Start Taking Donations, Tips, and Contributions for Your Creative and Professional Pursuits

With our growing suite of payment features, we want to make it easier for you to earn money on WordPress.com. With the Donations block, you can now accept credit and debit card payments for all types of donations, earning revenue and growing your base of supporters. Collect donations, tips, and contributions on your website to fuel your creative and professional projects or to support and grow your business or organization.

Donations block example for an arts organization

What can you accept donations for?

You can collect financial contributions on your website for just about anything — the sky really is the limit. Here are examples of things people support through donations:

  • Creative pursuits for musicians, artists, designers, writers, and more
  • Concrete creations like podcasts, video games, music clips, and photography
  • Bloggers and content creators of all shapes and sizes
  • Everyday passions like news summaries and mindfulness exercises
  • Professional endeavors including civic engagement and professional development
  • Nonprofits and community, religious, and political organizations

Donations block examples for a musician and radio station

Continue to build your community by engaging with your supporters in a unique and authentic way. People can opt to support you through one-time, monthly, or yearly contributions, and the Donations block lets you engage with each level for a more custom experience. For example, you might send your monthly supporters additional content and information on top of what you send your one-time supporters.

As you ask for support, we’ll handle the rest — the credit and debit card payment processing, sending receipts, reporting, and more.

Ask for your first donation

Above all, the first step in earning money on your website is to ask for it. You can add a Donations block to your website in a matter of minutes; watch this short video to learn how. Alternatively, a step-by-step guide follows below.

How to use Donations block to earn money on your WordPress.com website
  • To use the Donations block, you’ll need a WordPress.com website with any paid plan — Personal, Premium, Business, or eCommerce.
  • On any page or post, add the Donations block.
  • To set up your first donation request, create a Stripe account if you don’t have one already. Stripe is the company we’ve partnered with to process credit and debit card payments in a safe, secure, and speedy way.
  • After you’ve connected to Stripe, configure the block’s settings, like how often you’re asking for donations. It can be any combination of single (one-time), monthly recurring, or yearly recurring donations.
  • Set three donation amounts that you’d like visitors to choose from for any of the payment intervals. These are fully customizable. Be sure to set your currency as well.
  • You can also allow visitors to donate what they want — essentially a blank box for them to fill out how much money they would like to give.
  • Review all of the text in your Donations block — you can edit every single letter, so be sure to provide enough information for your visitors about their donation, why you’re asking for it, etc.
  • Publish your block!
  • You can manage your supporters, see earnings, and keep an eye on other metrics in the Earn dashboard.
  • Last but not least, tell others about what you’re doing! Share on social media, email, and however you best communicate with people who might donate to your cause.

A suite of payment features to fit your needs

Looking to accept payments for something else? There are several other payment features on WordPress.com to suit your needs and help you make money with your website. In addition to the new Donations block, here are other features:

  • Payments block: Accept one-time or recurring payments on your website for physical items, digital downloads, services, memberships, subscriptions, and more.
  • Premium Content block: Create one-time, monthly, or yearly subscription options to share select content with those who pay for it — text, images, videos, or any kind of content. Exclusive content can be sent to email inboxes or viewed on your website.
  • Paid newsletters: Using the Premium Content block, you can share your site’s latest premium content via email newsletters in a fully automated way.
  • eCommerce Store: Turn your website into an eCommerce store and sell products and services seamlessly.

If you’re interested in setting up a membership- or subscription-based website, learn more about getting started with memberships and subscriptions.


Add the Donations block and start earning money with your website today!

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Expert Advice: Stay On Top of Your Business with Jetpack CRM

Customers are the heart of your business, and the best way to maintain your vital relationships with them is with a world-class CRM (customer relationship management) system.

Join us at our next free webinar on Thursday, September 17th, to learn how you can turn leads into customers, track business metrics, leverage data, and monitor activity profiles to better serve your customers—all by using Jetpack CRM.

Date: Thursday, September 17, 2020
Time: 8:00 am PT | 10:00 am CT | 11:00 am ET | 15:00 UTC
Registration linkhttps://zoom.us/webinar/register/8015988855022/WN_ZMyGfL7dRsm_4yzwivSnzw
Who’s invited: All are welcome, but this webinar is designed especially for small business owners, freelancers, consultants, and anyone else interested in learning how they can improve their sales process.

