WP Briefing: Episode 21: All Things Block Themes!

Posted by download in Software on 29-11-2021

In episode 21 of the WordPress Briefing, Executive Director, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, talks all things block themes with developers and theme specialists Maggie Cabrera and Jeff Ong.

Have a question you’d like answered? You can submit them to wpbriefing@wordpress.org, either written or as a voice recording.




Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:11

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the WordPress Briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project, some insight into the community that supports it, and get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. See, here we go!

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:40

Well, today, folks, in our podcast, I am joined by a couple of special guests. I know it’s been a bit since I’ve had a guest, so I’m very excited to introduce you to who I have with me today. Today, I have Maggie Cabrera and Jeff Ong. They both are working on themes, and especially the future of themes as we move into this low code, no code block based experience of editing things in WordPress. And there have been so many questions lately about what does the landscape of being a theme developer turns into once we move fully into this excellent promise of user empowerment for Gutenberg? I figured who best to come and talk to us about that than these two. So welcome, Maggie. Welcome, Jeff. I’m really excited to have this conversation with you today.

Jeff Ong  01:39

Thank you for having us. Excited to be here. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  01:45

I’m just gonna hop right in, and we will see what happens. The first thing that I want to chat about, I hear so many questions and so much discussion about patterns in a lot of different places. Like obviously, the work that I helped to steward the most is around like the Block Pattern directory and various other user-facing tools. And so I have never really been able to give a really solid answer about like patterns and how they work inside themes. And so I wondered if you all had anything that you could offer to our listeners to help clarify what is the power of patterns inside themes in the future? Implementation of themes?

Jeff Ong  02:34

I can try to start unless, Maggie? Okay. Well, if you take a look at what I’ve been doing for the last couple of months working on Twenty Twenty-Two. And if you look at that theme, it’s mostly just the collection of patterns. Patterns. As you know, if you read the description, the theme, it’s designed to be the most flexible and kind of like flexible theme ever, dare I say ever created. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  03:04

I think you can dare to say it. 

Jeff Ong  03:03

And, you know, I think a huge part of that is because of the Full Site Editing being launched, introduced in 5.9. And also that theme itself ships with all of these patterns in it that work with the overall design, but really can be configured to your own kind of unique liking and kind of taste and ultimately, what you want to accomplish, whether that’s I want to make a portfolio, I want to make, you know, a single-page website promoting like my podcast, or there are patterns for that kind of shipping with the theme. And they’ve all been kind of designed and tailored to work with the typography choices at a baseline level with the color choices at a baseline level, but can very easily be tweaked. And you can kind of rely on them to work with the editor. And I guess, kind of zooming out for a little bit, not just about Twenty-Twenty Two. 

Jeff Ong  04:04

But like patterns as this idea that a theme, hopefully, what it is, it’s a collection of different design options or layout options that are ultimately presented as patterns to the user, the patterns are just a really easy way to basically say “I want you this layout, like two columns of text or with like some images here.” Basically, a theme becomes a way of packaging the patterns together in a way that feels like a coherent piece of a coherent website. And I think that’s a pretty powerful idea. I know that the patterns directory is also opening up making those patterns pretty widely available. But I think a theme you could think of as like a curation of those patterns in a way that makes sense. And I think Twenty-Twenty Two is a really good example. I mean, I’m biased.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  05:03

I also think it’s a good example. Maggie, did you have anything that you wanted to add to that?

Maggie Cabrera  05:08

Yeah, What I really like about patterns is how it empowers the user, even if they don’t really have like a deep knowledge of code, or they’re not used to the more complex blocks. When the theme developer gives you this pattern about using the query block, for example, it lays out your posts in a very compelling manner. And you can edit it if you want it or just use it out of the box. And you have this dynamic blog that it’s, like, such a big important part of your website. Like if you want to have a page where you have, you have maybe a podcast website, and you want to showcase your podcasts differently than your regular blog posts. So you can use a different gray pattern for that. And it’s like, really, really easy to use, even if you’re not familiar with it.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  06:07

One of the things that I have found compelling about this new version of themes and kind of the way that themes are planning to look in the future; it’s going to be like a super throwback, so everyone get ready for me to sound old, my guests and my listeners alike. It reminds me of my original days of blogging on the web. I was not a developer and even though I had this really short stint of working with JavaScript in my career, at some point. Like no one actually would ever look to me and be like, that one is excellent at design and fixing everything with code, like I was just killer at searching for the right pieces of code, right. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  06:57

And so I remember sitting there on Zynga, which is, of course, now powered by WordPress, I absolutely just went out and found bundles of code that are now what we would consider themes and modified the small pieces that I needed to change in order to like really suit what I wanted to have happen on the site at the time. And they’re like, I knew I could break it all. Really easily. But also, it was, it was not scary to think about breaking it. Like it was clear how I could fix it if I really broke it. The content, like what I had written, was separate from everything to do with the way that it was looking. And so like, I wouldn’t destroy all of my work, just because I didn’t put a semicolon in the right place, or whatever it was in that moment. And so like, this future of themes really reminds me of this a lot where someone has curated how it can look how it should look. And you can just like add in modular pieces that will augment what was already intended, but still kind of work. And if it’s not gonna work, it’s kind of easy to fix too. So like, I’m excited. That was a really exciting time in my learning of the web and certainly was formative in my career, as we all now see. And so yeah, I think that’s really exciting. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  08:20

I did have actually another question that this conversation has kind of brought up for me. I have, obviously just use the term modular, which no one has ever used in the context of themes for WordPress. And I know that there is a lot there are a lot of terms kind of wandering around about themes right now. And especially as we’re moving into what themes can look like in the future. There was block based theme as a term for a while. And now it’s block themes. There was like this floating around the term, universal themes. And now we’re looking at just like block themes forever. And so I wondered if y’all could give us a just like a clear understanding of these terms that had been being used and maybe are going out of fashion? Like, are they important for us to keep knowing?

