Why is WordPress Still Free?

WordPress is the Cadillac of CMS for web developers making cookie cutter sites for clients paying thousands of dollars (sometimes). For end users, it is deliberately chopped up and dumbed down. Web developers don’t want clients tinkering, maintaining, changing, or even updating their sites. There are cases where the web developer actually owns the site, the client just has rights to the contents. Clients pay for the site, choose the content, but otherwise get in the way. But, they do pay.

So why is WordPress still free? Why not claim their share of the money being made? Or, will they? It happened with Movable Type.

For those dwindling few who can’t afford/ don’t want a web developer… why are you still using WordPress?

When Gutenberg replaces the current post editor it will take away more functions than it adds, for the end user, the people writing their own sites. WordPress will say it streamlines the editing functions. But, have you taken a look at it? I did. The editor is gone.

Posting to WordPress will become cut and paste with content blocks. This makes it much easier for web developers to configure plugins, themes and other services they can sell to clients who don’t really want to deal with any part of putting up a site themselves. Clients just supply the content, remember. Any editing of the content has already been done before it gets pasted into WordPress.

The new WordPress will be a lot like the old GeoCities. A lot of people won’t know much about GeoCities. It was an online web host, but your sites were on their domain. Sort of like Blogger which gives you the site.blogspot.com domain. I don’t remember if GeoCities let people add their own domain, Blogger does. Anyway, GeoCities made it easy to put up a site. The structure was there, all you really had to do was add your own content. GeoCities was free to use, but they did run a few ads on your site. If GeoCities had not shut down, would they be competing with WordPress now?

Online site building software: Wix, Weebly, SquareSpace, and others, are just competition for WordPress.com because WordPress.org people still make their own sites, right? Yes, if people were making their own sites, but too often sites are made by web developers and people just cut and paste their content into cookie cutter sites built by web developers using WordPress software and assorted plugins the client doesn’t need to know about. How is this really different from an online web site builder? The online website builder is a lot cheaper but does require some hands on work beyond just dumping content into it.

Why not just write for sites like HubPages and at least get paid for your content instead of paying to put it online?

Maybe the only reason WordPress is still free is WordPress.com. If you haven’t taken a look at WordPress.com for awhile, go login and take a look at the features there. Long ago the .com and the self hosted WordPress were not so different. But, that was long ago. WordPress.com is free to sign up for but then it becomes a Facebook game. Features are offered like pretty treats, shiny extras, and premium goodies virtually yours when you pay with real credit cards.

At the end of the day you are paying to use WordPress.

