WordPress for Iphone Review

Towards the end of 2009, WordPress released a second version of their iphone WordPress application. The fully featured blogging application allows you to do a range of tasks with WordPress.org and WordPress.com sites, the most important being: Writing new posts and pages, editing existing posts and pages, and moderating comments. The thought of writing blog entries on my phone isn’t something that really appealed to me, so I wasn’t fast to jump on the WordPress for iphone bandwagon. I have since had a play with the application and here are some of my observations.

Nice features:

  • It’s portable (I can’t imagine anyone using this app when they have access to a PC).
  • It has a good clean interface, that allows you to easily access multiple WordPress sites.
  • It has support to see Gravatars of people who leave comments, this is handy, as spammers don’t normally use Gravatars.
  • If you are using a dodgy wireless or 3g connection posts are automatically saved and restored if network connection is lost during publishing.
  • If you have multiple sites set up on the app, it re-opens in the site you last used, a nice time saver.
  • You can add photos straight off your phone, so if you are a photoblogger with an iphone, this app will be very useful for you.

What else do you need to know?

  • The app can be used on any iphone or ipod touch, you obviously need a network connection to make use of it.
  • You need to enable XML-RPC from your WordPress “Writing” settings pages for this app to work.
  • You can add multiple WordPress.org and WordPress.com sites.
  • It’s free and open source.

When would you really use this app?

If you are away from home, and you are the sort of person that updates your blogs often with small updates or images then this app is for you. It would also be very useful for sites that report “happening right now” type events, i.e. sending updates from a conference, or showing an image of something news worthy you have just witnessed. It is also great if you have a blog that gets a lot of comments, and you need to stay on top of moderating them. I have had it installed for about 2 months and I use it from time to time to moderate comments, but I am also not much of a micro blogger, most of the wordpress sites I run have long posts, so it was never my intention to use it to write posts. In summary, a useful app that is free. So why not give it a go?

Official site:

http://iphone.wordpress.org/

20 Great WordPress AJAX Plugins

WordPress is without question, the #1 blogging platform and content management system (CMS) available.  For obvious reasons like simplicity, speed, flexibility.  But what about all those subtle differences that you notice, but can’t quite put your finger on?  It has a lot to do with AJAX or asynchronous JavaScript and XML.  From saving changes to editing content and post tags, AJAX makes it all easier and faster.

In addition to making the admin’s life easier, there are a number of WordPress AJAX Plugins that will help the user experience as well.  Here are 20 of our favorites.

  1. Google AJAX Search – A live search plugin
  2. Tagboard Widget
  3. Gregarious – Social bookmarking plugin
  4. AJAX Shoutbox
  5. Google Pagerank
  6. AJAX Comments No longer available.
  7. Inline AJAX Page Very Cool! – No longer available.
  8. WP-Post Ratings
  9. Google AJAX Translation
  10. AJAX’d WordPress – AJAX site navigation
  11. AJAXed Twitter for WordPress
  12. Formidable – A drag and drop form builder
  13. Contact Form 7 – Super easy contact/other form builder
  14. FAQ Builder
  15. Business Directory – A link directory plugin
  16. Link Library – Another link directory plugin
  17. Comment Rating
  18. Mingle – a complete social networking plugin (profile pages, profile activities, etc.)
  19. AJAX Comment Posting
  20. Pretty Link – Convert affiliate or advertising links to links of your choosing.

Additional Resources

6 tips for making your blog stand out

With hundreds of thousands of blogs being created every day, yours will take a lot to stand out in the crowd. These tips have been assembled from years of experience navigating the blogosphere. Stick to these 6 principles and you’ve got a pretty decent chance of making it.

1. Use a custom design

This is less difficult or expensive as you may think. There are tons of beautiful themes and templates available for blogs. Find the one that best suits your needs (see #6) and customize it by adding a unique background, menu, icons, etc.

Using some of the online marketplaces like Graphic River, you can find new images to spice up your design that is both unique and aesthetically pleasing.