Jeff Ong  09:11

So yes, the history of terms around themes. And obviously, even my knowledge only goes back so far. But it was around when we started doing the block based themes meeting. And trying to I think that’s where that term kind of came from is like, oh, let’s, let’s start talking about this idea that themes can be completely made up out of blocks. And what does that mean? 

Jeff Ong  09:33

I think over time, it wasn’t just block themes, because, you know, previously, there were themes and even default themes that used and took into account the fact that blocks existed. So there was some confusion there. Enough time has gone on where we focus on this idea that themes whose templates are ultimately made out of blocks are block themes. And to me, it’s kind of as simple as that. Its themes that supply a set of templates that previously in the past were a collection of PHP and various template tags and whatnot is all transitioned to themes made up including other blocks, as well as themes that supply styles through theme.json configuration instead of supplying it in raw CSS. To me this idea is really crystallizing around like this is a block theme, one that is really, at its core, supplying a set of templates, and styles through a language that WordPress understands natively, and can allow it to be configured and customized in a really powerful way. And then maybe someday in the future, they’ll just be called themes again. If we do a good enough they will just be called themes.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  10:57

I’m gonna, I’m gonna take us into a philosophical area now that you’ve just put us in there. You said, someday they’ll be called Themes. Again, I’ve talked about this on this podcast a few times. And for anyone who’s worked with me for any length of time, like you all probably heard this from me as well. But like, adjectives are so frequently the realm of things that are not what you expect, right? Because like you have coffee, and then decaf coffee, no one’s like caffeinated coffee, because that’s what you expect out of it. And so when you’re like themes, and block themes, it makes it look like block themes are secondary, which at the moment, they are, ish. But in the future, I think you’re probably right, there will be a time when the modifier isn’t necessary anymore because it will be hopefully a much better way for people to kind of change the way that their themes work and make it more usable for users and people who are, you know, having to manage their own site without necessarily wanting to or being able to, like, have a Maggie in the room to fix everything that they break. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  12:08

Maggie is nowhere near me. And so she’s never been in the room when I’ve broken anything. But I believe that Maggie on one occasion, at least, has come in and helped me fix something that I definitely broke. I’m an excellent breaker of WordPress things. Maggie, did you have anything you wanted to add to that question? 


Yeah, I guess, maybe clarify a bit, what universal themes are because, yeah, maybe some people have heard about the term but they don’t really know what they are. And maybe just clarify that. The term was born when developing block themes wasn’t something that you could actually do for production websites like you could build them to test some experiments, but they weren’t really ready for users to use. So universal themes want to grasp the power of love themes while still being ready for users. So the way they do it is they are block based, like we used to call them in the sense that the templates are made of blocks. But they are also able to be customized using the customizer, which is the old way of customizing themes, instead of using the site editor. So they can have a balance between two worlds between the worlds of classic themes and block themes. But they are, at heart, a temporary concept. They are bound to be blocked themes in the future, but with maybe a foot in the past, where they can actually serve users who are not ready for full-on site editor. But they are bound to be full block themes in the future.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  14:00

There’s a really interesting concept in there. So universal themes, it sounds like are basically kind of like an on-ramp for people who are not really ready to fully commit to this for any number of reasons. Like we never want to say that we know the reason that people would be a little bit shy to get started with this. But like it’s kind of like an on-ramp, it’s a safe way to get back to something that they do know, in the event that what they don’t know, really hinders their progress makes it hard for them to get the work done.

Maggie Cabrera  14:31

I think I wouldn’t say that they are for people shyer to get into new stuff rather than developers who want to embrace the new stuff before it’s even really ready. They really want to embrace the power of the blocks instead of doing things the old way. But even if it’s not fully ready.

Jeff Ong  14:54

They still need to support the old way of doing things.

Maggie Cabrera  14:58

Like being backward compatible and being ready for any kind of user.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  15:05

So mostly for developers, everyone who heard me just talking about how it was a great thing for users, ignore it.

