A Better Way to Discover Blogs and Get Inspired

Posted by download in Software on 23-09-2020

WordPress is home to millions of sites across countless topics. It’s a big and beautiful world, and we want to make it easier for you to discover new voices. Over the past few months, the mobile team has been working hard to improve the experience of your WordPress Reader on the mobile app. In particular, we’ve been exploring different ways for you to discover new blogs and find inspiration.

The new Discover tab on your Reader will recommend blogs and posts based on topics you follow. These changes give you more control over what you see, making it easier for you to find interesting voices, while also giving you and your site the opportunity to find a bigger audience. 

How it works

Add appropriate tags and categories when drafting your blog posts — this helps us recommend your posts to the right audience. 

The topics you now see in your improved Reader are a combination of tags and categories. If you want to find interesting blogs, follow topics you care about. The Discover tab will then show you recommended blogs and posts based on those topics.

Each post on the Discover tab has a list of topics on top. If you want to go deeper into a topic, tap on it to see a feed of blog posts from that specific topic.

If you’d like to see more posts from a particular topic on your Discover feed, tap the Follow button from that topic feed.

Soon we’ll be rolling out improvements to posts on the Reader as well. To give blog posts more room to shine, the featured image will be more prominent. 

If you’d like to try the new Discover tab, make sure you update your WordPress app to the latest version. If you don’t have the app yet, you can download it for free, on both Android and iOS. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the new experience. For specific feedback on the updates, reach out to us from within the app by going to My Site, tapping your photo on the top right, tapping Help & Support → and then selecting Contact Support.

Toward zero: Reducing and offsetting our data center power emissions

Posted by download in Software on 22-09-2020

Following the massive Australian bushfires earlier this year, I was motivated to act within my role as a data scientist at Automattic to help fight anthropogenic climate change. Together with colleagues from across the company, we formed an employee resource group focused on sustainability. We are pleased to announce that as a result of our efforts, Automattic now offsets data center power emissions produced from non-renewable sources. This means that the servers running WordPress.com, WordPress VIP, Tumblr, and other Automattic services contribute net zero carbon emissions to our shared atmosphere.

Measuring and offsetting emissions is not a trivial task. In the interest of transparency, this post provides more details on the decisions we made and answers questions that readers may have on the topic. We hope that this will benefit other organizations that are in a similar position to Automattic. We welcome feedback and are happy to answer any other questions you may have.

The decision: For 2020, we decided to purchase offsets from Simoshi via the United Nations’ offset platform. These offsets are produced by improving the efficiency of cooking stoves in Ugandan schools. Emission reductions are achieved by using less wood to cook the same amount of food. This project also has third-party certification from the Gold Standard, and it contributes to nine of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including No Poverty, Quality Education, and Gender Equality. See the project page and the following video for more details:

Why did we choose this project? Anyone who’s tried to purchase offsets knows that it can be complicated. We don’t have in-house sustainability experts, so we relied on publicly-available information to better understand the topic. Resources we found useful include: Carbon Offset Guide, atmosfair, and Greenhouse Gas Protocol. As the price of offsets varies widely, we chose to follow Microsoft’s approach and set our own internal price of $15 per metric tonne of CO2e. Simoshi’s project stood out because it matches our budget, has a clear emission reduction mechanism, is certified by the United Nations and the Gold Standard, and has many benefits beyond emission reductions, which align with our company’s values.

What emissions do our offsets cover? Automattic has servers in many data centers around the world, operated by different providers. As we don’t control the data center providers’ choice of energy utilities, we treat the emissions from data center power use as being in Scope 3, i.e., as indirect emissions from our value chain. For each data center, we used publicly-available information from our providers to determine whether they’re powered by renewable resources. This led us to conclude that approximately half of our data center energy use is covered by renewables paid for by the data center providers. For the other data centers, we used our servers’ power consumption logs to get the estimated power used over a period of one year. We then multiplied these figures by 1.5 to obtain a conservative estimate that accounts for power usage effectiveness. Using a variety of resources on grid carbon intensity, such as those published by the American Environmental Protection Agency and the European Environment Agency, we converted these power use estimates to emission estimates. This gave us an overall figure of 1,850 tonnes of CO2e for 2020.