2. Give away something (quality) for free

One of my first blogs found success in giving away a premium quality CMS template for free. This helped in almost every component of my blog. It encouraged link building, increased credibility, and encouraged repeat visits.

The investment is well worth the return. Give away a quality asset like a theme, icons, or something else related to your blog topic. You will find an increase in traffic, backlinks and favorable mentions on other sites.

3. Post frequently (reference other article)

This article discusses this topic further, but you should respond to your readers and post often. Don’t flood your blog with content so that readers can’t filter through it all and quality suffers. However, posting on a regular and frequent schedule will build credibility and show readers you can be depended on for quality content.

4. Develop relationships

There’s no subsitute for pounding the internet pavement and building relationships. All relationships matter, but focus on connecting with others who share your passions and topics. I regularly reach out to other blogs that I follow.

Reaching out can be guest blogging, exchanging links or collaborating on a freebie release. (See #2)

5. Be unique

The web is full of duplicative, useless content. There is a special place in hell reserved for those who saturate the web with boring content meant only to encourage ad clicks.

Have you noticed the increase in “list” sites? Mashable.com and Tutorial9 are just some examples of websites that create helpful posts of lists like “100 of the best free WordPress themes”. Your content should be unique, informative and easy to read. If you can do this, the links and traffic will follow.

6. Leave out the excess (focus on the content)

The big content management systems (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.) offer countless addons and plugins. These can be both helpful and harmful to your blog. Don’t think that the coolest features are necessary. Focus on quality, informative content and leave the fancy sliders and effects out.

7. Be patient

The top blogs were not made in a day. Popularity, traffic, links and credibility are earned over time. If you’re passionate about a topic, you will continue to be motivated by changes and innovations. Be patient, offer consistent quality and useful content that people can expect every time they come back.

Mini-tutorial: Creating awesome screenshots

The golden rule of blogging is offer valuable content.  This tip trumps a good design, flashy graphics, twitter integration, powerful links, even advertisements.

However, quality content can be improved with an applicable and eye-catching screenshot.  Here are some tips and tools for creating awesome screenshots for your WordPress posts.

Choosing the format

  1. All screenshots should be the same format and size.  Pick a size that goes well with your theme and stick with it.
  2. If your screenshot will not be of the entire page, pick a section of the site that is applicable to the topic of your post.

Choosing the screenshot

  1. Pick a section of the site to screenshot that is descriptive of the topic and has something to look at.  For example, don’t choose blank space or a generic graphic to focus on.  Rather, choose a piece of the site that is unique and shows something about what the website is about.

Here’s and example of a good and bad screenshot of Mashable.com – one of our favorite blogs.  For this example, we chose a 200px square image in JPEG format.

A bad screenshot
A good screenshot

Notice the differences?  The bad screenshot doesn’t indicate the website or anything about it.  What is that blog about?

The good screenshot indicates the name of the blog, several categories, even the overall color scheme.  It doesn’t matter that the entire logo isn’t shown, people will get the idea.

Formatting your screenshot

  1. There are a few things you can do to improve the quality of your screenshot after you’ve chosen how and what to snapshot.  You can add effects like an angle, dropshadow or even the famous “shiny table effect”.  Here are some examples:
The original screenshot without effects
A screenshot with a -25 degree arbitrary rotation.
With an added dropshadow

These effects were all done in the GIMP, a free graphics editor.  If you want to add the shiny table effect, check out this tutorial.

Choose the right tools

There are lots of options out there for taking and manipulating screenshots.  Here are some of our favorites:

Firefox addons

The other option

  • If you don’t want another addon, just use the Print Screen button on your Windows machine which will add a screenshot to your clipboard.  Simply paste it into your selected graphics editor into a file of your preferred size.  Drag it until you’ve got a nice focus and you’re all set!

Graphics editors

  • Photoshop – the cadillac of image editing with virtually limitless options.
  • The GIMP – a free option that comes with many of Photoshop’s features.
  • Grabit – a handy screenshot tool but limited advanced options.  Built purely for screenshots.

