WordPress 2.7 review

I’ve just upgraded all my blogs, installing the new WordPress 2.7 which seems to be fantastic! This is a review of the new WordPress script.

First of all, I can say that WordPress 2.7 has a new interface which, in my opinion, is better in terms of usability and design than the previous interfaces used on the older WordPress scripts. You wouldn’t notice the changes looking outside-in, but inside-out. The admin panel got a very clean and modern look which reminds me of the operation system called Macintosh. Here’s how the new WordPress 2.7 admin panel looks like (click on the picture for maximizing it):

Wordpress 2.7 admin panel screenshot

What I like about WordPress 2.7

I personally switched from WordPress 2.2.1 (I know, I’m oldschool!) so obviously I had a big shock because the things are very different from what I was used with, but I addapted quickly to the new design because many things are now just much better! A new feature I really like is called “Screen Options”. What it basically does is to show or not show different things on the dashboard, things like “Right Now” (which is a short summary of your blog), “Recent Comments”, “Incoming Links”, “Plugins”, “QuickPress”, “Recent Drafts”, “WordPress Development Blog”, “Other wordpress news”, you know, in general stuff that was before too but you couldn’t do anything about them. You aren’t interested in let’s say “Other wordpress news”? No problem at all, you won’t see that box any much longer! Another cool feature is that you can now drag the boxes and arrange them the way you like. To do this you must click and hold while moving the boxes.

Did you know that wordpress can be a feedreader too? Sure thing! You can now get the latest articles of your favorite blog right into your wordpress dashboard.

Wordpress Feedreader

What I don’t like at wordpress 2.7

There are only few things I didn’t like. For example, I am a person who should wear glasses, so I would liked it more if the font was a little bit bigger in the “New Post” page. Another aspect that I didn’t really like is still related to my eyes. Although the new design is clean and modern, there seems to be too much gray and my eyes are hurt. I would add some more blue.

Conclusion

All in all, WordPress 2.7 is great, and I again recommend you to try it. This way you’ll experience something new, something that will make you be proud of wordpress, and you will stay up to date with the latest security updates.

How do I upgrade?

Very simple! All you need to do is to download the new script from here, access your ftp, delete the old “wp-admin” and “wp-includes” folders, and then copy all the new wordpress files (skipping wp-content because there are your themes, pictures, plugins, and you don’t want to lose that), overwriting the old ones. If you encounter any problems, feel free to add a comment here, telling what happened and I will try to help you.

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Improve your blog: let readers change the font size

A very essential part of blog optimization is making it be a comfortable place for your old, faithful readers and even the new ones. I’m sure you agree with me that font size is a tricky part, on the internet, there are different opinions about how big or how small a font should be in order not to cause pain to the eyes.

I came across so many blogs and websites that had some really nice articles which could be a great read, but there was a major problem. The font size was too small for my eyes, so I couldn’t read anything. There were 2 possibilities: copy the text in a word processor and make the font bigger in order to read it without problems or just simply hit the x button and close the window. There are 99% chances that you would choose option number two (closing the window), and that’s exactly what I did. In other terms, this means money loss, high bounce rate, big decrease in the subscribers number, and more bad things for the one who tried to write a good article.

The best thing you can do is to install a plugin on your blog that will display a button on every article, a button that allows the reader to make the font smaller or bigger, according to his tastes. Luckily, if you are on wordpress, a smart coder made a very nice plugin called “WP-chgFontSize” which can be downloaded from here. Once the plugin was download, here are the installation steps, according to the author:

2. Decompress and upload the contents of the archive into /wp-content/plugins/.
3. Activate the plugin on your WP Admin > Plugins page by clicking ‘Activate’ at the end of the ‘WP-chgFontSize’ row.
4. Configure the plugin on your WP Admin > Options > Font Size page.
5. To use it, there are two possibilities:
* If your theme supports widgets, and you have installed the [widget plugin](http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/widgets/) or you are using WordPress 2.2 or higher, add the ‘WP-chgFontSize’ widget on your WP Admin > Presentation > Widgets page.
* Add `<?php chgfontsize_display_options(); ?>` at the place in the theme’s file where you want the font size selection appear.

Regarding step 5, I personally chose the second option and it looks like this (click on the photo to make it bigger):

text-size-plugin.png

Again, I really recommend you to use this plugin which will definitely make happy some of your readers. If any problem occurs during installation, feel free to add a comment here telling what the problem seems to be and I’ll be glad to help.

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Blogging
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How to connect with your readers

As you all know, a blog is an online journal where you can write your thoughts, opinions about certain topics, in my case: blogging about blogging. Blogging has evolved over time and you can now see huge projects like techcrunch that are actually blogs.

