WordPress Continues to Take Over the Top 100 Blogs

Back in 2006 blogging was still in its infancy and I remember searching for a platform to launch my first blog.  TypePad and Blogger were both big at that time, WordPress.com was around and growing, and Moveable Type, Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress.org were also good options.  In fact there were so many good options that it was difficult to decide what foundation I would use for what I hoped to be my new job. 

For my first few months of blogging I actually went with TypePad, but quickly found that it was very limited and wasn’t a good fit for my needs. I went back to the drawing board at that point and knew I needed something that was flexible and was also going to be around for the long haul. At that time open source was really starting to take off in the mainstream and WordPress.org was leading that charge in the blogging niche, so I decided to align myself with the WordPress community and re-launched my first blog.  Between the WordPress plugins and both the free and premium WordPress themes available, I knew I had made the right choice and was able to quickly make a custom design with little work on my end. The flexibility and the excellent open source community was the key to creating a great experience for me, and many I talked to felt the same way. 

Fast forward 7 years and WordPress continues to meet my needs and validate my early decision. One report I use to determine this is released annually by Royal Pingdom, which has done a study of the Top 100 blogs each year since 2009 and recently published their 2013 report. This report shows WordPress continues to grow as the top choice among the most prominent blogs.  Initially back in 2009, WordPress was on 32% of the Top 100 blogs.  Last year it was up to 48%.  For 2013, WordPress is now on 52% of the Top 100 blogs, and I expect that percentage to continue to grow over the coming years thanks to its flexibility and the fact that it is very user friendly.

wordpress-top-100-blogs

According to Wikipedia, WordPress is used by over 14.7% of the top 1 million websites and manages over 22% of all new websites created as of August 2011, boasting a total of over 60 million websites.  Its hard to imagine what these numbers will look like next year or several years from now.

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  • 5 Common Mistakes When Backing Up WordPress

    As a leading Content Management System for managing websites and especially for writing blogs, WordPress makes it extremely easy to back up your valuable content from the database and site files. There are a number of tools you can use that make life easy on website owners and bloggers, but don’t let the simplicity of backing up WordPress leave you with an inadequate back up plan. In fact, there are plenty of back up tools out there that don’t get the job done well enough. Here are five back up mistakes to avoid:

    Only Backing up Your Posts

    Your website has a lot more going on than just the posts on your blog. While losing your posts would be catastrophic, don’t forget that a true back up will include your pages, theme modifications, and WordPress plugins. These elements of your website make it functional, and losing them will be a major setback for your time.

    A tool like Backup Buddy is designed to store all of your site’s information and to restore it all at once should any kind of loss occur. This means you won’t lose page views, advertising revenue, or potential customers when your site goes down. It will be up and running in no time.

    Not Backing Up Frequently

    If you only backup your website on a weekly basis, but you average about one post per day, you could cause yourself some major headaches if your blog goes down and you lose several blog posts. That means any inbound links, comments, or social media shares to those posts will land on your 404 page. While this may be a temporary setback, you will plant a seed of doubt in the minds of potential visitors about the quality and reliability of your website.

    Relying on Manual Backups

    There are plenty of online storage options from Amazon’s Cloud Drive to Dropbox, but managing the website backup process on your own is difficult to maintain for the long haul and can take up valuable time. Even if you’ve figured out a quick way to back up your website, it’s one more thing on your to do list that could be easily automated.

    Backing Up Your Blog on Your Computer

    If a hacker can access your website, there’s a good chance he may have already gotten into your computer and other files as well (For more about further protection from hackers, look at the services Passbook hast to offer). In addition, there’s no telling if the files on your computer have been corrupted with a virus when it’s time to restore your site. You could very well be uploading files with the same problems that took your site down in the first place. While you can use a service like Filezilla to back up your site on your own computer, it’s far safer to rely on an online backup site.

    Never Testing Your Backups

    A backup of your website is a safety net that will catch you when the worst case scenario happens on your website. However, what good is a safety net if it has a hole in it? By testing your backed up files, you’ll learn whether your website backup plan is adequate to meet your needs in a website emergency situation. Make sure you have the files you need in a format that you can easily access and restore to your site.

    Your website has information that is far too valuable to leave your back up files in a state of uncertainty. If you don’t know about the security, scope, and viability of your website backups, it’s time to look into a reliable, automated WordPress back up option or to carefully test which back up plugin is right for you.

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  • Improving Performance of Your WordPress Site

    In today’s world, many people make use of WordPress for hosting a successful and useful site. However, depending on WordPress is just the beginning. You need to build a site that will actually work for readers or you will not keep those readers for very long. One of the mistakes that many people make is creating a site that has low or poor performance. This happens simply because they are making wrong choices when they build their site. Have you noticed that your own WordPress site seems to be slow to load, frustrating, and just plain hard to use? If so, then you need to go through a few steps to improve the performance of it.

