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New Theme: Radcliffe 2

Today we’re happy to introduce Radcliffe 2, a refreshed version of a tried-and-true WordPress theme. We’ve optimized it for speed, and added new features specifically with small-business websites in mind.

Radcliffe 2 was a collaborative effort by several members of WordPress.com’s Theme Team. We wanted to update the popular theme for a more mobile-centric landscape, and to add new features that our small-business customers need.

Some specific design considerations for mobile include:

Standard fontsRadcliffe 2 uses system fonts — fonts that are already available on computers and mobile devices — rather than loading its own custom fonts. This reduces page-load time, since sites no longer have to load special font files, and benefits people browsing your site on mobile devices. Like with other WordPress.com themes, the fonts can be changed using the Customizer.

No sidebar: For a more consistent experience between desktop and mobile screens, Radcliffe 2 has a single-column, no-sidebar layout. This helps sites retain the same look and feel, regardless of the device used to load it.

We’ve tailored Radcliffe 2’s other major features for small-business sites:

Logo Resizer: For a perfect fit, increase or decrease the size of your logo.

Style Packs: Looking for a different feel for your site? Style Packs allow you to customize your design to match your brand in seconds. Check out Modern Bauhaus, Vintage Paper, or the Upbeat Pop Style Pack options! Each pack includes unique colors and fonts that create a cohesive style.

Contact Information: This is an easy way to display your phone number, email address, physical address, and hours of operation in your website’s header or footer. Mobile visitors can simply tap on your number to directly call your business’s phone.

Featured Prompt: Create an eye-catching area with text, a linked button, and a background image to draw visitors to a specific area of your site.

You can learn more about Radcliffe 2 by reading the Theme Showcase documentation, checking out the demo, or trying it out on your own site!

The original Radcliffe was released almost four years ago by Anders Norén, a prolific and talented themer.

Chatting with Anders about his theme, it’s clear we can credit Radcliffe’s bold images and typography to its predecessors. “Radcliffe was my fourth free WordPress theme,” says Anders. “The previous three, Lingonberry, Hemingway, and Wilson, are all pretty traditional blog themes with a thin content column and (in the case of Hemingway and Wilson) a sidebar with widgets. I wanted to do something a bit different with Radcliffe. Something that used the full width of the screen for people who want their images to take up more space.”

The original Radcliffe theme.

The result was a theme that balanced eye-catching featured images with a deft treatment of the written word.

Anders’s passion for creating free WordPress themes, originally a hobby, led to his career in web design. He notes that while technology and WordPress have changed, some things haven’t.

“The basic tenets of what makes a WordPress theme — and a website — great are still pretty much the same. Accessibility, a good layout, thought-through typography, smart functionality, and a couple of small, user-experience enhancing flourishes here and there.”

His design process has evolved too, but the core purpose of why he creates remains. “I start in whatever end I have in my head and pull on that thread to see how long it goes,” he says. “If the single view comes first, I try to get a feel for how the archive view would fit together with it, and vice versa. The rest grows from there. It’s not a very structured approach, I’ll admit. And that’s the best part about releasing themes for free. The only requirement I’ve set for myself is that I have fun doing it.”


Filed under: Themes

Updated Signup and Site Creation on Mobile Devices

The latest stage in our authentication redesign effort improves signup and site creation on our mobile applications. (WordPress.com offers apps for your Android or iOS device.)

Signup

To simplify signup, we’ve separated site creation from account creation. Signup now has its own flow guiding you through the process, allowing you to modify information as you go.

It begins with a choice: you can signup via email, or signup via your Google account.

Signup with Email or Google

If you select Google, the Google signup process is presented.

Signup with Google

If you select email, we’ll send you a signup email after you enter your email address. Clicking the link it contains completes the signup process.

 

In either case, we’ll present a final screen where you can modify your display name and username. We’ll share a list of username options to choose from based on your current username. If you’ve signed up with an email address, you’ll also get the opportunity to set an account password.

And, finally, once signup is complete, you’ll be able to create your first site!

