Archive for December, 2007
There is a new version of Akismet out today, and this time it looks like they are taking some cues from their competitors and users in adding new features:
Version 2.1 main new addition is the ability to filter by comment type, as seen here:
ThereÃ¢Â€Â™s also a new hook so other plugins could add addition tabs to the sub-nav as well Ã¢Â€Â” IÃ¢Â€Â™m curious to see what people end up putting there. If you use that hook for a plugin, be sure to let me know so we can blog about it.
Check out the full post, as well as the download link on the Akismet blog.
Quick Online Tips has compiled what they believe to be the best WordPress plugins for power blogging and while they aren’t necessarily the most popular plugins, they are ones that the author has found extremely useful or helpful.
Of course it has some expected ones like Akismet, All in One SEO Pack, and Related Posts, but also some lesser heard of ones worth checking out.
The list is separated into different sections, and while I wouldn’t load up my blog with all of these plugins, the short descriptions might help you pick out a few new ones worth adding.
In case you have been living under a rock the last few days, Movable Type has started releasing nightly beta versions of their GPL’d open source version of Movable Type.
Ã¢Â€Â”MTOS has every feature in Movable Type 4.0 along with several new minor improvements and bug fixes.
Ã¢Â€Â”All plugins, themes, templates, designs, and APIs that work with MT4 work with MTOS. MTOS also works with other Six Apart open source technologies such as memcached.
Ã¢Â€Â”MTOS is one of the only open source blogging tools with built-in support for an unlimited number of blogs, an unlimited number of authors, and sign-in with OpenID, with no plugins needed.
Ã¢Â€Â”WeÃ¢Â€Â™ll be adding additional paid benefits for people whoÃ¢Â€Â™ve paid for commercial licenses for Movable Type, with benefits like improved technical support and custom add-ons such as plugins or themes.
Ã¢Â€Â”You can find out how to contribute to the MTOS project and the MT community at movabletype.org.
Ã¢Â€Â”Movable Type Open Source is being released under the standard GPL license.
Ã¢Â€Â”We welcome and encourage the distribution and reuse of all or part of MTOS in other open source projects.
I haven’t had a chance to set up and play with the new open source version yet, and the fact that they don’t yet have a stable version for me to try puts me off a bit, but I am very excited to see what this will mean over the coming months and years. I love competition in the marketplace and hopefully Six Apart can provide it once again with their open source version of Movable Type.
Charles has produced another episode of the WordPress Podcast, despite being under the weather.
The episode covers things like Automattic turning down money, tainted themes, WP-Super Cache, and some other great news. The show includes appearances by Jonathan Bailey, author and plagiarism expert, and Lorelle, as a WordPress.com reporter.
The episode runs nearly fourty minutes long, and Charles says he hopes to speed up production of the podcast.
Check out Episode 32 on the WordPress Podcast website.
It looks like the WordPress Theme Viewer isn’t dead, it is just still being revamped, or at least that is what the latest post on the site says called Upcoming Changes.
Just wanted to do a quick update for those wondering when youâ€™ll be able to add new themes or update existing ones here in the directory. Weâ€™ve been working very hard on a new Subversion-backed database for themes that will allow you to upload themes as you did before, as a plain ZIP file, and weâ€™re transparently check it into SVN so changes can be tracked just like we do for WordPress development.
There will also be moderation and review so that we can scan themes for XSS problems, malicious code, spam links, and other ways that people have been distributing malware themes. Iâ€™m sorry this has taken longer than I thought it would, but the problems involved with doing things â€œrightâ€ are non-trivial. Most importantly we want to ensure that once the re-launch is done youâ€™ll have easy, fast, and stable access to the best and brightest in the theme world, and youâ€™ll never have to think twice about the code youâ€™re downloading.
It should be interesting, but have they waited too long in their relaunch? I guess only time will tell. I do know of a few people creating their own theme galleries, as well as others working on marketplaces for themes. While the official one might always be the biggest in terms of trust, will something else replace it in regards to traffic, themes listed, and other metrics?
So Automattic had bought Gravatar a little while back, a service that is well known in the blogosphere for providing a way to easily display profile images, and now they have added the service to WordPress.com.
Whatâ€™s that mean? When you have a WordPress.com account you can have an avatar by your comment, but now if someone isnâ€™t logged in or registered but they have a Gravatar attached to their email account that will show up by their comments too. You may see a few new faces around. Gravatars help build a sense of community around your readers, and keep people coming back to the comments.
Since adding the service, Gravatar is now serving over 190 million image requests a day, a staggering number for me to wrap my brain around. Check out the full post at WordPress.com’s Blog.
I recently had a chance to speak with Chris Garrett, owner of Chris Garrett Media Ltd about his new company The 449, which sells beautiful, custom themes for Â£449.
So, lets start with a little about the 449, and its history. Who is involved, and you mentioned somewhere that you had worked on this idea before?
I started the 449 originally as a spin-off of my main design business, Chris Garrett Media Ltd but about six months ago decided to stop doing it as I’d been doing much more involved work on large web applications. I noticed that a lot of people missed it and discontinuing the 449 had left a large hole in the market, so I reinvented it and bought in my good friends Chris Rowe, Indranil Dasupta and Dave Nichols to help tackle the work. I’m now acting as project manager and the work being rolled out is the excellent result of everyone working together.
Next question: Why Â£449? Why not more or less, and why in Great Britain Pounds?
I’m based in the UK, and I’ve always considered it professional to charge in your own currency, it also saves my accountant a lot of effort. When I started the 449 I was working at a rate of Â£150 a day, we worked out that to put together a high quality, bespoke WordPress theme would take about 3 days. We knocked a pound off because “the 450″ just didn’t sound that good.
What is special or different about 449? Couldn’t I get the same thing for $50 off SitePoint?
Harsh! We don’t just spend time pushing pixels in photoshop and hacking together some WordPress code. When you come to us, we take the time to dig deep into what it is your looking for and respond with a design concept that reflects that. We also take the time to get into the head of your user, my expertise lie in user experience design so you can be sure that your theme will be optimised to make life as easy as possible for your readers. By encouraging discovery by cross-pollenating content and defining calls-to-action for the parts of your site that really command attention, we can make sure that your visitors convert to customers, subscribers and lovers.
Our code is also highly optimised, accessible and includes use of cutting edge niceties such as microformats. This alone will get you a major boost in search engine results. We also don’t work off any standard templates, everything we do is unique to your project and we’re always on hand to offer the best support money can buy.
One client even mentioned that we should be charging more for our service, so I think that alone is reason enough to not just buy something cookie cutter off SitePoint.
You guys are the only people that I have heard of that do Microformats for WordPress themes. Can you tell me why that is interesting or even a basic bit on what Microformats are?
Microformats are basically a series of predefined standards for marking up specific pieces of information, such as contact information, events and even blog posts. By assigning specific classes to data, we’re able to add a deeper level of semantic richness to it which makes the data more machine readable (without impacting on human readers). They’re essentially bridging the gap between XML and HTML. Microformats are rapidly being adopted by emerging search engines and can even benefit users with disabilities such as visual impairments, so while the benefits right now aren’t that obvious, in a years time you’ll be glad you ordered a microformat rich blog from the449.com.
Wow that was a lot of buzz words, but it sounds like something serious companies and bloggers will want to invest in.
Why WordPress and is that the only blogging software your deal covers?
WordPress is a fantastic platform, our clients love it, we’re able to work very quickly on it and the community is unprecedented. Having said that, we’re established developers and can work with any platform you need, in the past we’ve worked with Textpattern, Expression Engine and Movable Type. I’m really looking forward to Habari reaching a stable release and hoping some clients will request we use it.
What else can you tell me about the 449 that bloggers en masse will be interested in? Can we expect any freebies from the 449?
Well the site only launched last week so it’s been a hectic few days, but we’re in talks with some very high profile bloggers who will be offering their readers discounts and we’ll also be running a few competitions with free blogs as the prize. But with Blogging Pro being such a cutting edge resource, I think it’s fitting that it’s readers be the first to take advantage of our early bird discounts The first 10 people to email the promo code “bloggingpro” to chris[at]cgmmail.com will receive a Â£50 discount. A 449 for just Â£399.
