Introducing: A Diverse, Free Stock Photo Library

By Anne McCarthy

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As many site creators know, it’s daunting to find images to represent the message you’re trying to put out into the world — especially if you don’t have the equipment or time to make your own.

At WordPress.com, we’re constantly striving to make it as easy as possible to create beautiful websites that represent who you are and what you stand for. We’re excited to announce that we’ve been working hard with Pexels and other diversity-focused image-library partners so that everyone with a WordPress.com or Jetpack-connected site can realize their vision with the right stock photos.

To use these images, just head to your Media Library and select Free Photo Library before searching for any image you need. You can also do this from the Add Media option within a post or page:

Free images representing a wide range of experiences

In January 2018, we collaborated with Pexels to integrate their free stock-image library into WordPress.com. Since then, every user has had access to thousands of free, high-quality images at their fingertips! Knowing how diverse our community is, however, we didn’t stop there.

Stock-image libraries have historically struggled to represent all experiences, and often excluded photos of people of color, people with disabilities, or non-binary individuals. Pexels is working to change that, and since partnering with them we’ve helped incorporate diversity-focused libraries to their collection. Ultimately, we believe it’s on us to help find a solution to this problem, and avoid generic stock images that often perpetuate stereotypes.

Our first partner in this effort was the Women of Color in Tech Stock Photos library (WoCinTech for short). We were thrilled to work with them, as they were an earlier driver for these efforts. Christina Morillo, one of the project’s co-founders, had this awesome message to share:

We started this collection to address the lack of
Source: Claire Huschle GMU  

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Podcasting on WordPress.com

By Michael Cain

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It’s no secret that we’re big fans of podcasts — their beautiful storytelling and engaging news delivery add a whole new dimension to the media landscape — and podcasters. We happily support podcast creators, from sponsoring events like Podcast Movement to supporting embeds from services like RadioPublic.

Did you know that WordPress.com allows you to host your own podcast, right from your WordPress.com website? And we’ve recently updated our podcasting tools, simplifying the process of starting or managing your podcast. Whether you’re about to hit “record” on your first podcast or have used WordPress.com for your podcast for years, we think you’ll love these updates.

Configuring Your Podcast Channel

We’ve redesigned the Podcasting Settings page to be faster and more intuitive. Visit Settings > Writing > Podcasting to set up and manage your podcast channel. Pick a podcast category, add details like your podcast’s title and cover image, and you’re ready to go.

The new Podcasting Settings page.

Creating and Editing Podcast Episodes

The post editor also got some new indicators to make it more apparent when you’re creating or editing a podcasting episode. To publish an episode, create a new post, assign it the podcast category you designated on the Settings page, and upload or embed an audio file.

podcasting-episode

A podcast episode in the post episode.

Added Support for Google Play, Spotify, and Alexa

Behind the scenes, we’ll do the heavy lifting to support services like Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, and even Alexa Daily Briefings. Submit your feed to each service once, and then publish episodes whenever inspiration strikes! We’ll make sure every episode gets listed.

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My first episode on Apple Podcasts!

Podcasts can add a
Source: Claire Huschle GMU  

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Sharing Options from WordPress.com to Facebook Are Changing

By Mark Armstrong

We wanted to update you about an upcoming change Facebook is introducing to their platform, and which affects how you may share posts from your WordPress.com website to your Facebook account.

Starting August 1, 2018, third-party tools can no longer share posts automatically to Facebook Profiles. This includes Publicize, the tool for WordPress.com and Jetpack-powered sites that connects your site to major social media platforms (like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook).

Will this affect your ability to share content on Facebook? It depends. If you’ve connected a Facebook Profile to your site, then yes: Publicize will no longer be able to share your posts to Facebook. On the other hand, nothing will change if you keep a Facebook Page connected to your site — all your content should still appear directly on Facebook via Publicize. (Not sure what the difference is between a Page and a Profile? Here’s Facebook’s explanation.)

If you’ve previously connected a Facebook Profile to your WordPress.com site and still want your Facebook followers to see your posts, you have two options. First, you could go the manual route: once you publish a new post, copy its URL and share the link in a new Facebook post.

The other option is to convert your Facebook Profile to a Page. This might not be the right solution for everyone, but it’s something to consider if your website focuses on your business, organization, or brand.

While Facebook is introducing this change to improve their platform and prevent the misuse of personal profiles, we know that this might cause a disruption in the way you and your Facebook followers interact. If you’d like to share your concerns with Facebook, head to their Help Community.