A few more tips when taking screenshots

  • Choose color – bright, vibrant colors add energy to your blog post.
  • Keep them small – screenshots are just a taste of a site and shouldn’t encompass the whole thing.
  • Keep them natural – don’t resize if you can avoid it.
  • Keep them applicable – if you’re creating a showcase post, or list of multiple sites, choose the first list item as your screenshot.
  • Have your own tips for a screenshot?  Leave a comment below.

WordPress Hosting Guide

There is a lot to consider when looking for WordPress hosting for your site.  Of course, you don’t have to self-host your site as outlined in this post on How to Install WordPress.  If you do choose to self-hosted WordPress Hosting, you’ll need a hosting provider.  However, not all hosts are created equal and there are a number of parameters that need to be considered. WordPress.org has a hosting suggestion page which currently includes:

If you choose to look further than the WordPress sponsored hosting partners, use the following criteria to make your selection.

Meet the basic server requirements

Many hosts meet the minimum requirements for hosting WordPress, but not all.  They include:

  • PHP version 4.3 or greater although version 5.2 is recommended
  • MySQL version 4.1.2 or greater although version 5.2 is recommended
  • Mod_rewrite Apache module
  • A Linux based platform with either Apache or NGINX

The official WordPress Hostingrequirements page suggests sending an email to hosts you are considering working with to make sure they meet the requirements.

That’s all WordPress.org has to say.  We have more suggestions when searching for a host.

Excellent Support

  • Peruse the forums and see what kind of support is given.  Dead threads and complaining customers is a big red flag.
  • Look for 24/7 support, an indication the host is dedicated to the business they’re in.
  • Live chat support is a big help and suggests the host is there to help and backs up their service
  • Give them a test.  Send a pre-sales support question – maybe asking how their servers meet the WordPress hosting requirements and note the response time and tone of their response.

Site design

We don’t mean to be design snobs, but if a web host can’t even manage their own website, how can they be expected to support you in managing your own?

Look closely

Does the web host have advertisements, unrelated text links or skeezy operations meant to build links but not necessarily customers?  These are all signs of a host that is not operating ethically.

Hosting other WordPress sites

Look at your favorite WordPress powered blogs and use this tool to find out who’s hosting them.

Look for these key features

  • They offer one-click WordPress installation like Fantastico
  • They offer unlimited MySQL databases (for running lots of WordPress sites)
  • They support WordPressMu (just ask them)
  • They support AJAX

Based on everything, we recommend these hosts in addition to the ones listed above:

Our Recommended WordPress Hosting Options

Additional resources:

Image credit: Verseone.com

WordPress VS Blogger

Blogger and WordPress are two of the most popular blogging platforms. Blogger and WordPress are often compared to one another and the supporters of each of them try to prove that their beloved blogging platform is the best. While in many aspects this comparison is subjective, for many people WordPress is the more advanced blogging platform.

History and Ownership of Blogger and WordPress

When Blogger and WordPress are compared, it is fair to start with their history. Blogger is much older than WordPress. In fact, Blogger is one of the first blogging services and it was launched in August 1999. Its creator was Pyra Labs and a couple of years later (in 2003) it was acquired by Google, which is its present owner.

Google is a top company but the fact that Google owns Blogger is not necessarily all good news for bloggers because Google can close your account whenever they want to. Well, they don’t have the habit of closing accounts at a whim but if you want to be the real owner of your blog, this possibility should ring a warning bell in your head.

WordPress came much later to the blogging scene – in 2003, but it quickly managed to gain millions of users. WordPress is one of the most popular open source applications and it is the worldwide open source community that powers its development.

Why WordPress is Better than Blogger as a Blogging Platform

There is no doubt that both WordPress and Blogger are popular as blogging platforms and both of them do a good job but if you want a dedicated blog on your own –  i.e. a blog with its own domain name rather than a blog, the URL of which is a subdomain, you’d better go with WordPress and look for a webhosting company which offers WordPress hosting. There are many such companies and in the next section we’ll briefly mention three of the top WordPress hosting companies you might want to consider.

