Blogging For Beginners: Resources

Resources for Pacific New Media Class

GENERAL INFORMATION

Open Source: basics

Generally:

  • Free
  • Access to the code — to change or modify
  • Support through groups or forums

Open source means that you have access to the source code. You can view and edit it. It is generally free. It is generally supported by a development group or team – so if there are bugs or problems, you should be able to find help from others using the program, or fix it yourself, if you understand the problem. You must pay attention to updating the software with patches YOURSELF. An example is WordPress. You can download, edit, change, upload, and use the software how you need to, all for free. WordPress is based off LAMP (see below for more details), also open-source.

Proprietary software is like Windows. It is not free. You do not have access to the code. You can not edit or view, or modify or improve it. If there are bugs or problems, you must wait until someone at that company fixes it. They sometimes charge for these fixes as “updates” or “new versions”, and sometimes FORCE you to buy upgrades every couple of years. Large companies like the idea that there is ONE source (like Microsoft) for all fixes and updates, rather than a group of developers scattered throughout the world.

LAMP:

Linux

Apache – apache.net

MySQL – mysql.com

PHP – php.net

(Also recommended: MyPHPAdmin — www.phpmyadmin.net)

LAMP Packages:

WOS Portable — www.chsoftware.net/en/useware/wos/wos.htm — Build your site on a USB Flash Drive (recommended 512Mb+)

EasyPHP – www.easyphp.org — easy install for PCs

Mac – MAMP (www.mamp.info) and XAMPP (www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp.html)

CMS: Content Management System – basics:

CMS is a dynamic, database-driven process to site maintenance. Forget those days of static HTML using Dreamweaver and having to FTP files back and forth. A CMS site has a “backend” that Administrators log into and publish, quickly and easily, using forms they fill out. Often these form fields have an HTML editor built into it. So, it’s like having Dreamweaver built into the system. Usually these sites also have a search engine built into them that simply search through the records in the database — each record represents a different page’s content for example.
There are hundreds of different CMS applications available, some free (open-source), some for a lot of money. Here’s a link to examine a wide variety of them:
CMS Matrix: compares different CMS applications

WordPress is one example of an open-source CMS application.

BLOG RESOURCES

Blog Search Engines / Socialize:

BlogPulse — www.blogpulse.com
Technorati — www.technorati.com
Bloglines — www.bloglines.com/search
Clusty — clusty.com
Del.icio.us – del.icio.us
Digg –digg.com
MyYahoo — myweb2.search.yahoo.com

Find A Web Host:

  • Often with a GUI Admin (cPanel)
  • Often with a WordPress installer (Fantastico)

Example: www.bluehost.com – $6.95/month with WordPress, Host 6 Domains On 1 Account, Free Domain Name, 200Gb space, and more.
Or check: wordpress.org/hosting/

Hosted Blogs:

Blogger (Google): www.blogger.com

WordPress: www.wordpress.com

Live Journal: www.livejournal.com

Myspace: www.myspace.com

TypePad: www.sixapart.com/typepad/

Yahoo 360: 360.yahoo.com

MSN Spaces: spaces.live.com/

Blog Software:

WordPress: www.wordpress.org — open source/free

Text Pattern: www.textpattern.com — free

Moveable Type: www.movabletype.org — free for personal, else $$

Pixel Post www.pixelpost.org free — for photo blogs

Traffic Generators:

RSS info:

Software to subscribe:
iTunes
MyYahoo
Sage (plugin for Firefox): sage.mozdev.org

Podcasting:

Subscribe:
iTunes
iPodder/Juice: http://juicereceiver.sourceforge.net/
Create:
MS Moviemaker: Microsoft XP’s free movie maker, can be used for videocasting or podcasting
Mac’s Garageband (part of iLife): www.apple.com/support/garageband/podcasts
GabCast — www.gabcast.com — record using your phone or VoIP
HelloDeo — hellodeo.com — record video to post

Bookmarking:

Commenting:

Haloscan.com
akismet.com — spam-blocking (built into WordPress, but available for other software)

Submit Feed:

Feedburner.com — Recommended. They aren’t a directory of feeds, but, they will make your RSS feed viewable and understandable to non-geeks.
technorati.com — Recommended. Technorati can be your friend, make sure to take advantage of their services.
Feedster.com
Bloglines.com
Syndic8.com

Pingoat.com — supposedly this pings most of the other top sites.

Submit URL:

Ads:

Google Adsense — insert Google’s keyword adverts into your website.
Amazon Associates — add Amazon books or products and get cash or gift certificates.
Kanoodle.com
Pheedo.com

Help find good keywords: Good Keywords — freeware

Or, BUY advertising for your site:

Google Adwordsbuy advertising to promote your site on Google keyword searches. See also: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal for help with keyword selections

Or, you can ask for DONATIONS for your site:
Add a PayPal Donation button to help cover the costs of the site.

Images:

Web Stats:

Statcounter.com — free
www.google.com/analytics — invitation with Gmail account

Usually, it’s just a matter of copying and pasting some code into a web page, in order to do tracking. However, most hosts also include log-based tracking also — this may be a bit trickier to view.

Sample Blogs:

Other Samples:
Politicswww.dailykos.com | www.crooksandliars.com (wordpress) | blog.johnkerry.com

Photoevienna-aigner.com/pixelpost | www.lawrencestaats.com/pixelpost

Spiritualityblog.davidbower.com (typepad)

Diary Massagical.com (Japanese/English) (wordpress)|

Businessgoogleblog.blogspot.com | HonoluluWeekly.com (wordpress) | Mark’s Site (wordpress)

Splogs – definition: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spam_blog

WORDPRESS RESOURCES

Installing WordPress:

  • Download from www.wordpress.org
  • Go into MyPHPAdmin (GUI for MySQL)
  • Create new database
  • Put files into webfolder — for example in EasyPHP it’s c:/program files/easyphp/www/
  • Walk through WordPress installation: very simple*
  • Write down Admin password and REMEMBER it!

(* If you don’t use an automated installer, you’ll need to know the following:
1. Database name
2. Database username
3. Database password
4. Database host
5. Table prefix (if you want to run more than one WordPress in a single database))

See also the WordPress Installation Guide at codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress
which discusses a FREE INSTALL service: install4free.wordpress.com/

Also, read the step-by-step guide from WordPress

** Excellent guide from SamDevol.com.

WordPress Plugins:

Here are just a few of the many great plugins that were created for WordPress. Check the article for WordPress Extras for more.

www.phrixus.co.uk/pxsmail/ — PXSMail: contact form
unknowngenius.com/blog/wordpress/spam-karma/ – Spam Karma: comment spam protection
automattic.com/ – Widgets: easy-to-update sidebar goodies
randomfrequency.net/wordpress/search-pages/: searches go to Pages as well as articles
randypeterman.com/StatTraq/ — StatTraq: web stats for your site.
www.huddledmasses.org/2004/04/19/wordpress-plugin-acronym-replacer/ — Acronym-replacer: if you use a lot of jargon

Static Homepage — static home page

WordPress Extras:

Sample WordPress Sites

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Books: