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4 Hidden Costs of WordPress Sites

April 15, 2008

WordPress
I’ve written before about WordPress and similar “baby CMS” products being great alternatives for small business web sites.

They can be configured to have the same look and feel as the typical “static” small business site, with the following added advantages:

  • Old pages can be updated and new pages can be added without having to have in-house web design skills, or hire a developer to make minor changes.
  • The “blogging” side of the system can be configured as a press release section, article library or other form of regularly added content, encouraging visitor retention, re-visitation and added search engine traffic.
  • Proper theme development and plug-in use can offer substantial search engine optimization with little or no manual intervention.

As a result, many small business owners have turned to having sites developed (or redeveloped) either partially or completely within WordPress. Unfortunately, they often overlook some of the hidden on-going costs of such sites:
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Woopra – Live Analytics for your Web Site

March 30, 2008

Woopra Dashboard
At WordCamp Dallas yesterday, John Pozadzides (of One Man’s Blog) gave us a sneak peak at Woopra — the hottest Web Analytics tool I’ve seen in a very long time.
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WordPress (commentary) another step backwards

November 28, 2005

Wow, this is fun… Over on “Geek News Central” they credit this little jewel from Dave (“not invented here”) Winer as justification for why all WordPress sites look the same:

“I noticed that WordPress doesn’t even give the user a way to edit their site template. This is a major step backward. Both Manila and Blogger gave this power to users, in 1999! Hello. Earth to developers. You’re not supposed to take features out.”

Ummm…

Did either of you ever look under the “Presentation | Theme Editor” tab?

This has been there for awhile — despite the fact that editing templates in on-page editors is about as painful as it gets, and most of us use real code editors to edit our templates.

Unless, of course, they’re both talking about wordpress.com, which (just out of beta) doesn’t allow template editing yet — in which case they’re just confused, instead of totally mistaken.

WordPress.com aside, I’m getting to the point where I rather like the WordPress templating system. I’d certainly rather use it than either Movable Type or (shudder) Expression Engine’s templating system.

Then again, I’d also rather be dragged through carpet tacks and dipped in rubbing alcohol than use either of those, most days.

WordPress move update

June 25, 2005

Well, it’s been a long day of steady improvements, mostly behind the scenes. Redirects from old urls are now being done with regular expressions, due to the umm.. whimsical way EE would set up pages with about 50 urls that could possibly reach the same page… Most of them could be rewritten to the new (and much simplified) url scheme, but some I just had to let go (mostly links that used trackback ids, for some unknown reason.)
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Freeware author makes bad decision, gets flayed in absentia

March 31, 2005

I’m sorry, I’ve tried real hard not to comment on this, but it just isn’t working out.

Apparently Matt Mullenweg, the principle author of WordPress, has gotten “caught” taking advantage of wordpress.org’s impressive googlejuice (a pagerank of 8) by placing 120,000 articles or so under the site targetting high value phrases and running contextual advertising. 

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WordPress 1.5 – Better for Business Blogs?

February 20, 2005

The 1.5 version of WordPress is here!  And, well…  …here.  I’ve just finished upgrading this site from WordPress 1.22 to 1.5 — and I’m quite impressed. 
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Weblog Services

February 11, 2005

There are a lot of good reasons to include a weblog into your business site.  Many of these advantages go out the window if you use a weblog service instead of making it an integral part of your site.  Nevertheless, many people use them.  If you’re considering doing so, here are the leading candidates.

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Weblog Software Choices

February 11, 2005

What software should you use to add a blog to your business web site?  Here are the top choices, along with some considerations regarding each.
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No Comments for You

January 4, 2005

I hate comment spam as much as the next person (which is why you have to type in those annoying captcha things when leaving a comment), and so I was thrilled to find a Spam Assassin plugin for WordPress (which I run on several sites, just not this one).

Until I got to the bottom of the post.  They check the various blackhole lists, and since I’m on Comcast (my desktop, not my site), my current dynamic IP address is listed.  No big surprise—Comcast doesn’t block port 25 (at least not in all areas), and as a result, a lot of e-mail spammers live there.  Going through the lookup, the blackhole list collected some e-mail spam from this IP address in June (when I had a completely different IP address, that being what “dynamic” means.)

So I’m not allowed to comment on the post.  Not that I really wanted to, mind you, until I saw that, but still.  Won’t I be thrilled to see this plugin become widespread?

The post also contained this little note:

Comcast is spammer friendly. 45% of last weekend’s comment spam came from the Comcast network. If you’re a Comcast customer, put pressure on them to clean up their act, or find a new ISP if they won’t. Businesses which turn a blind eye to spammers don’t deserve your money.

Which is easy enough to say, of course.  I live about 23,000 feet from the local telco CO, which means my choices for internet access are Comcast, or dialup.  Comcast may not deserve my money, but unless I move, they’ve got an impressively tight grasp on my cajones.  Complaining to them about a loose connector on the phone pole that put me offline last summer took 10 days to get fixed, so I’m sure a complaint to them about their comment spam policies would get a real impressive amount of their attention also.

Interesting that this mentions 45% of comment spam coming from Comcast, a number I hadn’t heard before.  I know Comcast is a great source of e-mail spam (since I get a staggeringly high amount of e-mail spam), something they could largely solve by blocking port 25, as many or most ISPs do these days. 

I’m not sure just how they’re supposed to solve comment spam, however, other than deal with it on a reported case basis—which I’m sure they’d probably be lousy at, but I’ve not heard of any organized approaches to reporting comment spam anyway, at least not nearly like there is for e-mail spam.  It’s not like most of their customers would put up with them blocking port 80 (ie: all web traffic).

I’m sorry, I’m as hard put to deal with comment spam as the next guy (I don’t like cleaning up 7,000 comments about “online poker” any more than anyone else does), but an approach that a) automates out people on dynamic addresses from substantially large ISPs while b) not providing an alternative for people snagged by the automation (force them to enter a captcha, moderate them, etc.) seems to me to be a tad bit over-dependent on the reliability of the mechanism.

(Track’d back to the source post, which also bounced.  I guess he doesn’t like my horse, either)

Movable Type and ColdFusion

August 28, 2004

logging in from the “I’m totally swamped with work” port—apologies for light blogging recently)

Awhile back, without any real ceremony, I switched this site off of Movable Type, which it had run on for a year and a half or so.

While I did this in the midst of “the great 3.0 pricing controversy”, I didn’t really do so because of the price; rather, the “tempest in a teapot” gave some recently matured alternatives a chance to shine, and I went shopping for a replacement.

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