Why offset rather than reduce emissions? We are aware that offsetting is an imperfect solution. Ideally, we would source all our energy from renewables. In a perfect world, it wouldn’t even be possible to buy energy generated by burning fossil fuels. However, given the current reality, setting our own price on carbon and offsetting non-renewable data center emissions is a good temporary solution. This also gives us a financial incentive to work with providers and shift toward greener data centers. In fact, this sort of shift happened last year when we changed our main European data center to a provider that operates on 100% renewables. We hope to continue making such changes in coming years, i.e., reducing emissions where feasible and offsetting the rest.

Why aren’t we doing more? From watching the climate action space, it seems like every announcement is greeted with demands to do more. This is a positive thing — society should hold companies accountable for their actions. As a company, we believe that we can always do better: The opening sentence of our creed is “I will never stop learning”, and we know that we are “in a marathon, not a sprint.” It is our hope that as we learn more about the space and our impact, we will be able to take stronger climate action.

What are we planning to do next? Automattic is a fully-distributed company. This means that our employees aren’t required to commute to central offices, which leads to significant savings in carbon emissions. However, we historically relied on flying to in-person meetups a few times a year to foster collaboration and bonding. Since March 2020, all business travel has been suspended, and it is still unclear what travel will look like in the post-pandemic world. In any case, as an employee resource group, we are planning on quantifying our travel emissions, and advocating for reducing avoidable trips and offsetting emissions from trips that are deemed essential. One change that is already taking place is aligning more teams around fewer time zones. In addition to helping with synchronous collaboration and decreasing isolation, this will reduce the distance traveled per person once meetups resume. We will share more on other actions we take in the future — watch this space! We also welcome feedback from our customers, so please comment on this post or contact us to share your thoughts.

Start Taking Donations, Tips, and Contributions for Your Creative and Professional Pursuits

Posted by download in Software on 10-09-2020

With our growing suite of payment features, we want to make it easier for you to earn money on WordPress.com. With the Donations block, you can now accept credit and debit card payments for all types of donations, earning revenue and growing your base of supporters. Collect donations, tips, and contributions on your website to fuel your creative and professional projects or to support and grow your business or organization.

Donations block example for an arts organization

What can you accept donations for?

You can collect financial contributions on your website for just about anything — the sky really is the limit. Here are examples of things people support through donations:

  • Creative pursuits for musicians, artists, designers, writers, and more
  • Concrete creations like podcasts, video games, music clips, and photography
  • Bloggers and content creators of all shapes and sizes
  • Everyday passions like news summaries and mindfulness exercises
  • Professional endeavors including civic engagement and professional development
  • Nonprofits and community, religious, and political organizations

Donations block examples for a musician and radio station

Continue to build your community by engaging with your supporters in a unique and authentic way. People can opt to support you through one-time, monthly, or yearly contributions, and the Donations block lets you engage with each level for a more custom experience. For example, you might send your monthly supporters additional content and information on top of what you send your one-time supporters.

As you ask for support, we’ll handle the rest — the credit and debit card payment processing, sending receipts, reporting, and more.

Ask for your first donation

Above all, the first step in earning money on your website is to ask for it. You can add a Donations block to your website in a matter of minutes; watch this short video to learn how. Alternatively, a step-by-step guide follows below.

How to use Donations block to earn money on your WordPress.com website
  • To use the Donations block, you’ll need a WordPress.com website with any paid plan — Personal, Premium, Business, or eCommerce.
  • On any page or post, add the Donations block.
  • To set up your first donation request, create a Stripe account if you don’t have one already. Stripe is the company we’ve partnered with to process credit and debit card payments in a safe, secure, and speedy way.
  • After you’ve connected to Stripe, configure the block’s settings, like how often you’re asking for donations. It can be any combination of single (one-time), monthly recurring, or yearly recurring donations.
  • Set three donation amounts that you’d like visitors to choose from for any of the payment intervals. These are fully customizable. Be sure to set your currency as well.
  • You can also allow visitors to donate what they want — essentially a blank box for them to fill out how much money they would like to give.
  • Review all of the text in your Donations block — you can edit every single letter, so be sure to provide enough information for your visitors about their donation, why you’re asking for it, etc.
  • Publish your block!
  • You can manage your supporters, see earnings, and keep an eye on other metrics in the Earn dashboard.
  • Last but not least, tell others about what you’re doing! Share on social media, email, and however you best communicate with people who might donate to your cause.

