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1. WordPress.com by the Numbers: The March Hot List

Another month is in the books! The WordPress.com community made March a month to remember with an avalanche of great achievements. Here's a look at some of the highlights.

10 Comments on WordPress.com by the Numbers: The March Hot List, last added: 4/2/2014
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2. New themes: Tonal, Gridiculous Pro and Mina Olen

Whether it's a business-friendly design or a minimalist look you're after, this week's crop of new themes delivers the goods.

11 Comments on New themes: Tonal, Gridiculous Pro and Mina Olen, last added: 3/13/2014
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3. Monday Morning Edition

In case you missed it, a quick recap of the past week on WordPress.com.

8 Comments on Monday Morning Edition, last added: 3/4/2014
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4. Make a Great First Impression with a Homepage

Most bloggers display their latest posts first — reverse chronological order is the classic blog format, after all. Many WordPress.com users, however, choose to build a static front page — a homepage — that creates a website feel and brings your long-term content to the front.

A well-designed homepage has always been a staple of major websites, like The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation — a WordPress.com VIP partner. You don’t have to be a large company or non-profit organization to see the advantages of a homepage, though. Artists and other creative professionals enjoy the benefits of portfolio sites and personal pages to showcase their talents. Increasingly, so do personal bloggers across a wide variety of niches. To give you a taste of what a homepage can do for your blog, here are some sites that use this option in a smart, creative way.

Groovy Bow Sequence

Screen shot 2014-02-11 at 1.43.54 AM
Claire, the Seoul-based kindergarten teacher behind Groovy Bow Sequence, put together a sleek-looking homepage for her travel-focused personal blog

She uses Moka to great effect. The theme offers the option of adding a splashy post slider to the homepage, enticing visitors to click on Claire’s striking landscape images and read her posts, while still maintaining the easy navigation and streamlined look of a fixed front page. While sites with a homepage often still feature a blog section, Claire has opted to forego one altogether, presenting some recent posts on the homepage itself, and letting the rest be easily accessible through the sidebar menu.

Alexandra Corinth

Screen shot 2014-02-11 at 1.18.07 AM

Writer-blogger Alexandra Corinth deploys a homepage — and especially her site’s primary menu — to direct readers to her various writing projects, from her young-adult books, to her multi-genre portfolio, to her personal blog.

She chose the clean, easy-to-navigate Suits, and kept most of the theme’s out-of-the-box look. The focus here is on her content, and her homepage is a distraction-free zone — visitors will only find an author’s portrait, along with a short bio tucked into a Text Widget in the sidebar. They can then quickly decide which section of the site to explore first.

redstuffdan

Screen shot 2014-02-11 at 1.20.20 AM

Dan, the blogger behind redstuffdan, is a retired expat living in the southwest of France. His blog is mostly about his art — a mixture of photography, digital art, and painting — and he’s opted for a homepage to showcase his creations. Right beneath a short introductory text to his site, visitors quickly plunge into a colorful tiled gallery full of Dan’s art. The gallery’s composition can be modified whenever new material is uploaded — just because the page is “static” doesn’t mean it can’t be updated and refreshed.

For the rest of the content on redstuffdan, the sidebar gives visitors easy access to the site’s top posts and pages, most recent posts, as well as to older content through monthly archives.

Up From The Deep

Screen shot 2014-02-11 at 1.21.16 AM

Up From The Deep is the labor of love of Mark Ellinger, a musician-turned-photographer who chronicles the gentrifying streets of San Francisco’s grittiest neighborhoods. Creating a homepage allowed him to highlight the different types of writing on his site: a blog to which he uploads new photos regularly, as well as long-term project pages, like the ones on the Tenderloin and Mid-Market neighborhoods.

The homepage layout features a selection of images that whet the visitor’s appetite, and its primary menu leads not only to the site’s main content, but also to an extensive bibliography page and a Prints page, where interested readers can order copies of images from Mark’s website.

Creating a homepage

If you’d like to try out a front page that isn’t populated by your latest posts, setting one up is a breeze. Go to the Settings → Reading tab in your dashboard, and select “a static page.” Then, choose your desired page from the “Front page” drop menu, and you’re set. If you wish to add an optional blog section to your site as well — where your posts will be displayed in reverse chronological order — specify a separate “Posts page” in the second drop menu. Note that you can also set up a homepage from the Customizer, where you’ll need to go to the “Front” panel.

Looking for more ideas for your homepage? Here are a few more examples to inspire you:


Filed under: Better Blogging, Customization, HowTo

10 Comments on Make a Great First Impression with a Homepage, last added: 2/12/2014
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5. The Day We Fight Back: Protest NSA Surveillance on Your Blog

Today, a broad coalition of interest groups, websites, and people around the world are joining together to fight back against government surveillance. We’re supporting the “Day We Fight Back” on WordPress.com and have created a banner that you can easily add to your WordPress.com blog to get involved, too.

The “Stop NSA Surveillance” banner shows support for this important cause and provides a link to a page of resources to help visitors to contact members of the US Congress to support much needed anti-surveillance legislation. For more information, please visit thedaywefightback.org.

How to add the banner to your site

Here’s how to add the banner to your site in three steps:

  1. In your WordPress.com dashboard, go to Settings  Protest NSA Surveillance.
  2. Click on the checkbox labelled Protest Enabled.
  3. Click on the Save Changes button for the change to take effect.

