Popularity of WordPress is clear in its own way, however it becomes crystal clear when we see small businesses, professionals or even big corporations are giving preference to WordPress over other CMSes. WordPress as a CMS has evolved and is used to build beautiful and professional websites. Lets check out the following 35 websites that are powered by WordPress, BuddyPress, WordPress MU and aren’t used just as blog.

1. h Mag

h MAG is a high end luxury magazine for the Hoboken market. They print 15,000 copies that are placed in every room at The W Hotel, delivered to every doorstep in town, distributed to over 100 retail establishments and handed out at the Path and Ferry stops. h Mag uses BuddyPress & WordPress MU to publish variety of content and is a highly interactive site and design.

2. Creative Ad Awards

Creative Ad Awards

Creative Ad Award is a fantastic advertising archive, serving advertising fans with high quality ads. They provide world’s most sophisticated, creative and fresh ads. Creative Ad Awards has highly customized WordPress to achieve this kind of design.

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Matt Mullenweg - The Super Hero!

If it weren’t for Matt Mullenweg creating WordPress, I would not have been here writing at this blog and you all wouldn’t have been reading this article. At the age of 19, he invented the core of WordPress, and later when he turned 24, quit his job at CNET to fully focus on developing WordPress – a blogging platform. He is also the founder of Automattic, the business behind WordPress as well as famous spam fighter, Akismet.

Read this amazing piece at Skidzopedia – 17 people who changed the internet. Although, I would surely love to include the name of Max Levchin, Paypal’s founder; Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, Skype’s founders. I’m sure there must be more people on that list, still I would say that the list is pretty neat. I’m happy that people realize Matt’s hard work & contribution to the internet as he definitely deserves these kinda titles! What Say?

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Alright! Looks like the rant time is back in blogosphere and I’m joining the party against feedburner, that has given very pathetic service lately. Over a period of time, the service of Feedburner has gone down the hill and there are many bloggers like Jean-Baptiste Jung, Jeff who are frustrated that they don’t get to know the exact number of the feeds. Although, Jeff has asked the question that if Feed subscriber count is of any use in these times or not?

1400 subscribers! Yipieee!

I would be honest, its been some time since I checked our subscriber base and the core reason was that Feedburner had been acting stupid, although I know that its been hovering around 1400 since some time. It’s helpful that I have the rough idea, however its difficult to digest that a service, owned by Google has been failing to provide good and dependable results. Many bloggers aren’t happy, some have accepted the service as it still gives a rough idea although on the other side some have shown a decline in interest as in current scenario there are other ways through which visitors can subscribe to their content. These days, most of the bloggers are  focusing towards either email marketing or towards increasing the twitter or facebook fans.

What are the alternatives?

Feedburner has been a great service and one of the only service that gives you the stats, helps you make money through Adsense and doesn’t charge a single dime. They offer so many features that others have failed to offer till date, however its the inconsistency in the service that made Jean & Samir Bhardwaj to look for alteratives. These are some of the alternatives that I liked -

  • Feedblitz – This is definitely second most popular service. Feedblitz is very stable and has got good reviews lately. It is popularly praised for its email newsletter service and looks like a pretty good alternative to Feedburner. It comes at a price although, it shouldn’t be an issue for professional bloggers if they are still interested in RSS stats.
  • WP FeedStats – This is a free WordPress plugin that displays the RSS subscription stats of your blog. The plugin displays the hits all the versions of the feed, be it RSS2, RSS or ATOM. The plugin looks decent I haven’t checked it personally, however, if we go by Samir’s judgement then it shouldn’t be a bad alternative to those looking for a free solution.
  • Aweber & MailChimp – These two email subscription delivery services have gained a major chunk of market share as more and more bloggers have realized that email subscription is still best suited for marketing and advertisement for subscription. These email subscription tools offer great features and are at par with rss subscription services.

It’s pretty strange to see that there are hardly any decent alternatives to feedburner and probably one of the reason, why Google isn’t putting the heart and soul towards the service as much they’ve been doing for various other properties. And one of the reasons we don’t see many alternatives is because services like Facebook and Twitter have acted as a source of stats as well as good amount of traffic. What are your thoughts about the same? Do you think if feeds are relevant anymore or not?

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As a web design studio, we give and receive feedback on the website/blog design every day. We make our lives simple by using Evernote’s premium accounts so that our clients get the ability to edit the notes that we share them for the feedback and we do the same while giving the feedback to our WordPress Ninjas! This certainly isn’t Evernote’s real function, however its been doing pretty well for us. However, it’s not as good as Notable, which is built to address this particular issue.

Zurb, a well-known company in the silicon valley that has worked with some of the top companies like Facebook, Ebay, Yahoo is behind Notable, an app that they built for internal use. Notable is a web-based application and great for designers and agencies who work from remote locations.

