Website Builder Blogs

Celebrating Pride Month with Out in Tech

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Happy Pride Month! Last year, I shared resources and highlighted organizations doing awesome work in the LGBTQ+ community. This year, I’m excited to tell you more about Out in Tech, an organization that Automattic has partnered with for the past four years. I’m proud to say that this year, the Queeromattic Employee Resource Group — an employee-led collective for LGBTQ+ initiatives at Automattic — is co-sponsoring this partnership for the first time.  “We’re a global nonprofit community of 40,000 members working toward a world in which LGBTQ+ people are empowered, well-represented in the tech industry, and have full agency, from intern to CEO,” says Gary Goldman, the Senior Program Director of Out in Tech. As the Queeromattic Lead, I’ve been fortunate to benefit from the wonderful and empowering community Out in Tech has created through their Qorporate Roundtables, vibrant Slack community, and virtual hangouts in light of COVID-19. It brings me great joy to share more about Out In Tech with you all in this recent interview with Gary.  Q. Tell us a bit about yourself! How do you identify? How did you get started with Out in Tech? I identify as a cisgender gay man. Before Out in Tech, I worked as a United Nations consultant for five years in data management. During that time, I was a volunteer for Out in Tech as head of the New York chapter. It has been a dream come true to transition to being a staff member and work for my actual favorite organization out there.  Q. Can you share any exciting things Out in Tech has planned for Pride? The unsung heroes of the LGBTQ+ community are the activists working on the ground in the 70+ countries where being queer is illegal (and sometimes even punishable by death).  On June 20, we’ll be building WordPress.com websites for 10 incredible organizations in these countries; they’re planning on using these sites to advocate for policy change, grow their community, and fundraise.We’re also hosting a virtual Pride series the second week of June for those working in customer experience (June 10) as well as a day of workshops for folks currently navigating the job market (June 13).  To learn more, visit outintech.com. Q. Is there one person you’ve helped over the years (or a project you’ve worked on) that stands out in your memory? I’ve noticed that a lot of people in the LGBTQ+ tech community have been eager to leverage their skills to make the world a better place.  Derrick Reyes was an early recipient of the Out in Tech Coding Scholarship. Since graduating, they’ve been leveraging their new skills to create an incredible company called Queerly Health, which helps you find and book LGBTQ+ friendly health and wellness practitioners. It was a real full-circle moment to welcome them as a panelist at an Out in Tech event back in January.  Q. Has partnering with Automattic helped your work? This partnership has made all the difference in Out in Tech’s work, and that’s not an understatement. When I was a United Nations consultant, I traveled to dozens of countries where being LGBTQ+ is outlawed, and where activists needed a digital platform to amplify their voices.  WordPress turned that vision into a reality.  Since 2017, the Out in Tech Digital Corps has built over 100 WordPress.com websites for activists in 50+ countries.  Automattic provides these activists with hosting, themes, and domains free of charge. We also have Automatticians support us technically during the Digital Corps build days — a special shout-out to Mindy Postoff, who has been to over 10 build days!Simply put, Out in Tech is powered by Automattic, and we’re incredibly grateful to Marlene Ho, Megan Marcel, and Matt Mullenweg for making it all happen.  Q. In this time when organizations have pivoted to digital events, can you tell us about your virtual events and other ways to participate in your community?   Out in Tech’s mission is to create opportunities for our members to advance their careers, grow their networks, and leverage tech for social change. During COVID-19, we’re still doing just that — but digitally.  Every week, members have an opportunity to hear from dozens of companies that are actively hiring and to network with each other during Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC) socials and even RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing parties. We also have virtual events featuring prominent LGBTQ+ tech leaders, such as Arlan Hamilton, the founder of Backstage Capital, and Jeff Titterton, the chief marketing officer of Zendesk.  When it comes to leveraging tech for social change, 100 volunteers built websites for organizations in Senegal, Uganda, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe (among others), and we’re doing it again in June. This spring, our mentorship program connected 83 LGBTQ+ youth to tech mentors for eight weeks. They’re graduating at the end of this month, and we hope some of you reading this will hire them as interns! Q. What do you look for when partnering with organizations and LGBTQ+ activists around the world? Out in Tech accepts applications from LGBTQ+ groups on every continent on a rolling basis. When our Digital Corps leadership team reviews applications, they assess four main criteria:  Does the LGBTQ+ organization have a good reason for needing a website? This can range from needing to crowdsource input from the community to applying for grants. Do they already have a website and just need a revamp? We only select organizations who either do not have an existing web presence, or whose website is very challenging to navigate. Has the organization been around for more than one year? We want to ensure that the groups we support are established and are going to stick around for the long haul after we build their shiny new website. Does the organization have at least a few volunteers to keep the website active and up to date once we deliver a user guide to them? We regularly track and monitor which sites are active and how they’re being used.  This helps us to continuously improve our efforts to unite the global LGBTQ+ community. Community is so important, especially in these times, and I’m doubly thankful for people like Gary who have helped the LGBTQ+ community remain strong. What organizations are you celebrating this month? How are you creating community from afar? Share in the comments below! At WordPress.com, we strive to be a platform that democratizes publishing so that anyone can share their stories regardless of income, gender, politics, language, or where they live in the world. This month is a great reminder for why we work hard to expand the open web.

