Category Archives: WordPress

20 Killer WordPress Resources For Bands, Artists & Developers

I’ve been using WordPress since 2005 and I swear by it these days, simply because its so versatile, infinitely customisable, robust, oh, and its free too.

My early experience with content management systems was with PHP-Nuke, then Mambo, Joomla and B2Evolution (B2/Cafelog, was the precursor to WordPress).

But there has been incredible development on WordPress in the following years and I really couldn’t see myself using anything else, such is the support, the plug-ins and the adaptability of the platform.

Its something you never stop learning too, learning about plug-ins, themes (free and paid), how to tweak themes, add text widgets….

There’s also a whole raft of plugins that are aimed at musicians and bands, everything from gig management, to Soundcloud shortcodes, to download monitors (and all points in between). I’ll be covering this subject much deeper with an up to date list of killer WordPress plugins for bands, artists and labels within the next few days here.

Anyway, I’ve collected a whole box load of very useful resources over the years and really that’s the thing, if you’re prepared to read a lot you can turn yourself into something of a WordPress ninja with a little patience.

Remember that old Chinese proverb:

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

I’m not saying this is the definitive list of WordPress resources but its a great starter kit and will save you a lot of time should you be considering whether to go it alone with your own install, or whether you’d prefer to let someone else do the heavy lifting for you!

Getting Started Resources

Getting started with WordPress

Getting Started With WordPress from Tasty Placement is a great instructional that holds your hand with writing and editing webpages on your WordPress site and shows you the basics on how to manage WordPress, including logging in, posting new articles and pages, uploading images, creating and editing menus and widgets and some more advanced features.

Another good easy to navigate WordPress starters guide with easy to understand instructions is ‘A Simplified Users Guide to WordPress’, which, according to the authors is intended to be a simple guide to using WordPress for those new to managing a WP powered site. In particular those who’ve had their WP site set up for them by a web designer or developer.

And another worthwhile guide,if you had any lingering doubts, is from WPBeginner, called ‘Why You Should Use WordPress?’.

WordPress Mentor has a very handy WordPress setup checklist which runs through five difference stages and checklists to tick off. Install: The basic WordPress installation. Secure: Hardening the WordPress installation. Configure: Adjust WordPress settings. Connect: Connect WordPress to online services.Optimise: Adjust WordPress performance. There’s the HTML version or a much neater PDF download which you can get free for an email address. Worth it.

As if that wasn’t enough to read, Tentblogger has a huge series of blog posts under the umbrella, ‘The Ultimate Guide to Launching a WordPress-Powered Blog’. Sit yourself down, strap yourself in, there’s 55 posts on everything from WordPress security settings, SEO tips and tools, recommended Plugins,  setting up Google Analytics and all points in between. Brilliant.

Not forgetting the help pages from WordPress themselves, which of course are very detailed. There’s also support forums and a repository of Themes and Plugins.

Serverpress.Wordpress Desktop-Server

Another useful tool that is aimed squarely at developers, is DesktopServer from ServerPress, which basically enables you to have a server on your desktop machine (PC/Mac) so you can test and develop your WordPress install locally without publishing online until you’re quite happy with the results.

There’s a basic free edition which allows you to create up to three websites, or the paid version which has unlimited website projects. There are several other similar tools for Devs, like Bitnami, Instant WordPress and WampServer (and the Mac equivalent MAMP).

Now We’re Up And Running.

Things to consider after your WordPress install is up and running. Content writing tips, SEO and tech tools.

Ready-Set-Write-The-Ultimate-Guide-to-Blogging.Free PDF download

‘Ready, Set, Write: The Ultimate Guide to Blogging’, is a free PDF guide to getting the most from your blogging experience. Put together by the Content Marketing Institute, the 37 page guide runs through everything from developing your blogging voice and strategy, tips for writing really amazing content, getting your content seen and shared, measuring your impact and ensuring success. There’s a host of tips, case studies and tools here you can use to build and maintain a successful blog that benefits you and your business.

Ways To Create Compelling Content:Infographic.

Ways To Create Compelling Content:Infographic.

And, a really handy infographic on finding inspiration for great content, which today, a lot of the time means re-imagining other people’s ideas as infographics, but, seems to work for many. The title of the piece says it all, ’22 Ways to Create Compelling Content (When You Dont Have a Clue)’. 