It might be easier if you can create a blog hosted on blogger.com or on wordpress.com but having your dedicated site beats it in almost any other aspect. You can install both the Blogger script and WordPress on your site but if you use Blogger as a standalone script, you will soon discover that it lags much behind WordPress.

Nobody says that Blogger is unfit as a blogging platform but when you compare the number of features each of them offers, WordPress is the clear winner. What is more, if you compare vital features, such as plugin/extensions availability, themes, import functionalities, or tracking, WordPress is light years ahead. Yes, there might be a couple of features where Blogger beats WordPress but this is more of an exception than a rule.

Top 3 WordPress Hosting Companies to Consider

There are tons of webhosting companies, which offer WordPress hosting and the choice is not an easy one. Still, as with any other type of webhosting, if you pick an unprofessional webhosting provider, trouble is around the corner. This is why you need to carefully choose your WordPress hosting provider. Here are three companies, which are known for their 1-click WordPress installation and for their reliability as a whole:

  1. iPage. iPage is an excellent webhosting company and its WordPress hosting is not an exception. Many users are extremely pleased with the WordPress hosting service offered by iPage and this is why we recommend it.
  2. JustHost. JustHost is also a great webhosting company and its WordPress hosting service is also top-notch. You might want to try JustHost as your WordPress host.
  3. BlueHost. BlueHost is another webhosting provider we can recommend. BlueHost also offers WordPress hosting and you might want to give it a try.

WordPress hosting isn’t a very special type of hosting but if you are a newbie, the installation of WordPress could be a bit hard for you. To make your life easier, find a good WordPress hosting company and go with them. Alternatively, you can host your blog with WordPress or Blogger but this limits you in many ways.

 

A Complete WordPress SEO Guide

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is one of the key aspects to long term success with any online venture, so if you are looking to make your WordPress blog a success in the long run, you are going to want to consider how best to optimise your content for search engines. As it is out of the box WordPress has a few issues which need to be sorted out with plugins. In this article I will look at the key concepts of onsite optimisation, and I will provide you with links to all the necessary plugins to ensure your WordPress site is not ignored by search engines.

Keyword Research

The foundation of all good SEO involves clever keyword selection before you begin. Your overall site should be optimised to eventually rank for some high search volume keywords, and you should also target lower volume terms with individual posts. The main concepts in keyword research are: search volume and competition. Obviously you want to target keywords that get searched often, so ranking for them will bring you traffic, but you also need to consider who you are trying to outrank. To find estimates of the type of search volumes keywords will bring I suggest using the Free Google Adwords Keyword Research Tool. On this tool use “Exact” rather than “Broad”, exact tells you how many people are searching for that keyword, but not other keyword phrases which might incorporate your term. To look at competition you need to search for the term in Google and analyse sites that are ranking for it. You would look for things like page rank, site age, keyword in title, backlinks to the page, and backlinks to the domain. I am not suggesting it’s practical to complete this sort of analysis on for every post you write, however, if you are planning a whole site based on a topic, you want to know how much search traffic that site can pull, and how hard it will be to obtain.

Also keep in mind that a high portion of search phrases entered into Google every day are being search for the first time. New topics and products come out all the time. So it is also a solid SEO strategy to simply write about hot trending topics. There may not be any historical data to suggest ranking for that term is worth while, but if it becomes hot, then ranking for new terms can be well worth it.

Onsite SEO

Of course not all SEO is done on site. If you know anything about SEO, you will understand that building targeted quality anchored backlinks is the main key in improving search engine ranking, however in this article I will be looking at mostly onsite SEO factors. The important onsite factors which you should be looking control include:

Post Titles

The title of your article is important, as it is the first indicator to a search engine of what the content on that page is all about. It is key to ensure your titles are optimised with researched keywords that will bring traffic to your site. Normally this just means inclusing your keyword in the article. For this article I might be trying to rank for the keyword “Wordpress SEO”, my title includes this term.

