February 2024

WordPress Themes

How We Built a New Home for WordPress.com Developers Using the Twenty Twenty-Four Theme

In the last few weeks, our team here at WordPress.com has rebuilt developer.wordpress.com from the ground up. If you build or design websites for other people, in any capacity, bookmark this site. It’s your new home for docs, resources, the latest news about developer features, and more. 

Rather than creating a unique, custom theme, we went all-in on using Twenty Twenty-Four, which is the default theme for all WordPress sites. 

That’s right, with a combination of built-in Site Editor functionalities and traditional PHP templates, we were able to create a site from scratch to house all of our developer resources. 

Below, I outline exactly how our team did it.

A Twenty Twenty-Four Child Theme

The developer.wordpress.com site has existed for years, but we realized that it needed an overhaul in order to modernize the look and feel of the site with our current branding, as well as accommodate our new developer documentation

You’ll probably agree that the site needed a refresh; here’s what developer.wordpress.com looked like two weeks ago:

Once we decided to redesign and rebuild the site, we had two options: 1) build it entirely from scratch or 2) use an existing theme. 

We knew we wanted to use Full Site Editing (FSE) because it would allow us to easily use existing patterns and give our content team the best writing and editing experience without them having to commit code.

We considered starting from scratch and using the official “Create Block Theme” plugin. Building a new theme from scratch is a great option if you need something tailored to your specific needs, but Twenty Twenty-Four was already close to what we wanted, and it would give us a headstart because we can inherit most styles, templates, and code from the parent theme.

We quickly decided on a hybrid theme approach: we would use FSE as much as possible but still fall back to CSS and classic PHP templates where needed (like for our Docs custom post type).

With this in mind, we created a minimal child theme based on Twenty Twenty-Four.

Spin up a scaffold with @wordpress/create-block

We initialized our new theme by running npx @wordpress/create-block@latest wpcom-developer. 

This gave us a folder with example code, build scripts, and a plugin that would load a custom block.

If you only need a custom block (not a theme), you’re all set.

But we’re building a theme here! Let’s work on that next.

Modify the setup into a child theme

First, we deleted wpcom-developer.php, the file responsible for loading our block via a plugin. We also added a functions.php file and a style.css file with the expected syntax required to identify this as a child theme. 

Despite being a CSS file, we’re not adding any styles to the style.css file. Instead, you can think of it like a documentation file where Template: twentytwentyfour specifies that the new theme we’re creating is a child theme of Twenty Twenty-Four.

/*
Theme Name: wpcom-developer
Theme URI: https://developer.wordpress.com
Description: Twenty Twenty-Four Child theme for Developer.WordPress.com
Author: Automattic
Author URI: https://automattic.com
Template: twentytwentyfour
Version: 1.0.0
*/

We removed all of the demo files in the “src” folder and added two folders inside: one for CSS and one for JS, each containing an empty file that will be the entry point for building our code.

The theme folder structure now looked like this:

The build scripts in @wordpress/create-block can build SCSS/CSS and TS/JS out of the box. It uses Webpack behind the scenes and provides a standard configuration. We can extend the default configuration further with custom entry points and plugins by adding our own webpack.config.js file. 

By doing this, we can:

Build specific output files for certain sections of the site. In our case, we have both PHP templates and FSE templates from both custom code and our parent Twenty Twenty-Four theme. The FSE templates need minimal (if any) custom styling (thanks to theme.json), but our developer documentation area of the site uses a custom post type and page templates that require CSS.

Remove empty JS files after building the *.asset.php files. Without this, an empty JS file will be generated for each CSS file.

Since the build process in WordPress Scripts relies on Webpack, we have complete control over how we want to modify or extend the build process. 

Next, we installed the required packages:

​​npm install path webpack-remove-empty-scripts –save-dev

Our webpack.config.js ended up looking similar to the code below. Notice that we’re simply extending the defaultConfig with a few extra properties.

Any additional entry points, in our case src/docs, can be added as a separate entry in the entry object.

// WordPress webpack config.
const defaultConfig = require( ‘@wordpress/scripts/config/webpack.config’ );

// Plugins.
const RemoveEmptyScriptsPlugin = require( ‘webpack-remove-empty-scripts’ );

// Utilities.
const path = require( ‘path’ );

// Add any new entry points by extending the webpack config.
module.exports = {
…defaultConfig,
…{
entry: {
‘css/global’: path.resolve( process.cwd(), ‘src/css’, ‘global.scss’ ),
‘js/index’: path.resolve( process.cwd(), ‘src/js’, ‘index.js’ ),
},
plugins: [
// Include WP’s plugin config.
…defaultConfig.plugins,
// Removes the empty `.js` files generated by webpack but
// sets it after WP has generated its `*.asset.php` file.
new RemoveEmptyScriptsPlugin( {
stage: RemoveEmptyScriptsPlugin.STAGE_AFTER_PROCESS_PLUGINS
} )
]
}
};

In functions.php, we enqueue our built assets and files depending on specific conditions. For example, we built separate CSS files for the docs area of the site, and we only enqueued those CSS files for our docs. 

<?php

function wpcom_developer_enqueue_styles() : void {
wp_enqueue_style( ‘wpcom-developer-style’,
get_stylesheet_directory_uri() . ‘/build/css/global.css’
);
}

add_action( ‘wp_enqueue_scripts’, ‘wpcom_developer_enqueue_styles’ );

We didn’t need to register the style files from Twenty Twenty-Four, as WordPress handles these inline.

We did need to enqueue the styles for our classic, non-FSE templates (in the case of our developer docs) or any additional styles we wanted to add on top of the FSE styles.

To build the production JS and CSS locally, we run npm run build. 

For local development, you can run npm run start in one terminal window and npx wp-env start (using the wp-env package) in another to start a local WordPress development server running your theme.

While building this site, our team of designers, developers, and content writers used a WordPress.com staging site so that changes did not affect the existing developer.wordpress.com site until we were ready to launch this new theme.

theme.json

Twenty Twenty-Four has a comprehensive theme.json file that defines its styles. By default, our hybrid theme inherits all of the style definitions from the parent (Twenty Twenty-Four) theme.json file. 

We selectively overwrote the parts we wanted to change (the color palette, fonts, and other brand elements), leaving the rest to be loaded from the parent theme. 

WordPress handles this merging, as well as any changes you make in the editor. 

Many of the default styles worked well for us, and we ended up with a compact theme.json file that defines colors, fonts, and gradients. Having a copy of the parent theme’s theme.json file makes it easier to see how colors are referenced.

You can change theme.json in your favorite code editor, or you can change it directly in the WordPress editor and then download the theme files from Gutenberg.

Why might you want to export your editor changes? Styles can then be transferred back to code to ensure they match and make it easier to distribute your theme or move it from a local development site to a live site. This ensures the FSE page templates are kept in code with version control. 

When we launched this new theme on production, the template files loaded from our theme directory; we didn’t need to import database records containing the template syntax or global styles.

Global styles in SCSS/CSS

Global styles are added as CSS variables, and they can be referenced in CSS. Changing the value in theme.json will also ensure that the other colors are updated.

For example, here’s how we reference our “contrast” color as a border color:

border-color: var(–wp–preset–color–contrast);

What about header.php and footer.php?

Some plugins require these files in a theme, e.g. by calling get_header(), which does not automatically load the FSE header template. 

We did not want to recreate our header and footer to cover those cases; having just one source of truth is a lot better.

By using do_blocks(), we were able to render our needed header block. Here’s an example from a header template file:

<head>
<?php
wp_head();
$fse_header_block = do_blocks( ‘<!– wp:template-part {“slug”:”header”,”theme”:”a8c/wpcom-developer”,”tagName”:”header”,”area”:”header”, “className”:”header-legacy”} /–>’ );
?>
</head>
<body <?php body_class(); ?>>
<?php
echo $fse_header_block;

The new developer.wordpress.com site is now live!

Check out our new-and-improved developer.wordpress.com site today, and leave a comment below telling us what you think. We’d love your feedback. 

Using custom code and staging sites are just two of the many developer features available to WordPress.com sites that we used to build our new and improved developer.wordpress.com.

If you’re a developer and interested in getting early access to other development-related features, click here to enable our “I am a developer” setting on your WordPress.com account.

WordPress News

My Condolences, You’re Now Running a Billion-Dollar Business

Halfway through a relaxing winter break with my family, I opened Slack for a quick dopamine hit. The message I saw waiting from Matt, Automattic’s CEO, was quite the surprise:

“Would you be interested in running WordPress.com while I’m on sabbatical?”

In honesty, my initial reaction was “No, not really.” It seemed like a lot of work, stressful, etc. But, I named my last team YOLO for a reason: the answer is always “Yes,” because you only live once.

Many teams at Automattic use the “red / yellow / green check-in” as a communication tool. At nearly the one-month mark of running WordPress.com, I can safely say I’ve experienced the entire rainbow of emotional states. Today, I’d like to share a few of my learnings with the hope that they help you during your leadership journey.

Also, one pro tip: don’t open Slack on vacation.

Problem #1: I’m receiving 50x more pings

My former team is largely based in Europe, so their day started much earlier than mine. When I signed on for the morning, I’d usually have a few things to respond to before I dived into work.

