Xangan Experiments with WordPress   2 comments

Acclimation

I’m refreshing my memory with WordPress. I installed the WordPress application to our server at my former job last year to replace the temporary Wix site, which temporarily covered for the accidentally deleted site. There are too many features to be knee-deep in. As a blogging platform, WordPress is jacked. The application is robust enough to power any website at the corporate level. Not sure if it changes with the theme you have activated, but WordPress has most of the general posting formats covered:

  • Standard – it’s the default format (can be changed) for anyone to blog away. Same thing with Xanga, Blogger, Tumblr and Facebook Notes before everyone realized that people went to Facebook to stop blogging.
  • Aside – It’s similar to a Facebook status update. A Twitter update. Xanga Pulse.
  • Image – Self-explanatory. I think Tumblr is more well-known for it, besides reblogs (which WordPress.com also have)
  • Video – Uploaded into the site or from external sources (YouTube, Vimeo, etc).
  • Quote – I always found this to be redundant and can be replicated using Standard format. Tumblr has the same format, but it’s nice to have.
  • Link – Self-explanatory.

    You also get the Zemanta plugin, which scours all of WordPress sites that contains keywords from the content of your post. It serves two things: (1) Exposes you to other blogs and posts that you have the option of relating to the current post you are editing. (2) It exposes your blogs and posts to other readers and potential subscribers. You can also put your posts into categories. On Xanga, I had this custom module which I manually scripted to include links of specific posts I’ve done. With Categories, if you or a reader wanted to revisit or read an old post, they can just search through the categories. Of course, that’s not going to stop you from creating a specific static page with any content of your choosing. That’s where Pages come into play.

Pages can be assigned to the top menu of your blog. The feature I always wanted to mimic on Xanga were nested custom menus. Not that I have tons of content to begin with, but I could have used that feature. If I was really serious into doing a full-blown blog and possibly make money off of it (or not), I wouldn’t mind paying for premium themes and customize it as much as possible. In the meantime, I’ll stick to personal blogging… and comics.

Speaking of comics, I’m liking this Panel theme. I’ve always wanted to have a comic-based blog even on Xanga. If I had the right CSS template that could be seamlessly integrated to Xanga’s new themes, it could have been doable. There’s a limit to the width of the comic, but infinite length. The comic I uploaded right now is okay, but it’s too large. I’ll have to self-mandate a fixed length in future comics, or less (than the soon-to-be mandated fixed length).

In Comparison

There are many, many features to customize your blog with WordPress. This doesn’t even include widgets/plugins and the locked functionality that comes with a fee. You can do private posts and invite as many people as you can (10 at a time). You could even add contact forms and polls for readers. Zemanta is a great tool for expanding your viewership. The Panel theme has built-in comic posting. Analytics in WordPress is more in-depth than the one used at Blogger. With all these free features available, I can see why many are turned-off by paying a required $48/yr fee for the purported WordPress powered Xanga 2.0.

On the downside, 3GB of storage is archaic. It’s understandable for an open source community-driven site. It doesn’t beat Facebook or Tumblr. Tumblr monitor’s abuse, but as long as you post reasonable content, there’s no limit. Blogger is linked to your Google account, so you get to enjoy the storage perks of that. You can buy different tier levels for additional storage for a yearly fee, though. Fully customizing free themes requires a $30/yr fee. “Because of the way WordPress.com’s technical infrastructure is designed,” they are not able to support uploading of custom WordPress themes on their service.[1] That requires another fee. You could customize Blogger with your custom themes or customize the existing themes that they offer. Another downside is that the text editor is not in Rich-text format. I can see why it’s not, because the themes themselves already defined the font-size. Still, I would have liked to have large or small letters for emphasis or lack thereof. Daylight Saving Time is not covered on WordPress. Many blogs have this feature built-in, even as to use your IP location to determine your date time. Sadly, you have to manually edit your time zone twice a year during the switch if you live in these time zones.

If I was serious about blogging as a hobby, either to make money or just to do networking and marketing myself to entertain people (i.e. YouTube, blogger, whatever), I can justify paying a premium for all these features and the locked-out functionality that comes with it. As a simple hobby, I have to question the Xanga higher-ups’ motive and design for Xanga 2.0. $48 just can’t be an arbitrary amount. At the moment, contributors of the fundraiser don’t really know what they would be getting. Just looking at the upgrade packages on WordPress that match the features the Xanga Team has announced, I’m looking at no-ads and domain mapping and registration. That’s $30 and $13, respectively, + $5 for domain registration. Exactly $48/yr, what the Xanga Team asked of the Xanga community.

When they said we have a choice of the available existing themes, did they mean the free themes? They also said no ads, so I’m guessing that $30 is covered with no exceptions. There’s also the problem with importing all the content that contributing Xangans have amassed over the years. I don’t think 3GB per person will cover Premium Xanga users with over 3GB of content. I’m sure they have a deal with WordPress on how this works. Maybe it’s a combination of other upgrade packages and discounts, but I’m pretty sure you still have to pay for premium themes and the ability to fully customize free themes.

It’s all speculation right now. We haven’t seen any mock-ups and full-details of what we are getting. The Xanga Team did say that their vision is about simplicity, community and privacy. If the Xanga Team had posted something like this post, except more in-depth and at least up-selling their Xanga 2.0 vision, they might have a shot of pulling it off. As it stands now, they need $16K+ to reach $60K in 7 days. As for me, $48 is still a lot of money to consider if we don’t know what WordPress upgrades we would be getting. I’ll always have Blogger.

I’m done.

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Posted July 24, 2013 by StupidSystemus in Site Related

Tagged with , , , , ,

2 responses to “Xangan Experiments with WordPress

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  1. One of the things I like about word press is beign able to buy things like 10 gigs of extra blog space for my photography for $20 and not having to have a premium acct.

    grannyandthebaldguy
    • Yep. Basic customization is really all anybody needs. Xanga did the same with premium accounts (gave us more storage space and more people to put in protected list). Xanga 2.0 as of now is not very clear. I don’t think they even have extra space covered in that yearly $48 fee.

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