Advertising networks as a revenue source

If you've ever tried to sell advertising space on a web site, then you may have encountered terms such as CPM, CPC, and CPA. CPM stands for Cost Per Thousand (where M is the letter used to represent 1000 in Roman numerals), CPC stands for Cost Per Click, and CPA stands for Cost Per Action. CPM advertising is useful for high volume sites, although most advertisers set a limit on the number of times they will pay for a particular visitor to view their advertisement per day. This means CPM is not...

Questions

You can contact us at questions packtpub.com if you are having a problem with any aspect of the book, and we will do our best to address it. It seems as if everyone has a blog these days whether it's a work-related one, a platform for launching a writing career, or just somewhere to upload random musings and holiday snaps. Many people maintain several different blogs, each one focused on a different subject. If you run a web site, offering your members the ability to run a blog is a great way...

Trackbacks

Trackbacks are another popular blogging tool. A trackback is often used instead of a comment. A reader who owns their own blog may write something about a post they have seen on your blog network and send a trackback to the relevant blog owner using the trackback link. The trackback then appears as a comment with a link back to the post the reader wrote on their blog. Trackbacks look just like normal comments, except the text contains a short excerpt from the blog post that the trackback was...

Increasing Traffic to Your Blog

In the previous chapter we looked at ways to keep our blog network spam free and safe for our blog authors and their readers. Now that we've done this, we need to spread the word about the blog network to make sure that as many slayers as possible start using the site. This chapter will look at some popular traffic and visitor retention enhancing features of WordPress MU such as tagging, pings, trackbacks, and RSS. Allowing your visitors to use tags to categorize their posts Advertising blog...

8

So far, we have given our visitors the chance to share their thoughts in the form of comments on other people's blogs and through the creation of their own blogs, but sometimes blogging is not the best way to carry out a conversation. Perhaps the visitor in question doesn't want to commit to running a blog in the long term, or perhaps they want a more in-depth conversation rather than a quick back-and-forth in the comments section of a blog post. That's where forums come in. Set up the bbPress...

Creating forum topics using blog posts

Another useful feature is to automatically have forum topics created from blog posts. If you decide to use a plugin that offers this, you should set it up only on the main blog. At the time of writing, this could be accomplished using the bbSync plugin, which can be downloaded from the bbpress.org web site however, there are plans to have this feature implemented in bbPress itself in a future version. a) A lite version of WordPress. b) A forum script designed to run in text-only mode, like the...

Putting Buddy Press content on your front page

The BuddyPress suite comes with several useful widgets that you can use to promote the social network side of your site. These include a Who's Online widget that shows the avatars or gravatars of the users that are online a Sitewide Activity widget that works like a sitewide Wire, showing recent posts, comments, and group activity and a Groups widget that shows a selection of the groups available on the site. To enable the widgets, just go to Appearance Widgets in your WordPress MU admin panel....

Friends list

The friends list feature enables members of your site to connect to each other. Users can add new friends by either searching for them on the Friends page or by clicking the Add Friend button on the profile page of their prospective friend. When they do this, the other user will receive a friend request and can either accept it or ignore it. In the current version of BuddyPress, friends lists can be browsed by other members, and there are no privacy options to restrict this or the browsing of...

Troubleshootingwhen upgrades go wrong

If your upgrade does not work as you had hoped, then there are a few things that you can check. First, look at your .htaccess file. Sometimes, WordPress MU does not correctly update this when changes are made. Usually, an error in your .htacces file will either lead to a 404 Page Not Found error, or a 500 Internal Server Error. If you suspect that your .htaccess file is the source of your problems, take a backup of it, and then rename htaccess.dist to .htaccess. In the .htaccess file, you can...

Summary

We covered a lot of ways to offer new features to the users, and we also learned how to restrict access to certain powerful or dangerous features. Specifically, we talked about how to allow users to select different themes and edit theme stylesheets. We also learned how to allow users to upload images and embed videos into their blog posts. We talked about the potential dangers of this and how to ensure that users cannot upload dangerous files. We tidied up the admin panel so that users only...

Customizing your home page

Now that we have a theme that we like, we can start building on it to make the site a little more interesting. In this section we will cover the following Adding a sign-up button at the top of the page Adding a featured posts section to the main column of the blog Adding feeds for recent comments and new posts Displaying statistics such as the number of users online number of blogs created Time for action - making a sign-up button The sign-up link on our chosen theme isn't exactly prominent. At...

Pop quiz

A) Building a web site for people to socialize. b) Promoting your site on social services such as Twitter, Digg, and Facebook. c) Hacking a web site by trying lots of different usernames and passwords until one works. d) Hacking a web site by posing as a technician, or otherwise tricking a user or staff member into giving out their details. 2. If you see something like a Fatal Error or a Parse Error you should a) Panic I'm not a programmer and I'll never solve this. b) Reinstall WordPress MU...

3

In the previous chapter we set up a clean install of WordPress MU, which would allow your users to set up their own blogs. However, it doesn't really do anything else. The front page is pretty boring, and there isn't all that much to link the individual blogs together. In this chapter we will take the first steps towards rectifying that. In this chapter, we will cover the following Changing the default theme to something more appealing Tweaking the theme to make it work with WordPress MU...

Time for action user DB integration with Word Press MU

Download and install the following WordPress plugins the bbPress Integration plugin (available at and WPMU Enable bbPress Capabilities (available at http 2. Log in to the bbPress admin panel and go to Settings WordPress Integration. 3. Open your wp-config.php file and paste the following lines of code into it, replacing the domain name with your own define('COOKIE_DOMAIN', '.slayercafe.com') define('COOKIEPATH', ' ') 4. Go to Settings WordPress Integration in the bbPress admin panel and scroll...

Managing ads on Word Press MU

Now that you know a little about some of the more common ways of monetizing a site, let's get started with one of the simplest options advertising. If you're planning on using only one advertiser and aren't expecting to need to move your ads around very much, you could hardcode your ads into the themes you're using on your site. However, this isn't ideal. It means that every time you decide to change advertisers, you'd have to edit your theme files. It also makes it very difficult to set up any...

Buddy Press

BuddyPress is a collection of WordPress MU plugins designed for social networking. Unlike the majority of the plugins we have used so far throughout this book, BuddyPress only works with WordPress MU, and not with the single-user version of WordPress after all, a social networking site with only one blog to be used by all the members would not be very useful BuddyPress is actually a collection of plugins and it allows you to add a lot of features to your site, including extended profiles,...

Have a go hero automate that optimization

You should optimize your database frequently. Some administrators of high traffic WordPress MU sites have experienced a benefit from optimizing their database every day. In my experience, most moderately trafficked sites don't need to be optimized every day I've found once a week works well enough. Even so, logging in to phpMyAdmin once a week could quickly become tedious. Why not automate the optimization process so that you don't have to remember to log on regularly. You can automate database...

Time for action performing the upgrade

Make sure that the site is in maintenance mode before you start this process. Ideally, you should have put the site into maintenance mode before taking 2. Go to your Site Admin panel. You should see a link at the top of the screen alerting you to the fact that there is a new version available. Click this link and enter your FTP details when they are requested. Once you've completed the upgrade, check your plugins page. If you see any plugins that are out of date, upgrade them using the upgrade...

Time for action working with cPanel

Just follow the steps mentioned next to configure your live server 1. Log in to your site's cPanel. The address for this will most likely be included in the email your host sent you when you created an account. 2. Click on the MySQL Databases icon this is usually the picture of a dolphin. 3. Enter the name of the database you want to use for WordPress MU and click create database. 4. Create a new user and enter a secure password. Make a note of the password you enter, as you will need it later....

The future of Buddy Press

BuddyPress is still a relatively new plugin suite. It currently offers webmasters the ability to run a highly functional social networking site. However, there are some features that are still missing, including privacy options (ideal for the Slayers, who don't want their Watchers spying on their every move), a photo-sharing feature, and closer integration with other social networking sites. The good news is that all of these features are currently being worked on and BuddyPress is advancing...

