Blogs as websites – CIL2009

Computers in Libraries – Blogs as websites session – Track E105

Aaron Schmidt – DC Public Library

10 reasons to use wordpress to create your website

  1. Freewordpress.com – remotely hosted version of WordPress, totally free, can be limited in the selection of themes, widgets and plugins. Good place to start. Your domain name will have wordpress.com as part of it, unless you pay a little extra to have your own domain name.
    Cheap – Download WordPress and install it on your own server. If you already have your own server, that’s free! If you don’t have a server and need to find one, lishost.com is a good library oriented hosting site. (I’ve also used bluehost, hostmysite and some others) All are inexpensive, as in roughly $100 year.
  2. Open Source – strong user community sharing tips and tricks, search the WordPress forums for help, if you can’t find an answer, post a question. There’s a nice section of forum on using WP as a Content Mgmt System. (Also a community for libraries using WP)
  3. Allows for interaction – customers can comment, staff can reply.
  4. SEO – Search Engine Optimization – WP writes really good code that search engines like.
  5. LESS WORK – makes it possible for everyone on staff to contribute to your website, without having to know any html code. User interface is easy to use. Administrator can assign different permissions to different contributors, give them access to only what they need.
  6. EASY – easy to get started at wordpress.com to test it out and get your feet wet. Web based interface makes it easy for you to add your content from wherever you have an internet connection.
  7. Themes – Easy to make your blog look good – all magic of CSS – click a button you can have a new look. Tons of free themes available. Or you can hire someone to create one for you. Or create your own. Mentioned Thematic, a newis wordpress theme framework.
  8. Widgets– all the great stuff on the sidebar of your website is done through little bits of coding that others have written. If there’s something you want to add to the sidebar of your site (photos, comments, links to other sites, twitter stream, etc), widgets make it possible. Lots of widgets available on wordpress.com and many more can be used if you’re running WP on your own server.
    Plugins – Extensions to WP functionality, built by community and shared. Some popular plugins become incorporated into the core of WP when it goes through upgrades. Plugins can do things like filter spam comments, help you create photo albums, keep track of statistics, add “share this” buttons to your posts and much more.
  9. Flexibility – All of this adds up to great flexibility. WP is very flexible and customizable. Love the No 10 Downing Street is using WP!
  10. People – Lets you create a website that is useful to your community and lets your staff keep it up to date with ease.

(I’ll add another # 11 – PAGES let you have pages of static information in additon to your newsy bloggy stuff.)

Carol Garland from Sodus Free Library in NY

Showed their blog on blogger.com. Very small library, short on staff and resources. Their web site had gotten very hard to maintain through Front Page. Needed a new solution. Moved all their static content to Google Pages and put all their news on blogger.com. Links to their static pages are on the sidebar. They now have an easy to update site, that has new content, videos, and more.

Dave Lisa – NJ State Library

Currently at NJ State Library, but showed blogger based website that they’d created at West Long Branch PL in NJ. They use blogger to revamp their site as well. They wanted to be able to have pages of information on different topics as well as newsy posts. They bent blogger into doing this by writing blog posts on particular topics and then making links directly to the posts on the sidebar of the sidebar of the pages. Gives the feel of having some static pages for things like hours etc. They also have created some static pages that have the same look and feel as the blog pages and are hosting them on the same server.

Great program highlighting some easy, low overhead ways to create a spiffy new library website.

Note – if you’re in New York, NYLA will be offering some workshops on WordPress soon. And I’ll be teaching some ‘WordPress as website’ classes in CT soon too.