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What Kind of CMS’s Do Museums Use?


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.


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!

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.
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Tech4Good Meetup Discusses Online Community Building

Tech4Good is a meetup group that connects people from all types of industries. Whether you are a non-profit organization, a funder, a programmer, an individual with a great idea, or a social changemaker, this meetup group will welcome you.

As most good meetups do, members are encouraged to share, learn and collaborate.

This month’s speaker, Justin Isaf, briefed folks about the benefits of managing communities. Justin currently manages 4 million comments a month for the Huffington Post Media Group, and has eight years of experience building highly leveraged online communities.

He covered topics like :
– how to spot the trolls who spam communities
– the importance of reaching critical mass of contributors and commenters
– how to get people talking to each other
– and…a URL to download an e-book version of Randy Farmer’s Building Web Reputation Systems.

Justin also offered three tactical approaches to leveraging communities (Twitter, Forums, and Blogs) while giving insight into their strengths and weaknesses. Twitter, for example, can be used to build conversations between followers, but those kinds of communities will never grow as large as the more traditional Forums. Blogs, on the other hand, give Community Managers more control over their communities than the other two approaches. Justin also discussed the Pros and Cons of being a community manager. “You need to have thick skin to do this work,” he stated after describing an experience where one of his former community leaders started spreading rumors about him on the web.

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WordPress 3.1 Book Giveaway – Free!

The last few blog posts I’ve posted here have all started out with “exciting news” – this one’s no different as we’re doing a Giveaway of a WordPress book!

WordPress 3 Complete by April Silver is a thorough guide on all things WordPress and even includes code samples if you get the e-book. We’ve got an advance copy and will be posting a review soon. But you don’t have to wait for my review – you can win a copy today. To enter to win a copy of the book, simply post a comment on why you want this book, how you would use it, or simply link to your current WordPress site. A winner will be chosen randomly using random.org.

What you will learn from this book :

  • Install WordPress in a variety of environments
  • Upgrade WordPress from older installations
  • Add images, videos, tags, and categories to blog posts
  • Personalize and control the content of your website
  • Manage the look and feel of your site with customized themes
  • Allow users to have a variety of control over content
  • Link your website to the outside world through feeds, syndication, and podcasting
  • Create custom post types to manage books, movies, people, or anything else you can imagine
  • Design and create your own themes and plugins from scratch

So – leave a comment! Let us know in the comments section why you could use this book and you could win a free copy. Good luck!

New Directors / New Films New Website

There’s no other way to say this – we’re really proud to announce the launch of NDNF’s new site : http://newdirectors.org.

In collaboration with the MoMA and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, we built a custom WordPress theme to house the film festival’s lineup. In celebration of the festival’s 40th anniversary, we developed a few custom post types to store the 300+ films in their archives. The website includes a directory of films, along their directors, and an interactive timeline.

The design was put together by MoMA’s fabulously talented Art Director, Brigitta Bungard.

For a preview of what’s to come on the big screen, take a look at the listing of this year’s films.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

UPDATE : You can read a bit more about the festival on the NYTimes.

MTV Act Launch

We’ve got super exciting news – a project we’ve been working on with MTV + Purpose is finally out in the wild!

MTV Act Blog

Together with the fantastic design and strategy team at Purpose, we developed a custom wordpress plugin for MTV’s Act Blog, helping move people towards collective action.

Some of the basic tech details …

Our custom plugin utilizes custom post types to allow MTV to build a directory of actions. The plugin also connects directly to the Social Actions database and gives the MTV bloggers access to a large set of actions to plug into their posts.

MTV Act Widget

We also worked with the Gigya API – this particular piece encourages visitors to share their actions with their friends.

Many thanks to all the folks who spent countless hours working on this!

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/jackomo/status/32677789358366720″]

New Photography Site

We’re happy to announce the launch of a new wordpress site for NYC Based Photographer, Kristofer Dan-Bergman. The site features a full gallery system, a sweet blog, and a nice slideshow on the homepage. The site was built with ThemeFoundry’s awesome Photography Theme.

You can see Kristofer’s live site by clicking here or clicking the image below

Below is a conversation I had with Drew Strojny, the founder of ThemeFoundry re: the launch –

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/jackomo/status/27074436800716801″]
[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/drewstrojny/status/27139518666637312″]

And, for those interested in getting the theme, click here to purchase the Photography Theme.

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


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.

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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.

Organizing 2.0: How to Plan for Your Website Redesign

“Failing to plan is planning to fail”
– someone who planned

Whether you’ve got an existing site, or need a new one, you need to plan either way. While a web designer or programmer can help you build a site, it’s up to you to figure out “What do I need?”

(via Julie Blitzer @ Advomatic)

New Site: Hudson Valley BarnHouse

So what’s been happening down at the barn?

Well, glad you asked…

We just recently launched a new site: Hudson Valley BarnHouse

The site was built for a rental property in Warwick, NY offering rentals to vacationers and people who simply want to get away. The site features a full lightbox gallery, fully customizable font colors, and is completely mobile friendly (so people on the go can navigate to the property).

I’ve included a few pictures below, but go ahead and see the site for yourself. Heck – who knows – you just might find a great new deal for your next winter vacation!

(thanks to the Elegant Themes community for great support and great themes)

Watch the video below for a glimpse on how the web is touching people everyday.
(via Gawker)

(thanks for the video Mitch!)

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.


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


WordPress Video Tutorials

If you’re looking for good video tutorials, take a look here:


I’ve also posted wordpress resources here

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

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




Revolution White Canvas

Revolution Album

Elegant Grunge





Upstart Blogger Swiss


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).