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  • Publishing to WordPress from Bear Just Got Better
  • Sharing is a core part of the iOS experience, and WordPress is committed to helping people share their stories, products, or services freely and widely.  So when the fine folks at Shiny Frog—makers of the excellent writing app Bear—asked for an easier way turn Bear notes into WordPress posts, we enthusiastically said yes. We’ve been working together to create a great publishing experience, and today Bear and WordPress both have app updates that incorporate this latest and greatest integration.

    Go ahead, give it a try!

    A 10 second screen recording of the process of sharing a note from Bear to WordPress

    The Bear and WordPress apps work together seamlessly to turn your note into a fully-formatted blog post.

    • Update your Bear and WordPress apps to make sure you’re using the latest versions.
    • Open Bear, and tap the share icon at the top right of a note.
    • Tap WordPress in the top row of options (learn how to enable app extensions on iOS).
    • The WordPress app will open and prepare a new blog post with the contents of your note, complete with proper formatting of headings, links, formatting, lists, and even photos.

    To automatically give your blog post a title, make sure your Bear note begins with an H1. You’re all set—the only thing left to do is publish.

    How we did it

    If you’re curious about the technical details: our mobile team updated the app to support TextBundle files shared from other apps. On Bear’s end, the app now knows WordPress for iOS supports TextBundle, and automatically shares notes in that format.

    TextBundle is made for sharing plain text files that include attachments like photos, and since it’s  built on an open standard, other developers can integrate their apps with it. If you’re an app developer looking to improve your WordPress publishing experience, you can start with Shiny Frog’s open source TextBundle library, the same one that’s used in WordPress for iOS.

    Finally, if you try out this new integration, let us know what you think! Download the WordPress mobile app for iOS and Android.


    Monday, May 13, 2019
  • Boost Visitor Engagement and Grow Your Mailing List with the Mailchimp Block

  • Keeping your visitors interested is the key to a successful website—and one great way to do that is with email. A smart email outreach plan piques peoples’ interest, keeps them engaged, and brings them back to your website.

    To send emails, you need a mailing list, and Mailchimp is the list-building tool of choice for lots of folks. With WordPress.com’s new Mailchimp block, you can add a signup form to any post or page. Give visitors the opportunity to join your list wherever they are on your website.

    Using the Mailchimp block

    If your website is on WordPress.com or uses Jetpack (version 7.1 or higher), the Mailchimp block is already waiting for you in the block editor. Open a post or page, add a new block, and either search for “Mailchimp” or select it from the list of available blocks.

    Once you’ve inserted the block into your content, you can customize the following aspects of your form:

    • Placeholder text in the field for email address. Once your visitor starts filling out the form, this placeholder text will disappear.
    • Text on the submit button.
    • Terms of service disclaimer at the bottom. These terms and conditions are the contract between you and the subscriber.
    • Success message text that will appear after visitors submit their email.
    • Error message text if there was a problem in submitting the form.

    First-time setup

    The first time you add a Mailchimp block, you’ll need to to connect your Mailchimp account to your WordPress website and specify the mailing list that your new subscribers will join.

    You will need:

    Once you have a Mailchimp account, open wordpress.com/sharing, choose your site and select “Mailchimp” from the list of connections.

    Mailchimp connection details in the Sharing section.

    Once you click “Connect,” you will be prompted for the login and password to your Mailchimp account. Once you’re logged in, you will be taken back to WordPress.com:

    Connection details after successful Mailchimp authorization.

    After connecting your account, remember to select your Mailchimp list. You can read more about setting up your configuration options here.

    Grow your audience with email

    Email helps you build a relationship with your readers. Not sure what to send? Try:

    • Sending updates about new posts or products.
    • Sharing other interesting articles from around the web.
    • Writing more personal updates.
    • Expanding on your blog posts.
    • Offering discounts or early access to premium content.

    Forging an email relationship can turn a one-time visitor into a loyal follower or customer. And the people who trust you with their email addresses are often your biggest fans, so it makes sense to give them some extra goodies.

    Build better landing pages

    Email signups are also perfect for landing pages or “Coming Soon” splash pages. A landing page is a simple one-page website that serves only one purpose: to collect email addresses. Usually, it’s a placeholder for a fuller site to come, or a new product or service that will launch in the future. With a Mailchimp block, you can collect emails right on your landing page:

    Here’s a quick example of how easy it is to set up.

    Collect the email addresses of interested visitors while you build your product or a larger site behind the scenes. Once your creation is ready to be unveiled, you can email your list to let them know.

    You can use lots of different features to build and engage your audience — social sharing, blog comments, the WordPress.com Reader — and now you’ve got one more tool at your disposal!


    Wednesday, April 10, 2019
  • Three New WordPress.com Color Schemes
  • Your website’s dashboard should be as welcoming to you as your website’s home page is to your visitors. One way to do that? Customize your WordPress.com dashboard with color schemes.

    Today, you’ve got three new options for adding a little behind-the-scenes zing: introducing Powder Snow, Nightfall, and Sakura, designed especially for you by our Art Director, Eriko Kawakami.

    Whether you prefer the gentle monotone of Powder Snow, the darker and soothing colors of Nightfall, or the vibrant, cherry-blossom-inspired Sakura, we hope you’ll find a look you love.

    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 will be stylish and readable.