A suite of payment features to fit your needs

Looking to accept payments for something else? There are several other payment features on WordPress.com to suit your needs and help you make money with your website. In addition to the new Donations block, here are other features:

  • Payments block: Accept one-time or recurring payments on your website for physical items, digital downloads, services, memberships, subscriptions, and more.
  • Premium Content block: Create one-time, monthly, or yearly subscription options to share select content with those who pay for it — text, images, videos, or any kind of content. Exclusive content can be sent to email inboxes or viewed on your website.
  • Paid newsletters: Using the Premium Content block, you can share your site’s latest premium content via email newsletters in a fully automated way.
  • eCommerce Store: Turn your website into an eCommerce store and sell products and services seamlessly.

If you’re interested in setting up a membership- or subscription-based website, learn more about getting started with memberships and subscriptions.


Add the Donations block and start earning money with your website today!

Expert Advice: Stay On Top of Your Business with Jetpack CRM

Posted by download in Software on 08-09-2020

Customers are the heart of your business, and the best way to maintain your vital relationships with them is with a world-class CRM (customer relationship management) system.

Join us at our next free webinar on Thursday, September 17th, to learn how you can turn leads into customers, track business metrics, leverage data, and monitor activity profiles to better serve your customers—all by using Jetpack CRM.

Date: Thursday, September 17, 2020
Time: 8:00 am PT | 10:00 am CT | 11:00 am ET | 15:00 UTC
Registration linkhttps://zoom.us/webinar/register/8015988855022/WN_ZMyGfL7dRsm_4yzwivSnzw
Who’s invited: All are welcome, but this webinar is designed especially for small business owners, freelancers, consultants, and anyone else interested in learning how they can improve their sales process.

Jetpack CRM was built specifically for WordPress, so that you can manage your leads as they navigate your sales funnel, all on your WordPress dashboard. Mike Stott and Woody Hayday, the founding developers and lead engineers behind Jetpack CRM, will be co-presenting in the webinar, which will include a 15-minute live Q&A at the end of the 45-minute presentation.

Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the live webinar, though! A recording will be available on our YouTube channel a few days after the event.

Live attendance is limited, so be sure to register early. We look forward to seeing you!

WordPress 5.5.1 Maintenance Release

Posted by download in Software on 01-09-2020

WordPress 5.5.1 is now available!

This maintenance release features 34 bug fixes, 5 enhancements, and 5 bug fixes for the block editor. These bugs affect WordPress version 5.5, so you’ll want to upgrade.

You can download WordPress 5.5.1 directly, or visit the Dashboard → Updates screen and click Update Now. If your sites support automatic background updates, they’ve already started the update process.

WordPress 5.5.1 is a short-cycle maintenance release. The next major release will be version 5.6.

To see a full list of changes, you can browse the list on Trac, read the 5.5.1 RC1 and 5.5.1 RC2 posts, or visit the 5.5.1 documentation page.

Thanks and props!

The 5.5.1 release was led by @audrasjb, @azhiyadev, @davidbaumwald, @desrosj, @johnbillion, @planningwrite, @sergeybiryukov and @whyisjake.

Thank you to everyone who helped make WordPress 5.5.1 happen:

Amit Dudhat, Andrea Fercia, Andrey “Rarst” Savchenko, Andy Fragen, Angel Hess, avixansa, bobbingwide, Brian Hogg, chunkysteveo, Clayton Collie, David Baumwald, David Herrera, dd32, demetris, Dominik Schilling, dushakov, Earle Davies, Enrique Sánchez, Frankie Jarrett, fullofcaffeine, Garrett Hyder, Gary Jones, gchtr, Hauwa, Herre Groen, Howdy_McGee, Ipstenu (Mika Epstein), Jb Audras, Jeremy Felt, Jeroen Rotty, Joen A., Johanna de Vos, John Blackbourn, John James Jacoby, Jonathan Bossenger, Jonathan Desrosiers, Jonathan Stegall, Joost de Valk, Jorge Costa, Justin Ahinon, Kalpesh Akabari, Kevin Hagerty, Knut Sparhell, Kyle B. Johnson, landau, Laxman Prajapati, Lester Chan, mailnew2ster, Marius L. J., Mark Jaquith, Mark Uraine, Matt Gibson, Michael Beckwith, Mikey Arce, Mohammad Jangda, Mukesh Panchal, Nabil Moqbel, net, oakesjosh, O André, Omar Reiss, Ov3rfly, Paddy, Pascal Casier, Paul Biron, Peter Wilson, rajeshsingh520, Rami Yushuvaev, rebasaurus, riaanlom, Riad Benguella, Rodrigo Arias, rtagliento, salvoaranzulla, Sanjeev Aryal, sarahricker, Sergey Biryukov, Stephen Bernhardt, Steven Stern (sterndata), Thomas M, Timothy Jacobs, TobiasBg, tobifjellner (Tor-Bjorn Fjellner), TwentyZeroTwo, Winstina, wittich, and Yoav Farhi.