The Wire

The Wire works in the same way walls and message boards do on other social networking sites. Users can either write messages on their own Wires or they can leave messages on another user's Wire if they are friends with that user. Users will be notified by email when a member posts on their Wire. If they do not want to receive notifications about this, they can turn off the notification option on the Settings page. Wires don't have to be attached to users. When you (or a user) create a group,...

Time for action getting your server set up

There are lots of free web server packages available. I recommend WAMP (http www. wampserver.com en ) for Windows and MAMP (http www.mamp.info ) for Mac users. Both of these packages provide Apache, MySQL, and PHP the AMP part of the acronyms WAMP and MAMP. The W stands for Windows and M for Mac. If you're on Linux, then there should be a LAMP package available for your distribution. One option is XAMPP (the final P stands for Perl), which you should be able to install through your...

One last thingwildcards and Apache

The wildcard subdomains feature is a nice one, but it's not much of a use if our web server doesn't know what to do with it. So, we've got one more thing to do. We can then get on with installing WordPress MU, I promise 1. You'll need to edit your httpd.conf file. If you can't access this file (many shared hosting accounts don't allow you to edit it), then you'll need to open a support ticket with your host. 2. If you wish your httpd. conf file to look something like the following, replace...

Other ways to monetize your sitestores

Earlier in the chapter, we touched on using services such as CafePress to monetize your site. If you would like to sell merchandise on your store, then CafePress combined with the Wishads For CafePress Store plugin is an easy way to get started. There are similar plugins for other services. I am highlighting this one simply because it is attractive and easy to use. All you need to do is install your plugin, enter your CafePress API details, and you're ready to go. You will need an account with...

Pop quiz speed up your site

Which of the following can help you troubleshoot slow loading pages a) The YSlow plugin for Firebug. b) The 3DMark benchmarking tool. b) A faster version of the HTTP protocol, which is not supported by all browsers. c) An Apache plugin which you can use to speed up your web site. d) An alternative web server that is lightweight, fast, and useful for high traffic sites.

Time for action installing plugins

The bbPress plugin system is very similar to the WordPress MU plugin system, so you should find it pretty intuitive to use. 1. Download the plugin from bbpress.org. Let's start with a humanizer plugin to prevent spam registrations. The plugin can be obtained from 2. Extract the plugin and upload the files to the bb-plugins folder. 3. Go to Manage Plugins in your bbPress admin panel and activate your new plugin. While you're there, you may want to activate the Akismet anti-spam plugin and the...

Time for action installing new themes

Installing new themes is a fairly simple process 1. Download your chosen theme. For SlayerCafe, we are using the facebuddy theme. 2. Extract the ZIP file and upload it to the wp-content bp-themes folder. 3. Enable the theme in the BuddyPress settings section of your WordPress MU control panel. 4. Your new theme should be visible on the BuddyPress-powered pages of your site. You may have noticed that the process for installing a theme is very similar to the way WordPress MU handles themes....

Troubleshootingcommon problems

Sometimes problems can crop up that are seemingly unrelated to any changes you have made recently to your site. Tracking down problems of this kind can be difficult, unless you approach the issue in a systematic manner. If you have not changed anything on the site yourself, the most likely causes of unusual behavior from your web site are file permissions and caching. In this section, I will give some examples of issues that my clients have encountered with their web sites Users unable to add...

Making your own social blog network

A blog network is all well and good, but how will your users find each other How will they talk to each other Building a sense of community is important if you want your site to succeed. Even corporate blog networks can benefit from community-like features. For example, your users could set up groups for teams or departments to share information with each other and have private discussions. There are two very useful plugins that make it easy to add social features to WordPress MU. One is...

Seamless theme integration

Unless you are creating a web site about a new product or subject for example, an unreleased computer game or a relatively unknown actor the chances are that there are already dozens, if not hundreds of the sites competing for your visitors. One way to set your site apart from all the others is to have a professional appearance. Anyone can install a couple of scripts and stick a free theme on each one. It's easy to tell if that's all the webmaster has done because the site looks like a...

