These days, more and more websites and blogs are being created and managed using WordPress, which is a free and extremely customizable platform that requires little or no programming or website design know-how in order to publish highly professional results in minimal time. One reason why WordPress is such a viable option for many websites and blogs is because it offers thousands of customizable templates (themes), as well as plug-ins and widgets that allow people to develop a unique look for their content that’s universally compatible with most web surfing platforms.
The WordPress.com blog/website hosting service offers all of the online-based tools needed to create, publish, and manage a website or blog that’s hosted for free by WordPress. In other words, there’s nothing to download and install on your computer. Everything is done using your web browser. This service is ideal for blogs, but limits someone’s ability to publish ads and certain other types of revenue-generating content.
For maximum control and flexibility, WordPress.org allows the open source WordPress software to be downloaded to a compatible server, so blogs or websites can be hosted independently. Unless your company is already utilizing a web hosting service, a minimal fee (under $10.00 per month) will be charged by a third-party hosting service.
In addition to all of the free tools offered by WordPress.com and WordPress.org, thousands of website designers and programmers offer third-party themes, plug-ins, and widgets, many of which are free, while others are fee-based. Plus, there are countless freelance website designers who specialize in WordPress website and blog design and management. These experts (who can be found using a service like eLance.com, for example) can be hired inexpensively to help individuals and businesses create and launch their blog or website.
Manage Your Blog/Website from Almost Anywhere Using Your iPad
Once a blog or website is published online using the WordPress software (on either WordPress.com or a third-party hosting service), creating and publishing new content, managing visitor comments, tracking traffic, promoting website/blog content, and other tasks can easily be handled from anywhere using the free WordPress app for the iPad.
In fact, thanks to the iPad’s word processing capabilities, in addition to its ability to take and edit photos; shoot and edit video; record and edit audio; and manage Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Vine, YouTube, and other online social networking accounts, the tablet offers a powerful and very viable mobile blogging/website management platform.
To find the WordPress app, launch the App Store app from your tablet, and within the Search field, enter the keyword WordPress, or visit this direct link. If your goal is to create content while on-the-go and handle basic blog or website management tasks from your iPad, the official WordPress app should meet your needs.
As soon as you launch the official WordPress app for the first time, you have two options - Create Account or Sign In. Realistically, while it’s possible to create a WordPress blog or website from scratch from your iPad, you’re better off choosing a theme and initially establishing, formatting, and publishing the blog or website using the larger screen of a desktop or notebook computer. Then, use your iPad to add or edit content and manage the online presence on an ongoing basis.
Setting up a new blog or website using WordPress.com can be done within a few minutes. The initial formatting and publishing processes for new content takes a bit longer, but is entirely free. Hosting your own WordPress blog or website using the tools available from WordPress.org is a slightly more in-depth process. But, once the setup is done, managing the blog or website using any computer’s web browser, or your tablet (with a specialized app) is a straightforward process.
So, if you already have a free WordPress account (for a WordPress.com hosted blog/website, or a WordPress-compatible blog/website that you’re hosting elsewhere), tap the Sign In button, and when promoted, enter your Username/Email, Password, and Site Address (URL). Assuming your iPad has Internet access (which is required), the app will access your blog/website’s server and establish a secure connection.
What’s great about the WordPress app is that it offers a comprehensive set of easy-to-use tools that are extremely similar to the tools offered online for managing a blog or website, so the learning curve for this app is minimal.
On the left side of the main WordPress app screen is the main menu. From here, you can explore the WordPress blogosphere using the app’s Reader, read notifications from WordPress, plus manage various aspects of your own blog/website. For example, to create a new post from scratch, or edit an existing post, tap on the Posts menu option. A listing of previously published posts immediately displays within the main area of the iPad’s screen. To create a new post from scratch, tap the Add Post (plus sign shaped) icon displayed near the bottom of this listing.
