WordPress.com News

The WordPress.com Referral Program: Empower Others to Start a Website

All of us know interesting people. Some have unique talents. Others have business ideas, write beautiful poetry, or have a passion to change the world for the better.  Should your mom be sharing her recipes with the world?Does your roommate have hilarious opinions on current events?Got a co-worker who needs to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams?Is your favorite singer-songwriter looking for a better way to make money from his music? If they’re not online, they should be. If you’ve ever told a friend or family member that they should create a blog, start their own podcast, or sell what they make online, this is your chance to give them the nudge they need. The WordPress.com Refer-a-Friend Program kicked off this spring. Both you and your connections can earn credits for their new WordPress.com websites. But what’s really exciting is how you’ll give people you know the opportunity to bring their big ideas to life. How the referral program works We’ve designed our peer referral program to be mutually beneficial: You simply invite someone  — friends, family, casual acquaintances — to build a website. As long as they’re totally new to WordPress.com, they get a US$25 credit towards purchasing a WordPress.com plan. And every time someone you refer picks a plan, you get a US$25 credit, too! That’s our way of saying “thanks.” The credit will be applied within two months of the referrer signing up and making an eligible purchase. WIth current pricing, a $25 credit is more than 50% off the first year of a Personal plan and more than 25% off a Premium plan. Plus, your referrals also get a free custom domain name for their first year. Here’s how to start: Log in to your WordPress.com account and go to Tools → Earn. Locate your unique referral link in the Refer-a-Friend section. Copy the link and share it via email, social media, or text message. Think about what you’ll say to each person before you pass along that link. Instead of saying, “Click this link and you’ll save money on a website,” tell people why you think they should make that leap. Tell them why you believe in them. Then, tell them why you use WordPress.com and explain how you think it will help them, too. A little encouragement goes a long way Why should you bother? Why should you take the time to tell others about WordPress.com? It’s not really about saving a few bucks (although that’s nice!). The credit is just a little incentive that convinces your friends they should take that first step towards doing something meaningful. You’re not clipping coupons. You’re encouraging the creation of something new and valuable on the internet. Think back to when you first built a website. Think about the first blog post you ever published. If you’re like most people, it felt like a big deal. And it was a big deal. You had something to say, a goal you were striving to reach, and your website gave you the power to make it happen. Now it’s time to empower others with that same sense of possibility. In a world of tweetstorms and 24-hour news cycles, websites help us stop consuming and start creating. They give us a space to be thoughtful and proactive. We need more original artists. We need more thoughtful writers. We need more brilliant entrepreneurs. We need more compassionate community activists. Everyone at WordPress.com believes in the importance of democratizing online publishing. That means giving small businesses, free thinkers, and creators the tools they need to build an online presence. But we also need you. We need you to help spread the word about what can be done with a real website. Think about three people you can refer to WordPress.com today and give them the spark they need to get started. Want to send along some inspiration? Check out the amazing websites and customer stories featured on Discover!

Earn Money on Your WordPress.com Website with Premium Content and Paid Newsletters

Make money while you build an engaged following for your website: use the WordPress.com Premium Content block to create monthly and yearly paid memberships that give followers access to the premium content of your choice – text, photos, videos, and more. You can now automatically deliver your new premium posts right to subscribers’ inboxes as a paid newsletter! Anything that you can publish on a WordPress.com site with a block can become part of your premium content offering. Summer recipes, podcasts, fitness instruction videos, photography portfolios, music samples, access to digital downloads, poetry, political remarks —  people on WordPress.com include all of that and more in Premium Content blocks, and they make money for sharing their expertise. Premium Content block examples Premium Content memberships also offer you a new way to engage your most engaged fans. Create membership tiers with different costs and content access levels. Craft targeted messaging for each one. Want to send special emails and offers or ask for suggestions about what kind of content you might create next? You control what content and messaging goes to your paying members via Premium Content blocks. You focus on creating amazing content. We’ll handle the credit and debit card payment processing, reporting, and providing the right access for paying members to view your premium content or get your newsletters. Launch your first membership To use Premium Content blocks, you’ll need a WordPress.com website with any paid plan — Personal, Premium, Business, or eCommerce.Create a new page or post, and add a Premium Content block. To set up your first paid membership or subscription, create a Stripe account (if you don’t have one already). Stripe is the company we’ve partnered with to process credit and debit card payments in a safe, secure, and speedy way. Set the cost of the membership and decide whether people will pay monthly or yearly. Want to offer multiple kinds of memberships with access to different kinds of content? Add separate Premium Content blocks for each one to create multiple membership options. Add content that’s included with this particular membership to the Premium Content block. You’ll add content using blocks, and can add as many blocks within the Premium Content block as you like.To let followers opt into receiving new premium content via email, turn on the “Posts via email” option in your paid membership plan settings. Your membership payments are processed by a WordPress.com feature called Recurring Payments, which powers seamless credit and debit card processing for the Premium Content block. And just like that, you’re a membership organization! Share your new membership offerings with your network — social media, email, and word of mouth are all great places to start — and start building your following along with your stable, recurring revenue.

