Tag Archives: wordpress

How to Save Money by Replacing Microsoft SharePoint with WordPress

By Joseff Betancourt

According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses account for 99.7 percent of all U.S. businesses and employ about half of all private sector employees. This makes sense, since the definition of a “small” business is pretty big: “an independent business having fewer than 500 employees.” Have you ever been in a crowd of 500 people? Living in NYC all my life, I have, and I can tell you it’s pretty nerve wracking at times (think crammed train during rush hour).

So how do you get your “big” small business working effectively together? Well, with enterprise technology, of course. But although small businesses may have strength in numbers, their IT budgets usually fall short on the financial spectrum. The technologists in these companies, usually a one to two man crew, look for bargain-basement-priced technologies that have the punch of their larger-priced cousins.

I’ve recently played around with some sure-fire open source technologies that should help the over-taxed tech manager breathe a sigh of relief when it comes to bringing next-generation collaboration, access control, and e-commerce systems to their organizations.

The first offering is a great replacement for Microsoft SharePoint that can be used to facilitate team sites, interoffice communication via workgroups, document revision tracking and general communication. Like SharePoint, you can even use it as a website.

I’m talking about WordPress, of course! At the time of this writing, WordPress 3.x series is out and it packs a wallop in terms of usability and functionality. Now there are tons of other open source content management systems (CMS). But in light of trying to keep these solutions in the realm of ease and performance, WordPress is hard to beat.

In addition to Joomla and Drupal, I’ve worked with WordPress for a long time now and can safely say that it’s become my favorite CMS system. The theme system is easier to use and the plug-ins are a snap to create and maintain compared to the rest. Even modifying the core system attributes is simple, with all the hooks built right into the libraries. WordPress isn’t a side-project blog system anymore; it’s a full-fledged CMS touting among its users some of the finest brands in the print and online industry.

In order for WordPress to become that functional SharePoint replacement sytem, a few tweaks need to be made. You’ll need to create a social networking system that interacts with the core file. Also, you need to hack the user interface on the core admin files in order to make the back end easier to use. Because you’ll need access control, conditional lookups in the theme will need to allow for different membership types. Extra functionality like an e-commerce bridge to a banking system will need to be added to your list of things to do as well.

This could require a lot of work and money. Fortunately, there are already plug-ins available to do all the aforementioned things, plus more. So before you program your own systems by downloading and installing plug-ins, make sure you enable the Multi-Site feature. This gives you the SharePoint-like feature of multiple workgroups/websites.

After you know that your WordPress Multi-Site functionality is up, the first plug-in that you absolutely, positively need is BuddyPress (it’s free). This will transform your WordPress installation into a social network with groups, forums and friendships (ala Facebook) that your users can use to interact with one another. Most themes will need to be modified to make use of the unique hooks in BuddyPress, but some themes come BuddyPress-ready. The fine folks over at WPMUDEV have some of the most useful BuddyPress themes around. They are ready out of the box, or to be used as a skeleton kit. You’ll need to purchase an inexpensive subscription, but you’ll soon find that it’s worth it for the amount of nifty plug-ins and themes they have ready to go.

Now that you are BuddyPress-enabled, you need to add a membership system. Luckily, WPMUDEV has a good one available to members, called WordPress Membership. Place it in your “mu-plugin” folder and you’re ready to go. This enables you to create different groups for different members.

Now that you have your membership, also known as access control, you can extend your site with an e-commerce platform. Maybe an employee store where employees can buy branded material for wholesale? Maybe you can sell your employees sick days? Better yet, sell your employees their computers for work – then let them maintain and keep them. Whatever the case, the WPMUDEV guys have this covered with WordPress Ecommerce. Now simply download, install and set up the e-commerce plug-in and you are ready to go within an hour.

The last part is installing a really easy user interface that looks as close to Microsoft Word as possible. At this point, your collaboration system is ready. This could be a shameless plug for the WPMUDEV guys, but you know what? Their “EZ” plug-in series is so darn easy that I need to mention it! What they do is literally replace the entire WordPress back end with a really easy-to-use editor. This hides areas of the back end that could theoretically be tempting targets for curious insiders. In my book, better safe than sorry.

After this, you have a pretty cool internal or external shared workspace at pennies on the dollars to a SharePoint solution.

Are there other software platforms that do this? Sure, but they’re not as inexpensive or as integrated. There are other WordPress theme kits and plug-ins out there as well, but once you start to mix and match them, your QA period and cost run up. I like to stick with WPMUDEV because they ensure all their plug-ins are cross-tested and are compatible – and those times that they are found to be incompatible, their support is on it ASAP, which I’ve always found to be delightful.

