Posts tagged with ‘wordpress’

What Makes WordPress So Great?

I’ve run into a few graphic and web designers who don’t use WordPress, and don’t know why they should. Here are 4 good reasons that WordPress should be your web design environment of choice.

  1. It’s a great CMS (Content Management System) – While WP was originally created as a blogging environment, it has grown into a full bodied CMS. You can easily manage blog posts, pages and all of the media on your site. This setup makes it easier to edit a site from any computer, thus giving you the ability to make changes much more quickly. WP also gives you the ability to give access to multiple content contributors. This is particularly useful when people in different locations are working on a site.
  2. Vibrant developer community – Since WP is open source, anyone can develop themes and plugins that add style and functionality to a site. For instance, one of my favorite plugins is PageMash. It gives me the ability to arrange the order of my pages without having to number each page. Plugins add functionality to WP, and you’re bound to find one that fits your needs. Themes are the skin that covers the site. Even if you’re not a developer, there are literally hundreds of themes that a layman can install to style their site. Of course, a professional can create a fully custom theme that captures the essence of your business.
  3. Optimized right out of the box – When marketing your business, the whole idea is for people to be aware of your business. Similarly with your website, people need to be able to find your website. WP is designed to be easily trackable by search engine bots.
  4. It’s free! – While you may pay to have someone create the look of your site, you’ll never pay for the basic code. The underlying guts of WP are free, and give you great freedom in how you implement your website.

I very rarely work on a site that isn’t designed with WordPress anymore. It’s just easier for both the client and myself. If you’re not using WordPress to build websites, I would highly recommend trying it.

10 WordPress Plugins We Cannot Live Without

The overwhelming reason we recommend and use WordPress almost exclusively is this: the community of plugins developers is nothing short of amazing! We regularly support and donate to those that show a commitment to keeping updated, clean code available.  We test new ones all the time, and really like the new crop of social media integration plugins we are seeing. But those aren’t for everyone’s corporate site.

Over the years, we have locked in on a “go-to” set of old faithfuls. Almost without fail, these plugins are installed before the first pixel is altered or the first word penned.  So without further delay, here’s our list of 10 WordPress plugins we cannot live without (feel free to ad your links to other indispensables in the comments below):

  1. All-In-One SEO Pack Does what is says…says what it does. Finer-tuned adjustments of keywords and page titles.
  2. Ad Rotator Widget A highly flexible little bit of code, perfect for callouts and, well, ads, of course.
  3. FormBuilder Essential for sites that need multiple, different, customized forms, and a simple interface for managing and assigning them to pages. Go ahead…get carried away!
  4. PodPress The quintessential plugin for managing a podcast on WordPress. It’s the little extras that have always wowed us with this one, and the incredible work put into it by Dan Kuykendall!
  5. Google XML Sitemaps Some say it helps, others say don’t bother. But every time we install it on an established blog, we see positive jumps. That’s reason enough for us!
  6. Maintenance Mode Making changes under the hood? Switch over to a maintenance page with the click of a button. Stylable, customizable, clean, simple functionality. Surprised this one hasn’t been baked into the core code already. Just remember to turn it off when you are done.
  7. Subscribe2 Yes, it’s admittedly pretty Web 1.0, but we still have people who prefer to sign up for email notices. Who are we to stand in the way of those standing in the way of progress, right?
  8. WP Email Also old-school, but clients always ask for this functionality, and the potential for abuse has never materialized for us. Anyone disagree?
  9. WP Print The super-fast and easy way to get a stylesheet up and running for print-versions of your posts.
  10. Akismet (of course!) If you don’t know what this one does, it’s because you’ve been so buried in spam email for YEARS that you haven’t been able to come up for air. Pity.
  11. BONUS: ThinkDesign Blog’s Test Post Pack A no mess, no fuss way to make sure yo are styling all your elements correctly, without forgetting anything. Sure beats the manual method of creating a bunch of posts, ages and comments with various kinds of content!

These fine coders are all worthy of your accolades and donations. Because of them, web sites actually DO things.

(TIP for designers: I created a directory on my computer that contains all of these plugins, so copying them up to a new WP instalation is super-quick. They are all outdated versions, of course, but with WP v2.7, I can click and upgrade them all very quickly before activating them.)

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More Reasons to Love WordPress 2.7

Wired is on to something with their recognition of how the new v2.7 of WordPress is a step toward a more fully fleshed out Social Networking platform, or at least tight integration with one.

So far, I am having a hard time coming up with any reasons to NOT like this update. The Flash uploader still doesn’t work with Flash 10, though.

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WordPress 2.7 Represents a Big Evolution

This week Automattic rolled out WordPress 2.7, and in many ways, it is the largest update of the year, even eclipsing 2.5. The administration panel back end got most of the attention, and it is beautiful and functional and… quite different. Harkins Creative is already putting it through its paces on this blog, checking out plugin compatibility and the many new features. We will steadily begin deploying it across all client sites with whom we have an ongoing maintenance relationship. Our early report is incredibly positive. Some of the “under the hood” changes mean that WordPress will be certain of enjoying a prolonged life as the front runner of the blogging platform community.

Also look for new WordPress tutorials to cover the layout changes and new features soon.