.”
His design process has evolved too, but the core purpose of why he creates remains. “I start in whatever end I have in my head and pull on that thread to see how long it goes,” he says. “If the single view comes first, I try to get a feel for how the archive view would fit together with it, and vice versa. The rest grows from there. It’s not a very structured approach, I’ll admit. And that’s the best part about releasing themes for free. The only requirement I’ve set for myself is that I have fun doing it.”
Google Photos is one of the most popular ways of storing and sharing photos online. WordPress.com is one of the most popular ways to blog. Wouldn’t it be great if they played well together — if you could use photos you’ve uploaded to Google on your site?
We thought so, too: starting today, you can browse, search, and copy photos from your Google account right from your blog posts and pages. Introducing: photos from Google!
To get started, open up your Media Library on WordPress.com and select the media source dropdown. Then choose the Photos from Your Google library option:
The first time you do this you’ll need to connect to your Google account by pressing the connect button.
Once you’re connected your WordPress.com Media Library will display your recent Google photos. Select the image you want to use, click the Insert button, and poof! The image will be copied to your Media Library and inserted into your post.
It doesn’t end there: since Google analyzes and automatically categorizes your photos, you can use their sorting to browse and search your photos whether or not you’ve added any tags or descriptions. (Thanks, Google!)
Have photos of cats you want to post? Search for “cats,” and Google picks out your cat photos. Want to create a gallery with photos of your trip to Japan? Search for “Kyoto” and you’re all set.
If you have a WordPress.com plan that offers video support, you can display videos from your Google account, too. And fear not, self-hosted WordPress users: you also can use this feature through the Jetpack plugin.
We’re working on integrating this deeper into your WordPress.com experience, and we hope to integrate more services with WordPress.com in the future. You can find more help at our Photos from Google support page, or by contacting us.