Signup Site

WordPress.com Site Creation

The new site-creation flow walks you through the steps involved, providing more options and flexibility.

First, we’ll ask you to choose the type of site you want — either a blog, website, or portfolio. This choice dictates the mobile-friendly starter themes we’ll show you in the following step. Once you select a theme, we’ll ask you for your site’s title and tagline. Based on the site title you enter, we’ll offer a list of available domain name suggestions you can choose from. Once you select a domain, we’ll create the site and show you a preview of it. At that time, you can either configure site settings or jump right into writing your first post.

Get the WordPress.com App for your device

WordPress.com offers apps for your Android or iOS device.

Feedback?

What do you think of the new signup and site creation changes? We’d love to hear your thoughts and look forward to your feedback!

Today is Election Day in the United States. Please Vote!

A few weeks ago we announced our partnership with voter-registration initiative TurboVote Challenge. Well, today is the day! From coast to coast, voters in the United States head to the polls for the 2018 midterm election.

Hopefully, by now you’ve made a plan to get to the polls. If you have any questions about your polling location (or if you need help getting there), we have some important resources for  you below.

If you’ve voted, like this post, share it with your friends, and leave us a comment below. Better yet: blog about it! Remember to tag it with “#2018Midterms” and “#MidtermElections2018” so that others might find it in the WordPress.com Reader and join the conversation.

Election Day Resources

 

A Better Way to Find Your Next Domain Name

One of the very first steps in building a website is picking a domain name — one that’s memorable, and that tells people who you are. It’s the first part of your site that people encounter, so you want one that’s just right.

To make sure you find that just right domain, we’ve renovated WordPress.com’s domain search with:

  • A modern design that makes it easy to see and compare all your options.
  • Intelligent recommendations, drawn from more than 300+ top-level domains like .com and .blog.
  • Important information about availability and value for all your recommended domains, front and center.

Take a look:

Best of all, this search tool works for both new and existing WordPress.com websites. To explore new domains for your current site, head to My Sites → Domains.

If you notice any anything amiss while looking for your perfect domain, let us know by leaving a comment here. And if you just had a great experience and landed a new domain, we’d love to hear that, too!

Publish and Update WordPress Posts Directly From Ulysses

If you use Ulysses for Mac, iPad, and iPhone, you already know that this Apple Design Award-winning writing app offers a focused, pleasant writing experience. You might also know that Ulysses publishes to WordPress with just a few clicks or taps. If so, you’ll be happy to hear that the newest version improves the already-smooth integration between WordPress and Ulysses.

For anyone who might be unfamiliar with the writing tool, Ulysses provides a distraction-free Markdown editor that is customizable to fit your style. Its powerful features help you organize your writing projects and be more productive. When you are satisfied with the content you’ve written, Ulysses can export the text into several formats. Most importantly, it is easy to publish your creation directly to your WordPress.com or self-hosted WordPress site.

Let’s take a closer look at how publishing from Ulysses to WordPress works. First, you will need to connect Ulysses to your WordPress account. If you are a WordPress.com user, you will simply input your user name and password. WordPress self-host users will also supply the URL of the WordPress site. Once the connection is made, Ulysses will also sync with your other devices. You’ll now be able to turn any text you write in Ulysses into WordPress blog posts via the app’s export feature. 

Ulysses is unique because it automatically transfers not only images and text but also other settings and characteristics. Some of its smart features include: 

  • Your text’s first heading will become your post’s title.
  • Keywords you attached in Ulysses will become tags or categories if they match your blog’s tags or categories.
  • If there’s an image attached to your text, it will become your post’s featured image.
  • If there’s a note attached to your text, it will become your post’s excerpt.

You can, of course, edit any of these smart settings during publishing. Furthermore, you can set your post’s slug and choose to publish instantly, schedule for later, or upload as a draft. This video walks you through the process.