These days, I drink from the firehose. I wake up to dozens of P2 mentions, Slack DMs, and other communication threads. I clear them out, and then they just pile up again.

Solution: Delegate, delegate, delegate

Ideally, I’d like to run the business while skiing fresh powder. In order to do so, I need a great team whom I can trust to get the job done.

For our recent efforts, the WordPress.com leadership team traveled a collective 160 hours to meet in NYC. While there, we focused on identifying goals that answered the question: “If we did this in the next 90 days, would it be transformative to the business?” Everyone went home with a specific set of goals they own. Knowing what we’re trying to do and who is responsible for what are two key elements of delegation.

Additionally, I also encourage the team on a daily basis to:

Actively work together before they come to me. On a soccer field, the team would get nowhere if they had to ask the coach before every pass.

Come to me with “I intend to,” not “What should I do?” Actively acting on their own and reporting progress represents the highest level of initiative.

Ultimately, I should be the critical point of failure on very few things. When something comes up, there should be an obvious place for it within the organization.

Problem: Something is always on fire

I am a very “Inbox Zero” type of person. Running WordPress.com breaks my brain in some ways because there’s always something broken. Whether it’s bugs in our code, overloaded customer support, or a marketing email misfire, entropy is a very real thing in a business this large.

Even more astounding is the game of “whac-a-mole”: when making a tiny change to X, it can be difficult to detect a change in Y or take Y down entirely. There’s always something!

Solution: Focus on the next most important thing

When dealing with the constant fires and the constant firehose, I’ve found a great deal of comfort in asking myself: “What’s the most important thing for me to work on next?”

Leadership is about results, not the hours you put in. More often than not, achieving these results comes from finding points of leverage that create outsized returns.

At the end of the day, the most I can do is put my best effort forth.

Problem: We’re moving too slowly

By default, nothing will ever get done in a large organization. There are always reasons something shouldn’t be done, additional feedback that needs to be gathered, or uncertainties someone doesn’t feel comfortable with.

If you’ve gotten to the point where you’re a large organization—congratulations! You must’ve done something well along the way. But, remember: stasis equals death. Going too slowly can be even more risky than making the wrong decision.

Solution #3: “70% confident”

I think “70% confident” has been kicking around for a while, but Jeff Bezos articulated it well in his 2016 letter to shareholders (emphasis mine):

Most decisions should probably be made with somewhere around 70% of the information you wish you had. If you wait for 90%, in most cases, you’re probably being slow. Plus, either way, you need to be good at quickly recognizing and correcting bad decisions. If you’re good at course correcting, being wrong may be less costly than you think, whereas being slow is going to be expensive for sure.

In leadership, I find “70% confident” to be a particularly effective communication tool. It explicitly calls out risk appetite, encourages a level of uncertainty, and identifies a sweet spot between not enough planning and analysis paralysis. Progress only happens with a certain degree of risk.

I’m excited to start sharing what we’ve been working on. Stay tuned for new developer tools, powerful updates to WordPress.com, and tips for making the perfect pizza dough. If you’d like some additional reading material, here is a list of my favorite leadership books.

Original illustrations by David Neal.

WordPress News

More Control Over the Content You Share

There are currently very few options for individual users to control how their content is used for AI training, and we want to change that. That’s why we’re launching a new tool that lets you opt out of sharing content from your public blogs with third parties, including AI platforms that use such content for training models. 

The reality is that AI companies are acquiring content across the internet for a variety of purposes and in all sorts of ways. We will engage with AI companies that we can have productive relationships with, and are working to give you an easy way to control access to your content.

We’re also getting ahead of proposed regulations around the world. The European Union’s AI Act, for example, would give individuals more control over whether and how their content is utilized by the emerging technology. We support this right regardless of geographic location, so we’re releasing an opt-out toggle and working with partners to ensure you have as much control as possible regarding what content is used. 

Here’s how to opt out of sharing: 

The new toggle can be found in Settings → General → privacy section. Or, you can click here: https://wordpress.com/settings/general.

To opt out, visit the privacy settings for each of your sites and toggle on the “Prevent third-party data sharing” option. 

Please note: If you’ve already chosen in your settings to discourage search engines from crawling your site, we’ve automatically applied that privacy preference to third-party data sharing.

Here’s a Support Center doc with more information.

We already discourage AI crawlers from gathering content from WordPress.com and will continue to do so, save for those with which we partner. We want to represent all of you on WordPress.com and make sure that there are protections in place for how your content is used. As part of that, we have added a setting to opt out of sharing your public site content with third parties. We are committed to making sure our partners respect those decisions.

WordPress News

Welcome to the Gutenberg Editor

Of Mountains & Printing Presses

The goal of this new editor is to make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable. This whole post is composed of pieces of content—somewhat similar to LEGO bricks—that you can move around and interact with. Move your cursor around and you’ll notice the different blocks light up with outlines and arrows. Press the arrows to reposition blocks quickly, without fearing about losing things in the process of copying and pasting.

What you are reading now is a text block the most basic block of all. The text block has its own controls to be moved freely around the post…

… like this one, which is right aligned.

Headings are separate blocks as well, which helps with the outline and organization of your content.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Handling images and media with the utmost care is a primary focus of the new editor. Hopefully, you’ll find aspects of adding captions or going full-width with your pictures much easier and robust than before.

Beautiful landscape
If your theme supports it, you’ll see the “wide” button on the image toolbar. Give it a try.

Try selecting and removing or editing the caption, now you don’t have to be careful about selecting the image or other text by mistake and ruining the presentation.

The Inserter Tool

Imagine everything that WordPress can do is available to you quickly and in the same place on the interface. No need to figure out HTML tags, classes, or remember complicated shortcode syntax. That’s the spirit behind the inserter—the (+) button you’ll see around the editor—which allows you to browse all available content blocks and add them into your post. Plugins and themes are able to register their own, opening up all sort of possibilities for rich editing and publishing.

Go give it a try, you may discover things WordPress can already add into your posts that you didn’t know about. Here’s a short list of what you can currently find there:

  • Text & Headings
  • Images & Videos
  • Galleries
  • Embeds, like YouTube, Tweets, or other WordPress posts.
  • Layout blocks, like Buttons, Hero Images, Separators, etc.
  • And Lists like this one of course 🙂

Visual Editing

A huge benefit of blocks is that you can edit them in place and manipulate your content directly. Instead of having fields for editing things like the source of a quote, or the text of a button, you can directly change the content. Try editing the following quote:

The editor will endeavor to create a new page and post building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery.

Matt Mullenweg, 2017

The information corresponding to the source of the quote is a separate text field, similar to captions under images, so the structure of the quote is protected even if you select, modify, or remove the source. It’s always easy to add it back.

Blocks can be anything you need. For instance, you may want to add a subdued quote as part of the composition of your text, or you may prefer to display a giant stylized one. All of these options are available in the inserter.

You can change the amount of columns in your galleries by dragging a slider in the block inspector in the sidebar.

Media Rich

If you combine the new wide and full-wide alignments with galleries, you can create a very media rich layout, very quickly:

Accessibility is important — don’t forget image alt attribute

Sure, the full-wide image can be pretty big. But sometimes the image is worth it.

The above is a gallery with just two images. It’s an easier way to create visually appealing layouts, without having to deal with floats. You can also easily convert the gallery back to individual images again, by using the block switcher.

Any block can opt into these alignments. The embed block has them also, and is responsive out of the box:

You can build any block you like, static or dynamic, decorative or plain. Here’s a pullquote block:

Code is Poetry

The WordPress community

If you want to learn more about how to build additional blocks, or if you are interested in helping with the project, head over to the GitHub repository.


Thanks for testing Gutenberg!

?

WordPress Themes

Hot Off the Press: New WordPress.com Themes for February 2024

The WordPress.com team is always working on new design ideas to bring your website to life. Check out the latest themes in our library, including great options for gamers, writers, and anyone else who creates on the web.

Spiel

This magazine-style theme was built with gaming bloggers in mind, but is versatile enough to work exceptionally well for nearly any type of budding media empire. Using a classic blogging layout, we’ve combined modern WordPress technology—Blocks, Global Styles, etc.—with a nostalgic aesthetic that hearkens to the earlier days of the internet.

Click here to view a demo of this theme.

Allez

Whether you’re a casual observer or a diehard rain-or-shine follower, fandom means a lot of things to a lot of people. Allez is a perfect theme to chronicle that part of who you are. Built with sports-focused content in mind, the layout, styling, and patterns used all speak to that niche. That said, WordPress is versatile enough that if you like the overall feel of Allez, it can easily be customized to your particular endeavor.

Click here to view a demo of this theme.

Strand

Strand is a simple newsletter and blogging theme with a split layout, similar to Poesis. We placed the newsletter subscription form in the sticky left column, so that it’s always visible and accessible. It’s a simple design, but one we really like for the minimalist writer who puts more emphasis on words than visual panache.

Click here to view a demo of this theme.

Bedrock

Inspired by the iconic worlds of Minecraft and Minetest (an open-source game engine), this blogging theme was designed to replicate the immersive experience of these games. While encapsulating the essence of virtual realms, we also wanted to ensure that the theme resonated with the Minecraft aesthetic regardless of the content it hosts.

