Celebrate Your Milestones

Once in a while, it’s important to stop, catch your breath, and look at your accomplishments before you move on to the next thing — to put a stake in the ground that says, “I made it this far!”

Today, we’re rolling out a couple of notifications to help you celebrate your blog activity milestones. From now on, whenever you hit a milestone for how many followers your blog has (5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and beyond), you’ll get a badge:

We also created badges to celebrate when you receive lots of likes from visitors:

In addition to celebrating your achievements, we wanted to notify you when you’ve had a particularly good day for receiving likes or new followers. From now on, we’ll let you know of your best days for such activity:

Keep in mind that we’ve only started counting your best days this March.

We all blog for different reasons. Some might chronicle their travel adventures, others might detail their culinary undertakings. If you find a post or a blog you enjoyed, like it or follow the blog — your action might send them a badge and make them smile. It’s easy to find great new blogs to follow using the Reader.

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New Themes: Standard and Chalk

Today I’m happy to announce two great new additions to our collection of premium themes.

First, we have Standard, a sleek, exacting theme designed by 8BIT for professional blogging with an emphasis on contextual display of your content.

Standard

Your content, in each of its various forms, deserves to be presented with unique distinction. Thanks to Standard’s support of post formats, it can. Image, video, quote, status, and link posts all receive a beautiful visual treatment.

If your visitors are browsing on a mobile device or tablet, Standard has got you covered. Its responsive layout adapts gracefully to smaller screens. View it in action on the demo site, or head on over to the Theme Showcase to read more about Standard and its features.

Next, we have Chalk, an innovative theme designed with a strong focus on online educators by The Theme Foundry.

Chalk

Posts containing to-do lists, chats, links, podcasts, photos, and video are beautifully styled. Chalk comes equipped with a responsive layout allowing your blog to look great on screens both large and small. A custom options screen is also provided enabling you to change colors, add social media links and much more. Want to discover more about Chalk? Head on over to the Theme Showcase and read all about it or take it for a test-spin in the demo site.

Comment Notifications!

by Greg

A few months ago we added Notifications to the WordPress.com Toolbar and recently we released a Chrome extension so that you can always keep up with the activity on your blog. Today we’re adding comment notifications, complete with comment moderation and reply functionality.  When your post receives a comment, you’ll get a Notification that looks something like this:

If you’re using threaded comments, you’ll see if someone responded directly to you, right in the notification.

You will see Approve, Spam, and Trash links in your comment notification if you have permission to moderate comments, allowing you to moderate the comment from within the notification:

Clicking Reply automatically approves a comment and displays an area for you to type a reply in. When you’re done, just click Reply and you can get back to whatever you were working on, without having to navigate to the dashboard to manage your comments.

You can still manage comments in your dashboard, but we hope you’ll find the comment notification a convenient shortcut.

For more information about comments and comment moderation: Comments, Manage Comments.

New Themes: Currents and Debut

by Takashi Irie

Today, I’m excited to introduce the latest additions to our collection of premium themes.

Designed by Andy Rutledge, Currents, is a responsive, minimal yet attractive premium theme from WooThemes.

Currents is perfect for news driven sites. The phrase, “less is more” couldn’t be more true. This clean and minimal design maximises your reader’s focus on the content. Having said that, the theme is packed with many customization options — a wide featured post slider, custom news areas, six alternative color styles, and more. Together, all of these features help you to control how to present current events you want to share with your readers.

Think your readers might check your site on a mobile device? No problem! Currents makes your site look great on an iPad, iPhone or any other mobile device.

This is not all about this great theme, Currents — so be sure to read about it on the Theme Showcase.

Next up is Debut – a beautifully designed theme by Luke McDonald of Press75.

Screenshot of the Debut theme.

Debut is a mobile-ready theme custom tailored to present your content in a professional and eye-catching manner. Five beautifully designed post formats provide you the flexibility needed to display media of all types. Musicians may be specially interested in the audio post format which expands into a multi-track playlist. Highlighting specific content couldn’t be easier with Debut’s Home page template which includes an innovative, customizable content slider as well as a featured area that can display in both grid and list styles.

Read about its features in detail in the Theme Showcase!

New Themes: Splendio and Suburbia

by Michelle Langston

Happy Tuesday! We’ve got two unique free themes for you today, and they are quite a study in contrasts.

Our first theme, Splendio, dazzles with an unconventional yet stylish design from Design Disease that pops out of the box — literally.

Splendio

How you use this theme is limited only by your imagination! It comes loaded with features: six widget areas (one in the right sidebar and up to five in the footer), featured header images, and a custom background. In addition, there’s a showcase page template (pictured in the screenshot above) that includes a featured slider for sticky posts, and a nifty compact listing of your latest posts. For details on how to set up the Splendio theme on your blog, consult the Theme Showcase.

Our next theme, Suburbia, is as orderly and minimalistic as Splendio is eccentric and playful. Designed by WPShower, Suburbia’s attractive arrangement of posts inside a grid make it an excellent choice for magazine-oriented sites.

Suburbia

Suburbia makes use of featured images to display your posts in a clean, refined style. If you’d like a post to have a larger featured image, mark it as a sticky post. In this manner, you can highlight your most important content. In addition to featured images, Suburbia supports five optional widget areas (four in the footer and one in the sidebar on single posts and pages), a custom background, and custom header image. As always, you can click on over to the Theme Showcase to read more about Suburbia.

We look forward to seeing how you use these two great themes.

Chrome Users: Try the WordPress.com Extension

by Christopher Finke

Want to receive WordPress.com notifications instantly, even when you’re not on WordPress.com?

Add the new WordPress.com extension for Chrome and as soon as you get a new follower or a new like on one of your posts, a notification will appear in your browser:

Simply click the icon to view your latest WordPress.com notifications:

Start following new blogs without visiting WordPress.com

The Chrome extension also makes it easy to follow sites from your WordPress.com account by displaying a Follow button whenever you’re browsing a site that has an RSS feed.

Clicking the Follow button will add new posts from the website to your reader, and send you an email each time an update is published. (You can change your default email settings if you like.)

When you visit a WordPress.com site, you’ll notice that the extension icon will turn blue, but keep in mind that you can follow blogs on Blogger, Tumblr, and other services, too.

Quickly post cool stuff you find while browsing the web

Press This is a lightning-fast way to publish content on your blog without ever visiting WordPress.com. Click the WordPress.com extension, then select Press This whenever you find something on the web that you’d like to share on your blog, and a pop-up editor will appear:

Select the blog you’d like to post to, then hit publish to share a link to the site. Your blog will be updated, and you can continue browsing the web from wherever you left off.

If you’d like to publish an excerpt of text along with the link to the site, simply highlight the material with your cursor before clicking Press This:

And it will appear in the editor for you to publish along with the link:

We hope this makes it easier for you to share cool stuff on your blog quickly! If there’s anything you’d like to see in future versions of the extension, be sure to let us know.

New Theme: Fresh & Clean

by Michelle Langston

Today we’ve got a new theme for you that is so fresh and clean that it’s called…Fresh & Clean. Designed by AJ Clarke, Fresh & Clean is a responsive, spick-and-span theme that lets you put your best content forward with minimal frills.

Fresh & Clean utilizes Featured Images to help you to easily transform your blog into a stylish online portfolio. There’s a featured slider on the front page that highlights Sticky Posts that have large Featured Images. All other Featured Images appear as prominent thumbnails next to their respective posts.

Not looking to build an online portfolio at this time? No problem, Fresh & Clean is great as an all-purpose blogging theme! Take a moment to read more about Fresh & Clean and its features on the Theme Showcase.