One of the most important reasons educators and students should carefully consider blogging platforms like Class Blogmeister, Blogger, WordPress,com, and Edublogs is that blogging software provided via these services is updated / maintained for users by professionals. When you host your own WordPress blog, as I do, you’re on your own for technical support issues as well as upgrades. While there are great benefits to hosting your own blog instance of WordPress (like using a variety of custom plug-ins) the need to stay on top of upgrades is a major factor to consider. This can be time consuming, although more recent WordPress functionalities (like being able to update most plugins directly from the browser dashboard, without using FTP) can make this process somewhat easier and faster.

Today, I completed an overdue update of the core WordPress files as well as plug-ins (including Podpress and WordPress Mobile Edition) on the five personal/family WordPress blogs I maintain along with the conference blog for the K-12 Online Conference. My personal / family WordPress blogs are:

  1. Moving at the Speed of Creativity
  2. Eyes Right
  3. Learning Signs
  4. String and Me
  5. Talking Science

Alexander hasn’t done anything with “String and Me” since last summer, and Talking Science has been inactive for even longer. I have used Talking Science as a WordPress sandbox in the past to test plugin functionality which I wanted to confirm before putting it on our other WordPress blogs which are essentially “production” blogs – active blogging platforms we’re using regularly. When you’re maintaining your own WordPress installation(s) I think it is a VERY good idea to have a sandbox installation of WordPress so you can test both new core file upgrades as well as plug-ins there first.

One of the other things I updated on all five of my hosted WordPress blogs is the list of “Update Services” saved in the dashboard settings under SETTINGS – WRITING. Update Services are sites which keep track of new blog posts, and are notified automatically by WordPress whenever a user posts a new entry. It makes sense to list multiple update services, since this increases the chances your blog posts will be indexed and linked out in the blogosphere as well as searchable / Googleable web. These are the update services I currently use for all my blogs. There is no charge to utilize these and make this configuration change to your WordPress:

http://rpc.pingomatic.com/

http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping

http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2

http://services.newsgator.com/ngws/xmlrpcping.aspx

http://rpc.weblogs.com/RPC2

Interestingly, this is NOT a configuration setting which is provided for WordPress.com blogs.

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