At the heart of Bedrock is a nostalgic nod to the classic blog layout, infused with a distinctive “mosaic” texture. The sidebar sits confidently on every page and houses a few old-school elements like a tag cloud, a blogroll, and recent posts, all rendered with a touch of the game’s charm. If this theme speaks to you, give it a shot today.

Click here to view a demo of this theme.

Nook

Nook is another blogging theme that offers a delightful canvas for your DIY projects, delicious recipes, and creative inspirations. It’s also easily extensible to add paid products or courses. Our aim here was to create an elegant and timeless look with a sense of warmth and familiarity. The typography and color palette feature high-contrast elements that evoke coziness and comfort.

Click here to view a demo of this theme.

To install any of the above themes, click the name of the theme you like, which brings you right to the installation page. Then click the “Activate this design” button. You can also click “Open live demo,” which brings up a clickable, scrollable version of the theme for you to preview.

Premium themes are available to use at no extra charge for customers on the Explorer plan or above. Partner themes are third-party products that can be purchased for $79/year each.

You can explore all of our themes by navigating to the “Themes” page, which is found under “Appearance” in the left-side menu of your WordPress.com dashboard. Or you can click below:

WordPress News

Small Changes, Big Impact: A Look at What’s New In the WordPress Editor 

The WordPress project team is continuously improving the Site Editor—your one-stop shop for editing and designing your site.

The latest batch of updates—Gutenberg 17.4 and 17.5—include a handful of small but powerful changes designed to improve both your WordPress experience and that of your site’s visitors. 

Let’s take a look at what’s new. 

More robust style revisions 

Image credit: WordPress.org

When you’re in the zone making changes to the look and feel of your site, you sometimes hit a dead end or realize that the version you had three or four font and color tweaks ago was a bit better. The updated style revisions pane gives you a robust, detailed log of the design changes you’ve made and makes turning back the clock easier with a one-click restore option to take you back to that perfect design.

Newly added pagination and more granular details make this feature even more powerful. 

You can access style revisions from the Site Editor by clicking the “Styles” icon on the top right of the page, and then clicking the “Revisions” clock icon. 

Unified preferences panel 

Image credit: WordPress.org

It’s now much easier to manage your site and post-editing preferences, which have been combined and enhanced in the latest update. In addition to familiar settings, you’ll find new appearance and accessibility options, and an “allow right click” toggle which allows you to override stubborn browser defaults. You can access your preferences by heading to the three-dot menu at the top right of the editor and clicking “Preferences” at the bottom. 

Randomized gallery images 

Video credit: WordPress.org

The Gallery Block’s always been a great way to show off a collection of photos or images. And now there’s a fun new setting to randomize the order in which those images appear every time the page or post is loaded by a new visitor. 

You can turn this setting on with a toggle found at the bottom of the block settings pane: 

Streamlined edits in List View 

Image credit: WordPress.org

Not everybody knows about the Site Editor’s List View, but it can make editing your site, posts, and pages significantly faster and easier. A new addition to the List View makes editing even more convenient: just right-click any item in the list to open up the settings menu for the selected block. 

Even small changes can make a big difference to your workflow, and your site visitor’s overall experience. 

We’d love to hear what you think about the new features when you’ve had a chance to take them for a test drive! 

WordPress Themes

Unleash Your Creativity With Our “Design Your Own Theme” Webinar

Selecting the design of your website is a critical initial step in establishing your online identity. Our “Design Your Own Theme” feature is a game-changer, offering a variety of Block Patterns to create a unique aesthetic. These Block Patterns provide tremendous flexibility, enabling you to mix and match design elements with ease, ensuring a truly custom and cohesive look across your site.

With an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, our design assembler enables quick layout and style changes. You can easily add, remove, or reposition sections of your website, bypassing the need for complex manual editing. Ultimately, it allows you to explore our diverse design concepts in a user-friendly setting.

We’re offering two sessions of this informative webinar—February 13 and February 28—where we will illustrate how to build a custom website using this innovative tool. The webinar is 100% free to attend and will include a live Q&A session to address all your questions.

More February webinars: SEO Foundations and AI-Assisted WordPress

SEO Foundations

Elevate your website’s visibility with our “SEO Foundations” webinar. Delve into essential techniques as well as how our built-in tools can transform your site’s search engine performance. Our Happiness Engineers will guide you through integrating effective SEO strategies so that readers and customers will find you with ease.

AI-Assisted WordPress

Transform your approach to content creation with our “AI-Assisted WordPress” webinar. We’ll guide you through using our innovative Jetpack AI Assistant, which has been built help you brainstorm, edit, and generally assist all your writing efforts. Join us and step into a new realm of efficient and creative content production.

WordPress Themes

Create a Stellar Resume Using Any WordPress.com Theme

If one of your 2024 goals is to take your career to the next level, it’s worth taking a hard look at your resume. In a world where bots are scanning resumes for keywords, doing something unique—like creating a website just for your resume—is perhaps risky, but can help you stand out from the pack. And even if you aren’t actively looking for a new workplace, having a resume-focused site is great for your personal brand. 

Today, we’re going to show you how to use (nearly) any WordPress.com theme to create a stellar resume website. 

An example using the Bibliophile theme.

1. Choose a theme. 

For the purposes of your resume site, think less about the structure of the theme and more about the overall aesthetics. Whether you’re going for fun and retro or more buttoned-up, think about your industry and what represents you most clearly. As you’re scrolling through our showcase, pay attention to any theme that stands out before you even really think about it—the one that makes you say, “Ooh, that one is cool.”

2. Publish your resume items as posts. 

Once you select a theme, start adding content. Turn each section of your resume into its own post: 

Career objective and personal statement 

Education 

Work experience #1 

Work experience #2 

Work experience #3 

Certifications, memberships, and additional skills 

Depending on the theme, it may make sense to publish them in a specific order that reads the best on a visual level. For example, put your career objective at the top, then your most recent work experience, etc. You can also edit publish dates to move things around in the way that fits best with the theme you choose. 

3. Add pages 

In addition to utilizing posts that list out your resume items, you should also include at least two pages: 

About 

Contact 

On the “About” page, feel free to tell your story in a slightly more casual way—while still maintaining an appropriate level of professionalism for your industry. On the “Contact” page, you can either use our built-in Contact Form block or simply provide your email address. (We don’t recommend putting your phone number directly on your site.)  

If you hit the “Preview & Customize” button on any theme page, you’ll be brought to our site preview feature, which shows your site using that theme. Try it out! This is an example with the Pixl theme.

You might also want to add additional pages, depending on your career. 

If you’re a writer or artist, including a “Portfolio” or “Work Examples” page is a good idea.

For a software engineer, a showcase of projects or code snippets you worked on may be a valuable addition. 

If you have LinkedIn recommendations or other testimonials of your work, a “Testimonials” page may be in order. 

Finally, no matter your field, pages like “Hobbies” or “Volunteering” can add some personal flavor and show prospective employers that you’re more than just an automaton.  

4. Ship it, and update as needed! 

This is an example using the fun and nostalgic Dos theme.

Once your posts and pages are published, share your site with the world! Or, as we say around here: ship it. Share your shiny new site on social media, include the URL in any doc/PDF resumes you send out (cover letters, too), and add it to your email signature. 

Whether you’re searching for a job or not, be sure to actively update your site with any new jobs, roles, achievements, etc. 

WordPress News

WordPress.com’s Year in Review

Our team here at WordPress.com, comprised of hundreds of people spread across the entire globe, accomplished a lot in 2023. On the blog, we published over 90 posts, from product upgrades, to brand new features, and even new additions to the Automattic family of products.

If you missed anything, here’s a recap of this year’s most important launches, announcements, and new features.

Table of Contents

2023 Video Recap An all-new mobile experienceLaunch your newsletter, from any planIgnite your growth with BlazeActivityPub for WordPress joins the Automattic familyHappy 20th anniversary, WordPress! Revamp your site seamlessly with staging sites A tour of the all-new Stats page Custom theme designs just got easier Managing and purchasing domains on WordPress.com has never been betterOne inbox to rule them all The all-new WordPress.com learning hub Jetpack’s AI Assistant is here to helpContinuous site editing, writing, and design improvementsAll. The. Themes.

2023 Video Recap

An all-new mobile experience

This year the Jetpack mobile app has made huge strides as the preferred mobile experience for WordPress.com customers. The team is continuously improving the app, making publishing, reading, and monitoring engagement easier than ever. If you haven’t tried it yet, now is the time!

Launch your newsletter, from any plan

Newsletters on WordPress.com have seen a huge number of improvements in 2023—from features like paid subscriptions on any plan and the introduction of a Paywall Block, to fresh resources like our Newsletters 101 course. No matter how you want to reach your audience, WordPress.com has you covered. Get started here.

Ignite your growth with Blaze

Early in the year, we launched Blaze—our self-serve advertising tool. This cool new feature allows anyone with a WordPress blog to advertise on WordPress.com and Tumblr in just a few clicks. How? By turning your site content into clean, compelling ads that run across our millions-strong network of blogs. Here are 5 tips for making the most of your ads.

ActivityPub for WordPress joins the Automattic family

This innovative plugin brings a whole new level of social networking to your website by integrating it with the wider federated social web. When installed, the plugin allows you to easily share your content and interact with users on Mastodon and other platforms that also support the ActivityPub protocol. Just as Automattic aims to do with all of our products, this plugin helps to decentralize the web, break down silos, and foster a more connected online ecosystem. Click here to learn more about getting started with ActivityPub for WordPress.

Happy 20th anniversary, WordPress!

On May 27, 2003, co-founders Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little announced that WordPress was available to the public. Their vision, as you can still read in their original post on WordPress.org, was to foster a means by which anyone could easily share and discuss their ideas with the world. What started as a humble open-source blogging platform is now the driving force behind over one-third of the internet’s most popular websites, including The New York Times, Salesforce, and Disney. 

Revamp your site seamlessly with staging sites

In May, we announced the availability of staging sites, which made it easy to experiment with changes to your site. A few months later, we added to its capabilities with a synchronization feature that allows you to push changes from your staging site to your live, or “production,” site. You can now fearlessly try out new ideas and designs before publishing them to the world.

For all the developers and professional site creators out there, we’ve also launched SSH and WP-CLI accesssite preview links, and global edge caching. Be sure to stay up to date with these technical tools at our WordPress.com Develop Blog.

A tour of the all-new Stats page

In addition to launching a new and improved mobile app, our intrepid Jetpack team also made significant changes to the Stats page. This all-new experience enhances your ability to analyze and optimize your site’s content. We’ve restructured the layout in a friendlier way, introduced new modules that reveal crucial data points, and revamped the overall look of this powerful analytics tool. Check it out for yourself.

Custom theme designs just got easier

Whether you want a simple blog that highlights recent posts, a visually stunning portfolio, or an online home for your small business, your website should be just as unique as you are. Our new site design tool guides you through the process of creating a memorable custom homepage, utilizing a library of hundreds of patterns, colors, and fonts that you can mix and match for whichever distinctive vibe you’re going for. Try it out for yourself right here.

Managing and purchasing domains on WordPress.com has never been better

Your domain is the lifeblood of your online presence. This year, we’ve been hard at work building a number of exciting features to ensure a world-class domain name experience on WordPress.com whether you have one domain or one hundred. We’ve introduced an all-new domains-focused dashboard, multi-year registrations, domain forwarding, convenient transfer, simple DNS imports, and more. Oh, by the way, if you’re coming from Google Domains, we’ll cover your transfer fees. Grab your piece of online real estate today.

One inbox to rule them all

In October, Automattic welcomed Texts.com to our growing family. This handy app brings all your chats into a single dashboard: iMessage, Slack, WhatsApp, Instagram, Telegram, Messenger, LinkedIn, Signal, Discord, and X, with more services on the way.  Beyond the unmatched convenience, Texts.com also offers end-to-end encryption, as well as some delightful features that other messaging apps can’t seem to figure out, like scheduling messages to send when your recipient is awake, or the ability to mark as unread on services that still don’t have it. Sign up today. (Psst, be sure to check back for news on the iOS app!)

The all-new WordPress.com learning hub

Our incredible design and education teams moved all of our learning resources—courses, webinars, tutorials, forums, and more—into one convenient and beautifully-designed place at WordPress.com/learn. Our mission with the learning hub is to have one spot for all your WordPress.com questions and learning opportunities. Spend some time with this resource center and come away more confident than ever.

Jetpack’s AI Assistant is here to help

Jetpack AI Assistant is seamlessly integrated as a block within the WordPress.com editor. Whether you’re checking your spelling and grammar, need ideas for better titles or headings, or simply in need of an outline for your great idea, this incredible feature can help jumpstart your creativity. Give it a shot in the editor today by using the AI Assistant Block.

Continuous site editing, writing, and design improvements

WordPress is constantly improving and making it easier than ever to write, publish, and design your site. This year, we’ve seen the addition of the Details Block, footnotes, distraction-free mode, a style book (which lets you preview design variations), customizable button styles, sticky headers, Openverse integration, the Time to Read Block, and so much more.

All. The. Themes.

Our amazing themes design team released more themes in 2023 than any previous year in our history. Whether you’re a business owner, a community leader, a hobbyist, a blogger, or anything in between, you’re guaranteed to find a theme that matches the vision you have for your website. Check out the entire theme showcase to get a peek at the incredible variety of our design offerings. And there’s plenty more to come in 2024 and beyond; if you’re looking for something specific and can’t find it, let us know in the comments.

WordPress News

The 10 Most Popular Plugins on WordPress.com

There’s an old saying that “WordPress plugins are what makes the world go round.” Okay, so maybe that’s not an actual saying, but it’s still true in our hearts. 

In this roundup, we’ve gathered the top ten most frequently installed plugins from 2023. (FYI, our WordPress.com marketplace offers 50,000+ plugins on the Creator plan and above.) Take a look and see how many you have on your site, get inspiration for plugins to try out, or simply satisfy your curiosity.

Though we’ve randomized the order, you can rest assured each one is well-loved for a reason.

Try the Creator plan to install any of the other plugins listed below and take your site to the next level.

A final note before jumping in: These plugins represent a curated selection of the most popular plugins based on installs by WordPress.com users over the course of 2023. While WordPress.com maintains partnerships with vendors, these placements are not paid, nor should they be taken to mean that other plugins aren’t also great. Without further ado, enjoy!

Table of Contents

Yoast SEOWooCommerceContact Form 7Google Site KitElementorAll in One SEO PackWPFormsWP Headers and FootersAstra ProJetpack BoostPlugins that come built-in to WordPress.com How many of these plugins have you tried?

Yoast SEO

Yoast has been helping WordPress site owners drive more traffic from search engines since 2010. While WordPress.com sites are set up for SEO success out of the box, Yoast enables more control over key SEO considerations on your site, while remaining so simple that anyone can use it. That balance between power and ease of use is just one reason why our users frequently choose this plugin. 

WooCommerce

If you ask us, there’s no better way to build an online store than with WooCommerce. It turns out a lot of our users agree. WooCommerce offers everything you need to quickly launch an online store and keep it growing for years. That’s why it’s the world’s most popular open-source eCommerce solution—and one that works great with WordPress.com hosting.

Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 is a simple but flexible form builder plugin. It makes it easy to build, customize, and manage contact forms so readers and potential customers can reach you.

Google Site Kit

Google services can enhance several aspects of running a successful WordPress website. Site Kit by Google bundles several integrations together—Google Analytics, Search Console, AdSense, and Speed—into one plugin. It’s a practical and elegant solution for site owners that want to measure and optimize performance without installing multiple plugins. 

Elementor

Elementor is a popular website builder that simplifies page creation with a drag-and-drop interface. This plugin is versatile and user-friendly, offering an array of customizable widgets and pre-designed templates. For beginners, it can be a good way to jump into website design with zero coding knowledge necessary. 

All in One SEO Pack

SEO is as important as ever for driving website traffic. It can also be mysterious (at least until you learn how it works), especially for newcomers. And hey, not everyone has the time—which is why this plugin promises to deliver improved results and new SEO opportunities in just 10 minutes.

WPForms

We have another great form builder in WPForms. Build all kinds of different forms—contact forms, payment forms, custom forms, and even surveys and polls—with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface.

WP Headers and Footers

Need to insert Google or Facebook tracking codes, customize some CSS, or add inline Javascript in your site’s headers or footers but you don’t want to touch your theme files? This is exactly where WP Headers and Footers comes in. 

Astra Pro

Astra isn’t just one of the most popular themes in the WordPress ecosystem, it’s also easily extensible with Astra Pro, which allows you to add premium features like pre-built templates (including options that work with WooCommerce). 

Jetpack Boost

Have you heard about Core Web Vitals? They’re a set of metrics that Google uses to assess “real world user experience for loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability.” In plain English, that means your website needs to load fast and offer users a great experience. Jetpack Boost does just that by analyzing and boosting you site’s speed and performance.

Plugins that come built-in to WordPress.com

Every WordPress.com website comes bundled with several pre-installed plugins that ensure customers have an excellent experience building, designing, and maintaining their online real estate. These include:

Jetpack. Protects your site with top-tier security, anti-spam, auto-backup, and more.

Akismet. Defends your site from spammers.

Gutenberg. WordPress’s built-in site editor that offers a flexible and modern editing experience.

Crowdsignal. Makes it simple to create polls and surveys.

How many of these plugins have you tried?

Hopefully, you’ve found a new plugin or two to try. Were there any entries that you found surprising? Are there any particular plugins that you discovered that you think deserve a shout out too? Sound off in the comments!

WordPress News

Enhance Your Site’s Reach with Our Exclusive “SEO Foundations” Webinar

SEO, or search engine optimization, is an essential skill in the digital world, crucial for everyone from beginners to seasoned website operators. Understanding and effectively implementing SEO strategies can dramatically improve your website’s visibility and ranking on search engines, but where do you start?

Join us for our upcoming webinar, “SEO Foundations,” to discover techniques for improving your WordPress.com site’s visibility and attracting more visitors, which will set up a solid base for your online growth.

As with every webinar we offer, there is no cost to join. We conclude all webinars with a live Q&A session, where our Happiness Engineers are ready to answer all your WordPress-related questions.

In this informative session:

Our experienced WordPress.com Happiness Engineers will guide you through the fundamental concepts of SEO and demonstrate their seamless integration with WordPress.com sites

You’ll learn how to enhance your content with strategic use of keywords, categories, tags, and other native WordPress elements.

