Doing More with a WordPress Website

Wordpress PresentersWordPress has remained one of our favorite content management systems. We’re both eager to here how we can do even more with it!

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11:01 a.m.: Session underway. Judi Knight, Owner – New Tricks & WordCamp Atlanta; and Russell Fair, Lead Developer – Cheri Media Group. For a weekly WordPress tips newsletter, sign-up at eepurl.com/qFgX. Presentation available on newtricks.com.

11:02 a.m.: Russell Fair taking the stage. WordPress is a free and open source blogging tool and a content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL. It has many features including a plug-in architecture and a template system. WordPress is used by over 16.7% of Alexa Internet’s “top 1 million” websites and as of August 2011 and manages over 22% of the Internet’s website.

11:05 a.m.: The best and worst thing about WordPress is that you can do anything you want three different ways. Spend a lot of time planning and thinking about what is the best way to accomplish your goals. Make a roadmap of where you want to go before you start installing plug-ins. Installing plug-ins are very easy and very quick. With it, you can write as little code as possible to get as much done as you can.

11:07 a.m.: You can have a great impact on your site in a big way if you install plug-ins you understand. Less is more. Try and find one plug-in that can accomplish two or three things. Plugins extend WordPress beyond a “blog” platform. More than 20k plugins = millions of unique configuration possibilities. There’s no one right way to do anything. There are no top 10 universal plugins that will work for everyone. It’s about discovering what plugins will work for you the best.

11:09 a.m.: Audio Plugins. Blubrry PowerPress Podcasting plugin, Podlove Web Player, podPress are all good examples for audio broadcast.

11:10 a.m.: Video Plugins. JW Player for WordPress, Stream Video Player, VideoWhisper Video Presentation and All in One Video Pack are all good examples for video broadcast. Search the WordPress plugin repository for all of the plugin possibilities.

11:12 a.m.: Always check the feedback and ratings for the plugins. Look for quality of the rating and the number of people who have rated the plugin. If the plugin has four stars and is rated by more than 100 people, you can have pretty good faith in that plugin. Also, look at when it was posted and how many downloads it has. All can be an indication of whether or not the plugin will be successful.

11:14 a.m.: Plugins that have not been updated in over two years will have a warning that they may be out-of-date.

11:15 a.m.: The support forum is a great place to go for help with WordPress or a specific plugin. You can always have an IT person crack the plugin open and check for glaring problems.

11:17 a.m.: Oembed Stream works well for embedding video. YouTube is recent years has created a way where you just post the link to the video in your WordPress post and WordPress and YouTube take care of the coding for you. It works great! You don’t even need to make a link. You only need to paste the link. Thanks to Oembed, many content providers are moving in this direction.

11:20 a.m.: Activating plugins is very easy. You, literally, search for the plugin and click activate. It’s that easy. JW player can do livestreaming, as well.

11:22 a.m.: RTMP stream is a really advanced way to stream video on-demand. If you had a live event happening, people can connect to your RTMP stream through your website.

11:23 a.m.: Try Google Hangout for conference or interactive chats. Justin.tv or Ustream are other great methods for livestreaming without having to set up an RTMP stream. Justin.tv will provide the code for you for any livestream that is currently being broadcasted. All you have to do is pop that code into WordPress and it will work.

11:27 a.m.: All of the Oembed streaming options will work on WordPress.com. Embedding justin.tv or Ustream may not work on WordPress.com.

11:28 a.m.: WordPress.com is a service provided by a company named Automatic. You can sign-up for free and blog there. WordPress.org is the same software that you can modify and host on your own server. WordPress.org gives you 100% control over the files. You install WordPress.org on a web server somewhere, it’s up all the time. You need your own hosting and domain to be on WordPress.org. If you start with .com and want to move over, it’s very do-able.

11:30 a.m.: It may take 15 extra minutes or so to configure WordPress.org. The downside to WordPress.org is you have to pay about $100 a year to have your own hosting and domain name. Also, you need to manage your own updates and security. However, WordPress.com offers no customization. The minute somebody says they want to do something big they’ve dreamed up that will require any custom code, WordPress.org is the way to go.

11:33 a.m.: Google inexpensive web hosts that work with WordPress to find something cheap that works well with WordPress. Depending on what you’re trying to do determines whether or not you’ll use .com or .org.

11:35 a.m.: Many factors go into deciding what hosting service to use. Bluehost is a good starting place.

11:37 a.m.: Some examples of other university student media outlets using WordPress sites: Clayton State, Vanderbilt, Carnegie Mellon, Loyola and University of Alabama.

11:40 a.m.: Want more? Custom Post Types, WordPress Multisite and WordPress API’s are all available through WordPress.org.

11:45 a.m.: Summarily, if you are looking for a simple solution for your personal or professional billing website, .com is the way to go. If you want more control or are looking for a more extensive and customizable solution for your radio or television station or want access to thousands of plugins, go with .org.

Reflection:

This session was for people who are using WordPress.org mostly. For the WordPress.com users in the room, it was a little misrepresented and many got lost. However, it was good to hear more about the benefits of using WordPress.org as a content management system. Both presenters are excellent consultants for anyone looking to convert to or launch a Wordpres.org site.

Relevance to TV2 – B-

Insight and Demystification – B-

Innovative Ideas – B-

Overall – B-

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