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UI xprt needed by newbiefor rec on commenting/msg brd/etc package WordPress

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Hi. I have basic knowledge of Wordpress, but the site I'm setting up now is more simple yet has more components, if that makes sense.

It's basically a fun labor of love and nothing that I or the three other contributors ever expect to make money on, and I'd be pleasantly shocked if it ever got more than very few visitors, so on these things I'm asking for recommendations on, it's more important that they be easy to use and look cool than super powerful.

In a nutshell, the bread and butter will be blog entries, but most of them will be VERY short (like fun haikus), at least 2-3/day. We'll have twitter widget, blogroll, all of that, but the individual blogs are the main focal point. I'm doing it with no photo or design expertise. So the styling of copy is critical, and we're trying to generate a lot of listener submissions and participation.

So here's my question: what are the best tools (or tool) to meet the objectives below:

* Easy registration and opt-in for a newsletter
* Simple for users to comment
* Message board (or similar) that will serve as archive of fan fiction
* Ticker or something similar that either runs selected user comments or other text OR refreshes every time the page reloads

I (hope I) know enough to set these up myself if you can point me in the right direction, but if I can't, I will return for help. Thank you.

Answers (4)

2010-01-02

Tony Geer answers:

<strong>Easy registration and opt-in for newsletter:</strong>
[[LINK href="http://www.mailchimp.com"]]MailChimp[[/LINK]] - Cheap as they have flat monthly rates regardless of how many newsletters you send out and easy to use
[[LINK href="http://www.campaignmonitor.com"]]Campaign Monitor [[/LINK]]- More expensive as they charge for every email that is sent out but prettier and a little easier to use. They also [[LINK href="http://www.campaignmonitor.com/downloads/wordpress-plugin/"]]have a widget[[/LINK]] that integrates seamlessly with Wordpress.

<strong>Simple for users to comment:</strong>
Any theme makes this pretty easy. If it isn't easy then the theme is doing it wrong. Shouldn't have to worry too much about this. If you're looking for specific themes then I'd strongly recommend [[LINK href="http://www.woothemes.com"]]WooThemes[[/LINK]] as they are very good and affordable with a wide range of options and excellent support.

<strong>Message board (or similar) that will serve as archive of fan fiction:</strong>
[[LINK href="http://www.invisionpower.com/"]]Invision Power Board[[/LINK]] is a pretty popular choice for message board communities and I'd recommend them.

<strong>Ticker or something similar that either runs selected user comments or other text OR refreshes every time the page reloads:</strong>
From [[LINK href="http://wordpress.org/support/topic/232590"]]here[[/LINK]], you can try this:

<blockquote>in wp-includes.php around line 216 comment out the following
$orderby = 'comment_date_gmt'; // Hard code for now

IF your sql version allows for the RAND argument then itll work when you pass $orderby=rand in the get_comments function.</blockquote>

Hope that helps.

2010-01-02

Utkarsh Kukreti answers:

* Easy registration and opt-in for a newsletter
I would recommend [[LINK href="http://www.aweber.com"]]AWeber[[/LINK]] or [[LINK href="http://www.getresponse.com"]]GetResponse[[/LINK]]. These two are the most popular newsletter services around.

* Simple for users to comment
Almost all themes include a comment form on pages, so this shouldn't be a problem.

* Message board (or similar) that will serve as archive of fan fiction
If you're looking for something very basic, I would recommend [[LINK href="http://www.bbpress.org"]]bbPress[[/LINK]]. It integrates well with WordPress unlike other 3rd party forum scripts.
For more features, I would suggest trying [[LINK href="http://www.phpBB.com"]]phpBB[[/LINK]], another open source php forum script.

* Ticker or something similar that either runs selected user comments or other text OR refreshes every time the page reloads
You can use [[LINK href="http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/news-ticker/"]]this[[/LINK]] plugin.

If you need to ask anything else, feel free to message me from my profile.

2010-01-03

Max answers:

Hi, you've received excellent answers.

The only thing I could suggest for the newsletter, is to use this [[LINK href="http://net.tutsplus.com/tutorials/wordpress/build-a-wordburner-email-newsletter-manager-using-wordpress-and-feedburner/"]]simple hack[[/LINK]] to manage it.

It's a free and simple way to create a newsletter using Wordpress and Feedburner.

You could always switch to some paid and professional service later, when and if your project will have a lot of subscribers.

Good luck with your website!

2010-01-03

Brandon Dove answers:

<strong>Newsletter (Pros & Cons)</strong>

<em>AWeber</em>
- The standard that all other newsletter systems are judging themselves against.
- The highest deliverability rates out there.
- No API means that you have to manage your lists through AWeber's wesbsite.
- Old school. They've been actively developing their offerings lately and it's now easier to style forms and emails than before, but still not great unless you know code.
- Slow release of new features.

<em>MailChimp</em>
- Affordable (there's even a free option).
- Still working out the kinks because of their newness to the space.
- Full API that means you can build a custom application to interact with your lists (Alex King of CrowdFavorite has already created a WordPress plugin called Analytics360 that lets you track and manage your list right from within WordPress using the API)
- Highly customizable templates for sending emails.
- Actively developing new features all the time.

As for everything else, have you considered using BuddyPress? It's got one-click installation of bbPress forum software and functions as a social network. This would not only facilitate easy commenting, but theoretically inspire a sense of community. It would help you to encourage contributions by giving users a vested interest in your site.

Hope this helps.