Archive for the ‘wordpress’ Category

Google Blogger vs. WordPress, Blog Wars: Part 1 – The Test

August 23, 2007

I have recently gotten into blogging and in the process, wanted to determine which blog engine I felt was best. So I created a working blog in the following engines:

  • Google Blogger: AlongthePathto20.blogspot.com
  • Google Blogger, redirected to my domain: BlueDei.Blogspot.com redirected to blog.bluedei.com (either of these addresses go to the same place, my google blog)
  • WordPress.com (hosted on WordPress): AllThingsWeb20.wordpress.com
  • WordPress.org (installed on my subdomain): clear.bluedei.com
  • WordPress.com (used to test backing up a blog, this is the vanilla wordpress.com blog with just an import of my posts from my Google blog, AlongthePathto20): clearbluedei.wordpress.com
  • Vox blog: smmellott.vox.com
  • LiveJournal blog: smmellott.livejournal.com
  • TypePad and MovableType: didn’t create because they charge for them and I would have made a “free trial” blog but it wanted me to select a plan and put in my charge card info and I gather the free trial meant I could cancel it for free. So of course, I didn’t do anything with either of these.

You can go take a look at each of these to see how they look.

I have been actively customizing, testing and using the Google blogger blog: Alongthepathto20 and the WordPress.com blog: allthingsweb20 and the wordpress.org blog: clear.bluedei.com.

These 3 were my primary test cases and I have been copying any post I write to each of them. I have also been trying out their different features and seeing what they can and can’t do. So they are all highly customized.

The others I created for testing some particular feature (like redirecting a google blog to a domain name or testing the import feature of wordpress.com) or for trying some of the other, less popular blogs just to compare and see if they had something worth looking at. The vox and livejournal blogs I did very little customizing to. I mostly just set a template and posted a post and poked around.

I did not test ExpressionEngine, (someone commented they use this but I didn’t look at it, might be a Content Management System) TextPattern,(actually Content Management System) Joomla, (also Content Management System) Windows Live Spaces, or B2Evolution. Nor did I test Drupal, which is considerably more than a blog and worth a whole evaluation of its own (with the other similar tools, like Joomla) Those are actually Content Management Systems so are outside the scope of this test.

So now you have what I used for my testing. Go look at each of these to get a feel for what each is basically like. And stay tuned for “Google Blogger vs. WordPress, Blog Wars: Part 2 – The Results”

~Susan Mellott

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Web 2.0 – Odiogo on WordPress (self-hosted)

August 13, 2007

Late last week, I had found out about Odiogo which changes your blog text to speech (see my post on 8/11/2007) and had tried adding it to my blogs. At the time, I had a Google Blogger blog and a WordPress blog hosted on WordPress.com.

It worked just fine adding it to my Google Blogger blog, but it turns out there is no way to add it to a WordPress.com hosted blog. This was a big black mark against WordPress.com blogs in my opinion.

Since then, we have set up our own domain and I created a subdomain of my own (clear.bluedei.com) and set up my own WordPress blog on there and supposedly, it was possible to use Odiogo on a self-hosted WordPress blog so I created my feed and submitted my request to Odiogo and waited impatiently for my confirmation email to arrive from them.

It came this afternoon, so I then tried setting up Odiogo on my new blog. It was amazingly easy! I just downloaded the plugin from the link in the confirmation email, ftp’ed it to my wp-content/plugins subdirectory on my subdomain and set it up on my blog. Now I have an odiogo feed button on my sidebar so people can subscribe to my audio feed and each time I create a post, the odiogo ‘listen now’ button is automatically added to my post.

Here are the actual instructions that were very clear and easy to follow.

1. Download the plugin

2. Upload directory odiogo_listen_button to your /wp-content/plugins/ directory via FTP

3. Login to your WordPress admin account and activate the Odiogo Listen Button plugin through the Plugins menu

4. Click Menu Options > Odiogo Listen Button

5. Enter your Odiogo Feed ID and click Save
Your Odiogo Feed ID is xxxxx.

6. Click menu Presentation > Widgets (or Sidebar Widgets depending on your WP version)

7. Drag and drop Odiogo Subscribe Button from Available Widgets to Sidebar

8. Click Save Changes

Here is a link to the Odiogo FAQ page. I noticed that people have been trying to find out why their feeds were being cut off before they were done. You can find the answer on this FAQ page by looking under “How do I activate RSS full text option on…” and they have one for Typepad, WordPress and Blogger.

It is really a neat and useful tool and I’m very glad I can add it to my new blog.