Meta Information

Although optimising Meta tags to improve search engine rankings doesn’t work like it did is the past, it is still important to optimise this content. The Meta Description is what Google uses to display as the description of your page when it is listed in a SERP (search engine result page), so you want this to be attractive to visitors to encourage them to click your link. You also want to this to be unique for every page on your site. For this task I use the plugin discussed below.

Post slugs

Post slugs are the name that each post gets in the URL of the page. You don’t need a plugin to optimise this, WordPress allows you to do it from the permalink page from your settings panel. I suggest using your post title for your permalink as the default permalink is involving an ID number will not help you rank at all. If you wish to have a different slug to your title for an individual article, there is also a field in your WordPress post page that allow you to change this. Here is an article about WordPress post slugs.

Internal link structure

How you anchor links around your site is probably the most important onsite SEO factor that people get wrong. When you link to another page in your site you want that link to be anchored with keywords. Look at how I linked to the WordPress post slug article in the paragraph above. This link tells search engine what that page is about. Wikipedia ranks highly in Google for millions of keywords many of which are very competitive terms, and one of the main reasons it does this is because whenever a keyword appears inline in a wiki article, that Wikipedia has a page about, it links that keyword to the page. This is a very effective controllable way to improve your sites ranking.

No index

There are certain pages on your site which you probably don’t want to rank in search engines. So why bother passing authority to these pages? A common page to apply no index to is the contact page. Also including tag and category pages in search engine indexes will mean there is duplicate content included. This is a debateable topic, as many SEO experts will tell you this is a major no-no. However, others will argue, that duplicate content from on the same domain has little to no negative effect, and in some ways can be considered a positive, as if more of your sites pages are included in the search engines index, then that is more of your site’s internal links that will be counted. I feel that unless you are trying to get tag pages to rank for keywords there is little reason to include these pages, so I suggest applying no-index to them, and I will talk about a plugin a little further down which will do this for you easily.

Image alternative text

Including keywords or title as the alternative text of your image will help bring traffic from Google image search. Google image search traffic is terrible for converting into an ad clicks or sale, but for such an easy task this traffic is still worth chasing if you are not lazy.

Headings within an article

Heading or <h1> tags can be used within posts to help reinforce what an article is about, and what keywords you want to rank for. For this reason it’s a good idea to use <h1> tags within your article, and to use your keyword in the tag.

Site map

A site map is what tells search engine spiders what content you have on your site, and it makes life easier for search engines to find your important content. Using a plugin which I will talk about below to generate a sitemap, and submitting it to Google will help your site to be indexed and ranked more easily.

Keyword density

There was a time when simply including a keyword lots of times on a page meant that that page would rank well for the keyword, however, these days have long gone. It is still said to have some weighting when sued sensibly, 2-3% being a good amount. Basically all this means is that you should include your keyword a few times through out your posts.
Ok enough of the concepts, what do we use to improve rankings

WordPress SEO Plugins

There are plenty of plugins out there aimed to improve the SEO of your wordpress blog, lets take a look at those which are absolutely key, I use all of these plugins on all of my WordPress sites.

All in One SEO for WordPress

This plugin is the number one most downloaded (4,254,635 at the time of writing this) Wordpress plugin and with goog reason. It is essential, it does it’s job, and it’s easy to use. The first key task which this plugin does is that it allows you to define meta tag info for your site like homepage title, keywords, and homepage description. It also generates and rewrites this info for your posts using special tags (see screenshot below) and allows you to format this appropriately. And even better, it does all this for you out of the box. Above I talked about no index. This plugin allows you to apply no index to tag, category and archive pages, simply by ticking a box. This ensures only your post content and homepage is included in search engine indexes, and ensure your actual content gets all the attention.