Lastly, if we want to find out more about 449, where do we go, and who do we contact?
http://the449.com is the place to go for more information, I recommend you also check out the blog as we’re in the process of preparing some really good content. To get in touch, you can email me at chris[at]cgmmail.com, give me a call on +44(0)1453890326 or use our contact form at http://the449.com/contact/.
For a long time, I have wondered why there haven’t been more groups organizing themselves to cater to the companies that want to jump into blogging and do it right. Finally, Performancing, a Splashpress Media brand, has filled that void with Performancing Services. Performancing Services brands itself as high-end social media marketing and blog management.
They have launched with three unique, and interesting services, with a price tag that might be beyond the average blogger, but with a value that is worth much more than the basic dollar figure they charge.
The first service is Authority Builder. Authority Builder is a twelve month full-service plan that will establish your blog as an authority site in its niche.
With Authority Building Service You Will Get:
- Monthly social media campaigns
- A full blog design and/or redesign
- Increased exposure to mainstream media
- Quality resources that will continue attracting attention
- A massive increase in search engine referrals
The cost for this service is currently $2,700 USD per month, charged quarterly. If you want to get started building authority, then head on over to Performancing Services Authority Builder.
The second service is Social Media Marketing. In a world where certain posts get to the front page of social media websites, and others do not, the Social Media Marketing service will craft and promote an article to bring in a flood of traffic and attention, something that sites are hurting for more and more as people hit their saturation point of online content.
What you get with a Performancing Social Media Marketing Campaign
- Attention grabbing “link bait” content to make maximum impact
- Content that is useful, interesting AND begs to be bookmarked
- Submission and promotion on the major social bookmarking sites to spread the message
- Inbound links from partner sites to provide a search engine jump start
- Campaign performance report outlining what worked and what your next steps should be
This service is a modest $3,700 US, but the rewards from a successful social media marketing campaign are endless. Check out the Social Media Marketing area of Performancing Services.
The third service recently launched is the Blog Management Service which is broken down into three different parts. There is the Blog Launch service, which will include a custom blog design, a month of professional maintenance from the Performancing Services team, and a social media marketing campaign. This will set you back $4,700 US.
Then there is the Blog Reboot service, which gives you access to the Performancing team for a week which can help increase traffic, monetization and user participation. This currently costs $970 US.
Lastly, there is the Blog Maintenance service, one of the services that I can see the most people going for, in my personal opinion. It includes bloggers, designers, and programmers keeping a blog running, smoothly, efficiently, and effectively. It includes social media campaigns, blog articles, and blog software updates. An amazing service for $2900 US.
For more information, check out the Blog Management page.
With a list of people including, Ryan Caldwell, Chris Garrett, Randa Clay, Raj Dash, Dee Barizo, JD Arney, Ahmed Bilal, and Deborah Ng, anyone that signs up is in great hands. This is an online rock star talent list.
If you want to have the best chance at succeeding with your blogging efforts, you definitely need to check out Performancing Services.
Matt has posted another wrap-up, which is basically a quick look at how WordPress.com is doing. One of my first thoughts when looking over the stats is that if each of the half a million active blogs were worth one dollar per year for Automattic, that would be half a million dollars of revenue coming in. That’s pretty amazing!
Here are some other great stats from the post:
- 198 thousand blogs were created.
- 2.5 million posts and 996 thousand new pages.
- 3.6 million comments.
- 20 million spam comments blocked.
For the rest of the details, check out the WordPress.com blog.
Charles Stricklin of the WordPress Podcast introduced me to another podcast that covers the WordPress world called Talking WordPress.
I have listened to a little of it, and it is interesting, though not as content rich in my opinion. I figure though if you are a WordPress fan, you will want to check this podcast out as well.
There have been three full episodes thus far with the latest talking about WordPress themes. Check out Talking WordPress for more WordPress podcast love.