New Design Superpowers for You to Leverage

One of the most exciting things about WordPress is that it’s constantly improving. In fact, did you know that Gutenberg releases new functionality and improvements every two weeks?! There have been a number of really cool and powerful capabilities rolled out over the last few months that give you even more control over the design of your site and your content. We wanted to take a minute to highlight some that we’re especially excited about.

Note: These updates are most relevant to those of you who have a block theme activated.

  1. Use Your Featured Image in the Cover Block
  2. Borders in Layout Blocks
  3. See What Margin vs Padding Actually Does
  4. Patterns Are Easier to Find and More Convenient to Use
  5. Leveling Up the Query Block
  6. Notable Mentions

Use Your Featured Image in the Cover Block

Over the last few months the Gutenberg team has really powered up the cover block and its ability to leverage the featured image set in your post/page. Not only can you do that when creating new content, you can use it in your templates too, making it easier than ever to make your featured image a bigger part of every post.

Borders in Layout Blocks

You now have the ability to add and customize borders in the columns, row, stack, and group blocks. Use them for subtle dividers or go nuts to create some fun retro drop-shadows. This is a great way to make different sections on your site stand out!

See What Margin vs Padding Actually Does

I’ve been working in the web space for a long time and I still get confused with how padding and margin will impact my layout — especially when there are multiple layers of blocks involved! You will now see exactly where the change is being applied as you adjust your settings.

Patterns Are Easier to Find and More Convenient to Use

Gutenberg 12.7 brings patterns front and center to help save you time and energy. Why recreate a layout block by block when you can start with something more complete? Take advantage of all of the great patterns the WordPress.com designers put together for our customers or maybe consider adding a pattern of your own to the WordPress.org pattern directory.

Leveling Up the Query Block

The Query Loop has grown a lot over the past few months. Not only can you filter by different authors or taxonomies, but you can now filter to show all content under a parent category. This is perfect for creators who create different types of content or jump between drastically different subject matters. It’s really the ultimate block for displaying a collection of posts and it just keeps getting better.

Notable Mentions

This is just a small subset of new features released over the last few months. Let us know what you think in the comments and feel free to share your favorites!

New Tools for More Successful Editing Adventures

  1. Spacing in Galleries
  2. Lock Those Blocks
  3. Did You Notice the Table of Contents on This Post?

Spacing in Galleries

You now have the power to control how much space lives between your images at the horizontal and vertical level. This allows you to create a variety ways to present a collection of photos. You can even eliminate all of the space to give it a collage effect.

Lock Those Blocks

Have you ever accidentally messed up a block or pattern? While there’s always some comfort in knowing you can “undo” most accidents, there’s a new/better way to prevent them from happening in the first place.

You can now lock blocks from within the editor or the list view. This makes it easier than ever to protect components, sections, or even full layouts.

Within locking you can choose to prevent them from being moved or to prevent them from being removed. You can also look forward to the ability to lock “inner blocks” which would make it easier to lock any number of blocks you have set up within a layout block like the group, row, or stack blocks.

Did You Notice the Table of Contents on This Post?

That’s right, it’s finally here. The table of contents block automatically updates as you edit your content, giving your users a direct path to the content they are most interested in.

What other features have you discovered that make creating and editing content easier for you? Share your tips and tricks in the comments.

Hot Off the Press: New WordPress.com Themes for August 2022

The WordPress.com team is always working on new design ideas to bring your website to life. Below you’ll find the six newest themes that we’ve added to our library, giving you beautiful options for a product showcase, photography portfolio, travel blog, or whatever else you can dream up.

To install any of the below themes, click the the name of the theme you like, which brings you right to the installation page. Then simply 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.

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, just click here:


Pendant

Pendant is an elegant product-focused theme. The default styles feature serif headings and a dark background, contributing to a sophisticated style. It features a set of sleek block patterns such as a hero section with a large image, a styled grid to display information about your team, and multi-column layouts to display products.


Heiwa

Heiwa is a clean and elegant theme. Its sophisticated typography and clean look make it a perfect match for a business producing visual products.


Vivre

Vivre is a bold, opinionated blogging theme, heavily inspired by fashion and lifestyle magazines and websites. With large heavy sans-serif paired with a light elegant serif font, it sets the tone to a refined, content-focused reading experience.