In the meantime, WordPress.com’s Publicize feature (and social media scheduling tools) will continue to be
Source: Claire Huschle GMU  

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

By Mark Armstrong

Today we’re announcing that Atavist, a multimedia publishing platform and award-winning magazine, will be joining WordPress.com parent company Automattic.

This news is exciting to me on a few levels — eight years ago I had my first introduction to Atavist when I met a journalist named Evan Ratliff for coffee at Housing Works in New York. He showed me the first pieces of what became a bold new platform for long-form storytelling, which he created with co-founders Jefferson Rabb and Nicholas Thompson. At the time I had just started Longreads, so we shared an interest in seeing a revival for long-form journalism on the open web.

Fast-forward to today and we’re thrilled to have the Atavist and Longreads teams now together under the WordPress.com banner. Atavist’s publishing platform will be moving over to WordPress, and its award-winning magazine The Atavist will continue to serve up outstanding in-depth storytelling with a new feature each month, under the editorship of Seyward Darby. Also joining the team is Atavist CEO Rabb and head of product communications Kathleen Ross.

I chatted with Rabb, Darby, and Ross about what’s next.

Jeff, Seyward, Kathleen, we’re excited you’re here! You’ve had a terrific run over the past eight years — leading innovation around the design and process of multimedia storytelling, winning many awards along the way — what are your hopes and priorities for Atavist moving forward?

RABB: Thank you, I’m thrilled to be here! My number one hope in joining [WordPress.com parent company] Automattic is to bring everything we have built and learned to an audience that is orders of magnitude larger. I’ve spent the past eight years honing a toolset and sensibility for digital journalism, and now I’m excited to put this to use for a mass audience. When these are integrated into WordPress, I
Source: Claire Huschle GMU  

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Bookmark Posts with Save For Later

By Cesar Tardaguila

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Maybe you’re reading a blog post while sipping your morning tea when you suddenly realize it’s getting late, or you’re browsing on the bus — but you just got to your stop.

The WordPress.com Reader is a great tool for catching up with your favorite blogs or exploring interesting new reads. And now, you can save those posts and resume reading at your leisure with Save For Later.

How does it work?

First, make sure you have the newest version of the  WordPress app on your phone or tablet — version 10.2. Open the app, and head into the Reader.

Saving content for later

Whenever you find a post you’d like to save for later, tap the bookmark icon (). The icon will change from an outline to a solid color (Bookmark solid background) so you know the post has been saved.

Repeat the process as many times as you like! You can save posts from your list of Followed Sites, Discover, Search, or My Likes — anywhere in the Reader.

Reading your saved content

When you’re ready to read, open the app again, go back to the Reader, and select Saved Posts. Everything you saved will be waiting for you there, even if your device is offline.

Once you’ve read a post, you can remove it by tapping the bookmark icon again.

A few other notes

In this initial release, images aren’t guaranteed to be available offline. More importantly, Saved Posts is currently a device-specific feature — saved posts aren’t synced between devices or the web, so they’re only available on the device where you saved them. Logging out or uninstalling the app will delete them.

Give feedback and get involved

The WordPress mobile
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Claire Huschle GMU  

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Field Notes: WooCommerce Workshop for Women

By Karen Arnold

Automatticians, the people who build WordPress.com, participate in events and projects around the world every day. Periodically, they report back on the exciting things they do in the community.

Members of Automattic’s Happiness team have traveled to Southeast Asia three times since last September to meet people in communities across the region. Our goal? To encourage people based in South Asia to apply to join us in supporting WordPress.com, WooCommerce, and Jetpack users.

In January 2018, the Happiness Engineer Hiring team, our Events Team, and Mahangu Weerasinghe, a Happiness team lead, collaborated to take a slightly different approach to recruitment in the region. Automattic is a company that aims to build a diverse and inclusive work environment, yet we’d been seeing significantly lower numbers of women applying from South and Southeast Asia. There are a few efforts in the WordPress community to encourage and empower women to get more involved, and we decided the add our voice by organizing a workshop for women. Our plan was straightforward: a free, one-day workshop to inspire participants to set up an online store for themselves or put their newfound skills to use for clients. We talked about the Membership and Subscription extensions for WooCommerce and the Sensei plugin — invaluable tools for enhancing an online store, setting up recurring payments, and managing memberships.

The first workshop took place in January. We chose Udaipur, India, thanks to its strong WordPress community. We attended WordCamp Udaipur, which was organized by an all-female team, and took the opportunity to staff a booth there while our colleague, Rahul Gupta, gave a presentation about how WordPress helped him put food on the table. The next day, we welcomed 40 women to the workshop, exceeding our expectations and requiring us to bring in extra seats!

