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WordPress Resources – 2013 Spring Edition

WordPress Resources

This past March, I taught a WordPress Intensive at The Hub in San Francisco, as part of their ongoing educational series, Hub Workbench.

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The intensive was geared towards people getting started with WordPress Resources. At the end of the course, most of the students were left with more questions than they had come in with.

Personally, I see this as a testament to the learning process – the more we learn, the more we realize how little we actually know.

Regardless, it’s helpful to have some resources to help along the way. So – I’ve gathered some resources resources that I often turn to when I need help or am looking for what’s new in WordPress land. Enjoy!

wpmail logo

WP Mail – simply put, if you work with WordPress at all, subscribe to this email list and get smarter. Not convinced by my endorsement? Check out their archive.

From their site: “A free WordPress Newsletter, once a week, with a round-up of WordPress news and articles.” Simply put – this is a one-stop shop for great resources all around. For the curious types, I’ve linked to a nice article about “the making of” WP Mail.me, featured on WP Candy, another resource featured below.

WP Beginner

WP Beginner is a great resource for beginners and pros alike. They’ve featured everything from “how to ask for help” (beginner) to setting up the W3 Total Cache Plugin (pros). Not only does WP Beginner have great resources, but they’re supporters of the WordPress community as demonstrated by their sponsorships of WordCamps.

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WP Candy publishes all kinds of articles about WordPress. In my eyes, the site is geared towards WordPress designers and developers but often includes theme and plugin roundups. It was founded by Michael Castilla in 2007. In 2010, Ryan Imel acquired and re-launched the blog.

From their about page : “At WPCandy, we wrangle all the important stuff together so you can enjoy it with a cup of coffee. Let us do the work, you keep blogging, creating, and developing awesome things. Oh, but let us know when you’re done so we can tell everyone.”

sucuri logo

Sucuri Blog – If your site has been hacked, Sucuri can help. They help remove malware, and get your site secure. Given they’re an internet security company, they’ve also got a nice blog on how to keep the internet a safe place. It doesn’t hurt that the founders, Dre Armeda and Tony Perez, are also great chaps.

learn wordpress

Learn WordPress – geared towards beginners, this online handbook was launched by Automattic (the folks who make WordPress.com) to help folks get going and publishing. They’ve even made the online guide printable!

wpmu

WPMU Dev – WPMU.org will often have fantastic posts on great plugins to use. They make their own set of plugins and fully support them. A great go-to resource. For an example of their usefulness – check out their recently featured WordPres.com v WordPress.org.

wp daily

WP Daily – provides great articles about the world of WordPress – from their manifesto page : “We are a group of connected and passionate individuals called to create economies of creativity, innovation, and value. We are designers, developers, online publishers, bloggers, small business owners, corporate employees, leaders, followers, and everything in between.”

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Smashing Magazine was one of the first blogs I would constantly visit when I first started WordPress development – and I still do. They feature extensive interviews, great theme roundups, and lots of tutorials. In my eyes, they’ve set the bar for all of the sites I’ve mentioned above. Check out Smashing Magazine’s WordPress articles <- here.

Chris Lema – Chris is the only individual in this list, so he doesn’t get a logo. After I attend WordCamp Miami (April 7th), I’ll create a new post of individual bloggers I’d recommend checking out. So this is a “preview” of that post.

Chris writes  articles for people making things with WordPress (developers, designers, consultants, and business-types). Not only does he have some useful code, but he goes over the business of WordPress as well. And he recently organized a “business track” for a WordCamp (WordPress conference) in San Diego.

There are many people who make WordPress great.  In addition to the developers who build WordPress, and the designers who make WordPress beautiful and usable, there are the many folks who are sharing resources.

Big thanks to all the bloggers, writers, publishers, designers, strategists, developers, and other people that make WordPress great!

Finally – if you’ve found a great WordPress resource that I haven’t included (or would like to add your own) – leave a comment!

What Kind of CMS’s Do Museums Use?

CMS

First – I know my mom and other folks who are not as tech savvy as others will probably read this – so I’ll answer their question first – what’s a CMS? Well, CMS stands for Content Management System – basically – it’s software to help people manage their content for their websites. I imagine many people reading this will already know that though.

So – now that we’ve gotten that question out of the way…there are many (MANY) Content Management Systems out there. I’m wondering – what are the most popular systems currently on the market?

There are folks in the WordPress community that claim we power >16% of the web. We first heard this stat in 2011. We’re avid fans of both WordPress and Drupal – so we are wondering – is this really true? It turns out – yes – it’s pretty true.

But is this the case for arts organizations and nonprofits? We decided to do some research for ourselves. We took a random sampling of 500 museums and worked to find out what CMS they were using to power their home site.