And more content ideas from the Content Marketing Institute. ‘12 Things to Do After You’ve Written a New Blog Post‘ , ideas that I’m going to have to put into action once I’ve finished writing this blog post! But basically the post delves into ideas on how to spread your content successfully using social media, RSS and forums. Its basic stuff nowadays, but if you need some kind of bullet list you could do worse than start here.

Windows Live Writer

Windows Live Writer. Compose WordPress Posts Offline

You don’t always have WiFi when you’re on the move, despite this utopian dream of always on, everywhere, that’s hardly the case for most unless you have bottomless pockets! So, if I get the urge to write offline, Windows Live Writer is my weapon of choice. Why not just use Open Office, MS Office Word or a text editor?

Well, the advantage of Windows Live Writer is that as long as you sync it up with your WordPress blog (or multiple blogs) when you first set it up, it formats everything just like it would in WordPress and it has a preview function. You might even like it so much you could bypass going into the WordPress admin all together and use Live Writer from your desktop. Excellent tool.

Performance & Plugins

How To Speed Up WordPress And Boost Site Performance

How To Speed Up WordPress And Boost Site Performance

Here’s a really cool infographic that lays things out in easy to digest nuggets with instructions on ‘How To Speed Up WordPress And Boost Site Performance’, which kind of speaks for itself and looks into problems and solutions, like database cache and maintenance, javascript and stylesheets. Unashamedly geeky.

More geekiness (I guess!) from DBS Interactive who have an awesome WordPress reference guide, which basically is an online handbook ‘WordPress V3.0+ Template Tag Reference Guide‘, which guides you through the various template tags (obviously!) and is one of the best reference’s I’ve seen of this nature, comprehensive, well laid out and extremely useful. Naturally if you haven’t got to the stage where you want to get your hands dirty with coding then fair enough, but if you do….

And finally a couple of SEO resources.

The first is from Yoast, ‘The Definitive Guide To Higher Rankings For WordPress Sites‘. Yoast know a thing or two about WordPress SEO, being the people behind the super popular WordPress SEO Plugin and this is one of the most complete SEO guides you’re likely to see. Essential. And if you want a second opinion, DIYThemes have an equally essential, self explanatory guide, ‘WordPress SEO for Everybody’. An ongoing tutorial which the writers say, “in it, you’ll learn how to use ethical, legitimate ways to get your WordPress blog ranking higher in the search engines.” Good enough, and it certainly is.

That should be enough to keep you going for weeks I hope. If you have any further tips and resources I’ve missed out please mention them in the comments and we’ll keep this thing updated.

Related Reading

WordPress Now Powers 22 Percent Of New Active Websites In The U.S. (Techcrunch)
How to install and test WordPress on a local server (CNET)
7 Ways to Build a Business Around WordPress (Mashable)
The Reason You Should Draft Your Blog Posts Outside WordPress (Tentblogger)
WordPress Support Forums (WordPress.org)
The Many Advantages (and Secrets) of WordPress Sites (Blueglass.com)
Manage All Your WordPress Sites From One Dashboard (ManageWP)

Download this article as a PDF.

 

Keeping Up With Buzzsonic

I was using Twitter Tools to gather my machine gun Twitter feed and post the days shouting into one neat post over here. Worked OK for a while, but after a WordPress update somewhere (I don’t know which one) things started getting a bit moody with the database and I found I was getting duplicate posts every day which was a real pain to edit out daily.

So, have been looking for an alternative that looked a little better too and am now trying out Twitter Blackbird Pie, which basically uses shortcodes to post selected tweets in a blog post like thus..

[blackbirdpie id=”188582647847600129″]

Actually looks much better than what I was doing here (let me know what you think OK).

[blackbirdpie id=”188575222360834048″]

Having said that, am looking into the new beta of Twitter Tools, so may well revert back or use a combination of both!

[blackbirdpie id=”188560953204420608″]

Other ways of keeping track of the resources I post via Twitter are at my Delicious account, which grabs all the URL’s I post (why they had to mess up Trunk.ly I don’t know), and another really cool tool I’ve been using is Twylah, which basically grabs your Tweets and arranges them in a neat categorised news display, excellent!

Best Of Buzzsonic Posts

My blog posts at Buzzsonic have been buried of late by my daily Twitter feed but to highlight some of my most popular posts I used a neat little service called BridgeURL, which is an insanely simple (and useful) idea to string a bunch of related posts, URLs or related research ideas together as a slideshow.

