Archive for the ‘Blog Publishing’ Category

Use Media RSS

With the explosive growth of podcasting, publishers are including more multimedia in their RSS feeds than ever. While the method of including media content in an RSS feed with enclosures is fairly well known, there are other methods available for including media content in RSS feeds, one of which is Media RSS.

Media RSS is an RSS module that was created to expand the way that multimedia content could be included in an RSS feed.

Originally authored by Yahoo! to improve media enclosures in RSS and also allow the submission of media content to its search engine via RSS, the development of Media RSS has since been opened up to the RSS community through the rss-media mailing list. Full disclosure: I’m also one of the people at Yahoo! who worked on the creation of Media RSS.

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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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Typekit Now Offering Custom Fonts For WordPress Blogs

Typekit, a web service that helps designers use elaborate typefaces in their web projects, has announced an easy way to use custom fonts on WordPress.com blogs. That means your WordPress.com hosted blogs can now take advantage of Typekit’s font library in just a few clicks.

Typekit is like a YouTube for fonts. Browse through Typekit’s library of available fonts, pick one you like and cut and paste some code into your site. As we noted when we first looked at Typekit earlier this year, the service is one of the easiest ways for web designers to use creative fonts without sacrificing web standards or violating font licenses.

With the new WordPress.com features, you don’t even need to know HTML or mess with any code to take advantage of Typekit.

To use the new Typekit features, just log in to your WordPress.com dashboard and click on the Appearance menu in the left-hand navigation menu. On the Appearance page you’ll find a new option, “Typekit Fonts,” with a place to add your Kit ID.

To get your Kit ID, you’ll need to create an account at Typekit.com and select the free option. From there, you can paste over the code and chose from any of Typekit’s fonts.

Not using WordPress.com? No problem, there are already two plugins that make it easy to integrate Typekit into a self-hosted WordPress blog. If you’re on another blogging platform or custom site you can still use Typekit — see our earlier hands-on review of Typekit for details on how to use Typekit on your site.

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File Under: Blog Publishing, Humor

Xkcd Redesign Pays Homage to GeoCities, Which Dies Today

Web comic xkcd is sporting a fresh redesign Monday morning, paying tribute to the free web-hosting service GeoCities. Yahoo, which bought GeoCities in 1999 for $3.5 billion dollars, is shutting down the service today after ten years of stewardship.

GeoCities was a place anyone could start a website for free. The company sold cheap banner advertising against your content, but that didn’t matter — you finally had a place to post that Melissa Joan Hart fanpage or your fully-annotated Art Alexakis discography.

In the web’s early days, you actually had to know how to author a web page in order to publish anything on the internet. You had to have working knowledge of things like HTML, FTP, GIF and DNS. For people with these new-found skills, a GeoCities page was an essential first step into the web, a rite of passage. Next came the easy authoring tools like Dreamweaver and Blogger, then the social networks like Friendster and MySpace, which let anyone establish a web presence with a few clicks of the mouse. GeoCities, along with other free hosting communities like Angelfire, faded into obscurity.

Many of those early pages survived in all their gaudy, glitzy glory — complete with scrolling banners, animated Gifs and blink tags.

Until Monday, October 26, 2009. Rest in peace, GeoCities.

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WordPress.com Rolls its Own URL Shortening Service

In what we’re hoping is the beginning of a trend, WordPress.com has announced a new built-in URL-shortening service for all of its hosted blogs. Now, when you create a post on your WordPress.com blog, you’ll see an option to create a short URLs using the new wp.me domain.

Publishers using the self-hosted version of WordPress will be able to use wp.me short links if they are running the official stats plug-in.

The new wp.me short links are coupled directly to the canonical URL and can be found in the headtags of any blog hosted on WordPress.com. That means, unlike outside URL shortening services, as long as WordPress.com is around, your shortened wp.me links will work. And if WordPress.com goes under? Well, it doesn’t matter because the canonical link will go with it.

As for the actual URL shortener, it’s pretty basic with no real stats tracking or other services like those offered by bit.ly and tr.im. WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg does mention in his announcement that if your post’s slug is short enough, it’ll be used for the wp.me URL. Otherwise, a random, unique key is used.

If you’d like to start using wp.me links for your WordPress hosted blog just click the new “Get Shortlink” button. Also note that if you’re logged in to WordPress.com you can get the shortlink for any page, just click the “Blog Info” menu in your admin bar.

Short URLs seem a necessary evil at this particular moment in the web’s history. While we’re not going to lie and say they’re a good idea, if you have to use them we’d suggest looking to your publishing platform rather than an outside service. Hopefully more publishers and publishing tools will follow WordPress.com’s lead and start offering their own URL shortening tools.

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