Here’s what we’ve found so far

More than 10% (55) of the 508 sites we sampled are running WordPress, and 46 (just less than 10%) are running Drupal. All in all, over 20% of museum sites are running open source code. And it looks like WordPress is indeed the most popular open source CMS currently around. While I have not (yet) surveyed every museum and nonprofit out there, this is a good start and I guess is indicative of what we’re looking at.

Here’s a chart of our preliminary findings.

CMS Use

Some stats from WordPress

Why are we bothering with this research?

Well – for starters – we build websites. So, in some ways, it’s a little bit of market research.

Second – because we can 🙂 Who said research wasn’t fun? We’re curious and we want to know how organizations are managing all their incredible content.

Finally – it reinforces our belief that open source is the way to go (only a handful of folks are using Sharepoint, by Microsoft).

If you’d like to participate in this survey, add your data, or share how your organization is managing your web presence…well…there’s a survey for that 🙂

Take Our Survey!

Happy web making everyone!

Artful.ly WordPress Plugin Release

Artful.ly

Exciting news! We started working with Fractured Atlas this past Summer on a new WordPress plugin for Artful.ly. And now – the WordPress plugin we’ve been working has just been released and ready for downloads. Why is this exciting? What does it do? And what is Artful.ly?

Well – for answers to this and more – take a look at the blog post on the Fractured Atlas blog :Fractured Atlas Logo

Selling tickets and taking donations on your own website has been a unique feature of our Artful.ly software for over a year. For any event, an Artful.ly user can copy a bit of JavaScript and CSS from Artful.ly and paste it into her website code. Then, like holiday magic, a ticket selector and shopping cart is installed on her site. These elements can be easily tweaked to match the themes and style of the rest of her site. We call this clump of code “the widget” and it’s pretty simple to use if you’re a programmer. But, if you don’t know HTML from a spruce tree, you’d need some help from a friendly tech elf…For instructions on installing and using the WordPress plugin, check out the Artful.ly Knowledge Base.

[ilink url=”http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/artfully-widget/” style=”download”]Download Artful.ly Plugin[/ilink]

And if you don’t have an Artful.ly account yet – set one up here for Free!

Here’s a video on getting started with Artful.ly

Happy Holidays!

And big thanks to the Fractured Atlas team (Selena, Gary, Adam, Lisa, Tim, and everyone else at the office) – you guys rock!

WordPress on Rackspace Cloud Sites

Installing WordPress can be either an easy or difficult process, depending on which hosting company you’re working with. For people using Bluehost, Dreamhost, and Godaddy all you need to do is go into the control panel and do what is called a “one-click installation.” When running a “one-click installation” script you are basically telling the host where on the server you’d like the WordPress files to be placed, and creating a mysql database (with username and password) to house all the information that will be pulled in through the WordPress site. That is the quick and painless way to create a WordPress site, but not all hosting companies are created equal.

Recently, my colleague and I were in the market for a new company to host our client’s sites on. We were in search of a host that has great support, technology to accommodate database driven sites, respects the privacy of its clients, and has security measures in place which will prevent client sites from being hacked. After reviewing a slew of hosting companies we discovered Rackspace. Not only do sites (referred to as Cloud Sites) hosted on Rackspace run fast, but their chat support is informative and efficient. The only downfall to Rackspace is the arduous process required for doing a WordPress installation on a cloud site. Rackspace cloud sites do not have a “one-click installation” option, so to create a WordPress site you must start from scratch, and do it manually.

This post is split into four sections:
How to Create a Client
How to Add a Site
How to Create a Database
How to Install WordPress on the Server

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Ways to Backup Your WordPress Site

Oh no! My dog ate my website! That is exactly what it feels like when you upgrade your WordPress site and your older plugins don’t exactly get along with the new software. When dealing with WordPress, it is not uncommon to run into a few bugs and hiccups. Sometimes you upgrade for security (like when a new version of WordPress is released). Or maybe the newer version of that plugin you love runs much faster or looks much sleeker than its crusty predecessor. Whatever reason you chose to modify your WordPress setup, it is imperative that you back everything up – just in case things go wrong (and they do).

So – without ado – here are a few options that will help (and most likely save) you or your client’s website.
Read more

WordPress Plugins

For the past two weeks, I’ve been leading a WordPress class at 3rdWard. During the first two classes, we covered how to setup hosting, how to use a feedburner account, and how to install plugins and themes.

During the 2nd class, I also listed out a few of my favorite themes and plugins. For a review of what we covered in our 2nd Class, download this document.

In this post, I’ve included a few favorite plugins. For a list of some my favorite themes, visit this post.

