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More about .html extension to WordPress pages

htmlI discussed about adding a “.html” suffix to the permalinks of pages also through a plugin in the previous post. I wish to point out that mere addition of .html ending doesn’t enhance search engine ranking since WordPress uses canonical URLs by default. Hence no special SEO joy!

Another interesting fact worth remembering is that visitors looking at the posts and pages with .html suffix may get a feeling that they are static .html pages. But they are not! They are still generated dynamically. The cosmetic suffix is only a facade (sexing up, sort of!) made possible by the mod_rewrite module of the web server.

Here is an unintended twist to the facility of adding .html ending to the pages. supposing you use a static front page for your site and a page name of “Blog” to display the list of posts. Then http://yousite.com/ will show your static front page and http://yoursite.com/blog/ will list your blog posts. Fine. But if you use the “.html” ending for pages plugin, the blog page will have an URL as “http://yoursite.com/blog.html”. This is also fine. Now you have more posts necessitating pagination of entries and you navigate to the next page of posts showing another set of older entries. The URL will become “http://yoursite.com/blog.html/page/2”. This is not fine! Agree?

So think about this weird URL before rushing to add the vaunted .html to pages!

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Nifty permalinks

The default URI of a blog post in WordPress ends like this “/?p=#” which is neither aesthetic nor liked by the search engine bots. So WordPress gives you an option, rather a bunch of options to sex up the URI to look like any web page either in the virtual folder format showing the name of the post/page with a trailing slash, or with any kind of suffix of your choice viz: .html, .php etc. This function is achieved by employing the “mod-rewrite” module (URL rewriting engine) of Apache web server. You can find details about this functionality at this Codex page. if you have any difficulty in following the instructions given on that page, please post a comment. I will try to elucidate further.

In this web site, I have chosen .html suffix for the blog posts. But that doesn’t work with “Pages”. But there is help around for extending this mod to pages also. Introsites has developed a plugin which does the job neatly. With that plugin in action, when you choose .html suffix as permalink, it applies to both posts and pages.

You can get the plugin from this web page.

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Advantages of self-hosted WordPress blog

bloggerBlogger.com owned by Google, ushered in a “push-button publishing” revolution on the World Wide Web. This web-based tool enabled just anyone with a computer and internet connection, to have his words published on the internet without any knowledge of the technologies involved. Rather, just like writing something in a word processor. You type out what pops up in your mind, add pictures, press “Publish” and Bingo! Your Blog is published.

This watershed development gave a fillip to other players too to provided a similar “hosted solution” for blogging. And WordPress.com service was born. Right now it holds the second place in this arena, next only to Blogger. As of May 2009, over 6 million blogs are hosted with WordPress.com.

But both Blogger and WordPress.com fall under a “cloud” category, wherein your blog and the engine that drives it are hosted somewhere by someone and you only use that service, within the limitations of the allowed framework. That means nothing is under your control. The service provider may whimsically throw your blog out, lock, stock and barrel if he doesn’t like your face. And you can’t change any parameter. You have to live with what the landlord permits you to use!

And between these two major players, blogger.com is better since it allows you more elbow room to modify and customize. For deeper insight into this comparison, read this analysis in Pulsed’s “Blogger vs WordPress.com comparison Chart”.

But right here I am trying to bring into focus certain salient features of a self-hosted WordPress blog as against hosted solutions like WordPress.com.

WordPressAs of now there are over 9 million self-hosted WordPress blogs/sites existing in the blogosphere. That bears testimony to the popularity of a blogging software which is totally free and easy to use and more importantly you enjoy full freedom to customize, modify and enhance its features infinitely at will in a few easy steps. That makes it unique in the blogging ecosystem!

Here is a list of features of WordPress hosted by you:

  1. Complete control over look, feel, features and tools
  2. You own your content. It is in tact with you. Nobody can usurp it from under your feet
  3. You design it (or get it designed to your taste). You are not constrained by the limited offering of your service provider.
  4. There are about 7000 plugins and 650 themes – all free – which help you in customizing and enhancing the features of your blog
  5. WordPress enables you to make a regular web site sans the bloggish feel. It also functions as a CMS without being an overkill
  6. WordPress issues out a standards-compliant code and mark up
  7. It is compatible with different types of browsers and clients like handhelds, iPhone etc
  8. It is amenable to making e-commerce web sites with all requisite toolkits. Many professional sites employ WordPress for their mission critical applications and web services. You an find a snapshot of a few in the showcase.
  9. WordPress incorporates Internationalization (i18n) and Localization (l10n) techniques thus enabling fully configured non-English international websites in almost all known languages of the world.
  10. WordPress provides enormous elbow room for freelance developers to make a living out of providing support, developing themes and plugins and customized web hosting

Please come again. I’ll try to improve this list adding elements to the list as they turn up on my mind!

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