Antonia

Antonia is a theme for selling products with the help of payments blockWith its clean, modern, and elegant layout, Antonia is a brilliant choice to showcase your products and sell them.


Appleton

Appleton is a portfolio theme with a clean layout, designed to help you showcase your images with minimal distractions. Whether you’re an amateur or a professional photographer looking for a canvas on which to display your work, Appleton is an excellent choice.


Meraki

Meraki is a light and elegant travel blog theme designed to document your adventures. Whether you’re a seasoned globetrotter or an aspiring explorer, Meraki will make a perfect destination for sharing your stories and photography.


Stay tuned for more updates about new themes, patterns, blocks, and other exciting product updates! And be sure to click below to take a look at the entire showcase of themes we offer:

Changes to Our Pricing Plans

Our philosophy has always been one of experimenting, learning, and adjusting. As we began to roll out our new pricing plans a couple of months back, we took note of the feedback you shared. What we heard is that some of you missed the more granular flexibility of our previous plans. Additionally, the features you needed and pricing of the new plans didn’t always align for you. This led us to a decision that we believe is the right call.

Returning to Our Familiar Plans

Starting today, we’re bringing back our Personal, Premium, Business, and eCommerce plans – in addition to the free plan. Here’s what that looks like: 

For more details, view plan information here.

What This Means for You

For many of you, this doesn’t change anything. If you’re on a WordPress Pro or Starter plan, rest assured that you’ll remain on that plan. Your feedback matters more now than ever. We’ll continue listening. Our broader goals of simplifying website building and managed WordPress hosting will continue behind the scenes,  and we’ll be sure to communicate any future updates as they become finalized. In the meantime, and as always, we welcome your thoughts and feedback.

Publish Blog Posts to Your Telegram Channel Automatically With JetpackWP Bot

With the JetpackWP Bot for Telegram, you can now automatically share blog posts from any Jetpack-powered WordPress site (including any site hosted at WordPress.com) directly to a Telegram channel. This free tool saves time sharing content to Telegram, where readers can subscribe to read your posts just as easily as they would via email or social media.

How to Create a Telegram Channel and Set Up JetpackWP Bot 

Content publishers can create a Telegram channel, invite JetpackWP Bot, and set it to follow their blog. The bot will then update the channel with new posts as they’re published in real time. Start by opening the app and clicking the pen icon in the lower right corner of the left-hand panel:

Add members that you would like to participate in your channel. Then, give your channel an image, name, and description:

Now, add JetpackWP Bot as an admin to the channel. Click the channel name at the top, then click the pen icon in the upper right corner:

Next, scroll down to Administrators, click the person icon in the bottom right corner, and search “jetpackwp”:

Review what the bot can do as an admin, then click the checkmark icon in the bottom right corner:

Once the bot has admin access to the channel, it’s time to follow your blog (or any other Jetpack-powered blog that you’d like to follow in your channel). To do this, type /follow and the URL of your desired blog:

Now, the bot will automatically share new blog posts with the channel. If you’d like to curate content from other Jetpack-powered blogs, you can do that too by using the /follow command. If you’d like to see a list of all followed blogs, unfollow blogs, or reset the bot, there are additional commands you can use:

  • /unfollow [URL]: Stops notifications for the blog specified in the URL.
  • /reset: Unfollows all followed blogs.
  • /following: Shows a list of all followed blogs.

For additional information about how to use JetpackWP Bot, visit our support page.

How to Add a Telegram Social Icon So Readers Can Subscribe

Once your Telegram channel is set up and JetpackWP Bot is active, add a social icon for Telegram so your readers can subscribe. Here are two different methods you can follow.

1. Add a Telegram Icon to Your Header or Footer With a Widget

From your WordPress website’s dashboard, click Appearance > Widgets, then select Social Icons:

Search for “telegram” to find the correct icon:

Visit your Telegram channel and click the channel name at the top. Find your channel URL and copy it:

Return to your WordPress website dashboard, open your Social Icon widget block, and paste the URL for your Telegram channel:

2. Add a Telegram Icon to a Page or Post Using the Social Icons Block

Alternatively, you can use the Social Icons block to place a subscription icon anywhere on your site. Follow the same steps from the previous section to snag the URL for your channel. Then from your dashboard, choose the page or post where you’d like to place your icon, and choose the Social Icons block: 

Use the search bar to find the Telegram icon and add your channel URL: 

That’s two methods that will make it easy for your readers to subscribe to your Telegram channel. Share the news with your audience and watch your channel grow.

