We’re pleased to announce that Twenty Twenty — the new WordPress default theme designed by Anders Norén— is available to all WordPress.com sites.
Twenty Twenty was designed with the flexibility of the new WordPress Editor at its core. If you want to use it for an organization or a business, you can combine columns, groups, and media to create dynamic layouts that show off your services or products. If you want to use it for a traditional blog, the centered content column and considered typography makes it perfect for that as well.
It also has been designed and developed to take maximum advantage of the creative freedom enabled by the block editor. Extra care has been given to the Columns and Group blocks, which can be combined into impressive landing pages with intricate blocks layouts. Twenty Twenty includes full editor styles for the block editor, so what you see in the editor will almost exactly match the end result.
Learn more about WordPress’s latest default theme here, or check out the demo site!
PHP is still one of the most popular languages used to build the web. The newest version, PHP 7.4, was released today — and Business and eCommerce plan customers can opt to start using it immediately.
WordPress.com sites run PHP 7.3 by default — it’s still our recommended version, since it’s been stress-tested across all of WordPress.com — but if you have a site on the Business or eCommerce plan and want to be on the leading technological edge, you can opt to switch to version 7.4 immediately.
Head to My Site > Manage > Hosting Configuration to find the new PHP Version Switcher:
Choose which version of PHP you want your site to run on, click the “Update PHP version” button, and voilà.
(Note: All sites with eCommerce plans can make the switch right now. Sites on the Business plan need to have either an active plugin or a custom theme to use the PHP Version Switcher.)
PHP’s evolved with each version 7 release, and PHP 7.4 promises to have the strongest performance yet. It will eventually power all WordPress.com sites, but Business and eCommerce customers can take advantage of the update today!
It’s hard to be creative when you’re worried about money. Running ads on your site helps, but for many creators, ad revenue isn’t enough. Top publishers and creators sustain their businesses by building reliable income streams through ongoing contributions.
Our new Recurring Payments feature for WordPress.com and Jetpack-powered sites lets you do just that: it’s a monetization tool for content creators who want to collect repeat contributions from their supporters, and it’s available with any paid plan on WordPress.com.
Let your followers support you with periodic, scheduled payments. Charge for your weekly newsletter, accept monthly donations, sell yearly access to exclusive content — and do it all with an automated payment system.
With recurring payments, you can:
Accept ongoing payments from visitors directly on your site.
Bill supporters automatically, on a set schedule. Subscribers can cancel anytime from their WordPress.com account.
Offer ongoing subscriptions, site memberships, monthly donations, and more, growing your fan base with exclusive content.
Integrate your site with Stripe to process payments and collect funds.
Enable Recurring Payments in three steps
Start accepting ongoing payments in just five minutes, without any technical background.
1. Connect (or create) a Stripe account
WordPress.com partners with Stripe, one of the internet’s biggest payment processors, to make sure transactions are fast and secure. You’ll need a Stripe account to use Recurring Payments.
Head to your Earn page and click Connect Stripe to Get Started — we’ll walk you through the setup and help you create a Stripe account if you don’t have one.
2. Put a Recurring Payments button on your site
Recurring Payments takes advantage of the powerful block editor. To start collecting revenue, open a post or page, click the (+) to add a new block, and insert a Recurring Payments button.
3. Customize the details of the recurring payment
You can create as many payment plans for your site as you’d like—different currencies, amounts, payment frequencies, and names, so you can offer different tiers or subscriptions.
You can also choose one of your previously created plans when you insert a new button.
You just set up Recurring Payments for your site. Now your fans can support you, just like they do on Longreads.com and around the web.
With Recurring Payments, you can turn your content into revenue, accept donations, or fund your next big idea.
Sell access to members-only newsletters.
Collect club membership dues automatically.
Let fans fund your next art project.
Some people even collect rent with recurring payments!
It’s easier than ever for your visitors to support your site
Recurring Payments make it easy to purchase a subscription or become a supporter on any WordPress.com or Jetpack-connected site — your subscribers will be able to use the same payment information and manage all their subscriptions in one place. To do that, they’ll just need a WordPress.com account.
During the checkout process, they will enter their email address. If they already have a WordPress.com account linked to that address, we will associate the purchase with that account. If they don’t, we’ll create an account for them. When they complete the purchase, they’ll receive an email with more info and login instructions for their new account.
