Two exciting competitions are the hot topic around the WordPress community this week. One if for WordPress Plugins and the other for designing around the innovative Sandbox WordPress Theme. More top notch bloggers and blogs are switching to WordPress and the VIP Hosting WordPress.com service, thrilled with the state-of-the-art development of WordPress. Lester Chan of GaMerZ has updated a dozen of his popular WordPress Plugins. There are a lot of new news about WordPress Plugins you need to know. And Andy Skelton is riding his motorcycle on a 7,000 mile trip to WordCamp 2007 in San Fransisco! How are you going to get there?
WordPress Plugin Competition: The Weblog Tools Collection called “WordPress Competition 2.0″ runs to July 31 with great prizes for inspired WordPress Plugin development and creation. See the Plugin Competition Blog and the announcement for more information.
Sandbox Theme Competition: The Sandbox Designs Competition was announced last week. The Sandbox WordPress Theme is a “blank template” with a LOT of customization features and excellent CSS structuring. I use it on on my WordPress.com blog and put together a first draft of all the styles for the Sandbox Theme in a CSS stylesheet. There is a competition participants page and some wonderful prizes for the winners. Like many such competitions, the key is to use the architecture in place and focus only on the CSS stylesheet for your design elements. There is a lot of information on how to submit your entry and the Official Rules and more on the The Sandbox Designs Competition site.
Major Disappointment with the Removal of Post Preview: There has been a lot of complaints about the removal of the long desired Write Post Preview, the ability to see your blog post as it looks in your WordPress Theme before it is published. The Preview Frame WordPress Plugin is now available to help you put it back in. For more on the issue, see Quick Online Tips – How to Get Post Preview Frame Back in WordPress 2.2 and Wordlog – Plugin to Restore Preview Post in Write Post Form.
Free WordPress Goodies Hunt: Ryan Boren announced the “WordPress Schwag Cache”, a treasure hunt with GPS and coordinates to hike into the wilderness near Silicon Valley for your treasure trove of “two .50 caliber ammo boxes hold WP stickers and t-shirts. You have your choice of black or red t-shirts.” Anyone up for an adventure in the woods for WordPress?
Improving Page and Post Performance for WordPress 2.3: There are going to be a lot of major improvements and wonderful new features in the next version of WordPress, and mdawaffe gives us a peek into the new and improved post and page management being developed.
First, the interface changes. In Manage -> Posts you can currently look for posts by search term, or browse by month or category, but only one of these things at a time.
In WordPress 2.3 (or currently on WordPress.com), you’ll be able to filter by search term, post type (draft, private, scheduled for future publishing, or published), author, month published, and category. You’ll also be able to combine any or all of those filters and do them all at once. So you’ll be able to ask for all published posts written by Lion-O during May of 2007, filed in the “cartoons from the eighties” category, and matching the phrase “Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living”. That was a hard list of posts to come by until 2.3.
WordPress 2.2 is now a Mandatory Upgrade: If you are using WordPress 2.1.3, WordPress 2.2 is a mandatory upgrade, according to WordPress developer, Mark Jaquith. WordPress 2.2 is available for download and you can find a list of version changes and new features for more information on what’s new in WordPress 2.2.
Are you coming to WordCamp? Andy Skelton is riding his motorcycle to WordCamp. I’m still debating between driving, motor homing, and flying. What about you?
WordPress for France: WordPress Francophone is the very active French version of WordPress and WordPress support. There is a Communauté (support forum), Documentation, Thèmes, Plugins, a Démo of WordPress and how it works, and a Blog bringing the latest news on WordPress for French speaking users. The most recent blog posts and announcements are:
- WordCamp2007 : Forum
- Donnez de la couleur à votre blog !
- Quoi de neuf dans WordPress 2.3 ?
- Alerte de sécurité pour le thème “Visitered Little”
- Un site de démo pour WordPress francisé !
- Comparatif de CMS dans Décision Informatique
Some other hot sites which have switched to WordPress include:
- The Sony Playstation Blog
- The Official Flickr Blog
- Curt Schilling – 38 Pitches
- It’s Getting Hot In Here
- Om Malik
- Yodel Anectodal – Yahoo!’s corporate blog
- New World Cichlids
MT Versus WordPress: Publishing 2 discusses the “showdown” of competition that may open between WordPress and Movable Type now that the latter has gone open source. A good point is made about the two different blogging systems and the future battle:
It’s a safe bet that WordPress won’t sit still by letting Movable Type leap ahead of its core feature set. The real competitive action is going to play out in the open source developer community and among bloggers and other independent publishers, who have rallied around WordPress.
