You’ve launched your website or started a blog. Congratulations! Now it’s time to attract an audience. You built a website to reach people with your art, ideas, or products and services. We’ve created a free online session to help you do just that.
Register for our next 60-minute webinar, Traffic Control: How to Find and Grow an Audience for your Website, to get advice and guidance on attracting the right people to your site.
Date: May 27, 2020
Time: 10:00 a.m. PDT | 11:00 a.m. MDT | 12:00 p.m. CDT | 1:00 p.m. EDT | 17:00 UTC
Cost: Free | Register now
Who’s invited: Content creators, online publishers, and small businesses looking for the best ways to build an audience of loyal customers and dedicated readers.
Topics will include:
- Understanding your audience.
- Demystifying SEO.
- How to optimize your site for local visitors.
- What does “quality content” really mean?
- Using email, social media, and paid advertising.
- How to take advantage of WordPress.com’s marketing tools for audience growth.
Hosts Chris Smith and Kasey Steinbrinck run their own sites and both have worked with a variety of businesses to help them optimize their websites and create strong content. They’ll help you choose what to focus on so that you can make the most of your time.
After working as an SEO specialist for many years, Chris supports WordPress.com customers with expert advice as a Happiness Engineer. Kasey started his career as a TV news producer and entertainment writer before becoming a content marketer and an independent blogger. Today he works on WordPress.com’s content strategy.
The 60-minute webinar will include detailed instructions on WordPress SEO as well as a Q&A session. Seats are limited so register today to reserve your spot.
Recommended Reads for International Day of Disabled Persons
Explore personal essays and posts from disabled bloggers and disability rights activists.
WordPress.com, as my colleague Anne recently wrote, continues to be a space for people to tell their personal stories and amplify their voices. Today, International Day of Disabled Persons, we’d like to highlight a few perspectives and thoughtful reads to raise awareness of the myriad experiences of disabled people.
This reading list is merely a starting point — be sure to explore more posts tagged with “disability” in the WordPress.com Reader, for example. We hope it introduces you to writers and disability rights advocates whose work you may not be familiar with.
“How to Properly Celebrate a Civil Rights Law During a Pandemic in Which Its Subjects Were Left to Die” at Crutches and Spice
Imani Barbarin at Crutches and Spice writes about life, current events, entertainment, and politics from the perspective of a Black woman with cerebral palsy. Read her reflections on the death of actor Chadwick Boseman, or the anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (which turned 30 this year), excerpted below.
Prior to the pandemic, disabled people were told that the accessibility we needed was cost-prohibitive and unlikely to be implemented only to watch as the institutions that barred our inclusion make those tools available now that nondisabled people needed them. We called for polling places and voting procedures to be made accessible only to watch as politicians shut down polling places in predominantly black neighborhoods. We begged for businesses to be inclusive and accessible to disabled customers only for accessibility to be pitted against small businesses and workers’ rights.
And now, unironically, they celebrate.
They celebrate not weighed down by their own words calculating the amount of acceptable death it would take to reopen the economy. They post our pictures celebrating their own “diversity and inclusion” without confronting the fact they only became accessible because of a pandemic and as they loudly push to reopen, they amplify our voices for now with no plan to continue to include the disability community as businesses start to reopen.
But I am also filled with love and gratitude for my community.
#ADA30InColor at Disability Visibility Project
Founded by Alice Wong, The Disability Visibility Project is a community focused on creating and sharing disability media and culture. You’ll find a range of content, including oral histories, guest blog posts, and a podcast hosted by Wong and featuring conversations with disabled people.
If you’re not sure where to start, dive into the 13 posts in the #ADA30InColor series — it includes essays on the past, present, and future of disability rights and justice by disabled BIPOC writers. Here are excerpts from two pieces.
More than anything, however, it was my blindness that allowed me to experience perhaps the biggest impact of this transition. Being able to attend a “regular” school as opposed to the school for the blind and take classes with sighted peers every day, becoming friends with classmates who have different types of disabilities, having Braille placards by every classroom door at a school not intended solely for only blind students, meeting blind adults with various jobs — ranging from chemist to statistician to lawyer — was my new reality. Even as a teenager, I knew it was a great privilege to be in this new reality — America, where there were laws in place to protect the rights of disabled people to live, study, play, and work alongside the nondisabled. At the same time, this reality began to feel like a multi-layered burden as I began to form and understand different elements of who I am: a disabled, 1.5 generation Korean-American immigrant.
“Building Bridges as a Disabled Korean Immigrant” by Miso Kwak
Even with medical documentation on file, disabled BIPOC face added suspicion, resistance, and stigma from instructors, particularly for invisible disabilities. We are also stereotyped in racially coded ways as unreasonable, aggressive, and “angry” when we self-advocate. We are especially heavily policed in graduate and professional programs, and this is apparent in our representation — while 26 percent of adults in the US have a disability, only 12 percent of post-baccalaureate students are students with disabilities. This is even lower among some ethnicities — only 6 percent of post-baccalaureate Asian American students have a disability.