And now for the big news — with the latest Ulysses version, you can also update previously published posts directly within the app, which adds even more convenience to your publishing workflow. Consider this common scenario: 

Sometimes when blogging, a typo or other issue escapes our notice, and we only spot it when looking at the published post or the post’s preview. Until now, Ulysses users needed to switch to WordPress to edit or publish the post a second time. With the latest version, that process is unnecessary. Editing text in Ulysses now enables you to update the corresponding WordPress blog post right within the app. During the publishing workflow, Ulysses will highlight the changes you’re about to make.

Ulysses’ newest version improves its time-saving integration with WordPress, making publishing and revising WordPress posts even more convenient than before.

Here’s a fun bonus! To celebrate this latest integration update, Ulysses is giving away five (5) free one-year licenses! To win, simply comment below, letting us know that you’d love to try the Ulysses app. Remember: this is an Apple product, so it only works with Mac, iPad, and iPhone. The first 5 people who ask for it in the comments will win. We’ll send the name and email address you supply when you comment to Ulysses and they’ll contact you with the details on how to claim your one-year license.

Upload Once, Blog Anywhere: Photos from Google

Google Photos is one of the most popular ways of storing and sharing photos online. WordPress.com is one of the most popular ways to blog. Wouldn’t it be great if they played well together — if you could use photos you’ve uploaded to Google on your site?

We thought so, too: starting today, you can browse, search, and copy photos from your Google account right from your blog posts and pages. Introducing: photos from Google!

To get started, open up your Media Library on WordPress.com and select the media source dropdown. Then choose the Photos from Your Google library option:

The first time you do this you’ll need to connect to your Google account by pressing the connect button.

Once you’re connected your WordPress.com Media Library will display your recent Google photos. Select the image you want to use, click the Insert button, and poof! The image will be copied to your Media Library and inserted into your post.

It doesn’t end there: since Google analyzes and automatically categorizes your photos, you can use their sorting to browse and search your photos whether or not you’ve added any tags or descriptions. (Thanks, Google!)

Have photos of cats you want to post? Search for “cats,” and Google picks out your cat photos. Want to create a gallery with photos of your trip to Japan? Search for “Kyoto” and you’re all set.

If you have a WordPress.com plan that offers video support, you can display videos from your Google account, too. And fear not, self-hosted WordPress users: you also can use this feature through the Jetpack plugin.

We’re working on integrating this deeper into your WordPress.com experience, and we hope to integrate more services with WordPress.com in the future. You can find more help at our Photos from Google support page, or by contacting us.


Filed under: Admin Bar, Photos, Posting

Introducing new Stats widgets for iPhone

You may already know that WordPress mobile apps are the easiest way to manage your WordPress site any time, anywhere.  Helpful features in the apps include our Stats widgets, which make it simple to keep an eye on your site’s activity without even opening the app. We recently rebuilt our widgets for iOS 14, and we’re happy to announce that they’re available now in WordPress 16.9.

Now, your WordPress Stats can live right on your iPhone or iPad’s home screen, always visible and up to date when you unlock your device. With one tap, the widgets will open WordPress straight to the Stats page for your site. They are available in a variety of sizes, from small ones that give you a bite-sized piece of information at a glance, to large ones that give you a comprehensive look at your site activity. 

Three types of widgets are available: Today, This Week, and All Time.

The Today widget focuses on the most up to date information: how many views, visitors, likes, and comments has your site received today? This Week lets you compare your daily stats from the past week to see the rise and fall of your site’s activity. All Time shows the total number of views, visitors, and posts on your site as well as the views from your best day ever. 

If you have multiple WordPress sites, you can edit a widget after placing it on your home screen to choose which site’s stats you want it to display. You can even mix and match multiple widgets to create a dashboard that shows you how all your sites are doing at once.

Widgets adapt to Dark Mode when it is enabled on your device.

The new widgets are available for WordPress.com sites as well as WordPress sites using Jetpack. Once you’ve updated to the latest version of WordPress on your device, you can use these instructions to add a widget to your home screen. Your device must be running iOS 14.0 or higher to use the new widgets. If you use an Android phone, widgets are available there, too.

We hope our new widgets make it even easier to keep up with your site’s activity. We’re always thinking about how we can make the apps more useful for you. What other kinds of widgets would you like to see in WordPress? Let us know in the comments!

A New Media Picker for the iOS WordPress App

Sometimes it’s the extra touches that make all the difference; on your website, that’s the photos and video that give your content life.

You asked for streamlined access to your media library and the camera and photos on your device, to make uploading and inserting photos and videos easier. We hear you loud and clear! A freshly-updated media picker is now available in version 8.5 of the WordPress app for iOS.

What’s New

The new media picker was designed to allow quicker access to your media right from the new Aztec editor. Now you can insert videos and photos without leaving the editor. Click the plus sign — just like in the desktop editor:

 

The picker’s toolbar has buttons that provide full screen access to media already on your device, the camera, and your site’s media library.

ios_media_picker_toolbar

Whether you need to insert a photo you’ve already uploaded, capture a new video with your camera, or peruse all the special moments already on your device to find the perfect pic, you’re covered.

Open Source and Proud of It

Giving back to the software development community is part of Automattic’s DNA. That’s why our Android and iOS apps are 100% open source and will remain that way. In fact, the new media picker is a stand-alone iOS library that can be used in your own projects. We encourage you to try it out!

Thank You!

The Mobile team truly appreciates all of our wonderful users. Our goal is to build tools to help you make your site the best it can be. We look forward to your feedback and hope you enjoy the new media picker as much as we do.


Filed under: Mobile, Photos, Video
New iOS Media Picker Demo

Introducing the 2019 ‘Anything Is Possible’ List

A coffee co-op owned by its farmers, a sewing community empowering people of all body shapes and sizes, and a 12-year-old journalist are among those named in WordPress.com’s first-ever “Anything Is Possible” List for 2019, celebrating 14 extraordinary people and organizations who are using the web to make the world a better place.

This year’s inaugural list includes nonprofits, artists who are using their work to raise awareness, and bloggers who created community when they saw a critical gap.

Here are 14 inspiring sites for 2019, where Anything Is Possible:

NappStar

Congolese-American sisters Melissa and Annette Roche started NappStar, an innovative hair salon specializing in loc hairstyles, after growing up watching their mother work on people’s hair in their community in Maryland. They now operate a thriving business in New York City.

It Gets Better Project

The It Gets Better Project was launched in 2010 to help LGBTQ+ youth feel supported and connected in the face of bullying and intolerance; over the years, the organization has collected a massive archive of over 60,000 stories all sharing the same theme of empowerment.

Orange Street News

Hilde Lysiak started Orange Street News, her small town’s only newspaper, at the age of 9. She’s been serving her community nonstop since then, reporting on everything from snow days to the local drug crisis.

The Sewcialists

The Sewcialists is an online global community that brings together sewing and knitting fans committed to celebrating their craft, making it accessible to people of all body shapes and sizes, and focusing on sustainability and empowerment.

Beer&Body Craft Beer Girls

In an often male-dominated industry and cultural niche, Kate Christensen decided women who enjoy craft beer need to have a safe community space in which to connect, educate one another, and discuss responsible consumption, health, and wellness.

Stephanie Land

A blog-to-book success story — Stephanie was a single mother facing homelessness when she started blogging about her experiences living with poverty and working as a house cleaner. After going viral a couple of years ago, she now has a new memoir, MAID, coming out in January.

The Spelling Champ

High-school senior Cole Shafer-Ray finished third at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2015; after coming so close to winning, he decided to channel his talent and energy into empowering others to excel at competitive spelling bees, starting a successful consulting business.

Pachamama Coffee

Based in Sacramento, Pachamama Coffee has a powerful story of social entrepreneurship: it’s a grower-owned cooperative through which coffee farmers from Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru sell their fair-trade beans across farmers’ markets, co-ops, and retailers around the U.S.

Ideas Beyond Borders

A nonprofit aiming to correct misinformation and fight against extremist narratives, Ideas Beyond Borders was founded by Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, who arrived in the U.S. as an Iraqi refugee in 2013. The organization focuses on educating and bridge-building via translation, bringing English texts on human rights and adjacent topics to Arabic-speaking communities in the Middle East.

