Nanoporous electrically conducting materials can be prepared with high specific pore volumes and surface areas which make them well-suited for a wide variety of technologies including separation, catalysis and owing to their conductivity, energy related applications like solar cells, batteries and capacitors. General synthetic methods for nanoporous conducting materials that exhibit fine property control as well as facility and efficiency in their implementation continue to be highly sought after. Here, general methods for the synthesis of nanoporous conducting materials and their characterization are presented. Antimony-doped tin oxide (ATO), a transparent conducting oxide (TCO), and nanoporous conducting carbon can be prepared through the step-wise synthesis of interpenetrating inorganic/organic networks using well-established sol-gel methodology. The one-pot method produces an inorganic gel first that encompasses a solution of organic precursors. The surface of the inorganic gel subsequently catalyzes the formation of an organic gel network that interpenetrates throughout the inorganic gel network. These mutually supporting gel networks strengthen one another and allow for the use of evaporative drying methods and heat treatments that would usually destroy the porosity of an unsupported gel network. The composite gel is then selectively treated to either remove the organic network to provide a porous inorganic network, as is the case for antimony-doped tin oxide, or the inorganic network can be removed to generate a porous carbon material. The method exhibits flexibility in that the pore structure of the final porous material can be modified through the variation of the synthetic conditions. Additionally, porous carbons of hierarchical pore size distributions can be prepared by using wet alumina gel as a template dispersion medium and as a template itself. Alumina gels exhibit thixotropy, which is the ability of a solid to be sheared to a liquid state and upon removal of the shear force, return to a solid gel state. Alumina gels were prepared and blended with monomer solutions and sacrificial template particles to produce wet gel composites. These composites could then be treated to remove the alumina and template particles to generate hierarchically porous carbon.