The banner will remain on your site until midnight on your blog’s time zone. Here’s what it will look like:

no-nsa


Filed under: Community, Privacy

10 Comments on The Day We Fight Back: Protest NSA Surveillance on Your Blog, last added: 2/11/2014
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6. New Themes: Outspoken, Studio, Sorbet, Ampersand

Happy Theme Thursday, all! Let’s jump right in and say “Hello!” to four awesome new themes.

Outspoken

Outspoken by WPShowerOutspoken, by new seller WPShower, is a premium magazine theme with loads of customizable features. Multiple front page configuration options allow you to tailor the presentation to your liking, while generous featured images let your visual content stand out.

Studio

Studio by Pixel UnionStudio is a new, minimal, grid-based portfolio theme by Pixel Union, designed for photographers and curators. It’s simple, sleek, and powerfully flexible, pairing chiseled aesthetics with crystal-clear organization.

Sorbet

SorbetEnjoy a taste of Sorbet, a colorful, mouth-watering treat for your personal blog or website. Post formats highlight your best content, while secondary content remains tucked away in the header, allowing your posts to take center stage. If you’re seeking a fun, playful new look for your site, Sorbet is just the theme for you!

Ampersand

Ampersand by Okay Themes Ampersand is a clean and professional portfolio theme for creatives by Okay Themes. Featuring a minimal, responsive layout, Ampersand looks just as good on your mobile device as it does on your desktop.

Outspoken, Studio, and Ampersand are premium upgrades, while Sorbet is free. Check out each theme’s showcase by clicking on their screenshot above, or preview them on your blog from Appearance → Themes.


Filed under: Themes

17 Comments on New Themes: Outspoken, Studio, Sorbet, Ampersand, last added: 1/31/2014
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7. New Theme: Awesome

We’re excited to announce the launch of a new Graph Paper Press theme here on WordPress.com, the aptly-titled Awesome.

Awesome by Graph Paper Press

Awesome is a theme that stuns from the start, with full-width images, video, and other post formats; bold yet elegant typography; and a strong visual balance. Necessities like menus and social links are accessible yet cleanly tucked away to one side, showcasing your content distraction-free in a single sharp column. At the bottom, three distinct footer widget areas Awesome keep all the power of sidebars at your disposal.

Awesome: mobile narrow view

Awesome: mobile narrow view

Post formats are treated with care in Awesome. Videos, Images, Galleries, Asides, and Quotes each get a crafted treatment to maximize impact. Videos are presented full-screen at the top of their post, while Galleries get large, dramatic layouts. Not to be outshone, Asides and Quotes flow with eye-popping color highlights.

Of course, Awesome is fully responsive and adapts to all mobile devices, from the smallest phone right to the biggest display. Custom Headers and Custom Backgrounds are supported as is a a logo uploader; tweak and preview changes in real-time with the WordPress Customizer.

Awesome is simply that; an awe-inspiring display of your content, bold and confident.

A premium upgrade for your blog, you can get more information on the Awesome Theme Showcase, or preview it on your site from Appearance → Themes.


Filed under: Themes

4 Comments on New Theme: Awesome, last added: 12/24/2013
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8. New Themes: Adventure and Basis

We have a special treat this Two Theme Thursday: new premium themes from two of our most popular sellers, Organic Themes and The Theme Foundry.

Adventure by Organic Themes

Do you have stories to share from a trip to timeless Angkor Wat, or a camera full of images from the surreal landscapes of Iceland? Organic Themes are back with their fourth theme here on WordPress.com, the travel-inspired Adventure theme.

Whether it’s a trip around the world, or a personal journey that needs to be told, Adventure has been designed to share your travels with excitement and grandeur. A tight top menu and customizable logo allow the sweeping, full-width images to command any viewer’s attention. Bold, clean typography and a fully responsive design ensure the tales of your voyage are crisp and clear on all devices, from the smallest phone to a full desktop.

Organic Themes knows that to share your adventures, you need a choice of layouts and page formats. Adventure is bursting with no less than six custom page templates, including a specialized home page template, three-column and full-width layouts, slideshows, and more. Every experience will have the right showcase for it to excite your readers, while easy-to-use social icons allow everyone to stay up-to-date with all of your travel adventures.

Strap on your pack, and let the Adventure theme be your journal to the world.


Basis by The Theme Foundry

We released The Theme Foundry’s Collections theme just a few weeks ago, but they’re already back with their first foray into business themes: Basis.

This is not your usual WordPress business theme; being The Theme Foundry, they’ve taken the business theme into the next generation with a built-in HTML builder app. This unique app allows the user to quickly and easily add product features, highlight services, and create slideshows for demonstrating the best your business has to offer. Keeping your business website fresh, dynamic and exciting is simple for even the least technically-inclined on your team, with a drag-and-drop interface that allows you to further tweak the layout and order of each of these sections, without any coding necessary. Just watch:

Of course, it wouldn’t be a theme from The Theme Foundry without sharp, clean typography, responsive layouts for mobile and tablets, and a strong sense of aesthetic and design. Basis also includes a Minimal Mode which, by removing the site header and navigation, further simplifies your landing pages for maximum impact.

Your business deserves more than just a website; let Basis be the foundation of your business web presence, a valuable tool for keeping your customer base engaged and coming back.

Adventure and Basis are premium upgrades for your blog. Get more information on their Theme Showcases (Adventure, Basis), or preview them on your site from Appearance → Themes.