How Can Telegram Help Publishers Reach Your Audience?

Telegram is a fast-growing instant-messaging service with more than 700 million users worldwide, and is one of the top-five most downloaded apps in the world. That’s a massive potential audience that uses the app to stay in touch with friends and follow their interests.

Messaging apps are also less noisy than social media platforms and other content distribution channels. This means it’s easier for readers to focus on your content with fewer distractions.

Start Sharing Content With JetpackWordPressBot Now 

With JetpackWP Bot, it’s easier than ever to take advantage of this popular service to engage your audience, build your community, and increase your traffic. Get started now.

Purchase Yoast SEO Premium Directly on WordPress.com

We hear every day from you — our customers — that helping people discover your WordPress.com site on search engines is a top priority.

That’s why we’re excited to announce that Yoast SEO Premium is now available for purchase on WordPress.com

Not only is it easier than ever to purchase this powerful plugin on WordPress.com, but you can choose a payment cadence that’s best for you — we offer both monthly and annual pricing (though you’ll save money over the long-term with the annual plan). 

Yoast SEO is already the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress, with over 13 million active installs. While Yoast SEO is awesome, Premium is the real deal, for these reasons:

  1. Yoast SEO Premium is a time-saver — In the free version, you still need to do much of the work yourself. Yoast SEO Premium comes with tools like the redirect manager and internal linking suggestions that can save you a lot of time.
  2. Makes doing site maintenance easier — Have you ever forgotten to redirect a page you deleted? No more! Yoast SEO Premium automatically does this for you. And if you’re unsure about which page to update next, the stale content finder and SEO workouts help you work on the most important things first.
  3. Helpful tools to build a great site structure — Links within your website are important for SEO. The Yoast SEO Premium plugin comes with several tools to help you improve, like the internal linking blocks, orphaned content finder, and internal linking suggestions.
  4. Advanced language analysis that makes writing more natural — Premium’s innovative language analysis supports over 20 languages! It not only looks at the exact match of the focus keyphrase you enter, but also at all the grammatical forms, synonyms, and related keyphrases of that word.
  5. Optimize your posts before sharing them on social media — Premium lets you preview how your post will look when shared on social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook.
  6. 24/7 access to Yoast’s world-class support team — Available in English and Spanish.
  7. Free access to all Yoast SEO academy courses — Learn all about Yoast SEO, SEO copywriting, keyword research, structured data, and many other topics related to SEO.

How to Purchase Yoast SEO Premium Without Leaving Your Site

Purchasing this plugin right from your WordPress.com dashboard is simple.

On the plugins page, search for “Yoast”; click on the product card for Yoast SEO Premium, and you’ll be directed to this detailed product listing page. When you’re ready, click the “Purchase” button in the top right of the product listing page. Your purchase won’t be final until you confirm your payment method and details on the following page. The plugin will be installed automatically.

Currently, plugins are only available on certain WordPress.com plans. In the near future, we plan to expand the option to more plans. Read more about what the future holds.

Share WordPress.com Blog Posts to Telegram With WordPressDotCom Bot

Ever wished you could share new blog posts to a Telegram channel automatically?

If so, then great news! Starting today, you can follow any WordPress.com blog within Telegram by using WordPressDotCom Bot. Now, you can easily get real-time updates from your favorite bloggers in specific channels, group chats, or DMs, right in the app. All with just a few clicks.

Sharing WordPress.com Blog Posts Made Easy

Whether you want to follow your favorite blogs or share your own posts, the WordPress.com Bot has you covered.

Start a new channel and invite readers to follow you there. Or automate sharing with an existing channel and add value for your friends and followers. Here are some ideas for inspiration:

  • Keep up-to-date with writers you don’t want to miss.
  • Share the latest shots from your family photo blog with friends and loved ones.
  • Spark conversation about your hobbies and interests in a private channel.