Jetpack CRM was built specifically for WordPress, so that you can manage your leads as they navigate your sales funnel, all on your WordPress dashboard. Mike Stott and Woody Hayday, the founding developers and lead engineers behind Jetpack CRM, will be co-presenting in the webinar, which will include a 15-minute live Q&A at the end of the 45-minute presentation.

Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the live webinar, though! A recording will be available on our YouTube channel a few days after the event.

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

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Seedlet: A New, Sophisticated Theme Fully Powered By the Block Editor

Is your WordPress.com site ready for a refresh? Today, we’re unveiling Seedlet, a new theme that’s simple yet stylish.

Screenshot of the Seedlet theme demo page home screen

Designed by Kjell Reigstad, Seedlet is a great option for professionals and creatives seeking a sophisticated vibe. Classically elegant typography creates a refined site that gives your writing and images space to breathe — and shine. 

Seedlet was built to be the perfect partner to the block editor, and supports all the latest blocks. Writing, audio, illustrations, photography, video — use Seedlet to engage and direct visitors’ eyes, without the theme getting in the way. And the responsive design shifts naturally between desktop and mobile devices.

Learn more about setting up Seedlet, and explore the demo site to see it in action. 

Our team is hard at work developing new block-powered themes. Watch this space for updates!

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Expert Advice: How to Build an Accessible Education Website on WordPress.com

Learn the basics and best practices of building an accessible and inclusive website for your classroom, school, or class assignment. This is a free, one-hour live webinar open to all, but is especially geared toward educators, teachers, school webmasters, and students.

Date: Thursday, August 27, 2020
Time: 10:00 am PT | 12:00 pm CT | 1:00 pm ET | 17:00 UTC
Registration linkhttps://zoom.us/webinar/register/2715977718561/WN_RFyhYfGNTOikZxw4aAsMXA
Who’s invited: All are welcome, but this webinar is designed for stakeholders within education, including teachers, educators, school webmasters, students, and parents.

Melissa Silberstang and Fernando Medina are WordPress.com Happiness Engineers and accessibility advocates who have helped thousands of people build websites on WordPress.com. They’ll help you understand what makes a great, accessible website, and what customizations to look out for as you build.

During the last 10-15 minutes of the webinar, attendees will be able to ask questions during the live Q&A portion.

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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The Classic editing experience is moving, not leaving

With the introduction of the Block editor, the WordPress.com Classic Editor was set for retirement at the beginning of June. We pushed that back a bit to make time for more changes that ease the transition to the Block editor — and now it’s time! With the new and improved Classic block, you have the best of both editors: the flexibility and stability of the Block editor, and the Classic editor interface you know.

From August 11 all WordPress.com accounts will switch from Classic editor to the new Block editor. It will happen in phases, and you’ll get an email to let you know to expect the change.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re a fan of the Classic editor experience.

Why the change?

There are exciting new features in the pipeline that require the new WordPress editor. It’s not technically possible to retrofit them into the older, Classic editor, and we want to make sure everyone can take advantage of them as they become available. With all WordPress.com users publishing with the Block editor, all WordPress.com users always have the latest and greatest.

Can I create simple blog posts the way I always have?

Yes, with the Classic block! It provides an editing experience that mimics the Classic editor — the same options and tools, in the same spot.

To use it, add a Classic block to your post or page, then add and edit both text and media right inside it.

What about editing posts and pages already created in the Classic editor?

Many of you have lots of pages and posts already created and published with the Classic editor. Previously, editing them in the Block editor led to a lot of prompts asking you to convert the content to blocks. Now there’s a single “Convert to blocks” menu item to take care of it in one go.

Use it to upgrade your posts and pages to block-based content at your leisure.

Can I combine the Classic block with other blocks?

The Classic block gives you the best of both worlds. You can continue writing and editing your posts with the simple Classic interface — but when you want to experiment with more complex layouts and functionality you play with the flexibility of blocks. For example, have you ever wanted an easy way to show off your favorite podcast?

What about editing on mobile?

As long as your post or page only contains a single Classic block, you’ll be able to edit the Classic content in the mobile app.