~Susan Mellott

Picking a Web Hosting Company for our Site and Blogs

August 13, 2007

We had decided that we wanted to go with a web hosting company so we could set up our own site. I did some research and here is what we decided.

We went with Inmotion Hosting. I did some research and they looked like they had very good uptime and support and the features we wanted, at a reasonable price. We pay $9.95 a month and got a free domain (with the 12-month package). If you get the 24 month package, it is $8.95 a month. I picked it especially because it is supposed to have very good customer service and it had a decent package (Power Business class – the middle business class plan) for a decent price.

Another company I considered was Host Gator. It was also supposed to be good. It was about the same price for similar features. And LunarPages got excellent reviews but had less plans. Actually, I might have gone with Blue Host instead, had I found it earlier. When I went to WordPress.org to set up WordPress on my site, they recommended it and it looks good and is cheaper. What I particularly liked about it was that they had an active developers forum where members helped each other.

CPanel is really a nice tool to manage your site and Fantastico is an easy way to install things (like WordPress). Subdomains are where you can add something to the front of your domain name, like I created clear.bluedei.com for my blog and Sean is thinking about deep.bluedei.com for his. You could also set up say support.bluedei.com or store.bluedei.com. Ours allows 50 mySQL databases. Some have less and some have unlimited. It appears that when something is installed through fantastico, it takes a database so it is good to have plenty (or at least more than you think you need).

Also, the web hosting companies have different servers that they can put you on and if you plan to do development or leading edge stuff, be sure to ask for one with the latest versions installed (like php or mySQL) since not all of them do.

You can do a search on: web hosting reviews, to get sites with ratings, reviews and overviews of the different web hosting companies. And here is a link to a blog post on MySitesAdvisor called Review of 3 Reliable Web Hosts that looks at 3 web hosts that they like. Blue Host was also on their list. They also have a post on 5 Keys to Choosing a Better Web Host that has a lot of good information in general on what to look for in a Web Hosting service.

We are in the process of setting up our own site at bluedei.com. We haven’t done the front web page yet, but I have set up a subdomain clear.bluedei.com and installed WordPress there and copied my posts over and am working on getting it set up. You can take a look if you want, but it is still a work in progress as I figure out themes and plug-ins and whatnot. I will do another post about the difference between WordPress hosted by them at wordpress.com and WordPress that you host on your own domain.

But this is the first step to having our own site.

~Susan Mellott

Web 2.0 – Convert your post texts to speech with Odiogo!

August 11, 2007

I was looking at a Blog called Just Giblets and I noticed a widget at the top of each of their posts that said “listen now”. So I clicked on it and it read the entire post by converting the text to speech! I tried other posts and it did the same for every post. And as I was going down their posts, I found one called “Do you notice anything different?” that explained more about Odiogo.

So I went to the Odiogo website and started looking at how I could add it my own posts. As it turned out, I ran into yet another limitation of WordPress (hosted on wordpress.com). It does not allow you to use this feature since it restricts some of the things Odiogo needs to use.

So I re-signed up with Odiogo for my Google Blogger blog instead. After I got the confirmation email (it takes about a day), I followed the instructions, which required me to do nothing more than click a couple of links and buttons and voila! Each of my blogger posts had a “listen now” button. I didn’t even have to add it to each post, it is automatically added for me. On the some the earliest posts, when you click the listen now button, it says “Sorry, this article is not available yet.”, but most all of them are available now. Here is how it looked when I clicked on the listen now button. It is in the process of reading the post.
odiogo posts

As you can see, there are other formats you can also listen and download the post as. Odiogo also creates an audio feed stream that you can access from the blog using this button:

odigo feed

This takes you to this page where you can sign up for the audio feed of the posts using various feed readers, or can just listen to them from the page.

We are in the process of converting over to our own hosted site and I will transfer my WordPress blog there, which should allow me to add this to that blog (although not as easily as you can add it to a Blogger blog).

They also market it as a way to create podcasts easily by just writing your text and then converting it to audio. That is interesting but I’m not sure how much easier it is than just reading and recording it and that way you also have a human voice rather than a digital voice. But I didn’t really look into that much from their site and I’m sure they have a lot of other good uses for it. You can go here to learn more about their mainstream media, or here to learn more about adding it to blogs.

It is free to add to your blog and for some people, may generate revenue. I’m not sure what they are referring to by “ad income”, I have not really noticed any ads except for saying it is from odiogo. But in any case, it is free. This is what the site says “Not only is Odiogo free, it may be able to generate advertising revenues. Once your listenership reaches a significant level, you may qualify for a share of ad income! More technical details about the solution can be found here and in our FAQ. So what are you waiting for? Give your blog voice, and legs, now! “

I have friends and family with low vision and this seems like a wonderful addition to a blog to make it more accessible. And I believe that this is something that needs to be considered as Web 2.0 apps are being developed. Part of the concept of Web 2.0 is inclusiveness and being accessible and this shows how easily you can enhance your blogs to make them easier to access for everyone.