Maggie Cabrera  15:12

It’s also good for users; If they feel secure in using the customizer.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  15:20

Well, I think that there’s something important here that we certainly learned with the adoption of Gutenberg in 5.0. Right, which is that there is certainly one method of helping people to adopt things, which is to go like the art of war style, and kind of smash their rice pots and burn all their boats, like, that’s one way. Which works for a lot of companies in the world, I’m sure. But WordPress has always had kind of a commitment, not even kind of, has always had a commitment to backward compatibility. And like, we know that a lot of the work on Gutenberg is going to represent some breaking changes around the around workflows and around the user experience the interface, especially like, we know that. But the opportunity to like have a thing that gives you an early taste of what’s coming but also the ability to keep kind of working in your old space where you need to, I think it’s an excellent way to bring people forward into the future of things, I have never been a fan of the just like cut off all avenues and hope that they stay with your method because of course, like you can’t cut off all the methods. You can’t cut off all the ways people can get away from you. And even if we could, it wouldn’t be in line with how WordPress hopes to kind of help people through some tough stuff like making your first website is hard. If you are doing it as part of, an overall campaign that’s supposed to bring in leads for you or generate revenue like you don’t want to necessarily play with that in a way that could break things and be risky for you in the long term. So I think all the tools that we offer to help people kind of move forward with the technology move forward with the CMS as it’s moving forward, I think it’s really smart. And so universal themes are one of those things, but also not around to stay. As we move into non modified themes, just the word themes that happen to be based in blocks. If I’ve confused anyone, please email me at wpbriefing@wordpress.org. And tell me how I confused you. And I will do a follow-up to unconfuse everyone. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  17:40

So speaking of the way that we help people kind of move forward with WordPress and with the technology. So much has been done in the CMS in the past 12 months in the past 18 months to be able to move themes into this same future as the rest of the editor. Right. So like, for folks who have not been listening to me for the last five years, you may not know this. So I’m going to tell everybody now, like one of the pain points that Gutenberg overall is solving is the fact that you for a long time had to learn five different editing interfaces to get one thing done in WordPress, right. And so like the advent of blocks and moving it into more and more spaces in the CMS is intended to really flatten the editing experience by making the type of user interaction the type of workflow really similar across all of the editing interfaces in the CMS. And so themes are a natural extension of that, where we can take similar user patterns and workflows, and work them out into themes. So over the last 12 months or so probably a little bit more, there’s been a lot of work on the CMS to move us forward in that that is now enabling the work that we want to be able to do to move things forward ahead. And so, I mean, this is probably our last question. Is there anything that you all want to offer to people who maybe saw themes early on or saw Gutenberg early on and felt like this is just not for me, in that in that context of like, how far it’s moved ahead in the past 12 months or so.

Jeff Ong  19:23

So you’re asking like, what in the last 12 months has maybe like really surprised me or like sticks out to me as something that like, Wow, look how far we’ve come?

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  19:36

Yeah, yeah. So like, if you’re looking at what is the one thing that you saw in the last 12 months, that changed in the CMS that really enabled something wonderful for themes or from the other side of it. Like if someone had looked at themes or WordPress 18 months ago, and now they’re looking at it and seeing this new and different way to do things with the look and feel of their site, like what is one thing that they should be aware of? On either side of that question,

Maggie Cabrera  20:05

I think there’s more than one thing that has really evolved through this last year, year and a half. Like the maturity of some of the blocks is astounding now, like navigation blog, for example, was really bare-bones at the start and now it’s full potential, and it’s really looking really great. I would say the same thing about those days or the features on fire, like how basic it was at the start, was full potential. But now it’s really, really mature in terms of how much you can do with it. Like, I think the example, the perfect example of that is the work that Kjell [Reigstad] has done on Twenty-Twenty Two with the alternative theme.json files, where just changing that file basically feels like a new theme, with just the configuration and the styles. And without writing any CSS without changing any templates. It’s really, really amazing how that can turn into a reality. And it’s so easy for users to tinker with that if they want to. And it’s much easier than having to delve deep into CSS and changing everything in like 2000 lines of code. 

Jeff Ong  21:23

Yeah, I probably would echo most of that. What the thing that astounds me is global styles and how the UI can be shipping a theme or default theme with basically like, 20 lines of CSS, and have it be one of them. A beautiful, beautiful, like crisp and sharp, like, experience. It’s super fast. And it’s like, what this is a theme, you know, I thought a theme was supposed to supply all the styles like no, like, it’s just yeah. And workers do for you. Exactly. And like that. That’s pretty amazing to think in the last 12 months, we can go from, you know, shipping 1000s of lines of CSS to you none, it’s like, Wow, pretty cool. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  22:10

Well, my friends, thank you so much for joining me today. This has been a really interesting conversation. I hope that all y’all out listening. Also find it interesting. As I mentioned, if you have any follow-up questions, absolutely. Send them to me via email. And I collect all of my questions that I get through the year for answering at the end of the year, mostly because I don’t get lots of questions that people want to be answered on this. Everyone just asked me their questions on Twitter and in Slack, which is fine as well. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  22:41

So, Maggie, Jeff, thank you both for joining me. And I’m sure that we’ll talk to you all again soon. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  22:56

That brings us now to our small list of big things. In the last episode, I got all excited about being in the beta phase. But today, I’m rolling that back a little bit. As part of our usual open source processes, a group of contributors did a deep dive review on the WordPress 5.9 release and found a workflow that needed some refinement. So we are delaying the beta. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  23:19