DoNanza Trends Report Shows Most CMS Sites Use WordPress While the Largest Budgets Go to Drupal Professionals

by PRWeb

DoNanza, the largest search engine for Work-from-Home and Freelance Jobs, released today its quarterly State of the Work-From-Home and Freelancing Economy. DoNanza’s report reveals several key findings about how the rival CMS/Blogging platforms fared in the third quarter of 2010, most notably WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. CMS platforms enable business and individuals to launch a web site, blog or online application and to easily manage the content within. Although the platforms are known for their ease of use, launching something that is beyond basic requires professional help. In the CMS freelance world this might mean a Developer, a Graphic Designer, an SEO Expert and other professionals.

The Key CMS Findings in the DoNanza Universe are:

CMS Professional Project Demand is Showing Extraordinary Growth:
CMS project counts are growing rapidly, quarter over quarter, with an average growth of 49 percent. In Q3 2010, WordPress projects in the DoNanza Universe grew by 61 percent with Joomla growing at 38 percent and Drupal at 26 percent.

WordPress is Peerless in Terms of Demand for Professionals:
In terms of number of projects, WordPress is a clear winner, cementing its hold on the market with more than 6 times the amount of projects in comparison to Drupal. Joomla is positioned exactly in the middle in terms of number of projects.

Drupal Professionals are the Highest Earning:
Looking at the average project budget, opportunities for Drupal in the DoNanza Universe consistently came in with an average project budget of $915 that was more than twice as much as the average WordPress project with $455 and Joomla Project with a $473 budget. This makes Drupal a clear winner in terms of revenue opportunity per project.

When analyzing the type of skills required different CMS platforms call for different skills; Some platforms are easy to use, some, like Drupal, require site building freelance work, and others, like Joomla, Are into 3rd Party Development.

Demand for Site Development Skills:
"Our DoNanza Universe data verifies the belief that most people start out with WordPress on their own" said Liran Kotzer, CEO of DoNanza. "Only 18 percent of total WordPress projects are site building, while 31 percent of Drupal projects are site building. It means that with Drupal people are seeking at-home-work freelance support from the get-go and not trying to build the initial site by themselves, as with WordPress ".

Demand for 3rd Party Development Skills:
Other CMS/Blogging platform characteristics are also verified in the DoNanza data, as 29 percent of Joomla projects are 3rd party development with WordPress 3rd party work only at 16 percent and Drupal at 20 percent.
"This proves that Joomla have a very active market allowing people to create and sell the third party extensions they have created for other Joomla platform users", said Kotzer.

"More businesses and individuals will keep using CMS platforms as a way to express themselves and do business" said Kotzer. "Currently each of the platforms has its own relative advantages, and we are curious to see how the differences between them will play out in the future. In the meantime, all of us benefit from the competition by getting much more flexible infrastructures with advanced features."

Do you take CMS work even if it doesn’t pay much

by Chip Camden

Not long ago, Content Management Systems (CMS) were a great idea that nobody used. Now, they’re ubiquitous. They make sense because they separate content from presentation concerns. With the arrival of free CMS systems such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal (among others), almost every site that offers up anything but static content uses a CMS of some sort.

For my own sites, I use WordPress. I’ve even published several plugins and widgets for WordPress. But I have yet to make any money directly from installing, configuring, or customizing a WordPress site. I did have one offer, but the prospect didn’t have any money. I guess he hoped that I would volunteer to do it gratis. It seems like there’s always someone who thinks that, because the software costs nothing, working with it should cost nothing too. Fortunately, it appears that a growing number of companies may be beginning to realize that the value of what you can do with a CMS warrants an investment in those activities.

According to a new report published by DoNanza, a work-from-home job site, the demand and budget for CMS projects is on the rise. Projects listed on DoNanza’s site for WordPress grew by 61% in the third quarter of 2010. Projects involving Joomla grew by 38%, and those for Drupal by 26%.

(images used by permission from DoNanza)

During the same period, the total number of projects on DoNanza grew by 30%, so the rise in demand for WordPress has been more than double that of other projects. Joomla has grown a bit faster than average, and Drupal seems to be falling a little behind.

The following graph shows the average budget for these projects:

Now I know why I’m not playing this course: there’s not enough green. The average budget for a freelance project for WordPress on DoNanza is $455. That’s not per hour, or even per week — that’s the whole bundle that’s expected to carry you from requirements to delivery. I don’t know about you, but I could hardly manage to repress my PHP gag reflex for that much, never mind getting anything else done. Joomla doesn’t offer much more ($473). If you can land a Drupal project, though, you’re living the high life because with a project budget of $915 you can afford to buy the expensive coffee.