Filed under: Themes

12 Comments on New Themes: Adventure and Basis, last added: 11/21/2013
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9. Embed a Follow Button for Your Blog

Today, we’re excited to introduce a new way for people to engage with your WordPress.com blogs: an embeddable version of the Follow Button that you’ve seen in your toolbar for some time now. Like similar buttons you’ve seen for other social networks, this Follow Button can be added anywhere on …

11 Comments on Embed a Follow Button for Your Blog, last added: 11/1/2013
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10. NaNoWriMo 2013: Want to Write a Novel?

It’s just a few days until November, and you know what that means: National Novel Writing Month, better known ’round these parts as NaNoWriMo, is near. Have you always wanted to write a novel? We know some of you have been waiting all year for this month! For those of …

14 Comments on NaNoWriMo 2013: Want to Write a Novel?, last added: 10/28/2013
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11. WordPress.com News and Numbers: The September 2013 Hot List

After a red-hot August of publishing news and impressive numbers, we wondered what was next for the WordPress.com community. Here’s a snapshot of September: You blew up the internet. Again. Month after month, we’re blown away by what you publish. Talk show host Matt Walsh‘s post, “Dear parents, you need …

11 Comments on WordPress.com News and Numbers: The September 2013 Hot List, last added: 10/9/2013
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12. Digging In the Dashboard, Part II: Features for Longform Posts

As we discussed in the first installment of Digging in the Dashboard, WordPress.com has so many great features that it’s tough to be familiar with them all. I’m still discovering new ones myself! Let’s keep the discovery going with three more features that might be new to you. This time, …

12 Comments on Digging In the Dashboard, Part II: Features for Longform Posts, last added: 9/27/2013
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13. Blogging on the go just got easier and more fun: Introducing WordPress for iOS 7

Apple just released the new version of their mobile operating system, iOS 7, with a new user interface that streamlines both form and function — it’s colorful and intuitive, but stripped-down and clean. Apple fans have been abuzz since they announced the update a few months ago, and we started …

10 Comments on Blogging on the go just got easier and more fun: Introducing WordPress for iOS 7, last added: 9/20/2013
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14. Five Minutes with Mel Choyce

Every once in a while, we sit down with an Automattician to help you get to know the people who work behind the scenes to build new features, keep Automattic’s wheels turning, and make WordPress.com the best it can be. In this installment, we’re delighted to introduce you to music …

14 Comments on Five Minutes with Mel Choyce, last added: 10/13/2013
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15. Freshly Pressed: Friday Faves

WordPressers, day in and day out, you entertain us, you make us think, you make us laugh, and you make us grateful to be exposed to so many voices all over the world. It’s a pleasure to read what you’re writing. Like everyone in the community, we value that feeling of connection that comes from reading something that speaks to you, that resonates, that makes you feel not so alone.

For this edition of Freshly Pressed Faves, we’re looking at three posts that do just that, all around the idea of “busy-ness.” Modern society seems to embrace the idea that unless you’re “swamped” or “super busy,” you just aren’t being productive enough. Free time? Fill it up, preferably with something that pays! This attitude permeates children’s lives, too, with scheduled after-school dance classes and soccer practices and violin lessons and foreign language tutors. The idle hours that once allowed kids to daydream seem to be no more. When’s enough enough, though?

Doing more only to do less — do we glorify busy?

Author Tim Kreider believes ‘Our frantic days are really just a hedge against emptiness.’ We feel we are nothing, not worthy, unimportant or left out if we have nothing to do.

But there is another aspect to it. Perfectionism – that shadow from our childhoods. We want to be excellent – because if we are, we will be worthy of love. So we take on anything and everything that is thrown us. Even when we are aware we are overwhelmed, we find it hard to say ‘NO’. Because we fear that if we do – people will think less of us. So we end up doing more than our fair share.

Sofagirl at Campari & Sofa writes eloquently about her own fight with the “busy” beast and the scary personal episode that drove her to question it all. Weaving in others’ research on the topic, she presents a compelling argument for taking a step back — and a deep breath — and for refusing to participate in the tyranny of “busy” any longer. Bet you’ll find it difficult to disagree.

The Quiet Contemplation of Inactivity

As kids we could come up with 16 ways to put our lives on the line using the jungle gym in ways no designer ever intended. They were days when we simply looked at clouds and imagined animals (or teachers or, for the juvenile delinquents, body parts) hiding in the puffy expanse of the heavens. … We were bored, but no one was ever bored enough to learn something.

Except it appears, according to recent research, that boredom is good for the brain. Evidently, boredom switches our brain’s little buttons and the synapses and neurons start firing on more cylinders, pushing us to creativity and intellectual growth.

John Wegner of Consistently Contradictory harkens back to a time when “boredom” and free time were acceptable and even encouraged, when we didn’t rely on technology and scheduling quite so much, and when we allowed our brains to wander. Are we losing the benefits of this today? Should we re-introduce some “slack” into schools? Read John’s convincing and thought-provoking post and you’ll probably be answering “yes.”

The Kid Stays in the Picture

When I was a kid, Dad made it clear that ‘mere play’ was being idle—something lazy people did. And boy, you couldn’t get lazier than me.

