The Power of Blogging and What I Hope To Learn In Vegas

What do television and blogs have in common?

Every year that goes by, that question becomes easier to answer. I have been making an annual pilgrimage to the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas, Nevada for the last four years and every time I attend it seems there are more and more seminars devoted to the world of blogging, RSS feeds, social networking, Tweeting, podcasting, vodcasting and how to monetize them all.

This year, in fact, they have an entire seminar track called “New Media 2.0: Using Social Media and Podcasting to Reach New Audiences” with top speakers and experts from around the world speaking to a crowd that has historically been interested in the future of television and radio broadcasting.  There is even a seminar about now if but when Web TV will kill conventional television broadcasting for good.

Blogging is a powerful tool that anyone can use, and WordPress is king among the blogging solutions out there. I have used WordPress to create everything from a music review website with a streaming jukebox player (MusicZeitgeist.com) to a food recipe site (TasteOdyssey.com) to a podcasting site (KeramCast.com) that lets me broadcast my own radio show via iTunes (using the BluBrry’s excellent Powerpress podcasting plugin).  Episode fourteen of my podcast is all about blogging, monetization, Twitter and some of the best people to learn from in the world of blogging and SEO.

Newcomers to the world of blogging often mistake it for a new kind of LiveJournal or MySpace blog wherein one chronicles one’s daily life. But a Blog is a lot more than that. It is a complete content management system and a self-publishing platform, the same kind used by everyone from CNN to Perez Hilton.

Writing a blog is like being the editor of a magazine, even down to understanding your demographic, your traffic metrics, your primary subject focus, and even attracting advertising dollars. Army of the Dead psp

As you explore the world of WordPress and what it can do, you should always be thinking of your audience – who are they, why are they interested, how do they navigate your site, who may be willing to pay you for attracting those same viewers to their product?

Also, pay attention to this post – it may seem like a lot of self-promotion, but it is, in fact, a demonstration of linkbacks/trackbacks and cross-linking – a practice you must learn to use within your own posts; linking to articles that you have written for your blog within your new blog posts makes search engines hungrier for your site – they like to see correlations and cross-pollination.

I will be attending this year’s NAB show

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as a media correspondent based on the strength of my blogs alone. Think of that – in nine months, I went from knowing what most beginners do, to getting a media badge to one of the top 50 largest media conferences in the US. That is the power of a blog. I look forward to reporting back what I find. If you are interested in a play by play, you might consider following my Tweets from the show – you can find me on Twitter @ConstantChange.

About the Author:
Keram is a new media consultant, music producer, actor and writer who opines on SEO at blogging-fool.com Light in the Piazza buy and society at theculturepin.com. Listen to Keram’s podcast at Keramcast.com

WordPress As A Video Site – Themes and Plugins

WordPress vs. Joomla as a CMS

WordPress is deeply customizable and has evolved into a full content management system or “CMS” for many publishers, but it still isn’t the best choice for video sites – that crown is still held by Joomla, likely because it approaches the content not as a blog but as a way for navigating through a lot of content pulled from a database. Although this is essentially what WordPress does – WP still thinks like a blog – that is to say, it is hungry for updates so that it can post them on its front page, and have those updates commented upon by readers who subscribe to its RSS feed.

Joomla, on the other hand struggles as a blogging platform and instead excels at cataloging your content much like a library catalogs and displays book, allowing that content to be voted upon and rated, building communities and so on. They are both capable of much the same things, but they come at it in very different ways.  furthermore, someone with knowledge about installing and running a WordPress site does not necessarily share the tools for installing and running a Joomla CMS.  Again: they are two different animals.

As WordPress slowly saturates the market as a full-blown CMS, we are on the lookout for ways in which people are solving both community building (in the sense that its readers can maintain profiles that go beyond a comment history) and as a multimedia platform.

While most successful port of the YouTube idea to WP are expensive custom jobs, there are a couple of solutions emerging for the rest of us worth a look.

Video Themes and Solutions for WordPress

First is WordPress Video Theme – a design that does a very simple thing: it integrates the ability to embed video right in to your template’s back end. The upside is you need to know nothing about coding or even third-party plugins to use it. The downside is that because it is expressly designed to display videos in its posts (to retain the integrity of its overall formatting) you must link a video in every post or you will be stuck with a big empty white space before your text appears. It also affords you the ability to switch between seven different color palettes on the fly.