The Block editor also has updates to bring in some of your favorite classic features, like a clean editing screen. The Block editor displays pop-up options and menus as you type — they give you lots of control, but you might not always want them visible over your content. Turn on Top toolbar mode to keep them pinned to the top of the screen. It’s a great way to experience the full flexibility of the block editor while still allowing distraction-free writing.

Look out for the email letting you know when to expect the Block editor switch! In there meantime, learn more about working with the Block editor and the Classic block.

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Introducing a New, Convenient Way for Your Customers to Contact You

The world is mobile, and your visitors and customers expect to be able to easily contact you using their mobile device. With WordPress.com’s new WhatsApp button, you can provide a one-click, secure way for people to open WhatsApp, with your phone number and a message pre-filled.


Insert the WhatsApp button with your phone number and a custom message pre-filled.

Adding the button is easy. In the block editor, create a new block and search for WhatsApp:

whatsapp block

The WhatsApp button is available now to all WordPress.com sites on a Premium, Business, or eCommerce plan. You can upgrade your site to one of these plans, try it out for 30 days, and if you’re not satisfied with your upgrade we’ll grant you a full refund.

If you decide to cancel your paid plan after you’ve already accepted the free custom domain, the domain is yours to keep. We simply ask that you cover the costs for the domain registration.

We hope the WhatsApp button helps you connect with your customers and visitors in new ways. Give it a try today!

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Manage Posts and Pages with the Block Editor Sidebar

We wanted to make it easier to manage posts and pages when you’re working within the Block Editor. With the Block Editor Sidebar you can view, create, edit, and manage posts and pages right from the Block Editor!  

Wait, another sidebar?

Have you ever finished editing something and then needed to make a quick edit to an existing post, or start a new one? Previously this meant navigating to your dashboard and to the posts list.

The Block Editor Sidebar allows you to view and access your site’s posts and pages — whether they’re drafts, published, or scheduled — and create new ones right from the editor.

Using the sidebar

The sidebar is available in the Block Editor when editing both posts and pages. For now, when editing a post you’ll only be able to see recent posts, and create new posts. Similarly, if you’re editing a page you’ll see a list of your recent pages and a link to create a new page.

The following steps refer to posts, but you can use the same steps to edit pages.

Open an existing post or create a new one to open the editor.

Select a post from the posts list

To view the sidebar, click on the WordPress.com logo at the top left of the editor.

Click on the WordPress.com logo

To return to your posts list, select the View Posts link.

Block Editor Sidebar - view all posts

To load an existing post, select the post title in the list of recent posts. Unless it’s already been published, the post’s status will appear next to the title, for example “Draft” or “Scheduled.”

Block Editor Sidebar - select a post to edit

To create a new post, click on the Add new post link.

Block Editor Sidebar - add a new post

To dismiss the sidebar, click anywhere outside the sidebar or press the “Escape” key.

What’s next?

Now that we have the Block Editor Sidebar in place, we’ll extend its capabilities with more tools and shortcuts to help you manage your site’s content.

Do you have ideas for site-level features you’d like to see in the Block Editor Sidebar? Or suggestions about how we can improve this feature? Please let us know in the comments!

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Starting Your Own Podcast on WordPress.com

I am very inspired by creative podcasts. Entertaining guests and the unscripted nature of the conversations make me feel like I am right there, chatting about world affairs or the deep societal transformations of the connected age. I decided to start my own show with a group of friends  — loosely about blogging, but delving into all sorts of things.

It took three hours, with a total cost of $5/month, including our own domain name. In this post, I’ll share my journey of launching a brand-new podcast on WordPress.com, and later promoting it on iTunes and Spotify.

Why start a podcast?

Podcasting has been hailed as “the new blogging.” According to Edison Research, 51% of Americans have listened to a podcast, and hosts have created over one million podcasts on iTunes Podcasts.

Starting a podcast comes with a lot of perks:

  • You can connect with your audience on a much deeper level, thanks to your voice and the unscripted nature of the conversation.
  • It’s a fantastic excuse to reach out and meet interesting people.
  • Podcasting pairs really well with other projects — blogging, writing, or even a corporate ”day job.”

A group of Polish bloggers and I had been dreaming of a foray into podcasting for a while. We created the Placebo podcast in hopes of meeting interesting people and, frankly, having fun.

