Categories are themes and tags are topics: WordPress users

Word cloud of terms used on this site, as of March 1, 2013, using
Word cloud of terms used on this site, as of March 1, 2013, using

WordPress, among the most popular web content management systems in the world, offers users an out-of-the-box solution to organize content in two ways: tags and categories. To better understand those words, I’ve taken to referring to tags as the topics of the site and calling categories the themes of the site.

Continue reading Categories are themes and tags are topics: WordPress users

How to migrate a blog to your own WordPress hosting

I’ve done this enough times to figure out how to do it without screwing everything up.

Suppose you start a project on a free, and, as it grows, you want to move it to a self-hosted platform version of WordPress, like I did with this site and NEast Philly and my thesis and others.

So, in case you need to do the same, here are the steps:

    1. From the Tools option in the sidebar, choose to Export.
    2. Download the XML Export file, being mindful that all fields in the drop down menus are chosen, so you are downloading everything.
    3. Open in Wordpad and change your file extensions with a Search and Replace. i.e. So, in the XML file from my thesis site, I replaced ‘’ with ‘’, meaning that the links would then associate
    4. *Make sure permalinks are the same from your to your new site.
    5. From the Tools option in your new self-hosted WordPress platform, choose to Import.
    6. Browse and choose to Upload the XML file that you downloaded from your and then edited in Wordpad.
    7. **Easy-to-miss step** Upon selecting your XML file, under ‘Import Attachments’ be certain to check off the box next to ‘Download and import file attachments’ so that your photos and other uploaded media will be transferred to this new database. (I’ve missed this step before to much frustration).
    8. Delete the old jawn — Take down the old or, if you want to transition some search engine love, you can block the from being picked up by search engines but keep it alive for old links with a post pushing to the new site and eventually delete.

      Cobblestone: a WordPress-plugin and local Crunchbase Knight application

      From Flickr user IceNineJon

      Image of Old City Philadelphia cobblestone courtesy of Flickr user IceNineJon.

      In the future, this project leads to:

      • Open source platform for other regionally-grouped niche sites to come together.
      • Community-edited profiles of local focus and meaning (i.e. city government lobbyists, community associations presidents and other leaders who might otherwise remain anonymous)
      • A cross-platform tool that can go beyond WordPress and work with meta data from other CMS.
      • Membership model based on support of an entire local news collaborative network.
      • Ad network integration, further connecting disparate niche sites
      • This will connect and encourage collaboration between other and future content providers in Philadelphia.

      Niche news sites need to be brought together to strengthen the future of journalism.

      Last year, we at Technically Philly started that hunt with a Knight News Challenge application for News Inkubator, a business services hub and incubation space for independent news startups. We didn’t make the cut, but we have taken to bootstrapping the concept by starting with an advertising network.

      Today is the 2010 Knight News Challenge grant deadline, and we’ve continued that focus.

      We took time to learn that our News Inkubator proposal was too broad and focused on trying to find smaller, more actionable steps, particularly ones that could work with other larger investment.

      In doing so, we’re introducing Cobblestone, a proposed tagging WordPress plugin that will feed a searchable, dynamically updated, mobile-friendly directory platform homepage with content from various partners.

      See our Knight application here.

      Though we think it has real monetary value — considering it is based on a Technically Philly directory aimed at a membership model — this is a decidedly more editorial-first focus. Get the niche sites together, and we can build revenue together.

      Perhaps the first question we expect to be asked: why is this different than Google alerts and RSS feeds?

      Cobblestone gives tag-specific and cross-partner content some place to live. Once the alerts of Bill Green or the feeds from each of the partner sites pass in time, they are lost. This creates a true homepage.

      Below, see our application, which you can also see here:

      Continue reading Cobblestone: a WordPress-plugin and local Crunchbase Knight application

      Technically Philly directory launches, more updates to come

      Today, Technically Philly has announced its directory.

      Directories are normally pretty boring. We think ours won’t be.

      It’s certainly a small step, but, leveraging WordPress custom taxonomies with some incredible thinking power of Sean Blanda and plenty of sweat equity from myself and Brian James Kirk, we have launched pages for the nearly 1,000 companies and almost as many individuals we’ve covered at Technically Philly in the past two years.

      Continue reading Technically Philly directory launches, more updates to come

      What I learned from working with the Frankford High School journalism club

      I spent portions of a couple school years while at college helping get a newspaper underway at the Franklin Learning Center, a strong, diverse magnet school in the Spring Garden neighborhood of Philadelphia.

      So, I was excited to take some time away from my freelancing work once a week to work with the journalism club at Frankford High School. It was a short walk, and I could just fill in the time lost at night.

      I was suddenly the professional journalist half of a Prime Movers program that formerly had me as the student journalist.

      I made it a half dozen Thursday after-school meetings, enough to meet the core group of seven or so students and help them launch a WordPress blog for their content, but some rather large, fairly unexpected changes have happened.

      I bought a house in a neighborhood that made the trip a 15-minute El ride (and added some responsibility) and, as a larger conflict, I then accepted a full-time job.

      So, now I’m reaching out to a host of colleagues to fill as many of the coming weeks with insightful professional journalists (if you’re in Philly and are interested, contact me). Still, though I’ve worked with high school journalism clubs before and only worked with the Pioneer Times of FHS for a couple months, I certainly learned a thing or too — in addition to, I hope, teaching some of those kids something.

      Continue reading What I learned from working with the Frankford High School journalism club

      WordPress themes I’ve seen used well

      There are oodles of WordPress themes, and I’ve gotten the chance to play with the backend of more than a few.

      While I wouldn’t want anyone to go and brand on the same theme, I do like the idea of showing folks how top flight products can take hold on little more than a template. Below, I share a handful of WordPress themes I’ve seen used and used well.

      Take it as motivation to find your own. Let me know some others you dig, by sharing in the comments. I won’t use yours, if you don’t use mine!

      Continue reading WordPress themes I’ve seen used well

      Traffic plunges from site to my self-hosted version


      One of the very obvious and very frustrating results of transitioning from my hosted professional site to this beauty is the loss of all that Google juice.

      While it is certainly nothing for the record books, the old version of this site was very steadily growing its traffic, at a healthy 7,259 page views in May (as seen above), the last full month I operated that version.

      Once I directed my domain to my own servers, the archives that I migrated from my old version to here are without any links. Instead, their cousins continue to have the priority in search engines and in incoming links (which, because I didn’t use domain mapping, almost surely directed to, instead of just

      Continue reading Traffic plunges from site to my self-hosted version

      Are WordPress, Blogger the next Angelfire and Geocities?

      In the late 1990s, a host of Web sites democratized the Internet, giving the average Internet-user the chance to have his own online home.

      In 2003, MySpace used the model and brought in a new age of social networking.

      Last week I posted that MySpace is on the way out, and briefly mentioned that WordPress and Blogger are taking over the role of providing free, easy-to-manipulate Web presences.

      Does that make them the next Angelfire or Geocities? Are they just another trend ready to be overcome?