    Limit the Plugins

    It may be your first reaction to choose a wide variety of plugins to a site simply because they can be useful, eye catching, and fun. However, as with anything else, too much of a good thing can be bad. When you use too many plugins, then you can actually slow your site down to the point that it can be slow loading and difficult to load. In order to improve the performance of your WordPress site, be sure that you are limiting your plugins on each of the pages. Some of the plugin options that can be major culprits in a slow site would include the following:

    • Heavy JavaScript features
    • Requiring HTML to resize images instead of resizing them by hand
    • Placing JavaScript in the site header

    Choose the Right Theme

    One of the best ways to build a WordPress site that is high performing, fast loading, and easy to use is to choose from Premium WordPress templates that are designed to be streamlined. These themes are designed specifically for both performance and attractiveness of the site. Choose a theme that will help you limit the chances for performance busting features from the very beginning.

    Use Google

    Google offers a content delivery network that can work with the JQuery library. This means that if users find your site through Google, their computer will most likely already have that JQuery information on their computer. This leads to a faster loading site. If you want your site to be high performance, then choose to use JQuery that comes from the Google content library.

    WordPress is a very handy tool for website creation when you use it wisely. By taking the right steps and avoiding the right things, then you will be able to build a site that is higher in performance.

    This article was provided by Olga Ionel, a writer at ThemeFuse.com, who is a leader in the Premium WordPress templates industry. Olga is fond of sharing SEO and blogging ideas.

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  • 7 Benefits of Blogging with WordPress

    One of the most popular blogging platforms out there is WordPress — and for good reason. WordPress offers a flexible platform that is easy to use. You can get started blogging with a few minutes, and be well on your way to blogging success.

    If you are trying to figure out which blogging platform is right for you, here are 7 benefits to blogging with WordPress:

    1. It’s Cost-Efficient

    One of the great things about WordPress is how cost-efficient it is. You can start blogging for free. WordPress is a free, open source platform that allows you to reach your audience free of charge. Additionally, there are paid upgrades that you can use to increase the attractiveness and customizability of your blog. However, even the paid features of WordPress are reasonably priced, meaning that you can get a high quality platform without paying a premium price.

    2. Integrate with Your Website

    WordPress is also easy to integrate with your website. WordPress is compatible with a number of control panels, and you can add a blog to almost any site with the help of WordPress. Blogging with WordPress is easy to start, and it’s easy to ensure that your blog is fully integrated with your brand and your website.

    [Continue Reading…]

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  • How to Monetize Your Blog Without Selling Your Soul

    Sellout….It is the ugliest word that’s routinely hurled at creative individuals of all types. This goes for writers, artists, musicians and anyone else who makes a living (in part or in whole) on the back of their creative endeavors.

    That being said, money and art have to mix at some point. You need your money to support your art, whatever it may be, and that is equally true for bloggers and other authors online.

    So how do you make money from your WordPress blog without selling your soul? There are many different ways you do that, but it’s important to find the right model that works for you, your niche and your site.

    1. Advertising and Sponsorships

    For many, advertising is a foul word. However, it doesn’t have to be if done well.  Advertising that isn’t intrusive and doesn’t get mixed in with the content can be a very simple and safe way to earn money from your site. However, this means keeping your ads away from your editorial content physically and figuratively, ensuring a total separation of the paid message from your creative one.

    This can be tricky if you find yourself writing about the companies that advertise on your site (it might be wise to favor sponsorships as you can control who advertises better), but with proper disclosure this doesn’t have to be a major problem.

    All in all, if you don’t intrude on your readers needlessly and don’t let your advertisers influence your work, you can host ads on your site without worrying sacrificing your integrity. [Continue Reading…]

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  • All Killer WordPress Websites are Built Around These Concepts

    I’ve been coding with WordPress for a long time now. All the way back to when there was a my-hacks.php file. Shortly thereafter WordPress introduced plugins and widgets. Over all these years I find myself going back to a few key WordPress concepts that make blogs really functional.

