Archive for the ‘Blog Publishing’ Category

Add Feeds to Your Site With MagpieRSS

If content is king, then fresh, ever-changing, dynamic content must be the Emperor. If what you’re looking for is new, daily content on your site, why not take it from someone else? Goodness knows there are a million RSS feeds out there just begging for aggregation.

Integrating someone else’s news feed is relatively quick and painless when compared to the dull ache of writer’s block. While there are any number of RSS aggregation tools out there for you to use, many prefer MagpieRSS. It’s a light, flexible, open source PHP script that’s practically bomb-proof.

Though it’s currently the fourth most-popular programming language out there, some programmers are loathe to work in PHP. Possibly, they’re leery of the server-side load stress which, yes, in certain circumstances, can become an issue. However, for simple tasks like RSS aggregation, a PHP solution is far less taxing than a JavaScript equivalent. Or maybe it’s just the fear that having to use *.php file name extensions is going to break all of the file references in a site. Who knows? It is time to get over these fears.

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File Under: Blog Publishing

How Many Users Are on Your Site Right Now

Hello, readers. You seem to be sending me a lot of e-mail lately. Fortunately, my spam sorter takes care of most of it, but a substantial stream of questions and comments keeps pouring in, inscrutable character sets and all. I wish they were all as eloquent as this one:

Paul Loved your articel! I have a few question. 1 How to setup? thanks.. derek meatburp

…but lately there have been more than a couple asking how to implement what’s apparently a very desirable feature — a little display of how many users are currently accessing a site. Of course there are dozens of pre-packaged scripts to do this, but, just because I love you all, let’s take a walk through a couple of ways to build this sort of feature from scratch. We’ll use PHP, the popular and friendly scripting language, for our examples.

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File Under: Blog Publishing

Get Started With Movable Type

You recently decided hosted blogging is for the birds. You want more control over your blog’s setup. In fact, you want total control over every last detail of your layout, functionality and design. So what do you do? Where do you turn?

One popular option is the Movable Type publishing system from Six Apart (other popular options include Drupal, Joomla!, and WordPress). Movable Type contains pretty much everything you need to get your own site up and running, plus the flexibility to get really obsessive over the details. Also, with a little creativity and some community-created plugins, you can power much more than just a reverse-chronological list of blog posts.

This tutorial won’t go into the Movable Type installation process in-depth since there are many resources online already. What we’ll cover is the process of dressing up a vanilla Movable Type installation by customizing the look and feel of your new site. We’ll also get you started with some custom features by installing some plugins.

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File Under: Blog Publishing

Tips for Better Blogging

If you’ve taken the plunge into self-publishing, you’ve probably already learned that setting up a blog is the easy part. Tools like Blogger, TypePad and WordPress make it simple to set up your own site with just a few clicks.

It’s the next step — the branding, promotion and the actual writing — that’s the toughest nut to crack.

If you want your blog to hit the big time, you’ll need to dress up your site’s public presence. Here are Webmonkey’s tips for what you’ll need to play with the big boys and girls of the blogosphere. Soon, you’ll be swapping political commentary with DailyKos, and CoolHunting will be linking to you.

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File Under: Blog Publishing

Get Started With Tumblr

Do you miss the days when blogging seemed simple and exciting? Have you ever stared at the blank text input field in WordPress until you began to fill with dread?

While WordPress, Movable Type and similar blogging engines certainly make it easy to set up a blog with a robust content management system, sometimes the software itself is overkill. Sometimes you just want to post a picture or a quick snippet of text and be done with it.

That’s more or less the thinking that inspired Tumblr, a dead simple blogging system that makes it easy to post a quick note, an image, a link or a YouTube video and then get on with your real life.

It’s an incredibly easy-to-use publishing system, but that ease comes at a cost. Tumblr is also very simple by design, and it lacks many of the features bloggers might be familiar with. Still, many view Tumblr’s lack of extra features as an asset, arguing that things like comments or an integrated search tool only complicate a clean interface. In fact, Tumblr is quite different from blogging. It’s a side-step, a subculture with its own verb: tumbling.

To start tumbling, follow our guide. We’ll run through the basics and then get into the heavier stuff, like custom themes, custom URLs and comments.

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