As a WordPress user, I’m amazed that every time I want to add a new feature, I just do a quick search and find a WordPress plug-in that does exactly what I need. This creates a huge barrier to my even entertaining the notion of switching to Movable Type, regardless of what new core features it has to offer.
Either way, competition, if any exists, is good for the market and we bloggers could benefit with the battle.
Your Ideas Wanted! Do you have a suggestion to improve WordPress? Or want to vote on one you think is a must-have for WordPress users? Have your say on the WordPress Ideas, or at least vote one way or another to support or defeat an idea for a new and/or improved feature.
Cruise Blog Top of the Charts: In a press release, John Heald’s blog, about the life and times and inside look of a Carnival Freedom Senior Cruise Director, is one of the hottest blogs on WordPress.com.
The online blog by Carnival Freedom Senior Cruise Director John Heald continues to grow in popularity and, last week for the first time, achieved a top 25 ranking among the more than one million blogs of WordPress.com, a leading blog-hosting service.
…Heald, too, is surprised that the popularity keeps climbing. “I envisioned the blog as a simple recap of the day’s events. However, it really has turned into more of a sounding board – not only serving as my own personal diary but also an open forum for readers to convey their own cruise experiences. To me, it’s the perfect illustration on why cruising attracts such a diverse group of people. I consider the blog an extension of my cruise director duties and really cherish the opportunity to interact with readers on a regular basis.”
Under the Post: WordPress.com announced Under the Post, their list of items being considered for upcoming updates to put between the post and the comments on WordPress.com blogs. Suggestions so far include:
- Related posts
- Blogroll or avatars
- Popular posts
- Random same-blog posts
- Author profile
If you want your input, go have your say.
CNN on WordPress.com: Matt Mullenweg describes the launch of 25 CNN blogs on WordPress.com and says:
The team there has launched dozens of blogs on the system, including ones for Fortune.com and CNN Money and is a real pleasure to work with. To the extent blogs are going to have an impact on the 2008 election they need to be able to reach millions of people in a short period of time without problems, I hope that WordPress.com provides that platform for folks.
CNN is part of the WordPress.com VIP Hosting Service which allows high traffic and popular blogs to be hosted on the high quality WordPress.com hosting service for USD $600 to setup your site and $300 a month hosting fee. The benefits are the powerful server system behind WordPress.com, inclusion within the WordPress.com community, access to powerful, frequently updated, state-of-the-art blogging programs, access to WordPress Plugins, full customization and control, and a lot of other features. The VIP Hosting isn’t open to just anyone, so if you are interested, you can apply through the WordPress.com VIP Hosting Service page.
What’s Hot on WordPress.com? The hottest blogs on WordPress.com were:
- I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?
- strange maps
- Gospel of Reason
- Ideas from free minds
- 38 Pitches
- WRONGKMILLER.com: there are lots of k.millers in the world. i get their gmail.
- USB Tools & Portable Programs
- A Hot Mess!
- Off The Broiler
The hottest blog posts on WordPress.com were:
- God Said Pi = 3; Stand By Your Beliefs Dammit
- Police brutality at McCarran Airport
- 131 – US States Renamed For Countries With Similar GDPs
- 5 ways iPhone will change the wireless biz
- Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection ONLINE!
- DNC Closes Blog Comments After Discovering Members Agree With Thompson
- Stephon Marbury’s Fatherly Advice
- Henry, I love you but you are beginning to really frustrate me
- Apple Safari Browser For Win XP: Super Fast And Super Sick
- Guitar Hero Encore: Rock The 80′s | New Songs Announced
WordPress Plugins and Themes News
GaMerZ WordPress Plugins Updated: Lester Chan has updated his GaMerZ WordPress Plugins, bringing 12 of 14 WordPress Plugins up to WordPress 2.2 compatibility. The 12 popular Plugins include:
- WP-DB Manager
- WP-Page Navi
- WP-Post Ratings
- WP-Post Views
- WP-Relative Date
- WP-User Online
Ultimate Tag Warrior Plugin Update: Circle Six Design is calling for fans of Ultimate Tag Warrior and Simple Tagging to help beta test their new tagging Plugin on the most recent versions of WordPress.
WordPress Backup Email Fix: Quick Online Tips offers “How to Fix Missing WordPress Database Backup Emails” for the popular WordPress Database Backup Plugin.
One Fix for Customizable Post Listings: A fix, if you are into ripping and tearing WordPress Plugins, is available for the Customizable Post Listings WordPress Pluginon the WordPress Support Forum. I’m working on getting an improved version available. Stay tuned.
WordPress Meets MySpace: If you blog on both WordPress and MySpace, there is now a WordPress to MySpace Auto Crossposting WordPress Plugin that might interest you. When you post on your WordPress blog, it updates your MySpace blog with your blog’s post titles and such.
Improving WordPress Blog Search: Mark Ghosh of Weblog Tools Collection took a serious look at the importance of search on a blog and came up with a custom WordPress Plugin to improve the search functions for WordPress blogs. He’s working on a public release version, but let him know what you think about this and if you really want to improve the search on your blog. I do.
Translator Pro Now WordPress 2.2 Compatible: Angsuman’s Translator Plugin Pro is now compatible with WordPress. 2.2 and 2.3.
Add Voice to Your WordPress Blog: Planet Ozh describes how he added voice to his WordPress blog with the new Odiogo Listen Button WordPress Plugin by Odiogo. It sounds great, better than most I’ve heard. If you don’t podcast but want the option of audio, this is a great way to add a voice to your blog.
Interesting WordPress Plugins: I’m hunting for reviews of WordPress Plugins and will post them here. If you have used and reviewed a WordPress Plugin, please let me know so I can add them here. Until then, here are a few new and interesting WordPress Plugins – try them to see if they will work for you and your blog.
- WordPress Plugin: Where did they go from here?
- TinyMCEComments 0.1
- WP-Picasa 0.1
- WP-Forecast 0.5 for Weather
- WordPress Mailing List 1.1
- Simple Google Sitemap Generator 1.0
- Is Subpage Of 0.7
- Macro Expander WordPress Plugin
- WP-iPodCatter: WordPress iTunes Podcast Directory Plugin
- Podcast Release WordPress Plugin
Looking For WordPress Themes: SEO-Expert offers a huge list of free CSS web design sources for WordPress Themes and other template files and CSS designs available for download. This is a great resource for finding a WordPress Theme or getting ideas for creating your own. Be aware, though, that “free for download” doesn’t mean free of paid links or advertising embedded within the WordPress Theme, and it also doesn’t mean all WordPress Themes use the GPL license which allows them to be modified without permission. Check the copyright and license protections thoroughly before using any of these Themes.
Most Popular WordPress Themes: The WordPress Theme Viewer now features 3,395 Themes and 4,836,293 Themes downloads. The top WordPress Themes are:
- Vistered Little 1.7.3 (NOTE: upgrade the theme to version 1.7.3 immediately)
- MistyLook 3.3.1
- Japanese Cherry Blossom
- Cordobo Green Park
- Sky3c 2.0
WordPress Plugin Directory: The new WordPress Plugin Directory is going strong and improving as it develops. According to their list, the most popular WordPress Plugins downloaded are:
- Sidebar Widgets
- Google Sitemap Generator for WordPress
- Subscribe to Comments
- Automattic Stats
More WordPress Plugins can be found on the WordPress Plugins Database.
Is Your Theme and Plugin Compatible with WordPress 2.2? As should be the normal protocol, if your WordPress Theme and/or Plugin is compatible with WordPress 2.2 or upgraded accordingly, make sure it is on the WordPress 2.2 Plugin Compatibility List and WordPress 2.2 Theme Compatibility List.
WordPress Community News
WordPress Community Podcast: Quick on the heels of the last WordPress Community Podcast, a new one is out covering Episode 25: WordPress.com goes over a million and WordCamp. It also covers Movable Type’s open source release, security issues with WordPress, and the two new WordPress competitons.
Are You Involved With a WordPress Group? If you are involved with a WordPress group that meets regularly or as part of a special event, please let me know so I can promote the event here and elsewhere.If your group isn’t listed with Incoming.org or Meetup.com with WordPress as a keyword, I and others might not find you. Help us to help you promote your WordPress group.