Notable - Easy collaboration for designers

The application works on Firefox, iPhone and of course, the browser-based functionality is available for all the platforms. You can clip any page on the browser and add notes on specific areas that you want to point out for the feedback. Once the feedback is uploaded on their servers, it can be discussed by team members using the comment form. All of this is part of the visual section, however since it’s focused towards the web agencies and freelancers, Zurb has taken care of the code and one of the best feature is that you can point out on the search engine optimization of the page as well!

Notable's Workspace

I was mostly impressed by Notable’s simplicity, its user interface is simple and without complex features that may confuse people. Its got the most important features packed for collaboration and notification, it allows you to restrict the collaborators to let them add notes or just view it.

Overall, I was fairly impressed with the application as it delivered all the features that we were looking in such an app. Notable certainly saves time as the feedback ends up being more contextual, visually accurate as it forces feedback givers to be specific. I would certainly suggest this app to all the freelancers who are into web designing as they’d find this app irresistible!

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WordPress For Windows

Microsoft has always been criticized for not adhering to Open standards and not being active in Open-source community. However, it looks like Microsoft has tried a fair bit of things to ensure that their products work well with popular web applications. I personally believe that Microsoft’s web servers aren’t good enough for PHP/MySQL driven websites and moreover, the security concern is one of the biggest factors to avoid Microsoft Windows. When Linux servers aren’t safe then no doubt, it’ll be a bigger pain to manage Windows Servers for security.

Security is another topic, coming back to the point of Microsoft & WordPress, I was a bit surprised to see how Microsoft has bundled WordPress in Web Platform Installer along with various other popular web applications like Drupal, Joomla etc. Check out the list of application in the gallery. Although, I was happy to see that Microsoft has made this move, this should give confidence to those who find working with Linux web servers and web applications a bit difficult.

Microsoft & WordPress technologies shake hands!

1. WordPress on SQL Server : With the help of IIS 7, SQL Server Express and WordPress on SQL Server distribution, its possible to run WordPress easily on Windows Vista, Windows 7 etc. It’s not the simplest way to install it, however this great guide by Zach Skyles Ownes should take you home.

2. SilverLight Gallery Plugin – Microsoft has been trying hard to make SilverLight popular among developers and end users. This plugin can surely help them achieve this goal. If this plugin gets adopted by bloggers, then the end users will have to install SilverLight in order to ensure that they can view the image gallery on their browsers.

3. SilverLight Bing Maps – This plugin integrates SilverLight & Bing Maps with WordPress. This plugin lets bloggers to put their location with interactive maps like Google Maps on their blog.

4. Windows Azure Storage for WordPress – This plugin lets WordPress users to store their media files and static files on Windows Azure platform whose more popular alternatives are Amazon Web Services or Rackspace Cloud Files.

Why is Microsoft doing this?

The first question that comes in mind that why is Microsoft trying to make its technologies work with WordPress, Drupal or other PHP/MySQL driven web applications. Well, Zach has already answered this question -

I’m a PHP-bred Technical Evangelist at Microsoft, and I love the fact that PHP now runs great on Windows, SQL Server, Windows Azure and SQL Azure.  It’s exciting to see how Microsoft technology can light up WordPress, whether it’s through Silverlight image gallery plugins, Bing Maps integration or future opportunities with technologies like our information service, Dallas.

Business sense says that Microsoft is using these popular web applications to make its existing or new technologies popular amongst end users, bloggers and developers. However, the interesting part will be to see that how many bloggers & developers [the ones not sold to Microsoft's technology] will be keen in adopting these? I personally welcome this move by Microsoft, although practically I doubt that I would use any of these technologies as I’m already comfortable with the setup that I currently have. What do you think about this move from Microsoft?

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Google Fonts Directory & Font API

Google Font Directory

Not long ago, I wrote a post about how one can utilize font web services like Typekit & Fontmeup to improve the typography of the webpages. Although, in order to utilize the actual power of these services one needs to shell out money from their pockets. Well, in order to fight the issues of improving the typography of the web pages, Google has come up with Google Font Directory. This is made possible with the help of CSS3 that allows web designers to use fonts that are stored on the web.

Prior to this, we were using WP Cufón, a WordPress plugin that lets you use the Cufon technique to display various fonts on the web page with the help of javascript. If you are interested in knowing the working behind Cufon then check out this link. However, with the launch of Google Font API, one can easily use the fonts available in the Google Font Directory. Thanks to Adrian, who has created WP Google Fonts, a WordPress plugin already using the Font API. We are currently running this plugin to improve the headings [h1, h2, h3....] of our posts and pages.

WordPress 3.0 RC1 is out! Expect the final version soon

WordPress 3.0 - The ultimate one!

WordPress 3.0 - The Ultimate One!

