Conversion to WordPress 2.7 begins

Some of my website clients have contacted me and wondered when their new sites will be finished and ready for daily use. Others have been expecting upgrades or major modifications to their sites and wondered if I had forgotten about them.

I have not forgotten about you, have not left the country, and have not gone to my final reward.

The truth is that I have been waiting for a major new software program to be released that will not only improve their websites, but also give them a lot more freedom to publish on their own.

I am pleased to announce that on Thursday, December 11th, version 2.7 of the popular blogging software WordPress was officially released. I will be upgrading all of my sites and those of my clients over the next few weeks to this new version.

WordPress 2.7 is a significant upgrade that greatly improves the user interface and expands the possible uses for the software. It also lays the groundwork for WordPress to be used to expand the social networking.

Many additional improvements are planned for the next 12 to 36 months, but for now WordPress users can take advantage of Version 2.7’s new interface which makes blogging quite a bit easier.

When WordPress made its last major modification to the publishing interface in version 2.5, the user community reacted negatively, calling it a step backwards. Many of us felt that it was a major step forward and a vast improvement over earlier versions, yet in many ways it did not go far enough and could be very frustrating to use at time. Automattic, the publishers of WordPress moved quickly to resolve some of the issues by releasing Version 2.6 in the spring of 2008. With 2.7 almost everyone feels that the new interface is a vast improvement and makes blogging and CMS management a whole lot easier.

WordPress 2.7 has an amazing number of customization options. If you don’t like or don’t use some of the tools in the dashboard, rearrange them by drag-and-drop, resize them, or hide them.

Among the new features now available is the ability to create “sticky” posts, posts that you can program to remain on your homepage no matter when you originally published them. There are also some excellent comment moderation tools.

The latest version of the “Dashboard” is the biggest change. In the past the dashboard was mainly used to show the latest news involving WordPress – new themes, new plugins, version changes. Version 2.7 provides a modular dashboard that you can customize with a few clicks of your mouse.
Version 2.7 allows you to compose a post and reply to comments directly from the dashboard.

In the past upgrading WordPress was fairly complicated, as was changing themes or adding plugins. Rather than needing a webmaster to manually upgrade WordPress by accessing the server with FTP tools, site owners can simply click a button in the admin interface and WordPress will automatically download and install updates.

For website customers serviced and supported by my company, Hoyle Consulting Services (www.Hoyle-Consulting.com, www.SmallWebMaster.com, and www.ALowCostWebSite.com), the changeover to this newest version of WordPress will occur in stages over the next 30-60 days. There are some sites that I support that can be changed with a mere click of a button and nothing more will happen. Other sites are quite complex and have a lot of customization involved. I will go a little slower on more unique and custom sites so as not to disrupt service.

An old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” For some sites, I may leave well enough alone for a while until I make sure that I can quickly repair anything that might go wrong. Version 2.7 is that kind of an upgrade, like going from DOS to Windows, or Windows 98 to Windows XP.

If you are a new client who has been waiting for your site to be finished, please understand that the learning curve between WordPress 2.7 and previous versions was quite steep – and I simply did not want to have to train you twice. Trust me – 2.7 is much easier to learn in a shorter time. You will be writing your own blogs and articles within the first day or two – and it’s practically impossible to break your blog by accidentally doing something stupid. As the “King of Stupid Tricks” I know how easy it is to totally screw up a website, so when I say that screwing up your new blog will be almost impossible you can believe me.

I will be contacting each of you as your site comes online and will be happy to coach you online and over the phone until you get more comfortable using the new program. For those of you who have delegated to me most, if not all, of your website copywriting and physical changes, nothing will change – I will still meet the terms of our contract.

Be sure to tell your friends about your new website and invite them to contact me if they want one of their own. Even if new clients are not “friends and family,” my rates are absolutely rock bottom even as I try to provide the highest level of personal service possible.

Here is a video that will give you a feel for the new WordPress 2.7 and how you can use the dashboard features:

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