WordPress for iPad and iPhone Updated (iOS) – Hello video!

Wordpress for iOS
Wordpress for iOS

Automattic, the folks  behind wordpress blogging platform have updated their iPhone and iPad app, which allows you to manage many features of your wordpress powered blog from your iOS powered device.

With this update the ability to upload video is introduced, you can now upload video directly to your website using the app. “With 2.6 you can now record, upload, attach, and play videos within the app”.

The developers also re wrote some code to manage the way local drafts are managed. Autosave and post revisions are also now available in the app.  The developers are also turning their focus to media management “What would a new video feature be without a new Media Library to go along with it? We’ve taken the old Photos tab and turned it into a new Media Library more along the lines of what you’re used to with WordPress.”

  • Video. Record, upload, attach, and play videos within the app. Yay for being able to catch your friends’ and co-workers’ most embarrassing shenanigans creative moments with iPhone video and publish them immediately for all the world to see on your WordPress site.
  • A total rewrite of the way local drafts are handled, to prevent the unintentional loss of your pending posts.
  • Autosave/post revisions. Bam! One of the “oh, thank goodness” features of the web app makes it into the iOS version.
  • Easier setup. Faster and easier process for adding your sites to the app.
  • Media Library. We’re gradually getting closer to the media management you’re used to in the web app.

Check out the iOS wordpress blog for a full breakdown of the deveopment and features of this application for iOS.

Online versus on-the-go – WordPress

Wordpress
Wordpress

We all know what a blogging website is. WordPress.com is one of many, and also happens to be one of the most popular. It’s free, it’s easy to use, and it looks good – all boxes ticked. Registration is quick, and you can start sharing your noise with the world within minutes.

One of the nicest things about WordPress is the Dashboard section. The Dashboard is a visually pleasing overview of your entire blog, showing how many posts you’ve written, how may comments have been made on them, and so on. There are plenty of background themes you can choose from to give your blog a bit of a personal touch, and I also like the way other users’ blogs are laid out on the WordPress homepage, allowing you to sample other people’s musings.

The mobile app falls a little short, however. It has a meagre 2-star rating, which is a little harsh perhaps, but isn’t far from accurate. Upon first opening the app, you can either add your current WordPress blog to the list, or sign up if you’re a first-time user. Personally, I’d recommend registering on the website – I always find it a bit fiddly filling in forms on the iPhone. Once added/created, your blog appears in a list, and when selected gives a stripped-down version of the online-version’s Dashboard. In fairness, this app does exactly what you want it to, but it isn’t very nice to look at, which is a shame. It’s also a bit glitchy; posts appearing more than once in the list, things like that. According to one user, it fails to save posts, which is a frustrating waste of time (and seeing as I’m typing this post on the app on my iPhone now, I’m going to select all the text and copy it just in case).

Overall, in terms of functionality, it seems to do everything the web version does, and its geotagging function is pretty cool, though setting them up to actually appear on your online blog feels like more hassle than it’s worth. I’d say that for WordPress, it’s handy if you want to publish a post as a draft perhaps, but as another user – ‘Mandog2’ – put it, it really is just “clunky, dull, and hard to use.”

Blog post inspiration – Solve a problem!

Walking through the Green in Dublin city on Monday morning, I was wondering where people get their ideas for writing their blog posts.

For me when I am trying to solve a problem with my wordpress blog, get some widget working, formatting a post, I go searching for the answer. For the genre I write in usually in my blogs, inspiration comes in the form of solving a problem! Because if you can answer a question, or even ask one, you have your inspiration for your post already.

There is nothing more satisfying than figuring out how something works! Sharing that information in your blog can be so helpful to others and also satisfy the human need to share information. I have often found a blog post that answered a simple question, while I was looking everywhere for the answer.

Of course blogging is not only about answering a question, it is about sharing ideas and views as well.

But solving a problem is always a good topic to write about, it always makes me more interested in writing blog posts.  I created this chart for myself as a guide for my blog topics I write in this manner.

Answer a question
Answer a question

For topics I write in this manner I find the following makes for a more interesting post, if you are trying to write about a question you answered, you solved a problem.

The question

  • You have a question that you need answered.
  • The question must be your question – Of course you can answer any question, but I find if you are passionate about solving the problem that passion is reflected in your post!
  • If you cannot solve the problem you can take your blog post in a different direction. You can ask your blog community to help, or try to solve yourself and blog the results.

