April 26, 2010

‘WordPress in Depth’ covers all the bases

WordPress-In-DepthJD LasicaAt a recent meetup of the East Bay WordPress Meetup group, I won a free copy of WordPress in Depth, the new book by Bud Smith and Michael McCallister.

If you’re thinking of starting a blog, or switching from another blog platform, “WordPress in Depth” (softcover; 432 pages; publisher: Que) serves as a worthy guide to get you acquainted with the wealth of options that WordPress and its open source-fueled developer community now offer.

During Friday’s post-conference strategy sessions at NewComm Forum, I was asked which blogging platform I recommend. Two years ago it would have been a close call. Not anymore. WordPress.org is the sleek, turbo-charged race car that leaves all the other players in the dust. (Last year I wrote a comparison of TypePad vs. WordPress. Some beginners may feel more comfortable with WordPress.com.)

In “WordPress in Depth” (one of several WordPress available in bookstores), the authors cater to a WP readership from newbies to advanced. The style is friendly, accessible and non-technical, with lots of graphics, call-out boxes and sidebars. I could have used this 16 months ago when I was working on the relaunch of Socialmedia.biz and the launch of Socialbrite — the book covers everything from installation basics to the must-have plug-ins. It’s not meant for the techno-illiterate, but it shouldn’t intimidate anyone who’s comfortable around computers. Continue reading

September 11, 2009

Matt Mullenweg on the state of WordPress

Matt Mullenweg on the state of WordPress from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaAt WordCamp San Francisco a few weeks ago, I managed to get a few minutes alone with Matt Mullwenweg, co-founder, chief coder and “Head of Bug Creation” for WordPress. (I self-host Socialbrite and Socialmedia.biz with code from WordPress.org; others use WordPress.com to host their blog.)

In this 5 1/2-minute video interview, Matt discusses the state of WordPress, its astonishing growth here and abroad, the vibrancy of the consumer open source movement and his estimate that about  8,000 coders are contributing code and themes to WordPress today. The recent release of WordPress 2.8.4 (fixing a security hole) makes WordPress, in my view, the best blogging software on the planet (with apologies to newcomer Posterous).

A few highlights from our conversation:

• Matt: “Some people think blogging is slowing down, but from everything we’ve seen, it seems blogging is accelerating just as fast as ever. ”

• Matt: “There’s no real killer feature in software anymore. There are 50 killer features, and everyone has a different 50.”

• WordPress fits into the consumer wave of open source tools. the first wave was purely development tools, the second was infrastructure and the third is consumer” applications like Firefox and Azureus. Continue reading

May 9, 2009

Seven blogging tools reviewed

A detailed look at the top blogging software platforms

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, businesses, individuals

Guest post by TechSoup

While often regarded as a platform for people to share their personal stories, a blog can also be used to tell the story of an organization. Whether showcasing your work, offering behind-the-scenes glimpse into your nonprofit, highlighting the people you serve, or advocating a particular point of view, a blog can be a powerful — and influential — communication and public-relations tool for your organization.

So how do you create a blog? Let’s say that you’ve already spent time reading other blogs and articles on how to successfully maintain and promote your blog. (More Resources at the end of this article will help you get started.) You’ve defined your goals, your target audience, and the type of content you’ll provide. Your next challenge is to pick the blogging tool that offers the right features for you.

There are a number of good blogging tools, but choosing among them can be confusing. In this report, we’ll take a detailed look at the top blogging tools out there and outline key considerations for selecting a blogging platform, including the skills required to set it up; the ease with which you can post to it; whether you can upload images, video, or audio to it; its ability to moderate comments and prevent spam; how closely you can tailor its design to match the look and feel of your organization’s Web site and other collateral; and tools you can use to track who’s reading it.

The seven blogging platforms we’ve chosen to review are Blogger, LiveJournal, Typepad, Movable Type, WordPress, ExpressionEngine, and TextPattern. We chose these tools because they are the ones most commonly used to create a typical nonprofit blog — by a long shot. 77 percent of all the bloggers included in the Nonprofit Blog Exchange and 81 percent of respondents in a survey of serious bloggers conducted by ProBlogger used one of these seven tools.

That said, these seven tools certainly don’t meet all possible needs. This report doesn’t include the more sophisticated tools you might use to build a complex multi-blogger community, or blogging software that provides deep Web site integration. You’ll want to look beyond this report if you need a posting workflow, where, for instance, an editor can approve posts from many different blog authors; a closed community in which only specific people can see, post, and comment; complex integration with other Web site content such as forums; or if you’re building a Web site that includes a blog built from scratch. For example, Drupal and Joomla! — both free, open source, content management systems — were among the top ten tools most commonly used blogging tools in the Blog Market Analysis. These tools, and a number of other powerful and sophisticated blog and community tools, are well worth a look if your blogging needs are more complex

But for the rest of us — whether we’re with a big nonprofit that wants a highly branded, tailored blog with multiple authors, or a tiny organization looking for something easy to set up and use — one of the seven tools covered here will work just fine. We’ll help you ask the right questions to determine which blog is right for your organization and provide reviews of the most popular nonprofit blogging platforms.

Continue reading