Anyone interested in doing a WordPress Meetup ‘t Gooi?

The previous two years, I’ve helped put together a WordPress meetup in Amersfoort. While this was fun to do, it didn’t really make sense, because I do not live in (or even really near) Amersfoort. As a result know very little about essential things like venues there. It looks like this year, local WordPress people will take over “their” meetup, and I’ve been thinking about setting up a brand new one in “my” 035 area of The Netherlands.

Ideally, I’d like to do something that’s a little more informal than the Amersfoort ones were, and probably also more frequent. If there’s anyone who’d like to help organize, speak at, or simply attend such a meetup, please let me know in the comments. Oh, and despite the little joke I pulled with the logo, I’m hoping to keep it as low-key and relaxed as possible. Suit and tie entirely optional, perhaps even frowned upon :).

Custom Post Features could make WordPress even more flexible

One of the biggest, and most useful additions to WordPress in recent years has been the introduction of Custom Post Types. Before CPTs, all the content in your site needed to either be in pages or in blog posts. If your site needed a lot of different types of data, you’d typically use categories (or even tags) to tell them apart. I’ve seen (and probably built) examples where “products” and “news” were post categories, and the site’s front-end would continuously filter out one of the two. In hindsight: madness.

Since the introduction of Custom Post Types, it makes sense to declare separate types for different types of data. When doing so, there’s a crucial argument (passed to the register_post_type function) called “supports”. This argument tells WordPress which post features should be available for the new post type. This allows you to mix and match various features. No need for an excerpt? Require a “featured image”? Need custom fields? No problem. But there’s a catch.
More Custom Post Features could make WordPress even more flexible

WordPress On Tour

WordPress has recently been described as “the dark matter of the web”. It’s absolutely everywhere. The WordPress ecosystem is probably bigger than Facebook. But at the same time, most of the WordPress people I know are “flying solo”. There are a lot of freelancers out there who work with a small team, or none at all.
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Using Cumulus? Please check your tagcloud.xml!

Because WP-Cumulus is open source software, the source files are available online. I didn’t package them with the regular plugin download, but you can download the Flash files from wordpress.org and my blog. Included in those downloads is a file called “tagcloud.xml”, which is mainly used to test the Flash movie locally, within Flash’s IDE. Unfortunately, that file sometimes ends up online. And, in most cases, it shouldn’t.
More Using Cumulus? Please check your tagcloud.xml!

Pics from the WordPress Meetup Amersfoort 2011

Last night’s WordPress meetup in Amersfoort was, at least as far as I’m concerned, a resounding success. Around 70 people attended, and we had a lot of interesting speakers. Most of the presentations were captured on video, and will be placed online later. For now, I’ve put the snapshots I managed to take on Flickr for you. Enjoy!

I’ve also created a Flickr pool for Dutch meetup images. Please feel free to add you pics there. I’m still pretty new to Flickr, but I think I allowed everyone to contribute…

WP Time Machine – free off-site backups for WordPress

A few days ago, @bakkel tweeted about WP Time Machine. This WordPress backup solution turned out to be exactly what I’d been looking for. It gathers all the relevant bits (like your blog’s database, uploaded images, etc) and uploads them to Dropbox, Amazon’s S3 or FTP. It even adds a file with comprehensive restore instructions. I’ve argued before that backups need to be absolutely painless, and with this plugin they are.
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Don’t use BlogPress SEO. Ever.

I don’t make a habit out of “reblogging” or linkdumping, but since a lot of WordPress people seem to be finding their way to my blog, I wanted to write about this. I got an email regarding a new WordPress plugin called BlogPress SEO this morning. Normally, I would have considered reviewing it, but fortunately I’d already read Joost de Valk’s review-of-sorts. And so should you. BlogPress SEO is spam. It’s a link farm, and goes against every rule Google and other search engines have about linking. Read all about it on yoast.com.

WordPress meetup Amersfoort

The great thing about WordPress is that there’s a huge, active and helpful community of users and developers. There have been WordCamps organized all of the world, as well as many smaller meetups. Last week, Kaj Rietberg and I put together just such a meetup in the Dutch city of Amersfoort.

The event was sponsored by open source development company 4WORX and hosted at the neighboring Dara restaurant (recommended!). Kaj and I were happy to welcome around 25 WordPress enthusiasts, a couple of whom had been tricked beforehand into preparing presentations. Kaj has written a more detailed account over at the WordCampNL website (in Dutch) which includes the slides from two speakers.
More WordPress meetup Amersfoort

Why do I still not love GDGT?

GDGT logoWhen I first heard about gdgt.com, I thought the startup founded by Peter Rojas and Ryan Block was terribly clever, and right up my alley. The idea of having gadget freaks keep “had”, “have” and “want” lists makes sense both from a user’s perspective and from an advertiser’s. When the website opened to the public I was quick to register and started adding things to my lists. Some stuff that wasn’t in there yet. It was amazing to see how much stuff was entered by users.

But I don’t buy a new gadget every day, so keeping the lists up-to-date doesn’t require me to visit GDGT daily. Considering how Rojas and Block were also involved in Engadget and Gizmodo, I was hoping their new effort would replace both those blogs and become a one-stop shop for technology enthusiasts. So far, at least for me, it hasn’t.
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Experimenting with advertising

This blog isn’t about making money. I have no problogger ambitions, and I don’t really like ads on blogs. But what I do find interesting is how ad networks work, what their benefits are, and which work best for a blog like mine. That’s why I’ve added a few AdSense units, and signed up with BuySellAds. Adsense has paid for the hosting of the movie review blog I run with a bunch of other people since day one, but I never really experimented with placement and such because the layout on that site is far from optimized for ads.
More Experimenting with advertising