The tagline in Polish reads: “Your dose of absolutely nothing. Confirmed clinical efficacy.”

How does it all work?

You may have listened to a podcast on iTunes, Spotify, or another app — but did you know the content you’re enjoying doesn’t originate there? The beating heart of every podcast is its RSS feed. It is a particular format for content that services like iTunes or Spotify can process and display in the appropriate apps — iTunes, Alexa devices, and other services.

When you upload an audio file to your blog (for example, an .mp3) and hit publish, the new post (including the file) shows up in your RSS feed. From there, iTunes, Spotify, Pocket Casts, or another podcast app downloads the file to play it to your listeners.

WordPress.com also has built-in podcasting tools to make that job easier. To upload audio files, you’ll need a paid plan — any plan, including the Personal plan at $5/month, will do.

What do you need to start?

The name

The name of your podcast helps listeners find you in their favorite podcasting app. With Placebo, our main concern was making it memorable; our secondary goal, humor. (Which is related — funny is memorable!) We came up with “Placebo — a podcast with a confirmed clinical efficacy.”

Other memorable name examples include therapist Esther Perrell’s podcast, Where Should We Begin, Matt Mullenweg’s podcast about remote work, Distributed, and Joe Rogan’s The Joe Rogan Experience. If you are still stuck, try out our recently launched business name generator to help you brainstorm.

Recording

We didn’t want to get expensive gear. It’s better to start simple with the equipment you already have. The Placebo podcast is recorded over Zoom, with video-call headsets. I recommend recording at least three episodes, so when you publish, your listeners will have a better taste of your style.

The Distributed podcast has a great walkthrough of the various recording options you can try.

Cover art

In addition to your name, there are other ways to stand out from all the other podcasts and voices: strong cover art and a succinct, solid summary. (You can add all three on WordPress.com in My Sites → Settings → Writing → Podcasting.) 

The cover art should be easy to recognize. Since our podcast is named Placebo, we decided on a satirical medical vibe. We found a nice graphic, and after a few tweaks, tada!


Placebo podcast cover image

Pro tip: Cover art should be 1400×1400 px, so be sure to use an image that’s big enough.

The summary

When writing your summary on iTunes, you must distill the description of your podcast content to 250 characters or less. For Placebo, we wanted to give listeners a taste and encourage them to give us a try:

Placebo is a podcast with confirmed clinical efficacy. Artur, Agnes, and Michael chat about building your online home, technology, culture, business ideas, and being the best citizen of the Internet you can be. More on placebo.pro

We also included the link to our site, where listeners can learn more.

Here is where you upload your cover art and summary on WordPress.com

Light audio editing

Some podcasts (like Distributed) are edited to equalize audio levels or condense the episode. We opted to publish the raw audio — I only attach the pre-recorded intro music in GarageBand. I delve into details of audio editing on my blog Deliberate Internet

Before I upload a new episode to iTunes Podcasts, I add relevant ID3 tags in the iTunes player (where you edit rather than publish). ID3 tags are used by the iPhone Podcasts app to display your cover image. Import each one of your recorded files in iTunes player and select “Information.” There, you can tweak the image, category, and title of the audio file.

After you edit the information in iTunes player, or wherever you are editing your podcast, upload your cover art and click “OK”; your episode will appear in the iTunes Player Podcast library on your computer. You can find this file in your Home Directory → Music → iTunes → Podcasts.

Your audio files are now ready for distribution! That’s where WordPress.com comes in.

Uploading to WordPress.com

Create a separate WordPress.com post for each episode of your podcast. This gives you a unique link to share with your audience, a way for them to listen to your episode without the app, and a place to add extra notes and links.

To publish a podcast post:

  1. Create a new post. Add any extra notes or info you want to share with the podcast.
  2. Add the Audio block and upload your podcast file.
  3. Give the post the Podcast category.
  4. Publish the post.

This guide on the WordPress.com Support Site has more details.

Time to go live

You have your domain and a site for your podcast. You’ve recorded and uploaded a few episodes. Now it’s time to share your podcast with the world!

