WPcom Business Plan gets an upgrade (unofficial)

With very little information to go on, it looks like WordPressdotcom has taken the final leap to enter the full, managed WP hosting arena by offering its Business plan users access to a wider range of plugins and custom themes through the Calypso dashboard. This includes access to WooCommerce and forums like bbPress and BuddyPress.

Other than new-to-me WPcom staff commenting in a community forum thread and an updated support document on the differences between WordPressdotcom and WP.org, there’s no official announcement yet to verify this change in the Business plan.

Update as of half an hour after publishing this post: a more-familiar Staff member answered in the community forum thread and confirmed that this change is official. Users who already have the Business plan upgrade can get more help and information via live chat.

Lodestar-a trendy theme for your business

WordPress.com just released to its users the Lodestar theme (by Automattic’s Mel Choyce), which is also available for WordPress.org users. It’s a beautiful one-page business theme designed to highlight the best features of your organization.

One-page business themes have caught on hugely over the past couple of years. Initial set up of these themes can be challenging, but the reward is the ease of maintaining it after set up and, more importantly, a site that works well for business owners without a lot of continuing effort. While some themes in the below list are not strictly defined as “one-page,” popular free themes with a special front page template include:

  • Edin
  • Sela
  • Goran
  • Gateway
  • Harmonic
  • Motif
  • Affinity
  • Sequential
  • Pique
  • Shoreditch

One tweak that I would love to see included in theme “Content Options” on all the above themes is the ability to set the image overlay opacity without having to upgrade to either the Premium or Business Plans in order to modify the theme CSS. It’s a small tweak but certainly would be appreciated by users.

There’s been a lot of speculation from WordPressdotcom users about when we would see ORG’s new default theme, Twenty Seventeen, released here. Staff advised:

Twenty Seventeen is on the way, but it has some completely new features that are not entirely compatible with WordPress.com, so we’ve been working behind the scenes to get everything ready so the theme will work correctly when we launch it here.

I’m guessing this refers to the REST API endpoints, which you may recall only 2 short weeks ago was in Tech news headlines as it was used to deface standalone WP.org sites (ORG not COM).

So we’re still waiting (much like our in-the-works e-commerce solution), but Lodestar is the theme that Twenty Seventeen is based on.

 

How to Choose the Best Theme for Your Business Website

Excellent suggestions for anyone selecting a theme for their brand new site or changing their existing site’s theme, not just businesses. 10/10!

The WordPress.com Blog

Building a beautiful website for your business begins with choosing a theme — a design that controls page layout, widget areas, and default style. With more than 350 free and paid themes on WordPress.com, selecting a theme for your business website can feel overwhelming, but you can make it easier by focusing on these three questions.

What Am I Publishing on My Website?

Draft a visual map of your website to help you plan your site structure and decide what you want your homepage to look like. Will your homepage contain static information about your business like a welcome message and business hours or do you want to showcase your latest blog content?

In a theme overview page or when trying out a live demo, look at how the theme handles Widgets— tools or content blocks that you can add, arrange, and remove on your website. Widget areas can include…

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WordCamp Jerusalem 2013: A Belated Wrap-up

wcjeru-2013WordCamp Jerusalem this year has come and gone. Presentation slides have since been added to the event website (video soon?) and some of slide packs are in English although the presentation itself may have been given in Hebrew.

Here are the talks I attended; With the exception of “Getting to Know WordPress”, all presentations were in the General Track (non-techy):

צילום: שלשה עקרונות, שלשה יישומים באתר שלך (Photography: Three principles and 3 implementations on your site)
This was the first talk of the morning that I arrived late to (see below) and was immediately sorry that I was late. Yael gave some excellent tips on how to best photograph portraits, apartments and products for the web. As with most things photography, lighting is the key.

היכרות עם וורדפרס ועוד… (Getting to Know WordPress and more)
My first real encounter with getting under the WP hood and into the engine. Geared for beginners Chen’s talk gave me an insight into what I’m gladly getting myself into, just don’t ask me yet to use a stick shift.

משנים את העולם – וורדפרס לעמותות וארגונים חברתיים (Changing the World with WordPress for Non-Profits and Charitable Organizations)
I wrote earlier about this talk and my disappointment that WordPress.com was not mentioned as an option for budget-strapped NPOs and other charitable organizations. If you look at this particular developer’s slides from WordCamp (in Hebrew), you’ll understand why Omer would not suggest it to his clients, but it’s still an option for the vast majority.
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WordPress.com Business: Get a professional website without a professional price tag

The Business Bundle I wrote about earlier has now officially launched! Excellent value-for-money for non-profits, businesses and professionals looking to launch their online presence. The special support tier makes this especially worthwhile.

The WordPress.com Blog

Are you a small business owner who wants an interactive website with demo videos? A pro blogger who wants to try out a bunch of premium themes before committing? A non-profit building its first website, and in need of a little extra support? Say goodbye to sky-high web development costs and hello to WordPress.com Business.

Everything a growing business needs, at a price a growing business can handle.

Our users already know how easy it is to build great websites on WordPress.com: we’re flexible, powerful, and scale along with you. WordPress.com Business makes it even easier to build a site that supports your growing business long-term by giving you every tool you need up front and for only $299/year:

  • Live support from friendly people, so you can get one-on-one help from a real human when you need it.
  • Unlimited premium themes, so you can find the perfect look for your…

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Doing Business on WordPress.com

More companies are making their way to WordPress.com to build their web presence either as a blog or as a full website (as long as e-commerce is not the primary function of the site). And what’s not to like? On signing up and agreeing to the Terms of Service, a company gets a free or low-cost website with all updates and security handled by Automattic, excellent SEO built right into the platform, an excellent up-time record and, if a company chooses to buy the Domain Name Upgrade, there’s also easy branding or integration with the company’s existing website.  If you are comfortable with not having total control over your website, mostly in the areas of plug-ins and use of special code, WordPress.com is an excellent choice for business.
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