The transaction is between you and your subscriber. WordPress.com only facilitates the processing and management of the subscription. We don’t save your subscribers’ credit card information, either — it’s stored by Stripe, the payment processor, so that the charge can renew automatically. Your subscribers can manage, edit, or cancel their recurring payments on their own, without your intervention, by visiting Me > Manage Purchases > Other sites.
A competitive fee structure helps you share your work far and wide
Recurring Payments is available on all paid plans, for both WordPress.com and Jetpack-connected sites. You pay a percentage of the revenue your site generates through Recurring Payments, which varies depending on your plan. As you collect more subscribers, you might consider switching to a different plan in order to retain more revenue.
In addition to the fees you pay us, Stripe collects 2.9% + $0.30 for each payment made to your Stripe account.
Make the most of our collection of monetizing tools
Recurring payments is the latest addition to the monetizing tools available on WordPress.com. Here are the other tools you can find by visiting WordPress.com/earn.
Use Simple Payments to take one-time payments, or to sell digital or physical products with minimal configuration.
Add WordAds to run advertisements on your site, and earn revenue from your traffic.
Move to WooCommerce when you’re ready to create a full shopping experience for visitors — it’s the most customizable online-store platform on the web, with thousands of extensions.
With fires raging in the Amazon, hurricanes ripping across the Atlantic, and typhoons flooding Japan, our planet and our climate are sending us a message: We can no longer continue with business as usual.
The week starting September 20th, 350.org is organizing a Global Climate Strike, in association with Fridays For Future, to show global leaders that the time to act is now. Alongside the people walking out of workplaces, schools, and homes around the world, 350.org is organizing a digital climate strike. Websites participating in the digital strike will promote the physical strikes in the lead-up to the date, and partially block themselves to users on September 20th itself. That is where you come in!
Starting today, you can opt into the digital climate strike with your WordPress.com site, showing your commitment to this critical topic and spreading the word about the event. Between now and September 20th, your site will display a small climate strike banner. On the 20th, it will transform into a dismissible full-screen overlay.
WordPress.com site owners can head to My Site > Manage > Settings. At the top of the Settings menu, you will see a toggle switch — flip it on to join the digital climate strike.
Getting your new business website ready for launch? Want a little hand-holding — a step-by-step tutorial on setting up a WordPress.com site from start to finish, that you can work on at your own pace and on your own time? “WordPress.com Fundamentals,” a comprehensive video course created with our friends over at Fiverr, walks you through all the fundamentals in 90 minutes.
The course covers the basics of setting up a business website, but anyone new to WordPress.com can benefit from lessons on how to create an account, set up a site, customize a theme, publish content, and share it on social media. It was developed by WordPress.com Happiness Engineers with years of experience guiding thousands of new WordPress.com customers in chat, email, forums, and concierge sessions, so you know you’re getting expert guidance from people who know every WordPress.com tip and trick.
The entire course is just $31, which includes unlimited access to all the course materials, quizzes, and downloadable resources. Take it all at once, or learn at the pace that works for you — the course is divided into bite-sized chapters that you can refer to as many times as you need.
Students are also eligible for a discount of 25% on WordPress.com plan upgrades! So if you’ve been hesitating to explore the advanced features in the Premium, Business, or eCommerce plans, the course gives you both a great introduction to the ease and power of WordPress.com and a lower-cost way to try them out.
To get started, head over to the course page on the Learn from Fiverr website. Click on the green “Buy Course” button, and follow the prompts to create an account and purchase the course. And until the end of September, get 30% off the course fee by entering coupon code learnwordpress at checkout.
And if you do take the class, let us know what you think. Fiverr will send out a survey to all students after completing the class, so be sure to fill it out. We want to know what works for you, what you’d like to see more of, and where we can improve.
How can we increase gender representation in software engineering?
Our Developer Hiring Experience team analyzed this topic in a recent user-research study. The issue resonated with women engineers and a strong response enabled the team to gain deeper insight than is currently available from online research projects.
Seventy-one engineers who identified as women or non-binary responded to our request for feedback. Out of that pool, 24 answered a follow-up survey, and we carried out in-depth interviews with 14 people. This was a highly skilled group, with the majority having worked in software development for over 10 years.
While some findings aligned with our expectations, we still uncovered a few surprises.
The Job Hunt
In initial job hunts, respondents were found to rely heavily on their existing networks and on personal outreach from companies.