Your podcast is available on your WordPress.com site, but the majority of people consume podcasts through an app — iTunes podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, etc. Fortunately, they all work by checking your RSS feed. Once you submit your RSS feed to those services, new episodes will appear there automatically.

Spotify 

  1. Copy the RSS URL from the WordPress.com podcasting settings page
  2. Go to Podcasters Spotify
  3. Submit your RSS feed
  4. Wait two to three days for your podcast to appear

iTunes

  1. Copy the RSS URL from the WordPress.com podcasting settings page
  2. Go to Podcasts Connect
  3. Submit your RSS feed
  4. Wait about a week for them to review and approve your podcast

When the podcast is reviewed, approved, and appears in the Spotify and iTunes libraries, add those links to your site. That way, you can promote your nifty WordPress.com custom domain, and visitors can choose their preferred podcast consuming technology. We put these buttons right up at the top:

You can download these buttons here:

The lucky number seven

Recording new podcast episodes are plenty of fun, but can sometimes feel like work. Podcasts with seven or more episodes are likely to continue growing. The Placebo podcast crew has pledged to record at least eight.

And don’t forget to enjoy it! The conversations with interesting guests are why we do it.

I’ve published the full version of “How to Start a Podcast” on my personal website. There, I’ve expanded on my process to record episodes over Zoom, and how I later edited them in GarageBand. Dive deeper if you’re interested!


Cover Photo by The Teens Network Daytime Show Studios on Pexels.com

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Improve Your Remote Collaboration With P2

P2 powers internal collaboration at WordPress.com — and now it’s free for everyone.


As more collaboration is happening remotely and online — work yes, but increasingly also school and personal relationships — we’re all looking for better ways to work together online. Normally, teachers hand out homework to students in person, and project leaders gather colleagues around a conference table for a presentation. Suddenly all this is happening in email, and Slack, and Zoom, and Google docs, and a dozen other tools.

At WordPress.com, our 15 years as a fully distributed company with over 1,200 employees working from 77 countries relies on P2: an all-in-one team website, blog, database, and social network that consolidates communications and files in one accessible, searchable spot.

It powers work at WordPress.com, WooCommerce, and Tumblr. And today, a beta version is available for anyone — for your newly-remote work team, your homeschooling pod, your geographically scattered friends. P2 is the glue that gives your group an identity and coherence. 

What’s P2?

P2 moves your team or organization away from scattered communication and siloed email inboxes. Any member of your P2, working on any kind of project together, can post regular updates. Discussions happen via comments, posted right from the front page and updated in real time, so your team can brainstorm, plan, and come to a consensus. Upload photos or charts, take a poll, embed files, and share tidbits from your day’s.activities. Tag teammates to get their attention. Your P2 members can see updates on the Web, via email, or in the WordPress mobile apps. 

Keep your P2 private for confidential collaboration. Or make it public to build a community. How you use it and who has access is up to you. And as folks come and go, all conversations and files remain available on the P2, and aren’t lost in anyone’s inbox.

The beta version of P2 is free for anyone, and you can create as many P2 sites as you need. (Premium versions are in the works.)  

What can I use P2 for?

Inside Automattic, we use P2 for:

  • Companywide blog posts from teams and leadership, where everyone can ask questions via comments.
  • Virtual “watercoolers” to help teammates connect — there are P2s for anything from music to Doctor Who to long-distance running.
  • Project planning updates.
  • Sharing expertise to our broader audience. We’ve got a P2 with guidance on how to manage remote work, and WooCommerce uses P2 to organize their global community.

P2 works as an asynchronous companion to live video like Zoom or live chat like Slack. It’s a perfect partner for live video and chat — you have those tools when a real-time conversation gets the job done, and P2 for reflection, discussion, and commemorating decisions.y.

How can you use your P2?

  • Plan a trip with friends and family — share links, ticket files, and travel details. (See an example on this P2!).
  • Create a P2 for your school or PTA to share homeschooling resources and organize virtual events.
  • Manage your sports team’s schedules and share photos from games.
  • Let kids track and submit homework assignments remotely, with a space for Q&A with your students.

How can I learn more?

Visit this demo P2 to learn the P2 ropes! Check out a range of example posts and comments to see how you can:

  • Post, read, comment, like, and follow conversations. 
  • @-mention individuals and groups to get their attention. 
  • Share video, audio, documents, polls, and more.  
  • Access in-depth stats and get notifications.

