Create with confidence — and better blocks

In the last few years, the teams working on the block editor have learned a lot about how people build sites now and how they want to build sites in the future.

The latest version represents the culmination of these discoveries, and the next stage in the editor’s evolution.

With better visuals and more advanced features, it’ll keep designers, developers, writers, and editors productive and happy, and — tension-building drumroll — it’s in your editor right now!

What’s new

With a comprehensive visual refresh, a plethora of new features, and dozens of bug fixes, the new block editor comes with a lot to unpack.

What follows is just a small (but delectable) sample of the many ways we’ve upgraded your editing experience. (You can get the full list of goodies in the release notes.)

We hope you enjoy.

A revamped editor UI

The first thing you’ll notice is the slick UI. Buttons, icons, text, and dropdowns are all sporting a contrast boost, with bolder colors and more whitespace between buttons, text labels, and menu items.


The new block editor’s UI

As you navigate through the editor’s menus, individual items are clearly highlighted, allowing you to quickly identify what you’ve selected.


Active menu items have distinct highlights

The block toolbars are now simpler, displaying the most commonly-used features. For example, paragraph blocks show only bold, italic, and link formatting buttons. You’ll find all the extra options in the dropdown menu.


The block toolbar options are simpler and uncluttered

What’s more, instead of listing blocks within a fixed-height container, the block inserter now spans the height of the window. You’ll now see more blocks and block categories at once with less scrolling.


The block inserter spans the full height of your screen

Introducing block patterns

With the block editor as your canvas you can design almost any layout you can imagine – but building intricate page structures should never get in the way of your creative process.

Here’s where the blocks really shine: along with individual blocks, the editor now includes block patterns, a library of predefined and reusable block layouts, that you use on any page or post.

To check out the list of available patterns, click on the block pattern icon (on the top right) to reveal a collection of pre-built layouts:


Block patterns are groups of individual blocks combined to create elegant layouts

Pick the pattern you want to use, and it will appear in your editor ready for you to customize with your own content.

Right now, you’ll find a few introductory patterns – Two Columns of Text, Two Buttons, Cover, and Two Images Side by Side – but we’ll be adding more and more patterns as they’re available. When the block patterns API opens up to third-party authors, you’ll also be able to develop and share your own.

(Have an idea for a great pattern? The block editor developer community is actively seeking ideas. The more ideas they receive, the better your editor will be!)

Colors, colors everywhere

When it comes to words and columns, websites aren’t newspapers: things don’t have to be black and white.

Use the new Text Color selector tool to change the color of sentences, and even individual words and letters. Highlight the text you’d like to change, then click on the arrow dropdown and select “Text Color.”


Select “Text Color” from the options

Pick the color of your word or character

 

To change the background colors of your columns, select the column and head to the sidebar, to Color settings.


Columns get background colours too!

The road ahead is paved with blocks

There’s still a long way to go, and the editor’s community of contributors hasn’t given its collective keyboards a moment’s rest. Work on polishing UI elements like the sidebar and dropdowns continues along with advancements to block patterns and other exciting features.

Are there ways we could improve the site editing experience even more? Please let us know! We’re always keen to hear how we can make the web a better place for everyone.

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How to Move Your Classes Online — and Charge for Them

We are proud to host many websites for language tutors, yoga schools, and personal fitness coaches around the world.

It’s exciting to see how educators and consultants across different industries are getting creative with their online offerings: language teachers conduct 1:1 sessions to help students hone pronunciation, yoga studios live-stream group sessions, and instructors lead writing boot camps via Zoom breakout rooms. Even my own strength coach is monitoring my workouts — I launch the camera on my phone, place it against the wall, and do deadlifts while he supervises.

Last year we launched Recurring Payments to support creators, consultants, small businesses, and other professionals in establishing dependable income streams. We were very pleased to discover that online educators using this feature are thriving as well!

Marta, for example, runs Spanish Teacher Barcelona, a Spanish language school located in — you guessed it! — Barcelona. She offers 1:1 sessions and classes in a coworking space in the city’s Gracia neighborhood. For customers that cannot meet in person, she hosts private lessons online, available with a subscription. She offers three subscription plans to meet the variety of needs of her students.

Ready to set up your own subscription-based service or move your existing classes online? Here’s a quick guide to get you set up with the right tools, so you can focus instead on providing the best educational environment possible. 