WordPress Installed For Free: If you have problems installing the full version of WordPress, visit Installing WordPress for Free (aka Install4Free WordPress). This free, volunteer-driven service is limited to personal blogs only, and they help only with installations, not upgrades.
Looking for Past WordPress Versions? The placeholder for past versions of WordPress releases is at the WordPress Release Archive.
Looking for a WordPress Expert? Do you want a custom WordPress blog? Want to convert your website into a WordPress blog or use WordPress as a CMS? If you are looking for an expert in WordPress Themes, WordPress development, WordPress Plugins, or other WordPress-related expertise, check out the list of WordPress Consultants on Automattic, the parent company of WordPress, and the WP-Pro mailing list.
The following are upcoming WordPress group meetings and meetups, and a few special blogging events you may want to attend. If you know of any I’ve missed, please post them or contact me on my WordPress Events Page or via email.
- New York City WordPress Meetup – June 16
- Austin, Texas, WordPress Meetup – June 18
- Houston WordPress Meetup – June 23
- San Fransisco WordPress Meetup – June 23
- WordCamp 2007 – San Fransisco – July 21-22
- BlogHer Conference ’07: A World of Difference – Chicago – July 27-28
- Blog Business Summit – Chicago – September 17-19
For a WordPress Meetup near you and other blogging events, check out the WordPress Meetup Group List.
WordPress Techniques and Tips
Know of any great WordPress tips and techniques articles? Let me know and it may end up on our weekly list.
- Install WordPress files to a Subdirectory but Run your Blog off the Root Directory
- Static Front and Post Pages
- Wise Bread – Using WordPress for Blogging and More
- : How WordPress Can Be Tuned to Handle Traffic
- Global Variables and the WordPress Loop
WordPress Videos and Podcasts: Here is this week’s list of videos and podcasts about WordPress tips, tricks, and techniques to help you learn and do more with WordPress. It’s hard to find good ones, so if you have any recommendations, please let me know.
- How to Setup a WordPress Blog Video
- Make Your WordPress Blog Search Engine Friendly
- ZEPREZ WordPress Video Guides – How To Create A Blockquote or Indent With WordPress 2.0
- ZEPREZ WordPress Video Guides – How To Use The Bold Button In WordPress 2.0
- Podcast WordPress: Regaining Your Balance
Here are some featured articles from the WordPress Codex, the online manual for WordPress Users, the source you need to turn to first for your WordPress help.
- Adding Asides
- Styling for Print
- Template Hierarchy
- The Loop in Action
- Creating Horizontal Menus
- CSS Shorthand
- Using Custom Fields
Extra Tip of the Week
Adding Powerful Keywords to Your Blog Title: Inside the link to your blog title, WordPress uses template tags to generate the content. In its most simple form, it looks like:
<a href="<?php echo get_settings('home'); ?>/" title="<?php bloginfo('name'); ?>"><?php bloginfo('name'); ?></a>
On full version WordPress blogs, you can change this to add keywords or more to your blog title from within the
header.php of your WordPress Theme.
For instance, to add “Blogging Tips from” to the title “Lorelle on WordPress”, you could change the template file link to:
<a href="<?php echo get_settings('home'); ?>/" title="<?php bloginfo('name'); ?>">Blogging Tips from <?php bloginfo('name'); ?></a>
To put some descriptive keywords after the blog title and also in the anchor title description, you could use:
<a href="<?php echo get_settings('home'); ?>/" title="<?php bloginfo('name'); ?>, your source for information and tips on blogging and WordPress"><?php bloginfo('name'); ?>, Source for All Things WordPress and Blogging</a>
Most people use their tagline to add a descriptive phrase or subtitle to their blog post, and I’ll have that tip on modifying your tagline next week.
Even More WordPress News?
For more news on WordPress, see:
- WordPress Planet
- WordPress Development Blog
- WordPress.com Blog
- Weblog Tools Collection
- BloggingPro’s WordPress News and Tips
- The WordPress Community Podcast
- Lorelle on WordPress
- Planet WordPress from Planet Ozh
Each Wednesday on Blog Herald is WordPress Wednesday, featuring the news around the WordPress Community. If you have a WordPress news item or tip to suggest, please contact me at this special email address: email@example.com
Lorelle VanFossen blogs about blogging and WordPress on Lorelle on WordPress and author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging.