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Archive for July, 2006

WordPress Plugin: Live

A new plugin to give you an idea on what is happening with your blog, be it comments, visits, or people checking out your feeds, Live will let you see it happen in real time.

Live is a free WordPress plugin that lets you watch your website activity in real time. You can watch as people are visiting your pages, leaving comments, and grabbing your feeds.

The plugin uses log files and some Ajax magic to keep showing you everything that’s happening on your website.

This plugin will only work with WordPress 2.0.

Grab it from Headzoo.

Categories: WordPress Plugins

Chris Garrett Starts Blog Design Service

The realization that people want customized blog designs has increased the time that designers are willing to take on WordPress themes. Chris Garrett, a well known graphic designer has created 449. £449 is what it will cost you to get a design created by him, and ported over to a WordPress theme.

We’ve called this little breakout branch “449” because that’s how little we charge for a fully functional blog, just £449 (find out what this is in your currency). For that price, you’re business will get a beautifully designed and fully functional WordPress blog, ongoing support and, undoubtedly, a boost in sales. We’ll even host your blog for you!

Your custom WordPress template will consist of the following:

  • Homepage (Recent Posts)
  • Archives Page (for dates and categories)
  • Basic static page template.
  • Search Page.
  • Contact Page.

We will also set-up WordPress and provide you with free hosting and domain name for 1 year (if you require it).

Compared to some other deals, that cost multiple thousands of dollars to get from design to working site, this deal is pretty good. Remember though, those in the US, this price is in Great Britain Pounds, which means you are looking at around $830 USD, still a great deal for a wonderful designer and a fully working, custom theme. Check out 449.chrisgarrettmedia.com for a portfolio of examples as well as more details.

I would love to hear what people think about this. I know Chris and others think there is a market for something like this. Do you agree/disagree? Let me know.

Categories: WordPress News, WordPress Themes

RSS Feeds Hurting Bloggers?

I have been watching the number of RSS subscribers here at Blogging Pro that are subscribing though FeedBurner. The number goes up and down, and it does not seem to corelate with the amount of traffic we get here, but I do wonder sometimes if we would have more visitors to the actual website if we did not have an RSS feed.

I know that I read many websites every single day without ever seeing their graphics or normal advertisements thanks to Bloglines and FeedDemon, but isn’t that hurting the person publishing the content? Some go to so much money, time and or trouble to get their site looking great, and implimenting ads in such a way that they are not annoying, intrusive or silly, and here I am reading their content without tipping my hat to them.

Many people have said to me that those that are reading RSS feeds, are most likely the type of people that won’t click on Adsense ads and whatnot, but as RSS feed reading becomes more prevalent, and even easier for people to use, will there come a day where massive amounts of users only ever read your site through sites like Bloglines? Then will we see a shift where most RSS feed readers allow advertisements in feeds to try to recoup some of the money that they were making from visitors actually coming to their site? I have seen some websites are already doing this, but so far, I have not heard them to be a resounding success.

Do you think RSS Feeds help or hurt bloggers and their sites or do they help spread the word about your site?

I am really hoping to get to the 2,000 mark for RSS subscribers on Blogging Pro as I still think while it might hurt ad revenue or whatever else, it is really interesting to know that people are so interested in what is going on with this site that they have taken the next step by subscribing.

Categories: General

WordPress Plugin: WP-phpMyAdmin

Getting everything in one area is the ultimate goal for many of the people modifying WordPress, and today Christopher Hwang has released another such plugin, moving phpMyAdmin controls right into your admin console of WordPress.

I put this together because I wanted to have access to phpMyAdmin from the admin console in WordPress. I was basically getting sick and tired of separate logins and windows in order to access the database directly.

It is a very simple plugin to use. Follow the instructions for installing it and away you go! You don’t even have to go through the trouble of going through their setup script or creating their config file. Everything has been done for you and the settings from your WordPress setup will be passed over.

Some of the features have been removed or changed slightly for things to work and to maintain security. However you’ll find that most of the things you are used to are still available. Due to the changes that I made, you will only be able to access the phpMyAdmin console from within your WordPress admin console. Trying to link directly will bomb!

Check it out at Silpstream.

Categories: WordPress Plugins

Weblogger Meetup

I just attended my second Weblogger Meetup last night. If you have an interest, there is probably a group on Meetup in your area with the same interest. Some groups are huge, others are small. The Ottawa Weblogger Meetup has only been around for a little while, but last night, there was around thirteen of us sitting around and talking about blogging and all of the things surrounding blogging. It was very interesting as we all sat around in a pub, a wide range of backgrounds talking about the things we were interested in, attempting to keep the focus on blogging.

If you are having a bad case of blogging burnout, talking to others about their experiences with blogging can be quite invigorating. If you have never joined a Meetup group, you just have to go to Meetup.com, search for what you are interested in and where you are willing to go to participate, and then register an account and join the group. It is very easy.

Anyone else have experience with Meetup Groups, or in particular, meeting other bloggers, be it in a Meetup group or other event?

Dont forget to subscribe to our RSS feed to keep up with Blogging Pro.

Categories: General

WordPress Theme: BloxPress 2

BloxPress 2 has been called “released” today, as the theme author has decided that v1.5.6 is good enough for most people to use. BloxPress 2 is an AJAX theme where users can move, remove and add elements to the blog they are viewing, as well as hopefully making a system where blog owners can easily customize their blogs. This seems to me like widgets on steriods.

Bloxpress is a theme with an integrated template engine. Allowing you to use the power of drag and drop and AJAX on any available theme. Along with the function to create as many sortable sidebars as you want Bloxpress comes with an own API allowing you and developers to create new “blocks”. That’s where the name comes from. Blocks are small pieces of code (template tags from wordpress or plugins) that can be attached live to any installed template by using the blockmenu or by configuring a layout preset.

Bloxpress is mainly written in Javascript. The codebase is object oriented aswell as highgly extendable allowing me to keep you updated very easily. Since some people browse with Javascript disabled Bloxpress uses the wonderful Behaviour Javascript for gracefully degradation. There is no Inline-Javascript anywhere but the header which makes the system very flexible and easy to integrate. Actually it requires only minor modifications to the template files to make a theme work with Bloxpress.

The Bloxpress API provides a generic AJAX function for your plugin or block project so you don’t have to worry about system internals. Also the markup for creating blocks is very easy and intuitive, using a non-javascript approach. For example: If you want to display your AJAX result in a block, simply add the class “result” to the HTML. Bloxpress will do the rest. These and many other features aim to ease the process of enhancing Bloxpress.

Check it out at Bloxpress.org

Categories: WordPress Themes

WordPress Podcast Episode 2

So it looks like it was not a one time deal over at the WordPress Podcast, as they have released their second episode. You can check out their second episode at podcast.wp-community.org.

Topics they cover in episode two are:

  • WordCamp – August 5th in San Francisco.
  • WordPress 2.1 feature preview (Thanks, Mark Jaquith!)
  • WordPress 2: Visual Quickstart Guide by Maria Langer and Miraz Jordan.
  • WP-Andreas01 theme released.
  • Shuttle project to redesign WordPress’ administration pages.
  • Pingbacks, trackbacks and the differences between the two.

Another great episode, so check it out. I am still kicking myself for not doing this myself. The second episode already has 200 downloads as I write this post. Go Charles!

Categories: WordPress News

WordPress Theme: Subtle

A beautiful theme from Christopher Frazier, of Glued Ideas, has been recently released. Subtle, is a mainly two column theme that concentrates on making authors look good. I am really impressed with this theme, and love that the Photoshop file of the header is included to make it easy to style it for your own personal tastes.

Based on a joke my brother-in-law made, Subtle is the first public theme released by Glued Ideas. Designed for sites that have multiple authors, Subtle also makes use of WordPress Widgets, making customization a snap.
Features

  • Built for blogs with multiple authors. Each writer can have their own archive and information page.
  • Select which categories of posts you want to show on the front page.
  • Show front page posts in full (as leads) or just the title, or any combination of the two formats that you choose.
  • Supports user-created styling through automated header creation.
  • Download additional looks from other users or at Glued Ideas Development Blog. (http://blog.gluedideas.com)
  • Full WordPress Widget Support. (http://automattic.com/code/widgets/)
  • Photoshop files are included with the installation package.
  • Built-in FeedBurner support.

A very slick theme, check it out at Glued Ideas.

Categories: WordPress Themes

WordPress Plugin: Slug Trimmer

One of the worst things sometimes is having URLs that go on forever thanks to long post slugs taken from the titles of the posts you make, and so Graeme went ahead and created a plugin to fix those post slugs.

I have got sick of URLs that end in really long post slugs that look-something-like-this-and-are-far-too-long so I wrote a little plugin that shortens post slugs more intelligently than simply truncating them.

It works in two phases. It first removes short words (because words like “a” and “the” are rarely significant), shortest first.

If the slug is still too long, it is then truncated. However slugs will never be truncated mid-word.

The size of words removed the the first phase and both the minimum and maximum lengths of the slug resulting can be configured. Truncation can be turned off. The point at which the slug is truncated is set separately from the maximum for the purposes of phase one (word removal).

An interesting idea, and I agree about the removal of the “a” and “the” as they are usually not needed. You can check out the details of the plugin at Graeme’s.

Categories: WordPress Plugins

How Do You Keep on Blogging?

I am currently going through some blogging burnout, and I was wondering what others do to combat this problem. How do you keep writing on your blog, day after day, month after month?

I have written thousands of blog posts over the past year, but find myself unable to do as much as I used to be able to, and thus, my personal site is suffering. My goal for my personal blog was to get to 1,000 posts by December 2006 (which is two years since the blog was “opened”), thusly increasing my exposure online and using my blog as a record of my life, endeavours, and whatnot, but the amount of posts I have been able to write on my blog has dwindled in recent months.

I used to be able to push out upwards of 50 posts a month on my personal site about work I have been doing, visits with friends, games I have been playing, movies I have been watching. For the most part writing for myself, my friends and my family, but since around April 2006, I have not been able to push out more than 35, and that number continues to drop.

I have tried to force myself to blog. I have tried to read old posts as inspiration, but I just can’t get myself out of this blogging rut, so I am asking all of you to write a blog post, explaining your tips on getting out of this rut, and trackback this post, so I can see your thoughts and ideas. I really need your help. How do you keep on blogging?

Categories: Blogging Tips