    Here’s how to customize your color scheme:

    1. On your desktop, sign in to the WordPress.com account that you’d like to customize.
    2. Click your account avatar in the upper right corner.
    3. Select Account Settings
    4. Select one of the options under Dashboard Color Scheme
    5. Click Save Account Settings to apply the change
    Screenshot of the Account Settings page showing color schemes.
    My dashboard, using the Nightfall color scheme.

    More color schemes are coming, and we want your feedback! What colors do you want to see in your WordPress.com dashboard?


    Wednesday, April 03, 2019
  • WordPress.com’s Parent Company Announces Happy Tools, a New Suite of Products for the Future of Work
  • Distributed teams, different geographies, and complex dynamics are redefining the modern workday. Soon, “job perks” like flexible hours and work-from-anywhere will become table-stakes benefits that every company needs to offer to stay competitive.

    WordPress.com’s parent company Automattic has long been ahead of this curve, growing a global software company of more than 850 people across 68 countries with no central office. Along the way, we’ve found that many business products are still locked into old assumptions about how a company runs, so we had to build our own internal tools to work the way we want. Now, we’re making these tools available to like-minded companies who need a better way to work.

    Today Automattic is announcing Happy Tools, a suite of products for the future of work. Each product in Happy Tools has been used internally at Automattic to grow our company.

    The suite is launching with Happy Schedule, a new take on workforce management. Designed to handle the complexities that come up when business goals are planned around real-world schedules, it helps you treat your employees like humans instead of resources. Using Happy Schedule, Automattic is able to plan 24/7 customer support while offering flexible working hours to our 300+ Happiness Engineers spanning many timezones.

    Happy Schedule helps you meet coverage goals across a distributed team.

    Happy Schedule is just the start. Over the coming years Automattic will release more of its internal applications into Happy Tools, with smart integrations between the products that make them even better when used together.

    We hope that by offering Happy Tools, even more forward-thinking companies will be able to move to a new way of working with customer support, internal communication, and people-management.

    You can get a 30-day free trial of Happy Tools when you sign up for a Happy Schedule demo at https://happy.tools.


    Monday, April 01, 2019
  • Electric Literature Moves to WordPress — Here’s How an Indie Publisher Thrives on the Open Web
  • Electric Literature launched 10 years ago in Brooklyn, New York, as a quarterly print journal with a mission to make literature more relevant, exciting, and inclusive. And today they’re celebrating the launch of a new website on WordPress, at electricliterature.com.

    Surviving (and thriving) for ten years as an independent publisher is no small feat. Over the years the nonprofit organization has grown its online audience — with offerings like Recommended Reading and The Commuter — while expanding its membership of readers who help fund its work. The website is free to everyone and relies on the generosity of its community to donate to the site and support its mission.

    How does an indie website make its business work in 2019? We talked with Electric Lit’s Executive Director Halimah Marcus about some of the lessons they’ve learned in the past 10 years.

    Slow and Steady Growth Can Be a Very Good Thing

    Sometimes raising a lot of money from investors means you’ll grow fast — but also burn out sooner. “Slow and steady growth has been important to our longevity thus far. Ten years for some companies isn’t that long, but ten years for an indie online magazine is quite long. We’ve seen many of our peers close during that time and also many publications that were much better funded and larger than us as well.”

    Focus On Your Mission

    Marcus and company made a deliberate decision early to become a nonprofit with a mission to support writers. “That was an interesting discussion. For the most part I think it was the right decision, although there are many different ways to look at this question. We were definitely a mission-driven organization. With Recommended Reading we partner with other magazines and indie presses and publications to promote their work and to give an online platform to many stories that have never been published online and never would be published online.

    “It was our goal to build a literary ecosystem, to showcase how diverse it was and to give access to it. There was nothing about what we were doing that was about making money [laughs]. Becoming a nonprofit to be mission-driven, to be able to have access to grant opportunities, to be able to solicit donations and make those tax-deductible was going to be important for our financial model.” As a nonprofit, Electric Literature receives funding from foundations including the Amazon Literary Partnership, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts — an important source of funding for a publisher when revenue from online advertising can fluctuate dramatically from month to month.

    Memberships (and Your Members) Matter

    Direct funding from readers makes a big difference for the business. Electric Literature does not paywall its essays or fiction — the site is totally free and readers have an option to donate or subscribe with a recurring monthly payment.

    Its membership program hit some bumps when it briefly moved it to Medium — the platform switched its membership model in 2018 and Electric Literature was one of several publishers who were left scrambling. Marcus’s advice? Think carefully about who you let between you and your readers — it’s very hard to regain subscribers after you’ve lost them.

    Most important of all is making sure those who do donate to your publication feel special. “I think the lesson that I’m always learning and figuring out how to do better is to make those people who have shown you that they care about your publication and that they’re invested in it feel included and appreciated. Make sure they know who they can talk to if they have a question or if they just want to make a comment or they have a problem. That’s something that is so important.”

    Make Your Home on the Web Your Own

    “You’ll see that on the new website the look is very vibrant and positive and is pulled through every article and every space. Icons inspired by electrical symbols such as signals and inverters are a part of the design we were able to bring through. It’s important to be able to have control over what our product looks like. Our editorial vision is now able to extend to the way the work is presented and what it looks like.”

    For more on Electric Lit’s new site, check out Marcus’s letter to readers.


    Monday, March 25, 2019