After the
Source: Claire Huschle GMU  

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New Privacy Features and Updated Policies

By hollyannehogan

We’re rolling out updates to our privacy features and policies in the coming weeks. You’ll have more control over your personal information and more detail on what information we keep and what we do with it. The updates will also make sure we comply with new privacy laws, and will help you do the same for your own website or store.  

Our New Privacy Features

Over the past several months, we’ve upgraded many of the privacy-related features on WordPress.com, Jetpack, WooCommerce, and other Automattic products. We want to give you more visibility into the personal data we use and more control over the data you share with us.

In recent weeks, we’ve added:

  • More detailed information on the data our products collect and use, like the information you’ll find in the new Jetpack Privacy Center, as well in-product notifications for privacy-related information.
  • Opt-outs for data uses, like the ability to turn off Automattic’s first-party analytics system on your Jetpack site.  
  • Additional contracts (Data Processing Agreements) for paid users who require them to comply with data protection and privacy laws. If you need a Data Processing Agreement, let us know by contacting support for your product.

Over the coming weeks we plan to launch:

  • A way for users to request access to their personal data.
  • Account closure for WordPress.com accounts.
  • Opt-outs for Automattic’s first party analytics system for WordPress.com users.
  • An updated cookie policy that explains the cookies we use in our services.

We’re also releasing features to help you and your site meet the requirements of new privacy laws, like Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) that goes into effect on May 25, 2018. You can read the full text of the
Source: Claire Huschle GMU  

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Transfer Your Existing Domain to WordPress.com

By Andrija Vucinic

Giving your WordPress.com website its own custom domain has long been a powerful way to make your site stand out — a personalized web address helps you tell the world who you are and what you offer. If you registered your domain on WordPress.com, you already had the power to build a website and manage a domain all in one place. But what if you didn’t? The one missing piece was the ability to transfer existing domains you’d already registered elsewhere.

Today, we’re happy to announce that domain transfers from other providers are welcome at WordPress.com. If you’re already itching to move your domain, our support page will guide you through the process.

If you’re not ready to transfer your domain to WordPress.com, no worries. You can still leave your domain registered at your current registrar and map it here instead. Not sure which option is better for you? There are several advantages to moving your domain to WordPress.com:

  • It’s easier to manage both your site and your domain from the same place.
  • The domain credit that comes with any WordPress.com plan you buy can be used to transfer a domain. When your plan renews, so does your domain.
  • Instead of paying a registrar for your domain and paying us to map it, a single charge covers both.

If you’ve already used the domain credit to map your domain, we have good news: you can transfer that domain to WordPress.com for free!

Not sure whether you should transfer your domain here or map it? You can find more information to help you choose the best option for you.

If you’ve already transferred your domain to WordPress.com and want to share your experience, or have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.

Source: Claire Huschle GMU  

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Bullet journal December layout

By Greta Kuriger Suiter

December set up supplies: stickers, pen, highlighters, and notebook

I’ve kept a work notebook for years. It’s been a place for notes from meetings, ideas for future projects, and to-do reminders. Recently I’ve been looking for ways to make the notebook more efficient and I came across bullet journaling. What immediately appealed to me with a bullet journal is that it is a way to keep the notebook more organized than just a traditional daily journal type set-up and it is extremely flexible to fit your needs.

Now that we have a baby on the way (um, like any day) I want to use the same notebook for my next three months at home. Combining my home and work life into one notebook is also something the bullet journal enables.

Here are the basics to the bullet journal setup – http://bulletjournal.com/

Part of the beauty of bullet journaling is that you don’t need much to start. A new notebook is encouraged and who doesn’t love buying new notebooks?! I prefer spiral bound notebooks that I can fold up. I usually buy a few at a time and the ones I have on hand at the moment are Mnemosyne A5 notebooks. I’ve also started using a Pilot Vpen disposable fountain pen. In the last month I bought a pack of Zebra Mildliner highlighters and am incorporating more stickers. For December I bought a pack of Mark & Line Schedule Poyo Animals stickers that work well with a calendar set up.

December set up supplies: stickers, pen, highlighters, and notebook

I’ve been using the bullet journal for about three months now and I’ve realized that the beginning of the month is an important time in the world of bullet journalers. It’s the time to set up your journal for
Source: Greta Suiter  

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By anneladyem

Source: Anne Ladyem and Clio  

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