The Year in Review (and Resolutions for 2018)

The Year in Review (and Resolutions for 2018)

The Year in Review (and Resolutions for 2018)

It was quite a year for the community, and we’ve got a lot to look forward to.

Some years go by slowly — not because they’re busier, but maybe there’s just more out there in the world to stop and notice. We hope the and Jetpack community offered you some of those moments this year.

Maybe it was a helpful chat with someone on our Happiness team, or maybe you discovered a cool new feature that made business or blogging even easier. Perhaps you read something on that inspired you. We just want to say thanks for being here, and we’re excited to see what you all accomplish in 2018 and beyond.

Below are some highlights from the year in — and make sure you check out Discover to see more favorite moments from 2017. Happy New Year!

Viral Hits and Notable Moments

• TIME, powered by VIP, announced its Person of the Year — The Silence Breakers.

• blogger Hospey used an online resume to score an internship with Chance the Rapper:

• Baby Ellie became the youngest person to thru-hike all 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail! She made the trip with her mom Bekah and her dad Derrick, who wrote about their adventure.

• One user got a nice surprise: JK Rowling tweeted their blog post:

• Robert E. Kelly and his family became worldwide celebrities when his appearance on the BBC was interrupted by his children. “We are just a regular family, and raising two young children can be a lot of work. Because of that, it seems that the video has resonated with parents around the world,” he wrote on his blog.

• Over at Longreads, Laurie Penny wrote the site’s most popular story of the year — The Unforgiving Minute.

• We wished a happy 11th anniversary to Smitten Kitchen, one of the web’s most popular and longest-running food blogs.

• INFJoe, the cartoon persona of artist and blogger Aaron Caycedo-Kimura, released his book Text, Don’t Call: An Illustrated Guide to the Introverted Life.

The Year in Building Your Business

This year we worked to make it even easier to create the perfect website for business and ecommerce — from fashion to fitness, salons to school fundraisers.

In March we introduced unlimited themes for Premium and Business plan users so you can experiment with more designs — including the new Radcliffe 2 theme for small business. We made it easy for you to collaborate in Google Docs and publish straight to and Jetpack-powered sites. In May we launched Business plan support for third-party plugins and themes, giving you total control over customizing and monetizing your site:

Of course, no website is an island: it’s more important than ever to distribute your blog posts and pages across social media, so in July we introduced social media scheduling, allowing you to plan tweets and Facebook posts far in advance and resurface popular posts from your archives:

social scheduling

Then in August, we made it even easier to earn money from your site with the new Simple Payment feature:

To top it all off, we teamed up with Rebrand Cities to bring 10,000 small businesses online, and we partnered with inspiring folks like Creative Mornings and legendary designers like Michael Bierut and Marian Bantjes to create new sites with students in Appalachia as part of Project A3.

The Year in Photos (and Making It Easier to Post the Perfect Shot)

You published some incredible images and illustrations in 2017! Take a look:

Ascending the Andes

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb – Nelson Mandela.” Thirdeyemom ascended the Andes, and captured this stunning photograph.

Illustrations by Jeremy Graboyes

We fell in love with the illustrated work of Jeremy Graboyes, a Washington, D.C.-based artist who specializes in pen-and-ink and watercolor.

Child laborers of Bangladesh

Photographer Sophia Hsin documented the child laborers of Bangladesh. The Vancouver-based Hsin is using the project to raise awareness among consumers about how some products enter their food chain.

Street photography in Puerto Rico

Omar Z. Robles brought dance and street photography together. Robles captures moments with dancers around the world, from the streets of Cuba to Hong Kong. (Above: dancer Courtney Stohlton in Puerto Rico.)

We also wanted to simplify the process of sharing your gorgeous images: You can now connect your Google Photos account and insert images straight from Google, as well as export photos from Lightroom straight to

The Year in Publishing on the Go

mobile apps

Photoblogging is even better with a world-class mobile app. We made a ton of improvements to WordPress for iOS and Android, with a brand new editor, new features to manage your site, and a whole lot more.

A Warm Welcome to WordPress!

Did you know that nearly 30% of all sites on the internet are powered by WordPress? Here’s just a small sampling of the new sites we welcomed to, Jetpack, and VIP in 2017:

Resolutions for 2018

We resolve to keep working to make the web a better place — and work with all of you in the community to keep building your dreams.