How to Use the WordPress.com Bot for Telegram

There are two ways to set up WordPressDotCom Bot: 

  1. Visit https://t.me/WordPressDotComBot and click on Send Message. 
  2. Or invite the bot to a channel or group by adding a new member and searching for WordPress.com

From there, here are a handful of commands you can use:

  • /follow [url] -This will follow the blog specified in the url
  • /unfollow  [url] -This will unfollow the blog specified in the url. No more notifications of new posts will be sent.
  • /following – This will show a list of all blogs followed.
  • /reset – This stops following all blogs via the Telegram bot.

Best of all, WordPress.com Bot shows off your post thumbnails. Take a look at this preview example:

Try WordPress.com Bot for Telegram Today

WordPress.com Bot is free to use. Try it now.  

Access your Professional Email inbox directly from WordPress.com

Every day we’re connected to a million apps, and we browse through multiple browser tabs just to complete a single action item. We have busy schedules that would benefit from streamlined processes, simple tools, and powerful workflows. With that in mind, our team asked for feedback, and that inspired us to put together a new solution—your Professional Email inbox baked right into your WordPress.com site.

You can now manage your inbox and website from the same place, eliminating the need for multiple sets of credentials and URLs. Once you’re securely logged in, we’ll save you the clicks and multiple tabs that managing your work used to take, allowing you to operate directly from your website dashboard.

A few time-saving hacks to get the most from your embedded inbox:

  • Easily connect with your audience or community from your site while checking your site followers.
  • Post a blog post, head directly to your inbox, and share it with your customers. 
  • Create a new product to sell and share the news directly from your site dashboard.

Ready to try it out?

Access your Professional Email inbox directly from WordPress.com

Every day we’re connected to a million apps, and we browse through multiple browser tabs just to complete a single action item. We have busy schedules that would benefit from streamlined processes, simple tools, and powerful workflows. With that in mind, our team asked for feedback, and that inspired us to put together a new solution—your Professional Email inbox baked right into your WordPress.com site.

You can now manage your inbox and website from the same place, eliminating the need for multiple sets of credentials and URLs. Once you’re securely logged in, we’ll save you the clicks and multiple tabs that managing your work used to take, allowing you to operate directly from your website dashboard.

A few time-saving hacks to get the most from your embedded inbox:

  • Easily connect with your audience or community from your site while checking your site followers.
  • Post a blog post, head directly to your inbox, and share it with your customers. 
  • Create a new product to sell and share the news directly from your site dashboard.

Ready to try it out?

Take Bookings, Set Up Subscriptions, and Automate Your Store With New Premium Plugins

Plugins are the building blocks and the rocket fuel for your WordPress.com website. They can help make your site faster and easier to manage but also bring essential elements to your fingertips. From email opt-ins and contact forms, to SEO, site speed optimization, calendars, and booking options — the list is nearly endless.

If you can imagine it, there’s a high likelihood that there’s a plugin to help you accomplish whatever your endeavor on your WP.com website.

And because of the vast community of WordPress developers, there are always new plugins being added to our marketplace. To better help you select the plugins for your business or passion, we are listing three of our hand-picked, most popular premium plugins below, in addition to several others, recently added to our marketplace.

WooCommerce Bookings

This invaluable plugin allows customers to book appointments, make reservations, or rent equipment. Both you and your customers can save valuable time since there’s no need for phone calls, emails, or other forms of communication to handle bookings. Prospects simply fill out the information themselves.

The benefits of WooCommerce Bookings are hard to overstate. For example, you can: 

  • Define set options, like fixed time slots for a class, appointment, or guided tour
  • Let customers choose the times that work best by giving them the flexibility to book whatever range they need, like checking into a hotel
  • Set certain time periods as off limits and un-bookable, providing yourself a buffer between bookings

Perhaps best of all, the plugin integrates seamlessly with your Google calendar. Use the calendar view to see how your day or month is shaping up. Update existing bookings or availability, or filter to view specific services or resources. And if you have customers who insist on calling in to make bookings the old-fashioned way, you can add them manually from the calendar while you’re on the phone.

Whether you’re running a small bed and breakfast, a fishing guide service, or anything in between, WooCommerce Bookings can give you back valuable time, ensuring your customers have a friction-free booking process, which allows you to focus your energies elsewhere. 