“My Favorite Wheelchair Dances” at Alizabeth Worley
Alizabeth Worley is a writer and artist with moderate chronic fatigue syndrome. She writes about topics like health and interabled marriage (her husband has cerebral palsy). In a recent post, Alizabeth compiles YouTube clips of beautiful and inspiring wheelchair dances, some of which are from Infinite Flow, an inclusive dance company. Here’s one of the dances she includes in her list, featuring Julius Jun Obero and Rhea Marquez.
“The Intersection of Queerness and Disability” at Autistic Science Person
I often put down Female for medical appointments even if there’s a Nonbinary option, as I don’t want to “confuse” them. It’s just easier for everyone, I think. I worry about backlash I would receive, or the confused looks I would get if I put down Nonbinary. I think about people tiptoeing around my gender. I can’t deal with even more self-advocacy in a medical visit as an autistic person, so it’s just not worth it, I think. I’m reminded of the time I carried folding crutches to my unrelated medical appointment. Both the staff and doctor asked me why I brought crutches when I was “walking normally.” I had to explain that I needed them on my walk back for my foot pain. Both explaining my disability and explaining my gender — explaining the assumptions around my body is exhausting.
No matter what, people will make assumptions. Both ableism and cisnormativity are baked into our brains and our society. The things people have to do to accommodate us and acknowledge us involves unlearning their preconceptions. Society really doesn’t want us to do that. This is why there is so much defensiveness for both providing accommodations and acknowledging someone’s gender, pronouns, and name. People don’t want to do that work. They don’t want to be confronted with structural changes, the issue of gender norms, and the problems that disabled people face every day. They just want to go on with their lives because it’s easier to them. It’s easier for them to ignore our identities.
“The Last Halloween, The First Halloween” at Help Codi Heal
“The first Halloween my daughter could walk was the last Halloween that I could,” writes Codi Darnell, the blogger at Help Codi Heal. In a post reflecting on her fifth Halloween in a wheelchair, Codi reflects on change, pain, and the firsts and lasts in her life.
It was all automatic — all done without realizing the ways these simple acts of motherhood were deeply engrained in my identity. All done with zero understanding that something so simple could be snatched away — and how painful it would be when it was.
Because a year later I would not hold her hand up the stairs or scoop her up and onto my hip. I wouldn’t stand beside her at the door or see her face light up when — in her big two-year-old voice — she managed all three words “trick-or-treat”. A year later, I would understand the fragility of our being and know intimately the pain of things taken away. But I would still be there.
“Even If You Can’t See It: Invisible Disability and Neurodiversity” at Kenyon Review
At Kenyon Review, author Sejal A. Shah writes a personal essay on neurodiversity, depression, academia, and the writing life.
Maybe things would have turned out differently had I requested accommodations, had I known about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990), had I understood my “situation,” as my aunt calls it, counted as a disability. The ADA law was amended in 2008 to include bipolar disorder. I began my job in 2005 and finished in 2011. It would have been helpful to know about the law and my rights under it.
I didn’t know the laws then; I didn’t know them until writing this essay. I looked normal; I passed. Would my career have turned out differently had I been willing to come out (for that’s what it felt like, an emergence into a world that might not accept me)? I was certain the stigma of having a major mood disorder would have hurt me professionally. Even had I disclosed my disorder, HR and my supervisors may not have agreed to modifications in my work responsibilities. I would still have needed to advocate for myself — would still have needed the energy to provide documentation and persist. For years, I had been ashamed, alarmed, and exhausted from trying to keep my head above water.
“The Outside Looking In” at Project Me
Project Me is the blog of Hannah Rose Higdon, a Deaf Lakota woman who grew up on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. In “The Outside Looking In,” Higdon offers a glimpse into her experience as a child who was born hard of hearing, and whose family had very little access to the support she needed. (Higdon is now profoundly Deaf.)
I look up as my uncle talks to me. I nod. I smile. And I pretend I know just exactly what is going on. The truth is I have no clue what he’s saying or why he’s laughing, but I laugh too and mimic his facial expressions. I would never want to draw any more attention to myself than necessary. You see, I might only be 5 years old, but I know just how important it is to pretend.
“How to Center Disability in the Tech Response to COVID-19” at Brookings TechStream
Organizer, attorney, and disability justice advocate Lydia X.Z. Brown calls on the tech industry to carefully consider how policy affects marginalized communities, looking at algorithmic modeling in hospitals, contract tracing and surveillance, and web inaccessibility.
For disabled people who are also queer, trans, or people of color, the deployment of algorithmic modeling increases the risk of compounded medical discrimination. All marginalized communities have long histories and ongoing legacies of surviving involuntary medical experimentation, coercive treatment, invasive and irreversible procedures, and lower quality of care — often justified by harmful beliefs about the ability to feel pain and quality of life. These health care disparities are exacerbated for people who experience multiple forms of marginalization.