Michael Maupin from Completely in the Dark takes us back to his childhood and the lasting effects of not being encouraged to “play.” He explains, “As a shadow, it darkened the room, filling me with anxiety and self-doubt: ‘What am I doing now? Is it practical? Is it useful? Shouldn’t I be ashamed?’ … For years that sound, that shadow, was all around. It blocked up my writing, my artwork, my self-esteem — everything. I was psychologically held at gunpoint by an ethic that carries little currency in my world.”

Not one to be bullied, however, Michael has found ways to protect and embrace his natural tendencies towards “play and reverie.” Read his post, and you’ll be inspired to do the same.

Did you read something in the Reader that you think is Freshly Pressed material? Feel free to leave us a link, or tweet us @freshly_pressed.

For more inspiration, check out our writing challenges, photo challenges, and other blogging tips at The Daily Post; visit our Recommended Blogs; and browse the most popular topics in the Reader. For editorial guidelines for Freshly Pressed, read: So You Want To Be Freshly Pressed.


7 Comments on Freshly Pressed: Friday Faves, last added: 4/20/2013
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16. Freshly Pressed: Friday Faves

Where I live, it seems winter is refusing to loosen its grip, holding back a long-awaited spring. With two feet of snow still on the ground and frigid, breezy days, it’s nice to sit inside (by the fire) and lose myself in the delights of the Reader. Forget Calgon. Reader….take me away! Here’s just a few Freshly Pressed posts that gave us pause this week.

Roger Ebert, RIP

Yesterday, the world lost more than a prolific film critic when Roger Ebert died of cancer at age 70. In Roger Ebert, RIP, science fiction author John Scalzi hails Ebert as one of his most important writing teachers, a fair, incisive film critic, and above all, a man who refused to allow a devastating disease to take away his humanity:

In these later years and after everything that he’d been through with cancer and with losing the ability to physically speak, I read and was contemplative about the essays and pieces he put up on his Web site. Much of that had nothing to do with film criticism, but was a matter of him writing… well, whatever. Which meant it was something I could identify with to a significant degree, since that is what I do here. It would be foolish to say that Ebert losing his physical voice freed him to find his voice elsewhere. What I think may be more accurate was that losing his physical voice reminded Ebert that he still had things he wanted to say before he ran out of time to say them.

Lean Together

Sheryl Sandberg’s recent book, Lean In, challenges ambitious women to seek leadership positions to help shake off the ever-competitive socio-political status quo and reshape the world of work for the better. At The Purpose of Work, Mike Gammage suggests Lean In‘s fatal flaw is that Sandberg should be addressing society’s “all-pervasive competition” to always be “on” and working in Lean Together:

Almost wherever we look, the workplace is becoming relentlessly competitive. It’s an assumed ‘passion’ that jeopardises family life. And as work becomes more hyper-competitive, women’s opportunities shrink. Pregnancy and maternity leave especially become huge issues. Sandberg acknowledges her own fears that – even at her level and with her talents – her job and prospects at Google would be diminished if she took ‘too much’ time off [that is more than a week or two] after her first child was born.

What if we try instead to slow down and step off this devilish hamster wheel that we’ve created?

First off, I think, we would want to reflect on the culture of contest that is embedded into our societies and so into our working lives. We have to recognise the myth of the inevitability of all–pervasive competition.

Cursi

At Vocabat, author Katie gives us a reflective Spanish lesson on the word cursi, which in English means “cheesy.” Katie transcends simple translation, meditating on the cultural nuances between Latino and American culture, finally embracing cursi as an unfettered expression of love:

In sum: What is love if not cursi? Love is supremely sentimental and gushy and ridiculous. And love means leaving your self-consciousness at the door, as well as your ego. I feel like you’re not really in love if you’re not regularly making a fool of yourself! But why hide our cheesiness within the safe confines of relationships? I admire people who can unblushingly own their feelings, hopes, and even disappointments without pussyfooting or pretending to not care all that much anyway. Although cursi people could use some work in the originality department, at least they care in the first place. There’s a lamentable epidemic of nonchalance and numbness and self-absorption these days, and cheesiness is a much better alternative to these terrible modes of subpar living.

Did you read something in the Reader that you think is Freshly Pressed material? Feel free to leave us a link, or tweet us @freshly_pressed.

For more inspiration, check out our writing challengesphoto challenges, and other blogging tips at The Daily Post; visit our Recommended Blogs; and browse the most popular topics in the Reader. For editorial guidelines for Freshly Pressed, read: So You Want To Be Freshly Pressed.


4 Comments on Freshly Pressed: Friday Faves, last added: 4/15/2013
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17. Customization Made Simple

Your blog’s design should reflect your personality, and we want to make that as easy as possible. That’s why, today, we’re releasing three big upgrades to the Theme Customizer on WordPress.com that make customizing your blog faster and easier.

1. A more-focused Customizer.

We’ve made the Customizer more compact; open it via Appearance → Themes → Customize, and you’ll notice that you have more room to view your customized design in the live preview. The panels open when you need them, and they slide out of the way when you’re done.

Closed Open for business

2. Your Custom Design tools, inside the Customizer.

Change your fonts

Change your fonts

What does this mean? Instant live previews of your CSS, font, and color changes. See your creativity immediately instead of repeating the old cycle of “edit-save-preview, edit-save-preview.”

