Tag Archives: blogging

Information about what blogging is and how to blog effectively.

WordPress News: Getting your blog started right

Lots of people want to get out and start a blog to share their great content. However, not many people know how to create a healthy and thriving blog.

WordPress News

How to start a Blog

Starting a blog is free at WordPress.com by select the create a site option. From there, follow the steps laid out for you. There will be an option to pay for advanced features, but payment is not required. When you complete the steps listed, you should have selected a theme, site name, and several other cool features.

Creating Content

There are many things you could do once you set up the foundation of you site. It is recommend that you acquire the content for your site fairly early on in it’s development. getting content. This is most likely the main reason you started your blog anyway. The content is what is going to attract your readers and keep them coming back—not the flash pictures or nifty features.

WordPress posts

Successful blogs prioritize content creation. According to writer and blogger Eric Hines, “Cash is king in the market; content is king in writing. ” On all of his sites, he lays out a publishing goal or scheduled so his reader are satisfied.

Getting traffic on a blog

Getting your blog seen by people is all about marketing. The stronger your presence on social media the higher chance that people will find your blog. Getting social media accounts on multiple outlets is recommend if you can manage maintaining that. Link your site on social media sites by going to Dashboard>Setting>Sharing and linking all the social media outlets there.

Social media icons
Here is what the Sharing Setting looks like.

Want more about starting your blog?

For more information about getting your blog to a great start make sure to check out get your new blog off to a good start by Michelle W. and Make 2015 a Great Blogging Year by Ben Huberman. Both of those are great post on WordPress.com under the news section talking about finding success in blogging.

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WordPress Word: Gravatar

Gravatar is a free service for providing globally unique avatars. It is a type of avatar—an image or picture which represents an individual when they interact with websites, and is integrated it into the WordPress blogging platform.
Gravatar.com

About Gravatar

Gravatars were created by Tom Preston-Werner and has been ran and supported by a free service called Automattic since 2007. It’s included with every WordPress account, and always lets every user to authenticate themselves during login, comments are manage not only WordPress, but hundreds of other websites that use it.

“Gravatar” stands for Globally Recognized Avatar, because it works as a single person across multiple websites, removing the need for multiple separate accounts and bios. Prior to Gravatar and similar services, an avatar would included a person’s name. The picture and bios associated with their logon credentials on only a single site.

A gravatar is different than the similarly-named blavatar, which represents an individual blog—not a single person.

For More Information

WordPress Words: Widgets

Widget is a fancy word for tools or content that you can add, arrange, and remove from the sidebar(s) of your blog. Widgets make it easy to customize the content of your sidebar(s).
WordPress.com Support Page.

Example:

WordPress Widgets
Sample of WordPress Widgets

About Widgets

You can benefit greatly by using widgets in your WordPress blog. To define them further, they are small boxes that contain a specific type of information or application for your users. You can install widgets into any area of your WordPress blog that has widget areas available. Some themes have more widget areas than others. You can add widgets to sidebars, footers, posts, and more. You can also make customized extra widget areas in your blog.

To learn how to install widgets into your WordPress sidebar, start with this video tutorial…

References

Installing WordPress on Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services  (AWS) offer a way to host your own WordPress sight with no hardware and little to no expense on a small WP blog site. This is ideal if you want to start working with a self hosted WordPress site for developmental purposes, monetization of your blog, or just good ol’ bragging rights.

In this article I will go into an overview of the EC2 service and the various Virtual Machines (referred to as instances from here on out) that are free and paid. Some may be free to download and initially spin up but may incur an additional cost to the AWS price tier even if you are in the Free Tier. Even though I discuss the free tier exclusively and micro-instances it should be mentioned that the AWS allows for scalability of your WordPress site so it can grow as your site(s) grow.

