How to use WordPress to run a magazine, news website

WordPress is a great tool for online writers. It’s simple and yet is such a pleasure to use. Yes, there are things that need to be improved but WordPress being an open source software, you can expect continuous improvements on it by the community.

The ease by which sites can be created and run through blogging software like WordPress allow writers previously without publishers to print their works online. The problem with using a blogging software to manage your website, however, is that the tool defines the character of your site.

Once in a while, I see blogs that seem better off presented as online magazines or news websites rather than as blogs.

WordPress, however, is an extensible website content management system that can be used to run magazine-type websites. Here are steps I took to turn this online magazine on Cebu from a blog into its current presentation. I’m still working on it, though, so you might encounter issues. (Update Jan. 9, 2008: I have redesigned the site. It’s now using an even better theme that I’m still working on. I will be releasing this theme soon.)

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Upgrading WordPress to latest version

I’ve just upgraded this site and several others I oversee and help manage to WordPress 2.0.4, the latest version of the popular blogging software. Upgrading was very easy as you only need to upload the files and overwrite the existing ones in your server.

Unlike previous upgrades, however, you are not prompted with the database upgrade link after you finish uploading the files. You have to use the yourblogaddres/wp-admin/upgrade.php script. I don’t know if you need to run the script but I just did it for good measure. When I finished uploading the files, I noticed that the dashboard already indicated 2.0.4 as my WordPress version even if I did not run the upgrade script.

WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg said in the WordPress developer blog that the upgrade “contains several important security fixes, so it’s highly recommended for all users.” It also contains more than 50 bug fixes, for a listing click here.

Why open source makes sense for non-geeks like me

If you hold a gun to my head demanding that I write a PHP code to print “Hello World” without searching the web for hints, I’d be dead in a minute. I do not know how to program – in any computer language. If the technology world were J.K. Rowling’s universe, I’d be a squib.

And yet I was able to install and deploy various content management systems for my Cybercafe experiments, personal sites as well as sites of my friends. I was also able to deploy an online classroom for participants of both my and my wife’s lectures as well as classes under Newsletter Solutions. I was also able to deploy a newsroom intranet system (using a discarded PC) with a portal, an online news style guide and a searchable database of new sources.

I was able to do all that because I use open source scripts.

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