WordPress.com User Wanting to Try WordPress 3.0?

WordPress 3.0 features are appearing here at WordPress.com (yes, chaningway.org does live at WordPress.com). So are the posts in my series on 3.0, such as:

If you’d like to try out 3.0 itself without having to find hosting and install it yourself, there are a few spaces at WanderNote, a little WordPress site I run. You can head on over there to read about WanderNote and/or to sign up. You might be particularly interested if you use Evernote (3 million people do), or are considering doing so.

Collecta Search Widget

Real-time, along with mobile and a few other usual suspects, made many lists of things the web will be in 2010. It just became easier to put real-time search on your website, thanks to a new widget from Collecta. As ReadWriteJolie observed:

Widgets can be created around any search terms imaginable and customized in a number of ways. Results are automatically refreshed… and include results from blogs, microblogs, news feeds and photo sharing services.

This post doesn’t include an example of a Collecta widget, because the widget uses iframe, which isn’t allowed at WordPress.com. Collecta is not among the shortcodes available (at least, not among those documented). I can, however, link you to the relevant post at the Collecta blog (also hosted at WordPress.com).

I do provide an example of a Collecta widget over at WanderNote. That widget gives search results for Evernote, since WanderNote offers to turn Evernote notes into WordPress posts (and to do so free of charge, by the way).

Thinking of Self-Hosting

WordPress.com has hosted Changing Way for almost three years now. I’m thinking of moving it to a different host, although sticking with WordPress. It would then go back to being a WordPress.org blog, that is, a blog running the free software that can be downloaded from the .org site. That’s not because I have complaints about WordPress.com.

I agree with timethief that due to WordPress.com’s free and premium features, wordpress.com is not only a great place to start blogging, but may even be your last stop. I agree with the rest of her recent post on making the move to self-hosting: the official account of the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is very good; most people make the move to .org intending to make money from their blog.

My thought of moving is financial in a couple of ways. First, it’s almost time to pay for another year of my premium features (mapping the domain changingway.org to this blog, and CSS). Second, I’m paying for hosting and am running some WordPress blogs at WanderNote.com, so I could host this one there at no extra cost. But I don’t see Changing Way as a moneymaker.

But the two scissor-blades that might cut Changing Way loose from WordPress.com and send it to WordPress.org (and to WanderNote) are… WordPress.com and WordPress.org. There are some WordPress.com restrictions that I find irritating, even though I can understand why they are in place: no plugins, limited selection of themes, no MP3 files (yes, I could get another premium features, yes MP3s can live elsewhere and still be played, but…) and son on.

From the other side, WordPress.org became rather easier to administer with the release of version 2.7 just over a year ago. Upgrading to a new version since then requires just a single click from the WordPress admin interface, rather than leaving WordPress to move files around. Finding and installing plugins became similarly straightforward, and simpler management of themes followed in 2.8.

I have a few qualms about moving. For example, the WordPress.com shortcodes aren’t part of base WordPress.org. But I don’t see any of them as a showstopper.

More on this soon…

Choosing an Analytics Plugin

I’ve been looking for plugins for the WordPress blogs at the new and exciting WanderNote site. In particular, I’ve been looking at analytics/statistics plugins. One such is WordPress.com Stats, a plugin that essentially provides a self-hosted blog with the stats and reports available at WordPress.com.

I’m familiar with those stats, because I have this and other blogs at WordPress.com. But I wanted to try something different and maybe get to know Google Analytics. Searching the plugin directory at WordPress.org for analytics yielded 150 results: there’s no shortage of plugins these days.

The two big analytics plugins, in terms of downloads from the directory, are Google Analyticator and Google Analytics for WordPress. Each has over 700,000 downloads, and each was updated within the last month or two. Those statistics are I believe more telling than the average rating, provided the average is 4/5 or more, and indeed the rating is right around that mark for each plugin.

So I installed each of the two in a different WanderNote blog, in order to see some differences. There were mainly similarities: set up a profile in Google Analytics, tell the plugin about that profile, wonder why things don’t seem to be working, realize that it takes hours for Analytics to get going…

A difference showed up right away on the blog dashboards. Analyticator added an analytics summary which, by the way, started showing visits before the Google Analytics site itself. Analytics for WordPress added the latest news from Yoast: the feed from the plugin developer’s blog. Score one – probably the decisive one – for Analyticator, and for its developer, Ronald Heft.

WanderNote Launches, Seeks Pioneers

Once I found Evernote on my Android to be an excellent notebook, I started thinking about publishing some of the notes and snapshots I take with it. Publishing made me think of WordPress.

WanderNote is a web service for publishing… you guessed it, content from Evernote. Here’s my WanderNote blog. And here’s the main WanderNote About page, with content also provided by me.

Some of that content is an invitation to contact me about becoming one of the elite band of WanderNote Pioneers. Take a look, have a think, let me know if you want to get in to this early beta.