We’re seeing signs of serious traction for WordPress. According to Quantcast (a website popularity tracking service), WordPress.com and it’s family of websites under the Automattic umbrella have reached 500 unique visitors per month.
Yikes! That’s in the realm of Google, Yahoo, and MSN. But the overhead at Automattic is a fraction of the other companies with only ~75 employees versus the other mega corporations numbering in the tens of thousand. Goliaths meet our David.
We can’t help trying to corollate this spike with Microsoft recently switching their personal blogging users over to WordPress in late November. If you look on the graph above, Automattic’s traffic doubled in November/December. Coincidence? Probably not.
For the infrastructure geeks, we were blown away that Microsoft would convert those blogging users over to WordPress which usually runs on the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) system which is one their biggest threats in terms of server technology.
This ranking would not include self hosted WordPress.org web sites.
See it: Quantcast
I bought Mars Edit 3 a few weeks ago and wrote a quick review on my other site. So time for an update! Here are some things that I really think make it an indispensible tool.
My favorite is that it’s easy to use to cross post from one blog to another. Simply open an existing post to edit, then from the drop-down menu select a new blog site and click on publish. You will loose the existing categories and need to re-define them (understandable) but the tags will stay in-tact.
How have I tested this? I’ve used it to cross post items from one my main WPVerse site to this WordPress.com blog. So I can also say Mars Edit works well so far with a WordPress.com hosted site.
I also realize this maybe a good offline back up tool for your content especially if you increase the number of posts for it to sync.
So four things that I wish it would have are…
I wish Mars Edit had the ability to schedule posts to publish on a future date.
Secondly, it’d be nice to be able to set line spacing aka leading in the editor. The default font is a bit too small for me but it can increased but I don’t see a way to increase the leading.
Thirdly, I wish the keyboard shortcut to define a link was not so complicated, a simple apple + l (for link) would be nice. And why not also allow a right click to assign a link?
And one last feature wish would be for a way to change the author attribution when editing a post.
Other than these relatively minor issues, I readily recommend Mars Edit for writing if you’re on the Mac.
Get it: Mars Edit 3
When you’re building a site, make sure you check out your web site in multiple web browsers other than the one browser you use every day.
The ones you want to pay attention to are: Firefox, Internet Explorer versions 7 to 10, as well as Chrome, Safari, and Opera.
If you’re on a Mac, unless you have a virtual Windows installation, then IE is not available. So a great way to QA your site is with Adobe’s Browser Labs web app that will let you see how different web browsers render your site. They also have multiple versions of IE available. Sometimes the different versions of Internet Explorer renders pages very different from each other. Adobe Browser Labs is free and easy to use.
Remember that your site’s not going to always look perfect in all the browsers so if you’re 95% “good to go” on Firefox and Chrome, then launch your site and make post launch fixes. Internet Explorer has always been something of a headache for web developers but enjoys a about 40% of the market. Click here for some browser market share stats.
Get it: Adobe’s Browser Labs
The WordPress.org team is busy getting WordPress 3.1 for self hosted sites ready to go in the next few weeks. So what’s inside?
Some of the more interesting features that could make the final release:
New front end admin toolbar
This new feature adds a similar toolbar used on WordPress.com and currently available through a 3rd party plugin to the top of your self hosted site. The admin toolbar gives you easy access to posts, pages, and other settings while viewing your published web site.
Enhanced theme search
Remember a few months ago, WordPress.com was upgraded with a slicker new theme finder? Some of these will be headed over to your self hosted WordPress site.
Simpler password reset
Instead of two emails to get your lost password fixed, it’s going to be reduced down to one.
Internal page/post linking
When inserting links on posts/pages you can now select the destination post or page through a pop up window.
There are also various admin UI updates including sortable columns, new pagination style, and enhanced user administration page.
We’ve noticed the sortable columns can already been seen in WordPress.com admin sites.
Note that some of these changes may not make the final release so cross your fingers.
Here’s the full list of 3.1 updates at WordPress.org. We’ll keep you updated on the release of version 3.1.
I know this post isn’t WordPress related but if you’re doing a lot of web design work, using either app mentioned below could save you a ton of time…
You’ve probably heard the old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words”? If you and your client just can’t get on the same page using email or even voice communication, why not try using a visual mark-up tool like Skitch or Jing? Skitch is a Mac-only tool that let’s you quickly snapshot your screen, draw arrows, write up annotation/notes, and publish to a web page very, very quickly. How quickly? Well how about under a minute start to finish? Skitch has been in beta for almost 2 years and they’ve finally released “v1.0” that’s even more polished and better that I ponied up $15 for one year of “pro” features.
How about Jing? Jing’s advantage is that it captures up to 5 minutes of your on-screen activity and you can record your voice during the capture to annotate it. Jing’s also has a cross platform – it works on both Mac and Windows. Like Skitch, I paid for the pro version for $15/year. The only draw back is that Jing’s workflow is not as quick as Skitch but it makes up for that with the screencast function.
Did you know that you can preview an installed WordPress theme without having to install a new plugin? This would be useful if you’re switching over a WordPress site to a theme that’s a work in progress but didn’t want public visitors to see it yet.
Simple add this to the end of your published site’s URL:
For example, this site with the Twenty Ten theme would be:
Simply replace the name of your theme in the example after both template and stylesheet equal (=) signs.
What if you’re not sure what the exact theme name is – for example if the theme name has spaces in it? To find out, go to the “Manage Themes” page, then hover your mouse over the “Activate” button of the theme you want to try out. In the bottom status bar of your browser, you’ll see the theme name that you’ll want to use.
This tip works with both WordPress.com and self hosted sites!