Add some pizzazz

Add some pizzazz

3. Custom Design Snapshots.

Design Snapshots make it possible to save all of the Custom Design changes you’ve made in the Customizer, together, so that you can reapply them in the future as a group without having to recreate them. Save a snapshot of any customization combination you like; there’s no limit on the number of snapshots you can save.

snapshot

All of these features are included in the Custom Design upgrade for just $30 per year, and you can try them out before purchasing. If you don’t have the upgrade yet, just look for the “Custom Design” option under Appearance → Themes → Customize.

Looking for inspiration? Check out what other WordPress.com members have made in the Custom Design showcase.


10 Comments on Customization Made Simple, last added: 4/9/2013
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18. WordPress.com: Our Labor of Love — 2012 in Review

For us, WordPress.com is our labor of love — we’re continually releasing new themes, upgrades, and features to help you create the best website and/or blog you can. In addition to great tools, we publish articles, prompts, and writing and photo challenges to inspire you to start posting and keep posting. While we’re never, ever done making WordPress.com better, we wanted to look back at some of the goodies we brought you in 2012.

We’ve got the look: 65+ new themes in 2012

We released themes at a rate of more than one a week in 2012. These beautiful themes look great no matter which device your visitors use to see your content. What’s more, if you’re a musician, restaurateur, bride-or-groom-to-be, or a civil servant looking for a simple way to share information with your audience, we’ve got you covered.

Tae Phoenix is a Seattle-based singer-songwriter who recently released her first album, Rise. Her site takes full advantage of everything WordPress.com and the Soundcheck theme have to offer, with embedded audio and video, a tour calendar, her Twitter feed, links to her new album, and press mentions.

Tae Phoenix is a Seattle-based singer-songwriter who recently released her first album, Rise. Her site takes full advantage of everything WordPress.com and the Soundcheck theme have to offer, with embedded audio and video, a tour calendar, her Twitter feed, links to her new album, and press mentions.

Custom Design puts you in charge

Have design chops or an eye for contrast, color, and composition? With the Custom Design upgrade, you can tinker with your site’s CSS, compose a unique color palette for your site, and choose from among some awesome Typekit fonts to create the specific look you desire for your online home on the web.

New and improved for 2012

No matter whether you’re just starting to blog or are a seasoned web designer, here’s a sampling of how we made WordPress.com better for you in 2012:

We made a lot of progress in 2012 and we’re already working on bringing you more awesome in 2013. Happy New Year from WordPress.com!


19 Comments on WordPress.com: Our Labor of Love — 2012 in Review, last added: 1/2/2013
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19. We want you: Automattic is hiring in 2013

Merry band of comrades seeks nice, hard-working, diligent, motivated, fun-loving people to join their mission: to democratize publishing and make WordPress.com the best it can be. Work with us.

Last year at Automattic (WordPress.com’s parent company) we hired 48 people:

  • 19 developers/systems folk — those who write code and make sure servers are running.
  • 14 Happiness Engineers — those who support our users in the forums and answer requests for help.
  • 6 themers and designers who create beautiful themes and sites.
  • 8 in business and operations — those who work internally with Automatticians and with our VIPs.
  • 2 in editorial curating Freshly Pressed, and inspiring bloggers to keep on blogging.

We expect to hire 60 new Automatticians in 2013. We’re a distributed company: Automatticians work from home, their local coffee shop, co-working spaces — the location in the world where they’re most comfortable and productive. Our hiring pool is planet Earth.

We need developers, designers, themers, support folks, and more. Are you a mobile developer? Apply. Are you smart about WordPress, incisive, and compassionate? You might be an awesome Happiness Engineer.

What qualities do we seek? We look for people who are willing to work hard, share their ideas, learn from their colleagues, take initiative to get things done without being told, and those who aren’t afraid to ask questions.

To help you get to know your future colleagues a little better and learn about the awesome people who fuel Automattic, we’re starting a new series here at WordPress.com News called “Five Minutes with an Automattician.” First up, on Monday, January 21st, Mr. Tim Moore.

Think you’ve got the right stuff? Work with us.


15 Comments on We want you: Automattic is hiring in 2013, last added: 1/15/2013
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20. Enhance Your Site with Post Formats

A simple way to add visual variety to your site’s front page is to publish your content using Post Formats. Over 50 of our themes support Post Formats, which means they can display various types of content — including images, videos, quotes, links, audio, and short snippets called “asides” — with different formatting, adding subtle but nice touches to your site.

The types of Post Formats you can choose from depends on your theme. To see what Post Formats your current theme supports, go to Posts » Add New in the dashboard and look for a Format module on the right, with various options like the one below:

Format Module

Using Post Formats is optional — if your theme supports them, you don’t have to use them, since the default (standard) format works well with any content you publish. Using Post Formats is also free: you don’t need to purchase the custom CSS upgrade to enable different Post Formats.

Our Top Themes Now Support Post Formats

Recently, we made our top 25 themes — from popular free themes like Pilcrow, Manifest, and Bueno to premium themes such as Elemin — look even better with Post Formats. Here’s a sampling of how Post Formats look different, using the Elemin theme as an example:

Image Format:

Image Format

Video Format:

Video Format

Quote Format:

Quote Format

Link Format:

Link Format

Audio Format:

Audio Format

Aside Format:

Aside Format

Graphic icons spice up this particular theme, while other themes have different design or textual elements appropriate for their layouts. Browse the themes that support Post Formats in our Theme Showcase.