Set up your online class today

Below, we’ll cover the steps you can take to get your classes or private lessons up and running with the Recurring Payments feature. We’ll also recommend tools to make scheduling 1:1 sessions and operating your classes easier, like the Calendly block and various video conferencing tools. 

1. Create a “Subscribe” page to promote your class or service

You need to convince your customers that your subscription is worth paying for. A typical way to do this is with a “Subscribe” page where you explain the benefits of your services.

Take a look at the “Join” page on Longreads.com, an online publication that publishes and curates nonfiction storytelling on the web and funds stories with memberships:

A few tips to make your offer irresistible:

  • Focus on the benefits for the customer.
  • Provide a few subscription options, such as classes at different frequencies and at different price points.
  • Add testimonials if you can — people love to read reviews.

Create this page by going to My Sites → Pages → Add New.

2. Add a subscription with the Recurring Payments feature

Recurring Payments allows you to create renewable payments. Your subscribers will enter their credit card details, and will then be charged automatically every month or every year.

Recurring Payments is currently available on any of our paid plans. To get started, you’ll need to create a Stripe account, which is a global money transfer service. We partner with Stripe to make sure payments end up safely in your bank account.

You can start collecting Recurring Payments in five minutes.

On the “Subscribe” page you created above, search for the “Recurring Payments” block:

After clicking “Connect to Stripe,” you’ll be able to connect your existing Stripe account or create a new one.

Now you can create your first subscription.

Set the price, frequency (we recommend monthly for start), and the title of your subscription, like Writing Bootcamp, 3 breakout sessions/month or Conversational French for Beginners, 4 classes/month.

That’s it! Your subscription is now created. Once you publish the page and activate your Stripe account, your customers will be able to subscribe to this service.

Subscriptions are dependable: your subscribers will be automatically charged at the beginning of the next renewal period (in a month or a year). You don’t have to remind or nudge them, and they also don’t have to remember to pay you — everything is handled.

For more details, please read this Recurring Payments support article.

Would you rather sell access to your services as a one-time purchase? Check out the Simple Payments feature.

3. Schedule your lessons

Your subscribers can set up a time for their lessons using a service like Calendly, a handy tool that allows them to select a free slot in your schedule. We recently created the Calendly block to bring some of the service’s key features to you. While editing your page, search for the “Calendly” block.

Remember to check if the subscription is active

Before hopping on an online meeting, you need to confirm that the person scheduling a call is indeed a paying subscriber. Check the list of your active Recurring Payments subscribers located in your WordPress.com dashboard under My Sites Earn Payments.

Read more about managing your list of subscribers.

4. Select a tool to host your class

Video conferencing tools are very useful for teaching. Apart from seeing the other person, you can share your screen, send files, or even host a session for multiple people, lecture-style.

You can use Google Hangouts, Skype, or Zoom (which is what we use for our meetings here at WordPress.com). Zoom has put together a handy tutorial for teachers.

If you’d like additional setup tips on selecting a theme for your website, adding content and media, and adding students as viewers or contributors, read our support tutorial on building a virtual classroom.

What amazing class are you going to launch?

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¡Pasa página con estos nuevos diseños!

¿Quieres añadir una nueva página a tu sitio pero no sabes por dónde empezar? ¿Estás creando un nuevo sitio en WordPress.com y quieres diseñar su página principal rápidamente? Hemos añadido una nueva herramienta a la experiencia de WordPress para ayudaros con eso.

¡Echémosle un vistazo a los Diseños de Página! Son páginas pre-diseñadas en las que puedes añadir tu contenido sin tener que pararte a pensar cómo hacerlo.

Para añadir un Diseño de Página, dirígete hacia Mi sitio web > Sitio Web > Páginas y clica en el botón “Añadir nueva página” (ese que ves en rosa).

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Después, te mostraremos una selección de diseños entre los que podrás elegir. Hay algunos diseños disponibles para:

  • Páginas de información general
  • Páginas de contacto
  • Páginas de servicios
  • Páginas de portafolio
  • Páginas de blog
  • E incluso diseños que puedes usar para páginas principales

Este es uno de los diseños disponibles para páginas de portafolio, por ejemplo:

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Todos estos diseños han sido creados usando el editor de bloques, lo que significa que puedes editar las imágenes, el contenido y la disposición desde ahí mismo. ¡Empieza por reemplazar las imágenes predefinidas y el texto y verás cómo todo empieza a tomar forma!

