Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


WordPress and Jetpack combine for Annual Report

Posted by Alan at 5:33 AM on December 31, 2012

2012 Annual Report

I you run a blog then odds are you are using WordPress  as your content management system. One of the most popular plugins is Jetpack — a great solution for site stats that provides much better information than what is provided by default. Now the two have combined for an interactive annual report.

It is not clear which is behind this, or if WordPress is providing this information to non-Jetpack users, as the email comes from WordPress, while the site linked within it takes you to a Jetpack.me location. Either way, it’s a interesting, and highly interactive look at your site’s 2012 history.

Included are lists of top posts by traffic, top commentors, where the traffic came from — location, referring site and more. The email went out early this morning and a link also now appears at the top of site stats page. It also allows you to make the stats public and share them with your readers.

“Our stats helper monkeys have been busy putting together a personalized report detailing how your blog did in 2012!”

Facebook Has a New Plugin For Sharing WordPress Posts

Posted by JenThorpe at 9:20 PM on June 12, 2012

Facebook is always looking for ways to integrate with outside platforms. It just launched something called Facebook for WordPress plugin. It enables bloggers to make their WordPress blog more social, “in a couple of clicks”. You don’t have to know how to do coding in order to make it work. Facebook has created a page that will talk you through exactly what to do.

Unlike some of the other plugins that connect to Facebook, this one was built by Facebook engineers. It seems to me that if Facebook created it, in house, that Facebook should be able to continuously update the Facebook for WordPress plugin in order to make it work with whatever changes happen to Facebook in the future. We all know that Facebook loves to change things around!

What does it do? According to Matt Kelly, who is an engineer at Facebook, it makes social publishing much easier. He said in a blog post:

“Once the plugin is installed, you can cross-post content published to WordPress to your Facebook Timeline and the Facebook pages you manage. You can also mention the names of Pages and friends as you post to further distribute your content”.

This is great for people who have a personal blog that they like to post updates about onto their Facebook page. It is also excellent for podcasters who use WordPress to post their show notes. It makes the process of adding links to your Facebook page, and the Facebook page for your podcasts, much more streamlined.

As a podcaster, I can see how the Facebook for WordPress plugin would make my life easier. Right now, when I finish the show notes for a podcast, I go into Facebook and manually copy and paste the link from my WordPress blog onto my Facebook page.

I have to do it again in order to post the link to the episode onto a Facebook page my husband and I share, (where we post all our creative projects). If I want to let a band that I played in that episode know about it, I have hunt down their Facebook page, and then post the link, again. The plugin is going to let me do all of that right from my WordPress blog. This will save a lot of time!

WordPress Runs Almost Half of the Web’s Top Blogs

Posted by Alan at 11:39 AM on April 14, 2012

Recently a study was released by Pingdom regarding the content management systems (CMS) used by the web’s top blogs and, perhaps not surprisingly, almost half of those sites were powered by WordPress.  48 of the top 100 are using WordPress as their backend system, while Movable Type, the second most used CMS, powers only 7 of the top 100 blogs.

To break the numbers down a bit further, 39 sites were using WordPress and an additional 9 were hosted by WordPress.  In addition, 12 sites used their own custom CMS, Typepad accounted for 8 blogs, and at the bottom end, one was using Tumblr and one was on Diderot.  Gawker sites all run on their own custom software and counts under “Gawker” as opposed to “Custom”.  There is a smattering of Blogger, Drupal, BlogSmith, and others, while 8 blogs declined to answer.  You can check out the chart below to see the full breakdown.

pingdom cms chart

Infographic: SEO Software Survey

Posted by Alan at 4:07 PM on October 18, 2011

Most everyone who has a website knows about, and worries about, search engine optimization (SEO).  There is certainly no shortage of tools available either, especially for WordPress users.  There are “all-in-one” solutions like All in One SEO Pack, Platinum SEO, and WordPress SEO.  There are niche solutions like SEO Smart Links, SEO Friendly Images, and many more.