Start Posting Now

You can publish instantly using popular Post Formats right in your dashboard. Just click on “New Post” on the top right, then select one of these popular formats to publish instantly to one of your sites:

Post Formats

Alternatively, you can go to Posts » Add New in your dashboard to create a new post. Just select the appropriate Post Format in the Format module, and you can use the “Preview” button to view the post before publishing it.


10 Comments on Enhance Your Site with Post Formats, last added: 1/15/2013
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21. Five minutes with Tim Moore

Welcome to a new feature on WordPress.com News. Every couple weeks, we’ll sit down with an Automattician to help you get to know the people who work behind the scenes to build new features, keep Automattic’s wheels turning, and make WordPress.com the best it can be. Mr. Tim Moore suggested this new feature and so we thought it only fitting that he should be first. Everybody, say hey to Tim!

What’s your role at Automattic?

Tim Moore

Tim Moore

At Automattic, I’m a member of Team Social. We handle projects like Publicize, Post by Email, Sharing, the new WordPress.com comments UI, and Gravatar, among others.

I also do a lot of work on Automattic’s Jetpack plugin. I have a toe in each part of Jetpack; I started out doing mostly development, though now I help with support, maintenance, and any aspect of the plugin that needs work.

What sort of work have you done in the past? What did you learn from it?

For development work, I maintained virtual machines. Usually, beyond the basic web server software (LAMP or similar), I didn’t get involved in other software packages that could be run (email, for example). I used to do this, but haven’t in a long time.

In light of some of the recent privacy policy rigamarole that has been going around in the tech world, I decided to brush up on my skills to see what I could do. I ended up setting up my own email server to handle email for several of my domains that, until then, I had piped into a Google Apps account. Because they’re low volume email accounts, I don’t need Google’s vast data centers. I ended up with a functional email server and I learned that email, a thing we take for granted, is a complicated beast.

If you have an interest in how something works, take the time to learn about it. It’s going to be frustrating (My email server certainly frustrated me!), and you’ll probably feel like you’d be better off leaving it to someone else (I felt like that too).

When you’re done, you’ll have learned something new, you’ll understand a service you’ve (maybe) taken for granted in the past, and you’ll have a new appreciation for how hard folks work to make these things available.

What do you love most about working at Automattic?

I love having instant access to some of the best brilliant minds in the field. I’m an autodidact* and love to learn; there’s nothing better than being able to jump on IRC or Skype to ask a question or have a discussion about something I don’t understand and coming away having learned something new.

I also like that my commute to my office can be different each day. Not just in, “Let’s take a different route to the office today,” but in that I can stay in bed and open the laptop, I can work in my home office, I can go to the café or restaurant. My commute can be different each night, too, if I choose to work at night.

What should the people know about you, Tim?

In my spare time (hah!), I write fiction (speculative fiction or science fiction or fantasy) and read just about anything that captures my interest. I currently have a novel and several short stories in progress and I usually read about one book a week (this week I’ve knocked off Gun Machine by Warren Ellis, the B-Team by John Scalzi, and am working on the Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey).

I’m also a family person. I like to spend as much time with my wife, Caroline (also an Automattician!), and two daughters (ages four and one) as I can. One of the things I like to do with them, to relax after work, is cook dinner for the family.

*Fun fact: Leonardo da Vinci is one of the world’s best known autodidacts.

Did you know that Automattic is hiring? We want people who are willing to work hard, share their ideas, learn from their colleagues, take initiative to get things done without being told, and those who aren’t afraid to ask questions. Think you fit the bill? Work with us.


17 Comments on Five minutes with Tim Moore, last added: 1/22/2013
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22. Restaurants Whet Your Appetite on WordPress.com

Last year we launched wordpress.com/restaurants, giving restaurants the ability to quickly and easily build a site with menus, maps and directions, an OpenTable reservations widget, and more, along with an elegant new free theme. Since then, we’ve seen restaurants from venerable favorites to underground supper clubs using WordPress.com to entice customers with websites as beautiful as their signature dishes. Here are a few whose sites (and menus!) we love:

POSH

Posh Restaurant, Scottsdale AZPOSH is an “improvisational restaurant” in Scottsdale, Arizona where Chef Josh Herbert creates custom menus for each evening’s crowd based on seasonal ingredients and personal preferences. Using the Confit theme developed especially for restaurants, he’s able to give potential patrons a feel for the restaurant with a custom background photo showcasing the restaurant’s interior while maintaining a clean overall feel.

We particularly like the way he’s loaded up the left sidebar with all the key things a customer wants to see — links to information about the chef and his food, the restaurant’s hours and location, the OpenTable reservations widget — while using the rest of the page as a blog to highlight well-loved recipes.

(And Confit doesn’t have to be just for restaurants — it also works for secret supper clubs, rental properties, and more. Visit the Confit page for instructions on configuring all the restaurant-specific features.)

The Elephant Walk

The Elephant Walk, Waltham, MAThe Elephant Walk, a popular French-Cambodian restaurant in Waltham, Massachusetts, is a “benefit restaurant” — 3% of its profits go to non-profit organizations dedicated to fighting poverty. Using a customized version of the premium Duet theme, they’re spreading the word about their food and mission.

They’ve souped up their site with a custom header (which they carry over into an image widget, to keep the look consistent), and custom navigation that quickly shepherds readers to menus, FAQs, and information on the non-profits they support. As with POSH, they’ve also kept the most popular information in the sidebar, so readers can get directions or make a reservation no matter which page they’re on when the mood strikes.