What’s so great about blogging, you may ask. Well, the great thing is that you can get a response from your readers on your articles, that is called feedback. Really, everyone has an opinion and you’ll see how great you feel when someone posts a comment on your article. In blogging, connecting with your readers is essential if you want to “stand out of the crowd” and do something special. Maybe that is why in the last few years the “blogoshpere” has grown so much, it came with something special.

But how can you connect with your readers?

Read the rest of this entry »

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Thinkbigsites.com review

It’s my pleasure to present you a great search engine optimization company which, as you would guess, offers search engine optimization services.

thingbigsites-review.png

What I liked at thinkbigsites.com is that they don’t only offer SEO services, they also offer hosting, programming and web design services which is a very good thing both for the company and customer.

Regarding the website itself, I can only say that it’s extremely well structured. You can find everything you need very easy, you don’t have to look for hours after something you need, although I would have a suggestion regarding the design part. The green color doesn’t suit very well to the website. It’s okay, not too bad, but I would recommend another color or, at least, another tinge of green, the actual one being too bright.

I took a look at the portfolio as well. Friends, I can assure you that you are on good hands because this company has a big portfolio of scores of happy customers. Another thing that I really liked here is that you know from the beginning what the price for a certain service will be so you don’t have to ask how much will it cost to (…). Just put an eye on the “pricing” page and you will find everything you need. Like I said before, everything is structured by the book. A+ for that!

Okay, so don’t forget, if you need more web site traffic and you are looking for a SEO expert, I would recommend you to try this company, that, at first sight looks very professional and I’m sure it is!

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Reviews
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Stumbleupon updates for September 16th

Stumbleupon came with a big surprise for the social media guys. They have introduced some great improvments:

  • add more than 200 Friends
  • This is good and bad. Let’s start with the good aspect. Members like you and me will be able to get in touch with more passionate bloggers or interesting people. Regarding friends, sky is the limit! About the bad aspect, spammers will have the chance to add more and more friends so they can send pages to them and promote their websites, but stumbleupon took care of that as well. You will receive this message if you add too many friends in a very short period of time:

    spam-stumbleupon.jpg

  • subscribe to another member’s Stumbles without becoming their Friend
  • This wasn’t really necessary. First I didn’t get it. But if you think a little about it, you will realize that maybe you just want to subscribe at someone’s favorites and not to become a friend with him or her, although, if you like someone’s activity you might consider getting to know that person.

  • members who’ve unsubscribed from StumbleUpon no longer appear as your Friend
  • Oh that’s great! It won’t be necessary anymore to delete your “dead” friends.

  • “Fans” will now be known as “Subscribers”
  • Doesn’t need any explanation, does it?

  • Subscribers who are new StumbleUpon members appear at the top of your Subscribers list
  • Okay, this might help, you can now see who is new to stumbleupon and who isn’t. You can put an eye from time to time on the new members to see how they manage.

More than that, you can now see how similar you are with another stumbler. To see that you just have to enter a page of another stumbler, and on the right side it will appear something like this:

stumbler-similar.png

All in all, I really like these changes.

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Social media optimization
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Bloggers Interview: Daniel Scocco

I think you all know Daniel Scocco, the problogger behind dailyblogtips.com. I have prepared a question set for him and he was glad to take it, thank you! Let’s hear the thoughts of a successful blogger:

– First of all, please give me some details about you (Age, occupation, hobbies, anything you want).

I am 24, and for the past 2 years I have been working on the Internet, with a wide range of projects. I would call my self a web publisher, but the definition is evolving over the time.

– When and why did you start blogging and when was the first time you heard about this term?

I first heard about the term back in 2005, on the blog of Steve Pavlina. He described how it was possible for people to start a blog and make a living with it. The idea sounded very attracting, and I started one small blog right after reading that.

– How much time do you spend blogging per day?

Some 4 or 5 hours.

– What’s your target? Money, connection with people, or you just want to let your voice be heard?

My plan is to start a web company soon. My blogs and other online projects are a way to arrive there (for the money and connections that they bring). Even if my startup should take off tomorrow, I will probably keep writing on my personal blog to share my thoughts and ideas.

– Which traffic do you consider to be the best? The one provided by search engines or social media networks?

Search engines. It is more stable and can be molded more easily (i.e. led to click on ads).

– What are the best ways to promote a blog?

Put some killer content on it, then let other people know about it (email them, use social sites, etc).

– In your opinion, what makes a blog be good?

Its content.

– How do you monetize your blog?

I have direct advertising deals in place (companies that sponsor the blogs).

– What monetization methods do you recommend?

Direct advertising deals. If you have a huge number of page views, perhaps CPM ads. If you have a huge organic traffic (from search engines) then perhaps AdSense.

– Could you give some advice for the new bloggers?

Focus on creating outstanding content, the rest will follow. People must read it and say “shit, I better bookmark this website and come back in the future!”

This question set addressed to a big problogger has the intention to help the new ones understand better this phenomenon called blogging.

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Blogging
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