Improved Navigation in the WordPress Apps

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An app should be intuitive to use, so you can do what you need to do while you’re in a hurry or on the go. The newest versions of the Android and iOS mobile apps are reorganized based on how you actually use them. Publishing and finding what you need have never been faster, so you can spend less time hunting and tapping — and more time creating and engaging. How did we decide on these changes? We analyzed our apps for pain points and hard-to-do tasks. We looked at the data and talked to people about which features are most important to them. We interviewed WordPress users and showed them prototypes. All these changes come from you — thanks! Fewer tabs for faster focus We’ve simplified the app into three main sections focused on the key things you do every day: managing your site, finding and reading great content, and keeping up to date with notifications. Your account, where it should be People expect to find account information and settings in the upper-right corner, so that’s where it is now: get to your profile and account by heading to the My Site screen and tapping on your photo. It’s where you expect it to be when you need it, and out of the way when you don’t.  Start drafting, right now There’s one button to tap to create new posts or pages. It’s big. It’s pink. It’s got a plus sign on it. It’s always there on the My Site screen, waiting. Tap it and type away! The links you use the most, right at the top There are a lot of things you can do with your site, but there are some things you do more often than others — check stats, edit posts, upload photos. We made links to those actions big, and we put them at the top of the My Site screen, right under a more prominent site name and logo. Content discovery, your way You’ll now see great content from the sites you follow as soon as you open the Reader. Use the top tabs to switch between different streams of content, or narrow things down with the filter bar if you’re only interested in specific sites or tags. To see the improvements, make sure you’ve updated your app. The WordPress mobile apps are free and available for both Android and iOS devices. If you have any questions or feedback, reach out to us directly from the app — in My Site, tap your profile image → Help & Support → Contact Us. Many of you are increasingly building your sites and reading other sites on mobile devices, so we’re constantly looking for ways to make our apps easier to use. Look out for upcoming changes that streamline site management and further refine the reading experience!

Working Remotely Isn’t Just About the Work

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With COVID-19, the business world has come to a fork in the road: Down one route, shuttered offices. Down the other, companies embracing remote work, showing us how businesses can survive — and thrive! — with a fully remote workforce. And that includes fostering strong team bonds and employee relationships; just because there’s no physical break room or water cooler doesn’t mean companies can’t create opportunities for colleagues to connect. Not all businesses can operate with remote employees, and the world’s frontline workers don’t have the luxury of dialing in from home. But for those companies that can function without a central office, there are myriad benefits to a distributed workforce. Automattic has always been fully distributed, and we’ve learned a lot about how to build a productive and happy remote workforce over the past 15 years. (CEO Matt Mullenweg is sharing many of these lessons and chatting with other folks running distributed companies on Distributed.blog and on the Distributed podcast.) Lots of companies find themselves suddenly switching to a remote work environment, and there’s a learning curve. One of the things that can be seen as challenging is social interaction on the job, which plays a vital role in productivity and mental health. When employees build friendships and strong interpersonal relationships, they enjoy their work more and do a better job overall. And if you’re reading this, thinking you don’t know anyone whose work improves when they have strong social bonds among colleagues, you do now — it’s me! As an extrovert, I get energized when I’m able to see people and faces, especially in person, but also online. I’m a conversational learner, too, so ideas stick better in my brain when I have the chance to discuss and brainstorm topics in real time with teammates. These days, it seems teleconferencing software is as commonplace as coffee shops in Seattle. “Zoom” has become part of our vocabulary, helping us to remain close with family and friends (albeit not physically), and it’s become fodder for marketing and advertising campaigns. It’s also our preferred conference tool at Automattic, and we use it for a wide range of work gatherings, like town halls and team meetings. But that’s not all we use it for. Knowing that social communication is vital to ensuring a strong culture of camaraderie, we use Zoom to hang out together: We host open mic nights, break out our pencil crayons and color collectively, or do some chair yoga with one another. We’ll also grab a beverage of choice — coffee, beer, Soylent, tea, a crisp rosé — and join a happy hour. In addition to maximizing online communication tools, we strengthen our collegial relationships offline. For example, we take advantage of the fact that we are distributed all over the world and send postcards to one another. Whatever we do, we do it because we know that social connection is important. That we’re not going to work in the same physical office just means that we have to be more intentional about making the time, and carving out the (virtual) space, to connect with coworkers. To help inspire other businesses with newly distributed workforces, we’ve put together a resource that lists the many ways we communicate socially at Automattic. You can find it on this page.

Add a Post Carousel and Embed a Podcast Player in Seconds with Our Two Latest Blocks