The Spoonie Authors Network features work from authors and writers about how they manage their disabilities or chronic illnesses and conditions. Managed by Cait Gordon and Dianna Gunn, the community site also publishes resources and produces a podcast. Explore posts in the Featured Author or Internalized Ableism categories, like the piece below, to sample some of the writing.
When my neurologist suggested that I get a parking pass, I turned it down.
“I’d rather that go to someone more deserving,” I said. “There are people out there who are far more disabled than I am. Let the pass go to one of them.”
“You have difficulty walking. What would happen if it was icy or there were other difficult walking conditions?” she said kindly. “This is for your safety.”
I nodded and accepted the parking pass, even though I felt it made me look weak. I wasn’t disabled enough to warrant a parking pass. I can walk. I didn’t need it, I told myself.
“Not Disabled Enough” by Jamieson Wolf
More recommended sites:
- Deafinitely Wanderlust
- Unpacking Disability
- Have Wheelchair Will Travel
- Leaving Evidence
- Simply Emma
- Gin & Lemonade
- Autistic Collaboration
Note on header image: Six disabled people of color smile and pose in front of a concrete wall. Five people stand in the back, with the Black woman in the center holding up a chalkboard sign that reads, “disabled and HERE.” A South Asian person in a wheelchair sits in front. Photo by Chona Kasinger | Disabled and Here (CC BY 4.0)
Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new course
Are you new to blogging, and do you want step-by-step guidance on how to publish and grow your blog? Learn more about our new Blogging for Beginners course and get 50% off through December 10th.
WordPress.com is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually.
How it works: Upon registering, you will receive access to review the lessons at your own pace. Our curriculum includes:
- Foundations of blogging
- Getting started with block basics
- Building your blog
- Understanding audiences
- Designing your blog
- Writing for the internet
- Branding and growing your blog
- Earning money with your blog
You’ll also be able to connect with WordPress.com experts and other aspiring bloggers, who will create content alongside you. Beyond the modules, this course provides:
- Monthly office hours with WordPress experts to answer your questions
- A certificate of completion
- Access to a private blogging community online
- Virtual meetups scheduled quarterly
Cost: A $49 annual subscription gives you access to all of these on-demand blogging resources, community events, and course updates. That way, you won’t have to waste time looking for answers all over the web—you’ll be able to get started right away.
Join by Thursday, December 10th and enjoy 50% off with code WPCOURSES50.
We are looking forward to reading your new blogs soon!
A New Way to Publish Your Blog Posts Simultaneously as Twitter Threads
Share your entire WordPress blog post as Twitter thread–every word, image, and video will be carried over to the social media platform. It’s never been easier to amplify the reach and engagement of your content beyond WordPress.
Publishing WordPress content on Twitter just got a whole lot easier. You can already bring single Tweets or threads, also known as Tweetstorms, over from Twitter to WordPress, and now we’re bringing the process full circle. With just two extra clicks, you can transform your entire blog post into a Twitter thread. By publishing your quality content on Twitter, you can open new lines of engagement and conversation.
When you share a WordPress post as a Twitter thread, nothing is left behind: Text, images, video, and embeds will be inserted into the thread right where they’re supposed to be.
We know that Twitter threads work best without breaks and other quirks. That’s why, in building this feature, we paid special attention to formatting. If a paragraph is too long for a single Tweet, for instance, it will automatically be split into multiple Tweets. And rather than squishing as many words as possible into the first Tweet and letting the rest spill to the second one, the break will come at the end of a sentence. Also, if you have a list block in your post, it will be formatted as a list on Twitter.
To give you extra control, while you’re writing a post, we’ll show you where Tweet splits will happen. That way, you can shape how your post will appear on Twitter as you write.
How to publish a blog post as a Twitter thread
- At any time while you’re working on a post, you can click on the Jetpack icon that’s located on the far right of the header menu at the top of the page.
- If you don’t already have your Twitter account connected to your website, click “Connect an account” to allow WordPress to publish content on your Twitter feed. You can add multiple Twitter handles if you’ll be Tweeting from more than one account. You only need to connect each account once.
- Make sure the right Twitter handle is selected, write a custom message, and then choose whether you want to share a single link to your blog post or all of the post’s content as a thread.
- Hit publish! Your blog post and the Tweet or thread will be shared simultaneously. Be sure you’ve selected your Twitter account when you publish, as this is the only time you’ll be able to share your blog post as a Twitter thread.
Sharing your full blog posts on Twitter is a great way to amplify your content, increase engagement, and build an audience for your work. You most likely have a number of followers on your WordPress blog who aren’t following you on Twitter, and vice versa. This feature allows you to tap into both groups.
Connect your Twitter account to your WordPress site today, and start publishing to both platforms at the same time. Get creative, and have fun. We’re excited to see how you use this first-of-its-kind tool.
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