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What can WordPress do for you?

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May 27th, 2009
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Blogging News, brainstorming, WordPress

I receive questions about WordPress from various sources and I love answering them. I serve on the technical advisory board for our local University and recently ran into one of the other board members who had been using WordPress for some time. He wanted his WordPress site to do a few things that he could not get to work and his email to me ended with “I think I have hit the end of WordPress’ capabilities.” I respectfully disagreed and proceeded to give him links to solutions that I had found. He found them really useful and is going to use them in his re-design.

This perception of “reaching the end of WordPress” is somewhat common. At a recent WordCamp, I had the distinct feeling (after talking with a bunch of the attendees and from feedback) that they were looking for cool things to do with their WordPress blog to accomplish various ends but were held back because they either did not know what to look for or did not know where to look for it and who to trust.

I would like to use this opportunity to increase awareness and provide answers to some of these questions. I would like to know what WordPress can do for you. Please use the group forums on the WLTC Community to post your questions and needs and find your answers. We will choose the best requests for regular posts on Weblog Tools Collection and plan to use them at WordCamps if given the opportunity.

Here are the questions that my friend had for me and my answers to them (edited and modified for content). Please leave a comment if you have a different answer or will benefit from these.

1)  Have found no good way to create “hidden” pages that do not show up on the menus

The following Plugin solves the problem: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/exclude-pages/

2) Have not found a way to embed videos in blog posts and have them displayed on a skinnable Flash video player. The only way is to embed code from other video services such as YouTube which looks unprofessional.

The following Plugin provides a nice embeddable Flash Video player where you upload your own videos: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/flash-video-player/

3) I have not figured out a good way to embed a forum onto a “page”  so that customers can have discussions. The best concept I have came up with so far is using an embedded frame and a 2nd domain.

I would suggest a plugin such as http://www.intensedebate.com/ which provides most of the forum like features with very little overhead or risk of mangled code. Some people (such as the SlickDeals blog) integerates vBulletin with WordPress, but that includes more than just a plugin download.

So what can WordPress do for you?

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24
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Comments

  1. Jason Hansen (15 comments.) says:

    Do you see a lot of people turning to Squarespace?

  2. Ipstenu (1 comments.) says:

    Why not just use bbPress and repro your skin? It’s not hard at all, and you can share a userbase between the two so JoeBlow on your forum is JoeBlow on your blog and everyone is happy! :)

  3. Markus (1 comments.) says:

    I’ve been trying to take my WordPress-skillZ to the next level recently, but my problem is more on the other end of the scale. I simply can’t find things to do. I’m low on ideas. Nothing seems daunting or challenging enough. I need ideas.

    Help me. Please?

    • Jose L (1 comments.) says:

      How about a pluging for member’s only areas and management?

      It’s that challenging enough for you? :-)

    • Dave Doolin (1 comments.) says:

      That sucks. I have a notebook full of ideas, without enough skills to implement quickly… working on building the skill set now.

  4. Chris Bryant (12 comments.) says:

    I’m in the process of bulding a new website- trying out everything from static html to cms systems like siteframe, phpwebsite, joomla, et. al., yet I keep coming back to WordPress.

    My biggest problems are with formatting- I need to figure out how to make a “sticky” intro post, but have latest entries below on the front page, instead of simply an entire static front page.

    Another problem is figureing out which plugin I need for which function, though that’s getting better.

    • Andrea_R (29 comments.) says:

      Sticky posts are now built in to WP. there’s a ticky box on the right side of the post panel.

      There may be a theme edit required.

  5. Pross (4 comments.) says:

    You can make the post sticky surely?

  6. Andrea_R (29 comments.) says:

    There’s a plugin that displays a small forum-type layout on a page.

    http://www.fahlstad.se/wp-plugins/wp-forum/

    Or this one:
    http://simplepressforum.com/

  7. the_guv (2 comments.) says:

    “Have not found a way to embed videos in blog posts and have them displayed on a skinnable Flash video player. The only way is to embed code from other video services such as YouTube which looks unprofessional.”

    I use Youtube for channel traffic and embed video from Vimeo, whose player is a tad more classy … just an idea.

  8. Kerry Webster (12 comments.) says:

    I would like a simple plugin to setup post forms using predefined custom fields. Flutter (Custom Write Panels) is a good try but does not work well with IE or newer versions of WP (amoung other issues with upgrades). This CMS feature would be awesome. I hear taxonomies in WP2.9+ may help make this more realistic but of course who wants to wait. :) I love you Flutter but…

    • Randy (5 comments.) says:

      Try using Custom Field Templates: [http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/custom-field-template/]. You can define a set of custom fields to associate with a certain category; once you check the box for that category on the Write Post page, the fields appear ready for you to use.

  9. Stu (7 comments.) says:

    I have had lots of success adding custom functionality to some of my blogs by developing my own (private) plugins.

    If you know PHP and take the time to read the WordPress Plugin API documentation (and maybe look at some other plugins), you can whip up something that no-one else has on their blog in an afternoon.

    Cheers,
    Stu.

  10. baba (1 comments.) says:

    i want to edit the comment form fields. i did not find any way how i can do this. how i can do this. you have a nice post and i am sure that you can help me.

  11. Tapeleg (8 comments.) says:

    I have needs. Well, I have wants.

    I want my commentators to be able to leave audio comments. I want to be able to download those comments and include them in my podcast.

    I want to upload audio to my site, and have it auto post. I want to be able to either auto post audio to my site from FTP, or from a phone call. I want a new post created when I call my site.

    I want to own my audio, not for a third party site to host my audio. I want the same capabilities for audio that video enjoys.

    That isn’t too much to ask, is it?

  12. printcanvasart (1 comments.) says:

    any of you guys fancy giving me a hand at this?

    theblob looking lost in a new world

  13. Abendego (1 comments.) says:

    I was one of those people who thought there was an end to WordPress until I stumbled upon this site. What a great resource. I will be spending a great deal of time here.

  14. Mr Berber (1 comments.) says:

    i am having an issue with my WP not sending new registration emails to new users and to admin (myself). Any suggestions?

  15. Michael Clark (1 comments.) says:

    I want a wiki that is a part of the WordPress system. I’ve gotten good results with DokuWiki, by tweaking the template/theme, but it is a hassle (two separate authentication systems, different markup). I tried using Pages, but it didn’t scale well when I hit around 2,000 pages or so.

  16. christopher (1 comments.) says:

    re: 1) Have found no good way to create “hidden” pages that do not show up on the menus

    The following Plugin solves the problem: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/exclude-pages/

    fyi: If you set up the “Menus” (under the “Appearance” tab), you don’t need to add a plugin. Setting up the Menus, keeps your navigation menu set-up within the WP structure…I’ve heard, if you install too many plugins, it can do more harm than good on your WP site —Skipping out on this plugin can save you time/energy of having to install/manage it.

    just a thought.


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