Puedes usar los Diseños de Página para crear páginas de aspecto genial con solo unos cuantos clicks. Para inspirarte, aquí tienes una selección de diseños que usan algunos de los temas de WordPress.com:

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Y si necesitas ayuda para empezar, encontrarás información algo más detallada sobre todo esto en nuestra página de documentación sobre los Diseños de Página.

¿Qué otros tipos de diseños podrían ser útiles para vuestros sitios? No dudéis en contarnos lo que os gustaría ver, ¡nos encantaría escuchar vuestras ideas!

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Expert Advice: How to Make a Great Website for Your Small Business – Webinar

Whether you already own a small business or are exploring the idea of starting one, you’ll come away from this 60-minute live webinar with a wealth of actionable advice on how to maximize your digital presence.

Date: Thursday, April 2, 2020
Time: 11:00 am PDT | 1:00 pm CDT | 2:00 pm EDT | 18:00 UTC
Registration link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/4215849773038/WN_at0PB64eTo2I0zJx-74g2Q
Who’s invited: Business owners, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and anyone interesting in starting a small business or side gig.

Hosts Steve Dixon and Kathryn Presner, WordPress.com Happiness Engineers, have many combined years of experience helping small-business owners create and launch successful websites. They’ll give you tips on site design, search engine optimization (SEO), monetization, and mobile optimization. You’ll be able to submit questions beforehand—in the registration form—and during the live webinar.

Everyone is welcome, even if you already have a site, and even if your site wasn’t built on WordPress.com. We know you’re busy, so if you can’t make the live event, you’ll be able to watch a recording of the webinar on our YouTube channel.

Live attendance is limited, so be sure to register early. We look forward to seeing you on the webinar!

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On Working Remotely: An Automattic Reader

How does a distributed company — a group of people with shared business goals but spread out around the world, representing different cultures, family settings, and local health considerations — stick together during a major health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic?

We don’t intend to make it sound easy. And we are aware — from our families, our communities, the businesses we support, and our customers — that many, if not most companies cannot actually work 100 percent remotely because of the nature of their business.

For those who can transition to distributed work in the wake of this evolving crisis, we wanted to suggest ideas that might help colleagues work well together even when you’re no longer all sharing the same physical space.

We’re lucky that many Automatticians have shared advice and best practices based on their many years of working from home — and we’ve compiled some of these resources below to empower others to listen to and support their coworkers during a difficult and disruptive time.

Of course, from his first post on remote work to his most recent one reflecting on the COVID-19 pandemic, to his Distributed podcast and beyond, founder and CEO Matt Mullenweg is a prominent voice on remote work and distributed culture. To send you off on a lighter note, Matt published his first “What’s In My Bag” post in 2014 and has done it again several times since.

We hope these resources are helpful to you during these trying times, and that you and everyone in your communities stay safe.

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Publicación Offline Mejorada

La mejor tecnología es la que es invisible y segura. No te fijas en ella porque todo funciona bien. Las malas tecnologías, en cambio, nunca desaparecen — siempre están ahí y, lo que es peor, hacen tu trabajo más difícil. Pocas veces nos paramos a pensar “¡qué Wi-Fi más bueno!”, pero sí que lo notamos cuando la conexión no va como debería.

Una buena tecnología en una app necesita un buen soporte sin conexión. La app de WordPress debería ofrecer una experiencia de publicación fiable, sin tener que preocuparte por si estás conectado o no a Internet. Y, si hemos hecho nuestro trabajo bien, ¡no tendrás que hacerlo!

Necesitamos menos preocupaciones en nuestras vidas, así que, si aún no lo has hecho, ve a https://apps.wordpress.com/get/ y descárgate una de nuestras apps.

Publicar sin conexión

¿Estás viajando y no tienes conexión? ¡No te preocupes! Las apps recordarán tus preferencias y en cuanto tengas conexión de nuevo, tu contenido será guardado y publicado tal y como querías. Sin embargo, si cambias de opinión sobre publicar la entrada mientras sigues sin conexión, solo tendrás que cancelarlo.


Publicando sin conexión desde la app móvil

Esta nueva forma de publicar llega junto a una interfaz de usuario renovada para ver el estado de tus entradas. Ahora podrás ver claramente qué entradas están pendientes de publicar, guardándose o publicándose.