If they do not have a pre-existing connection with a company, they’ll likely scrutinize it for red flags before they submit an application. Job descriptions are searched for any discouraging language — for example, if parental leave descriptions only refer to mothers. Information — about the job, salary, team, and hiring process — is key for encouraging applications.
Stack Overflow is a popular resource for job hunting; whereas Glassdoor is viewed as less useful, and more as a venting forum for former employees or unsuccessful candidates.
The Hiring Process
The most favorable hiring processes represent a growth opportunity, rather than being purely evaluative. Communication and responsiveness are important, as is the visibility of other women within the team. For some participants, interviewing is seen as a skill to maintain. These developers are continually keeping an eye on job listings to stay abreast of their options. However, the chance for growth was the most widespread reason for actually leaving a current position.
Consistently being able to have an impact, including leadership opportunities, stood out as important; if this is lacking, experienced women engineers are likely to seek new employment. Dissatisfaction can also be caused by being pushed onto the management track and having to fight to continue to focus on technical work.
The data showed women are looking for more communities focused on connecting to other senior-level women, and around more technical topics. Concerns around online harassment can put women off trying to build their network online.
Changes at Automattic
We are working on Automattic’s employment branding to reflect our findings. We are in the process of gathering resources to better describe work at Automattic, and we’re encouraging existing developers to increase their visibility outside of the company — whether through writing or engaging in their communities.
In job postings, we have removed any gameplay or language that emphasizes hiring as a competitive process — for instance, we no longer mention application volume. Instead, job postings highlight learning and career opportunities for the candidate. Adding the term “Senior” to postings is also being tested. Although this implies a job ladder that does not necessarily exist here, the research clarified that its absence sent the message that all positions are mid-level roles, without the path to growth that women candidates tend to look for.
We are also managing candidates’ expectations by making the whole hiring process more transparent, and have created a public page outlining the hiring process.
We’ve made it easier for interested applicants to have casual chats with other women at Automattic. We also offer candidates the opportunity for one-on-one calls with a member of the Developer Experience team during the final stages of hiring; this has started with under-indexed candidates but with a view to rolling it out to everyone. These chats take place outside of the formal hiring process to provide an opportunity for the applicant to ask any questions they have and for the company to better understand their career goals and motivation.
Back in January, we partnered with Support Driven and launched the first version of the Learn User Support Workshop, which helps women in the Asia-Pacific region develop the skills they need to succeed in a technical support role. We had 24 students enrolled in our first cohort.
Today, we’re happy to share that the next edition of the Learn User Support Workshop will launch on August 19, 2019. The course is entirely web-based — there’s no need to travel anywhere to attend — and completely free. So if you identify as a woman, are based in the Asia-Pacific region, and are serious about a career in user support, this might be a perfect match for you.
Building a better, bigger workshop
The strong positive feedback we received from our students earlier this year, as well as the increasingly long waitlist, inspired us to improve the course content and to design it to accommodate more learners.
What topics will we cover? As a participant, expect to learn how to…
Develop your own support philosophy.
Build successful troubleshooting strategies.
Manage challenging interactions.
Implement productivity tools.
Optimize your approach to applying and interviewing for jobs in support.
This six-module course will start on August 19 and will run through September 29. We will publish a new module every Monday, and each learner will have one week to complete it. We’ll include lots of hands-on work, and by the end of the course, each participant will also develop a résumé and portfolio site on WordPress that they can then share with potential employers.
Meet your friendly organizers
As for your teachers, the people who lead this workshop are Automattic Happiness Engineers — master communicators with deep, wide-ranging experience in distributed technical support.
Automattic, which offers the workshop, is a fully-distributed company — there are more than 930 full-time Automatticians spread across 70 countries and speaking 88 languages. We serve users from every corner of the world via products like WordPress.com, Jetpack, and WooCommerce, among others.
As people who believe in the benefits of distributed work, we love helping remote professionals level up their skills. Our commitment to Diversity & Inclusion leads us to look for ways to make the tech sector more representative of the wide and varied world it serves. As a result, this virtual workshop will equip Asia-Pacific-based women who are — or want to become — support professionals with skills that are specifically tailored to the demands of remote work.
Registration for this cohort is now closed.
Make sure to sign up to be notified about future course offerings from Automattic.
We heard you: You want bolder and brighter colors on WordPress.com. Today we’re bringing your WordPress.com dashboard to life with four new color schemes: introducing Midnight, Sunset, Ocean, and Contrast.