The Month in WordPress: August 2020

Posted by download in Software on 01-09-2020

August was special for WordPress lovers, as one of the most anticipated releases, WordPress 5.5, was launched. The month also saw several updates from various contributor teams, including the soft-launch of the Learn WordPress project and updates to Gutenberg. Read on to find out about the latest updates from the WordPress world.


WordPress 5.5 Launch

The team launched WordPress 5.5 on August 11. The major release comes with a host of features like automatic updates for plugins and themes, enabling updates over uploaded ZIP files, a block directory, XML sitemaps, block patterns, inline image editing, and lazy-loading images, to name a few. WordPress 5.5 is now available in 50 languages too! You can update to the latest version directly from your WordPress dashboard or download it directly from WordPress.org. Subsequent to the 5.5 release, the 5.5.1 release candidate came out on August 28, which will be followed by its official launch of the minor release on September 1.

A record 805 people contributed to WordPress 5.5, hailing from 58 different countries. @audrasjb has compiled many more stats like that and they’re well worth a read!

Want to get involved in building WordPress Core? Follow the Core team blog, and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Gutenberg 8.7 and 8.8

The core team launched Gutenberg 8.7 and 8.8. Version 8.7 saw many improvements to the Post Block suite, along with other changes like adding a block example to the Buttons block, consistently autosaving edits, and updating the group block description. Version 8.8 offers updates to Global Styles, the Post Block suite, and Template management. The release significantly improves the back-compatibility of the new Widget Screen, and also includes other important accessibility and mobile improvements to user interfaces like the Toolbar, navigation menus, and Popovers. For full details on the latest versions of these Gutenberg releases, visit these posts about 8.7 and 8.8.

Want to get involved in building Gutenberg? Follow the Core team blog, contribute to Gutenberg on GitHub, and join the #core-editor channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

Check out the brand new Learn WordPress platform!

Learn WordPress is a brand new cross-team initiative led by the WordPress Community team, with support from the training team, the TV team, and the meta team. This platform is a learning repository on learn.wordpress.org, where WordPress learning content will be made available. Video workshops published on the site will be followed up by supplementary discussion groups based on workshop content. The first of these discussion groups have been scheduled, and you can join an upcoming discussion on the dedicated meetup group. The community team invites members to contribute to the project. You can apply to present a workshop, assist with reviewing submitted workshops, and add ideas for workshops that you would like to see on the site. You can also apply to be a discussion group leader to organize discussions directly through the learn.wordpress.org platform. We are also creating a dedicated Learn WordPress working group and have posted a call for volunteers. Meetup organizers can use Learn WordPress content for their meetup events (without applying as a discussion group leader). Simply ask your meetup group to watch one of the workshops in the weeks leading up to your scheduled event, and then host a discussion group for that content as your event.

Want to get involved with the Community team? Follow the Community blog, or join them in the #community-events channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. To organize a local WordPress community event, visit the handbook page


Further Reading:

Have a story that we should include in the next “Month in WordPress” post? Please submit it here.

Seedlet: A New, Sophisticated Theme Fully Powered By the Block Editor

Posted by download in Software on 26-08-2020

Is your WordPress.com site ready for a refresh? Today, we’re unveiling Seedlet, a new theme that’s simple yet stylish.

Screenshot of the Seedlet theme demo page home screen

Designed by Kjell Reigstad, Seedlet is a great option for professionals and creatives seeking a sophisticated vibe. Classically elegant typography creates a refined site that gives your writing and images space to breathe — and shine. 

Seedlet was built to be the perfect partner to the block editor, and supports all the latest blocks. Writing, audio, illustrations, photography, video — use Seedlet to engage and direct visitors’ eyes, without the theme getting in the way. And the responsive design shifts naturally between desktop and mobile devices.

Learn more about setting up Seedlet, and explore the demo site to see it in action. 

Our team is hard at work developing new block-powered themes. Watch this space for updates!