Canapé

Canape, Wilmington NCFriends Matthew and Sean run Canapé, a pop-up restaurant, every Sunday night, taking over an existing restaurant space to present a new 11-course menu. Their site, using a customized version of the free Forever theme, uses stunning close-up photographs of their inventive, refined food to great effect.

Their custom background and header hint at their elegant but playful style, but it’s the slider of featured images that really steals the show — it showcases ten of their perfectly composed dishes, leaving each on the screen just long to activate your Pavlovian response before shifting to the next. Above, a custom menu takes visitors to more information (including a whole page dedicated to food photography, if the slider images weren’t enough for you) while below, blog posts keep followers up to date on upcoming menus and other news.

Some of these sites use premium themes or other upgrades, like a custom domain name or custom design – but not all. The Confit theme is free, as are its options to use a custom background and OpenTable widget. Many other free themes can be customized with a header, slider, and menus, and image widgets are always available for adding more visual interest.

Are you a restaurant owner who needs an upgrade, or just a happy customer whose favorite taco joint has a website from 1997 and wants to help? Welcome to WordPress.com!


11 Comments on Restaurants Whet Your Appetite on WordPress.com, last added: 1/31/2013
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23. Freshly Pressed: Friday Faves

This week’s Freshly Pressed posts continued to impress us with the range, depth, and honesty of the material being put out into the world by WordPress.com bloggers. As a community, you’re bold, not afraid to put yourselves on the line, and committed to chewing through important questions, even if you don’t always have the answers to them. That makes for heady reading, and passionate, opinionated conversation in the comments afterwards.

frozenpizzahero

Image credit: “Frozen Pizza” by Eric Leamen.

If you’re looking for something to read this week, we’ve picked three posts that share a preoccupation with trying to be authentic in a high-speed world that often demands that we’re anything but. How do you stay true to yourself when the world around you so actively encourages vapid, “phony” responses to seemingly inescapable situations? In three very different posts, this week’s selection of bloggers tackle that question in their own way.

I Confess. I Cheated.

We face these kinds of tough decisions every day, sometimes without even considering the moral and ethical significance. Cheating and getting ahead is the easy decision. Choosing not to cheat is the tough one. However, cheating does, after all, imply getting a competitive advantage. What if you are at a competitive disadvantage if you don’t cheat because everybody else is? It’s easy to justify it in our own heads when we are pursuing our goals to be successful and respected.

DF Salvador’s expansive post on the ethics of cheating to get by, or to become successful, spans from gaming online Scrabble to Lance Armstrong’s dubious decisions on the road to sporting success. At the heart of this post is the thorny question of how, and when, to stay true to oneself even when everyone around us is using artifice and underhand tactics to get ahead. It’s not an easy question, and there are no easy answers, but DF Salvador’s post explores and examines the motivations and societal pressures on all of us to sell ourselves short in the pursuit of success.

The Psychology of Workplace Dynamics: It’s ok to be a phony, as long as it is authentic

Everywhere we turn these days we hear about people “keeping it real.” But which real-self are they keeping true to? This sense of “keeping it real” could in actuality be about projecting that self that is dependent on the social world–An identity that has been constructed just for a public image. So, in reality one would “be keeping it fake real.”

Psychologist Mimi’s post tackles the problem of striving for authenticity in a personal and professional context, when authenticity is very much a social construct that falls apart at the drop of a feather. In a world of mediated experience and media-saturated personalities, is it foolish vanity to attempt to be the “real me”, and if not, what separates that from something altogether more “phony”? From Catcher in the Rye to Kim Kardashian, Psychologist Mimi interrogates our universal quest for authenticity and draws some interesting and unexpected conclusions.

Frozen Pizza: How Instagram And Vine Are Fuelling The Frivolous

Just like my Instagram photos were starting to feel meaningless, so too were most of the “first Vines” I saw posted yesterday. Vines of people Tweeting about Vine. Vines of people making coffee. Vines of people drinking coffee. Vines of dogs. Vines of cats. Vines of people dressed like cats. Vines of a dying Tweetie Bird. Vines of people eating food. I’ve yet to post a Vine, because I feel as if I have nothing Vine-worthy to record.

In Eric Leamen’s post for CE, he reflects on the dangers of the medium becoming the message. Leaman draws on his experiences with Twitter, Instagram, and Twitter’s new 6-second video service Vine to reflect on the impact of feeling perpetually pressured to post something, anything, to social media services. When posting becomes more important than having something significant or meaningful to share, to what extent do we end up sharing vapid, empty, and arguably inauthentic nothings before wondering why nobody seems particularly interested. Eric Leaman explores this idea by way of a piece of frozen pizza.

Did you read something in the WordPress.com Reader that you think is Freshly Pressed material? Feel free to leave us a link, or tweet us @freshly_pressed.

For more inspiration, check out our writing challengesphoto challenges, and other blogging tips at The Daily Post; visit our Recommended Blogs; and browse the most popular topics in the Reader. For editorial guidelines for Freshly Pressed, read: So You Want To Be Freshly Pressed.


10 Comments on Freshly Pressed: Friday Faves, last added: 2/3/2013
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24. Create an A+ Site with WordPress.com Classrooms

WordPress is an elegant solution for education professionals looking to create a website for their class, and today we’re excited to announce the launch of WordPress.com Classrooms. Whether you need a group blog for your high school history project, or to keep your 3rd grade students’ parents up to date about the next field trip, you’ll find the solution here at WordPress.com.

