What do I have to learn to write my own blog template from scratch?

Answer by Noumaan Yaqoob:

Start with basic HTML and CSS. Write plain HTML/CSS documents using a plain text editor such as notepad. This will strengthen your understanding of HTML, CSS, web design, layout and formatting, etc.

Blogger uses template tags so you need to learn how those blogger tags are used in an HTML+CSS template. Download free sample templates from the web and study the code. It might look complex at first but if you look at it with concentration you will realize that it is not that complex and quite easy to do.

A basic understanding of Javascript would also benefit you. Javascript is client scripting, its more advanced form such as AJAX and jQuery allow you to write client side code that communicates with the server. But this comes under advance development, I guess you should come to Javascript, and jQuery after familiarizing yourself with PHP.

For WordPress you should learn basic PHP programming. Like variables, arrays, if, else, while, loops. When learning PHP use the official PHP manual it is really good PHP Manual – Manual

To set up a PHP MySQL and Apache development environment on your computer you can try WAMP or XAMPP. How to Install WordPress on your Windows Computer Using WAMP Or use MAMP if you are on a Mac, How to Install WordPress Locally on Mac using MAMP

WordPress has some coding practices which are used by most WordPress themes and plugins. You will get familiar with those by studying other people's code. The default WordPress Themes such as Twenty Twelve are a great starter point to understand template hierarchy. Each WordPress templae uses template tags and functions inside it. Which are actually functions pre-defined in WordPress core files. When building themes in WordPress you don't edit the core files. Instead you use these functions through out your theme. A good starting point for learning theme development is WordPress Codex:
Site Design and Layout

Each blogging and CMS platform has their own template engines . However, they all use HTML+CSS, Javascript and they all have template tags which tell the platform what out put to display. Study other people's code and use it as a starting point for your practice will help you learn quicker.

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What is the best Facebook-like plugin for WordPress?

Answer by Noumaan Yaqoob:

There is an official Facebook plugin (WordPress › Facebook " WordPress Plugins) in the WordPress repository. There are a few reasons which make it a much better choice:

1. Facebook itself is one of the contributors of the plugins in coordination with Automattic the company behind WordPress.com. Other contributors to the plugin is an impressive list of developers, including Samuel Wood.

2. It is regularly maintained, tested, and used by thousands of websites. So if there is a bug or something it quickly gets fixed.

3. It is easy to use and integrate into any WordPress powered website.

My second choice would be Simple Facebook Connect (Simple Facebook Connect).

1. Simple Facebook Connect is very easy to use and is written by Samuel Wood who is one of the core contributors of WordPress. This means that the plugin follows the coding practices of WordPress.

2. It is very well documented, and the plugin author himself is very active on WordPress forums. Most questions related to the plugin get resolved quickly.

The answer also depends on which features you need for your website. For example, if you just need a like a button along with other social networking buttons such as twitter and google+ then you probably don't need either of above mentioned plugins, you should then use a plugin like Digg Digg WordPress › Digg Digg " WordPress Plugins.

You can also obtain code for Facebook social plugins and implement them into your website. Social Plugins this way you can only get the plugin you need.

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My Answer to Which are the best WordPress Themes for Social Media Blog?

When choosing among best WordPress themes for social media blog, or any other purpose there are a few rules that one should follow. These rules are applicable to almost all cases. 

  • What things you want to do on your blog.
  • What kind of content you will be posting
  • How lengthy your average posts would be
  • How many images you will be uploading do you need gallery and jquery effects for your galleries. 
  • How you would like to showcase content on your main page. 

I myself use a simple pencil and paper approach to create initial sketches of my websites before going out and looking for themes.

There are several hundred free themes available in the official wordpress repository. Some of them will fit all the requirements you have for your website in your mind. After finding those few, you need to eliminate the ones you don't like. In the end you will have no theme or just the one theme that will probably need a lot of configuration to be exactly like what you want it to be. 

There is no theme that will fit all your needs, no such theme has been created by anyone yet. So you need to find a theme that provides the basic functionality you desire and then start modifying and configuring it to meet your needs. 

Now since you asked for Themes Specifically, these are the themes that I like the most and I think these themes are flexible enough to easily modify for many different kind of websites: 

  • Twenty Ten – The most downloaded WordPress theme of All times, also look around for TwentyTen child themes. This theme is probably the most powerful Free WordPress theme ever. 
  • Thematic – A theme framework with many child themes available. Thematic is very powerful and can be fully customized via child theme. 
  • Arras Theme – It is a nice magazine style WordPress theme with sliders featured posts and a lot of features. I don't know why it isn't in official theme repository.
  • Minimatica – A nice minimalistic style wordpress theme with a lot of options. supports featured images, custom header, custom menus, etc. 
  • Grisaille – A simple nice wordpress theme with an elegant emphasize on visual appeal and typography. Supports featured-images, custom headers, menus, social media icons on top, etc. 

For a more wide variety of themes you would probably want to consider some premium themes. ThemeForest has some good collection of premium themes for different kind of websites. There are also a lot of blogs that publish lists of premium themes (with affiliate links) for different kind of websites.

Which are the best  wordpress theme for social media blog?

Real People with Real Stories

I love stories and by stories I mean people recounting events, narrating lives, describing emotions and feelings in context. Whether its fictional or not, I believe that storytelling is powerful, beautiful and fantastic. More than often, I talk about story-telling because I am so fascinated by the craft.

Storytelling is not just limited to writers. Even ordinary people who don’t think of themselves as writers, would carefully pickup words, form sentences, build structure and emotions around their stories. They would try their best, to not only just tell you what happened, but to also convey the feelings and emotions behind the events.

On Quora someone asked, “What does it feel like to have schizophrenia?“. The answers are from real people having this disorder. The answers are simple, no complicated words, no fancy vocabulary, yet they are so emotionally charged and you can almost feel what people are writing. This is a beautiful example of narrating lives. The pain in these answers is so clearly visible, there is the glimpse of the horror these people face when their realities are turned down and the world around them becomes a matrix. There is courage in struggling with paranoia, disorder, chaos, and disbelief. There is hope that things will get better by each day.

What I love about Quora, is that an ordinary person like me, can just walk in and sit among many brilliant people, and just listen. These people talk about everything from science to arts, history and future, crafts and culture. I can ask them questions, and sometimes I can even answer questions. The fascinating part is that the human desire to share knowledge has given us so many tools and technologies. However, narrating human lives by sharing stories is still the most powerful one.

My Answer: What are The best Bollywood Movies of 1960s?

The 1960s was the golden decade in the history of the Indian cinema. During this time film makers experimented with several genres and audiences applauded. It was a brilliant decade with so many talented actors and actresses, directors and musicians, singers and songwriters. The songs, the cinematography, the arrival of color to the movies. It was all just too awesome for the audiences as well as the movie makers.

Two epic movies were the highlight of the decade Mughal-e-Azam and Raj Kapoor's Sangam. Also it was the decade of suspense thrillers with movies like Beed Saal Baad, Gumnaam, and Teesri Manzil. Some of the best Bollywood movies from 1960s are:

  1. Mughal-e-Azam (1960) One of the greatest Hindi films ever made.
  2. Bees Saal Baad (1962 B/W ) One of the classics and beautifully done Indian suspense thriller of all time.
  3. Sangam (1964) Produced and Directed by Raj Kapoor, Starring Vajyantimala, Rajindar Kumar and Raj Kapoor himself. Sangam was a trendsetter in many ways.
  4. Guide (1965) Starring Dev Anand as Guide and Wahida Rahman.
  5. Gumnaam (1965) One of the most popular suspense thriller films ever made in the history of Hindi Cinema.
  6. Teesri Manzil (1966) Shammi Kappor, Asha Parekh another suspense thriller.
  7. Jewel Theif (1967) Dev Anand, VajyantiMala
  8. Padosan (1968) Mehmood, Sunil Dutt, Saira Bano, Kishore Kumar. A Classic romantic comedy.

Some songs from the decade just to give the readers a taste of the 60s:

Mughal-e-Azam – Jab Pyar Kya tu Darna Kya

Bees Saal Baad – Kaheen Deep Jale Kaheen Dil

Sangam – Ye Mera Prem Pattar Parh Kar

Guide – Aj phir Jenay Ki Tamanna Hai

Teesri Manzil – O Haseena Zulfo Wali

Jewel Theif – Honto pe Aisi Baat

Padosan – Meri Pyari Bindu

My answer to What does it feel like to regularly write in a journal or diary?

