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November 11 2013

VitaminCM.com is Looking for Guest Bloggers on Technology Topics

Good Opportunity for New Bloggers to Get Practice and Exposure I guess that time has finally come, I’m ready to ask for some help. I’m looking for 1 or 2 people to write a few guest posts. If you have that burning itch to put your thoughts on pap ...

VitaminCM.com is Looking for Guest Bloggers on Technology Topics

Good Opportunity for New Bloggers to Get Practice and Exposure I guess that time has finally come, I’m ready to ask for some help. I’m looking for 1 or 2 people to write a few guest posts. If you have that burning itch to put your thoughts on pap ...

January 21 2013

VitaminCM.com on Top 100 Technology Blogs List

VitaminCM.com on Top 100 Blogs List

VitaminCM.com on Top 100 Blogs List

I received word that VitaminCM.com was added to a list of the Top 100 Technology Blogs. You can see that we came in 80th place. Not bad.

Top 100 Tech Blogs Infographic

Top 100 Tech Blogs Infographic

You can see the full list of the Top 100 Tech blogs here.

View Some Videos from the VitaminCM Podcast

[tubepress}

June 17 2011

How To Set Up a WordPress Blog

Step-by-Step Instructions with Video Tutorials

Set Up a WordPress Blog Tutorial

Creating your own Blog

So you want to share your thoughts with the rest of the world? Well, starting your own blog will give you the power and flexibility to publish text, photos, video, and much more to the Internet.

Now, you’re probably thinking that all of this power and flexibility comes with a high price tag and steep learning curve. Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

I’m going to show you how to go from someone with interesting ideas to share, to a full-fledged blogger in no time flat. You will learn how to perform every single task involved in creating, configuring, writing, and maintaining very own fully customized blog.

Best of all, it will cost you *nearly nothing. ($5.00 or less per month)

Every bit of the process is covered through step-by-step explanations, annotated screen shots, and video demonstrations.

Why you should own your Blog

Many people have free blogs on sites like Blogger, Tumblr, or WordPress.com. These free services have simple, effective functionality, but they don’t have the flexibility and power that you may need. You can’t have your own domain name on these services, or customize to your heart’s content. Even more important; you don’t own your data.

If you want to have a blog that you own, has your own domain name, and allows you to make unlimited customizations, you need to host your own blog. This tutorial will show you how to install, configure, customize, and publish your own blog using free software and inexpensive web hosting.


Getting Started

Before you get started with software, servers, and writing, you need to get organized. You need to know what you are going to be doing. Let’s look at a few things that you need to consider before writing your first brilliant article.

Start by asking a few very basic, but critically important questions:

  1. What is your blog about? This is the very first thing that you should consider.
  2. What ideas and concepts are you going to write about? Laser focus or potpourri?
  3. What categories will you use to group your articles? (Music, Art, Politics, Sports, etc.)
  4. What interesting features do you want to have on your blog? (Photos, video, reader polls, etc.)

Once you’ve hammered that out, you should start to generate a few ideas for names.

What You Will Need:

You will need a combination of services and software to perform all of the subsequent steps in this tutorial.

Getting your Domain Name and Hosting

After you determine your concept and topics, start to brainstorm good domain names. Yes, the first few good ones that you come up with will already be taken. You should make every effort to get a domain name that is ends in .COM (.NET is worse, but acceptable) Try to make the name short, with keywords that relate to your topic. By all means, DO NOT get a domain name with a HYPHEN in it!

If you want to think long term, you may want to spend a few extra dollars to grab the .NET and .TV versions of your name too. This will allow you to extend your offerings down the road.

You can buy your domain name from lots of places. It will be less than $10 for the year. Many web-hosting companies give you one free domain name as part of your hosting package. (I would recommend this route.)

Web Services

Web Hosting: You will need to pay a web host to store your site’s pages and files on a server. There are thousands of web hosting companies available from $5/month on up.

Select one that has the following options:

  • PHP Server: (this is the server software that processes the commands that make your blog work.)
  • MySQL Database Server: This is the free, open source database that runs just about every blog on the internet
  • FTP Server:  This is the service that will allow you to move files from your local computer to the web server.
  • Scalability:  If your website takes off, you may need to move to a bigger server. Make sure that your host has several packages so that you can gradually move up the ladder as needed.

Desktop Software

Once you buy your domain and web hosting, you will need to set up your FTP software. Just about every web-hosting provider has a Help or FAQs section that will show you how to set up your FTP client. Follow their instructions so that you will be ready to start working.

  • FTP Software: Your web host will have an FTP service that will allow you load your files to their server. You need an FTP Client (software on your computer) to connect to the server and move the files. There are several FTP clients available. Some are free and others are not. Every one has a camp of supporters and detractors, so I’ll just recommend the one I use. I like Filezilla, because it is free, Open Source and works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. (Get Filezilla here.) If you don’t like it, just search Google for another one that meets your specific needs.
  • Zip Software: Most of the files that you need to set up a WordPress blog are contained in a Zip archive. You need an application to open and extract files in Zip archives. Mac and Linux have them built in. If you are on Windows, download 7-Zip. It’s free and works very well.
  • Text Editor: The beauty of working Content Management System is that inexperienced users don’t “have to” get their hands dirty in any code. However, advanced users still have that option. You should still always have a good text editor at your disposal, ‘cause ya never know. All three Operating Systems (Windows, Mac, and Linux) come with built-in text editors, but there are better ones available for free.
  • Windows – NotePad++
  • Mac – Smultron or Text Wrangler
  • Linux – Emacs, Vim, or Gedit
  • *I’m sure that there are even better choices available, but these should handle your needs just fine.

Blog Software

Blogs are run on Content Management System (CMS) that store, organize, and display your information. The CMS software will reside and run on your server.

  • WordPress: The Content Management System (CMS) software that will run your blog. WordPress is free, open-source software that you will download and set up on your web server.

Click here to see even more information on the next page; including multiple video tutorials.


April 06 2011

VitaminCM.com is Looking for Guest Bloggers

Good Opportunity for New Bloggers to Get Practice and Exposure

VitaminCM.com Looking for Guest Bloggers
I guess that time has finally come, I’m ready to ask for some help. I’m looking for people to write a few guest posts. If you have that burning desire to put your thoughts on paper (so-to-speak), here’s you big chance.

What I’m Looking For

Someone with a passion and energy for helping people learn new, useful, fun things.

  • Do you like computers, gadgets, music, photos, video?
  • Do you like to learn new things and share it with people?
  • Do you have strong opinions?

If you answered heck yes to the previous questions, then keep reading.

I’m looking for someone who can write an article or two. These articles can be TutorialsTips,Best Practices, Product Reviews, Angry Rants about Technology Aggravations, Opinions,Predictions, or something else related to the core subject matter of VitaminCM.com.

What I’m Not Looking For

Now that you know what I am looking for, here is what I’m not looking for:

Someone exactly like me. If I want more stuff like mine, I’ll drink some coffee and write all night long. I’m looking for  new voices with a new take on the site’s core topics. (Tutorials, Technology, Gadgets, and Social Media)

What’s in it For YOU?

Fame, Fortune, and Millions of Adoring Fans. (Alright, I can’t promise any of that.) This is not a paying gig, the revenue and budget here is non-existent. I use my day job to pay the bills, this is purely a labor of love.

Seriously, contributors will get an Author page with links to their site(s) and other works. Your bio will appear at the bottom of your article(s) and it is ok to include one or two RELEVANT links to yoru content in the body of your article.
Plus, I go out of my way to push, plug, and promote anyone that I work with. I have established profiles on just about every relevant social media site on the web. It’s always nice to get and give favors. While I don’t currently have the budget to pay in cash, I will give you whatever help that I can on your ventures.

In addition to all of that, you get a chance to get your voice heard in a different venue. This is probably best for someone new, trying to build their chops and exposure. When I was starting out, I would have loved to get a chance to get my work seen on some other sites.

How to Apply

Send me an email at CM@VitaminCM.com with “Guest Blogger” as the subject.

Include the following:

  • Name and Contact Information
  • Samples of your work: Links to your favorite posts or a Word document with some of your writing. I care a lot more about enthusiasm than perfection.
  • What you would like to write about: Ideas, Topics, Opinions, Experiments, Surveys, whatever.
  • When and how often you can contribute: Monthly, Weekly, etc.

Good luck, I can’t wait to hear from you.

There are a lot of interesting things coming up, DON’T MISS ANYTHING!

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See some of the other places where you can connect with me out there in the wilds of the internets.

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  3. VitaminCM Site Relaunch First of all, I would like to apologize for the down time in the past month or so. I have been tied up at my day job and a personal business venture. During that time...

February 12 2011

WordPress Ebook Video Tutorials

Video Support for My WordPress EBook

This collection of videos shows how to perform all of the tasks outlined in my WordPress: From Beginner to Expert ebook. You will learn everything you need to know to create a customized, professional blog using WordPress. Create your very own professional, customized blog from scratch.

How to Download the WordPress Software

This video shows all of the steps in the process of Downloading the WordPress Software.

View the rest of the videos in the series:

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  1. How To Set Up a WordPress Blog Step By Step Instructions with Video Tutorials Many people have free blogs on sites like Blogger or Wordpress.com. These free services have simple, effective functionality, but they don't have the flexibility and functionality that you...
  2. Configure the Settings on a WordPress Blog (Tutorial) What to do After You have Installed WordPress After you install the WordPress software on your web server, there are some configuration steps that you need to take to set your blog up. This tutorial...
  3. Controlling the Look of a WordPress Blog Using Themes Making your Blog Beautiful was Never So Easy When you start writing articles on your WordPress blog, you'll probably want to change it's appearance. The look and feel of a WordPress blog are controlled by...