"Best Of Buzzsonic Blog Posts"

I’ve used it as an example here to showcase some of my most popular posts here at Buzzsonic.com to save readers having to wade thru pages of Twitter digests.

New Commenting System

I’ve pretty much neglected the comments area on this blog, probably because there was never much activity. But as the blog starts to pull in more readers this year there’s been more feedback and I was beginning to realize how crap the default WordPress commenting system is. Ideally I was looking for a plug-in that offered threaded commenting to keep the conversation flow more fluid and easier to follow.

I’d seen Disqus on a few other blogs but was unaware of the speed and efficiency of this neat little WordPress plugin.

In about half an hour I’d downloaded the plug-in, installed it and set it up. The other really neat feature is that Disqus will import all the comments already on your blog. It makes it more user friendly with its threaded commenting.

Its also integrated with the option to include Facebook Connect so people can comment using their Facebook login details rather than having to go through the new sign up process just to comment. Will have to see how much, if any difference this makes, but whatever, am really loving this set-up right now. Highly recomended.

Alternative Domain Name Tips For Music Websites, Bands and Labels

With all the hype about ‘music 2.0’ tools, hosts and websites for musicians, bands and artists, its quite possible that you could easily forget one of the most important aspects of having an online presence as a band/label/DJ/creative. Its strictly old school too. Its your own domain name.

I wrote about it last month here and this is just to expand on the advantages. OK, you have your MySpace sub domain name, one at iLike, Multiply, iMeem and all the other free social music sites. Great, but unless you’re paying for a premium service there’s a possibility that any of these services could disappear down a dotcom black hole. OK then, maybe not MySpace, but its a crowded marketplace and sites do go dark.

dj-website-domains

“Dec. 2, 2003 was doomsday for independent music. As of noon Tuesday, Mp3.com closed its server and deleted its roughly 750,000 files, marking the end of the largest catalogue of free Internet downloads from hundreds of thousands of unsigned bands..” (from the Eagle Online)

Continue reading

Get Your Own Pro Blog Running In Minutes For Less Than $20

Hit Singularity have a great article on how to market your band without having to spam MySpace. ’10 Fast and Free Strategies To Market Your Band (Without Resorting To Spamming People On Myspace)’, in it they highly recommend starting your own blog.

“In 2009 the single most powerful bloc of people in the music industry are music bloggers. If you are written up by 40 blogs then your album will sell twice as much as it would otherwise. Music blogs are a far more powerful promotional tool than MySpace.”

So says a study by New York University which you can download as a PDF here

If you’re wanting a bunch of MP3 blogs to approach with a promo drive there’s a list of over a thousand MP3 and music blogs at aggregator Hype Machine.

The Buzzsonic.com blog runs on the latest version of WordPress, which if you didn’t already know is a beautiful piece of open source freeware. You can get one of these on a sub domain via WordPress.com or, better idea, you can host your own WordPress install on your own domain name.

First things first. Buy your own domain name (if you don’t already own one). I’m now using Google Domains, not just because its Google (they actually go through Godaddy anyway) but because the domain (a worthwhile spend of $10) comes preconfigured with Google Apps and email.

You’ll need a webhost next. We use Hostgator, simply because they’re very fairly priced, are reliable and more importantly have great support if something goes wrong. A lot of people make the fatal mistake of choosing a webhost on lowest price and then discover that the only support is via an email address that never gets answered. You get what you pay for.

A typical hosting account here will cost from around $5 to $13 for multiple domain hosting. Another important part of Hostgator’s (and many other hosts too by the way) service is that they use the online website manager CPanel which has a really great add on called Fantastico.

Fantastico is basically is a script auto-installer, so forget any messy FTP uploads of source code. A WordPress install is literally ninety seconds away.

For a more pro look you’ll need to add a nicer looking theme/template to change the WordPress default look. Thousands of freebies around, start here.  We use one from the rather cool Design Disease.

The only other thing we did here was add a few plug-ins like Sociable, Social Homes Widget, the MyBlogLog and Last FM widgets. Most of the other stuff I’ve added using the built in WordPress text widgets which you can drag into the sidebars in the admin area.

And that’s it. Buzzsonic.com cost less than $20 to set-up, the only other cost is time and imagination.