As a child I wrote notes and kept them hidden. Then I think that probably my mother discovered my notes, she bought me a diary. It was very beautiful, I can even feel the smell of its paper in my mind. It had a nice black leather cover, pages were thick and each page had the date at top. It was a grownup's thing given to a child and I just loved it. As a child when I opened that diary, the date on top and blank page below it made me feel that I should fill that blank page and write about what happened today.

It was not like interesting things happened to me each day. Sometimes I wrote about songs I listened. Sometimes I wrote about my very private feelings. It made me felt great. I felt like I am sharing these things with myself or with a trusted friend who won't judge me.

As I grew, my writings became more frequent and romance, love, loneliness, desires, planning, career, my relationships with other people became the main topics. I also used pages of my journals to draw, to write poetry, short stories and even movie reviews. I remember when I watched "Forest Gump" I wrote a whole page about it, cut a picture from newspaper and pasted it with that review. Then I started pasting pictures in my diary, I colored pages, copied things I read elsewhere and decorated them with colors and drawings.

I still keep a private online journal on blogspot. My writings are usually about my wife, my siblings, career, choices I am making, which are reshaping my life. I have never written about my mother in journal. When I don't write about her, I feel like my journal understands me and is telling me its ok we can talk about her later.

My writings evolved over time, topics changed, style changed, even the format and medium (now internet) changed. Writing diary helped me keep myself focused, understand my strength and weaknesses, it made me happy, provided me luxury of thinking out of the box.

It becomes routine after a while. It is like calling an old friend and talk to them or going through your favorite part of the day.

There are also times when I don't write for days and don't miss it at all. Then something would happen or something would come to my mind and I would want to write it down instantly.

What does it feel like to regularly write in a journal or diary?

My answer to: Do you take Zaid Hamid seriously? Why or why not?

Yes I take him seriously. He seems like the kind of person who wants to take advantage of Pakistani Youth's ideological confusion. As Pakistani Youth is still studying the curriculum designed by General Zia's regime. This curriculum attempts to create a layer of Islamic Ideology on the grounds of Pakistani nationalism.

The war on terror and retaliation of fundamentalists has resulted into a conflict that has left no ground for Pakistani Youth to stand upon. They want to find out what they believe in and where they are heading as a nation. They worry about their identity in the global community of the nations and want to do something about it.

People like Zaid Hamid try to provide that ideological ground. However, since that ground has already been shaken. They give it a strength by using new tactics to assert the usefulness of the same ideology with new conspiracy theories. Since the youth desperately want to believe into something, anything, they are quite vulnerable to this kind of propaganda.

The youth's desire to believe in something can also be seen in the mass following of Imran Khan, and Islami Jamiat Taliba (Islamic organization of Students). The youth want to follow them because they need something to believe in.

Progressive, liberal and secular voices in Pakistan are not encouraged by the establishment and the youth is also not ready to buy liberal secularism because they had been brainwashed as a child in schools and colleges, and then Television and media.

Do you take Zaid Hamid seriously? Why or why not?

My answer to What's the easiest way to convert my blogspot site to wordpress?

There are many guides on "How to move from blogspot to wordpress", but many of them are missing out important points and the top search results are mostly outdated articles. So you will have to browse through different guides and make sure that you find directions to do the following:

Your goal should be to make it easier for people coming to your blogspot blog to be redirected and land exactly on the same post on your wordpress blog. A good way to do that is to use a combination of javascript and redirect on both sides.

You would also want to use 301 redirects to make sure that your new blog retains the rankings of your old blog posts. Not only it helps you retain your Search rankings but creates a fluid user experience.

During the process, you would want to make sure that your images, rss feed and subscribers are intact too. Some people leave their images on blogger which I don't recommend. I would recommend that you copy those images to your webserver even if you have to do it manually. Google image search could send your visitors to images on blogspot and they won't come to your new moved location.

Once you have moved your images to your own server delete them from your blogger album by visiting picassa web albums and signing in with your blogspot ID.

For feed you can change your feed's URL both in the Feedburner or redirect Feed from blogspot interface to your wordpress blog.

If you have many email subscribers on feedburner or other services you might want to announce the move to these audiences.

This guide might help you:

Or this one:

What's the easiest way to convert my blogspot site to wordpress?