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The WordPress editor keeps expanding its library of blocks, adding new and exciting functionality to websites on a regular basis. After a crop of new business-related blocks last month, our most recent additions will appeal to three communities we hold close to our heart: podcasters, podcast lovers, and bloggers. Use the Podcast Player block to spread the word about your favorite episodes Podcasts have been an unstoppable cultural force for several years now — and the format seems to have only grown in popularity in recent months, as so many of us are at home and looking for entertainment and (occasionally?) enlightenment. Are you a podcaster? Add the Podcast Player block to share your passion project with your visitors, embedding your podcast’s latest episodes on any post or page on your website. If you haven’t launched a podcast (for now, anyway), but are still an avid listener, you can now embed episodes from others’ shows within your own content so readers can listen to them without ever leaving your site. Once you choose the Podcast Player block from the available blocks in the editor, you won’t need any special codes or embed links. The only information you’ll have to provide is the podcast’s RSS feed URL (not sure where to find it? The information will be readily available on your preferred podcast platform.) Here’s what the podcast player will look like on your site — the example below features the latest episode on the Distributed podcast, hosted by Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg: Episode 20: Adam Gazzaley on the Distracted Mind During a Crisis – Distributed, with Matt Mullenweg Episode 20: Adam Gazzaley on the Distracted Mind During a Crisis {"attributes":{"url":"https:\/\/distributed.blog\/category\/podcast\/feed\/","itemsToShow":1,"showEpisodeDescription":false,"showCoverArt":true},"title":"Distributed, with Matt Mullenweg","link":"https:\/\/distributed.blog\/","cover":"https:\/\/i1.wp.com\/distributed.blog\/wp-content\/uploads\/2019\/05\/distributed_cover.jpg?fit=3000%2C3000&ssl=1","tracks":[{"id":"podcast-track-1","link":"https:\/\/distributed.blog\/2020\/04\/29\/adam-gazzaley-distracted-mind\/","src":"https:\/\/distributed.blog\/wp-content\/uploads\/2020\/04\/distributed-episode-20-with-adam-gazzaley.mp3","type":"audio\/mpeg","description":"Matt Mullenweg speaks with neuroscientist Dr. Adam Gazzaley, co-author of the book The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World, about how our brains work, particularly during times like the current pandemic. How does the brain handle internal and external stimuli, and what do we know about the effect of practices like meditation, exercise, nutrition, and sleep?","title":"Episode 20: Adam Gazzaley on the Distracted Mind During a Crisis"}],"playerId":"jetpack-podcast-player-block-1"} ( function( instanceId ) { document.getElementById( instanceId ).classList.remove( 'is-default' ); window.jetpackPodcastPlayers=(window.jetpackPodcastPlayers||[]); window.jetpackPodcastPlayers.push( instanceId ); } )( "jetpack-podcast-player-block-1" ); You can customize the Podcast Player block in a number of ways, from specifying how many of the most recent episodes to display, to deciding whether or not you’d like to show each episode’s description. Whether you feature your own podcast or someone else’s, you get to design the listener’s experience on your site. Learn more about adding and customizing the Podcast Episode block. Keep readers reading with the Post Carousel block Sooner or later, both veteran bloggers and newer creators encounter a similar issue: publishing frequently helps energize your audience (and gives you an SEO boost, too), but also makes older posts tougher to find. The Post Carousel block comes to the rescue, providing an easy gateway to the treasures in your blog’s archives. Add the Post Carousel block to any post or page on your site to encourage visitors to explore more posts (by default, the block will display your most recent ones). For a post to show up in the carousel, it needs to have a featured image; the idea is to engage and entice readers with strong visuals they’ll want to click on. To get a taste of the carousel in action, here’s one highlighting the five most recent posts on the WordPress.com Blog: Add a Post Carousel and Embed a Podcast Player in Seconds with Our Two Latest Blocks by Jerry Jones May 22, 2020 Expert Advice: SEO and Content Marketing by Kasey Steinbrinck May 21, 2020 10 Ways to Make Your Site More Accessible by Cheri Lucas Rowlands May 21, 2020 Say Hello to the WordPress Block Editor by Dave Martin May 18, 2020 Coming Soon: Make Your Site Private Until You’re Ready to Launch by Adam Zieliński May 15, 2020 For a more curated experience, you can customize what the post carousel shows. A post about your cauliflower taco recipe might call for a carousel showing other recipes that share the “vegan” tag or category. If you run a multi-author online magazine, consider presenting other stories by the same contributor. You can also configure how many items each carousel displays and whether it automatically slides from one featured post to another (among other options). Learn more about adding and customizing the Post Carousel block. We hope you give these two new blocks a try — leave a comment if you have any questions, or if you’d like to share a link to a post where you’ve already used them.

Expert Advice: SEO and Content Marketing

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You’ve launched your website or started a blog. Congratulations! Now it’s time to attract an audience. You built a website to reach people with your art, ideas, or products and services. We’ve created a free online session to help you do just that.  Register for our next 60-minute webinar, Traffic Control: How to Find and Grow an Audience for your Website, to get advice and guidance on attracting the right people to your site. Date: May 27, 2020Time: 10:00 a.m. PDT | 11:00 a.m. MDT | 12:00 p.m. CDT | 1:00 p.m. EDT | 17:00 UTCCost: Free | Register nowWho’s invited: Content creators, online publishers, and small businesses looking for the best ways to build an audience of loyal customers and dedicated readers. Topics will include: Understanding your audience.Demystifying SEO.How to optimize your site for local visitors.What does “quality content” really mean?Using email, social media, and paid advertising.How to take advantage of WordPress.com’s marketing tools for audience growth. Hosts Chris Smith and Kasey Steinbrinck run their own sites and both have worked with a variety of businesses to help them optimize their websites and create strong content. They’ll help you choose what to focus on so that you can make the most of your time.  After working as an SEO specialist for many years, Chris supports WordPress.com customers with expert advice as a Happiness Engineer. Kasey started his career as a TV news producer and entertainment writer before becoming a content marketer and an independent blogger. Today he works on WordPress.com’s content strategy. The 60-minute webinar will include detailed instructions on WordPress SEO as well as a Q&A session. Seats are limited so register today to reserve your spot.