Bitnami Logo for WP instance.There are various pre-made instances for use with your AWS account that are configured for just about “one touch” configuration. Some are free, others are free to upload to AWS but incur a usage cost, and others cost for upload and usage. A few of the providers are; Bitnami, JumpBox, and Turnkey Linux. If you do choose to go with these “one click” solutions be sure to read all the print to verify if there are any charges for the instance or use of and how the charges are calculated. Continue reading Installing WordPress on Amazon Web Services

Domain Name Services: Postman of the Internet

Domain Name Services (DNS) is a service which exist to help us humanize the addresses of networked resources. Humans remember words as a whole easier than numbers representing octal based Internet Protocol addresses of those same networked resources be them across the Wide World Web or just an arms length away on our local network.

That was a mouth full. Essentially through DNS you can type in a URL into your favorite web browser and through the process of name resolution your system contacts a server acting in your behalf to find the correct IP address that matches the human oriented address you type in.

Sounds simple but a lot of chatter between various servers near and far may happen just to pull up that favorite site that you wish to view. First your own system will see if it has the particular IP/URL pairing locally in it’s own tables. On your computer this information will be kept in a host.txt file and depending on the operating system the location varies. Continue reading Domain Name Services: Postman of the Internet

Reverbnation Master Plugin

Our guest speaker for our WordPress class,  Mr Dan Portis-Cathers is not just a Musician, he also designs WordPress webpages for music industry clients. He pointed out that a blogger with a music page needs a plugin that plays music.

Many of the Artists that I feature on my student site are found on the website known as Reverbnation . This website began as a way for local musicians to harness the power of social networking to get the word out that their band is the next big thing or to communicate/ collaborate on music related projects

Reverbnation now boasts that it is home to over 3.5 million bands, venues and music professionals. It is a great site to meet new bands, maybe get some cds to review, and network with others in the industry.

Naturally, the Reverbnation Master Plugin became a plugin of choice for my DISTROTECH student site as my blog deals primarily with Progressive Rock music, and Linux.

Reverbnation Master
Reverbnation Master

After downloading, the Reverbnation Master Player Plugin was very easy to install.

  • Use the WordPress Installer/Updater
  • Activate from the “Plugins”administration panel,
  • Click over to the Widget Page>Reverbnation Master Widgets.
  • Configure the settings.

That’s it! Once installed the Plugin allows plenty of customization. Show maps of listeners, feature album art, lyrics, announcements. In short all of the Widgets that are on the Reverbnation site are included in this Plugin. HTML5 Player, HTML5 Fan Collector, Tune Widget, Merchandise, Mail, and so much more.

Have a look at this demo at wordpress.techgasp.com . If you have a music site and want to promote it, this Plugin is one that you can’t live without.

 

Site Titles and Taglines

Site titles and taglines can make or break a site. Let’s just say you have a blog page and that it shows up in search results, now what? You probably want people to pick your site from the list right?

Well it’s not as easy as just hoping it automatically finds readers who like it and waves them over to tell them a story. The image displayed below is a screenshot of the ClarkWP site title and tagline displayed when searched via the web.

tag and taglineThe title itself is simple and the tagline is descriptive and interesting. It makes readers curious about what the students are saying. In short– it works.
Continue reading Site Titles and Taglines

Write Your About Page in 5 Steps

Congratulations! You have written something that has inspired your reader to say, “Wow! Who is this author? I want to know more!” Now you just need a fantastic biography for your About page so your readers can get to know you.

5 Easy Steps to Biography Awesomeness

Your About page should be an introduction to you. It should tell your reader about who you are and why you are an authority on your specific topic.

Your About page should specify your background, training, and overall proficiency on your subject. It should spell out for the reader why it is that they should listen to you.

If your website is professional in nature, you might want to take some time to consider branding before you write your biography.

Continue reading Write Your About Page in 5 Steps

Rant like a Rock Star

Modern society downplays the importance and legitimacy of a good rant, and they forget that even Shakespeare was a fan of the rant. The first known use of the word rant was in 1601. Today rants are widely seen as annoying, self-indulgent complaining, and are not generally recognized as important or legitimate pieces of writing.

There are 3 types of rants found in web publishing.

Continue reading Rant like a Rock Star

Blogging With Evernote

A graphic for EvernoteEvernote is a powerful note-taking tool that enables users to write and cross-platform share between computers, phones, tablets and other mobile devices. Evernote has the capability to save notes in different forms, such as: web sites, photographs, voice memos, or hand written (ink notes) notes. This tool is especially handy for anyone writing for the web.