22-year old designer Malan Joubert has been more than generous in giving this one away.

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It is not an ideal solution, but it works, and its free and at the very least you can get a chance to tinker around with a solution to this problem.

Wordpress Video Theme

A free WordPress Video Theme by Malan Joubert

Next is an excellent video theme from the good people at Woo Themes called, appropriately WooTube. This premium theme automatically resizes videos on your site for a clean consistent look and even has the WPPost-Ratings plugin built in so readers can vote on their favorite videos. The difference between WooTube’s integration of the rating system and doing it yourself without any knowledge of CSS is WooTube makes it look good. It also features a customized sidebar for displaying past videos without any need for installing third party plugins.

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WooTube - a premium video theme from WooThemes.com

WooTube - a premium video theme from WooThemes.com

WooTube can be purchased in one of two ways: as a single license (meaning you have permission to use it on one site) for $70 and multi-sites for $150, or as part of a Woo Themes club membership. Visit the site for details.

A last thing to look at is Viper’s Video Quicktags


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– not a theme, but a plugin that allows you to embed videos from a wide variety of sites including YouTube, MySpace, Metacafe, Vimeo, Dailymotion and others, customize the appearnce of the video player and define other behaviors.

Once installed the plugin option appear within the WYSIWYG of your post editor. It doesn’t break your theme in any way, (I have tested it with over 25 different themes) and get you into the world of video broadcasting from your Worpdress blog. What it doesn’t do, that a good theme does, is display past videos, who watched them, how much they were liked and so on. These are the keys to making a successful video site, and WordPress isn’t quite there yet.

Here is a list of many other video plugins for WordPress worth taking a look at; as always, try some out and see what works best for you.

While there are dozens of amazing highly customized themes for multimedia by frighteningly talented designers out there, most of them aren’t available to the common blogger without a budget.  The resources above, however, should get you on your way.

About the Author:
Keram is a new media consultant, music producer, actor and writer who opines on SEO at blogging-fool.com and society at theculturepin.com. Listen to his podcast at KeramCast.com

5 Websites Using WordPress As A CMS

WordPress is extremely powerful and can be made to do anything with the right resources. It’s so much more than a blogging platform. That is by far the most exciting aspect of the platform. The WordPress backend is so powerful that it can drive huge websites with thousands of pages of content without even blinking an eye.

To give you an idea what is possible with using WordPress as a full fledged Content Management System, here are some examples of mainstream websites using WorPpress as a CMS.

Martha Stewart

martha

Yes, domestic Goddess Martha Stewart has a blog and it’s running on WordPress. It’s a sharp design built well to integrate into the content filled MarthaStewart.com. Good job Martha. You know how to entertain bloggers properly.

MarthaStewartBlog

10 Downing Street

10downingstreet

This is a fantastic implementation of WordPress on a big scale. The site uses WordPress as a great way to show off content easily. They’ve also implemented various social networking websites very well. I love the simplicity of this website, a site that one would expect to be huge and elaborate.

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Mental Floss

mentalfloss

Mental Floss is a fantastic print magazine and they also put out a ton of great stuff on their website, which is entirely run on WordPress. They’ve obviously done quite a bit of customization but the result is an impressive amount of content managed in a useful and efficient manner.

Mental Floss Magazine

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dps

DPS started out as a blog but it has turned into so much more. It’s a full fledged community driven by WordPress. The theme is heavily customized along with the backend, but the imprint of WordPress is unmistakable. They’ve managed to take one giant blog and split it into 3 blogs, all using the same installation of WordPress. A beautiful design well implemented and thought out.

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Boy’s Life Magazine

boyslife

Boy’s Life was one of my favorite magazines as a kid and it’s great to see that they’ve embraced WordPress in such an excellent way. Their design is unique and they’ve managed to present lots of content in a useful way. There’s a lot of great stuff on this site and they’ve managed to implement it well. Very cool.

Boys’ Life

Many Others…


Besides these sites, there are many others out there that are also utilizing WordPress as a CMS. As time moves on, I suspect than more and more websites will start using WordPress. Mainly because it is free and very easy to use on the backend. Plus plugins and themes make it really easy to customize to your needs, regardless if you are using it for a blog or website.

What’s your favorite use of WordPress as a CMS?

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