Support the Fight Against Inequality: Resources and Ways to Act

The past few months have been tiring for everyone. As the coronavirus spread across the globe, most of us thought that we were going to live with the uncomfortableness of shelter-in-place for a few months before things could return to normal. We thought that what would consume most of our free time was TikTok videos, Animal Crossing, Netflix, and maybe a reignition of hobbies. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. Fast-forward to today. Society has not returned to normal and instead, we have had more time to engage on the topic of race on a global scale — specifically, how unfairly Black Americans are treated in American society. We are not only bearing witness to how disproportionately the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Black and Brown Americans, we are seeing the injustices and violence Black Americans face daily in an amplified manner. Whether it’s having the cops called on you following a simple and reasonable request in the park, going jogging in your neighborhood, or being asleep in your own home, the world is watching and finally responding to these injustices. From Eric Garner to George Floyd, the list of people we grieve over is far too long. We are hurt, confused, frustrated, angry, and just tired. We are tired but never done. How can you support your Black colleagues and friends? Give them a bit more time, space, and compassion.Understand that some of them are whiplashed and at a loss for what to do.Let them come to you with causes you can support.Collectively agree on a way of showing wordless support, like an emoji for example: How can you support this movement? Understand that this movement is not history, nor will it soon be over. We need to fight for equality until life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are available for all. Here is a list of places you can amplify, donate to, or sign petitions for change: Donate Donate to any of these organizations and petitions to show support and help advance the agenda for equal representation and justice. Nationwide Bail FundReclaim the BlockBlack Visions CollectiveThe Official GoFundMe of George Floyd’s FamilyJustice for Regis Official FundEqual Justice InitiativeNAACP Empowerment ProgramBlack Lives Matter Network Sign Sign any of these petitions to show support for change and accountability in our judicial system. Color of Change PetitionOfficial Petition for Breonna Taylor Justice for Tony McDade PetitionJustice for Ahmaud Arbery PetitionJustice for George Floyd Petition Do Call, tweet, and send posts on your social networks to your elected state or local officials and demand equal justice today. Educational resources Dedicate time to learn more deeply about institutionalized racism in America, and how to safely take action against it. This Anguish and Action post from the Obama Foundation includes a “Get Informed” section with anti-racism articles and resources.This detailed list of anti-racism resources includes articles, books, TV shows, and movies.This post by Barack Obama reflects on how to make this moment the turning point for real change.This Anti-Defamation League guide offers practical tips on how to engage young people in conversations about race and racism.This post compiles resources and links on ways to support and fight for an anti-racist future together.Just Mercy is an important read by lawyer and Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson. Mental health resources Ethel’s Club – A Black-owned and -operated social club that offers access to Black therapists and a multitude of creative events for People of Color. Crisis Text Line – A different approach to crisis intervention, Crisis Text Line offers you help when you text 741-741. You’ll be able to chat with someone who is willing to listen and provide you with additional resources.Shine Text –  A Black-owned self-care app through which you can sign up to receive cheerful texts and tips every day. Therapy for Black Girls – A Black-owned directory to help you find Black therapists in your area. BEAM Community – A Black emotional and mental health collective committed to the health and healing of Black communities.Self-Care Tips for Black People Who Are Struggling With This Very Painful Week – A resource on VICE with tips that may provide a bit of relief. Tips for protesting Knowing your rights – An indispensable resource from the ACLU.How to protest safely and legally – Remember to wear a mask in order to protect yourself!How to help someone who’s been tear-gassed Lastly, let’s celebrate solidarity and beauty when we see it: The international community is watching and protesting alongside us across the globe.Protesters doing the cupid shuffle.Protesters take a knee and raise their fists in Upper East Side, New York.Protesting in Harlem, New York.In New York City, chief police officer kneels with protesters. Stay safe out there!