Google XML Sitemaps

As discussed above, having a sitemap for your WordPress blog makes life much easier for the search engine spiders to figure out where all your content is. The Google XML Sitemaps plugin easily allows you to generate a sitemap for your WordPress site, and also to customise the priority of content on your site specifying which pages are more important. Once you have generated a sitemap you need to go to Google Web Master Tools to submit your sitemap.

Internal Link Building

This little plugin is designed to optimise the internal link structure of your site like Wikipedia does, by automatically hyper-linking certain keywords which you specify to the pages that you are trying to rank for.

Using just these three plugins you can achieve all of the main goals with onsite SEO. There are other plugins designed to improve SEO of your WordPress blogs.

Best of the Rest:

  • Headspace 2 –  This does the same thing as All in One SEO, however, I find it a little more complicated for beginners.
  • SEO Blogroll – A plugin that allows you to show who your friends are with a blogroll, but allows you to apply no-follow if you wish, meaning that the site doesn’t drain your page rank.
  • SEO Paged Comments –  Fixed issues with paged comments causing duplicate content issues. Worth looking into if you get lots of comments on your blog.
  • SEO Friendly Images – Makes adding Alt tags and title tags to your image easier.
  • SEO No Duplicate – Another plugin to fix duplicate content issues
  • Efficient Related Posts – A related posts plugin – helps increase internal anchored links and helps maintain readers on your site.
  • Platinum SEO Pack – Another complete solution like All in one SEO.
  • SEO Title Tag – Useful tool for mass editing your post titles.

Tutorial: How to install WordPress

WordPress is one of the simplest, fastest and easiest tools for blogging. It is open source software developed originally by a god, I mean guy named Matt Mullenweg. With the advent of WordPress, Mullenweg single-handedly changed the face of the web. Ok, so he didn’t do it alone, he had lots of talented coders working with him, but the concept was his.

He developed what they call “…a state-of-the-art publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability. WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.”

So you’ve heard about WordPress. You’ve heard about weblogs (now simply called “blogs”). And you want your own blog! That is where WordPress can help. Here are the most common ways to install WordPress and get your own blog up and running in just a few minutes. This list begins with the simplest installation of WordPress all the way to the most difficult.

Option 1: WordPress.com

The easiest way to install WordPress is to let someone else do it! WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org) is built on Wordpres Mu (multi-user). By signing up, you will instantly get a blog located at yourname.wordpress.com.

For the casual user, this is probably the best option. When you want to share family news, your personal experiences, or don’t want to bother with the hassle of web hosting or domain names, head on over to WordPress.com for a free blog.

Option 2: Fantastico (via your web host)

The second easiest way to install WordPress is to sign up for web hosting with a provider that offers Fantastico! (the exclamation point is part of the name).  Most web hosting accounts offer Fantastico as a standard feature, and almost all accounts that use software called Cpanel as your backend dashboard include Fantastico.

So what is Fantastico?  It is software that automates and simplifies the installation of a long list of other programs.  These include most blog software, content management systems (CMS) and other community building software.  With just a couple clicks, you can install WordPress with this handy tool.  How?  Keep reading.

Step 1: Log in to Cpanel or your web hosting dashboard.

Step 2: Navigate to Fantastico.  If using Cpanel, simply type “fan” into the left hand filter box and the link to Fantastico will  be brought into view.  Click Fantastico.

Step 3: Under the “blogs” header on the left, click “WordPress”

Step 4: Click “New Installation”

Step 5: Fill out the required fields like domain, directory, etc.  If you want WordPress to be in the root directory of that domain, leave the directory field empty.

Step 6: Click “install” and you’re done!

The downside: you will have a little less control over how things are set up.  The database and db username and passwords are all set up for you (which is also a time saver).  Also, it is a little tricky to assign a domain name to your WordPress install using Fantastico which is also a Cpanel issue.

Option 3: Self hosted installation

The option that offers you the most control and customization options is a self-hosted install.  Even this, the most complicated, is still very very easy.  Even beginners can handle this one.