From the New Post screen within the app, you’re prompted to enter your post’s Title, create a list of Tags, select one or more post-related Categories, and then begin writing your actual post using the app’s own word processor. The virtual keyboard displayed by the app offers an additional row of keys that can be used to easily format your text and/or add hyperlinks as you’re typing.
Inserting digital photos, video clips, audio clips, graphics, or other content can be done using one of the command icons displayed near the bottom-right corner of the New Post screen. To preview your post before publishing it, tap the Preview icon (which looks like an eye). The gear-shaped Settings icon allows you to access and edit details related to the post, such as its Status, Visibility, and Post Format. It’s also possible to select a time/date when a newly created post will be published (as opposed to immediately upon tapping the Publish button).
Once an entry is created and formatted on your tablet, press the Publish button (displayed near the top-right corner of the New Post screen) to publish the content online within your blog or website. This process happens in a matter of seconds, depending on the speed of your Internet connection.
From the main WordPress app’s menu, it’s possible to edit the format and layout of the blog/website itself by tapping on the Pages option. If you solicit comments and feedback from your visitors, this content can be viewed and approved (or declined) by taping on the Comments menu option.
Another useful set of tools built into the WordPress app allows you to monitor real-time blog/website traffic by tapping on the Stats menu option. All of the information that’s displayed from the WordPress Dashboard (when managing your blog/website from a computer) is presented within the app.
Within seconds, you can determine how many people have viewed your blog in a particular day, week, or month, discover what countries your visitors are from, what content they viewed, and what search engine and keyword(s) were used to find your content, for example. This information is presented using a series of easy-to-read charts and tables.
In an effort to cater to the needs to more serious mobile bloggers, the WordPress app offers the ability to manage multiple blogs/websites simultaneously. To set up the app for this task, tap on the Settings button that’s displayed near the bottom-left corner of the main screen, and then tap on the Add A Blog option that’s found within the Settings menu.
Expand the Mobile Blogging Capabilities of Your iPad
To make the iPad an even more versatile mobile blogging tool, optional accessories, such as an external keyboard, external microphone (for audio recording) or a high-resolution digital camera (with Apple’s optional iPad Camera Connection Kit) can be used to create, edit, and then publish content from almost anywhere.
The WordPress app works with any iPad or iPad mini Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi + Cellular model. However, having 3G/4G (LTE) cellular Internet connectivity helps to insure an Internet connection will be available in more remote locations where a Wi-Fi hotspot or wireless network doesn’t reach. This is particularly important for mobile bloggers who opt to publish content often, and from wherever they happen to be.
Third-Party App Options for Managing a WordPress Blog/Website
The official WordPress app is free, however, several other third-parties offer alternate mobile blogging options that are compatible with WordPress blogs and websites. Some of these apps include: BlogPad Pro for WordPress ($4.99), Blogsy for WordPress ($4.99), and Prose: Blog Editor for WordPress and Blogger ($2.99).
In addition to having more feature-packed word processing and spell checking capabilities built into the app, the BlogPad Pro for WordPress app, for example, allows content to be created offline and stored within the iPad until an Internet connection can later be established. Plus, the app offers an auto-saving feature, so a draft is never accidently lost. For more advanced users, this app also includes the ability to write or edit HTML coding that’s used to format the blog/website, along with the theme being used.
Even with the more complex features built into BlogPad Pro, the on-screen menus are straight forward and intuitive. In fact, as a new post is being created, the formatting toolbar displayed near the top of the screen closely resembles what’s offered when creating WordPress content from a computer. By tapping on specific command icons, text formatting, inserting photos, videos and attachments, spell checking, performing a search and replace, adding tables, and other options are readily available, while the content being created is shown using a visual WYSIWYG editor.
If you’ve been thinking about becoming a blogger or want to manage a new website, using the WordPress platform offers several compelling advantages, one of which is the ability to manage almost all aspects of the blog/website using a specialized iPad app while on the go.