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Archive for June, 2008

Where is WordPress.com right now

No, it didn’t vanish or anything, far from the truth. I’d just like to point out that WordPress, the world’s most popular blogging platform is sooo popular that for their free-service WordPress.com alone, more than 3 Million blogs to date with over 110 thousand plus posts just for today!

That is a wonderful milestone. Not really sure why they’re not banging their heads with glee when 3 Million is a milestone to celebrate for. Remember, those 3 Million blogs equate to potential impressions of compulsary ad space on every page’s prime area. If one does the math (and believe me I can’t :) ) but just to play the devil’s advocate, HOW MANY AD CLICKS DOES WORDPRESS.COM generate in a day, a week, a month, a year. Would anyone venture a guess.

I think that’s why they’re able to host 3 Million blogs for free! Could i venture that this service rakes in millions of revenue a day? :) Your guess is as good as mine.

What makes WordPress.com just so damn attractive… have a look at the features www.wordpress.com .

But for what it’s worth, I think what one sows is what he too reaps. Thanks for the freebee’s WordPress.com, I hope you get more so you can give more.

Categories: General, Interesting

WordPress Theme Design

I’ve been finding myself around WordPress these past days.  Either it’s for a personal blog, a company blog or some other blog I’m working or playing with, it’s all WordPress.  Trust me!

While I’m loving those WordPress themes, I’ve always thought how I could make my own.  Not that I’m artisque or, as they say, “left-brain gifted”… I’m just curious. 

Received this Google alert today about the release of “WordPress Theme Design” by Tessa Blakeley Silver from PAKT Publishing.  Sold for US$35.99 right here.

Allow me to quote a brief book description below:

This title will take you through the ins and outs of creating sophisticated professional themes for the WordPress personal publishing platform. It will walk you through clear, step-by-step instructions to build a custom WordPress theme. From development tools and setting up your WordPress sandbox, through design tips and suggestions, to setting up your theme’s template structure, coding markup, testing and debugging, to taking it live it reviews the best practices. The last three chapters are dedicated to additional tips, tricks and various cookbook recipes for adding popular site enhancements to your WordPress theme designs using third-party plugins.

Whether you’re working with a pre-existing theme or creating a new one from the ground up, WordPress Theme Design will give you the know-how to understand how themes work within the WordPress blog system, enabling you to take full control over your site’s design and branding.

Check this book out, it might be worth something, specially if you’re just about to make that jump with me and actually do your first theme! 

Oh, and by the way, this book is also designed to help you understand the current theme you’re stuck with!  Unravel the mystery of your current theme!

Categories: Blogging Resources

Blogging strategy (titles and pictures)

I’ve known and admired Joey Bonifacio since I was 2 (!), kidding… since I was in my freshman years!  This guy is a natural networker.  No MLM here, but just pure networking… be it with products, with friends… with enemies even.  Yup, even his business rivals soon found his wise ways and tried on his boots.  Some were successful, some just couldn’t make the cut.  I’ve recently discovered that he had become a blogger too.  I think blogging is his life, and his hits are evidence to it.

I’ve known him to be a great business strategist.  And well, for now, I’d like to focus on one of his blog strategies that I hope will inspire people to write as creatively as this guy has.  He doesn’t know about how I’m discussing his blog, maybe if I make this link to him… he’d track me back! :)  (Joey, if you’re reading this… comment dude!)

Joey is maintaining a blog about Discipleship…  what is that?  well… I’d be honest that I’d flip the page or click out of his site if he just hadn’t been using great titles and pictures.  And that’s what I’d like to tip you about today…  in blogging… be very creative with the pictures you use.  And titles are very important too!

Not too sure if Joey is a “F.R.I.E.N.D.S” fan, but being one myself I quickly recognized that his title strategy somewhat resembles how FRIENDS do theirs.  Remember FRIENDS episodes like “the one with all the haste”, “the one where chandler takes a bath”, “the one with the blackout” or “the one with the phoebe’s phlegm”.  Ewww!

Joey has made similar titles, refering to discipleship… check out a few samples here:

  1. Discipleship and Coneys
  2. Discipleship and Ants
  3. Discipleship and Snakes
  4. Discipleship and African Elephants
  5. Discipleship and Eagles

If those title were “Discipleship and you”… or “The Plan of Discipleship” or “Discipleship Today”…  I tell you, i would have shut down my PC altogether.  Joey knew that it was boring!  And he’s made a way to make it… well… er… “unboring”.

Enjoy his blog!

Categories: Blogging Tips

The plugin count & your top 5

I recently checked this page to see how many plugins are currently in the WordPress plugins directory.  To this date I’ve seen they’ve counted 2,340 plugins.  These plugins have been recorded to be downloaded 4+ million times!  I ran a quick math and if each plugin was equally useful and popular as every other one then each plugin could have been potentially downloaded 1,700+ times.  There are 15 recently updated/new plugins and the oldest listed was submitted October 8, 2007.

That is one ACTIVE and UPDATED list!

But I’m not too sure though if WordPress Plugins authors would post their plugins on that directory by default.  I may be wrong, but do they?  Or is that directory more for those who would like their plugins distributed free and as open source?  I’ve seen some plugins (paid ones) unlisted.  It would be very useful if there is a directory (or search engine) that carries both free and paid plugins list.  If there is one, please share… much appreciated.

On another note, what are the first 5 plugins you add after you’ve installed a fresh WordPress package?  Mine would be

  1. Akismet plugin
  2. The Flickr photo gallery plugin
  3. Instant Upgrade plugin
  4. Verse of the Day
  5. WordPress Database backup

I know some of those aren’t essentials… and that plugins you’d install would depend on the blog you create.  But what’s on your essentials list?  May I have a peek? :)

Until next time…

Categories: General, WordPress Plugins

A Subtle Reminder to Upgrade Your Blog Software

Donncha gives WordPress users a reminder to upgrade our WordPress blogs in light of possible security risks. Donncha know you have to upgrade WP!? Okay, bad pun. At any rate, this is in view of well-publicized attacks last April which has probably left a lot of WordPress-powered blogs still vulnerable. I myself found that a good number of my personal blogs had been affected, with passwords saved on my root folder in clear text, extra admin-level users in the database, and some theme files modified.

Donncha recaps the possible symptoms of this particular hack (and possibly others, too), which include:

  • Hidden code
  • Hidden admin-level users, visible only in database tables
  • Blog and database passwords, saved as clear-text files
  • Code disguised as JPG files
  • Bots trying to break in (can be checked via the logs)

And the steps recommended to mitigate or at least minimize the risks are to:

  • Upgrade your blog software to the latest version
  • Check your database for unknown or malicious insertions or entries
  • Check your web folder and subdirectories for malicious files
  • Check your theme files (and perhaps even core blog software files) for insertions

To the untrained eye, most of these steps might not be too easy, but if you’ve been working on blogs for some time now, it won’t be too difficult to spot these problems. For me, perhaps the best way to mitigate the risks is by doing a full export of blog content, and comments, backing up media files and plugins wiping the entire hosting account clear, doing a fresh blog software install, and importing the content. The plugins and media files should then be added back, making sure you only put in the necessary plugins (i.e., don’t upload plugins that you won’t activate anyway), and media files that you have verified to be clean.

Categories: Blogging Tips

Will you pay for an Akismet key?

I’m relatively “new” to the blogging world. Too young that I’ve only been actively posting, on a regular basis, barely 3 months. While I’ve had my brushes with some blog development projects, ah, I’m no expert. I’ve heard of Akismet, tried it on my personal wordpress.com blog, and like it. I keep my blogs comment-spam free thank God! I’ve seen too many blogs riddled with ad-spam, porn-spam & just plain nuisance messages that makes reading a post very annoying. Kudos to Akismet for keeping us sane. :)

I understand from Akismet’s website that Akismet is free for personal blogs. For commercial blogs though, people are “encouraged” to donate from US$5-$50 to Akismet’s R&D fund. The question now is… will you opt to pay Akismet for their wonderful tool?