Step 1: Download and unzip the latest release of WordPress.  You can find the latest release here.

Step 2: Upload the unzipped directory using your favorite FTP client. *

Step 3: Navigate to the directory of your WordPress install.  You will automatically be taken to an installation screen.**

Step 4: Fill out the required bits of information like database, username and password.  Click Finish and voila! You’re done! ***

*Alternately, you can upload the zipped file and unzip it once on your web server.

**You will need to have a way to navigate to the WordPress directory using a domain, subdomain or temporary domain.  Most hosts will allow you to assign a domain to a directory.  Temporarily, you can create a subdomain which is free (usually) and takes less time to propogate across the web.

***You will need to have set up a MySQL database prior to installing WordPress.  Do this a bit ahead of time as it takes a little while to be set up usually by your host.

Did you find this post helpful?  Please consider sharing it with your friends!

Additional Resources:

Update: Option 4: QuickInstall

When updating a server of mine I found out I needed to pay for Fantastico for the first time.  I started poking around and found that my host fully supports software called “QuickInstall”.  QuickInstall works within cPanel, and is even easier than Fantastico.  A fresh WordPress install is literally just a few clicks.  Just choose your site name, directory and email.  A password is emailed to you.  The actualy setup takes just a few seconds on a 7Mbps connection on a VPS.  I was shocked at how easy it was to set up a new WordPress site.

QuickInstall to setup WordPress

As far as I can tell, QuickInstall offers all the same open source options except for Joomla!  Seeing as Pingable is all about WordPress, I wasn’t too upset to find this out.

 

100 stunning professional portfolio WordPress themes

If you work with WordPress, you are a web developer of some kind. Whether it is your full time job or just a side gig, you may want to display your work. As WordPress themes become more and more specialized, portfolio themes have developed rapidly. From their beginnings as a simple blog built for displaying images… all the way to stunning sliders and interfaces, here are some of our favorite Portfolio themes for WordPress.

These themes are a mix of commercial and free. They are all stunningly impressive themes to display your work. This post was recently updated for October 2012.  We removed some old, dead or broken themes and we added some very cool new ones.  Enjoy and please leave your comments.  We love to hear from folks who read Pingable.

Just updated for new WordPress Portfolio Themes for March 2013, enjoy!

Consider one of the best premium theme providers out there:

Coco | Download | Demo

A nice, clean and professional business and portfolio theme with a responsive and progressive design.

coco portfolio theme

Bellezza | Download | Demo

bellezza portfolio theme

Sirens | Download | Demo

sirens portfolio theme

Photo Squares 2 | Download | Demo

With five color schemes at a price of $70, you can use this portfolio theme for displaying any kind of media.  A simple and fast theme that is open for customization.

Wordfolio | Download

This theme comes with fully layered PSD files and a very cool slider.  This portfolio theme falls into the “slick” category because of some pretty nifty features.

Display 3-in-1 | Download

A 3D and fading slider bring this portfolio theme up a notch.  Nice navigation is also hard to find with portfolio themes because designers spend all their time on the media display.

Twicet | Download

Five skins and jQuery integration make this a very solid portfolio theme option.  There are also lots of back end customization options so you won’t be left with a boring, common theme.

Smart Portfolio | Download

The Smart portfolio theme is minimalist, and done well.  A custom admin panel lets you make it your own, even changing the layout from 1-4 columns.

Folio Portfolio | Download

The Folio Portfolio Theme includes category sorting which is not common.  It also incorporates Google Analytics and a custom design-icon tagging system.

Levitation | Download

Full PSD access and a robust back end admin panel let you take this theme from boring to custom.  A nice jQuery slider complements the overall nice “feel” of this theme.

Cadmus | Download

The designers of this portfolio theme thought of almost everything.  Nested comments, AJAX under the hood, and 6 color schemes let you customize the crap out of this theme.

Pacifica | Download

Choose from three custom jQuery sliders and 8 custom skins to make Pacifica your own.  Full support of the WordPress 3.0 menu system is included as well.

