Check out our weekly wrap up site: WPWeekly.net

We’re happy to announce we’re starting a new site that’s designed to be short and sweet. A way to summarize a week’s worth of WordPress stories: WPweekly.net

This week we look at short codes, SEO, themes, and CMS plugins.

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WordPress.com now offering premium themes

If you’re using WordPress.com, meaning your blog is hosted by Automattic / WordPress, then you have two new theme choices as of today. These two new premium themes will set you back around $50-70.

If you’re on your WP.com account, head over to Appearance -> Themes and you’ll see choice one is  “Headlines” by WooThemes.

It’s probably suited for for newspaper/magazines with a very clean layout with two columns, choice of 15 duo-tone color schemes, featured post, and previous posts and thumbnails. This one will set you back $45 for a life-time license.

The second one is “Shelf” by Theme Foundry. This one looks beautiful – it’s designed for posting your latest photo, music track, and thoughts.

This one is price interestingly at $68 – close to $70. We’d be curious to see how many takers there would be at that relatively higher price point. I think this is definitely a test to see what the upper end of consumer appetite (or tolerance) is for a cool looking theme. Consider that self hosted WordPress themes range any where from $20 to $80 or more.

It’d be interesting to be a fly on the wall to listen to the royalty negotiations between Automattic and the theme publishers.  The varying price and starting with only two themes right now indicates that it’s experiment and Matt Mullenweg himself confirms the experimental status thought in a blog posting at Themeshaper. He says “…very explicitly this is an experiment.”

TechCrunch
estimates that Automattic brings in around $1 million dollars a month – most of it from premium service so we’re guessing this new theme model may become an important revenue stream in the long run.

In that posting, Matt also says this “premium theme” project was a long time in the making with code licensing compliance issues being worked out by the major theme studios. He also reveals that an internal team at Automattic worked to bring 29 new/redesigned themes to WP.com last year. He ends with a note that 2011 should bring a “significant number” of new themes both free and premium.

More: Official WordPress.com Post | TechCrunch


A few more thoughts on Mars Edit 3

I bought Mars Edit 3 a few weeks ago and wrote a quick review. 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 can use this to cross post between multiple WP.com accounts for example without having to login/logout into your accounts. You will loose the existing categories and need to re-define them (understandable) but the tags will stay in-tact.

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. Update: Just noticed the dialog box to increase the post limit has a performance warning. I’ve asked the developer for clarification.

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.
Update: I was informed by the developer that you can actually do this. First, open up the selected post to edit and once open, go to drop down menu for “Post”, select “Edit Date” to specify the future date to publish on. It’s too bad this feature is kind of hidden away and not part of the post editor window.

marsedit-edit-date.jpg

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


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