Automattic sites reach 500 million visitors per month

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.

quantcast-automattic.jpg

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

Via: Toni.org


Quicktip: Import & Export links library

The link library aka blogroll is one of the lesser known or under utilized feature of WordPress. It allows you to track other website URLs in a tidy post-like system. It’s right below the Media library and Pages.

So what if you have more than one WordPress site and you want to import/export your extensive links library from one site to another site?

It’s actually quite simple to do, copy the URL below to your clipboard, open a new web browser tab and paste the URL. Then  replace yourdomain.com below with your domain and hit enter.

http://www.yourdomain.comt/wp-links-opml.php

Give it a few seconds and you’ll see a list of links in HTML format of all your links. Once the page has finished loading, copy the URL to your clipboard. Or go to your web browser’s File menu and select “Save As…”

 

Next go to your new WordPress site admin and click on Tools -> Import -> Blogroll

The importer will then be installed like any other plugin.

import-links-ompl.jpg

Next in the import page, you can either paste in the URL under “Specify OPML URL” or browse/upload the file and click “Import OMPL File.” We’re done, your links should be in your new site’s links library now.

For those curious, OMPL stands for Outline Processor Markup Language

Also see: Official Import/Export explanation from WordPress.com support


Offline WordPress.com editor: Mars Edit 3

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


Quick Tip: Cross Browser Test for free with Adobe Browser Labs

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


What’s new in WordPress 3.1?

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.


Great visual tools for communicating with clients

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.

Get it: Skitch | Jing


Quick Tip: Preview a Theme without a Plugin

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:

?preview=1&template=twentyten&stylesheet=twentyten

For example, this site with the Twenty Ten theme would be:

http://wpverse.com/?preview=1&template=twentyten&stylesheet=twentyten

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!