The answer

  • You have researched the problem and solved it.
  • You have tested the results.

Creating the post

  • Write about your results.
  • If you found the solution great, if not still blog and share with your community promoting interaction within your blog.

Just one of my ways for writing a particular type of post, feel free to share yours! How do you find inspiration for your blog posts?

RSS feed tweeks to enhance reader experience & promote traffic to your website!

Real Simple Syndication (RSS) allows site owners to automatically syndicate their content to readers in an easy to read format. For the reader this is content delivered to their inbox or reader! In many instances this is a reverse of roles, the content is coming to the reader, not the reader to the content.

The idea of this post is to explore the different tweeks  and additions you can make to your RSS feed to improve the overall RSS experience for your readers and drive traffic through promoting your content.

Firstly I would recommend allowing readers access to the full content of your posts in their feed reader. I have found that only publishing extracts and requiring readers to actually visit your blog to view the full posts, causes readers to become annoyed. I know the idea is to generate traffic to your website, but remember it is better to have a subscriber than not. Observers have noted the type of people who subscribe to RSS feeds generally tend to be those who know their field. Be honered there reading your content! Allowing them to read the full content of your posts, promotes them to become more interested in you and what you have to say.

Someone to watch over me

RSS sandwich icon by GeekMom Heather
RSS sandwich icon by GeekMom Heather

Pretty much everyone uses Feedburner, and recently it was taken over by Google.  I use it to manage my RSS feed. With feedburner I can see how many readers I have  as well as getting a break down of what system they use to read my updates and also offer readers the ability to subscribe to my blog updates via e-mail. You can see all this in operation on my site right now!

I would recommend activating FeedFlare in your feedburner account which will allow you to build in interactive features to the feed. This means you can show your users how many people have commented on your post, thus generating some traffic back to your blog to read these comments.

Note:In order to use feedburner you also need the feedburner plugin for your wordpress blog (if your using wordpress).

This plugin makes it easy to redirect 100% of traffic for your feeds to a FeedBurner feed you have created. FeedBurner can then track all of your feed subscriber traffic and usage and apply a variety of features you choose to improve and enhance your original wordPress feed.

Related Posts Plugin

This is a wonderful addition to your website, if you don’t have the related posts plugin already give it a try. Not only does it supply related posts for your blog content, but it also does so for RSS feeds. This falls back into what I was talking about earlier, regarding giving away ‘free content’ or full posts. By adding related posts to your feeds your readers can now find assicated articles which are linked back to your website.

Polls

Polls are a wonderful form of interaction between the author and the reader, in regards to the feed, it once again promts visitors from the feed to your website, so that they too can vote in your poll.

Video

I am going to throw in this line about video, but it is a little redundant today. Previously most RSS readers did not support video players, so RSS subscribers had to visit your website to actually watch the video. However these days, readers do support this. Just a quick point really!

Widgets

With modern browsers it is easy to subscribe to a feed by clicking on the usually built in RSS icon, safari has one beside the URL bar. However there is no harm in popping an RSS icon into your sidebar, as I have done in a prominent place on my website. You can also show off how popular you are by placing a FeedCount badge on your widget.

These are just a few tips I can share with you based on my experience on  RSS feed tweeks. Please do share your views of RSS feeds, and any suggestions you may have for enhancing reader experience & promote traffic to your website!

WordPress advertising plugin – OIO Publisher

If anyone is interested in a really great advertising system which can be fully integrated with wordpress, or used on its own, will handle payments and would like it for a discounted price. Read on…

I have been offered 8 USD off the retail price for OIO Publisher for anyone who wishes to use it.I have used OIO Publisher before on my Mobile Phone blog, with success, and I got a good few advertisers using it, it has a paypal module so it can also manage payments.

I wrote some info on this product below:

OIP Publisher allows you to organise and manage all your advertising requirements from one central location. If you use wordpress, great, you can manage OIO Publisher from the admin panel. If you do not use wordpress, it also works as a stand alone product!

Why use it?

OIOpublisher
Money off voucher for OIO Published
You can sell ad space on your blog or website using OIO Publisher or even use it to manage digital sales. The process of selling ad space, inserting the adverts, and processing the payments is all managed by OIO Publisher.

Visitors to your website can place adverts directly on your website or blog using OIO Publisher, make a payment and their advert can go live instantly, or if you prefer you can approve them first!

