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Comparison of WordPress, Drupal, SquareSpace, and Other Website Platforms

I just read a great little article over at TomMcFarlin about the variety of blogging or content management platforms available and how they compare to each other.

Being primarily a WordPress developer, I’m always interested in what the competitors are offering, and I often get questions about why WordPress is my platform of choice.

My response is usually a combination of:

  • a consistent, easy-to-use interface for the end-user,
  • endlessly customizable themes,
  • excellent SEO capabilities,
  • and a massive, open-source community for support and longevity

But how does WordPress compare with some of the other major blogging platforms? Blogger and Tumblr are both free and popular services, so why not focus there? Can’t customize those enough? How about SquareSpace or TypePad?

Here are a few summaries from the article I read: (for the full article visit TomMcFarlin.com)

WordPress (hosted)

This is similar to self-hosted WordPress, but lacks the customization features as well as the ability to download plugins. Regardless, this costs cheaper than a self-hosted one as you only have to make an annual payment for the domain and additional support.

Blogger

This Google-owned blogging platform is not very user-friendly especially when it comes to designing the themes as you need to have CSS experience to tweak your layouts. Also, the SEO features available are severely limited. Nonetheless, publishing posts in this platform is very easy.

Tumblr

Tumblr is half social media, half blogging platform – overall interesting. Tumblr is hosted from its server, so all you need to do is purchase the domain. It’s really easy to publish a variety of posts here, especially the GIF files this platform has become to be known for. Design is limited, although you can purchase premium designs from its theme options.

Drupal

This platform is more of a content management system (CMS) and being a blog is just part of what it can be. Therefore, Drupal isn’t really a user-friendly blogging platform as you have to use the Drupal Gardens tool to make it easier to navigate its interface.

Joomla

If you are looking to manage a good amount of content, need specialized tools and plugins like shopping carts or pre-made data control, without coding, pick Joomla.

Think hosted WordPress with more customization features and available plugins, but with less control than the self-hosted WordPress.

Squarespace

This platform offers the same features as the self-hosted WordPress but is much friendlier to use by non design-savvy people. Its built-in analytics and drag-and-drop design interface make it much easier to be used by practically anybody. Nonetheless, its selection of add-ons and plugins do not match that of WordPress’s.

 

Here is how he summed it all up:

PLATFORM Price Level of control Opportunities for monetization Ease of use SEO-friendliness
WordPress (self-hosted) FREE (except for hosting + domain) HIGH HIGH HIGH HIGH
WordPress (hosted) FREE (except for domain) MEDIUM MEDIUM HIGH MEDIUM
Blogger FREE (except for domain) LOW HIGH MEDIUM MEDIUM
Tumblr FREE (except for domain) MEDIUM LOW HIGH LOW
Drupal $12-80/month MEDIUM MEDIUM LOW MEDIUM
Typepad $9-30/month MEDIUM MEDIUM MEDIUM MEDIUM
Squarespace $8-16/month HIGH MEDIUM HIGH MEDIUM

 

Read more from the original article at at TomMcFarlin.com

OutdoorOttawa Relaunches

The relaunch of OutdoorOttawa - simpler times ahead?

The relaunch of OutdoorOttawa – simpler times ahead?

I’ve just essentially re-launched OutdoorOttawa … again.

This time I think I’ve found the right mix of functionality and simplicity to keep it running, relevant, and filled with content while still having time to work and play a bit.

In the past, OO has been a a monstrous site – WordPress mixed with a custom BuddyPress theme to enable full user profiles, groups, forums, events, and with a Facebook-style “wall” for posting pics and videos.

I started this project before these components were ready (BuddyPress still doesn’t have a decent image plugin that merges user profiles with the WP media feature), so I spent an enormous amount of time trying to jam things together and make them work, often with frustrating or half-assed results.

Bye bye, BuddyPress. At least for now. This version of OutdoorOttawa is WordPress-only, and I’ve replaced the BuddyPress groups (in which nobody ever used the coolest features) with WordPress Custom Post Types, which work just as well for presenting information with limited interactivity with visitors. These custom post types are waaaaaay easier to manage, add/remove, and update (without all the BuddyPress extras to consider), and when I add a decent commenting system they will still allow for a modicum of feedback from visitors.

I’ve gone a bit further in a way, too – including Ottawa outdoor retailers and an outdoor clubs and associations directory, which I’m having a buddy of mine populate.

So, here we go another OutdoorOttawa adventure. I’ve just updated to WordPress 4.0, and it was just my big 4-0 a couple weeks ago… I’m going to take this as a good omen.

Improve Goolge PageSpeed by Moving Scripts to Footer

Part of Google’s PageSpeed analysis is to determine how quickly a WordPress website loads “above-the-fold”, or the part of the website that is initially visible to the viewer without scrolling.

To help boost the speed with which browsers can render the above-the-fold content, I’ve moved my JavasScript and jQuery scripts to my footer, thereby allowing my browser to load them after the header, menu, and above-the-fold content is loaded.

To accomplish this I simply moved my jQuery and website scripts from my header.php file to my footer.php. This little move has boosted my Google PageSpeed results by about 5-10 points on both the mobile and desktop!

Boost Google Speed by Enabling Compression on my 1and1 Shared Host

I’ve been trying to boost my results on Google PageSpeed and I tackled a perennial nag: insisting that I enable compression to reduce HTML, PHP and image sizes for all my WordPress sites.

Well, one of the drawbacks of using shared hosting is that you often don’t get full control over your hosting settings, and a cursory Google found a number of abandoned forum threads full of people wishing to enable compression on their 1and1 shared hosting package, which is what I’m using for davewoodbridge.com.

Luckily, I kept digging and finally came across this article on Advanced HTML – and it’s super easy!

Step 1: Add this to your .htaccess file

Your site probably has an .htaccess file in the root (i.e. /) folder, with some special commands to make WordPress’s pretty permalinks work. Add this line to the top of this file:

AddType x-mapp-php5 .html .htm

 Step 2: Add this to your php.ini file

You can also create a php.ini file to alter some PHP settings, then upload it to the root folder of your website. Do this, and add this line:

zlib.output_compression = On

I’ve done this and it boosted my Google PageSpeed rank from  to 72/84 (mobile / desktop) to 74/92… not a huge jump but every bit counts for your SEO!

The History of Web Development

History of Web DevelopmentEarlier this year, CERN brought back the “original website”, 20 years after it was first launched. Two decades in, it’s amazing how much has changed and how much has stayed the same.

20 years ago, websites were just raw HTML documents served by simple HTTP daemons. Publishing meant editing those documents directly via a shell, or copying files edited locally up to the server. Today, the assumption is that all sites are software, that there’s some kind of CMS behind every destination on the web, and probably a workflow for development and deployment.

On the other hand, there’s FTP. One of the original means to “copy files up”, it remains in use even as what’s being copied has changed from the content itself (raw HTML) to the code for the software behind it. These days everyone uses its secure cousin (SFTP) but the song remains the same: even in an era where version control is considered best-practice, this stolid warhorse of the web doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.

Now you don’t have to make a choice between the tools you know — developing online via FTP — and the tools you want (version control, feature branching, CI and automated deployment). That’s about “changing the game for website development”. It’s the best of both worlds.

This article is original posted on prafulla.net.