The Internet has made life a lot more interesting in terms of communication. Blogs especially have become very popular the last few years. The idea that the everyday person has the ability to publically advertise their thoughts and opinions on creative layouts via the World Wide Web has spread wilder than any hybrid-strain of the black plague ever could, whilst continuously spreading till this day.
The online Collins Dictionary (www.collinsdictionary.com) defines a blog (also known as ‘weblog’) as “a website containing a diary or journal on a particular subject.”
There are blogs for various reasons available on the net. A huge number of them are used as public diaries where users like to give their daily comments on whatever encompasses their lives. Others like to use it as an opinion notice board or forum, where they can advertise their opinions on issues and hear what other users have to say about it. The more profitable use of blogging, however, is to promote companies, services and self.
The main benefits of having a blog, from a publicist’s perspective, is that it (a.) is a very affordable platform and that it (b.) can reach multiple people simultaneously across the entire globe if managed well.
So, what exactly is WordPress?
“WordPress is a free, Web-based software program that anyone can use to build and maintain a website or blog. It is a content management system (CMS), with an easy to use interface enabling you to publish, edit and modify content with limited or even no knowledge of coding,” says CityVarsity (Cape Town) WordPress lecturer, Schalk Joubert.
May 27, 2003, was when WordPress was first released by founders Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little as a fork of b2/cafelog (WordPress’s precursor) and as of July 2013, version 3.5 has been downloaded over 28 million times. The name “WordPress”, according to a Wikipedia lead, was suggested by Christine Selleck Tremoulet, a friend of Mullenweg.
Using WordPress gives you control over an entire array of themes, plug-ins, templates, and tons of widgets to improve the user-friendliness of your website or blog. The idea is to provide a simple platform to make personalised websites without the hassle of extensive HTML (Hypertext Mark-up Language) and CSS (Cascading Style-Sheet) coding knowledge. It does, however, go without saying that although WordPress is designed to make website creation simpler for untrained web designers, it is recommended that you are familiar with computer basics and the concepts of HTML and CSS to get the best out of WordPress.
Freelancers benefit most from WordPress. It can save a lot of time and money for those unfamiliar with the intricate languages of web designing, who cannot afford the management of their online image and is thus forced to manage it themselves. WordPress is one of many platforms for publicity, and any publicity is good publicity. The more people know about you and your product, the more the chances of you obtaining a customer, or three.
More archaic company directors will still say that they have little time to master WordPress. So, most companies entrust their public image to be managed by their Marketing Department. Marketing Departments usually hire Web Designers, Content/Copy Writers and SEO Consultants to manage the company’s online properties and image.
Huw Collingbourne, Editor of Bitwise Magazine, wrote an article titled, FIVE BLOGS, FIVE QUESTIONS. In the article he chose his top five CMS (Content Management System) Blog packages, WordPress being one of them, and asked them each five questions. One of the questions was, “In brief, what is the main advantage which this CMS has over its competitors?” This is what WordPress replied:
“(WordPress has) Full standards compliance – XHTML styled with CSS out of the box. Supports PingBack and trackback, RSS/Atom/RDF for feeds, (and) XFN and nofollow for links. No rebuilds – fully dynamic. Search engine friendly. Integrated blog roll/link manager, with import from other systems. Mature theme system with over 400 themes available. Sophisticated plugin system with over 500 plugins available. Anti-spam measures out of the box. Password protected posts. Private posts. Non-blog Pages, (e.g. a static ‘About’ page). XML RPC for use with desktop blogging tools. Supports multiple-author community blogging. Much, much more!”
However, WordPress users should always be aware of security problems when it comes to any internet issue. Founder and CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of Checkmarx, Maty Siman, explains WordPress’s flaw best:
“Every developer can upload their plugin to the WordPress.org market and any user can download that plugin with no security assurance process in place. In certain cases, you can exploit a vulnerability to get full access control to the hosting server, and in many cases you can get access to other WordPress sites hosted on the same server.”
Where do I start with WordPress?
First Steps with WordPress, an article in the WordPress Codex, is great for those wanting to set up their WordPress blog or website for the first time. The main steps/subheadings are as follows:
- Log In
- Test Drive Your WordPress Site (by) Starting at the Top
- Take a Quick Trip Around
- Test Drive the WordPress Administration Screens (by checking) Changing the Look (and) Writing and Managing Posts.
- (Do the) Planning Session (by) Using the Information (and knowing) What Information Do You Want to Share (as well as the) Comments (section).
- (Look at) Setting Up Your Site.
- Customizing Your WordPress Site (with) WordPress Themes, Customizing The Look, WordPress Plugins (and) Customizing How It Works.
- (Then go) Above and Beyond the Basics (and don’t be afraid of) Getting More Help.
Like most things in life, it will take time to get use to the WordPress interfaces and master some web-play skills, like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and editing the HTML of your webpages.
Are there any helpful tips?
- Your sidebar isn’t your hall closet.
- Make it easy to find what’s in your library.
- Clean up your permalinks.
- Maximize impact with targeted titles and descriptions.
- Put your images to work for you.
- Focus attention and spark a response with a landing page.
- Don’t forget the lowly footer.
Other worthy CMS Blog packages, according to Collingbourne, are b2evolution, LifeType (formerly called pLog), Pivot and TextPattern. Tumbler also jumps to mind, but cannot compete as it is only suited for microblogging (for smaller content than that of a usual blog). WordPress, however, boasts a much more professional feel with its interface and tools. Popularity also helps.
The Online Marketing Guys, situated in Cape Town, can easily help you create and maintain the online publicity of your choosing.