Posts Tagged

WordPress

WordPress has grown and changed over the years, from a simple blog system into a full-fledged CMS. In that time, it’s gone from a basic white theme to a bright blue and then a more subdued grey and tan that we all know and love today. Along the way, it’s picked up a ton of features, and the world of computing has shifted from desktops to mobile and tablets. It’s time for some changes.

WordPress 3.8 is finally here today, and along with the extra new features and bug fixes you’d expect, it also includes a surprisingly nice new redesign that, while largely the same as before, makes the WordPress dashboard look far more modern and at home on any of your devices.

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WordPress may not be the cool new blogging platform these days, but it is the serious CMS that powers so many sites (AppStorm included). And it’s still a pretty nice platform, one that for the most part works great and — thanks to the huge ecosystem of themes and plugins — can be almost anything you want it to be. But at the end of the day, WordPress is most often used for blogging. And to blog effectively, you’re usually scheduling posts and social media messages quite a bit.

But WordPress is pretty bad at scheduling, and even worse at social media integration. Almost daily I have to click the Quick Edit link on scheduled posts to double-check what time they’re scheduled for, and then use a combination of IFTTT and Buffer to take care of social media posts.

CoSchedule, though, is the one app that could change that. It’s a WordPress plugin that makes post scheduling as simple as a drag-and-drop, and then makes it just as easy to share post on your social networks.

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It was only six months ago that I was testing, and seriously enjoying the newly released Barley, and its intuitive take on website management. Featuring tag-based installation, editing that is almost entirely inline, and a beautiful admin area, it has been a hit with web designers looking for a client-friendly option.

Now, however, Barley wants to encroach on the territory of another CMS. But not just any CMS – it wants to take on WordPress, via a plugin.

Few in the web industry would describe WordPress as the leanest editing machine, nor as the friendliest environment for the hapless, technophobic business owner. But can a plugin really outdo the system it is plugged into?

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WordPress is being challenged on all sides in its dominance as the most popular blog engine, but that doesn’t mean it’s lost relevance in today’s web. On the contrary, it’s still one of the best ways to put together a full-featured blog with contributors and comments, post revisions and plugins, and more. Plus, it’s rather capable beyond just being a blog — you can use WordPress to power your next store, save your notes, support your customers and more.

Or, you could use it to give your team its own internal social network. That’s why the Automattic team made the P2 theme, which changed how their team communicated so much that they have over 150 internal P2 installs that contain over 80% of their company communications. The only problem is that P2 is starting to look rather dated.

Leave it to the WooThemes team to redesign P2 with their new free Houston theme that makes P2 look and work nicer than ever before. It’s the P2 theme your team should be using to collaborate.

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Early last November, designer and writer John O’Nolan published his idea of a lighter WordPress fork focused on writing: Ghost. The original concept page showed a beautifully redesigned dashboard that focused on the stats and info that matter to writers, combined with a post editor that let you write in Markdown and preview the live post at the same time. The concept took the web by storm, racking up hundreds of comments on Hacker News and beyond — and even drawing interest from WordPress’ creator, Matt Mullenweg.

Nearly 11 months and a wildly successful Kickstarter later, and backers finally have the first beta of Ghost to power their blogs. It’s a Node.js and SQLite powered CMS that’s been coded from scratch instead of the original idea of a WordPress fork, and it’s already a totally different blogging experience than anything you’ve ever used. It’s attracted thousands of individual backers, as well as corporate sponsors from Envato and Code School all the way to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (of all surprising things). It’s easily the most exciting thing in blogging right now.

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Nearly all of the apps, platforms and services we write about on AppStorm are pretty specific in their purpose. Twitter sticks to restricted-length communications, YouTube focuses on video clip-based entertainment, and Evernote does nothing other than document filing. One app, one task. It works pretty good.

Given that we use many of these apps on a daily basis, you have to wonder why there haven’t been more attempts to combine some of these services. FriendFeed was, perhaps, the most prominent and successful entry into the mashup genre, although it fell by the wayside, despite a peak of 1.2m unique visitors per month.

The makers of Needly clearly feel that the fusion of web-apps is an idea worth revisiting. Billed as “Google Reader + Basecamp + WordPress,” it seems intent on providing a hub of browser-based services. Is this the plain madness it sounds like, or rather some kind of genius idea that should have been done already? Read on to find out.

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I’m a geek. I love things like web development, design and blogging. I love writing and photography. I adore music. In fact, I love them so much that I take pictures, write and design for a living. In fact, despite the fact that I have my own blog and maintain other websites dedicated to personal interests, like music, I’m starting my own creative services company in the upcoming month.

Because I’m initially going to be the sole proprietor of this company, starting it is easier than you might think both legally and financially. But I do need a website. And even though I love coding and web development, I also hate it (not unlike many professional coders I know). So I’d prefer to leave the fine art of web coding to the professionals. That’s why I’m considering Squarespace 6. Things have changed a lot since we last looked at Squarespace. Let’s find out what’s new.

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Maybe you’ve been thinking recently about starting a blog and just don’t know where to start. Well, have no fear. After encouraging a few friends on Facebook to write a blog, I’ve learned that most people don’t know where to start and what site they should use for the most flexibility.

I’ve spent a good deal of my time in the past few years writing for blogs, whether it be personally or professionally. I’ve had experience with all three of the Big Blogging Platforms, which is my affectionate term for WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger. You can start a blog for free with all three of them. Let’s take a look at the platforms and see what they’re capable of.

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With the news of Tumblr being bought just this past week, there is renewed attention to other blogging platforms. Of course WordPress and Tumblr are two of the most recognized ones out there. But there are others that you may not have heard of or that are just not as popular.

For the past few days, I have gotten to play with a blogging platform that is a little different than some of the other options that are out there. If you are an Evernote user, like I am, then you are going to be intrigued by Postach.io. It harnesses the power of Evernote and lets you use it to create your blog posts. I thought it was a brilliant idea, and after taking it for a spin for a bit, I came away impressed. Let’s take a closer look at it.

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I just recently ventured into creating my own website again. There is something about doing it that is so fulfilling for me. Over the years, I have learned a lot about websites by creating them, and have found what should and should not go into it. Now, don’t let me mislead you: I am no pro at this by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, when you start talking about coding, you lose me right away. But, what I have started to learn more and more about is using the amazing resources that are out there to help you create your own site. I am finding that you really don’t have to know how to code to help you come up with a decently good looking website.

Take for example, the app that I am reviewing today called Feeder Ninja, which does something so simple in nature, but yet can come in very handy when you are creating your own site. Feeder Ninja takes your social media feeds and creates an embedable  window that you can insert into your website. Again, simple in nature, but they make it so easy to do and it looks very professional.

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