Since we are in the midst of a major commerce slash/sales season, and of course, a lengthy holiday season, that delay also means that it makes sense to delay WordPress 5.9 final release a little as well. And so we are delaying that all the way into 2022 to January 25. For me, the trade-off works really well there. Every decision that we make in open source, of course, has some balance to it. It’s great for these aspects, it is less great for these aspects over here. But for myself, the opportunity to make sure that we have a really excellent experience for our users and also an opportunity to kind of avoid all of the chaos and hustle and bustle of the end of the year. Really, it seemed like a no-brainer for me. So in case you want to learn a little bit more about why we made the decision and get some insight into the actual milestones and where they have moved now, I’ll include some posts in the show notes below in case you want to read more and of course, if you have any additional questions you can always ask.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  24:33

The second small list of big things is that the first back to people WordCamp. I don’t think that’s what we’re calling it. Our first back to people WordCamp is happening in a couple of weeks actually. WordCamp Sevilla is happening in person on December 11. And I’m so excited I wish I were local, but I’m not so if you are local stop by their website and pick up your ticket. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  24:55

And the third thing on our smallest a big things is that it is, of course, charitable giving season. I don’t know if you do your charitable giving at the end of the year or if that’s even part of your general ways of giving back. But I can think of two or three charitable organizations inside the WordPress ecosystem. There’s of course the WordPress Foundation, but also Big Orange Heart and HeroPress. If there are others out there, I certainly do want to know about them. WordPress Foundation also does additional giving on behalf of just like the open web and open source as a whole. So if you’re the sort of person who does their charitable giving at the end of the year, just a reminder that you have some options inside the WordPress ecosystem if you were trying to figure out some new places to donate to in 2021. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  25:42

And that is your small list of big things. Thank you so much for tuning in today for the WordPress Briefing. Thank you again to our special guests, Maggie and Jeff. I’m your host Josepha Haden Chomphosy, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks.

Watch State of the Word at a Watch Party with your WordPress Friends

Posted by download in Software on 24-11-2021

State of the Word 2021 is just around the corner! 

Although attending State of the Word in person would be ideal, not all WordPress community members get to enjoy the experience of attending the speech live with friends. 

This year, as State of the Word is streamed live for the second time, we want to restore that in person camaraderie through State of the Word watch parties for WordPress Community members around the world.

We encourage WordPress meetup organizers and community members worldwide to (safely) host State of the Word 2021 watch parties —read this handbook to learn more.

Why organize a watch party? 

  • If you are a WordPress meetup organizer, many folks in your meetup may be unaware of the State of the Word, and a watch party could be a great opportunity to introduce or remind them.
  • As meetup organizers slowly bid goodbye to a tough year, the watch party could be an excellent opportunity to revitalize your group, especially if you haven’t had many events this year.
  • Along with your Meetup group members, you get a platform to ask questions directly to Matt Mullenweg.
  • And last but not least, even if you are not a Meetup Organizer, a watch party can be the perfect opportunity to reconnect and have a blast with your WordPress friends!

How do I organize a State of the Word watch party?

You can choose to host a watch party online or in person.


The simplest way to organize an online watch party is to schedule an online event for your WordPress group and add the State of the Word YouTube streaming link directly on Meetup.com. Alternatively, you can schedule an online meeting using tools like Zoom and broadcast the live stream over there by screen sharing––thereby facilitating better engagement.

In Person

If your region meets the guidelines for in person events (if vaccines and testing are freely available), you can organize an in person watch party event (for fully vaccinated OR recently tested OR recently recovered folks) for your WordPress Meetup! Group members can hang out together (following local safety guidelines of course) and watch State of the Word live.

If your Local WordPress Meetup is organizing an in person watch party, fill out this form so that we can ship some swag for your group to celebrate!
Deadline: November 30, 2021

What else do I need to know about organizing a State of the Word watch party?

Excited? To help you get started, we’ve put together a few resources:

  • Check out this handbook for detailed instructions on how to organize a watch party, be it online or in person.
  • Looking for a Zoom Pro account to host your online watch party? Request a community zoom pro account for your event right away!
  • We have prepared some email templates that Meetup Organizers can use to spread the word in their Meetup groups.
  • Don’t forget to share on social media about your watch party events using the hashtag #StateOfTheWord so we can join in on the fun!

NOTE: The guidelines in this post are primarily aimed at WordPress Meetup organizers. However, you do not need to be a Meetup organizer to schedule a watch party! You can simply hang out together with your friends online or in person (while following local safety guidelines) and catch the event live!

If you are planning a watch party for State of the Word, and have questions, please drop us an email to: support@wordcamp.org if you have any questions. We are happy to help you in the best way possible.

The following folks contributed to this post: @anjanavasan @eidolonnight @evarlese and @rmartinezduque

A Look at WordPress 5.9

Posted by download in Software on 23-11-2021

WordPress 5.9 is expected to be a ground-breaking release. It will introduce the next generation of themes with Twenty Twenty-Two joining the fun and over 30 theme blocks to build all parts of your site. In anticipation of the January 25th release, we hope you enjoy this sneak peek of 5.9.

New design tools will allow you to create exactly what you want, from adding filters to all your images to fine-tuning the border radius on all your buttons. With WordPress 5.9 providing more design control along with streamlined access to patterns, you can easily change the entire look and feel of your site without switching themes.

No matter what you’re editing, whether it’s crafting a new post or working on a header, improvements to List View make it simple to navigate content regardless of complexity. More improvements and features for everyone are to come in this release and we can’t wait to see what you create with WordPress 5.9! 

Stay Tuned

Stay tuned for more updates as the date draws near. If you want to help, the best thing you can do is test everything! For all the details, check out this Make Core post.

Video props: @annezazu (also co-wrote the post) @michaelpick @matveb @beafialho @javiarce @critterverse @joen.

Shining a Spotlight on Podcasts

Posted by download in Software on 23-11-2021

As we near the end of 2021, it is interesting to note that there are currently over two million podcasts and over 48 million podcast episodes. Those numbers are incredible on their own, but when you realize that just 4 years ago, there were “only” a little more than half a million podcasts, the growth is astonishing. Those numbers might make you think that the podcast market is saturated, but that is definitely not the case. 

The growth of available podcasts is driven by the increase in interest. More and more people are tuning in to the phenomenon as they explore the vast podcast topics available to them.

Despite the number of podcasts being broadcast today, there is still plenty of room for newcomers to the market. Just as there are many websites for every imaginable interest, there’s room for podcasts in even the tiniest of niches. 

To prove this point, we’ll highlight some of our favorite podcasts hosted right here on WordPress.com. What? You didn’t know you could host a podcast on WordPress.com? Well, pull up a chair and check this out. You might find a new fave podcast of your own, and better still, you might even find some inspiration for creating a podcast yourself! Let’s go!

A Podcast for Every Interest

Obviously, we can’t list the millions of niches here, but we can showcase a few that range across a broad spectrum of interest. Here are 7 that have caught our attention here on WordPress.com.

Love to Sew

If you totally relate to the title of this podcast, then you should tune in. The hosts of Love to Sew, Helen and Caroline, are active members of the sewing community. They understand the need to connect and bring that understanding to each episode. In their words…

Our episodes are a mix of technical sewing advice, inspirational storytelling, unpacking feelings around sewing and creating, and loads of words of encouragement.

The Purple Rock Survivor Podcast

Billed as the “The smartest, funniest, most humble, and best Survivor podcast on the internet,” this podcast focuses on discussions of the hit television show “Survivor”. The hosts, John and Andy, along with frequent guest hosts, debate the latest Survivor episode antics each week. As all great armchair quarterbacks do, they use their stellar 20-20 hindsight to diss players, alliances, and the various decisions that caused the latest player to get booted off the show. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll feel right at home listening to this podcast.

The Premier View Tipperary GAA Podcast

The perfect example of targeting a seriously narrow niche, this podcast brilliantly focuses on topics most people may not know exist. These topics include Tipperary GAA, Club and County, Hurling, Gaelic Football, Ladies Football and Camogie. If you’re like me, you’ve possibly heard of Hurling (the sport), and can probably guess at what Gaelic and Ladies Football is all about, but in most parts of the world, you may not know a thing about GAA, Club and County, or Camogie. I think it’s fair to say, however, that the people who DO know what those sports are all about, are probably thrilled to know that there is a podcast out there that caters just to them.  For the rest of us, let’s just simplify and call it “various sports that are local to a specific Irish region”. If you’re into these sports, or just curious, hurl yourself into a comfy chair and get your listen on.

The New Home Owner Podcast

Targeting a specific group of people, new homeowners, this podcast delivers tips and advice surrounding the entire new home building process – from signing contracts to adding the final finishing touches. This is a great example of how a brick-and-mortar business can share its expertise with visitors, while potentially acquiring new clients. When people acquire valuable information from a business, they inherently trust that business a little more than before. Building trust is a great way to convert visitors into clients. 

Sneaker History

Did you know that there is a passionate sneaker community out there? Sneakers have a history and have become a part of pop culture. This podcast’s goal is to “make a positive impact on the sneaker community, culture, and business of sneakers by telling the stories of the people that make this passion enjoyable”. Episodes are gated, meaning you must be a paying member to access them, but if you’re a sneakerhead, this won’t deter you. And if you are just interested in starting your own podcast, your ears will perk up to know that podcasts can be monetized like this. Nice, right?

Travel Babies

No, this podcast doesn’t focus on babies at all. It is an adventure-filled look at the experiences of two sisters traveling the world. You’ll get their expert take on all things travel, including tips and tricks for making your worldwide jaunts much more enjoyable. “Each week they talk about important travel topics to help you decide when, where, and how to explore the world in style.

Kyla Marie Charles MomChat Mondays

If you were bummed that the Travel Babies podcast wasn’t about babies, never fear, MomChat Mondays has you covered. Their own description says it best. “A LIVE #MomChatMonday hosted by Kyla Marie Charles and Amy Eilers of House of Eilers bringing all sorts of moms together to chat about motherhood topics from mundane to controversial. No shame, no judgement, just talking with mom friends and figuring it all out as we go– as moms do!

Of course, these 7 podcasts are just a smattering of cool audible content available on WordPress.com. So tell us, have you ever thought about hosting your own podcast? If so, we have lots of tips and advice to help you succeed. You can start with a few of the posts we’ve shared on the subject, including:

We’ve shown how diverse podcasts can be, but it’s more than just topic diversity that sets a podcast apart. If you are considering starting a podcast, there are some other aspects to consider.

Types of Podcasts (Make It Yours)

No matter the topic, there are various ways to format or organize your podcast. Some subjects lend themselves more closely to one or another way, but many topics are open to multiple presentation formats. Consider the following formats to determine which might work best for you and your topic.

  • Interviews – Some podcasts primarily center around interviews with either famous people or topic experts. 
  • Conversations or Roundtable – In industries where change happens frequently, podcasters often choose a roundtable or conversational format. This style provides a group of hosts, who often know each other well, a chance to converse about trending news or perhaps even a bit of industry gossip. 
  • Monologues – Subject matter experts frequently use this format to inform or teach the audience about various aspects of the niche topic.
  • Storytelling or Theatrical – Rather than conversations, these podcasts are performances. The storytelling format usually involves one host reading chapters or episodes of a story, interspersed with commentary. True crime stories fit this model well. A podcast with a theatrical format is usually a full-blown production with multiple voices/actors. These are like plays, without the visuals.

Of course, some podcasts might be a mix of the above formats from episode to episode, but the most successful will likely stick pretty closely to one format. This consistency provides your audience with a familiar sense of place. Suppose someone enjoyed a storytelling type of format in one episode. In that case, they’d likely hope to experience more of the same in future episodes.

Podcaster Personality Styles (Be Yourself)

Once you’ve figured out the podcast’s topic and style, there’s one more crucial element – you! Great content, told in an interesting format, is lovely, but in the end, it’s your personality that people really want to connect with. Don’t let that worry you. If you weren’t the most popular kid in the class, that wouldn’t stop you from connecting with an audience with your own personality brand. Let’s take a quick look at some examples.

We’ve seen that some topics work better with certain formats than with others, and the same can be true of personalities. A monologue podcast focused on teaching the fine details of investing might not work as well with a goofy personality type. Then again, that odd combination might actually be a huge winner. Who knows? But for most podcasts, matching the topic with an appropriate format and personality type makes the most sense.

A few typical personality types include:

  • Serious
  • Informative
  • Casual, fun, and goofy
  • Comedic

Casual, fun types work well for entertainment topics. Serious types match well with true crime storytelling, for example, and informative, no-nonsense types click with business or educational topics. You know your topic and your personality best. Find the sweet spot that makes sense to you, and it will likely appeal to others as well.

So let’s put all of this together. Follow our recipe for podcasting success but feel free to throw in your own “seasoning” to truly make it yours.

A Recipe for Podcasting Success

Join us for State of the Word 2021, in person or online!

Posted by download in Software on 22-11-2021

As previously announced, State of the Word will be livestreamed from New York City. That means that you can join the fun either online or in person, on December 14, 2021, between 5 and 7 pm EST!

To join State of the Word 2021 online, check your Meetup chapter for a local watch party, or simply visit wordpress.org/news, where the livestream will be embedded. 

If you would like to participate in person in New York City, please request a seat by filling out the registration form by Sunday, November 28. Not all requests will receive a seat due to venue capacity, but everyone who requests one will receive further notification on Tuesday, November 30. 

In person attendees will be asked to show their COVID vaccination card at the venue entrance, and are expected to follow the safety measures in place. Because of these safety measures, there is a maximum of 50 attendees. 

Whether you participate in person or online, we are so excited to see you on December 14! Don’t forget, State of the Word will be followed by a Question & Answer session. If you have a question for Matt, you can send your question ahead of time to ask-matt@wordcamp.org, or ask during the event in the YouTube chat.

WP Briefing: Episode 20: WordPress=Blogging+

Posted by download in Software on 15-11-2021

In this episode, WordPress’s Executive Director, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, answers two recently asked questions. Tune in to hear what those questions were and her response, in addition to this week’s small list of big things.

Have a question you’d like answered? You can submit them to wpbriefing@wordpress.org, either written or as a voice recording.




Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:10

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the WordPress Briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project, some insight into the community that supports it, and get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Here we go!

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:40

So I was in a meeting recently, which I realize isn’t saying much for me since I spend a quarter of my time in meetings. But in this particular meeting, I was asked a couple of questions that I absolutely loved. The first question was, “if there were one thing you could change in people’s minds about WordPress, what would it be?” And my answer, predictable though it may be, was that I want to change the idea that WordPress is just a blogging platform. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  01:06

WordPress has grown into a lot more than that. But the idea of a content management system, even now, sometimes gets a mental shorthand where content is a stand-in for the word writing or words. If you’re using WordPress today in an enterprise context, or as part of a governmental agency, or if you use it in a classroom setting, you know that your content cannot be confined that way. And if you’re supporting or building anything to hand off to clients, you know that timely, easy-to-ship changes on a site are considered a vital part of any overarching brand and marketing strategy. And when was the last time that any marketing strategy was literally only about the words? 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  01:51

So that was the first question. And also my first answer. There is also this kind of annual, not fear, necessarily, but this annual question that is sort of related that is raised to me and has been asked of me recently, that I’m just going to give you a small answer to. One annual worry that I get every year around November and December is, “What are we going to do about the fact that the term blog and blogging are declining in search popularity?” And I was gonna say it’s been a while since I answered that in any sort of public format. But I think maybe I’ve never answered it in a public format at all. And so I’m just going to answer it here. Because I think maybe a lot of people have that same question. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  02:36

So number one, I think that the way that people search now is different. There’s a lot more semantic cognition. This is not the way to answer this — search engines are smarter now. So like, it used to be the case with early search engines that yeah, there was a lot of just like, individual search terms that were looked for. But now, people are asking full questions; they have, essentially, an entire sentence that they are searching for. And then, search engines are able to parse that information better and get more high-quality answers and information for them. So like, that’s one thing that I’m already not worried about. If people are searching for individual words anymore, it’s so that they can get a definition of that word. So I’m not specifically worried about a decline in search volume for the word blog or blogging for that reason. But the answer to my first question, if there is probably the real reason that I’m not actually super worried about any decline in search volume for the word blog, or blogging, is that WordPress has really moved beyond that. And since we have moved beyond that, then it doesn’t necessarily make sense for WordPress as an entity for WordPress as a project to get overly hung up on the idea that the term blog has gone out of fashion. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  03:52

Okay, now that I did my first question, and the answer, and then an additional question that only ever gets asked in private and is being answered by me for the first time in public, I will tell you now, the second question that I loved, someone asking of me, and that question is this: “What is one thing you’d like people to see or experience, right when they first land on wordpress.org?” Now, I often don’t get asked questions about the wordpress.org website, like administrative tasks, things that we need to update, move around where they should go. Sure. But like, “Josepha, what’s the point and purpose of this site?” Never. I’ve never been asked that, and so I was really excited that someone asked me, and I’m going to give you a heads up. I think some of you might disagree with my answer. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  04:40

So the primary thing that I want people to see or experience when they first get to wordpress.org, the website is the depth of WordPress. Not which audience segment they should belong to or that we believe they should belong to or raw data about the CMS or even how much we care about the freedoms of open source. Now the first thing I want people to see on that site is that WordPress has not only 18 years of learned knowledge that every single new user benefits from, but that it also has 1,000s of really smart people making sure it works and gets better every day, now. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  05:19

WordPress is a Goliath in its field. I know that we cite this bit of context. Frequently, we say that we are 42% of the web. And that is true that is the percentage by usage. But in its field, which is websites that are using a content management system, we actually have a 65% market share. This is very easy to find. It’s on the W3Techs website: I can put a link in the show notes, but you could find it just by searching for it. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  05:46

So WordPress is a Goliath in its field of websites that are run using a CMS. Because we have always brought our learnings forward with us with the understanding that knowledge, when shared grows rather than diminishes. But open source, the heart of what defines this project, open source is not a Goliath; it’s barely even David somedays. Even though the web is built on scads of open source software, there’s a pervasive public perception that it is built by and for hobbyists or that it is inherently risky, and that if there were if it were worth something, then people would pay something. And I just know that if the first impression of WordPress, we’re, “we’ve got 18 years of experience and learning that brought us to today,” the rest of the sale to adopt software that protects other people’s freedoms would take care of itself. And I guess, to quote John Oliver, at this point, “And now this.”

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  06:59

Alright, that brings us now to our small list of big things. There are actually quite a few big things on this small list today. So number one, we have reached the beta phase for the year’s final release, which means that WordPress 5.9 beta one is happening tomorrow, Tuesday, November 16. And then seven days later, I believe on the 23rd, if I recall correctly, comes beta two. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  07:24

The second thing on my list is that team rep nominations are happening all over the project right now. I’ve got a post that I will share in the notes below that I believe all the team reps have put their team’s nomination posts on. So if you have had an interest in learning more about that and what it means to help keep teams kind of running in the WordPress project, then this is a great opportunity to check those out. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  07:49

And the third thing, this last thing actually isn’t in the next two weeks, but it is very important, nonetheless. Matt’s annual State of the Word is coming up on December 14. So basically a month from today. It’s going to join the growing list of in-person events that are on the calendar. It will be in New York City but will also be live-streamed across the world as usual. Keep an eye out for additional updates about that for anyone who, like me, really looks forward to this particular presentation from our project co-founder every year. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  08:25

And that is your small list of big things. Thank you for tuning in today for the WordPress briefing. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks.

State of the Word 2021

Posted by download in Software on 13-11-2021

State of the Word 2021
State of the Word 2021 is happening Dec 14!

Howdy, World! 

Mark your calendars; it’s almost time for State of the Word 2021!

State of the Word is the annual keynote address delivered by the WordPress project’s co-founder, Matt Mullenweg. Every year, the event allows us to reflect on the project’s progress and the future of open source.This year will include that and more.

Due to the pandemic, we moved the State of the World online for the first time ever in 2020. This year, the event will be livestreamed from New York City .That will enable us to take as many folks as possible along for the ride!

Join Matt as he provides a retrospective of 2021, discusses the latest trends he’s seeing, celebrates the community’s amazing wins, and explores the future. Expect to hear about a range of topics, from WordPress 5.9 and Openverse to Web3 and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

What: State of the Word 2021

When: December 14, 2021, between 10 am and 12 pm ET/3 pm and 5 pm UTC

How: If you’re watching from the comfort of your home or local watch party, the livestream will be embedded on wordpress.org/news.

Have a question for Matt?

State of the Word will be followed by a Question & Answer session. If you want to participate, you can either send your question ahead of time to ask-matt@wordcamp.org, or ask during the event in the livestream chat on YouTube.

If you’re new to State of the Word, the previous years’ recordings (below) will help you get a sense of what the event is about. Check them out:

We hope to see you online December 14th!

Thanks to @anjanavasan @eidolonnight @rmartinezduque for their work on this post. The featured image was created by @beafialho.

Take the 2021 WordPress Annual Survey (and view the 2020 results)!

Posted by download in Software on 12-11-2021

Each year, members of the WordPress community (users, site builders, extenders, and contributors) provide their valuable feedback through an annual survey. Key takeaways and trends that emerge from this survey often find their way into the annual State of the Word address, are shared in the public project blogs, and can influence the direction and strategy for the WordPress Project.

Simply put: this survey helps those who build WordPress understand more about how the software is used, and by whom. The survey also helps leaders in the WordPress open source project learn more about our contributors’ experiences.  

To ensure that your WordPress experience is represented in the 2021 survey results, take the 2021 annual survey now.

You may also take the survey in French, German, Japanese, Russian, or Spanish. These are the top five languages (other than English) based on the number of WordPress locale downloads. For 2022, additional languages may be considered for translation.

The survey will be open through the end of 2021, and the results will be published in a future post on this blog for anyone to view. Next year, there will be a new format for this survey, including which segments and questions are included, so that your valuable time spent responding results in equally valuable information.

2020 Survey Results

For the 2020 survey, more than 17,000 responses were collected, representing the highest submission volume in four years, up three times from the prior year. In the inaugural year of the survey (2015), over 50,000 responses were collected. Given the reach and adoption of WordPress, there is significant significant number we have not reached. As you take the 2021 survey, consider sharing the link on social media and with other colleagues who use WordPress. Gathering feedback from more folks who benefit from WordPress will strengthen our project.

The 2020 survey results show that the pandemic has had a major impact on how we operate as a community. With few in-person events, many community members continue to find it challenging to balance community contributions with their own personal and professional obligations. 


Data security and privacy are paramount to the WordPress project and community. With this in mind, all data will be anonymized: no email addresses nor IP addresses will be associated with published results. To learn more about WordPress.org’s privacy practices, view the privacy policy.

Like last year, the 2021 survey will be promoted via a banner on WordPress.org, and throughout the make blogs. However, taking a moment to amplify these posts through your own social media and Slack accounts will ensure broader participation. Each of the translated surveys will be promoted through banners on their associated localized-language WordPress.org sites.

Thanks to @dansoschin for the initial draft of this post, and to @annezazu & @zackkrida for review!

WordPress 5.8.2 Security and Maintenance Release

Posted by download in Software on 10-11-2021

WordPress 5.8.2 is now available!

This security and maintenance release features 2 bug fixes in addition to 1 security fix. Because this is a security release, it is recommended that you update your sites immediately. All versions since WordPress 5.2 have also been updated.

WordPress 5.8.2 is a small focus security and maintenance release. The next major release will be version 5.9.

You can download WordPress 5.8.2 by downloading from WordPress.org, or visit your Dashboard → Updates and click Update Now. If you have sites that support automatic background updates, they’ve already started the update process.

For more information, browse the full list of changes on Trac, or check out the version 5.8.2 HelpHub documentation page.

Thanks and props!

The 5.8.2 release was led by Jonathan Desrosiers and Evan Mullins.

In addition to the release squad members mentioned above, thank you to everyone who helped make WordPress 5.8.2 happen:

Ari Stathopoulos, Bradley Taylor, davidwebca, Evan Mullins, Greg Ziółkowski, Jonathan Desrosiers, Juliette Reinders Folmer, Mukesh Panchal, Sergey Biryukov, shimon246, and Yui.

Props @circlecube and @pbiron for peer review.

New: Free Blogging Course

Posted by download in Software on 09-11-2021

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a full year since we launched WPCourses.com! In that short time, we’ve been incredibly inspired by the group of ambitious learners we have been able to work with. In fact, we’ve been so moved by the enthusiasm of the community we’ve built so far that we want to ensure this experience is available to as many people as possible.

So we’re happy to announce the launch of our very first free course, Intro to Blogging. In this course you’ll learn about: 

  • What blogging is and why so many people are doing it.
  • How to set up, navigate, and manage your blog or website. 
  • How to create blog content like a pro and create a site people love to visit.
  • How to identify your audience, set goals, and build your own blogging strategy.
Illustration of site editor and paint brush.

By signing up you’ll get access to our course platform where you can work through each lesson at your own pace and take your time to really put that information to use as you build, design, or revamp your site.

We also used our time building out the free course as an opportunity to improve our existing content. We went back through all of our resources, added new lessons and tips, and expanded our curriculum to make sure participants are fully equipped with the most up-to-date set of tools, strategies, and best practices. Our rapid courses offer a more hands-on learning experience where you’ll benefit from: 

  • Helpful tips and tricks that are shared and discussed every week. 
  • Prompts and ideas to help you get unstuck when you need it. 
  • A community of peers who grow and learn with you. 
  • Weekly office hours when you can chat with experts and ask questions in real time.
  • Quarterly meetups led by true industry experts to ensure you’re using the best tools and strategies to grow.

As a way to celebrate the launch of our free course, we’re also offering 25% off our paid courses— just use the coupon code below at checkout. You’ll get access to the course and the community for a full year so feel free to jump in when you’re ready.