Ready for your own P2?

Visit WordPress.com/p2 and create your own P2.

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Hosting Live (Virtual!) Events: Lessons from the WordPress.com Growth Summit

Back in January, my team at WordPress.com was busy planning another year of exciting in-person events — community meetups, conference keynotes, booths, and in-person demos — at large exhibit halls and hotels around the world.

Then world changed overnight, and because of a global pandemic, our Events team — just like many of you running your own businesses — had to rethink everything about how we connect with people. 

So we went back to work. We’ve learned so much in just five months, and it culminates in the upcoming WordPress.com Growth Summit — our first-ever multi-day virtual conference. It’s going to be a jam-packed program full of expert advice from business leaders and entrepreneurs. We’ll also have breakout sessions with our own WordPress experts, the Automattic Happiness Engineers, taking you through everything you need to know about building a powerful, fast website that works great for SEO, eCommerce, and growing your business. 

In the lead-up to the Summit, we wanted to share everything we’ve learned so far about running virtual events, from YouTube to webinars to Facebook Live and ticket sales. There are dozens of great solutions for staying connected to and supporting your audience — here’s what’s been working for us: 

Live webinars 

In April, we launched a series of daily webinars, 30-minute live demos and Q&As direct from our Happiness Engineers, five days a week. These webinars walk people through the basics of getting started with WordPress.com. We also launched a few topical webinars — deeper dives into specific topics: eCommerce 101, growing an audience, using the WordPress app, and podcasting, to name a few.

We chose Zoom to host these because it’s a popular platform that allows for key webinar elements like pre-registration/signups, screen sharing, and Q&A. We pulled these together quickly, so going with a familiar solution was key for us and our audience. 

To expand our reach, we also streamed to our Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube channels. This was a simple integration that Zoom offers already, and we saw our viewership grow exponentially. 

Pre-recorded vs. live instruction 

At virtual events, one question always comes up: pre-recorded or live? We prefer a combination! Live is great when possible; it gives attendees an opportunity to interact with speakers, speakers can personalize the content based on questions being asked, and attendees can interact with one another, forming connections with like-minded content creators and entrepreneurs. 

Live content also has challenges: internet connections can cut out, computers can shut down unexpectedly, and there are more opportunities for interruption (does anyone else’s dog bark the minute you get on a live video?). It also requires all participants to be online at the same time, which can be logistically challenging.

Our advice: Test, test, test! If a speaker isn’t comfortable presenting live, there is the option to do a combination — a pre-recorded session with a live Q&A in the chat. We’ve found it to work really well, and it gives attendees the same access to the presenter.

The Growth Summit 

We helped folks to get online quickly with our daily webinars and dove into deeper topics each month, and now we want to help you grow your site. Enter The Official WordPress.com Growth Summit, happening next week, August 11-13.

We gathered frequently asked questions over the past few months, listened to your requests for live sessions across more time zones, and found inspiration from users that we felt needed to be shared widely.  

The Growth Summit takes a deeper dive into topics and offers hands-on WordPress training for anyone looking to get online. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions live, connect with speakers, visit our virtual Happiness Bar for 1:1 support, and connect with other attendees during the networking breaks. 

Some key highlights from the agenda

  • Using the block editor
  • Customizing your site
  • Growing your audience
  • Improving your content ranking (SEO)
  • Creating a marketing plan 
  • Expanding from blogging to podcasting 
  • Making money with your site
  • And so much more… 

We wanted a platform for this event that would act as an immersive event experience. There are many great platforms for this, including Accelevents and Hopin. We’ll be experimenting with many of them in the coming months (Remember: test!). A few key features we looked for: 

  • Ease of self-production
  • Ability for simultaneous sessions
  • Overall user experience
  • Flow of the event — central location for agenda, speaker bios, networking, and more
  • Networking features
  • Audience engagement — polling, live chat, and more
  • Analytics
  • Registration within the platform
  • Accessibility
  • Customization
  • Speaker (virtual) green rooms

The best part? This event is being offered twice a day so that we cover all time zones. And if you can’t join us live, attendees will have access to all content from all time zones, after the event.

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