WordPress jumped up a notch in the rank of most requested skills on DoNanza to #7, edging out MySQL. The only skills in more demand on DoNanza are PHP, Translation, HTML, Graphic Design, Website Design, and SEO, in that order. Both Joomla and Drupal slipped down the list a bit, but they’re still #17 and #43, respectively. Obviously, a lot of people are looking for help with these CMS platforms — even if they don’t want to pay much for it.

How about you? Have you taken any gigs for work on a CMS? How well were you paid? Would you do it again?

Why blogging can set you apart

by Peter Ricci

No matter whether you are a real estate agency or an individual agent, blogging has become a big differentiator between many offices (and eager staff) these days and in the coming years agents that demonstrate a deep understand of their market and may well set themselves apart, this is because vendors turn to agents that know their area of expertise and can prove it by displaying this for the world to see. Some blogs are fully integrated into the companies’ website, whilst others are separate entities that exist outside of the main domain.

Fully Integrated Solution
A full integrated solution basically means that your real estate website is also your blog and users of your website can both browse property listings read up on local issues, property news, taxation and get property advice. Some agents are also giving outside authors (lawyers, surveyors, builders etc) certain privileges to post directly to the agents website further enhancing the user experience and of course the authors profile).

To me, if given an option the fully integrated solution is the only true option for agencies – as you only need to promote one website and chances are, your real estate website already has a decent audience.

External Blog
This is a blog (website) which exists externally from your main website. It is not the most desirable entity, but if you are an individual agent that wants to make a name for yourself outside of your agency, then this is a decent solution. For real estate agencies that want to have a blog, talk to your developer about getting a fully integrated solution. There are a number of great platforms available to you – Drupal, Expression Engine, Movable Type, Text Pattern, WordPress and Joomla.

All of these have large development communities and are pretty simple for your developers to setup. If you want to dip your feet in – you can also get a free website at www.wordpress.com (different to the software www.wordpress.org). This is probably best for the individual agent and best of all – you can one day upgrade to wordpress.org for your own self hosted solution.

New Agency Website
If you are getting a new website talk to your developer about getting a fully integrated solution, they should have no issues doing this (unless they don’t want to) and make sure you choose a platform that best suits your needs from one of these great solutions – Drupal, Expression Engine, Movable Type, Text Pattern, WordPress and Joomla.

If your web developer does not have the tools to do this – or informs you they are rolling something out in the future (almost always means never) then you may need to look for a new developer.

The great thing about all of these solutions about is that they are open and portable, so if your developer sucks you will never have any trouble finding a new one.

Be Mindful
One thing to be very wary of is companies that have their own in house CMS systems, some are half decent, most are deplorable and they nearly always end in tears (if you ever want to leave). Thankfully most developers have left those days behind them, but you still will find a few handing onto the old business model. To them it is more about trapping you into a solution, so you can never leave.

Flexible
All of the platforms mentioned here can do everything that any other CMS can do for your real estate website. All of them have tools that can easily add extra features and they all have large development communities to share ideas and code. So don’t be afraid to jump in.

Drupal, WordPress, Joomla or Custom CMS?

 

by Homebasedblogging.com

CMS Services Overview: When we discuss designing and implementing a Web site employing Drupal, WordPress, Joomla or Custom CMS, we use this process as a basic guideline. We take a pragmatic approach about which parts of the process we use based on the type of project, client, and time limitations. Any process we select is to be used pragmatically to adapt to different situations. Sometimes a more in-depth research on users is needed, while other times a simple characterization of them is fine.

Understanding the business goals of the client and real needs of the users to be supported by their Web site are essential to developing a winning web solution. The clarity provided by their business goals helps us to create a clear language and organization of the content. It also give us enough ideas for a low-fidelity prototype that we could use as a way to involve our developer community in the design process. Site owner or client has to be asked as many questions.

Inclusion of the client meant that we were able to capture many of the real requirements early enough so that the scope was clear, helping to avoid problems later in the development process. Focusing on simplification made sure that only those requirements that made the most difference were included in the higher-resolution prototype.

To achieve a design (using Drupal, WordPress or Joomla) that is both useful and usable, it is important to “Know The User”. So we engage users (and owners) from the beginning, giving them a sense of ownership and involvement that is necessary for a good working relationship. Information from the users also helps you make important decisions when addressing hosting and deployment issues. WordPress as a CMS and Blogging System excels in simplicity and design flexibility, with a nice template you can easily manage a heavy traffic multi-user community driven portal website.