Their website lists the following advantages:

  • Commercial keys have higher priority over free ones.
  • Service is faster and more reliable.
  • No traffic limits or throttles.
  • You’re out of the arms race, everything is taken care of.
  • Priority notification of service updates.
  • You’re making the web a better place.

Are you a pro-blogger?

You run a personal blog and you’ve found the secret to making your passion pay. The lines of commercial and non-commercial personal blogs are hard to draw, so we’re saying if you’re making more than $500/mo from your blog we ask that you use a $5/mo pro-blogger Akismet API key. Get an individual pro-blogger subscription now. (from akistmet.com)

Are you an enterprise-blogger?

You run blogs as part of a commercial venture (for example a corporate blog or a blog network) and the last thing you need is a Viagra ad in your comments. Having someone sort through the comments manually is costly on several levels. We can make it so you never have to think about spam again, starting at $50/mo. Get an enterprise subscription for your company now. (from akistmet.com)

Are you a non-profit requiring pro-blogger or enterprise-blogger services?

We love non-profits. We have half-off and free pricing for registered non-profits, please see the link above. (from akistmet.com)

So… will you pay? I think the answer would depend on what you like the service to do for you. While the free personal license is high-performing, it doesn’t hurt to consider having “value-added services” to make you and your website “peaceful”. How protected do you want your blogs to be against unwanted information? Will spam really hurt your bottomline? This post is worth checking out.

Categories: Blogging Tools

What’s Your Preferred Mobile Blogging Solution?

I recently acquired a WiFi-enabled Smartphone for use as my main mobile. The Nokia E51 runs on the Symbian Series 60 platform (version 3), and can connect to the Internet via wireless LAN and other cellular-based systems like HSDPA, 3G, GPRS and a host of other acronyms that would leave me breathless. And so having the flexibility to check emails, feeds and blog posts from just about anywhere, I have tried several blogging and email solutions that not only let me post text updates, but even multimedia like videos and audio.

qik.jpg

For instance, there’s QiK, which lets you stream live videos straight from your (compatible) mobile phone’s camera. QiK then saves these under your own channel. You can choose to share videos with friends or archive these for your own backup. There’s even YouTube integration, in which you can post videos to YouTube after saving or streaming on QiK.

scribe.jpg

There’s also Scribe, which is a blogging client for Symbian Series 60 powered phones. It can work any blogging system or software that uses XML-RPC (which includes WordPress). It’s for publishing or editing text-based blog entries, but you can also insert online media like images, if you know the URLs.

Shozu

ShoZu offers a plethora of online publishing options, including Flickr, WordPress.com, Twitter, Picasa Web, and a whole lot more. It integrates well with your mobile phone’s system, such that you are given the option to directly upload media once saved. ShoZu focuses more on multimedia, though, rather than text blogging.

fring.jpg

Fring is also one excellent way to communicate, since it supports various instant messaging and even VoIP protocols. When it comes to blogging, you can’t post entries via Fring, but you can receive and post Twitter updates–not full-fledged blogging, but microblogging still!

There are others out there, but so far I’ve only been able to try these mentioned above. Most of these apps can run on any network available to your mobile, and most have versions for different platforms. You can count Symbian Series 60, UIQ, the iPhone and Windows Mobile in the list.

I have one observation, though. When it comes to blogging and checking emails on my mobile phone, I find myself preferring the phone’s internal Web browser to any add-on application. It seems faster and more responsive. Gmail (my universal inbox) has a mobile version, which is actually faster than the downloadable Gmail mobile. WordPress, meanwhile, seems to be usable even on small screens. Other solutions are simply not as fast, in my opinion. My phone is fairly new, and should have enough processing power, but the apps I’ve used so far simply cannot satisfy my short attention span.

Perhaps mobile phone manufacturers should think of including mobile publishing of text and multimedia as built-in options. And while some have done so, it’s not as easy as composing an SMS message and hitting send.

What’s your preferred mobile blogging solution, and how does it fare against full-blown blogging from a web browser?