The Joomla Image Upload and Post Editing is Bugging Me

I am trying. I have made progress. But, the Joomla post editing and image uploading are not very user friendly. I feel like I’m working with a sluggish elephant.
I don’t know yet about template changes. I’m leaving that until the end as I go through the guide I’m using to get around Joomla. It is quite different from WordPress, especially in the beginning. My big break through seems to have been understanding that everything has a category, not just your blog posts, or links. It does add more function to your site, what you can do with what you have. But, it also makes it complicated. When you have a glitch it becomes a real job to find the source because there are so many places to look. As a beginner I’m finding it very time consuming.
Last week I was at the point of giving up and trying yet another CMS. But, I stuck it out. I did find the problem that time but, the same solution did not fix (what seems to be) the same problem on two other sites. 
So far the post editor and image uploader are bugging me every time I post. Maybe some of that will be fixed with a different theme/ template. But, with all the function in Joomla why is it so hard to do the simple things? I’m at the point of disliking using images with my posts. 
Also, I am discouraged about the link thing. I left WordPress because it was becoming focused on commercial sites and web developers with clients rather than individuals building their own site. As I get to know Joomla I see the same trend here. The link manager was taken out of the core CMS. Why remove a feature people might actually like to use? Because web developers don’t want anything Google SEO says it doesn’t like.
Most of Joomla’s extensions (plugins, if you prefer WordPress speak) are premium. Sure there are some outdated free extensions, but they tend not to work, or even upload into Joomla 3. Other free versions are so limited the point of them is just to make people realize there isn’t any point to doing without the premium/ professional extension. 
I miss having spellcheck when I write a post. I can’t even use keyboard shortcuts in the post editor. So I need to open the code editor to cut and paste or add text to any post with HTML. I did look at post editors and related extensions. That was a land of confusion in itself. Most of them combine a template maker into the whole process, as if that will fix everything. But, I did not find any of them which were just post editors which would work with my existing posts in Joomla articles. Two which I might have used wanted to import everything and make second copies for the extension. Then you (I) have to remember to use the extension to make every post I write from then on. Well, what if something goes wrong? What if the extension is abandoned, dies with some fatal error, etc? Where would that leave me and all my posts, not quite in Joomla but sort of in Joomla? 
I have yet to find a way to schedule posts. Everything has to be made a featured post in order to show up on my site. Then every new post is either published or not published. There is no way to schedule a date for it to post. Yes, I can leave posts sitting outside of featured but I would really rather not have to remember to post them, or need to be online in order to post them. (I do like to get away the odd time and leave the electronics behind).
I think that’s everything bugging me. Possibly more will come to mind between now and now when I post this. 
If I hadn’t bought two books (print) to help me figure Joomla out… If I hadn’t spent money on 3 premium Joomla extensions (and not found any of them to be what I had hoped)… If I hadn’t spent months migrating and renovating my sites since leaving WordPress (late last year!)… I think I would stop using Joomla at this point. But, there should be a point where you don’t go back and stick with your guns, right? 
Anyway, what else would I try? I’ve been through almost a dozen CMS since last year. I do know, I am not going back to WordPress. The problems with WordPress are still there. The time of the independent web publisher is getting tougher, but not drying up yet. However, I am watching for that big chunk of meteor rock falling from the sky.

Widen Your Scope by Starting Small

Whatever your target market or writing niche… how could you make this tip work for you? Starting small takes off the pressure to be bigger than you really feel. If you’ve been feeling like a fraud, not able to take yourself and your writing seriously or give yourself the credit you should be… take it down a level. Give yourself some time to catch up with yourself. Just for a short time. Don’t get too comfortable and stay small. Build yourself a nice cushion and then begin taking bigger steps. See how far you have gotten the next time you pause to look back at where you have been.

3. Widen your world by starting small

Counterintuitive as it may seem, in the same way that it makes sense to focus your content, it also makes sense to closely focus any initial beyond-your-own-blog publishing efforts you’re inspired to make. Want to see your name in print? If your town has a local newspaper, pitch some stories to the features editor. If you’ve found a website you especially admire, contact the editor or producer to see if you might contribute content on a subject that requires your special expertise. If there’s a magazine that touches on a subject you love, study the small pieces that appear in the front of the magazine and pitch a story or two to that section’s editor. Your ultimate goal is to develop a relationship with an editor or producer that will give you a regular outlet for your pieces – and a potential springboard to a wider world beyond.

Source: Five expert tips for getting started in travel writing – Lonely Planet

The Best Contact Page

As an editor/ site reviewer at dmoz I’ve seen a lot of sites. Today I found what may be my favourite ever contact page on a site. Here is the screenshot. Notice how simple it is to know where they are located. I like the city name as a header before each physical address too. Even if there were only one location, it sets it off very nicely. I like the map, big and easily read. Plain, simple and tidy – really nice.

Above this is the header with the company name, phone number and navbar.

If you have a business site, consider this a great template for your contact page.
best contact page
Source: Celco

Could you be a Food Editor?

This is a real job posting, originally from Buzzfeed online. Do you have what it takes to be a food editor?

BuzzFeed is looking for an ambitious, internet- and social-media-savvy editor with a huge passion for cooking to lead its popular food section. This is a full-time job based in New York City.

