After spending an amazing month mostly away from the computer and immersing myself in horizons and vistas much wider than a computer screen, it’s been hard to sit down again to blog. So let me sum up briefly what I’ve learned since returning to WordPress.com in case you missed it, too:
Gutenberg is now available in your New Dash Editor
Upon opening the Editor to write this post I encountered the following:
Having been (blissfully) away I’m not certain when the Gutenberg Editor was introduced to the New Dash, but it was pushed out to “Horizon” the official WordPress.com public testing environment, about a week ago. The feedback there has been limited and with few responses from “regular” WordPress.com users. If you are posting about this new editing experience on your own WordPress.com site, you do have the opportunity to test and get your findings in front of people in a place where it counts.
Adoption of Gutenberg is currently set for November 27th with the release of core WordPress 5.0. My money and hopes are on the release being pushed back to the 2nd fallback date of January 22nd to give everyone some breathing room. The inclusion of this new editing experience has been contentious (to say the least).
I’ll post about editing options once I’ve had a chance to explore more on my test sites.
For those of you who activated the new New Editor (aka Gutenberg) in your New Dash/Calypso and now want to deactivate it, you can do so via the WP Admin dashboard. Add /wp-admin to your WordPress.com site address if you don’t have a direct link from the My Sites dashboard.
Advertising in Subscriber Emails
WordPress.com now includes advertising in subscriber emails on free-hosted websites, the same free-hosted sites which already have advertising on their site. Now your email Followers get to see ads too. Again, the only way to remove these ads is by upgrading to one of WordPress.com’s plans, which completely removes all WordPress.com generated advertising.
My only thought is that democratizing publishing on the web just keeps getting more costly. Yes, I know that Automattic/WordPress.com is a for-profit company, and the up-sell is highly visible at every turn here, but this change to advertising for free sites is a step too far, IMO. Next I expect to see ads in the WordPress.com Reader. (Said half-jokingly.)
What can you as a free-hosted WordPress.com website do? There’s no way to block people from Following your site since Following is built-in to the WordPress.com ecosystem. Possible options include creating an external newsletter for your subscribers, like MailChimp or other newsletter options, but that involves more work for you as a content creator.
As always, Time vs. Money.