I hope this sparks your interest and helps people think about creating and looking for Web 2.0 applications that help make it accessible by everyone.

~Susan Mellott

Google Analytics Update and WordPress Beef

July 27, 2007

Well, the latest on my problem accessing blogger.com, google analytics, etc is now fixed. I’m not sure what the problem was, but I closed Firefox and reopened it and everything was OK. I had tried closing all but 1 tab and that didn’t do it. I thought I might have to reboot my PC but fortunately not.

As you may know, I’m trying to decide between Google Blogger and WordPress for my blog. Currently I am updating both and trying to decide which one I want to ultimately go to. So far, in many ways I have been leaning towards WordPress. Part of this is because I like the idea of hosting it myself and I am hoping that when I do, some of the problems will be solved with the additional plug-ins available.

But it is driving me crazy trying to add buttons and whatnot to my WordPress.com blog. I am trying to add a “Digg It” button for Digg. But it seems to be impossible. I have looked and looked and can’t find a reasonable solution. And there are many other ones that won’t work on WordPress, usually because WordPress doesn’t allow Javascript.

And it would not be so bad if it wasn’t almost every single thing I try to do. I do it in Blogger and it is easy. I try in WordPress and it is somewhere between difficult and impossible.

I am still hopeful that if I host my WordPress blog, it will solve alot of these problems. I really hope so because for some reason, I still like WordPress.

~Susan Mellott

How to Embed a Video in WordPress and Google Blogger

July 25, 2007

If you have been using WordPress or Blogger to host your blog, you might be wondering how to embed a video in your post. I know I have been! Well, thanks to what else, a YouTube video, I found the answer. It isn’t hard, but I just didn’t know.

Essentially, you just copy and paste the code next to the “embed” tag that is part of the information listed for each YouTube video while viewing your post using the “Code” tab (not the “Visual” tab). This worked for me and I didn’t need to do anything.

It is the same in Google Blogger except you go to the Edit HTML tab to add the code instead of the Code tab.

Actually, the video didn’t really help me except to point me to the ’embed’ code and then it was obvious that it needed added to the Code section (or Edit HTML section in Blogger). And it was even more obvious when I tried it again and forgot to go to the Code first and it just displayed the code as text (as you would expect).

~Susie

Blogger vs. WordPress Poll

July 17, 2007

I’ve added a poll to my side bar to get some feel for what blog engines people use and prefer.

I have created a blog in both Blogger and in WordPress so I can play with them and see what they each have. I wrote a post on this when I first set them up. I’ve been finding out ways to do things that I want in each, but still like some features in one and some in the other. I’m really hesitant to judge WordPress until I get a chance to move my blog to my own website (which I hope to have soon) since I know that adds a lot of functionality. However, not everyone (or probably most people) have their own site and therefore, the blog engine of choice for them may not be WordPress.

I’m also curious which engine is best for directing people to your site for posts of interest. I’m trying to monitor it via blog stats in WordPress and Google Analytics in Blogger, but blog stats does not give as much information. I did add site meter to my WordPress blog. I found out how to add html code (only straight html code) to my blog via the text widget. It gives much more statistics.

In the process of doing two “separate but equal” blogs, I realize that I really need to settle on one or the other, and do it soon. For one thing, I have to duplicate each post if I want it on each site, and also, I really don’t want someone to start reading one site and then have it go away (or quit updating) if I switch to the other. I figure I can put a post on the site directing people to my new site, but still, I don’t feel right about it. Also, anyone thinking that I actually have two different blogs would be disappointed. I thought at first that I would put more practical information on my wordpress “All Things Web 2.0” blog and the posts (like this one) that talk about my discovery process and thoughts on this blog.

But then I realized that people might read something on one or the other of my blogs and be interested in what else I might have to say and would miss half of it by having it somewhere else. So I am mostly just posting the same things on each blog. I apologize if it annoys anyone.

Also, I am sure there are other blog engines out there that people use. I know Live Journal is one that I really haven’t even looked at. If you use a different blog engine than Blogger or WordPress, could you please leave a comment letting me know what you use? And of course,
comments are always, always welcome. I’d be thrilled if you left a comment and would love to hear from you about things you have found, ideas to share and comments about my post, or me, or anything else you feel like saying.

Anyway, since you are here, please take time to vote!

~Susan Mellott