December 28 2010

10 Best Desktop Blogging Editing Applications

Posting to your Blog Using Desktop Software

Overview: Find out what 10 Desktop Blogging Applications can do to help you post articles to your blog.

10 best desktop blogging apps

The WordPress web interface gives you everything you “need” to write and publish blog posts. Just because the web interface can do a lot, does not mean that it is the “best” tool for everyone. Many people prefer to write and publish their posts from a desktop blogging editor. There are numerous applications that provide you a powerful set of tools for writing and publishing posts directly from your desktop. There are a few significant advantages to writing your posts using a desktop blog editor:

  • You can still write when you are not connected to the internet
  • Feature-rich desktop publishing experience
  • The performance is MUCH faster than the web interface
  • Excellent media insertion, editing, and management
  • Support for plugins that provide tailored functionality

Here are some of the more popular desktop blogging editors.

Top of the Heap – Desktop Blogging Apps

There are only about three apps that I think are sure things.

  • Windows Live Writer
  • MarsEdit
  • Zoundry Raven


Windows Live Writer – This is my favorite desktop blogging tool on any operating system at any price. Best of all, it’s free! Every possible feature that you could want is included in Live Writer. I use a Mac to write my blog posts, but I run Parallels (virtual machine) to run this Windows only app. Yes, it’s that good. I just hope that they make a Mac version some day.

What I Love:

  • Publish posts as DRAFT status and opens the web-based post editor in one click
  • Plugins – an increasing amount of useful tools that make the rich get richer
  • Compose posts with your blog theme’s formatting applied in real-time
  • Edit existing posts
  • Very polished interface and user experience

Could be Better:

  • It occasionally adds some funky code
  • No version for Mac

Windows Live Writer Interface

windows live writer overview

MarsEdit – MarsEdit is a half-step behind Windows Live Writer, but it’s still the best blogging tool available for Mac. It costs $30, but it’s definitely worth it if you want to avoid the hassle of running a Windows Virtual Machine. I think it’s about one version away from being truly awesome.

What I Love:

  • You can edit code in the app or your favorite code editing app
  • Nice smooth working experience
  • You can add a lot of Post metadata directly in the interface

Could be Better:

  • The ability to Post as Draft instead of Published
  • It seems like there are always about 12 windows open
  • No Windows version

MarsEdit Interface

MarsEdit Overview

Zoundry Raven – This is a pretty good (Windows only) tool if you’re on a PC and you don’t want to use Windows Live Writer. (Not quite sure who would do that; but I digress.) It has almost all of the “must-have” features that I typically look for in a slightly less polished package. The one nice thing I like is that there is a portable version that can be run on any Windows machine, right from a USB Flash drive. (See how to set up Portable Apps on a USB drive here .)

What I Love:

  • Very clean, sensible writing interface
  • Contains a ton of features, even compared to the paid apps
  • You can get a portable version that loads on a USB drive and runs on any Windows machine

Could be Better:

  • No Mac Version
  • No plugins or extensions

Zoundry Raven Interface

Zoundry Raven Overview

They Could Have Been Contenders

These apps could be good if they just add some of the features and stability of the big dogs. Close, but no cigar.

  • Ecto
  • Qumana
  • Blog Desk
  • Blog Jet

Ecto –  $20 – I used Ecto for a little while (right after Qumana) to write posts. It has a few more features than Qumana, but it’s not nearly as good as MarsEdit. Believe me, the extra $10 is well worth it.

What I Love:

  • It has a decent WYSYWIG interface
  • It integrates with Flickr and Amazon

Could be Better:

  • Not great options for working with Code and Design views
  • No upload as draft
  • It’s just not-quite-right

Ecto Interface

Ecto Overview

Qumana – I actually used this app for a brief time when I switched from Windows to a Mac. This was the first Mac based blogging tool that I found fairly useable. I’ve moved on to some better options, but it’s not the worst tool I’ve seen.

What I Love:

  • Decent Media Insertion and Formating
  • The have good integration with their own advertising platform
    • Con – it’s their own platform. Adsense please.
  • Runs on Windows and Mac

Could be Better:

  • No easy way to add CSS Styles to content. (Headings, etc.)
  • No plugins

Qumana Interface

Qumana Overview

Blog Desk– Blog desk is a pretty good Windows blogging app. The interface is laid out in a sensible way that will be easy to figure out. It’s not as good as my favorite blogging apps, but it’s usable.