What is Buddy Press

The complete suite of BuddyPress plugins includes Extended Profiles Add extra information to your users' profiles. Private Messaging Make it easy for members to contact their friends on-site. Friends Lists Allow your users to maintain a list of their on-site friends, and see who others have added as friends. Groups Allow users to create and join groups on any topic they choose. Groups have their own wires, forums and news pages. The Wire Site users can visit a member's wire and post messages to...

What this book covers

Chapter Introducing WordPress MU will introduce WordPress MU, bbPress, and BuddyPress and explain the hosting requirements of those sites. You will learn about shared hosting, Virtual Private Servers (known as VPSes), and dedicated servers, and you will get an overview of the benefits and downsides of each of those hosting options. Finally, you will learn how to plan the development of your site so that it has all of the features that you want to offer to your prospective users. Chapter 2...

Picking out a theme

The WordPress community is full of skilled designers, and there are thousands of themes available for you to choose from. There are some good premium themes. There are also some generous people that offer their themes for free, while others offer their themes under various licenses such as the Creative Commons or GPL licenses. A good starting point when searching for themes is the WordPress site http wordpress.org extend themes . There are lots of other good sites, a few of which are listed...

Other useful plugins

So far, we have added some plugins that will make the fight against spam easier. However, there's more to running a web site than stopping comment spammers, and fortunately there are plugins that can help us with virtually every aspect of running a site from setting up the basic categories that new users will see on their blogs to moderating new user registrations, and even automating backups. Slayercafe is intended for use by Slayers, Watchers, demon hunters, and their friends. The slaying...

Time for action revenue sharing

Download the AdSense revenue sharing plugin from http wpmudev.org and install it. 2. Go to Site Admin AdSense share, add your AdSense publisher code, and set the percentage of ad views you wish to share. SlayerCafe has chosen to share 50 percent of the generated impressions. 3. Your users can add their own publisher ID via the Settings AdSense Publisher menu. 3. Your users can add their own publisher ID via the Settings AdSense Publisher menu. We now have a simple revenue sharing system in...

Displaying recent posts in your blog

To encourage users to visit your forum, why not promote the most recent posts in your sidebar This is made easy to do thanks to a WordPress plugin called Latest-bb-Posts in WordPress, which can be downloaded from http wordpress.org extend plugins bbpress-latest-discussion . If you want to exclude forums from the list for any reason, you can do this by editing the SQL statement in the plugin file just add the clause AND NOT IN, along with the forum number you want to exclude.

Displaying recent posts and comments

Displaying information about how many users and blogs you have is useful, but it would make life much easier for your visitors if they could quickly and easily navigate to those blogs. There are a few ways you can do this. One way is to offer a list of all users' blogs in the sidebar of the main site. There is a widget called List Blogs Widget, available on the WordPress MU site, which will do this for you. This may be a good idea if you are planning on running a small WordPress MU site that...

Time for action lets burn some feeds

Download the Feedburner FeedSmith plugin from http feedburner. 2. Upload the plugin's PHP file to wp-content plugins. 3. Activate the plugin for yourself, then for all other users. 4. Log in to Feedburner.google.com and add your site's feed to your FeedBurner account by entering the URL into the Burn a feed right this instant box. 5. In most cases the default title and address should be fine you may want to change the address if yours is too cumbersome. For Slayercafe.com, FeedBurner picked...

Choosing between VPS dedicated and grid hosting

The range of hosting options out there can be quite intimidating, especially if you aren't used to managing your own sites. The kind of hosting you choose will depend on the amount of traffic your site gets, your budget, and the features you need access to. A VPS is a Virtual Private Server. This is the next step up from standard shared hosting. With a VPS, you have a shell account and total control over your server. You can install whatever you want and configure it the way you want. VPSes...

