Ashton Kutcher’s Blah Girls Selects WordPress

Launched at TechCrunch50 this week, Ashton Kutcher’s new site Blah Girls is powered by WordPress:

Billed as a “gossip site that features a group of animated teenage girls who provide opinions on what’s going on in the world of entertainment”, it’s one of the latest video-centric sites to use WordPress in a very innovative way ( see MobLogic.com and Revision3 for two good examples ).

[Visit Blahgirls.com ]

Post Pagination

I received a few inquires this week about how to go about paginating a post in WordPress.  Turns out it’s super simple and built-in to WordPress core, as detailed below in the Codex article:

Did you know you could split a single post up into different web pages? Using the Next-Page Quicktag from the Write Post Panel, you can break a single post up into different web pages.

Called the Page-link tag, place your cursor in the spot where you want a page break to appear in your post and click the Next-Page Quicktag. You can use it throughout a long post to make two, three, four, or more pages out of the single post.

For more information vist http://codex.wordpress.org/Styling_Page-Links

Martha Stewart Selects WordPress

The high-profile Martha Stewart blog, The Martha Blog, has switched from Six Apart’s Typepad service to using WordPress.

On her blog, Martha explains her decision:

In order to have a blog, you need to enlist a blogging platform, which supplies all the necessary tools for getting your photos and text onto the Internet.   As my blog has grown in popularity, we realized we were ready to switch to a platform offering more programming options.  After careful research, that new platform will be WordPress

Of note, Martha’s former colleague, Margaret Roach,  also launched her very successful blog on WordPress, A Way to Garden.

[Visit The Martha Blog ]

NFL Selects WordPress.com VIP

We are very excited about our newest partner in the WordPress.com VIP program, the National Football League, with their launch of blogs.nfl.com.

The NFL has partnered with WordPress.com VIP for both a rapid-fire news blog at blogs.nfl.com, as well as an expert commentary / user feedback set of blogs which are incorporated into the NFL’s exciting new web video application Sunday Night Football Extra:

On blogs.nfl.com you’ll find news and commentary about the NFL as well as insights and reports from the great Adam Schefter.

Sunday Night Football Extra will feature NBC and NFL Network analysis from the likes of Jerome Bettis, who will be blogging in WordPress.com with his thoughts on the game.  To see this in action head over to nfl.com during the game.

[ Visit blogs.nfl.com and Sunday Night Football Extra ]

Number10.gov.uk Selects WordPress

Very exciting news that Number10.gov.uk, the official site of the UK Prime Minister’s Office, has relaunched their site using WordPress.

Designed by New Media Maze ( profiled earlier on their work for Arena Magazine ) with collaboration from Simon Dickson, the site features a host of ways of communicating with the government office as well as sporting a seamless integration of other services like Flickr, YouTube,  and Twitter:

For a few notes on the project be sure to read Simon’s blog post.

[ Visit Number10.gov.uk ]

Real Dan Lyons Launches on WordPress.com VIP

Real Dan Lyons, aka Fake Steve Jobs, has relaunched his site on WordPress.com VIP:

Screenshot of RealDanLyons.com

The firm cnp Studio ( formerly profiled for their work with Sony ) did a tremendous job building the site and made great use of WordPress pages and widgets:

We created RealDanLyons.com for Dan to promote not only his blog, but his speaking engagements, books and articles. The site pulls inspiration from his new employer, Newsweek and in the interest of keeping things light and personal, Dan provided us images to use that were not the typical headshot (big thanks to Jeremy for those design skills).

Nick Gernert @ cnp discussed the benefits of WordPress.com VIP for a high-profile site such as this:

A first for us with this project was using WordPress.com’s VIP Hosting to host the site. This didn’t mean much difference for us in the development of the site except we know we don’t have to worry about high traffic days on the site, they do.  We still developed the site in a local staging environment running a standard install of WordPress. They assisted in taking things from staging to production and now future updates to the site are a matter of committing updates to a SVN repository

[ Visit RealDanLyons.com and cnp Studio case study ]

WordPress for iPhone

Along with the various other WordPress mobile options, there is now a WordPress for iPhone app available via the iTunes App Store.

Open Source and compatible with iPhone 3G, iPhone, and iPod Touch, this App works with WordPress.com and self-installed WordPress version 2.5.1 or higher.

Here is a quick video walk-through of the app:

WordPress 2.6

WordPress 2.6 is now available:

Version 2.6 “Tyner,” named for jazz pianist McCoy Tyner, contains a number of new features that make WordPress a more powerful CMS: you can now track changes to every post and page and easily post from wherever you are on the web, plus there are dozens of incremental improvements to the features introduced in version 2.5.

Here is a brief video showing the latest features:

Head over to the WordPress.org blog for more details.

Q&A with Zemanta’s Boštjan Špetič on Auto Suggestion WordPress Plugin

Over email I asked Zemanta’s Director of Products, Boštjan Špetiča, to discuss his firm’s new blogging discovery / auto-suggestion service and the WordPress plugin they recently released:

What is Zemanta?

Zemanta helps you create rich posts by recognizing your topic and suggesting useful links, tags, and pictures. So it makes the web experience nicer for both authors and their readers. Zemanta is a relaxed state of mind, where you focus on creativity instead of tricking the search engines to show what you are looking for.

How was the company formed, and where are you located?

The company is based in London and all our development is based in Slovenia, where the founders are from. Our core contextual technology was developed for a project for generating online archives of national television.

After that, we figured it’s a shame nobody is making this experience available to everyone online. We applied for Seedcamp, a European version of Y-combinator, won, and then moved everybody to London for a three-months geek picnic experience. Since then we’ve raised funding and launched the service in March of ’08.

Why should bloggers use the Zemanta WordPress plugin?

It’s painless, it’s pleasant, it takes most the friction out of creating the content. The question is, why would anyone not use it?

Describe the process you took to create the WordPress plugin.  Any lessons learned about plugin development you could share with others?

When we first started working on Zemanta WordPress plugin, we did not know much about WordPress platform or PHP. So we set a modest goal of making a plugin for version 2.5.

We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of information you can find on Codex or when that is not enough, in the WP community. Our advice to those, who might follow our footsteps would be to read introductory articles on Codex and read relevant parts of code of other popular plugins that perform similar tasks. It’s amazing how quickly you may reach your goal even if you are a novice when it comes to PHP and WP.

How is Zemanta different from other related-content products and services?

Some only offer some of the functionality (i.e. tags), some only help the readers instead of authors, some are simply hard to use. We are a one-stop-shop with special attention paid to usability and design.

We are also offering access to increasing number of premium content, where we make sure it is appropriately licensed. Sometimes people think we are just an interface to some picture search, while we actually do much more to deliver only the best select images.

What’s been the most surprising event since you launched your product?

Fred Wilson blogging about it. Twice.

What new features do you have on the roadmap that users of your WordPress plugin can look forward to?

Most prominent new feature on the roadmap is the ability to limit suggestions to your preferred trusted sources, or your friends or your own feeds. Along with more freedom at layouts, this will make our service very much personalized, as it should be in the social media.

Thanks Boštjan for your time. You can read more about Zemanta on their site, and download their WordPress plugin from the WordPress.org Plugin Directory.

Boštjan is the Director of Products at Zemanta, and blogs frequently at bostjan.konstrukt.it.