Rebrand Cities

Founder Hajj Flemings identified a major obstacle for small businesses in American communities, including many owned by people of color: they are still on the analog side of the digital divide. Rebrand Cities works to bridge that gap by bringing small businesses online and opening up new opportunities for small business owners across the country.

Kelsey Montague

Kelsey Montague

Street artist Kelsey Montague explores the interaction between public art and the human experience, having created street murals in cities including Cape Town, Galway, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Manchester, and New York City. She will be painting a new mural in collaboration with WordPress.com in January, to be featured in Los Angeles.

Maeband

Maeband founder Holly Kjar and kids.Maeband founder Holly Kjar and two of her kids.

While pregnant with her fourth child, Holly Kjar was frustrated by the lack of affordable maternity wear. So she teamed up with her mother to create a brand new belly band, and launched a new online business on WordPress.com that allows women to keep wearing their favorite clothes during pregnancy and empowers them to stay active while saving money.

Faces of Auschwitz

Faces of Auschwitz founder Marina AmaralFaces of Auschwitz project lead Marina Amaral

Faced with growing ignorance about the Holocaust among younger people, master photo colorist Marina Amaral decided to bring victims’ stories and humanity to life by colorizing photos from the Auschwitz Museum archives. They can now be explored on the website of the organization she leads, Faces of Auschwitz.

Corvid Research

Seattle-based wildlife scientist Kaeli Swift launched a WordPress.com blog as a grad student to share the knowledge she’s collected through her research on urban crows. Her site has become a thriving online community for others who share her passion for these fascinating birds — and an entry point into the study of nature for people all over the world.

To read all of the Anything Is Possible stories, go to wordpress.com/do-anything.


Celebrating Pride Month with WordPress.com

Happy Pride Month! My favorite parts about celebrating this month are the stories shared from LGBTQ+ folks, their loved ones, and organizations looking to show support. 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.

For me, democratizing publishing means more than just my ability to publish my own story. It’s about being able to share, but also being able to receive. As I celebrate Pride Month as a young, queer person, I think back to early online communities on which I found other LGBTQ+ people and how much I resonated with their stories. I feel lucky to be able to share my own story, but there are many LGBTQ+ folks who can’t.

To this end, we wanted to provide resources, inspire, and highlight organizations to support as you celebrate Pride Month in your own way, whether that’s seeking out stories or writing your own.

Resources

The LGBTQ+ community is vast — I’m part of it, but I’m still learning new things daily. Whether you identify as LGBTQ+ or not, make sure you properly represent the community at large when you share your story with the help of these resources:  

We know how important it is to find an image that perfectly fits your writing and, since stock-image libraries have historically struggled to represent all experiences, we wanted to share some free image options to ease your search this month:

Have any resources to recommend? Please share them in the comments below! Part of our company creed is to never stop learning, and I’d love to learn what resources you all have found useful.

Tip: Use the #celebratingpride tag to connect with other folks sharing their stories. Here’s more information about using tags.

Inspiration from WordPress.com Bloggers

If you want to write but are feeling stuck trying to find the words, take some inspiration this month from these writers with strong voices and varied perspectives:

Tip: Make sure to follow these sites so you don’t miss any future posts.

Organizations to Support from Around the World

In partnership with Out in Tech, volunteers, including some of my awesome colleagues, have worked together over the last few years to create websites for LGBTQ+ organizations around the world. As you look to find organizations to support, remember to think globally, especially considering there are still 73 nations with laws against being LGBTQ+. We hope this list gives you a great place to start:

Happy WordPress-ing. Happy Pride.

For those of you sharing your own stories of being LGBTQ+ in this world, thank you for your bravery and vulnerability.

For those of you who can’t share your story, please know that it gets better and that you aren’t alone this month.

For those of you seeking out other people’s stories, thank you for being supportive, being open, and seeking to expand your perspective.