What do you want to accomplish in the coming year? Tell us in the comments.

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Add A Simple Payment Button To Your Site

Add A Simple Payment Button To Your Site

Add A Simple Payment Button To Your Site

With our new PayPal integration, you can start selling in seconds.

May 2016: Hajj Flemings, CEO of Rebrand Cities with renowned photographer, Shawn Lee, in a redesigned school bus en route to working with small business owners in Detroit.

Earlier this year, while working in Detroit with small business owners and the Rebrand Cities team, it became clear that entrepreneurs and publishers are looking for a simpler way to accept credit and debit card payments on their sites.

Our Happiness Engineering team — the guardians of our customers — also weighed in, and we knew that we wanted to make an existing process simpler. So we set a design goal of bringing a 15-minute-long process to under a minute — especially for a customer that has never used PayPal before.

So a small team of engineers and designers came together to solve that problem with the intent of releasing a “Version One” with which we could start to understand how a simpler payment button could be used by our customers. It’s currently limited to our Premium and Business Plan members on and for Jetpack Premium and Professional members on any WordPress site — while we tune and refine how it can work best.

Here’s how it works: Open a new post, select “Insert Content,” then choose “Add Payment Button.” You’ll fill out the details for what you’re selling, add the email address for your PayPal account (where the money will be sent), and that’s it! Now your readers can send you a payment with a credit card, debit card, or PayPal account.

Read more about how to get started with the new Simple Payments feature for Premium and Business Plans on and Jetpack-powered sites.


It’s easy to think that making simple things is, well, simple. But that’s never the case. Austin, Texas-based engineering leader Bob Ralian led the product team that pulled this live, working prototype together in record time. I had the opportunity to observe the design team in action working with the engineers, and the following is a brief interview with Bob on how all the pieces came together.

JM: So tell me a little about yourself, Bob!

BR: I’ve been building websites and web applications for the better part of 20 years, and I’ve worked at Automattic for four years. I’ve done a mix of engineering, team management, and project management. I live in Austin, Texas, with my wife, three kids, and two dogs.

JM: How does an engineer think versus how a designer thinks?

BR: As an engineer I usually think in terms of what I have and what I know. I can work within a system, take different pieces and turn them into something new. Take duct tape, dental floss, and a rubber band, and turn it into a bicycle. Or I can look at a process and think through how I can make it better. But I’ve found that designers are able to create something totally new out of nothing. They’re not intimidated by a completely blank slate. It’s a superpower that I greatly admire!

JM: They sound very similar!

BR: I think we’re motivated by the same things. We want to make something that people like and appreciate and makes their days a little better. Really, we just want our users to be happy and enjoy what we’re building.

JM: An unusual amount of planning went into this little button — it started in Detroit with a group of designers and then was packaged into a variety of concept sketches and little movies. Does all that up front work really pay off? If so, how?

BR: We spent a lot of time with customers, particularly small business owners, to learn about what they need from their websites. We learned that many of them just want a simple way to take payments. So we used that as our guiding principle, make it as simple as possible for these business owners to add a payment button to their site.

JM: What’s an “MVLP”? I heard the designers use that term with the engineers.

BR: MVLP stands for “minimum viable lovable product.” It means that rather than taking a long time to build a complicated product behind a curtain, we try to build small, simple features and launch them early. It’s ready when it solves a real user need and we can feel proud of it – something we can love. Then we let our customers tell us what they want next and how to make it better. This keeps us focused on building for real user needs.

JM: As an accomplished musical artist yourself, how does “love” play into the engineering of products?

BR: To me it’s all the same; composing a song, writing a blog post, building a new feature, or making something with my hands. I just really love the process of “making things.” Bringing something new into the world is an act of love. It’s an act of vulnerability and generosity. It’s saying to the world “We did our best, and we really hope this makes your life a little better.”

JM: Thanks Bob! Our huge thanks to the engineers who built it; Jason Johnston (who led the project), Artur Piszek, Damián Suárez, Don Park, Jarda Šnajdr, Payton Swick, and Rastislav Lamoš! And special thanks to designers Takashi Irie and Dave Whitley for thoughtfully crafting the experience design for this very first MLVP of the Simple Payment button.

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