Last week, WordPress 3.0 RC1 was released. RC1 is supposed to be almost the final product where the bugs are generally not available. You can take version RC1 as the last step towards releasing the stable version. Well, it stable enough that it may get released as the final version, however with more than 20 million people using WordPress, it is a possibility that there may be more bugs that can be reported. We’ve already discussed about the upcoming and much awaited features like Custom Menus, improved custom post types, merger of WordPress MU as mult-site in WordPress 3.0, so I wonder if its necessary to talk about it again?

Although, If you are testing the RC and come across a bug, you can:

Happy BirthDay WordPress!

Cake with WordPress Logo

On 27th May, WordPress turned 7! I’ve been late in wishing WordPress a happy birthday! Although, I did read somewhere – Its Better to be late than never! And I’m still wondering that what would be the apt gift for this occasion, may be you can suggest me something!

Its been 7 years and WordPress has grown from  b2/cafelog fork into a powerful CMS that is competing with the likes of Drupal, Joomla and other established content management systems. I’m sure writing this blog post would have been nostalgic for Matt. He shared that there are more than 1500 developers who are actively contributing in the development of WordPress and I must say that its an achievement! Motivating people to contribute together and to build a master piece like WordPress is really a commendable job and they all deserve millions of thanks from every WordPress user.

I remember that how I liked Blogger over WordPress in its early days, however as it was embraced by developers and I learnt new stuff, I realized that if I want to be a professional blogger, then it has to be WordPress and nothing else! Aha! not only for Matt, its kinda nostalgic for me too :)

I would like to once again wish Matt, team Automattic, those 1500 developers, plugin developers, theme developers [;)], those who use WordPress, those who spread the word about WordPress, in fact anyone who loves WordPress for making this a success!

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BuddyPress - "Social Networking in a box"

For WordPress, we have WordPress.com as the hosted service; For bbPress we have TalkPress; VideoPress plugin is also a hosted service in its own way; Not to forget about Akismet plugin either(well these are plugins however, they are useless if they don’t use the resources provided by Automattic as API). Automattic’s all major ventures have two things in common 1) they are open-source 2) they all are hosted services. However, one of the most sought-after plugin i.e. BuddyPress is only available as a plugin and there are no signs of the fact if its features will be provided as a hosted service any time soon or not.

Well, to me it will make sense if BuddyPress will become part of WordPress.com. Using the strong user base of WordPress.com, team Automattic should plan to include this “Social Networking in a box” and should plan to popularize it amongst users. This way the users will become more familiar with BuddyPress and will understand its power as well.

Recently, I’ve been looking into BuddyPress and was astonished to find out that one can literally build a Facebook out of it, if they plan to spend some time and money on it (well, not exactly but still it can be very close). Yet, publishers aren’t making full use of its power. In fact, I’ve  also noticed that even the developers like us haven’t really done much towards BuddyPress, even though its now available as a plugin for WordPress & WordPress MU both (not to forget that they become just “WordPress” in version 3).

I guess time is certainly not the factor since TalkPress came out after a long time since the inception of bbPress, however the business sense will be to ensure that users who were betrayed by Ning should get a chance to transfer their little social networks to hosted BuddyPress. Its been time since BuddyPress 1.0 surfaced and with the latest version it looks even more tempting.

Ning, a hosted social network that lets you create social networks of your own has recently changed their policy where they are asking a fee of $4.95 to $ 24.75 per month. In order to win the hearts of Ning users, Automattic did release an importer that will take the content from Ning and will make it run with BuddyPress. Matt from webmaster resource also adds that if Automattic will not launch the service anytime soon, then most likely some other enterprising developer or business owner will try and come up with a solution in that space, since popularity of Ning has proven that there are lot of people who want to start their little social networks!

Well, if you ask me that why I’m advocating the inclusion of BuddyPress in WordPress then here are little points that make me feel so -

1. Unleash the power of BuddyPress – As we all know that BuddyPress has grown a lot in features and matured as a platform in itself. You can check out these fantastic 59 excellent sites that are powered by BuddyPress to check out its power. Once people will become used to it, there will be quite a few who would want to come up with the next big idea that would drive the internet world in one way or the other. If WordPress was not made available then do you think Andy Peatling would have created BuddyPress?

2. More popularity of WordPress platform – To be honest, if someone would want to create a social network with features that come with default installation of WordPress & BuddyPress together, they would have to shell out hundreds and thousands of dollars however, with both scripts being open-source they’d become the choice of people and that would mean it would be an easier option for the webmasters as compared to dealing with much more complex Drupal.

3. More business and services – As we all know that WordPress has been really popular in the blogosphere and is becoming “hot cake” where business owners are embracing it as the choice of their CMS. It not only helps the team Automattic, however it helps thousands of developers in making a living. There are various WordPress plugin developers, theme developers and some have even created services around it, I’m sure there will be a lot more if BuddyPress will become common.

What are your thoughts about making BuddyPress as a hosted service? Do you think it will help Automattic and the community around WordPress & BuddyPress?

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