Not Sure How to Get Your Blog Off the Ground? Join Our New Workshop.

Starting a blog is easy and free on WordPress.com. But what if you’re new to blogging? If you need guidance on best practices, actionable tips on how to grow your audience and find inspiration to write, and constructive feedback from experts and fellow bloggers, you should join us at Blogging: From Concept to Content. It’s a three-day, hands-on, intensive workshop that will take you from “I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing?” to “I’m a blogger!” Date: June 16–18, 2020Time: 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. PDT | 8:00 a.m. –12:00 p.m. MDT | 9:00 am-1:00 pm CDT | 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. EDT| 14:00 – 18:00 UTCLocation: Online via Zoom and private blogCost: Early Bird Price — US$99 until 23:59 UTC on June 8, 2020. Regular price — US$179 from June 9 – June 15, 2020.Register now: https://wordpress.com/blogging-basics-workshop/ Featuring guest speakers and WordPress.com experts in areas like content and writing, SEO, design, and digital marketing, the workshop will include daily assignments and interactive discussions. You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to interact directly with the instructors as well as with Happiness Engineers. At the end of the workshop, you’ll walk away with: A ready-to-launch blog.An editorial calendar for the next 8–12 weeks.A well-stocked toolkit of tips and techniques to continue to develop your blog and grow its reach.Finally, and at least as important: a community of new blogging friends to learn from and grow with long after the workshop has ended. We created this workshop for new bloggers who crave a structured, step-by-step approach to creating a blog that reflects their vision and voice, and who don’t want to waste time looking for answers all over the web. Be prepared to dive in and do the work! You won’t regret this investment, and you’ll be in great company. Seats are limited to facilitate interaction between participants and instructors, so register now to save your slot. By registering this week, you’ll take advantage of our Early Bird Price of US$99 through June 8, after which the regular registration price of $179 will take effect. See you then!

Celebrating Pride Month with Out in Tech

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

Expert Advice: How to Start Selling on Your Website

Are you just taking your first steps selling a product or service online and don’t know where to begin? Be sure to register for our next 60-minute, free webinar, where our expert Happiness Engineers will walk you through the basics of eCommerce and show you how to set up your online store. Date: Thursday, April 16, 2020Time: 5 p.m. UTC | 1 p.m. EDT | 12 p.m. CDT | 10 a.m. PDTCost: FreeWho’s invited: business owners, entrepreneurs, freelancers, service providers, store owners, and anyone else who wants to sell a product or service online.Registration link Hosts Steve Dixon and Maddie Flynn are both veteran Happiness Engineers with years of experience helping business owners and hobbyists build and launch their eCommerce stores. They will provide step-by-step instructions on setting up: Simple Payments — perfect for selling a single product or service.Recurring Payments — great for subscriptions and donations.WooCommerce — ideal for entrepreneurs who want to build an online store and automate sales. No previous eCommerce experience is necessary, but we recommend a basic familiarity with WordPress.com to ensure you can make the most from the webinar. The presentation will conclude with a Q&A session (15-20 minutes), so you can already note down any questions you might have and bring them with you to the webinar. Seats are limited, so register now to reserve your spot. See you then!

Import Your WordPress Site to WordPress.com — Including Themes and Plugins

It’s been possible to export your posts, images, and other content to an export file, and then transfer this content into another WordPress site since the early days of WordPress. Select WordPress from the list of options to import your site. This basic WordPress import moved content, but didn’t include other important stuff like themes, plugins, users, or settings. Your imported site would have the same pages, posts, and images (great!) but look and work very differently from the way you or your users expect (less great). There’s a reason that was written in the past tense: WordPress.com customers can now copy over everything from a self-hosted WordPress site — including themes and plugins — and create a carbon copy on WordPress.com. You’ll be able to enjoy all the features of your existing site, plus the benefits of our fast, secure hosting with tons of features, and our world-class customer service. Select “Everything” to import your entire WordPress site to WordPress.com. To prep for your import, sign up for a WordPress.com account — if you’d like to import themes and plugins, be sure to select the Business or eCommerce plan — and install Jetpack (for free) on your self-hosted site to link it to WordPress.com. To start the actual import, head to Tools → Import in your WordPress.com dashboard. Then, sit back and relax while we take care of moving your old site to a new sunny spot at WordPress.com. We’ll let you know when it’s ready to roll!

