Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Two new additions to my portfolio

I recently decided to help a friend with a couple of websites as he'd previously used a small agency who'd rip him off with quotes such as a couple of hundred pound for creating meta data!?!

So what have I delivered? I built a simple website using Wordpress and taught him how to update pages, posts and of course that ever expensive meta data. The outcome was GreenBuild Consult.

The second website is the Vale of Glamorgan Stonemasons - Kinsale Stone. Now you could say this one was in desperate need of attention as you can see for yourself, the .co.uk is still live and looking (un)pretty, what you think of this? Like GreenBuild Consult, Kinsale Stone is powered by Wordpress.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

A simple guide on how to start your own blog in four steps!

It is a common misconception that starting your own website or blog requires a certain type of expertise. In fact, it is easier than ever to get started within minutes! But first you need to ask yourself what exactly are you looking to get out of it?

I have been blogging now for a number of years and have experience with a number of different services. There are many ways to get started and each person, like me, has their own preferences.

The purpose of this blog post is to provide you with a simple guide on how to start your own blog post just like mine, adaircameron.co.uk.

I will also go into detail with my own recommendations and alternative options.

Ingredients you need for a blog like mine

  • 1 web host
  • 1 free web CMS (Content Management System)
  • £5.98 (exc. VAT) per year

Web host: A web host is required to purchase your domain name (i.e. example.com or in my case adaircameron.co.uk). I own multiple domains on one account through 123-reg.co.uk. My domain name adaircameron.co.uk costs me just £5.98 (exc. VAT) per year. If you want a completely free blog you can! The only limitation is through the domain name which will have to be on a subdomain of the web CMS. For this example, it would be adaircameron.examplecms.com.
The alternative is that you purchase the domain through the web CMS. This is completely fine but if you have no previous experience with CMS, you may choose a system that doesn’t provide you with everything you need. So be careful and read through the features as it can become a real pain to move your domain name to a different system. Having my domains through 123-reg.co.uk provides me with flexibility as well as a couple of other cool tricks like your own FREE custom e-mail address that I will go into later.
Web CMS (Content Management System): A web CMS is an online authoring tool that provides a solution for the user without any knowledge of coding. You can simply login, write a post (as you would a Word document) and click on a publish button!
The web CMS solution is by far the simplest and has come a long way over the last couple of years. In this guide I look at the online version, many Open Source CMS tools out there offer a downloadable version that offers full flexibility with what you can do but requires a bit more knowledge and a bit little bit more money out of your pocket.


Step one: Buy your domain

Go to 123-reg.co.uk and purchase your very own domain name. These have to be unique, so if you’re like me and have an uncommon name you may be in luck!


Step two: Choose your CMS

In this guide I am going to run through Blogger.com as this is the chosen web CMS for adaircameron.co.uk.

Other web CMS’ that I’ve used (or still do use) are Tumblr.com and Wordpress.com. Read through each services features to help you decide which one is right for you.
If you are still a little unsure then why don’t you register for each before moving on to step three. That why you can try them all out for free and see which one you prefer.
Don’t forget to make sure you consider what you are looking to get out of your blog when making your decision. 
You can also read my previous post on Content Management System (CMS) Market Share for Blogging.

Step three: Change your DNS Settings

This is probably the trickiest part of getting started, but if you follow these instructions you’ll be up and running pretty smoothly.

  • Log into your 123-reg.co.uk account and click on the ‘Manage’ button next to your domain.
  • Click on the link called ‘Manage DNS’
  • Scroll down to the section called A, CNAME and TXT records
  • There may be some pre-defined records which need deleting and updating as follows (using the ‘Add new entry’ form)
  • In the first field type www
  • Select A from the dropdown menu
  • In the last field type 216.239.32.21
  • Scroll down to below the ‘Add New MX’ where you will find a button called ‘Update DNS’
  • Repeat previous steps to include the following numbers so you end up with a total of four records: 216.239.34.21 , 216.239.36.21 , 216.239.38.21

Unfortunately at this stage, these changes can take 24 – 48 hours so patience is required.
If you have decided to use one of the other services or require more detail you can find it on their support pages.