Time for action setting up contact forms

To install, upload the contents of the archive file to wp-content plugins. 3. Activate the plugin and go to the settings page (Tools Contact Form 7). You can also access the page by clicking Settings under the plugin name, which appears on the Manage Plugins page. 4. You can add new fields using the Generate Tag drop-down menu. 5. Further down the admin page you will see options to set error messages (such as the message users will see if they miss out a required...

Time for action installing a new theme

I've chosen a pack of themes from WPMUDev.org and will offer visitors the choice of several different themes from the pack. We should pick a nice, clean looking theme for the front page, as eventually there will be a lot of information on there. 1. Choose the themes you would like to use (you can have more than one theme available at a time), download them, and extract the files to the wp-content themes folder on your local server. 2. If you plan to make the home page theme available to your...

Stopping spam with reCaptcha and Bad Behavior

Two of the most useful spam-fighting plugins are reCAPTCHA and Bad Behavior. The reCAPTCHA plugin fights spam by making sure that the person entering the spam is a human, not a spam bot. The Bad Behavior plugin takes a different approach. It keeps a list of known spammers that it will block from commenting on, or accessing, your site. Time for action - setting up reCAPTCHA 1. Download the reCAPTCHA plugin from 2. Extract the file and upload the wp-recaptcha folder to your 3. Move the file...

Customization options for your users

Many users like to customize their corner of the Web. If you would like to allow your users to change or edit their themes, then there is a plugin called Userthemes that you may find useful. The plugin is not without risks, however, and you may decide that a better option is to just offer your users a choice of several fixed themes instead. Time for action - offering a selection of themes We touched on the possibility of offering your users the choice of several themes in Chapter 3, but let's...

Time for action creating a welcome message

Download the What Would Seth Godin Do plugin from 2. Copy the what_would_seth_godin_do.php file to your wp-content plugins folder. 3. Activate the plugin in your admin panel. 4. Turn on auto-activation using Plugin Commander. 5. Go to Settings WWSGD and add a welcome message for new members. 6. Leave the Repetition setting at the default first 5 visits . 7. If you have something you would like to alert regular visitors of, you can use the Message to Return Visitors box. 8. I recommend...

Ways to monetize your site

There are several ways that you can monetize a popular web site. The methods you choose will depend on how popular your site is, the demographics of your visitors, and the nature of the services your site provides. For example, a low traffic site may not make much money from selling banner advertisements however, if that same site offers access to information that is not easily available elsewhere on the Web, then the users of the site may be willing to pay a subscription fee. The most common...

Time for action Intense Debate Comments

Comment Box System

Download the IntenseDebate Comments plugin from 2. You will need to sign up for an account at http intensedebate.com . 4. Go to Settings IntenseDebate. You will be presented with a login screen. Enter the account details for the account you created in step 2. 5. Once you have logged in, click Start Importing Comments. 6. The import process can take a very long time, even if you don't have many comments to import. 7. Once the import process is complete, you can tweak the settings to suit your...

About the Author

Lesley Harrison has more than ten years of experience working in the world of IT. She has served as a web developer for various local organizations, a systems administrator for a multinational IT outsourcing company, and later a database administrator for a British utility company. Today, Lesley runs her own video gaming site, Myth-Games.com, and works as a freelance web developer. She works with clients all over the world to develop Joomla and WordPress WordPress MU web sites. Lesley has...

Buddy Press plugins explained

There are nine plugins in the base BuddyPress suite. Each one can be used to add a social feature to your site. The plugins are Extended Profiles This allows you to create extra profile fields, which can be filled in by the members. Private Messaging This allows members to contact each other directly. There are private messaging plugins for WordPress and also for BuddyPress which we will learn more about later . Rather than confusing your users with multiple places to send receive PMs, I...

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introducing WordPress MU_7 Making your own social blog network 10 Choosing between VPS, dedicated, and grid hosting 14 Server requirements for WordPress MU 15 Recommended WordPress MU hosts 16 Building our example site The SlayerCafe 16 Chapter 2 Installing WordPress MU_19 Setting up a local web server 20 Time for action - getting your server set up 20 Preparing for WordPress MU creating a database 23 Time for action - creating a database for WordPress MU 23 Time for action -...