Make Your Business More Accessible with New Blocks

From our support sessions with customers each month, we know that growing your brand or business is a top website goal. And in this unprecedented time in which more people around the world are staying at home, it’s important to promote your products and services online to reach a wider audience and connect with more people. Our team has been hard at work improving the block editor experience. We’ve launched six new blocks that integrate WordPress.com and Jetpack-enabled sites with popular services — Eventbrite, Calendly, Pinterest, Mapbox, Google Calendar, and OpenTable — enabling you to embed rich content and provide booking and scheduling options right on your blog or website. Whether you’re an online boutique, a pilates studio, an independent consultant, or a local restaurant, these blocks offer you more ways to promote your brand or business. Take a look at each block — or simply jump to a specific one below. EventbriteCalendlyPinterestMapboxGoogle CalendarOpenTable Promote online events with the Eventbrite block Looking for a way to promote an online event (like your museum’s virtual curator talk or your company’s webinar on remote work), or even an at-home livestream performance for your fans and followers? Offering key features of the popular event registration platform, the Eventbrite block embeds events on posts and pages so your visitors can register and purchase tickets right from your site. Quick-start guide: To use this block, you need an Eventbrite account. If you don’t have one, sign up at Eventbrite for free.In the block editor, click the Add Block (+) button and search for and select the Eventbrite Checkout block.Enter the URL of your Eventbrite event. Read these steps from Eventbrite if you need help.Select from two options: an In-page Embed shows the event details and registration options directly on your site. The Button & Modal option shows just a button; when clicked, the event details will pop up so your visitor can register. Learn more on the Eventbrite block support page. Schedule sessions with the Calendly block Want to make it easier for people to book private meditation sessions or language lessons with you? The Calendly block, featured recently in our guide on moving your classes online, is a handy way for your clients and students to book a session directly on your site — eliminating the time spent coordinating schedules. You can also use the Calendly block to schedule team meetings or group events. Quick-start guide: To use this block, you need a Calendly account. Create one for free at Calendly.In the block editor, click the Add Block (+) button and search for and select the Calendly block.Enter your Calendly web address or embed code. Follow these steps from Calendly if you need help.Select from two styles: the Inline style embeds a calendar directly onto your site; the Link style inserts a button that a visitor can click to open a pop-up calendar.This block is currently available to sites on the WordPress.com Premium, Business, or eCommerce plans. It’s free on Jetpack sites. Learn more on the Calendly block support page. Up your visual game with the Pinterest block Strong visuals help to provide inspiration, tell your stories, and sell your products and services. Pinterest is an engaging way for bloggers, influencers, and small business owners to enhance their site content and expand their following. With the Pinterest block, you can embed and share pins, boards, and profiles on your site. Quick-start guide: In the block editor, click the Add Block (+) button and search for and select the Pinterest block.Paste the URL of a pin, board, or profile you’d like to display and click Embed. Note that you can only embed public boards.Pro tip: in the block editor, go to Layout Elements and select Layout Grid to create a visually striking layout with pins, boards, and profiles, as shown above. Display locations with the Map block A map on your site is a quick visual way to display a location, like your restaurant’s takeout window or the drop-off spot for donations to a local food bank. Powered by mapping platform Mapbox, the Map block embeds a customized map on your site. Show the location of your business, a chain of boutique hotels, the meeting spots for your nonprofit’s volunteers, and more. Quick-start guide: In the block editor, click the Add Block (+) button and search for and select the Map block.In the text field, type the location you want to display and select the correct location from among the results that appear.Click on the red marker to edit the title and caption of the marker.Explore the toolbar for block-specific settings. Add more markers, for example, by clicking the Add a marker button.In the sidebar, customize your map’s appearance (including colors, height, and zoom level). Explore more settings on the Map block support page. Share your calendar with the Google Calendar block Are you an author planning a book tour (or a series of online readings)? A digital marketing consultant hosting social media workshops? A neighborhood pop-up bakery? With the Google Calendar block, you can display a calendar of upcoming events or your hours of operation. Quick-start guide: In Google Calendar, click the three dots next to your calendar name and select Settings and sharing. Under Access Permissions, ensure Make available to public is checked. Click on Integrate calendar on the left and copy the code under Embed code.In the block editor, click the Add Block (+) button, search for and select the Custom HTML block, and paste the code you copied in Google Calendar.Publish your post or page. The next time you edit this post or page, you’ll see the code has been converted to shortcode. Explore more settings on the Google Calendar block support page. Streamline reservations with the OpenTable block If you’re a restaurant or cafe owner, a primary goal of your site is to increase the number of bookings. Sure, people aren’t dining out right now, but you can be ready to take reservations in the future. With the OpenTable block, people can reserve a table directly from a post or page instead of calling or booking through a different reservation service. Quick-start guide: To use this block, your restaurant must be listed on OpenTable. Create an OpenTable listing now.In the block editor, click the Add Block (+) button and search for and select the OpenTable block.Enter your OpenTable Reservation Widget embed code. Check this OpenTable guide if you need help.Explore the block’s toolbar and sidebar settings. For example, choose from four different embed styles: Standard, Tall, Wide, and Button.This block is currently available to sites on the WordPress.com Premium, Business, or eCommerce plans. It’s free on Jetpack sites. Learn more on the OpenTable block support page. Which blocks are you most excited about? Stay tuned for more new blocks soon!