Separation of content from form: The efficiency and flexibility with which you style your content is fundamentally based on how well your content is structured. When generating content, therefore, it is essential to keep the structure of your content separate from its presentation. Using cascading stylesheets (CSS) is much easier when you insist on making the XHTML as semantically correct as possible.

In Drupal you can find methods for modularizing your XHTML structure using template files. However, we found several useful techniques to improve the structure and findability of styles within theme CSS, including:
– Splitting out styles for certain aspects and regions of the Web site into their own files
– Creating a consistent order to all styles by listing them alphabetically
– Using findable characters within comment blocks at points in the CSS to aid search

We use good tools during development process like Eclipse and Concurrent Versions System (CVS). In a group development effort, CVS proved quite beneficial in tracking code changes and allowing us to work in parallel, but it also aligns well with any version or revision updates to the Drupal or WordPress core code.

Learn by example: Learning by example has proved useful. Spend time looking at the Drupal core includes and modules, contributed modules, and themes to see how things are implemented. Don’t be afraid to play with source code; it’s a good way to learn what others have done in their modules and themes. Experiment by adding or removing code, and see how Drupal’s behavior changes. The best part is that because you have stored the code in CVS, you can always revert back to the original files.

Joomla includes features such as page caching to improve performance, RSS feeds, printable versions of pages, news flashes, blogs, polls, website searching, and language internationalization. Like Drupal and WordPress, it is written in the PHP and uses the MySQL database by default.

Drupal is heavy on elements like Document Management and Complexity in UI Theme Designing. The majority of these items are functions or features needing improvement in the Drupal CMS. Joomla also fails to deliver in such elements as user permission, content management, multi-site management, and standard’s compliance. Joomla fails in elements that are more architecture centric.

Taking the flip side, Joomla as a CMS appears to excel in elements that can be identified as functional, while Drupal succeeds in the architectural elements. You choice depends on your priority for these elements – architecture or function. We have developed high traffic web portals and CMS solutions using both Drupal (Ex: Real Estate Times) and WordPress (Ex: SEO Trends). We believe it is more important for a CMS to have better architecture.

Drupal Development: Our support team provides technical assistance throughout the process of installing, operating and maintaining Drupal 5.x and 6.x websites. From the beginning of your installation process through application development and ongoing maintenance, Solution Point can provide technical support to ensure project success.

Web CMS: Latest dotCMS Release Empowers Editors, Boosts Content Findability

 

By Geoff Spick, CMSWire

The latest dotCMS Web Content Management (WCM) system release enhances the project’s self-proclaimed "super hero" status with version compare red-lining, added language packs, full site search via Lucene and Nutch, and more. Let’s have a quick look.

A Point Release with Punch

We took a look at the dotCMS v1.9 release back in July, just seven weeks down the road and we get a neat update bump to the open source Web CMS with v1.9.1. The latest version offers some solid improvements as well as the expected bug squashing, and some more subtle tweaks.

For those looking for a Java-based Web CMS to rival the PHP "big three" of Drupal, Joomla and WordPress — and this is a quest that has been going on for some years — dotCMS, is increasingly looking like a contender with big-name users and an ever-expanding feature set.

Headline Acts

At the top of the update list is multilingual support on the back-end for Spanish, French, German and Conversational Chinese translations. It goes without saying that this will widen the market for dotCMS, particularly in the massive Chinese-speaking sector.

Add to that, Lucene-based site search that can index almost all types of files including .ZIPs, .PDFs, Office documents, JavaScript, RSS feeds and you have a neat boost in functionality for those with content-rich or heavy sites. Lucene was part of the previous dotCMS picture, but that was only for content searching. In other words, the previous Lucene index was built via querying the content database and post v1.9.1 Lucene/Nutch spiders the published website and indexes all the content found therein.

Nutch is an Apache Software Foundation project that builds on the Lucene full text search engine, the base search engine, and Solr, a wrapper around Lucene that adds nifty features like suggestions and facets. Nutch goes further, adding web-specific functionality like an HTML parser and a web spider that can build Lucene search indexes. The Lucene / Solr combination has essentially become the default solution for search in the Web CMS market.