    1. Popularity of Posts – The plugin I use, and hack often, is Alex King’s popularity plugin. If you download it from wordpress.org, it works great, but if you really want to make some cool features, you are going to have to hack it.The popularity plugin displays the most popular posts based on time frame, or category in a list (<li>)by default. I’ve hacked it to get the the raw posts, so I can do my own formatting. You can see an example in my “hot list”.
    2. Related Content – Notice how I didn’t say related posts. Finding related content goes much deeper then posts or pages.Related content is a must to build loyal readers (repeat visitors). You have to guide your readers and help them find content THEY are interested in. Remember, most people will find your content from Google, so feed them some related content and grow your user base. Related posts are easy to get, you simple have to a fulltext index to your database. You can then match terms to keywords.
    3. Categories – WordPress is nothing more then a way to organize your content, hence the term CMS (Content Management System). 80% of my traffic from Google comes from a relation to WordPress categories. Either trying to display top level categories without children, or trying to build a top menu/submenu navigation menu.Working with categories in WordPress can be pretty frustrating. I wish there was better information. Luckily there are a lot of help from the WordPress Community.
    4. Images – Magazine themes are the most popular style of theme on the Internet. It’s all about the cool graphics and images to get reader to click on posts. Content sliders and featured content sections with large graphics can be a pain to manually update, which is why you need to learn how to manipulate the images from your posts.

    There you have it. If you want to be a WordPress hacker and make killer websites, you gotta have a good working knowledge of those four topics.  Thanks for reading my post, and as always, don’t be scared to ask me for help.

    This guest post was written by Matt Dunlap who blogs about website development.

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  • The Great WordPress Comment Debate

    Blogs are built around comments. It’s always fun and rewarding to see your blog have a lot of comments on it. Trouble is, comments attract spam and it’s not always easy to distinguish between legitimate comments and spam.

    Here’s a scenario: your post gets popular on Delicious. You get a ton of comments from “SEO BLOG TIPS”  saying “thanks for great post”. Comments like that add no value whatsoever to your blog post. Heck, they devalue it. So here’s the question: do you allow the comment or delete it?

    Personally, I consider comments like that spam, but on the other hand, it does get the comment count up. So there it is. A short post, but there’s a reason for it; it’s meant to spark debate, so go on. What would you do?

    (poll embedded)

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  • Reminder: Don’t Forget to Backup Your WordPress Database!

    This wasn’t going to be the subject for my post today, but a series of events have changed my mind. Here they are:

    Yesterday on my blog, WPShout I published ‘10 Awesome Things to Do With WordPress’ Custom Fields‘. This morning I awoke to find not a single comment on the post. I was disappointed as the post had taken ages, but I didn’t think much more of it. Until this evening. I wanted to email a friend a link to the post, so I loaded up WPShout, only to find the post wasn’t there! In the admin was only my draft from a couple of days ago. Odd, I thought. I copied and pasted the post from Google Reader and republished the post. And then I realized that a heck of a lot of comments I’d spent yesterday evening replying to had gone, and so had my replies. In other words, my database had reverted to a version a couple of days old. Why? I don’t know (if anyone does have any idea, could you drop me an email?!) at this point.

    Of course, at this point you’re (probably not) screaming at your monitor

    “just restore the backup you’ve got!… you, you do have a backup, right?!”

    Yes. Of course I did. Or so I thought. I’d set up the WordPress Database Backup plugin to email me a backup of the database every 24 hours, and that email automatically got archived. Which meant I didn’t see it hadn’t been sent for a couple of weeks because when moving domains I’d forgotten to reinstall the plugin. Which meant I didn’t have a backup.

    Where this post is going is simple – don’t be an idiot like me and only realize your backup doesn’t exist when you actually need it, spend five minutes now installing the plugin I mention above and set it up to email you every day. Just don’t archive the email automatically. WordPress Hacks Top Tip: don’t be an idiot….always have a backup.

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  • WordPress Personalities to Follow on Twitter

    Are you a Twitter user and WordPress fanatic?   Theme Playground recently published a great list of 50 WordPress peronsalities to follow on Twitter.   Their list includes developers, WordPress bloggers, etc.

    I was excited to see our friend Jean-Baptiste Jung make the list, showing he is finally getting the recognition his hard work deserves.   There are also a number of other people included in the list that are worth following, so Twitter users will want to make sure to check Theme Playground’s post.

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  • Feedburner Moving Feeds Over to Google.com

    A few months ago I switched my Feedburner account over to Google in order to try out their AdSense for feeds program (not on the WP Hacks feed, but only on a few sites I run that convert well with AdSense).  At the time, doing so was strictly voluntary.  According to a few reports I’ve been reading around the blogosphere the past couple days, it looks like everyone who hasn’t already moved their feeds to Google will be prompted to do so in the very near future.

    Is this a good thing?  I suppose there are some advantages to having your feeds on your Google account.   So far the only problem I’ve run into since making the switch to Google’s Feedburner is the Feedcount WordPress plugin I was using, which no longer works with the new setup.  I went in and hacked the plugin code a bit to try to get it work, but it still wasn’t working with the new setup.

    Anyone else having any problems since switching your Feedburner account to Google?

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