Intro To Podcasting With WordPress

podcasting with WordPress

This a guest post by my friend and multimedia WordPress wizard, Jason Tucker. He streams live and archives the OC WordPress meetup group, and has recently launched a new Google Hangout and podcast show called WP Watercooler which you can watch live on Mondays at 11am PST, or you can catch the archive on the website and download the podcast via iTunes. He kindly agreed to share some of his wisdom here. Now over to Jason……

****

So you want to learn how to podcast? In this post I’ll go over some of the basics of podcasting using WordPress, a mic and some audio or video recording software.

What is a podcast?

Before I get into how to start your own podcast I think we should define what a podcast is. Wikipedia states the following:

A podcast is a type of digital media consisting of an episodic series of audio, video, PDF, or ePub files subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device. The word is a neologism derived from “broadcast” and “pod” from the success of the iPod, as podcasts are often listened to on portable media players.

So, in plain English,  a podcast is a way for you to receive and then consume typically audio or video in an episodic fashion. I listen to quite a few podcasts –  some are news focused, and others are either short stories or very long shows. I’ve listened to podcasts that are 5 minutes long all the way to 2 hours long. Either way, think of a podcast as setting a DVR to receive a show someone records and makes available at various intervals, typically every week. 

Read More

First Look At WPMU’s Appointments+ WordPress Plugin

Appointments Plus WordPress Plugin

WPMU is a mainstay of the wordpress community. As their name suggests, they began as specialists in blogging about and writing plugins for wp multiuser setups (now known as Multisite). These days they cover pretty much all aspects of WordPress. If you’ve ever Googl-ed anything about WordPress, chances are you’ve landed on their blog at some point. Through their offshoot Premium WPMU Dev, they also have a killer suite of plugins and themes that they are always adding to.Their plugins are generally well thought out, well-coded and they have support. Most of their plugins are just $19, or you can get an “all-you-can-eat” membership which is great for developers and people that build a lot of WordPress sites.

I recently took their Appointments+ plugin (aff. link)  for a test drive. Online booking and scheduling is an area in which WordPress is still a little lacking. There are numerous solutions out there, but not really a killer one yet. When I first tried Appointments+ I wasn’t sure how it would stack up, and while there’s probably room for it to grow, as I tried a couple of other popular solutions I realized that it’s actually pretty decent. Now I haven’t used it consistently for a long time, so these are just my initial impressions. When I have it running on some live sites, I’ll report back how it holds up over time.

Read More

How To Change The Fonts On Your WordPress Site

how to change fonts on your wordpress site

An extremely common request by WordPress users is how to change the font in their posts, pages and themes. Many themes, especially premium ones, provide a set of options in the dashboard that lets the user easily modify the fonts the theme is using. But in cases where the theme does not provide this functionality, it can be implemented by using plugins (of course!!).

This tip is geared for non-technical WordPress users who want some extra control over their site’s appearance by selecting from the vast library of Google Fonts. If you are a WordPress theme developer that wants to include Google Fonts in your theme, you’ll want to read up on how to enqueue the fonts into your theme, and how to provide a theme options panel for your users.

Here are 2 plugins to consider for your font-y needs:

Read More

Best WordPress Contact Form Plugins For Beginners

The Best WordPress Contact Form Plugins for Beginners

Ah contact forms….such as a standard feature of a website aren’t they? One would think that WordPress would have tons of great, easy-to-implement choices for this. And indeed there are TONS of choices, it’s just that most of them have pretty cryptic interfaces, especially for newbies.

For contact forms and anything data collection oriented I prefer Gravity Forms but it’s not free and for some bloggers there really wouldn’t be any point in buying it. But a basic contact form is something most WordPress users want so it’s important to find a good, simple and easy to use solution. And by “easy to use”, I mean something that can be figured out by a new blogger fairly easily. Not the kind that’s “easy to use” once you’ve spent hours figuring it out.

So I’ve done some testing of some of the most mentioned contact form plugins – the ones that show up in the plugin directory search, along with ones mentioned by other bloggers. Honestly, most of them made my skin crawl. They called themselves things like “fast” and “easy” (which sounds like a recipe for a great time) but hurt my brain to look at them. Instead of list them anyway (it is, after all, my job to filter the chaff on your behalf), I’ve picked just a couple that I think are actually useful.

Read More