You can use as many ad sizes as you wish, and it even works with google AdSense! Got more than one website? No problem, you can use this across all your websites.

If you have not sold any ad space, you can configure OIO Publisher to instead show a banner until the space is ready to be sold.

The most recent edition of OIO Publisher also has a built in theme system. This means your customers get a nice designed system in which to purchase adverts and make payments on the OIO system.

Sorry, I have been unable to find a down side to OIO Publisher, managing your own ad system gets rid of the middle man, meaning the profits are all yours. The price is not bad at all at 47 USD, I can also offer a 8 USD discount to johnmryan.com readers for the month of July 2009.

If you are interested in OIO Publisher click here, and if it is still July 2009, please use the following discount code! Quote “RAINMAN-JOHNRYAN” for your discount.

OIO PUBLISHER

  • install OIOpublisher as a WordPress plugin or a standalone platform
  • sell all forms of text ads, banner ads, and paid reviews
  • custom purchases also allow you to sell digital products
  • display ads on any website you like using php or javascript
  • installation is simple using the web installer, no more manual file uploading
  • entirely automated, all ad purchases and expiration’s handled automatically
  • click and impression tracking, plus weekly ad reports emailed to advertisers
  • If you want to use this offer click here
  • Please note the discount is only valid for the month of July 2009

    19 Great WordPress Plugins – A List

    One of the best things about wordpress is the ability to extend its functionality by adding plugins.  The idea of this post is to provide a point of reference, a list, of some of the greats – selecting some plugins from this list should help you find that elusive, desirable plugin that you’ve been looking for. But there’s more, I would very much like you to comment on this list with your own suggestions, and we can go beyond the 19 plugins listed below. Continue reading 19 Great WordPress Plugins – A List

    Backing up wordpress – playing it safe

    Recently, I was sent an e-mail from a ‘cyber agent’ informing my blog software has a flaw in it, that this ‘cyber agent’ had gained access to the administration panel, to prove this I was provided with the encrypted password and my username with login details. While, it turned out that this was not my main blog and just some blog software I was testing at some stage and never bothered to upgrade – so I was always safe – in that respect, as I always stay up to date with software renewals on my main sites.

    This did start me thinking about blog security, or perhaps more importantly if something did happen are my backups ready if the worst happens, and if so does this mean I can turn back the clock and have my blog fully restored. As a wordpress user there is a few simple options you can utilise, but no matter what software you use the following rule is golden.

    Check with your web-host, how often do they do full backups of your sites data, meaning your database and all files you have associated with your website, and should you need access to these files to restore the data ,what is the required process. If you are in Ireland check out Letshost.ie who have a great backup policy. Some hosts have cPanel installed which will allow you to run a full backup also.

    Step 1 – The database

    The wordpress backup plugin, is a great tool for backing up your wordpress database – that is everything you have written on your blog, and the actual database that supports this. You can use this plugin to schedule a regular backup – which is e-mailed to you on a specified basis. Once activated you will find a backup option under the manage menu, I would strongly recommend against saving the backup to the server, as this may be publicly accessible, having it e-mailed is a good idea, or better still saving to your PC. I find deleting spam before backup is a great idea to speed up the download, particularly relevant for those with slower connections and you really don’t need a spam backup, easy to do if you use Askimet. Remember this backup process does not include any themes, plugins, images, or wordpress php and config files.

    Step 2 – The files

    Getting the rest of the files is the next part, using your favorite FTP client, such as FileZilla (free), log on via FTP to your wordpress installation and copy the entire folder including subdirectories, ensuring your themes, uploaded images, plugins and modified files are all in there, which they should be anyway, and copy to your PC. This process may take a while depending on the amount of data and your broadband connection.

    The files should then be backed-up to a CD or external hard-drive , it seems unlikely but a server and a PC going down does happen. You should backup your wordpress database often using the schedule on the plugin (or manually if you prefer), unless you do not post very often, every week/month is a good starting point, and also backup your wordpress files, this – maybe once a month is ok, but if you make template changes and wordpress changes you’ll want this reflected in your backups and so backing up at that point is wise.

    Points to note

    You don’t need to become a backup freak, but just remember to do it, a simply entry to Google calendar to remind you when to do it is a nice idea, they even send you text reminders, you have no excuse really.

    Unless you do both steps above you really only have a partial backup of your blog.