10 Ways to Make Your Site More Accessible

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Today, Global Accessibility Awareness Day, raises awareness around digital access and inclusion and improving the web experience for everyone. This year, WebAIM analyzed one million homepages for accessibility issues and found that 98% of websites had at least one WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) failure on their homepage, such as low-contrast text, missing image alt text, and empty links. These types of accessibility barriers make it difficult or impossible for some visitors — people who are blind, deaf and hard of hearing, and disabled, for example — to use your site. We encourage you to audit your site to ensure it’s accessible for all readers; the WAVE (Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool) can identify various errors on your site in seconds. Here are some web accessibility tips to get you started, and be sure to explore the guidelines and resources on the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) website for deeper learning. Use an accessibility-ready theme You can choose from among a variety of designs for your site, but some themes have features that add complexity, making it harder for disabled people or visitors using screen readers to access your content. When choosing a theme, consider an accessibility-ready design, like Balasana, a free minimal theme for your business website; or Mayland, a free visual theme that’s great for photographers and storytellers. These themes have been checked by the Theme Review Team and pass basic accessibility requirements. Display your site title and tagline Many themes allow you to upload a custom header image, which is a visual way to brand your site, display the title of your blog, or promote the name of your business. But some themes may not support alternative text, or the written copy that appears in place of an image on a page if the image fails to load on your visitor’s screen. Instead of conveying your site title and tagline within a header image, display your site title and tagline text. Go to Manage → Settings, and at the top under Site profile, fill out your Site title and Site tagline. Then, head to Design → Customize, go to Site Identity, and check the box next to Display Site Title and Tagline. Structure your pages and posts with appropriate headings Add headings with the Heading Block to organize pages and posts and make it easier for readers to follow your content, which is especially important for longer pages and posts. Click on the “i” icon in the top toolbar of the block editor to view any errors and incorrect heading sizes. Select fonts and colors for legibility Fonts and colors are essential components on your site, adding personality and style and strengthening your visual identity online. Avoid font styles and sizes and color palettes that make your site difficult to read, and pay attention to contrast, or the difference between the darkness of your text and the lightness of your background. The block editor will display an error message in Color settings when it detects poor color contrast in the specific block you’re working on. Clearly describe your links When linking to another page or post on the web, make your linked text descriptive. For example, “click here” is not as effective as “learn how to apply to my writing workshop.” Include captions with your images When adding an image with the Image Block, add a description of the image in the caption underneath it. While captions are optional, they improve the experience for all readers by providing more context. Add alt text to your images Alt text is essential for people who are blind or use screen readers (they can hear alt text read aloud), or people who have disabled images for speed or bandwidth reasons. Alt text is also important for your site’s SEO — it helps search engines understand what your site content is about. When adding an image with the Image Block, go to the block’s settings on the right and add the alt text in the box under Image settings. Learn more about W3C’s image accessibility guidelines. Create easily clickable CTA areas With the Buttons Block, you can add call-to-action buttons to your pages and posts quickly. For those of you who design and embed your own buttons with Image Widgets, make buttons, icons, and other CTA elements with wide-enough areas that are easy to click or tap from different devices. You can apply this tip to text links as well. Tapping a linked hashtag or asterisk within a sentence, for example — especially on a small screen — may be difficult for some people. Include captions or transcripts for multimedia content If your site includes video content, consider adding captions or including transcripts (documenting speech, sounds, as well as actions seen on-screen). Podcast transcripts are also incredibly helpful; here’s a transcript of a recent Distributed episode with neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley. It’s best if video and audio content does not auto-play, but if that’s not possible, options to pause or adjust the volume should be obvious on the page. Never stop learning and improving This list is just an introduction to a few best practices and guidelines! If you’re interested in learning more, explore the resources on the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) website. You can also explore ways to get involved in improving the accessibility of WordPress. Learn more about Global Accessibility Awareness Day and participate in online events, webinars, and podcasts.