Categories: Blogging Tools

Possibly Related

WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg talks about the future of the blogging platform at the Web 2.0 Expo.WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg just loves www.icanhascheezburger.com .  Why?  Well “partly” because it runs on WordPress (has 1 Million hits a day) and “largely” because he loves cats.  Kidding.  :)

Mullenweg was very subtle with his WordPress promotions during the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco just last April 2008.  He did manage to be the first conference speaker though, and he was also able to roll-out a few “hints” on what WordPress has for the Web 2.0 crowd… based on the cat blog.

One primary feature is called “possibly related”.  This feature cans every post you’ve written and gives your readers a list of your other posts that might be of interest, along with links to other WordPress.com blogs that line up with the keywords or context.  I remember there is a plugin for this… now it seems it will be something native to WordPress.  Coming from a “regular” WordPress fan, this is good news.  I do love plugins, but native features just trumps it out.

From Webaware.com:

“Possibly related” will roll out to WordPress.com users next week, as well as a plug-in for WordPress.org users who are hosting it on their own. The service is opt-in, meaning you won’t get listed on other people’s possibly related link dumps unless you’ve got it installed on your own blog. Mullenweg noted this was not only because of privacy, but to give people an incentive to add it to their blogs to get the reciprocating traffic.

Categories: WordPress News, WordPress Plugins

Last.fm packages for WordPress

Perhaps due to the social networking phenomena, Last.fm is now re-packaging its code by extending its arms to the social networking world, the blogging community and photo sharing sites as new partnerships with a plethora of platforms including iGoogle, Bebo, Photobucket, WordPress and Six Apart see the launch of its new ‘Last.fm in a box’ offering.

I think this is really good news!

I’ve been a big fan of Last.fm, and while I’d like to drive people to tune in to my favorite audio stream at Last.fm, it would be much easier and fun for me to drive them to my WordPress blog instead.  It actually makes sense doing it that way, at least for me.  People want to know what audio I like, they go to MY page.

From the technical point of view I was told (or maybe I’ve read it somewhere) that Last.fm was built on open source code.  This makes reaching to other open source products a “no-brainer”.  We’ve got to keep it tight people!  Let all open source unite!

Martin Stiksel, Last.fm co-founder, said: “We’ve seen over the years how our offsite community – which experiences Last.fm through third-party widgets and applications – has grown massively, to more than 19 million additional users.”

“With this new initiative, we aim to take that growth to the next level by enabling new partners and their users to engage as effortlessly as possible with our unparalleled music services.”

So WordPress soon eh?  I can wait… just hurry up! :)

Currently Last.fm is supported by the following.

Categories: WordPress Plugins

WordPress Upgrading Options

A few weeks ago one of my clients asked me to upgrade their WordPress versions from 2.5 to 2.5.1.  I was a little reluctant to make the jump.  You see, I’m the type that waits for Fantastico to support the WordPress version before I actually make the upgrade.  I figured that IF Fantastico would support it, then it would be stable.  I couldn’t help but agree in my mind that Fantastico would pass a WordPress version if it’s as stable as it gets.  I’ve never regretted this method, it has always worked for me.

But my client wanted it upgrade for some reason, I pressed on to ask “Why?” and he went on to say “Well you see I have a personal/family blog and I’ve upgraded to WordPress 2.5.1 already and it all works well.”, he said.  “Hmmm… Ok!” was my YM reply.  And so I finally did.

I knew that when I do this that I’m jumping from the safety of Fantastico to the world of manual upgrades from hereon, but the client wanted it so what the hey.  I did it.  Works well.  The only draw back was that I had to install a wordpress script that would check the version against the most current online version and let IT update my WordPress. 

Goodbye Fantastico … for now, at least for this client. :)

I’d still go the Fantastico way for my other clients.  I’m happy nonetheless that I have known this little script that acts like how I would like Fantastico to upgrade/update my WordPress…

Oh, if you want me to tell you that WordPress plugin… Will post that up next time! 

Hang on tight!

Categories: WordPress Tips

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