Related Blog Promotion Resources

Fantastico!Installing WordPress in CPanel (Information Marketing Central)
NYU Researchers Study Music Blog Buzz (Coolfer.com)
Does Chatter Matter? The Impact of User-Generated Content on Music Sales (NYU-PDF Study)
Hype Machine Top Music Blogs (HypeM.com)
20 Tips For Pitching Bloggers (TheFutureBuzz.com)
5 Remarkable Things You Should Learn From Music (And How You Can Apply Them To Your Blog) (DailyBlogTips.com)
Tips For Starting Your Own Music Blog (Squidoo.com)
Hit Singularity (Hit Singularity)
100 Social Media Resources For Musicians (GenYRockStars.com)
Social Networks For Musicians (SocialNetworksForMusicians.com)

Invasion Of the Comment Spam Bots

Since the blog makeover a couple of weeks ago I’ve been bombarded by comment spam for some reason. Its one of the things that makes blogging work and not fun. So, I finally activated Askimet (Automattic Kismet to give it its full name) on my WordPress install (didn’t really pay attention to it before for some reason?). Its actually working wonders right now and since activating the plug-in its halted more than 2,200 of the most bloodcurdlingly despicable types of spam you can imagine that up to now I’ve been having to edit manually daily.

Anarchieblog › Akismet Spam — WordPress caughtspam Sick damn

Askimet comes installed by default in Word Press but you have to activate it in the Plugins area in your admin area and get a free APi key. A five minute task that’ll save you hours of work weekly.

Related Links

Askimet FAQ ( Askimet)

Flickr4Writer Adds to Live Writer Usability

I’m toggling between using Windows Live Writer for posting right now vs. using the Performancing Firefox add-on ScribeFire. Though for the last two days the Live Writer has been crashing everytime I try to add an image to the post. After losing two hours work yesterday I was on the brink of dumping the app completely and returning to ScribeFire.Having second thoughts Writer is simply fuller featured and offers things like the ability to add images to posts (ScribeFire doesn’t) and preview the post in your blog before publishing (much like WordPress does in the admin panel), two features I cant really do without.

flickrforwriter

Also ScribeFire doesn’t seem to have a minimize option so you either have to put up with it hogging the bottom of your screen, or you save and close. Obtrusive and I hate obtrusive, its what sends me rushing to the delete option!

Anyway, the crashing. Until I find the conflict (it used to work fine) I found an excellent plug-in which works around the problem Flickr4Writer.

Flickr4Writer is a simple plugin for Windows Live Writer that enables you to browse Flickr and insert an image from Flickr into a Writer post. The project is part of CodePlex, Microsoft’s open source project hosting web site.

Postalicious

I mentioned this WordPress plug-in briefly in yesterdays post here , though I didn’t elaborate much. But anyway, Postalicious is another useful plug-in that you may find of use if you’re running a WordPress blog.

Postalicious is a plug-in that automatically posts your del.icio.us bookmarks to your blog. I’m using it here and it works great if you are running Firefox with the del.icio.us browser extension. That way you can add bookmarks as you browse without visiting del.icio.us and at the end of the day the plug-in will add your daily finds as a post. Neato.

Related

Absolutely Del.icio.us Tools Collection (QuickOnlineTips.com)
Del.icio.us Firefox Extension (Del.icio.us)
Del.icio.us A to Z By Function (Econsultant.com)

Eleven Killer WordPress Hacks

Wordpress Login Old Buzzsonic Word Press Semiologic Theme WP Screenshot Word Press How? PSP WordPress

I’ve been using the blogging software WordPress for around three years now and in all of that time there really is nothing to touch it. Why? Its free (Open Source), it has a massive user base and support network, plug-ins, mods, widgets and themes galore, oh and did I mention it doesn’t cost a penny?

Of course free doesn’t always mean great but in this case, you get what you don’t pay for. I have tried literally hundreds of mods over the years, different themes/skins and modifications. Basically I like to tinker and I think I’m getting closer to my ideal WordPress install (at least for my needs).

Buzzsonic.com (as of today) runs on WordPress v2.0.2, so its not the latest install (which is v2.1.2). Anyway, I thought I’d list my top ten (or eleven!) modifications which I’m finding the most useful right now. This could well change soon but these are what I consider the most useful WordPress mods.

1. Glossy Blue Theme– For a simple, quick overhaul of the default WordPress look this neat two column Web 2.0-ish looking theme is one of the easiest ways to get a cool looking make-over. A close second was Glued Ideas Subtle which you might go for if you prefer a three column look. Honorable mentions go to Misty Look and Semiologic (I’m using an older install of this theme here). Continue reading