WooCommerce Subscriptions

With WooCommerce Subscriptions, customers can subscribe to your products or services and then pay for them at the frequency of their choosing — weekly, monthly, or even annually. This level of freedom can be a boon to the bottom line, as it easily sets your business up to enjoy the fruits of recurring revenue. 

Better yet, WooCommerce Subscriptions not only allows you to create and manage products with recurring payments, but you can also introduce a variety of subscriptions for physical or virtual products and services, too. For example, you can offer weekly service subscriptions, create product-of-the-month clubs, or even yearly software billing packages. 

Additional features include:

  • Multiple billing schedules available to suit your store’s needs
  • Integrates with more than 25 payment gateways for automatic recurring payments
  • Accessible through any WooCommerce payment gateway, allowing for manual renewal payments along with automatic email invoices and receipts
  • Prevents lost revenue by supporting automatic rebilling on failed subscription payments

Additionally, this plugin offers built-in renewal notifications and automatic emails, which makes you and your customers aware of subscription payments being processed. Your customers can also manage their own subscriptions using the Subscriber’s View page. The page also allows subscribers to suspend or cancel a subscription, change the shipping address or payment method for future renewals, and upgrade or downgrade. 

WooCommerce Subscriptions really do put your customers first, giving them the control they want and will appreciate while allowing you to automate a process and experience that saves time and strengthens your relationship with customers. 

AutomateWoo

High on every business owner’s list of goals is the ability to grow the company and earn more revenue. Well, AutomateWoo makes that task much simpler. This powerful, feature-rich plugin delivers a plethora of automated workflows to help you grow your business.  

​With​ ​AutomateWoo, you can create workflows using various triggers, rules, and actions, and then schedule them to run automatically.

​For example, you can set up abandoned cart emails, which have been shown to increase the chance of recovering the sale by 63%.

One of the key features small business owners are sure to enjoy is the ability to design and send emails using a pre-installed template created for WooCommerce emails in the WordPress editor. 

This easy-to-appreciate feature makes it a breeze to send targeted, multi-step campaigns that include incentives for customers. AutomateWoo gives you complete control over campaigns. For example, you can schedule different emails to be sent at intervals or after specific customer interactions; you can also offer incentives using the personalized coupon system.

Also, you can track all emails via a detailed log of every email sent and conversion recorded. Furthermore, with AutomateWoo’s intelligent tracking, you can capture guest emails during checkout.  

This premium plugin comes packed with a host of other features as well, including, but not limited to:

  • Follow-up emails: Automatically email customers who buy specific products and ask for a review or suggest other products they might like
  • SMS notifications: Send text messages to customers or admins for any of AutomateWoo’s wide range of triggers
  • Wishlist marketing: Send timed wishlist reminder emails and notify when a wished-for product goes on sale; integrates with WooCommerce Wishlists or YITH Wishlists
  • Personalized coupons: Generate dynamic customized coupons for customers to raise purchase rates

AutomateWoo will make an indispensable asset for any business looking to create better synergies between their brand’s products or services and the overall experience customers have with them. 

Additional Business-Boosting Plugins

In addition to WooCommerce Bookings, WooCommerce Subscriptions, and AutomateWoo, our marketplace has also launched a number of additional premium plugins, including:

  • WooCommerce Points and Rewards: Allows you to reward your customers for purchases and other actions with points that can be redeemed for discounts
  • WooCommerce One Page Checkout: Gives you the ability to create special pages for customers to select products, checkout, and pay, all in one place
  • WooCommerce Deposits: Customers can place a deposit or use a payment plan for products. 
  • Min/Max Quantities: Make it possible to define minimum/maximum thresholds and multiple/group amounts per product (including variations) to restrict the quantities of items that can be purchased. 
  • Product Vendors: Enables multiple vendors to sell via your site, and in return take a commission on the sales.  
  • USPS Shipping Method: Provides shipping rates from the USPS API, with the ability to accurately cover both domestic and international parcels.

Get the Most Out of Your Website 

Keep an eye on the plugin marketplace, as we’re continuing to offer premium plugins that help you best serve your site visitors and customers. At WordPress.com, we’re committed to helping you achieve your goals. 

To get the most out of your WordPress.com website, upgrade to WordPress Pro, which puts the power of these plugins at your fingertips. Currently, only WordPress Pro plans or legacy Business + eComm customers can purchase plugins.