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Working With WordPress

Working With WordPress

January 15, 2009
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" Working with WordPress can be as easy or as complicated as you want to make it "

For "newbies" and would-be operators, part of the barrier to entry into the online adult entertainment industry is the level of technical sophistication that is required in order to be even remotely competitive in today's marketplace — where the surfer has come to expect a high-level of "Web 2.0"-style interactivity and more. Indeed, the demands that the current generation of surfers is placing on their choice of online entertainment and informational experience destinations are difficult to satisfy even for experienced website owners and their internal IT departments, regardless of size.

Fortunately, many operators have discovered a free tool that enables them to quickly and easily establish a scalable and search engine-friendly web presence. That tool is WordPress (wordpress.org), an extremely popular OpenSource blogging application released under the GNU General Public License and a piece of software that is seeing increasing use as a content management system for adult applications.

According to its website, "WordPress is a state-of-the-art publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability. WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time… More simply, WordPress is what you use when you want to work with your blogging software, not fight it."

That pretty much sums it up, but at the same time, just barely scratches the surface of it: Far from simply being a blogging platform, WordPress is a personal publishing system that is used to power everything from review sites to pay sites, TGPs to tube sites and more. It can even generate a version of your website, optimized for display on an iPhone or other mobile device.

Now in version 2.6 at the time of this writing, WordPress is based on PHP and MySQL, making it extremely flexible, customizable and instantly familiar in its architecture and operation for many adult webmasters who already use a variety of scripts powered by these technologies to drive their websites.

In development since 2001 when it was known as b2/cafelog, WordPress is promoted as a mature and stable product, focused on generating websites that offer a high-quality user experience while maintaining current web standards. It is supported by a large and active user base, which includes countless third-party plugin, add-on and design companies.

There is even a dedicated event circuit devoted to the product, known as WordCamp, which brings together the whole spectrum of users, from the most causal blogger to the hardcore developer, at more than a dozen locations throughout the world.

The famous WordPress "five-minute install" process results in a fully W3C XHTML 1.0 Transitional standards-compliant website that provides a variety of content feeds in RSS, Atom and other formats — all right out of the box. This gives webmasters of all levels a real advantage when it comes to developing a robust platform for their sites. Of course, those webmasters who are interested in maintaining their sites' standards compliance will need to test it themselves and edit code snippets as needed, because many add-ons, themes and other third-party extras are not compliant and will cause the site to fail a compliance test.

The popularity of WordPress extends far beyond the ease of its setup and configuration or its ability to make working with feeds easy. For example, it is capable of generating more search-engine-friendly pages than many other such scripts, and there are even enhanced SEO add-ons that promise to boost users to the top of the search rankings.

Content is organized into categories, pages and posts with archiving and search features, as well as inter-page navigational links, added automatically. Permalinks allow users to specify the website's URL format; which is handy for being able to track your content for 2257 record-keeping purposes and for developing a more SEO-friendly architecture.

WordPress-powered websites are easily customizable through the use of "themes" — grouped sets of template and image files — along with cascading style sheets and any required includes, external JavaScript or other files. These themes are accessed, selected and editable through the admin control panel.

A theme switcher can be used to allow individual website visitors to choose the look and feel of the website with which they are most comfortable. Those changes can be as simple as an increased font size for easier reading or as sophisticated as a completely different presentation with new colors, fonts, graphics and other features. While this can be accomplished with any website that relies on CSS for defining how it is displayed, WordPress makes it easy enough for anyone to do.

Many users rely on the default template, a modified version of it, or one of the hundreds of free and commercial themes readily available for the platform. However, WordPress really shines in its straightforward customization features and extensive documentation, which make modification of the PHP code as easy as copy and paste.

Different content categories can have their own pages, while the use of PHP conditional statements provides for a level of customization that rivals hand-coding — without all the fuss and complexity. Users have the ability to modify features, such as adding a code snippet that checks to see which page is being displayed and altering its content accordingly, displaying a different header graphic for that particular page or modifying the number or appearance of that page's listed posts, for example — as well as the ability to insert rich-HTML and CSS into individual posts.

WordPress-powered sites are controlled through a series of admin pages known as the dashboard. The dashboard is broken up into sections that control the site's writing, management, design and comment-display options. The main admin page also features panels devoted to recent visitor comment moderation, incoming-link notifications, the latest news from the WordPress development blog and a list of the newest, most popular and most recently updated plugins, such as the plugin that creates a Google sitemaps-compliant XML sitemap of the WordPress site. Other news, including new theme releases and helpful hints, also appears on the dashboard.

One of the software's best features is its frequent updates that address user requests and security enhancements, with a notification of important updates within the dashboard and a painless upgrade process. This is vital, as it allows users to maintain as secure a web presence as possible (even Google has gotten into WP vulnerability monitoring), posting threat notifications in its webmaster's area.

While I really appreciate WordPress from the perspective of a solo girl looking to run her own website with the same ease and comfortable user experience as posting on Facebook, other types of adult website operators will also benefit. For example, affiliate program DatingGold offers a WordPress theme that allows affiliates to build an AmateurMatch dating portal with, literally, the push of a button. Other adult themes, add-ons and plugins are also available for extending the software and will be the subject of a future article.

Working with WordPress can be as easy or as complicated as you want to make it, depending upon your individual needs and the results you demand. However, for a wide range of website operators, no other publishing platform will provide as much real power and overall performance with as little experience, effort and expense as will WordPress.

Give it a try and see for yourself — you only have five minutes to lose!


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