Red-Lining for Enterprise Editors’ Pleasure

dotCMS comes in both Community (open source GPL v2.0 licensed) and Enterprise (pay to play) versions. Red-lining is a feature that has been added to the enterprise version, while the other additions mentioned are also available in the community version. The red-lining feature enhances change tracking in dotCMS, similar to Word showing you additions and deletions made before the page or content is committed to publishing. This is invaluable for editors if the CMS is your primary editing platform. Red-lining not only adds sanity to your content world, but is an indispensable training tool.

New or inexperienced users will appreciate the improved "starter site" kit that offers extra features like Google Maps, calendar and analytics integrations to get that first site off to an impressive start. Power users get a boost from improved disk caching that boosts throughout and delivery of pages. Alas, there are no claims of any particular percentage boost for performance, so let us know if it works for you.

Which CMS? WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal

 

By Matthew Buckland, Memeburn

It’s the big question. I’ve had the opportunity to work with all three of these Content Management Systems (CMS) in various guises, and in my view — from a online publishing perspective — there is a clear winner. Everyone has their favourite and there will no doubt people that vehemently disagree, but hear me out.

First on to Joomla and Drupal: Both Joomla and Drupal are complex CMSes, and I’ve felt that these are CMSes designed by techies for techies. When using these CMSes, you get the feeling that the publishing part of the CMS was priority 2 as opposed to its core function which is ultimately to get content onto the web. I’ve also found that the user interfaces and menu structures of these sites are clunky, busy and overly complex. (Admittedly I’ve only worked with earlier versions of Drupal.) Only use these CMSes if you have a good technical team and are happy to delve into the bowels of the thing every now and again.

Then there is WordPress. For a while, I’d never considered WordPress to be a CMS for a publishing site, as I’d always seen it as a blog-specialist platform primarily. But this doesn’t hold true anymore, and in fact WordPress can be a generalist CMS in itself, with the added blog functionality (such as trackbacks, pingbacks etc etc). In fact WordPress can be themed to work for a fairly complex magazine site or even a news site. It’s a new wave of using WordPress that has only really recently started to take off.

It’s WordPress’s simplicity and focus on the core functions of online publishing that makes it a winner as a CMS for me. It’s the zen, minimalist CMS geared towards the most important task at hand: publishing.

If you had to level some criticism: arguably you could say WordPress is too simple for big sites — and that is a fair criticism. For really big and complex sites, probably none of the three CMSes above are entirely suitable. In fact it’s prudent to build your own tailored CMS to fit the nuances and demands of your business, especially if it’s centred at the core of your business.

WordPress- A Full Fledged Content Management System

 

by PixelCrayons

One Content Management platform which is used and liked by everyone is WordPress. Reasons being its easy to use features and functionality due to which it has acquired a huge user-base. Before WordPress 3.0, it was considered as the best blogging platform. But after the arrival of WordPress 3.0, the tag of ”best blogging platform and unfit for making fully-functional websites” is removed from WordPress. It has emerged as a boon to all non geeks in the world of web designing. Though there are many other free and paid CMS available in the market but using WordPress solutions can improve user’s online experience. We have enlisted few factors that why we should prefer to use WordPress than other CMS:

1) It is completely free of cost. In the initial stages of business, cost cutting strategy looks pretty good, so using WordPress as CMS can really prove cost effective while getting your work done by the best of CMS. The money saved here, can be invested in other services like website design and development.

2) It has an easy to use interface for which you don’t need to hire HTML programmers. Rather, it can be easily handled and managed by staff members of the organization. To work on this, you do not require knowledge of HTML or any other kind of coding.

3) WP provides you with an extended scope of customization. You can customize settings according to your business needs. For instance, Scheduling Settings- With this, you can create and save content in advance and then can schedule it for publishing on any date. You don’t need to remember the date of publishing as the content will automatically get published on the scheduled date. Also it allows for privacy settings. This setting allows you to choose the extent to which you want to share information. Not just this, you can add media files like image, audio, video etc. in our post. Sometimes, it becomes an indispensable requirement to add these media files. In WordPress, it is very easy and quick to add multi-media files.

4) WordPress provides users as well as search engine friendly URLs. Your WP website is likely to be ranked higher in search engines. Higher rankings in search results means higher traffic to the website. Higher traffic means more hits by your customers. More customers, means more revenue.

5) WP is basically interactive in nature. Like visitors can post comments, provide feedback, participate in the community etc. This is an amazing and cool CMS which has a range of plugins and extensions which would do half of your job of managing the WP site/blog and makes you stress free.

WordPress has proved to be a boon especially for the non-geeks. It has made the task of managing the websites very easy. But you need to be careful while hiring WordPress solutions provider. Discuss all your business requirements with them on the first place and then see if they can deliver you the same.