“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” ― William Morris

Top Blog Tool: WordPress

Posted: March 20th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

WordPress Logo

Blogs are a part of our daily landscape now. Almost everyone I know reads them regularly, even if they don’t know it, and a good chunk of my friends blog. For a while now I’ve been using Blogger, one of the earliest and most popular online blog tools that lets you log in to their site, write a post, and either have it published to your web host or hosted directly on their “BlogSpot” site. MovableType was another early popular favorite, and it offered something Blogger didn’t – the ability to host their open source software on your server – so you could hack/improve/integrate the code any way you wanted. A more recent arrival on the scene is WordPress, not that recent mind, but late enough that the team behind it got to look at the landscape and cherry pick the best from what was there, and cherry pick they did.

WordPress, like MovableType, offers two ways to run your blog with their software – you can either host it on their site (WordPress.com) or download their free, open source software (from WordPress.org) and host it on your own server. Both approaches offer their own advantages, but where WordPress really wins out is when you host it yourself. The beauty and simplicity of the code’s design has made it easy for a fanatical base of developers to create any number of plug ins, that quickly and easily extend the power of the basic WordPress blog. You can change your site into a PhotoBlog, plug in support for third party tools like the ubiquitous gallery software, or even create an eCommerce site (although those plugins are less full featured than focussed software right now). The choice is yours. Can’t find what you need? Then write your own plugin, and if you feel like it – share it with everyone else.

Plugins are only one part of WordPress’ genius. The admin interface is simple to use and cleanly designed. A range of beautiful templates are provided out of the box and many more can be downloaded, many for free. Search Engine Optimization is provided out of the box – with human readable URLs. The admin interface easily lets you create pages outside of the central blog and with a simple plugin you have something akin to more ‘powerful’ content management systems. Oh, and if you want to create a multi-user blogging environment, they even offer a multi-user version – the same as they use to run their commercial site (and soon expect official support for a user written plugin that makes the whole install an out of the box social network). Phew.

There is so much there to recommend this software, and the best part is it’s free and just keeps on getting better. So without hesitation – WordPress is my current recommendation should you want to create a blog or even if you want to just create a simple, dynamic website.


One Ma.tt to Rule Them All

Posted: March 5th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: SEO | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

You have to give credit to Matthew Mullenweg, not only is he the force majeur behind WordPress – the most sensible and elegant blog tool in the word – he also realised that he could buy Ma.tt as his domain before anyone else did… Clever chap.

As a bit of background, ‘tt’ is the top level domain (TLD) for Trinidad and Tobago, based on the sensible logic of using two letter country ISO codes for each country’s domains. This works sensibly around the world everywhere except the U of K, where for some reason we’re stuck with ‘co.uk’, ‘org.uk’ and other various third level domains only. Thanks British domain regulator – you sc.uk.

Anyhoo, in the meantime, you can buy your own .tt domain – but would you want to? There are actually very few words that end with ‘tt’ that aren’t mis-spellings, and ‘bu.tt’ is the only one anyone would really want. There’s also another catch. If you live outside of Trinidad and Tobago then owning such a domain will set you back $1,000 for the first two years, then $1,000 every five after that. A bit too rich for my blood.

Ps, Matt, I apologise for this post still being on Blogger… I promise I’ll move this blog over to WordPress as soon as I get a spare mo.