You may recognize some of these colors as old friends. Midnight, Sunset, and Ocean are based on early versions of WordPress — a nod to our roots as we evolve:
If bright and bold isn’t your jam, you might prefer Contrast, a black-and-white scheme meant to bring your WordPress.com dashboard into sharp focus:
As part of our commitment to inclusive design, the new palettes are optimized for contrast and increased legibility. Whichever color scheme you choose, your dashboard remains stylish and readable.
Here’s how to customize your color scheme:
On your desktop, sign in to the WordPress.com account that you’d like to customize.
Click your account avatar in the upper right corner.
Select Account Settings
Select one of the options under Dashboard Color Scheme
If you’re like me, Stats is one of your most-visited screens in your WordPress app — we all want to know people are reading! Whether you use iOS or Android, the latest versions have Stat updates that bring you more useful data, faster. Updates to the layout, available statistics, and how they’re handled behind the scenes mean you can hone in what’s most important to you and to your site’s growth.
Stats got a facelift! The numbers are easier to read, easier to compare, and easier to track over time.
Customise your stats
Blogger who wants to keep an eye on your follower count, a business owner who wants a quick update on daily views? Insights Management lets you choose what stats to include so your at-a-glance updates include what’s most important to you. (This feature is only available on Android at the moment, and is coming soon to iOS.)
Zero in on time periods
Use the new dedicated date bar on the days, weeks, months and years tabs, to explore date ranges.
Stats at a glance
Your Insights tab is now optimised for quick updates so you can get key information about your site’s performance all on one screen.
How do I find this?
Update your app to the latest version. You can find them here, or in your Apple Store or Google Play. And that’s it! Head to Stats for any of your site for a new and improved analytics experience.
We understand how important stats are — we run websites, too! — so we’re always working to develop and improve them. We’d love to hear about your experience with the latest and greatest!
The mission of WordPress is to democratize publishing: to make it possible for anyone — no matter their background, location, or identity — to bring their ideas to life on the internet. This mission inspires thousands of volunteers all over the world to contribute to the WordPress open source project, building and supporting the software that makes this possible.
But as in most technology organizations, the people who work on WordPress aren’t always representative of all the people who use WordPress. The majority of WordPress core developers, conference speakers, and other volunteers are young men. That’s where the WordPress Diverse Speaker Training Working Group comes in.
Breaking Down Barriers
A group of WordPress community organizers and volunteers, led by freelance developer Jill Binder, is working to change this. They’ve developed a workshop that trains women and other people from traditionally underrepresented groups in technology who’d like to present at conferences and WordCamps. These training events are organized by local WordPress meetup groups, and are always completely free of charge.
The workshops help attendees address some of the common barriers and fears underrepresented people have around public speaking: “I don’t know what I could speak about.” “I’m not an expert.” “I don’t know how to write a proposal.” “I don’t know how to create a presentation.” “I don’t have any experience speaking in front of groups.”
In 2018, the group supported and advised 55 WordPress communities in 26 different countries. New speakers were trained in 12 different WordPress meetup groups in the US, Canada, Brazil, South Africa, and Venezuela.
All of the communities that held this workshop experienced a real change in the speaker roster for their annual conferences; many of their WordCamps went from having 10% women speakers to having 50% or more women speakers in less than a year. In 2017, Seattle had 60% women speakers and in 2018, Vancouver had 63%.
Speaking at WordCamps is a consistent path to leadership in the WordPress community, so having more diverse speakers directly supports the goal of more diverse leadership in the WordPress open source project. WordCamps are where many WordPress enthusiasts choose to become professionals. When more people see speakers like them on stage and feel welcome in the community, a more diverse group of people participate in the WordPress project.
When WordPress events are more diverse, the WordPress project gets more diverse — which makes WordPress better for more people.
Help Us Grow This Work
Jill kicked off the Diverse Speaker Training Working Group at the beginning of 2018, and dedicated a year to it training facilitators and supporting organizers as an unpaid volunteer.
This year, Automattic has signed on as a 50% sponsor of Jill Binder’s diverse speaker outreach and training work. Her work is already making a noticeable impact on the WordPress project, and we want to make this training as accessible as possible to WordCamps globally. Like anything worth doing, this is a marathon and not a sprint — it’ll take time to see a more diverse contributor pool — but we’re dedicated to making sure this necessary groundwork happens.
Would you like to help foster diversity across the WordPress project? Automattic invites interested partners to pick up the other 50% of this project’s costs. Get in touch with Jill today!
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