Skyrocket SEO recently conducted a survey to see what tools people are actually using.  They put their results together and created an infographic that shows what the “experts” are using.  It provides some good insight into tools you may not have been familiar with and also into what the current thinking is and how fast these things move.  For instance, 85% would change software if something better came along.  BuzzStream tied MajesticSEO for the most used software with 32% usage, while only 7% used Screaming Frog.

The infographic is posted below (click to enlarge it).  If you have other tools or plugins that you use then let us know in the comments below.

seo software survey 2011

WordPress Launches First Visual Editor App for WebOS

Posted by Alan at 2:43 PM on July 2, 2011

WebOS is the most underrated mobile operating system on the market.  It has everything but a large user-base.  So, it seems a bit strange that WordPress has chosen it to be the first recipient of their new visual editor app.  Android, with the largest market share, would have been a no-brainer, iOS would have seemed logical, and Windows Phone would not have been a major surprise (Microsoft has been know to throw some money the way of developers for things like this), but it landed on WebOS.

WordPress already has rudimentary apps available for Android and iOS, but they lack the power and functionality of the WebOS release.

The WebOS WordPress app uses sliding panes to navigate between various sections and editors.  You can easily edit text, add media, and get a preview of what your post will look like before publishing it to a website.  You can not only moderate comments on your posts, but also get notifications when new comments arrive through the WebOS’s native notification system.

The app supports both WordPress.com hosted sites and self-hosted sites also.  WordPress for webOS is a free app and is available for the HP TouchPad through HP’s App Catalog.  You can watch a walk-through video below.

WordPress In Your Pocket

Posted by tomwiles at 5:56 PM on May 14, 2011

WordPress has been around a long time and is quite a powerful web publishing platform available to virtually everyone at no cost.

I finally got around to installing the official WordPress app onto my iPod Touch and I have to say I’m impressed with the app. It quickly accepted the credentials to my own WordPress blog, and I found I could update my site directly from my iPod. More impressive to me was when I discovered the ease with which I was able to take photos (or videos) with the iPod’s camera and instantly embed them into blog posts.

Nothing is more powerful than to be able to quickly update one’s own site with not only words but images as well. The official WordPress for iOS is a free download on the iPod/iPad/iPhone/iOS App Store. If you have a WordPress blog and an iOS device, this free app is worth installing.

A New Source For Finding Premium WordPress Themes

Posted by Alan at 2:57 PM on April 3, 2011

If you use WordPress to run your website or blog then you are probably always on the lookout for a new theme.  If you are serious about your site then you are willing to pay for a good theme.  The biggest problem isn’t the lack of WP themes out there, it’s how to find and compare them.  There’s a new resource online that is attempting to solve this issue.  It’s called ThemeSorter.

Although it just recently launched it already has an impressive catalog of themes (500+ as of this writing).  The layout is basic, making it easy to browse available themes in any of several different category types – formats, niches, colors, and styles to name a few.

If you look carefully you will even find an occasional freebie thrown in.  You can also find discount deals on a lot of the themes being offered.  It’s a great one-stop-shop for anyone looking to launch a new site or upgrade a growing one.

PowerPress Podcasting Plugin Updated

Posted by geeknews at 8:38 PM on March 7, 2011

My team at RawVoice this morning released version 2.0 of the PowerPress Podcast plugin for WordPress. The work committed to this update was well over 1 month of coding. I have been running the beta here at Geek News Central for several weeks, and many of you have already commented on the new video player experience as being superior to what you have seen on other podcasters websites. Now that the update has been made available to the 80,000 podcaster worldwide we are excited to watch the implementation across the web.

Folks making video will want to check out the new HTML5 video player, WebM support and Embeds feature! PowerPress 2.0 provides an optimized viewing experience for the widest spectrum of hardware/software including  web browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari), mobile devices (e.g. iPhone, iPad, Android), and TV’s (e.g. Google TV, Roku, Boxee).