Say Hello to the WordPress Block Editor

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On June 1 we’ll be retiring our older WordPress.com editor and transitioning to the more recent (and more powerful) WordPress block editor. Want to know how this may affect your site and what you can expect? Read on. If you’ve launched your WordPress.com site in the past year and a half you may have never seen our older editor and are likely already using the more recent WordPress editor. Those of you who have an older site, though, might recognize this editing experience: We know it can be frustrating to get used to an online tool only to see it change or go away. Retiring an entire editor — the place where you publish posts and pages on WordPress.com — is not something we would ever do on a whim. What inspired us to take this decision is the positive experience site owners have had with the newer WordPress editor. Why switch to the WordPress editor? Let us count the ways. The WordPress block editor was released over a year and a half ago. Since then, it has improved in numerous ways thanks to thousands of enhancements and fixes  — to the point that we’re certain it offers a far superior experience compared to the older WordPress.com editor. Not sure? You can take the WordPress editor for a spin. In case you’ve never encountered it before, here are only some of the features you’ll find in the WordPress block editor that aren’t available in the older WordPress.com editor. Over 100 content blocks for publishing virtually any type of page or postContent blocks can be mixed and matched to customize the content of any page or post. A growing collection of block patternsBlock patterns are simply collections of blocks pre-bundled together to form beautiful designs. Dozens of beautiful, built-in page templatesPage templates simplify the creation of common pages within WordPress by giving you a beautiful predesigned template to get started. Customizable styles directly within the editorYou can now customize the look and feel of your website by testing out different fonts directly within the WordPress editor. What other options do I have? We hope you give the WordPress editor a try — it’s been the editing experience of choice for millions since it arrived on the scene. That said, we know some of you might prefer to avoid this change. We’re offering two options for those who’d rather  stick with an older way of editing your content. 1) Use the Classic blockWithin the new WordPress editor you’ll find the Classic block, which replicates the functionality of the Classic editor — that’s the editor that used to be the default until several years ago, well before we introduced the WordPress.com editor. Here’s what it looks like: 2) Opt to use the Classic editorYou also have the choice to switch to the Classic editor. Here’s what it looks like, in case you haven’t seen this one in a while (or ever): We hope you enjoy the new WordPress editor — give it a try today to get a taste ahead of June 1!

Coming Soon: Make Your Site Private Until You’re Ready to Launch

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When you create a new site, you may want to personalize it before making it public. On WordPress.com, we give you a safe space where you can work on building and editing your site until you’re ready to share it with the world. Until recently, this Coming Soon mode was limited to new sites without plugins or custom themes installed. We realize, however, that many users — regardless of how long they’ve had a website on WordPress.com — might want to make updates, change the design, or add new functionality without making these changes visible to the public until they’re complete. Now, all sites have this Coming Soon option, and you can toggle it on or off as you wish. To set your site to Coming Soon, go to Manage in the sidebar, select Settings, scroll down to Privacy, and select the Coming Soon button. Be sure to click on Save settings for the change to take effect. While in this mode, site visitors will see a landing page with your site’s title. You and other logged-in people that you invite will see the full website. Logged-out viewLogged-in view To invite people to view your site while in Coming Soon mode, add them as new users from the Manage → People → Invite button. Users will need to at least be a Contributor to view the site in this mode. To make your site public again, go to Manage in the sidebar, select Settings, scroll down to Privacy, and select the Public button. Again, be sure to click on Save settings. Private sites for all If instead of sharing your site with everyone, you want to keep it private, and only available to invited members of the site — for instance, a private blog for your family, made up of photos and videos of your children or pets — you can use the Private option under Manage → Settings → Privacy. In this mode, instead of the Coming Soon landing page, logged-out visitors will see a more discreet prompt to log in. No matter what you want to do on your site — whether making a few tweaks, refreshing your site design, or building a fully fledged online store — use the Coming Soon feature to keep it private until you’re ready to unveil it to the world. We hope you enjoy this new feature!