Expert Advice: How to Build an Accessible Education Website on WordPress.com

Posted by download in Software on 18-08-2020

Learn the basics and best practices of building an accessible and inclusive website for your classroom, school, or class assignment. This is a free, one-hour live webinar open to all, but is especially geared toward educators, teachers, school webmasters, and students.

Date: Thursday, August 27, 2020
Time: 10:00 am PT | 12:00 pm CT | 1:00 pm ET | 17:00 UTC
Registration linkhttps://zoom.us/webinar/register/2715977718561/WN_RFyhYfGNTOikZxw4aAsMXA
Who’s invited: All are welcome, but this webinar is designed for stakeholders within education, including teachers, educators, school webmasters, students, and parents.

Melissa Silberstang and Fernando Medina are WordPress.com Happiness Engineers and accessibility advocates who have helped thousands of people build websites on WordPress.com. They’ll help you understand what makes a great, accessible website, and what customizations to look out for as you build.

During the last 10-15 minutes of the webinar, attendees will be able to ask questions during the live Q&A portion.

We know you’re busy, so if you can’t make the live event, you’ll be able to watch a recording of the webinar on our YouTube channel.

Live attendance is limited, so be sure to register early. We look forward to seeing you on the webinar!

The Classic editing experience is moving, not leaving

Posted by download in Software on 13-08-2020

With the introduction of the Block editor, the WordPress.com Classic Editor was set for retirement at the beginning of June. We pushed that back a bit to make time for more changes that ease the transition to the Block editor — and now it’s time! With the new and improved Classic block, you have the best of both editors: the flexibility and stability of the Block editor, and the Classic editor interface you know.

From August 11 all WordPress.com accounts will switch from Classic editor to the new Block editor. It will happen in phases, and you’ll get an email to let you know to expect the change.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re a fan of the Classic editor experience.

Why the change?

There are exciting new features in the pipeline that require the new WordPress editor. It’s not technically possible to retrofit them into the older, Classic editor, and we want to make sure everyone can take advantage of them as they become available. With all WordPress.com users publishing with the Block editor, all WordPress.com users always have the latest and greatest.

Can I create simple blog posts the way I always have?

Yes, with the Classic block! It provides an editing experience that mimics the Classic editor — the same options and tools, in the same spot.

To use it, add a Classic block to your post or page, then add and edit both text and media right inside it.

What about editing posts and pages already created in the Classic editor?

Many of you have lots of pages and posts already created and published with the Classic editor. Previously, editing them in the Block editor led to a lot of prompts asking you to convert the content to blocks. Now there’s a single “Convert to blocks” menu item to take care of it in one go.

Use it to upgrade your posts and pages to block-based content at your leisure.

Can I combine the Classic block with other blocks?

The Classic block gives you the best of both worlds. You can continue writing and editing your posts with the simple Classic interface — but when you want to experiment with more complex layouts and functionality you play with the flexibility of blocks. For example, have you ever wanted an easy way to show off your favorite podcast?

What about editing on mobile?

As long as your post or page only contains a single Classic block, you’ll be able to edit the Classic content in the mobile app.


The Block editor also has updates to bring in some of your favorite classic features, like a clean editing screen. The Block editor displays pop-up options and menus as you type — they give you lots of control, but you might not always want them visible over your content. Turn on Top toolbar mode to keep them pinned to the top of the screen. It’s a great way to experience the full flexibility of the block editor while still allowing distraction-free writing.

Look out for the email letting you know when to expect the Block editor switch! In there meantime, learn more about working with the Block editor and the Classic block.

Introducing a New, Convenient Way for Your Customers to Contact You

Posted by download in Software on 13-08-2020

The world is mobile, and your visitors and customers expect to be able to easily contact you using their mobile device. With WordPress.com’s new WhatsApp button, you can provide a one-click, secure way for people to open WhatsApp, with your phone number and a message pre-filled.

Insert the WhatsApp button with your phone number and a custom message pre-filled.

Adding the button is easy. In the block editor, create a new block and search for WhatsApp:

whatsapp block

The WhatsApp button is available now to all WordPress.com sites on a Premium, Business, or eCommerce plan. You can upgrade your site to one of these plans, try it out for 30 days, and if you’re not satisfied with your upgrade we’ll grant you a full refund.

If you decide to cancel your paid plan after you’ve already accepted the free custom domain, the domain is yours to keep. We simply ask that you cover the costs for the domain registration.

We hope the WhatsApp button helps you connect with your customers and visitors in new ways. Give it a try today!