Step four: Update your web CMS settings

You’re almost done! These are the final few steps towards you unleashing your creativity to the world!

  • Log into Blogger.com and within the ‘Manage Blogs’ section, click on ‘Settings’
  • Click on the link called ‘Publishing’ in the sub-navigation
  • Switch to ‘Advanced Settings’ where you can type in your chosen domain name
  • Save settings
  • You’re done!

Once the settings are saved, just check your domain name and see whether your site loads up. Next, all you need to do is choose a design if you don’t like the default one and get posting!

Hope this all makes sense and that you’ve found it useful. If you are stuck, please do comment below and I’ll do my best to help come up with a solution.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Content Management System (CMS) Market Share for Blogging

Last year I published a blog post regarding the search behaviour in a selection of CMS'. As I have recently made the move to Blogger, I felt it was a good time to re-visit the topic and analyse the latest trends in search. To my surprise there have been some dramatic changes over the past twelve months, therefore it was only right to go right back to the beginning and re-write a previous post.

The Content Management Systems in question

I have decided to look at three CMS' that I have had experience with in the past. Each has powered my personal blog (all on more than one occasion). I've got no reason to criticise any and would highly recommend them.

Wordpress

Launched in mid-2003 by Automattic, Wordpress is by far the largest of the three CMS' that I've looked at today. This Open Source CMS is offered as both a self-hosting tool or a weblog host and used by some of the largest companies in the world including many Fortune 500 websites.

Tumblr

The youngest of the three, Tumblr is also the smallest with just 12 employees! Founded in 2007 by 24 year old David Karp, Tumblr brought to the world an innovative way of micro-blogging but with the functionality that fight amongst the big guns.

Blogger

And finally, the Google-owned Blogger (which is by far the oldest of the three) launched in 1999! Built by Pyra Labs, it was acquired by Google in 2003 for an undisclosed fee. Blogger is also the system that powers my very own blog.

Growth since 2004

The following graphs look at the trends over the past few years on a weekly basis; split by World, US and UK market share. Please note that when I refer to market share I am looking at search trends based on exact match brands, i.e. [wordpress], [tumblr] and [blogger]. It is not an accurate look at overall share but is a good indication of search behaviours and brand recognition.

The x-axis on the graphs below is translated as 100 being the highest volume week for that given search term.

Worldwide trend




The above chart shows the search trends on Google Worldwide. It clearly shows the consistent growth of Wordpress since it's launch, having taken over Blogger in January 2007 three and a half years after launch.

But more impressive is the dramatic take up in the ever popular Tumblr which in under just three years (August 2010) it has surpassed Blogger in Worldwide search.

US trend




The US graph tells a completely different story where not only did Tumblr surpass Blogger four months earlier but also continued from strength to strength by going top of the chart by August 2010! To make it even more impressive is the trend it's making in recent weeks.

UK trend




Very similar to the US, the UK tends to follow a very similar trend line having seen Tumblr take over Blogger a month later than the US. It also took just a few months longer for Wordpress to lose its dominance.

Conclusion

If you're looking for a simply blogging system then any of the three is far more than capable to meet your needs. But it just goes to show how quickly things can change online and I'm sure it won't be long before Tumblr is fighting off new competition.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Tumblr v Wordpress v Blogger

For those who know me (and may have followed my Blog) over the last few years, you'd know that I have changed my Blog's CMS (Content Management System) numerous times.

Today I left Tumblr in favour of Wordpress but after complications with the set up (and perhaps a hint of impatience) I have decided to move back to Blogger.

Such a decision may upset the fans of Tumblr and Wordpress as they are both far superior CMS' but there are real advantages to Blogger that I have always liked. We can't deny that if we want a functional Blog that is only used for posting then Blogger does the job just as good as any.

If you want a great looking interface and advanced functionality then yes I will always recommend Tumblr or Wordpress but as of today I will be sticking with Blogger (for now...).