What is the advantage of using Notre Dame’s WordPress platform?

One of the biggest reasons for bloggers to use our platform is that it’s under ND.edu – which means it will instantly gain more search ranking than new blogs posted elsewhere (a new .com or .org just can’t compete with .edu or .gov sites). From ND’s perspective, we benefit by having additional content on our domain and the opportunity to highlight great content.

What templates are available for Notre Dame Sites?

We offer about a dozen theme options right now, including some popular open source themes. You’re welcome to sign up for a blog and tinker with it to see the full array.

Can we get a custom theme designed for the blog? Or can we use our own theme that we find?

MarComm is not available to provide this kind of work or support outside themes. We recommend against doing this because of the complications with supporting custom themes. Every time the WordPress software is updated, your theme may need to be updated. And because of how themes are managed in WordPress, it is not possible for an outside developer to work directly on your theme files.

Is the blogging platform resting on a university server?

Like our Conductor web content management system, the blog platform is hosted on our off-site AWS servers.

We’ve looked into WordPress.com; how does your blog platform compare to WordPress.com?

It’s the same software. WordPress.com uses the same WordPress software we use. However, we may have different plugins and configurations. For example, you can use your NetID/password to log into Notre Dame’s platform, and ours is completely free (no paid upgrades).

Do you charge for hosting us? If so, how much?

We do not charge for blog setup for hosting. It is a service we provide to the University for free.

Does the blog platform handle backups and stop spam (e.g., with a plugin?)

There are a few plugins we rely on for reducing or preventing spam comments. One of these, Akismet, is available by default and is very effective. The database is backed up nightly.

How quickly will our blog be approved and set up?

We have been approving and creating the blogs within 3-5 days of receiving the request. You can be up and running within minutes after that, though you may wish to spend some time customizing your setup, theme, and writing content – you know, blogging.

Would there be any ongoing maintenance or support charges?

Because we do not charge for hosting or setup, we are also very limited in the support we can provide. Fortunately, WordPress is the most popular blogging platform on the web and has an excellent community behind it. There are thousands of blogs, resources, e-books, plugins, and tutorials to help make it easier to manage your own blog. We suggest you check out our resources page to get started.

Can the blog have a link to our website, Facebook page, etc.?

Yes. Depending on the theme, there are editable areas in the sidebar or footer that would let you do this. Typically, this is part of a widget or a plugin.

Do you upgrade the WordPress software when a new version is published?

We are committed to maintaining the software. WordPress recently made significant upgrades, which we have just deployed. We try to balance stability with the urgency of security updates so that nothing breaks.

Can we have tracking stats?

You can install Google Analytics using one of the plugins, and you would have full access to your analytics profile.