Responsibilities:
Write posts about food in the shareable BuzzFeed style and tone.
Come up with smart ideas for food posts to assign to the food team.
Edit staff posts and generate effective, clever headlines aimed at sharing.
Drive, coordinate, and oversee the production of cooking tutorial photo and video shoots in the BuzzFeed Test Kitchen.
Grow, diversify, and innovate the food section’s presence on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media channels.
Outline and execute a vision for growing and expanding the section to reach new, diverse audiences.
Line edit original recipes for clarity and accuracy.
Establish and maintain relationships with chefs, food writers, and other food-world authorities to bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the section.
Obsessively track viral trends on Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr and create content around those trends.

Requirements:
Two to four years of website, magazine, or blogging/vlogging experience — or similar experience in the food industry.
Experience editing and managing writers.
Proven understanding of the kinds of food and cooking that generate engagement on social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, and the ability to articulate those qualities.
Self-starter and hard worker with tons of smart ideas.
Obsession with and passion for cooking plus a strong interest in and knowledge of professional cooking techniques.
Flexibility, an open mind, and enthusiasm about experimenting with unconventional ideas.
A sense of humor.
Ability to take the perspective of others.
The technical cooking expertise to create new image­-based cooking tutorials and write posts full of authoritative tips is a plus.

Writing for Content Marketing Sites is Too Expensive

How much does it cost to write for other sites, like HubPages and Squidoo? There is a push for writers at these sites to add video along with the content they write and the images they post too.  No one quite dares to make video mandatory (as far as I have seen). However, for me personally, the addition of video to my posts has cost me $20 a month more on my ISP (Internet service provider) bill.

Viewing several videos for each post takes up bandwidth. My account is not one of the huge packages, I live on a budget (as most writers who don’t have money to burn, do). There is also the image added to a post. Some writers at these sites pay for the images they use. I don’t. I use my own photos, create images myself or go to sites where the images and clipart are free to use.

Don’t forget to count your writing itself. No matter how you feel at the time, writers should be getting paid for the content they create. I find many of these content marketing sites don’t pay writers a single cent. Over time a writer may make a pittance or two. However, how much time writing, promoting and researching has the writer spent to earn $10 over the months… years… they gave.

I used to think writing community sites were a good thing for web writers. I don’t any feel that way now. Mainly the cost of viewing video and the push for writers to add video – that is what has me a little angry actually. No big deal for these sites to ask for video added to posts. The sites make money on the farm of writers they keep. Don’t think they are struggling too much. Their success comes from the people they pay nothing to almost nothing. It doesn’t matter to them if the writers are happy, not really. People who write for them are a dime a dozen, cheaper actually.

So why write for them and spend more than you get paid? Pick yourself up, copy your content from the site and put up your own site. It’s not hard and you shouldn’t be intimidated. You don’t have to be a huge success right away. If you can improve your earnings from cents to dollars you’re ahead of where you were before. Plus you can have pride in what you have done, you are your own editor (along with spellcheck) and every penny you make stays in your pocket.

How to Use Dmoz aka the Open Directory Project

Dmoz writer resourcesI was an editor at Dmoz (The Open Directory Project) for 10 years. I worked my way up to the title of ‘editall’ which meant I had the run of the directory. I would review and add new sites submitted. I could edit current listings or delete those which were no longer functioning or had become spam like splogs and link farms. I enjoyed the work. I still like finding great links from all the content online. I like adding links to any post I write here on HubPages and part of the enjoyment is just tracking down the links themselves.

From what I have seen The Open Directory Project is not being updated very reliably now. It looks like very few people are still maintaining the directory and the listings. When I look at categories I used to maintain myself I find link rot and listings which need to be fixed for spelling, punctuation, grammar. There are even links which lead to parked domains, and other useless sites.

The Open Directory Project (ODP) may be unpredictable and a little neglected, but it’s still a free to be listed there and the directory database is still picked up by many other sites.

If you want to submit a link to Dmoz

Find the best fitting Dmoz category for one of your posts which represents your niche at HubPages. If you look at what you’ve been writing you will see you do have a niche/ theme of some kind. Your personality will show through the range of your topics, go with that. Narrow it down to one post and then find the corresponding category in the Dmoz directory.