Gridly | Download

Gridly is a personal favorite because it has the grungy feel without feeling dirty.  Using featured images and jQuery masonry, this portfolio theme becomes fully responsive.


20+ tips for promoting your blog

At Pingable we’re all about WordPress, which is all about blogging (and a few other things).  With an estimated 900,000 blogs created every day, many of them don’t last more than a few weeks.  Bloggers put tons of energy into their blogs, then get disappointed when nobody reads them.  Here are our favorite ways to promote blogs, both new and old:

For new blogs:

  1. Use RSS – make sure your syndication feed is available and prominent on your blog.
  2. Sign up for social bookmarking services like Technorati, Mixx, Reddit, Delicious, etc.  Don’t just submit your articles, become an active user by voting on other peoples submissions.  Become an active member of the blogosphere.
  3. Submit your blog to directories like Blogcatalog
  4. Join forums related to your niche and become active in them as well.  Use your forum signature to promote your blog (read the rules of the forum, some are really strict)
  5. Start building relationships with other bloggers.  Ideally, with bloggers who share your topic.  Building relationships could be exchanging links, just sending an email, commenting on their posts or sharing their posts with your favorites social bookmarking service (See #2).
  6. Similar to building relationship, you should look at guest-blogging.  This is a valuable tool for building your initial blog traffic and reputation.  Almost all big blogs have a policy for accepting guest blog submissions.  They get free content, you get exposure, everyone wins.
  7. Also along the same vein of building relationships is this little trick: write about someone else’s post, make sure to clearly credit them and provide a link.  Then reach out to the original author and let them know you’ve featured their post on your site.  This is both good blog karma and a good way to encourage backlinking.
  8. Set up social networking accounts at Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc.  These can be powerful tools for retaining new visitors and pulling them back again when you post new content.  Services like this only help if you cultivate a community around your blog.  They are not idle sources of traffic that require no work from you.
  9. Thoroughly plan your blog out.  Ask yourself important questions instead of just jumping into writing content which can be the most exciting part.  Ask yourself:-What is this blog going to be about?
    -Who are my readers going to be?
    -Why will they want to read this blog?
    -Do I have the time to commit to this?
  10. Decide what design will best fit your blog.  Consider the answers to the above questions, plus:
  11. -What format will my content be in?
    -How large will my images be?
    -Where can I place my social networking links?
    -Does the design help organize content effectively?
    -Is there room for expansion?
    -Is there room for advertising?

  12. Set up an analytics tool like Google Analytics or Web Clicky so you can target traffic sources and figure out what works.  A word to the wise: don’t stalk your analytics, checking them every few minutes – you’ll just go crazy.

For established blogs (promoting your content)

  1. Ping like your life depends on it.  WordPress is set to automatically ping a service called “Ping-o-Matic” which will then notify the most popular blog tracking services.  If you want to take it to the next level, check out this resource.
  2. Make sure users can easily share your content.  WordPress has many plugins for this, one of our favorites is Sexy Bookmarks which puts sharing links below each post.
  3. Submit each post (or just the good ones) to social voting sites.  We like Dzone and a few others.
  4. Submit your blog to Dmoz.  We didn’t put this one under the new blog list above because it won’t get accepted if it’s brand new.  Getting accepted depends on you having quality content and a legitimate reputation.
  5. Use Google’s Keyword tool to target traffic and determine post titles.
  6. Establish your blogroll.
  7. Set up Wibiya – a very cool new toolbar for your blog.
  8. Stumble every post.  Don’t spam it, just submit it once so others may stumble upon it.
  9. Submit every post to Digg, Technorati, Mixx, Reddit, and all the other social bookmarking tools you can find.
  10. Give something away.  Commission some free icons, a free WordPress theme or something related to your niche.  This will both attract new readers and encourage sharing.
  11. Continue to build relationships with other bloggers.  Write guest posts, share links, comment on other blog posts, participate in forums, etc.

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