Keeping in contact & chocolate

email.jpgCouple of things this week… first up if you take a soujourn over to your ‘Plugins’ area you’ll find a brand new toy.

Just turn on the ‘Contact Form’ plugin, configure it and drop %%wpcontactform%% into a post or page and hey presto… your readers, students, gran and family pets can send you an email straight from your blog!

There’s even a spam stopping maths question, so you won’t get harassed by bots.

Second up you might be interested in the ’31 days to a better blog’ chocolate challenge , to which edublogs is contributing a small pile of chocolate.

Notable edubloggers involved in the challenge include Mobile Technology in TAFE, My Technology Addictions, and Al Upton and the minilegends. Go show them support, and if you know of any other edubloggers taking the challenge… then let us know in the comments.

Two new plugins – Contact Form & Adsense Deluxe

I’ve just popped in two new plugins for a trial, namely the WordPress Contact Form and the Google Adsense Deluxe.

The contact form is pretty nifty, all you have to do is to click on the icon in the text editing bar (it’s stuck on the bottom for some reason in the WSYWIG… will try to fix, works better with the alternative editor) and you’ll get a fully working contact form which’ll email you (once you’ve configured it).

The Adsense one is an interesting plugin as splogs or non-educational blogs created purely for profit get suspended pretty quickly round here! However, I have nothing against people using adsense and that’s a legitimate part of blogging if you ask me. This makes it nice and optional and I think I can also work something into it which will take a 5% cut for edublogs to cover hosting costs etc. (well, to cover the price of a Mars bar a month more like it but it’s the principle ;)

Anyway, as I said these are up for trial… I’ve tested them a fair bit but not with a big ol’ bunch of users… so let me know how they go.

Student Blogging Is Now 100% Free On Edublogs

As of today, we are making many of our previously ‘Pro’ only features 100% free for all!

This change will, without a doubt, make Edublogs the best free web publishing tool for students and teachers on the web.

We went through and have made many of our more popular features free, including:

  • Student management – our ‘My Class’ tool, allowing teachers to control settings, group, and moderate their students’ blogs
  • User invites – providing you a simple way to get students or blog collaborators attached to your blog
  • User reports  making it easy to keep track of students’ posts and comments
  • Privacy settings – so that you can password protect or make blogs completely private
  • Themes – all themes are now available to free users
  • Plugins – dozens more popular plugins are now available to free users
  • Storage – free storage has gone up from a mere 50MB to a whopping 1GB per blog
  • Support – every user will be able to send an email to our support team from their blog’s dashboard to get help with any questions they may have. We’ve become famous for our support, and endeavor to reply to all threads just as quickly as we can.

What’s The Catch?

Well, there are some features that will remain ‘Pro’, at just $7.95 per month or $39.95 per year. These include using your own custom domain, allowing a blog to be indexed by search engines, and the subscribe by email tool.

There is a complete run down on the comparison between Free and Pro on our features chart here.

In all cases where we’ve kept something as ‘Pro’ only, we did so only to ensure that Edublogs remains a safe place for students and complies with the ever changing state and federal student privacy data laws. These ‘Pro’ features are all ones that if we made free, our network would quickly be filled with spammers and marketers that would hog expensive resources and potentially publish inappropriate content. Our filters are good, but we want to remain on the side of caution when it comes to privacy and ensuring student-friendly content on the blogs that we host.

And for Pro users, we’ve also increased storage space on Pro from 10GB to 50GB!

Edublogs Pro is not going anywhere and it will remain a quality tool that many will find worth the small cost to upgrade. We invite educators, schools, student organizations, and others to create and host their blogs and sites with us. Existing ‘Pro’ customers will keep their subscriptions ongoing, but should you wish to cancel or downgrade to the new ‘Free’, this can be done in your blog’s dashboard at any time.

In short, 99% of what you want to do with student blogging can be done with our improved free offering. Professional blogs or group websites will probably be better served by upgrading to Pro.

What’s The Real Catch?

You caught me.

Over time, our CampusPress service has grown in such a way that we are now able to provide more for free here on Edublogs while keeping our server bills paid and our staff fed.

 

 

CampusPress makes it easy to create and manage blogs, portfolios, or class websites for your entire school, district or university. CampusPress also hosts main school and district websites, all with the same user-friendly WordPress backend that folks love about Edublogs.

We want to provide the best free Edublogs service possible so that more and more students and educators will be exposed to our tools, which ultimately will lead to more schools and districts looking for a CampusPress solution.

You will now see a few plugins and features in your Edublogs dashboard that are labeled as CampusPress only. These are tools that are useful for managing large numbers of blogs, like Google Apps/G Suite and LDAP integration, for example. And there are a few more advanced plugins that are ideal for main high-traffic websites.

If you can help us spread the word by sharing this post, that will go a long way to ensuring that our plan to grow CampusPress and keep more on Edublogs for free plays out :)

If you have any questions, please contact us here, and we’ll be sure to reply as fast as we can.

That being said, we’re excited! We can’t wait to see more students than ever blogging right here on Edublogs.

You can signup from our homepage, or just click this link here to start creating your new free blog now.

Happy free blogging!

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Meet CampusPress: WordPress For Education

When Edublogs began nearly a decade ago, the idea was to bring blogging to every classroom.

Then, a few years later, our Edublogs Campus product was created to provide white label blog networks to schools and universities the world over.

Today, we’re extremely excited to share with the world the next evolution of Edublogs – say hello to CampusPress.

For way more than just blogging.

Today, every teacher needs a website, students need ePortfolios, and schools and universities need reliable and friendly web tools to make managing so many web presences painless.

CampusPress builds on our existing services, using the WordPress platform, to make web publishing accessible to all.

Existing Edublogs Campus networks will be moved under the new CampusPress name – allowing us to provide better support and services going forward.

All of our CampusPress networks come with the following:

  • a dedicated WordPress Multisite network at a branded domain, like sites.myschool.edu
  • unlimited sites, users, traffic, and storage
  • 200+ of beautiful themes
  •  100+ powerful plugins
  • expert hosting, backups, cacheing
  • 24/7 support

See all of the features and learn more here.

How’s CampusPress different than Edublogs?

As the name suggests, Edublogs has always been focused on blogging.

But, we’ve noticed our users leveraging our service for so much more.

For example, there already are newspaper sites, school websitesdepartment sites, student organization sitesalumni magazineslearning communities, and so much more.

The changes and improvements we’re adding with CampusPress will make it easier to create and manage sites like these. This includes huge investment in infrastructure to improve speeds and reliability, new tools for development environments, streamlined on-boarding, better change and custom development management, and we’ll continue to add new plugins and themes that cater to all types of sites.

No Obligation Free Trials

Be sure to visit the brand new CampusPress.com site to learn more and see additional examples.

We’ll happily set you up with a fully functional free trial too – just contact us here to let us know you’d like to get that up and running.

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