Notificaciones mejoradas

Hemos eliminado varias alertas que aparecían cuando estabas sin conexión. Estas alertas a veces te pedían a tomar decisiones, pero no siempre proporcionaban información sobre cuál era el problema ni cómo solucionarlo. 

Las hemos reemplazado por mensajes con más contexto que no te impedirán seguir trabajando en tu contenido. Los verás tanto dentro de la interfaz de usuario, como en avisos que aparecen justo encima de la barra de herramientas.

Es decir, aparecerán menos notificaciones que te interrumpan sin aportar información, y más mensajes con indicaciones útiles, como el que se muestra en la imagen de arriba.

Auto-guardado

Tus entradas también se guardarán automáticamente, para asegurarnos de que no haya sorpresas.


Puedes cancelar publicación sin conexión.

Editar las entradas que están están programadas para ser publicadas, cancelará la publicación pero, no te preocupes, podrás reprogramar la publicación en cualquier momento.

Todas las aciones de publicar se cancelarán automáticamente si tu dispositivo permanece desconectado más de 48 horas. Queremos que puedas controlar lo que se publica y cuándo lo hace.

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WPBlockTalk: A Free Online Event Focused on the Block Editor

Ready to explore the possibilities with the block editor? WPBlockTalk is a free and live virtual event that will bring together designers, developers, and other WordPress enthusiasts from across the WordPress community.

Topics to expect:

  • Building the block editor: what it takes to develop the block editor, what features are on the roadmap, and how you can contribute
  • Developing blocks: inspiration and ideas for developing your own custom blocks
  • Designing with blocks: learn more about using blocks to make powerful and versatile layouts and templates

If you’re passionate and curious about the future of WordPress, then this April 2 event is for you!

If you’re busy that day, don’t worry — all the talks will also be published on WordPress.tv for you to watch (and re-watch) whenever you like.

In the meantime, join the WPBlockTalk email list for registration details, speaker and schedule updates, and more. We look forward to seeing you online!

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Announcing a New Scholarship for LGBTQ+ WordPress Community Members

The Queeromattic Employee Resource Group, Automattic’s LGBTQ+ internal organization, is proud to announce a scholarship for LGBTQ+ WordPress Community members who need financial support to attend a WordCamp flagship event for the first time. 

For those unfamiliar with WordCamps, they are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other. There are currently four flagship events each year: WordCamp Europe, WordCamp Asia, WordCamp US, and WordCamp Latin America. We’re going to sponsor one member of the LGBTQ+ community to attend each of these events!

Our hope in sponsoring folks to attend an initial WordCamp flagship event is that it will provide a career-enhancing opportunity for folks to connect more deeply with members of the WordPress community and level up their own WordPress skills to take back into their everyday life. Many of us at Automattic found our way here through the wider WordPress community and we’re really excited to share that chance with folks from the LGBTQ+ community who might not have the opportunity otherwise. 

Right now, we’re accepting applications to WordCamp US 2020. If you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a WordPress user, we encourage you to apply: https://automattic.com/scholarships/queeromattic/  To be considered, please apply no later than Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 12 a.m. Pacific Time.

If you know someone who would be perfect for an opportunity like this, please share it with them! We want folks from all over the world to have the chance to benefit from this new scholarship.

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Turning a Page with Page Layouts

Need to add a new page to your site but don’t know where to start? Making a brand new site on WordPress.com and want to design a homepage quickly? There’s a new addition to the WordPress experience that’ll help with exactly that.

Let’s take a look at Page Layouts! They’re pre-designed pages you can drop content into, without needing to decide what to put where.

To add a Page Layout to your site, head to My Sites > Site > Pages and click the “Add New Page” button — it’s the pink one:

Next, we’ll show you a selection of layouts you can choose from — there are layouts available for

  • About pages
  • Contact pages
  • Services pages
  • Portfolio pages
  • Restaurant Menu, Team, and Blog pages
  • and even starting points for Home pages

Here’s one of the available Portfolio Page Layouts, for example.

These layouts are all made using blocks in our block editor, which means you can edit the images, content, and layout all in one place. Start by replacing the default images and text, and you’ll be on your way!

You can use Page Layouts to make great-looking pages with only a few clicks. For inspiration, here are a selection of layouts using a variety of WordPress.com themes.

What other types of pages and designs would be useful for your site? Let us know what you’d like to see — we’d love to hear from you!

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