WordPress Plugins

Wordtube

This plugin manages the JW FLV MEDIA PLAYER 5.1 and makes it easy for you to put music, videos or flash movies onto your WordPress posts and pages. Various skins for the JW PLAYER are available via http://www.longtailvideo.com

wordTube supports the streaming video format (Format .flv or .swf), sound files as MP3 and JPG, GIF or PNG grafic files. With wordTube you can simply insert it into your blog with the tag [media id=”media id”] or as playlist .

Since Version 2.0 it supports LongTail’s AdSolution which allows you to run pre-roll, overlay mid-roll, and post-roll advertisements in your media player. Click here to sign up for LongTail.

You don’t need to change the WYSIWYG mode or special HTML knowledge to insert such a tag. You can show a simple media file (i.e. a flv Format) or a playlist of all your media files.

Read more

Upcoming : WordPress Workshop @ 3rd Ward

3rd Ward Logo

Here’s a freakin’ awesome deal from 3rd Ward : Sign up for the WordPress Workshop (section starting 6/13), Illustrator Intensive (6/13), OR Intro to After Effects (6/19) and get a FREE Apple Wireless Keyboard and Mouse.

Starting June 13th, I will be leading a 3 week workshop on WordPress. I’ve helped many organizations build their sites using WordPress and simply love the platform (in fact, this site is running on WordPress). It’s great for blogs, portfolio sites, and creative folks. You can even run ecommerce sites using WordPress.

Go on. Register for the class

A bit about the class :

You’ll learn the in’s and out’s of setting up, customizing and running your own website using WordPress, the most popular blogging platform.

WordPress is used for top blogs like CNN Money, all the New York Times blogs, and many non-profit arts websites. Simply put, WordPress makes publishing your website much easier.

We’ll start off with the basics (like setting up your own hosting) and then move to more advanced topics like customizing a theme (through the WordPress template engine), and inserting plugins for Twitter and Facebook. We will also set aside some time to review content strategy, site architecture, and look at popular plugins to help you sell your products online. This class will work well for both beginners and experts.

You can register for the class by clicking this link.

And to learn more about wordpress, visit my wordpress archives. Really. Click on that link. Or, you can take a look at some sites I’ve built using wordpress.

Ecommerce Solutions

Note: This post was written for participants in an ecommerce seminar. Please feel free to leave questions + comments below

To sell items online, you need:
a payment gateway (like paypal) to process payments
a good shopping cart solution
an SSL seal (if you’re processing credit cards on your website)

If you’re starting from scratch, don’t have the support of a developer, or just want an online store, consider Shopify. They have beautiful templates, and can help your online store get up and running quickly. Review pricing and take a tour of what
Shopify offers. They’re great!

Below is a “short” list of payment gateways and shopping cart solutions.

PAYMENT GATEWAYS

A payment gateway processes the payment for you. Paypal is by far the most popular payment gateways. Here is a list of other payment gateways.

Paypal
The current leader in processing sales online. They have a great list of resources for shopping carts here.

Google Checkout
Take a look at their merchant center – it’s chock full of resources

ejunkie
A fantastic solution, starts at $5/month. Take a look at their pricing)

Authorize.net
If you want to process credit cards with your own bank, authorize.net is the way to go. Fees usually start at $20/month. You will need to purchase an SSL seal to use Authorize.net.

ONLINE INVOICING

Use Freshbooks. Get a free account on Freshbooks.

SHOPPING CARTS

NOTE: If you’re running your website with WordPress, use WP-ecommerce. If you’re running your website with Drupal, use Ubercart. Otherwise, there are these other solid solutions.

Read more

Tools for Running Your Business Online

NOTE: This post was published for participants taking an online marketing seminar at 3rd Ward. I will be fleshing this post out with actual descriptions and summaries. In the meantime, I hope you find this list useful.)

“What can be measured doesn’t always count and what counts can’t always be measured.”

– Einstein

Running a business, organization, or freelance operation in the new economy requires you to be savvy online (if you want to survive). Below is a list of online tools I use and/or recommend.


Online Publishing : WordPress, Posterous, Tumblr, SquareSpace, BusinessCatalyst

I use WordPress to run this site. For more wordpress resources, visit my wordpress archives.

Sample Blogs:
http://unclutterer.com/
http://www.getstoried.com/
http://www.chromasia.com/iblog/

Social Networks : Facebook, twitter, flickr, youtube
Some sample facebook pages:
http://www.facebook.com/issueprojectroom
http://www.facebook.com/brooklynmuseum

Online Communities : Ning, Meetup.com

Some sample ning communities:
Radiohead’s Ning Community
Dance-Tech.net

Email Marketing : Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Vertical Response

Tracking Online Activity : Google Analytics or Clicky

Communication : Setup Google Apps on your own domain for business email + google docs for collaboration. Setup an account here

Web Hosting: Bluehost

Organizing Yourself : BackPackIt, Basecamp

Bookkeeping + Invoicing : QuickBooks or Freshbooks (online invoicing)

CRM (customer relationship management): Salesforce, Tactile CRM, HighRise

Publicity : PR Newswire

WordPress Resources

This past September, I led a Blogging Workshop at the Brooklyn Food Coop. I covered lots of material and thought I would post a collection of wordpress resources.

Some of you are already blogging and are familiar, while others are just getting started.
Either way, I would encourage you to explore the resources below, and feel free to contact me with any questions.

Enjoy!

WordPress Themes

There are a whole host of wordpress theme respositories

Here are a few blogs that usually have good wordpress resources:
Smashing Magazine | http://www.smashingmagazine.com/tag/wordpress/
Noupe | http://www.noupe.com/category/wordpress
Blog Perfume | http://www.blogperfume.com/category/wordpress-theme/

Premium (paid) Themes

WooThemes | http://www.woothemes.com/themes
Elegant Themes | http://www.elegantthemes.com/
Graph Paper Press | http://graphpaperpress.com/

And my favorite and most recommended theme framwork | Thesis Theme

Portfolio Themes


If you are a designer, photographer, or want to showcase your portfolio, there are a whole host of good Portfolio themes
Here are a few good posts with nice pre-built portfolio themes

http://www.jeffhendricksondesign.com/portfolio-wordpress-themes/
http://designm.ag/freelance/wordpress-portfolio-themes/
http://www.themescloset.com/2009/03/15-best-premium-wordpress-portfolio-themes/
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/04/29/ultimate-guide-to-using-wordpress-for-a-portfolio/

WordPress Video Tutorials

If you’re looking for good video tutorials, take a look here:
http://wordpress.tv

I’ve also posted wordpress resources here
http://www.arrowrootmedia.com/tag/wordpress/

Finally, you can take a look at wordpress’ resources.
They have great resources, tutorials, forums, and examples
http://wordpress.com (Setup your own wordpress site for free)
http://wordpress.org (Read more about wordpress)

If you have a great wordpress resource or find a great theme, please feel free to let me know if the comments below

Managing your Email with Google Apps

For people who are looking to manage their emails + domains hassle free, look no further than Google Apps. Google Apps will allow you to have your email available anytime, anywhere, and spam free. You can also use Google Docs, and several other Google Features without setting up a google account.

Google Apps also eases the process of adding new emails and configuring them with Outlook or other email reader.

The video below gives you a quick preview of the Google Apps Dashboard, as well as how to add a new email using your Google Apps Setup

Follow this link to view this video in full screen

Best New WordPress Themes

I was looking around for some new wordpress themes, and remembered the one I used for a recent site for Little Big Pictures. The theme was Oulipo and was designed by Andrea Mignolo. One of her themes was recently among the themes named “Best WordPress Theme for 2008”

Here’s bestwpthemes.com’s selection of the best themes of 2008. There are 45 themes in all, divided between free and premium themes. I’ve selected just a handful. For the full list, visit the bestwpthemes.com site.

The best free WordPress themes of 2008

Typebased


Andrea


Charade


Revolution White Canvas


Revolution Album


Elegant Grunge


Carrington


Sirup


Equilibrium


Blass2


Upstart Blogger Swiss


Vostok

See the rest of the themes at bestwpthemes.com

WordPress Tutorials, Video Mode

I found a GREAT repository for video tutorials on wordpress – I’ve listed a few below, but make sure to visit SpeckyBoy for theFULL LIST of TUTORIALS.

WordPress 2.6 Video Collection 

via ithemes.com
Wordpress Video Collection· WordPress Overview › (Basic).
· How to edit Posts/Pages › (Basic).
· How widgets work › (Basic).
· How to Upgrade WordPress Using the Automatic Plugin › (Basic).
· How to Add new Users › (Basic).
· How to Change/Activate Themes › (Basic).
· WordPress Settings Overview › (Basic).
· How to login to WP Dashboard › (Basic).

WordPress Video Collection from siteground.com

Wordpress Video Collection· How to install WordPress › (Basic).
· Getting started with WordPress › (Basic).
· Arrange your blog posts in categories › (Basic).
· Manage comments in WordPress › (Basic).
· How to change the theme › (Basic).
· How to install WordPress plugins › (Basic).
· Create a backup of WordPress › (Advanced).
· How to upgrade the WordPress version (Basic).

WordPress Video Collection from killersites.com

Wordpress Video Collection· Installing WordPress › (Basic).
· Configuring WordPress Part 1-8 (Advanced).
· Customizing the WordPress Text Editor › (Basic).
· Introduction to building WordPress themes ›. (Advanced).
· Building a WordPress Template Part 1 of 3 ›. (Advanced).
· Building a WordPress Template Part 2 of 3 themes ›. (Advanced).
· Building a WordPress Template Part 3 of 3 ›. (Advanced).