Expert Advice: Business Fundamentals for Creative Professionals

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Are you an artist, photographer, or freelance writer? How about a website designer, master metalsmith, or musician? If you’re in any creative profession and would like to learn more about how to market and sell your services and work online, we’ve created a free webinar just for you. We’ve partnered with our friends at FreshBooks, the leading invoicing and accounting software for creative entrepreneurs, to offer tips on how to build your online store and automate your sales and accounting, leaving you with more time to focus on your craft. Date: Wednesday, May 20, 2020Time: 10:00 a.m. PDT | 11:00 a.m. MDT | 12:00 p.m. CDT | 1:00 p.m. EDT | 17:00 UTCCost: FreeRegistration linkWho’s invited: Artists, writers, musicians, website and graphic designers, photographers, marketers, and anyone else interested in learning how to sell their creative services online. Your hosts will be Jonathan Wold, Community Manager at WooCommerce, and Irene Elliott, Senior Community Manager at FreshBooks. Dustin Hartzler, a WooCommerce Happiness Engineer, will moderate questions. After the 45-minute presentation, we’ll open up the (virtual) floor for a 15-minute Q&A session. Attendee slots are limited, so be sure to register early to save your seat! But if you can’t make it, we’ve got your back. A recording of the webinar will be uploaded to our YouTube channel a few days after the event. See you then!

Earth Day Turns 50 with a Massive Livestream Event

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As the world fights to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control, another crisis looms. In late 2018, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that if we want to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we need to cut global carbon emissions almost in half by 2030. This decade will be critical. As we’ve stated in the past, the time to act is now — we simply cannot continue business as usual, and this proves resoundingly true this year. We are in a time of maximum uncertainty and urgency. Earth Day Live: April 22-24 Earth Day Live is a three-day livestream and an epic community mobilization to show support for our planet, through which millions of people can tune in online alongside activists, celebrities, musicians, and more. The massive live event — which starts on April 22 and concludes on April 24 — is organized by climate, environmental, and Indigenous groups within the US Climate Strike Coalition and Stop The Money Pipeline Coalition. Starting today, you can opt into displaying a banner that promotes Earth Day Live on your WordPress.com site, showing your commitment to this critical topic and spreading the word about the digital event and livestream. On April 22, sites with this feature enabled will automatically display a full-screen overlay message. Your site visitors will be able to dismiss the banner once viewed. Promote this global movement on your site To activate the banner, go to My Site → Manage → Settings. At the top of the Settings menu, you will see a toggle switch — flip it on to join this digital climate strike. Self-hosted WordPress sites can also join the movement by installing the Earth Day Live WP plugin from the WordPress.org plugin repository.  After the livestream ends, the banner will disappear on its own — no further action is required on your end. (If you’ve installed the plugin, it will automatically disable.) Together we can make a difference. We hope you’ll join us in supporting this movement. Visit Earth Day Live for event details, and explore more digital Earth Day initiatives and resources on WordPress so you can take action on April 22 — or any day.

Expert Advice: Get Started on Your New Website

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Starting a new website can be a bit overwhelming but we’re here to help! Beginning Monday, April 20th, WordPress.com will host free, 30-minute live webinars to cover those initial questions that come up as you start to build your website. Each day will cover a different topic, all designed to give actionable advice on how to create the type of website you want.  Date: Starts April 20, 2020 and repeats daily Monday thru Friday Weekly Schedule: Mondays – Getting Started: Website Building 101Tuesdays – Quick Start: Payments (Simple and Recurring)Wednesdays – Quick Start: BloggingThursdays – Quick Start: WooCommerce 101Fridays – Empezando: Construcción de Sitios Web 101 Time: 09:00 am PDT | 10:00 am CDT | 12:00 pm EDT | 16:00 UTC Who’s Invited: New WordPress.com users and anyone interested in learning more about WordPress.com’s website capabilities. Register Here: https://wordpress.com/webinars/ Our WordPress.com customer service team, we call them Happiness Engineers, are experts in helping new users get up and running on their new websites. Across each week of webinars we’ll cover questions about the basics of setting up your website, handling simple and recurring payments, blogging best practices, and adding in eCommerce capabilities. Come with questions as you’ll be able to submit them beforehand—in the registration form—and during the live webinar. Everyone is welcome, even if you already have a site set up. 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!

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