Create with confidence — and better blocks

In the last few years, the teams working on the block editor have learned a lot about how people build sites now and how they want to build sites in the future. The latest version represents the culmination of these discoveries, and the next stage in the editor’s evolution. With better visuals and more advanced features, it’ll keep designers, developers, writers, and editors productive and happy, and — tension-building drumroll — it’s in your editor right now! What’s new With a comprehensive visual refresh, a plethora of new features, and dozens of bug fixes, the new block editor comes with a lot to unpack. What follows is just a small (but delectable) sample of the many ways we’ve upgraded your editing experience. (You can get the full list of goodies in the release notes.) We hope you enjoy. A revamped editor UI The first thing you’ll notice is the slick UI. Buttons, icons, text, and dropdowns are all sporting a contrast boost, with bolder colors and more whitespace between buttons, text labels, and menu items. The new block editor’s UI As you navigate through the editor’s menus, individual items are clearly highlighted, allowing you to quickly identify what you’ve selected. Active menu items have distinct highlights The block toolbars are now simpler, displaying the most commonly-used features. For example, paragraph blocks show only bold, italic, and link formatting buttons. You’ll find all the extra options in the dropdown menu. The block toolbar options are simpler and uncluttered What’s more, instead of listing blocks within a fixed-height container, the block inserter now spans the height of the window. You’ll now see more blocks and block categories at once with less scrolling. The block inserter spans the full height of your screen Introducing block patterns With the block editor as your canvas you can design almost any layout you can imagine – but building intricate page structures should never get in the way of your creative process. Here’s where the blocks really shine: along with individual blocks, the editor now includes block patterns, a library of predefined and reusable block layouts, that you use on any page or post. To check out the list of available patterns, click on the block pattern icon (on the top right) to reveal a collection of pre-built layouts: Block patterns are groups of individual blocks combined to create elegant layouts Pick the pattern you want to use, and it will appear in your editor ready for you to customize with your own content. Right now, you’ll find a few introductory patterns – Two Columns of Text, Two Buttons, Cover, and Two Images Side by Side – but we’ll be adding more and more patterns as they’re available. When the block patterns API opens up to third-party authors, you’ll also be able to develop and share your own. (Have an idea for a great pattern? The block editor developer community is actively seeking ideas. The more ideas they receive, the better your editor will be!) Colors, colors everywhere When it comes to words and columns, websites aren’t newspapers: things don’t have to be black and white. Use the new Text Color selector tool to change the color of sentences, and even individual words and letters. Highlight the text you’d like to change, then click on the arrow dropdown and select “Text Color.” Select “Text Color” from the options Pick the color of your word or character   To change the background colors of your columns, select the column and head to the sidebar, to Color settings. Columns get background colours too! The road ahead is paved with blocks There’s still a long way to go, and the editor’s community of contributors hasn’t given its collective keyboards a moment’s rest. Work on polishing UI elements like the sidebar and dropdowns continues along with advancements to block patterns and other exciting features. Are there ways we could improve the site editing experience even more? Please let us know! We’re always keen to hear how we can make the web a better place for everyone.