Don’t submit more than one post anywhere else in the directory. Wait, even as long as a month, before you try another submission. Try a different category, something even more specific to your content/ topic. Never submit to a top level category. Those kind of sloppy submissions are almost 100% sure to be deleted without even being looked at by any editor.

Do not get yourself (or HubPages) labelled with a bad reputation for too many submissions or submissions to the wrong categories. Dmoz will block networks/ domains like HubPages from any submissions if the editors begin leaving negative comments on the submissions from that domain.

When I was part of the workings of Dmoz editors could be very diligent, keeping categories clean, tidy and updated. Even then some categories had no editor and no one checked them regularly for submissions or bad links. I think there are less editors working there now so it is even more important to have patience with any links you submit there. Sending a second submission too soon just makes you look like a mass submitter. Also, extra submissions will just be deleted while the original sits in the category until an editor takes time to look at them all individually. Editors are more likely to work on a category that does not have a lot of submissions they have to mass delete. It’s just common sense when you remember the editors at Dmoz are volunteers, not paid for their time.

Check your submission to the Dmoz directory

  • Proofread your submission. Spelling, grammar and punctuation do count.
  • Double check the link (the http:// link, not the title) of your post.
  • Don’t use excessive keywords.

Selling Manuscripts

Originally posted to SuiteU, part of Suite101. SuiteU is being removed from the site. I wanted to save the ecourses so this resource would not disappear.

Selling Manuscripts

By Dawn Whitmire

Introduction

You’ve just finished your manuscript or maybe you have the finish line in sight. Are you wondering what next? In between editing your book and preparing the query letter to your targeted agent or editor, there’s a step you must take….writing the synopsis.

If you’re like I was a few years back, your face is wrinkling right now and the dread is settling in. What if I were to tell you it didn’t have to be that way? What if I could show you a quick, precise way to write your synopsis and make it as enjoyable as writing the manuscript? What if I could make you look forward to your book’s ending just so you could get to the synopsis? Or maybe even help you to write the synopsis as you wrote the book. Continue reading Selling Manuscripts

Magazine Writing

Originally part of the Suite101 University ecourses offered for free. This content is being removed by Suite101. I wanted to keep it active and useful for myself and others.

Magazine Writing

By Lisa-Anne Sanderson

Introduction

 

If you’ve always had an ambition to write, freelance writing for magazines is an excellent place to start. Writing non-fiction articles can be a fun and lucrative hobby, or an interesting way to earn a living. The rise of technology provides writers with the freedom to work at home, another big advantage. The Internet is a wonderful way of doing research, and emails and faxes provide the convenience of being able to send articles straight from home, although some magazine editors still require them to be posted. Continue reading Magazine Writing

Writing Editorials

Originally from Suite101 University, a free ecourse posted a few years ago. I’ve saved the information here because there is a lot worth keeping and I don’t know what will happen to all of it now that Suite101 is closing this area of their site.

Writing Editorials

By Jason Reeher

Introduction

Welcome to the Suite University course on writing newspaper editorials. In this course, you can learn effective techniques for writing letters to the editor, then submit your opinions to everything from your local newspaper to national publications. Valuable for anyone interested in public affairs, current events, and pop-culture, this course will help the student to develop a writing interest, as well as hone argumentative and persuasive writing skills. This course is great for beginning writers, as well as those interested in scientific disciplinary writing, print journalism, editorial processes, and public policy discourse.

Writing newspaper opinions is a great way to gain expression for your writing. With relatively little time invested, you can learn to produce concise, effective and persuasive editorials on a regular basis. Perhaps the most exciting element is that YOU can choose your subject based upon public interest and current relevancy. By learning what subjects are most important to your target community, whether it’s local property taxes or “American Idol,” you become part of the public discourse when your opinion is published. This course can help you get there. Continue reading Writing Editorials