What I Love:

  • Simple and easy to use
  • Integrates well with WordPress features

Could be Better:

  • Not as full featured as some of the other options

Blog Desk Interface

Blog Desk Overview

Blog Jet – The name sounds like BlogDesk and the interface and features look alike too.  It’s pretty good and free, but there are a few better choices for the same great price. Good, not great.

What I Love Like:

  • Clean, simple interface.
  • Media insertion and management

Could be Better:

  • Added CSS styles
  • Source Code editing

Blog Jet Interface

Blogjet Overview

Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

These apps are just not worth a look.

  • Thingamablog
  • Bleezer

Thingamablog– I didn’t like Thingamablog at all. It was buggy and clunky. It also was flaky when I was trying to set up my sites. ThingamaBLOB is more like it.

What I Love Like:

  • It does support Windows, Mac, and Linux

Could be Better:

  • Multi-platform support means that you get a bad app on any computer that you use
  • No features – no fun!

Thingamablog Interface

Thingamablog Overview

Bleezer – This was another disappointment. It runs as a self-contained Java app from anywhere on any Operating System. Java apps kinda suck for a variety of reasons. They are slow and ugly, to name a few. Bleezer is no exception.

What I Love Like:

  • Multi-platform support
  • Not much else

Could be Better:

  • Java is slow and flaky
  • It doesn’t have a compelling feature set
  • No fun to use

Bleezer Interface

Bleezer Overview

Desktop Blogging Application Feature Comparison

The table below compares the desktop blogging applications covered here on some critical features.

feature-comparison.gif

Additional Resources

Here are a few articles that go into more detail on desktop blogging editors:

WordPress Desktop Blogging: 5 Tools Reviewed – Centernetworks.com

15 Desktop Blogging Tools Reviewed- SmashingMagazine.com

Desktop Blogging: 20 Best Blogging Software To Help You Blog From Your Desktop– WebDesignBooth.com

Desktop blog editor comparison– Lifehacker.com

Desktop Blogging Clients for Linux Labanol.org

Did you Like this Article?

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See some of the other places where you can connect with me out there in the wilds of the internets.

More Articles Like This One:

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July 11 2010

Generating Blogging Ideas and Staying Motivated

Letting your Creative Juices Flow

I was recently asked by a reader, “How I stay motivated and come up with article ideas?”. Actually, that is my biggest challenge. I have to push myself pretty hard. I have a career and a family, so I don’t have a lot of time. Then, when I do get time, I don’t always feel like making the magic happen. If I do get on a roll with something, I try to push myself for as long as possible. I work a lot when everyone is sleeping. You kinda have to make your own time.

Here are couple of tips for staying motivated and generating content that work for me:


Generate More Ideas than you Need

More ideas = more articles. You need to generate as many ideas as possible, then pick the best stuff from that collection. I am constantly looking for ideas, inspiration, questions, challenges, arguments, and anything else that makes me want to write.

Capture Your Ideas (All of them)

I capture all of my ideas using a combination of a Moleskine notebook and Evernote software. Evernote is on my iPhone, Mac, PC, and a Plugin in my browsers. As soon as I get an idea I capture it somewhere. There are not too many situations where I don’t have my phone and/or notebook. If you want some tips on using Evernote check out this Evernote video tutorial.

I take action on some of my captured ideas right away and others I just save for a rainy day. Whenever I have writer’s block or I’m just tapped out, I comb through my notes and look for ideas. This has gotten me “unstuck” plenty of times.

Consume as much Information as Possible

I also read A LOT. My Google Reader has over 200 RSS feeds. I group them together by topic (Productivity, Gadgets, Sports, Finance, etc.). This way I can quickly bang through 30 or so fresh articles on a given topic. For most articles I just scan the headlines and images, for others I read, star, and share them. The real good ones, I send to Evernote to use later. This is the quickest way to digest a ton of information, plus get a quick temperature check on your field. See how to use Google Reader like an information ninja.

Be a Man of the People – Get out there and mingle!

The other thing that I have done lately is GET OFF THE COMPUTER. Seriously, I look for events in my area on MeetUp.com. I get out and meet real people who might read my blog and also some people who work at the companies that interest me. You get a surprising number of ideas that way. One of the places that I go to find interesting Meetups in my area is Meetup.com. If two or more people want to gather and discuss a topic, it’s there, no matter how weird.

Look for Ideas in the Situations and Challenges Around You

Wanna hear something funny? As I was emailing Herbert back, I was thinking that “this” general idea would make a good, quick how-to article. Throw in a few good pics or a youtube video, some ads, and I have an article. So I guess, people who ask me questions are also a great source of motivation.

By the way, if you’re interested in doing a guest post here or having me do one for your site, I’m always looking for new people to work with. Let me know if you have any ideas for me or you. CM@VitaminCM.com

The reader that contacted me was Herbert Lui. Stop by his blog, Cutedge.org and check out some of his interesting articles. Leave him a comment too, he’ll really appreciate it.

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March 29 2010

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