How to Move Your Classes Online — and Charge for Them

We are proud to host many websites for language tutors, yoga schools, and personal fitness coaches around the world. It’s exciting to see how educators and consultants across different industries are getting creative with their online offerings: language teachers conduct 1:1 sessions to help students hone pronunciation, yoga studios livestream group sessions, and instructors lead writing boot camps via Zoom breakout rooms. Even my own strength coach is monitoring my workouts — I launch the camera on my phone, place it against the wall, and do deadlifts while he supervises. Last year we launched Recurring Payments to support creators, consultants, small businesses, and other professionals in establishing dependable income streams. We were very pleased to discover that online educators using this feature are thriving as well! Marta, for example, runs Spanish Teacher Barcelona, a Spanish language school located in — you guessed it! — Barcelona. She offers 1:1 sessions and classes in a coworking space in the city’s Gracia neighborhood. For customers that cannot meet in person, she hosts private lessons online, available with a subscription. She offers three subscription plans to meet the variety of needs of her students. Ready to set up your own subscription-based service or move your existing classes online? Here’s a quick guide to get you set up with the right tools, so you can focus instead on providing the best educational environment possible.  Set up your online class today Below, we’ll cover the steps you can take to get your classes or private lessons up and running with the Recurring Payments feature. We’ll also recommend tools to make scheduling 1:1 sessions and operating your classes easier, like the Calendly block and various video conferencing tools.  1. Create a “Subscribe” page to promote your class or service You need to convince your customers that your subscription is worth paying for. A typical way to do this is with a “Subscribe” page where you explain the benefits of your services. Take a look at the “Join” page on Longreads.com, an online publication that publishes and curates nonfiction storytelling on the web and funds stories with memberships: A few tips to make your offer irresistible: Focus on the benefits for the customer.Provide a few subscription options, such as classes at different frequencies and at different price points.Add testimonials if you can — people love to read reviews. Create this page by going to My Sites → Pages → Add New. 2. Add a subscription with the Recurring Payments feature Recurring Payments allows you to create renewable payments. Your subscribers will enter their credit card details, and will then be charged automatically every month or every year. Recurring Payments is currently available on any of our paid plans. To get started, you’ll need to create a Stripe account, which is a global money transfer service. We partner with Stripe to make sure payments end up safely in your bank account. You can start collecting Recurring Payments in five minutes. On the “Subscribe” page you created above, search for the “Recurring Payments” block: After clicking “Connect to Stripe,” you’ll be able to connect your existing Stripe account or create a new one. Now you can create your first subscription. Set the price, frequency (we recommend monthly for start), and the title of your subscription, like Writing Bootcamp, 3 breakout sessions/month or Conversational French for Beginners, 4 classes/month. That’s it! Your subscription is now created. Once you publish the page and activate your Stripe account, your customers will be able to subscribe to this service. Subscriptions are dependable: your subscribers will be automatically charged at the beginning of the next renewal period (in a month or a year). You don’t have to remind or nudge them, and they also don’t have to remember to pay you — everything is handled. For more details, please read this Recurring Payments support article. Would you rather sell access to your services as a one-time purchase? Check out the Simple Payments feature. 3. Schedule your lessons Your subscribers can set up a time for their lessons using a service like Calendly, a handy tool that allows them to select a free slot in your schedule. We recently created the Calendly block to bring some of the service’s key features to you. While editing your page, search for the “Calendly” block. Remember to check if the subscription is activeBefore hopping on an online meeting, you need to confirm that the person scheduling a call is indeed a paying subscriber. Check the list of your active Recurring Payments subscribers located in your WordPress.com dashboard under My Sites → Earn → Payments.Read more about managing your list of subscribers. 4. Select a tool to host your class Video conferencing tools are very useful for teaching. Apart from seeing the other person, you can share your screen, send files, or even host a session for multiple people, lecture-style. You can use Google Hangouts, Skype, or Zoom (which is what we use for our meetings here at WordPress.com). Zoom has put together a handy tutorial for teachers. If you’d like additional setup tips on selecting a theme for your website, adding content and media, and adding students as viewers or contributors, read our support tutorial on building a virtual classroom. What amazing class are you going to launch?

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