WordPress.com Classrooms

WordPress.com Classrooms

Get up and running — fast

We know you’re busy educating the world’s young minds, so we’ve made the site creation process as easy as 1-2-3: Register your site, customize your theme, and start posting — that’s it! No more excuses about how the dog ate your homework website.

Connect and collaborate

We’re all about engaging discussion. Invite students to post their thoughts on your latest lecture and submit their reaction papers as comments. Or maybe you just need a place to get the word out about class happenings — turn off comments entirely and make your site an informative online newsletter. You can even share class forms and documents with parents by using the media uploader.

Comments

Collaborate in comments

Your privacy is paramount

We get it — not everything can be public, especially in education. With blog privacy and password-protected pages, you control who sees your content.

Privacy

Protect your class’ privacy

Dozens of education themes

Maybe your English Grammar class needs a formal, college-ruled look — Runo Lite should do the trick. Or perhaps your kindergarten website needs a whimsical touch-up — enter our newest theme, Chalkboard:

New Theme: Chalkboard

New Theme: Chalkboard

Designed by Edward Jenkins, Chalkboard is the perfect theme for a K-12 classroom website. It looks just like its namesake, complete with bottom-resting eraser and chalk, and supports multiple widget areas, custom header, background, and more. Read more about Chalkboard on the Theme Showcase, or activate it on your blog by going to Appearance -> Themes in your Dashboard.

Whatever style you seek, we’ve got your class covered.

Beautiful, functional themes

Beautiful, functional themes

Your lessons come alive

Add images and photo galleries to your posts with our easy-to-use multimedia interface. Quickly embed videos from services like YouTube or Vimeo. Want to make your class even more dynamic? Consider adding VideoPress and a Space Upgrade so you can upload video and audio, too.

Multimedia

Easily embed images, galleries, and videos

Customize your site

Sticking to your school’s brand? No problem. Set a custom header or background with your logo or colors, or use the Custom Design upgrade to change your site’s colors, fonts, and CSS. Finally, add Domain Mapping to point your existing domain to your blog.

Lots of custom design options

Plentiful customization options

At the head of the class

Check out these awesome classes, educators, and schools already taking advantage of WordPress.com’s great features:

The Coop

The Coop

West Des Moines Community Schools Technology

West Des Moines Community Schools Technology

CRS 5th Grade

CRS 5th Grade

What are you waiting for? Get a head start and build your class website now!


0 Comments on Create an A+ Site with WordPress.com Classrooms as of 2/20/2013 11:38:00 AM
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25. Create an A+ Site with WordPress.com Classrooms

WordPress is an elegant solution for education professionals looking to create a website for their class, and today we’re excited to announce the launch of WordPress.com Classrooms. Whether you need a group blog for your high school history project, or to keep your 3rd grade students’ parents up to date about the next field trip, you’ll find the solution here at WordPress.com.

WordPress.com Classrooms

WordPress.com Classrooms

Get up and running — fast

We know you’re busy educating the world’s young minds, so we’ve made the site creation process as easy as 1-2-3: Register your site, customize your theme, and start posting — that’s it! No more excuses about how the dog ate your homework website.

Connect and collaborate

We’re all about engaging discussion. Invite students to post their thoughts on your latest lecture and submit their reaction papers as comments. Or maybe you just need a place to get the word out about class happenings — turn off comments entirely and make your site an informative online newsletter. You can even share class forms and documents with parents by using the media uploader.

Comments

Collaborate in comments

Your privacy is paramount

We get it — not everything can be public, especially in education. With blog privacy and password-protected pages, you control who sees your content.

Privacy

Protect your class’ privacy

Dozens of education themes

Maybe your English Grammar class needs a formal, college-ruled look — Runo Lite should do the trick. Or perhaps your kindergarten website needs a whimsical touch-up — enter our newest theme, Chalkboard:

New Theme: Chalkboard

New Theme: Chalkboard

Designed by Edward Jenkins, Chalkboard is the perfect theme for a K-12 classroom website. It looks just like its namesake, complete with bottom-resting eraser and chalk, and supports multiple widget areas, custom header, background, and more. Read more about Chalkboard on the Theme Showcase, or activate it on your blog by going to Appearance -> Themes in your Dashboard.

Whatever style you seek, we’ve got your class covered.

Beautiful, functional themes

Beautiful, functional themes

Your lessons come alive

Add images and photo galleries to your posts with our easy-to-use multimedia interface. Quickly embed videos from services like YouTube or Vimeo. Want to make your class even more dynamic? Consider adding VideoPress and a Space Upgrade so you can upload video and audio, too.

Multimedia

Easily embed images, galleries, and videos

Customize your site

Sticking to your school’s brand? No problem. Set a custom header or background with your logo or colors, or use the Custom Design upgrade to change your site’s colors, fonts, and CSS. Finally, add Domain Mapping to point your existing domain to your blog.

Lots of custom design options

Plentiful customization options

At the head of the class

Check out these awesome classes, educators, and schools already taking advantage of WordPress.com’s great features:

The Coop

The Coop

West Des Moines Community Schools Technology

West Des Moines Community Schools Technology

CRS 5th Grade

CRS 5th Grade

What are you waiting for? Get a head start and build your class website now!


13 Comments on Create an A+ Site with WordPress.com Classrooms, last added: 2/20/2013
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