We’ll cover the effective use of Jetpack’s SEO tools, included with WordPress.com, to further elevate your site’s performance.

Finally, this webinar offers an introduction to SEO plugins, highlighting how they can complement and build upon the foundational SEO principles discussed, directly aiding in boosting your site’s search engine visibility and traffic potential.

Also presenting: “Design Your Own Theme”

Transform your website’s design with ease in our “Design Your Own Theme” webinar. Learn how to utilize predefined Block Patterns for swift and effective customization. Our user-friendly point-and-click interface simplifies layout alterations and enables creative design possibilities. Join our Happiness Engineers to expertly navigate these tools and create distinctive site layouts. 

WordPress News

Charting a Course to Success: How Unite Experience Navigates the Marketing Landscape

In the dynamic world of online marketing, Jenn Brabbins stands out, carving her own path as a digital marketer. With twelve years of experience in the field, she founded Unite Experience, an integrated marketing consultancy business, helping to demystify new digital landscapes for small businesses and startups.

Like many entrepreneurs, Jenn is always working to stay on the cutting edge of what it means to be successful as a digital marketer. She’s always learning and no two days at work are ever the same! Unite Experience provides a wide range of services, covering website optimization, social media management, paid advertising, affiliate marketing, development of brand guidelines, project management, and more. For small business owners who find themselves navigating unfamiliar territory in the realm of digital marketing, Jenn is here to offer guidance and expertise.

“I’m hoping to demystify the jargon around digital marketing for people who aren’t too familiar with how it works.”

She loves to immerse herself in a client’s business, mission, and values to learn how she can help them succeed—by improving search engine rankings, growing a social media following, or helping set up a newsletter, just for starters! Jenn measures her success simply: she’s only happy when her clients are.

On the horizon

Looking to the future, Jenn sees Unite Experience expanding to become a large and trusted community hub with a professional referral network for digital freelancers, including copywriters, designers, developers, and project managers. She will continue delivering consistent high-caliber and customized marketing solutions for small businesses, startups, and independent entrepreneurs. Her passion lies in ensuring the satisfaction of each and every one of her clients.

WordPress.com success stories like Jenn’s inspire confidence and motivation for aspiring entrepreneurs. Are you ready for your entrepreneurial journey to begin? Use coupon code wpsuccessue for 3 months free with the purchase of an annual plan. Visit WordPress.com or click below to get started:

WordPress News

Embrace the Future With AI-Assisted Content Creation

The digital landscape is evolving, and with it, the way we create and consume content is undergoing a remarkable transformation. As we stand at the cusp of a new era, the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in content creation is not just a trend but a revolutionary step forward. 

Today, we’re excited to announce our latest resources that open the doors to this new world. 

New Course: Unlocking the Power of AI

This all-new course is an in-depth introduction to AI-assisted content creation, focused on functionality, practical application, and ethical implications of tools like ChatGPT. As with all of our courses, “Unlocking the Power of AI” is 100% free. 

Course features:

No registration required

Bite-size sections

Self-paced environment

Additional tips, resources & ideas

Engage with other students

Beginner/Intermediate flows 

Why this course matters now

In an age where content is king, staying ahead of the curve is crucial. AI-assisted content creation isn’t just about keeping up with the latest trends; it’s about setting the pace. Whether you’re a blogger, a digital marketer, or an entrepreneur, understanding how to leverage AI effectively can transform your content strategy. This course is designed to guide you through the nuances of AI tools, helping you to create content that resonates, engages, and inspires.

This course isn’t just about learning the ropes of AI. We’ll also explore the ethical implications of AI-generated content, understand the importance of authenticity, and learn to balance AI’s capabilities with your unique voice. We dig into hands-on practical strategies for using AI with various content types, from blogs to FAQs and beyond. The goal is to empower you with skills that go beyond the basics, giving you a competitive edge no matter your endeavor.

New Webinar: AI-Assisted WordPress

This engaging session complements our Unlocking the Power of AI course, showcasing the practical application of ChatGPT and the dynamic capabilities of the Jetpack AI Assistant that comes built-in to your WordPress.com site. Join us for a one-hour journey through the world of AI, where you’ll learn to craft compelling content with ease and precision.

What to expect in the webinar:

Live demonstrations: Experience the Jetpack AI Assistant in action, from creating engaging blog posts to refining content with smart editing tools. These live demos demystify AI content creation, offering easy-to-implement strategies.

Expert guidance: Learn how to generate innovative content ideas, perfect your grammar, and adjust the tone to match your brand’s voice.

Ethical considerations: Delve into the ethical implications of AI in content creation, ensuring your work remains authentic and impactful.

Q&A session: Have your queries answered in a live Q&A, where our experts will help you navigate challenges in AI-assisted content creation.

Perfect for beginners and intermediate learners, this webinar is a valuable addition to your learning journey. Elevate your content strategy and stay ahead in the digital landscape. We’re offering two sessions in January and three in February. Click below to learn more and register.

Ready to transform your content creation process?

Whether you’re looking to streamline your content creation process, enhance your creative output, or be in the know in an ever-evolving digital world, the combination of our AI-focused course and webinar is your key. The future is AI-assisted, and it’s brighter than ever.

Join us in embracing the future of content creation, where AI and human creativity merge to create something truly extraordinary.

WordPress Themes

Hot Off the Press: New WordPress.com Themes for January 2024

The WordPress.com team is always working on new design ideas to bring your website to life. Check out the latest themes in our library, including great options for small businesses, entrepreneurs in the coaching space, and a number of other beautiful and versatile designs.

Bookix

Your literary haven, on the web. This partner theme was designed with book lovers of all kinds in mind. Built-in features include curated collections, newsletter integration, robust search functionality, mobile-friendly responsiveness, and more. Whether you’re operating a physical bookstore or simply sharing your literary enthusiasm with the world, Bookix is the ideal block theme.

Click here to view a demo of this theme.

Annalee

Annalee is tailor-made for personal coaches. Its front page is both streamlined and informative, while providing options for videos, images, courses, and more. Its design—characterized by pronounced contrasts in color and typography—exudes an approachable and welcoming ambiance. For any kind of coach looking to bolster their brand and professionalize their online presence, Annalee is the ticket.

Click here to view a demo of this theme.

Kaze

Kaze is a simple, three-column theme in which the left-hand column is a “sticky” menu while the right two columns scroll. The ample white space (or, in this case, black space) combined with a small font type makes for an elegant and modern vibe. Though this theme was created with architecture firms in mind, it’s suitable for any small business where design and professionalism are paramount.

Click here to view a demo of this theme.

Messagerie

Utilizing the familiar messaging interface that we all know and love, Messagerie brings a decidedly casual and playful style to your blog. Featuring stripped down text bubbles on a spare background, you don’t to have to worry about complicated extras or high-impact visuals—let the words speak for themselves.

Click here to view a demo of this theme.

Tronar

Built from the bones of one of our classic blogging themes (Resonar), Tronar provides a sleek design for bloggers that combines a little bit of old-school internet nostalgia with modern simplicity. With a large, immersive featured image/post at the top and a feed of posts below, your content is front and center with this theme.

Click here to view a demo of this theme.

To install any of the above themes, click the name of the theme you like, which brings you right to the installation page. Then click the “Activate this design” button. You can also click “Open live demo,” which brings up a clickable, scrollable version of the theme for you to preview.

Premium themes are available to use at no extra charge for customers on the Explorer plan or above. Partner themes are third-party products that can be purchased for $79/year each.

You can explore all of our themes by navigating to the “Themes” page, which is found under “Appearance” in the left-side menu of your WordPress.com dashboard. Or you can click below:

Web Technology

Bringing You a Faster, More Secure Web: HTTP/3 Is Now Enabled for All Automattic Services

HTTP/3 is the third major version of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol used to exchange information on the web. It is built on top of a new protocol called QUIC, which is set to fix some limitations of the previous protocol versions. Without getting into technical details—though feel free to do so in the comments if you have questions—our users should see performance improvements across all metrics:

Reduced latency. Due to faster connection establishment (i.e. fewer round-trips), latency from connection setup is lower.

Multiplexing. That is, using a single connection for multiple resources. While this feature is present in HTTP/2, HTTP/3 has improved on it and fixed a problem called “head of line blocking.” This is a deficiency of the underlying protocol HTTP/2 was built on top, which requires packets to be in order before relaying them for processing.

Reliability. Designed to perform better in varying network environments, HTTP/3 uses modern algorithms to help it recover faster from lost data and busy networks.

Improved security. QUIC uses the latest cryptography protocols (TLSv1.3) to encrypt and secure data. More of the data is encrypted, which makes it harder for an attacker to tamper with or listen in on web requests.

Ultimately, HTTP/3 (on top of QUIC) has been designed to be updated in software, which allows for quicker improvements that don’t depend on underlying network infrastructure.

After about a month of preparing our infrastructure—including fixing bugs and upgrading our CDN—HTTP/3 was enabled for all of Automattic’s services on December 27th, 2023. It currently serves between ~25-35% of all traffic.

And now for some stats. For each of these, we want numbers to be lower after the switch, which ultimately means faster speeds across the board for our customers. Let’s look at three metrics in particular:

Time to First Byte (TTFB) measures the time between the request for a resource and when the first byte of a response arrives. 

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) represents how quickly the main content of a web page is loaded.

Last Resource End (LRE) measures the time between the request for a resource and when the whole response has arrived.

Results for fast connections—low latency and high bandwidth

Improvements look pretty good for fast connections:

TTFB: 7.3%

LCP: 20.9%

LRE: 24.4%

Results for slow connections—high latency or low bandwidth

For slow connections, the results are even better:

TTFB: 27.4%

LCP: 32.5%

LRE: 35%

We are dedicated to providing our customer’s websites with the best possible performance. Enabling HTTP/3 is a step in that direction. See you on the QUIC side!

Automattic’s mission is to democratize publishing. To accomplish that, we’re hiring systems engineers to join the best infrastructure team on the planet. Learn more here.

WordPress News

Data Liberation in 2024

Imagine a more open web where people can switch between any platform of their choosing. A web where being locked into a system is a thing of the past. This is the web I’ve always wanted to see. That’s why I announced a new initiative called Data Liberation for 2024. Migrating your site to WordPress, or exporting all your content from WordPress, should be possible in one click. I want WordPress’ export format to become the lingua franca of CMSes, whether coming to WordPress or moving within WordPress. 

I often hear about folks across the WordPress community duplicating efforts when creating scripts and workflows to move users to WordPress. Imagine if we shared those resources instead and built community-owned plugins that anyone could use!

But it should be more than plugins; workflows, tutorials, and helper scripts should be shared, too. I want this resource to have space to include moving from social networks, moving from a page builder to core blocks, switching from classic to blocks, and improving WordPress current canonical plugins for importing.

You can help!

Of course, the heart of any open source project is the community that shows up to build it. My hope is that this marks the start of a new contribution pathway, separate from core teams, that allows folks to contribute what they’ve learned and what they’ve created to help others move to WordPress. I expect this emphasis on migration will also influence future development, both in core and with recommended community or canonical plugins.

There are a few things that I think will be key to making this project a success:

A dedicated landing page on WordPress.org following a WordPress.org/and/[platform-name] format.

A forum used for non-review user feedback and general discussion.

A dedicated Slack channel.

Moderation within hours rather than days.

Listed on WordPress GitHub with syncing for individual commits to SVN for history in both places.

By complementing the community’s existing efforts—the Five for the Future program, the Learn WordPress initiative, a focus on internationalization, etc.—my hope is that this will help even more people see themselves in the WordPress project, providing fresh momentum for WordCamps and meetups

It’s never been more crucial to champion openness on the web. Bringing focused attention to improved portability will untether users and increase their freedom like never before.

WordPress News

WP Briefing: Episode 71: New Year, New Blog!

In the latest WordPress Briefing, Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy revisits our roots in blogging and breaks down the essentials of starting your first WordPress blog. Tune in to Episode 71 for practical tips and inspiration to kickstart your blogging journey.

Credits

Host: Josepha Haden Chomphosy
Editor: Dustin Hartzler
Logo: Javier Arce
Production: Brett McSherry
Song: Fearless First by Kevin MacLeod

Show Notes

WordPress 6.4.2 Download

Getting Started with WordPress: Get Setup

How to Make a WordPress Blog Social Learning Space Event

WordPress Plugins

WordPress Themes

Small List of Big Things

 A Year in Review With Themes Team

WordPress End-of-Year Celebrations!

Leap into 2024 with these Site Editor Tools

WordPress Developer Blog

2024 Team Reps – Watch for updates as we move into 2024. Each team in the WordPress project goes through a process to review and elect new team reps. Those elections are happening now.

Big Pictures Goals 2024

Transcripts

[00:00:00] Josepha: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the WordPress Briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project, some insight into the community that supports it, and get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Here we go. 

[00:00:28] (Intro music) 

[00:00:40] Josepha: Today, we’ve got a throwback episode about blogging. If you’re like me, you sometimes miss the early days of blogs, where the words were a little more pensive, and the images were a little less professional. If you’re on a slow hobby journey like so many of us are right now, give this one a listen.

[00:00:58] (music interlude)

[00:01:05] Josepha: You may be one of these contributors I keep mentioning. You may be an agency owner or freelancer. Maybe you’ve wondered how to make a WordPress blog for your big idea. Or maybe you’re one of the many people who use WordPress for their own project or business. 

Before WordPress was known as a content management system, as a way to get sites online fast, it was a blogging tool. We have long since outgrown that, but even 20 years into our journey, blogging is still a key part of what WordPress enables you to do. That’s because, even after those 20 years, the mission of WordPress is still the same, and that is to democratize publishing.

To help people have a place online where they can tell their stories, or share their projects, or set up their businesses. If you’ve ever tried to set up a blog, you know that there isn’t a lot of information about what to know before you get going at all. So, I’m going to talk about that a little bit today.

[00:02:06] Josepha: And just by the way, if you heard the word blog right now and thought, Oh, Jospeha, how old fashioned. I think it’s important to remember that there’s a business advantage to having well-written, relevant content on your website. And if you’re not blogging for business, because not all of us are, then the benefits are a little different but still important to my mind. Things like the cathartic benefits of journaling, a chance to build community, and the general importance of preserving wisdom for the ages.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, before we can get to any of the fancy things that WordPress can do nowadays, it’s important to know a few things as you get ready to set up your first-ever website. So let’s dive in.

Here is how you need to get yourself started. First, have an idea and a plan. So, have an idea for what you’re doing, the concept of your content, who you want to reach, but also some concept of a domain name. I would encourage you to not necessarily get your heart set on a domain name at first, cause like, if you want the domain name WordPress.org, like, we own that, you can’t have that. But if you know that you want a domain like ‘WordPressbloggingforthefuture.com’ like, that one might be more available. And if you know kind of the words you want in your domain, then you can be a bit flexible about what is there. 

[00:03:30] Josepha: The second thing that you need to do is that if you are just getting started, ask yourself the question, what sort of host do I want? We kind of mention all along the WordPress process that, like, you need a good host, but it’s not always clear where that decision has to happen. It happens right here at the start before you even know what WordPress is most of the time. So, the earliest question that you have to answer for yourself is, what sort of host do I want? Where do I want my site to live? So ask yourself how much you want to get into the maintenance and configuration of your website and the hardware that it lives on versus creating content or keeping your shop up to date. There’s this whole spectrum of hosting options, and they range from full service, where they will keep your WordPress software up to date and provide daily backups, and have customer support if something goes really wrong.

[00:04:23] Josepha: So it ranges all the way from full service like that, all the way down to essentially zero service, just kind of hands off. They give you a space to keep your WordPress software, to keep your WordPress site, but they leave everything else up to you. They leave the backups up to you; they leave updating up to you, things like that.

So that’s the first thing you have to ask yourself and the first question you have to be able to answer. Most of the time, you will want to start with one of the full-service options. That way, you know that your software is set up correctly and safely from the start. And as you learn more about the software, and what you want, and what you need, and you have the ability to learn in the time that you have, the more that you can add on either services with the existing host that you chose or moving to a different host; however, that works out for you.

[00:05:09] Josepha: So if that one sounds like the right option, then you choose a host, go to their site, and actually, most of them will have a way to walk you through how to set up a WordPress site inside their system. Most of the time, it’s just one click, and then they ask you some questions to get some configurations right.

The other option that on the like zero, zero service side, that’s not quite fair, but you know, on the other side of that spectrum, that probably will be appealing to you if you are already familiar with code or already know how to manage a server, or you know how to work in this thing called cPanel, etc. So if you already have a lot of information on how all of that works, you can, if you want to, head over to WordPress.org/download and you can download a zip file of the WordPress software and set that up in your own environment. Okay, quick check here. If this all sounds roughly doable to you, or at least it feels like we’re in the right starting point, but you find yourself thinking, gosh, I just wish she would slow down a little, I’ve got you covered.

[00:06:17] Josepha: In the show notes, you’ll find a link to one of the LearnWP courses for getting started with WordPress. There’s a section on choosing a host, as well as various other early steps of this process. If you felt like I blazed through all of that, which, honestly, I kind of did. You can work through those lessons in that course at your own pace, and it’s really a very good guide.

All right. So let’s pretend we did all of that. Now you’ve got yourself a website. The thing that you will want to do next, or rather the first thing that you’ll notice once you get your site up and running, is that there’s this ‘Hello World’ post. There’s a post that already exists in there. The Hello World post is a placeholder for the common features of a blog post.

[00:07:03] Josepha: There, you can find your featured image, your title, your content, and even some fake comments. You can either edit this post so that you can see how your writing will look from the start, and you can kind of compare, like, okay, the Hello World part over here on this page exists in this field over here on this page. So you can kind of see where everything works, how it all looks together. Or, if you’re more familiar with WordPress or CMSs in general, you can simply remove that and start fresh. We’ve got now a website. We know kind of how to look at our posts and create posts, where comments are, where they can be moderated, and stuff.

And so, the most fun task for everyone is choosing a theme. But if it doesn’t sound like a fun task to you, I can help you kind of do some choose-your-own-adventure guiding questions here. Firstly, you can ask yourself how you want the site to look. Do you want it to mostly be a lot of photos or entirely words? Mostly animations? You can head to the theme directory and search for a theme with most of the features that you want. There’s like a filtering system where you can put in, like, you want, three columns so that you can have three columns of text if you want it to look kind of like an old school newspaper kind of layout and things like that. 

[00:08:24] Josepha: There’s also a way to look for themes inside your instance, your WordPress site, but like, if you haven’t set that up yet, but you do still want to see kind of what your theme options are, you can go to WordPress.org/themes and take a look at what’s out there. Just as a quick side note, if you get to that theme directory, if you get to WordPress.org/themes, and it feels overwhelming, which I can understand, I recommend starting with a theme that is designed for blogging specifically, so that you can see how things look right away. And there’s actually a theme that does come with every WordPress site, so if you’re not ready, you can skip this thing entirely. And just work with the theme that’s already there. Every WordPress instance ships with a theme, and it is fully functional when you get your site up and running, so you don’t need to choose a theme right now if you don’t feel ready. And then the other very fun thing that people do with their WordPress sites, is to add plugins to them.

[00:09:20] Josepha: Plugins are these little pieces of software that you add on to the WordPress software that lets it do additional things. It adds additional functionality to it. The questions that you can ask to kind of guide yourself through what sorts of plugins you might want what sorts of functionality you might want to add to your site are a little similar to the ones that you want to ask for figuring out which themes.

So, figure out if there are tasks that you need visitors to do. Do you need them to contact you? Do you want them to watch a video? Should they review and respond to questions? If you have a concept of the things that you want users to do on your website, then you can head to the plugin directory and search for a plugin with features that you need.

[00:10:05] Josepha: Also, there are just endless lists of recommended plugins out there. If that is something that you find valuable as part of your research, those are also easy to find. And as a general side note here as well, there are even more plugins than there are themes. So if you have gotten to this point and feel like you don’t quite know the answers to the questions that I shared, and it’s going to be a while until you feel like you can know what those answers are. That’s totally fine. I’ll tell you this, I have never seen a site without a contact form. So feel free to begin your journey there. There are a lot of great plugins for contact forms, and it can kind of help you figure out how to work with plugins in that way. So, yeah, I made it sound like you can get a WordPress website built in like seven minutes.

And on the one hand, you definitely can. And on the other hand, it’s still a little bit more complicated. So here I have a final note for everyone. You will hear around the WordPress ecosystem and, obviously, hear some things that could make you feel a little nervous about doing this for the first time.

[00:11:10] Josepha: Things like the five-second installation, which WordPress has been famous for for years, but also about how easy and simple it all is. And as somebody who was once in the position of learning WordPress for the first time, like I first encountered a WordPress site in 2009, and I started learning how to use WordPress in 2010. 

I can say with confidence that once you learn it, it’s easy. We are the easiest of the hard options for CMSs like content management systems are just complicated. But we are the easiest one out there. And so, as you’re learning, I want to just remind you to celebrate your small wins along the way. If you feel like you’re late to this blogging game like you should have had a website for years, I mean, sure, that could be true.

[00:12:01] Josepha: And yes, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, but the second best time to plant that tree is today. WordPress didn’t start out powering over 40% of the web, and your first site can’t be immediately measured in the millions of readers. So, what will your small beginning lead you to?

[00:12:18] (Music interlude)

[00:12:25] Josepha: And now, our small list of big things. Today we’ve got some look-back items and some look-forward items. So let’s hop right in.

First thing is we have a year in review with the themes team. So much amazing work has been done by the themes team over the past year, both for reviewing themes and creating them. So I’ll leave a link to those in the show notes.

We also have a post out that just has some general celebrations from teams around the community. I’ll leave a link to that. It probably has been linked in quite a few places, but you know, we don’t always embrace those moments of celebration. We don’t always embrace our wins. And so it’s always good to share those early and often. There are probably more than just those two. So if you posted one or you saw a really interesting one that you think that we should know about, don’t forget to share it. 

[00:13:16] Josepha: Next, we have a leap into 2024 with Site Editor tools. So, on the new Developer Blog, if you haven’t seen it yet, there is a lot of excellent content there for whether you are like an advanced developer in WordPress or you’re kind of intermediate and ready to move into your advanced developer era. 

The Site Editor will give you a powerful way to visually create every part of your site and tell your story. And this post will help you to kind of see how to handle everything from big style changes to simple copy updates, all in a single place. We want to make sure that you get the most out of your WordPress this year. And that post will give you a few standout tools and features that you’ll want to try. 

You’ll also want to keep an eye out for updates as we move into 2024 around team reps. So each team in the WordPress project goes through a process to review and elect team reps, and elections are happening now.

[00:14:12] Josepha: Along with things that are happening now that you should keep an eye on, the annual goals, our big picture post has gone out as well. It went out at the end of the week last week. There’ll be a link to all of these in the show notes. And yeah, keep an eye out for, hopefully, a fantastic 2024 in WordPress. 

And that, my friends, is your small list of big things. Don’t forget to follow us on your favorite podcast app or subscribe directly on WordPress.org/news. You’ll get a friendly reminder whenever there’s a new episode. And if you like what you heard today, share it with a fellow WordPresser, or if you have questions about what you heard, you can share those with me at WPbriefing@WordPress.org. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Thanks for tuning in today for the WordPress Briefing, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks. 

[00:14:57] (Music outro)

 

WordPress News

WordPress 6.4.3 – Maintenance and Security release

This security and maintenance release features 5 bug fixes on Core, 16 bug fixes for the Block Editor, and 2 security fixes.

Because this is a security release, it is recommended that you update your sites immediately. Backports are also available for other major WordPress releases, 4.1 and later.

You can download WordPress 6.4.3 from WordPress.org, or visit your WordPress Dashboard, click “Updates”, and then click “Update Now”. If you have sites that support automatic background updates, the update process will begin automatically.

WordPress 6.4.3 is a short-cycle release. The next major release will be version 6.5 planned for 26 March 2024. You can review a summary of the maintenance updates in this release by reading the Release Candidate announcement. For further information on this release, please visit the HelpHub site.

Security updates included in this release

The security team would like to thank the following people for responsibly reporting vulnerabilities, and allowing them to be fixed in this release:

m4tuto for finding a PHP File Upload bypass via Plugin Installer (requiring admin privileges).

@_s_n_t of @pentestltd working with Trend Micro Zero Day Initiative for finding an RCE POP Chains vulnerability.

Thank you to these WordPress contributors

This release was led by Sarah Norris, Joe McGill, and Aaron Jorbin.

WordPress 6.4.3 would not have been possible without the contributions of the following people. Their asynchronous coordination to deliver maintenance and security fixes into a stable release is a testament to the power and capability of the WordPress community.

Aki Hamano, Alex Concha, Alex Lende, Alex Stine, Andrea Fercia, Andrei Draganescu, Andrew Ozz, Andrew Serong, Andy Fragen, Ari Stathopoulos, Artemio Morales, ben, bobbingwide, Carlos Bravo, Carolina Nymark, Česlav Przywara, Colin Stewart, Daniel Käfer, Daniel Richards, Dominik Schilling, Ella, Erik, George Mamadashvili, Greg Ziółkowski, Isabel Brison, Joen A., John Blackbourn, Jonathan Desrosiers, joppuyo, Lax Mariappan, luisherranz, Markus, Michal Czaplinski, Mukesh Panchal, Nik Tsekouras, Niluthpal Purkayastha, Noah Allen, Pascal Birchler, Peter Wilson, ramonopoly, Riad Benguella, Sergey Biryukov, Stephen Bernhardt, Teddy Patriarca, Tonya Mork

How to contribute

To get involved in WordPress core development, head over to Trac, pick a ticket, and join the conversation in the #core and #6-5-release-leads channels. Need help? Check out the Core Contributor Handbook.

As a final reminder, The WordPress Security Team will never email you requesting that you install a plugin or theme on your site, and will never ask for an administrator username and password. Please stay vigilant against phishing attacks.

Thanks to Angela Jin, Ehtisham S., Jb Audras, and Marius L. J. for proofreading.

WordPress News

WP Briefing: Episode 72: Why Your Website Matters

In the latest WordPress Briefing, Josepha Haden Chomphosy explores the reasons for choosing a website supporting your digital presence, covering topics from trust-building to professionalism to owning a unique online domain.

Credits

Host: Josepha Haden Chomphosy
Editor: Dustin Hartzler
Logo: Javier Arce
Production: Brett McSherry
Song: Fearless First by Kevin MacLeod

Show Notes

Getting Started With WordPress: Get Set Up

Creating a 4-page business website

Download WordPress 6.4.3

Small List of Big Things

Early Opportunities to Test WordPress 6.5 

Call for Mentees & Mentors: Contributor Mentorship Program Cohort #2

Data Liberation in 2024 

WordCamp Asia 2024 Tickets

Transcripts

[00:00:00] Josepha: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the WordPress Briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project, some insight into the community that supports it, and get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Here we go. 

[00:00:29] (Intro music) 

[00:00:39] Josepha: My friends, it is February. For many of us, that means we’ve already fallen off track on our New Year’s resolutions, but not you, intrepid WordPresser, especially you, newly found WordPresser who is still on the fence about needing a website, and I get it. It seems like a lot of work, and even if you shoot for the moon, it’s not clear which star you’ll land on.

[00:01:01] Josepha: It feels easier to open a Facebook page or launch a new Instagram account, get a channel going on YouTube, but here’s a secret they won’t tell you. It’s just as much work. And even if you crack the code on today’s algorithm, you don’t own anything you build there, not the content, not the audience. So if you’re gonna make the effort to build anyway, why not build it in your space? It can be scary to take that kind of time.

So, if you’re not convinced yet, let me give you a few other reasons why you should choose a website over some social media thing. I’ve got a list here, and they build on one another, really. But the first thing is a website covers the five W’s: who, what, when, where, and why. It’s basic information, I know, but it’s what people need to know when they’re looking at your product or company.

The phone book, whether you had the yellow pages or the white pages, those are long gone, but that doesn’t mean that the need for that information is gone. When people are researching the right service or product to solve their problems, they’re getting online to do it. So you should be there, and your information should be easy to find. 

[00:02:12] Josepha: Which brings us right into item number two.

When people know these things about you when, they know who you are, what you’re doing, when to get to you, where you are, why you’re doing it. Having that information increases trust and makes you look more professional, and I’ve seen that be counterintuitive for folks. I mean, it’s a digital asset, after all. But overwhelmingly, we see consumers who are well-researched by the time they get to us. They’ve looked at all of your competitors already and checked to see if you are a human, if you share some of their values, and how you manage waste or, complaints, or praise.

You can never know who is looking for you. So, making it all as clear and easy to see as possible makes you more trustworthy. And the more trustworthy and professional you look, then number three, the more chances you have to bring in good leads and contacts, which can turn into sales or, at the very least, a sales opportunity. And it’s important to have good leads and contacts. Right?

[00:03:17] Josepha: If you have your information out there on a website, then people can sort of prequalify themselves. If they already have a sense for whether they are a good fit for your product or service, then fingers crossed. You can spend most of your time with people who are making serious inquiries.

And coming in at four, you can do this any way you want with words or art, NFTs of your latest work, or video tutorials. It lets you tell your story in ways that other mediums necessarily have to limit.

And, importantly, you can still do those things elsewhere. Right? But having essentially a digital home online that is yours, keep your stuff online in a place you own and operate, then draw people to you through those other channels. Make it all work together.

[00:04:07] Josepha: I have a fifth thing, mostly because I like lists of either three or five, and the list I had was four, but also because it’s true. Number five is still true. 

Getting domains is fun. You’ve got something to share with the world, and your domain name is title and, story, and first impression. And isn’t it great instead of having to say you can find me at LinkedIn, slash in slash, etc.?

You can say something quick and memorable. Josepha.blog or whatever it is you registered. Getting domains is fun. It’s the fifth thing, and I tried to act like it was no big deal.

But, also, it’s like one of the first things you have to do, and it’s kind of a big deal. You can have your own domain, and it can say a lot for you. So there you have it, some basic and not-so-basic reasons why you should have a website. If you are convinced or at least intrigued, I’ve got a few tutorials that can help you get started that I’ll link in the show notes. 

[00:05:03] (Music interlude)

[00:05:11] Josepha: Which brings us now to our small list of big things.

I have four big things for you today: four-ish. So, first things first, I have some early opportunities for y’all to test our next major release. Our next major release is WordPress 6.5. The target release date is March 26th. But coming up here on February 13th, we have Beta 1 scheduled. That’s an early opportunity for you to provide feedback. A lot of the features that we have coming in this release are big, and they’re moving quite quickly. And so, if you are already a routine WordPress user, pop on over into the core channel or onto make.WordPress.org/core and get your hands on that beta release. We could use a lot of feedback from you on that.

The second thing that I have is that the second cohort of the Contributor Mentorship Program has opened up, and we’re calling for participants whether you want to be mentored or mentor somebody. We are accepting applications for both. This is a fantastic opportunity for experienced contributors to help other people learn how to do this. And also, if you are learning to contribute to open source and to WordPress for the first time, I know it can be scary. It took me many, many tries to really get started. And so this is a great opportunity for anyone who is trying to contribute in a new way, in a different way.

[00:06:35] Josepha: The third thing that I have is there’s a post up about Data Liberation in 2024. This is one of our big focuses for the year.

A web where being locked into a system should be a thing of the past, and migrating your site to WordPress or around the WordPress ecosystem should be doable with essentially 1-click, and, so, there’s a lot of work that we’re doing there. You can find it on WordPress.org/data-liberation. There will be a link to that in our show notes, but also, there is a lot of work that has to be done, not only to get those resources together but also some companion tools to the resources. So head on over there, take a look at what’s out there. And if you have some stuff to contribute, share that too. 

[00:07:21] Josepha: And my fourth thing, my final thing, is that WordCamp Asia is about a month away. So you still have time to plan your attendance. If that’s something that you want to do, head on over to asia.wordcamp.org to learn more.

And that, my friends, is your small list of big things. Don’t forget to follow us on your favorite podcast app or subscribe directly on WordPress.org/news. You’ll get a friendly reminder whenever there’s a new episode. If you liked what you heard today, share it with a fellow WordPresser or specifically for this one; if you liked what you heard, share it with a fellow collaborator whether they know WordPress or not. But if you had questions about what you heard, you can share those with me at wpbriefing@WordPress.org. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Thanks for tuning in today for the WordPress Briefing, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks. 

[00:08:10] (Music outro)

WordPress News

The Month in WordPress – January 2024

January kicked off with big plans for the WordPress project in the year ahead. Work on the WordPress 6.5 release is underway, with Beta 1 scheduled for next week and early testing opportunities. Let’s catch up on all the exciting updates from the past month.

Looking at 2024

In a recent episode of WP Briefing, WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy discusses some of the big-picture goals for WordPress this year. The main highlights include Phase 3 of the WordPress roadmap, which involves collaborative editing and significant updates to writing and design workflows. Another major focus is Data Liberation, a new initiative introduced at State of the Word 2023 with the ultimate goal of creating a more open web.

Learn more about Data Liberation in 2024.

WordPress 6.5 is on its way

Preparations for WordPress 6.5, the first major release of 2024, are in full swing. The release squad was announced last month, and the next milestone will be Beta 1, scheduled for February 13.

Curious about what version 6.5 will bring? Check out this Hallway Hangout recap to learn about some upcoming features. You can also participate in this early testing opportunity to experience them first-hand and provide feedback.

Until 6.5 is released, you can upgrade to WordPress 6.4.3. This version includes numerous security and maintenance updates.

New in the Gutenberg plugin

Three new versions of Gutenberg shipped in January:

Gutenberg 17.4 featured improvements to List View and Style Revisions, more flexibility for background images in Group blocks, and significant advancements to the Data Views experience for the Templates page.

Gutenberg 17.5 made good progress in combining the Post Editor and Site Editor by introducing a shared preference panel, among other highlights.

Gutenberg 17.6 included the ability to extend allowed blocks within a parent block, along with several improvements to Block Hooks, the Data Views experience, and the Site and Post Editor unification.

WordPress 6.5 is slated to include some impactful changes and new features to current revision functionality in the Site Editor. Read more »

Team updates

The second cohort of the WordPress Contributor Mentorship Program is open for applications. This program aims to connect experienced WordPress contributors with newcomers or those looking to enhance their skills within the community. Both mentees and mentors can apply by February 7, 2024.

If you are a part of the LGBTQ+ community and participate in the Mentorship Program, you may be interested in this LGBTQ+Press Empowerment Grant.

The Global Community Sponsors for 2024 have been announced.

The Community team reflected on the “NextGen Events” pilot project and recommended adopting an expanded scope for WordPress events, encouraging a broad range of innovative event formats.

In 2023, the WordPress Core team shipped 2211 commits, and 472 people made their first contribution to WordPress Core. Explore more stats in this report.

The Performance team released a roadmap with this year’s focus areas.

Are you looking to broaden your knowledge and improve your WordPress skills? Check out what’s new on Learn WordPress.

Catch up on all the news in the WordPress development space with the latest edition of What’s new for developers?

https://wordpress.org/news/2023/10/episode-64-patterns-in-wordpress/

Requests for feedback and testing

Community team members proposed a pilot program to test GatherPress, a community-developed plugin, as a WordPress.org event management tool.

New Five for the Future program enhancements were suggested based on insights gathered during the WordPress Community Summit. You can help improve the program by sharing your feedback before February 7.

A new proposal recommends the next steps for the Full Site Editing (FSE) Outreach Program. Input is welcome by February 12.

Members of the Community team are requesting feedback and ideas to help shape the future of the new WordPress Events page.

WordPress events

WordCamp Asia 2024 is just around the corner! Organizers announced a tentative schedule and a Diversity Scholarship to fund the attendance of two active project contributors to their first flagship WordCamp.

Tickets for WordCamp Europe 2024 are on sale. The organizing team is looking for volunteers to help make the event in Torino, Italy, memorable.

WordCamp US 2024 shared details of the event to be held September 17-20 in Portland, Oregon. This WordCamp will have a strong focus on community collaboration with two Contributor Days.

Check out these other WordPress events happening soon:

WordPress Photo Festival (online) on February 3-10

WordCamp Phoenix, USA, on February 9-10

WordCamp Pune, India, on February 17

WordCamp Kansai, Japan, on February 23-24

Have a story we should include in the next issue of The Month in WordPress? Fill out this quick form to let us know.

Thanks to Satyam Vishwakarma (Satya), Jenni McKinnon, and Lauren Stein for contributing to this edition of The Month in WordPress.

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