Some of the new features and enhancements include:

  • HTML5 video player
  • HTML5 audio player
  • Embeds your audience can take with them just like YouTube.
  • WebM video support
  • Ogg audio/video support improvements
  • MP4+WebM (for mp4/m4v video, a new alternative WebM URL field is available. This is ideal for supporting all browser based HTML5 video players)
  • Flow Player Classic can now play m4a audio and mp4/m4v video
  • New Video Player settings page added
  • Settings pages enhanced with new options such as location, frequency and T.V. options
  • Episode Entry box enhanced with new ‘isHD’ option when video entered into Media URL box
  • Episode Entry box now includes option to configure video player width/height on a per-episode basis
  • Upload image option added to supplement the video poster image field. Images are uploaded to the built-in image gallery in WordPress.
  • Plus a number of improvements

I have created a short video on some of the coolest features and hope you will take a few minutes to overview the update. Please note that the video embed below is from the actual posting on our official PowerPress site. No longer do we need Blip or YouTube we can share our content from our sites with the embed feature.

Make sure you Upgrade today!

3 WordPress Plugins You Should Have

Posted by Alan at 5:31 PM on October 30, 2010

There are many good WordPress plugins available out there.  Some allow you to track your site’s stats – like Google Analytics and Quantcast Quantifier.  Some may help generate traffic – like All In One SEO.  Some even help generate revenue like Quick Adsense and Amazon Best Selling Electronics.  Today I thought I would showcase three that get less attention, but also can do a great job for your site.

AddToAny: Share/Bookmark/Email Button

You may have seen the AddToAny plugin in action on many web sites.  It usually appears at the bottom of a post and looks similar to this:

It’s highly configurable as it allows you to choose from over 100 sites that you can have appear in the bar, choose from several options for the Share/Save button, where you want it to appear, menu style and options, etc.  It’s a great way to allow your readers to easily share your articles.

Yet Another Realated Posts Plugin

The Yet Another Realated Posts Plugin is a way of letting your readers find similar stories on your site that they may also be interested in.  Here it is in use on the MakeUseOf website’s RSS feed:

You can have this appear at the end of your articles on your site or in your RSS feed or both.  It scans your site in several ways – categories, keywords, and tags – and finds articles related to the one your are posting and puts links at the bottom of the article that can point readers to other posts they may be interested in.  It’s a great way to retain eyeballs.

Google XML Sitemaps

The Google XML Sitemaps plugin has a slightly misleading title.  I say that because XML sitemaps don’t just help Google, but also most other major search engines like Bing, Ask.com, etc.  It’s a little hard to explain so I’ll borrow from the WordPress description.

This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your blog. With such a sitemap, it’s much easier for the crawlers to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently. The plugin supports all kinds of WordPress generated pages as well as custom URLs. Additionally it notifies all major search engines every time you create a post about the new content.

As you can see from the description it makes your site more easily indexed, which is always a good thing.  It updates pretty regularly, but if you add a new post and are particularly anxious to get the word out then you can do a manual update.  The settings section will give you lots of data and options.

So, there are three of the many WordPress plugins that are out there.  These three focus on getting your site noticed and keeping people on it once they are there.  If you have a good one then please let us know in the comments section below.

Where Do You Find WordPress Themes?

Posted by Alan at 5:25 PM on October 19, 2010

For the past few days I have been scanning the net looking for a new WordPress theme for my own site.  There are a lot out there.  Just do a Google search if you don’t believe me.  Some are for purchase, but a lot are free.  Many of the sites are legit, but some are sketchy.

So the question is, how do you find legitimate content when it comes to something as generic as a WordPress theme?  If your computer-literate then you probably have a bit a intuition about sites you visit.  You may also have some help from services such as the Firefox add-ons – NoScript and Web of Trust.  But those are really just a belt to use with your suspenders.

Is there a way to really sort out the good content?  Back to my WordPress example, I have waded through pages of Google results, but found only a smattering of decent ones.  Some sites that show up high in the rankings don’t even pass the Web of Trust tests.  If it’s tough for a geek to figure out then that explains the amount of people who find their PC’s infected – or worse, don’t know their computers are infected.

That’s the discussion I’d like to have with all of the readers of this site.  I am not just looking for WordPress theme sites.  I am really looking for how all of you sort through results in a generic search and find the good stuff.  With Google returning thousands (or more) of hits and some of the less-than-savory sites rising up the rankings, how does anyone figure out where to go today?