As a blogger, it is important to keep track of many notes for current and future blog posts. Because Evernote is web based, it partners quite nicely with most blogging platforms, and enables writers to work side-by-side with their posts and articles.

Evernote can be looked at as a blogging workbench. By utilizing the following tips, you will better understand the purpose of Evernote, and will be able to efficiently apply these tips to your writing/ blogging routine. Continue reading Blogging With Evernote

How to Write Post Titles in WordPress

Post titles can be a great way for people to find your post, it can attract people through search engines, that is if they are used properly.

Post Titles and Themes

Most Themes restrict post title length to two lines, however this might not be the case for all WordPress Themes. If you would like to write long post titles, test out multiple WordPress Themes an check the single post pageview as well as the front page as they may look different.

When looking for a Theme for your site it is advised to look at every aspect of the Theme, and not just the home page, there might not be support for some headings, or there may be issues with images. Continue reading How to Write Post Titles in WordPress

Traversing the Forums : WordPress.org Support Forums and WordPress.com

To use the WordPress Forums you need some basic computer skills and a reasonable idea of what you are looking for. If you don’t, you may get stuck in a forum loop and just keep clicking things for hours till you don’t remember what you were doing….or you could break your computer out of frustration.

There are two different forums WordPress.org Support Forums and WordPress.com each with two main sections. The Forums list and a Tag Cloud of whats important at the moment. WordPress.com has a latest discussion as well as some important notices. Whereas, the Support forums only have the search and some helpful tips for getting started.  Let’s see if we can just dive on into this. Continue reading Traversing the Forums : WordPress.org Support Forums and WordPress.com

The New Blogger’s Law in Russia

While it isn’t the purpose of this site to publish political news or commentary on current events, this particular issue touched the students of the WordPress class at Clark College and they’ve asked the instructor to expand upon the discussion held in class on this topic.

Reporters Without Borders - World Press Freedom Barometers for 2104.The lives and welfare of bloggers and social media publishers are often restricted by local and national freedom of speech and censorship laws, labeled insurgents, protestors, and activists violating laws with the “goal of inciting riots or government overthrow.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and Reporters Without Borders report frequently on the persecution, imprisonment, and attacks on bloggers and web publishers around the world, citing 27 journalists and “netizens and citizen journalists” killed and 174 journalists and 166 netizens imprisoned since the beginning of 2014 on their Press Freedom Barometer.

This past week, Russia has imposed the Internet Law, commonly known as the “blogger’s law,” imposing registration, site blocking, and harsher penalties against websites found to be inciting dissension in Russia.

Russian President Putin Puts Down Internet Freedoms

“The goal is to kill off the political blogosphere by the fall.” – blogger Andrei Malgin

A report called “World Press Freedom Index 2014 states that Russia is 148th out of 179 countries on their list rating government’s media freedom and rights, and anticipating an even lower score next year due to Putin’s “draconian legislation” and efforts to restrict freedom of speech and transparency within its borders.

In 2013, the Russian Federation government introduced a bill led by Putin that would block websites and blogs regarded as extremist and requiring registration of the site’s owner and contributors with a government agency known as Roskomnadzor, the communications oversight agency. Continue reading The New Blogger’s Law in Russia

The Importance Of Building Trust With Your Readers In Your Blogs

Blogging is a dynamic and rapid way to share your opinion or expertise on a subject,  as well as a powerful way to build your business. According to The West Program, “Blogging Statistics,” 77% of internet users read blogs and, according to BlogHer:

81% of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from blogs.

In the article Top Blogging Statistics: 45 Reasons to Blog, they clarify the value and impressive statistics about the true power of blogging and the potential it holds for building lasting positive relationships with visitors.

The article explains that visitors may be reading the information presented in blogs, but whether an ongoing positive relationship is created with that visitor is another matter. Because people are often manipulated and led astray by information, they have become increasingly skeptical about information presented in all forms of media.

It is important that we realize our first impressions leave lasting impressions on readers as well as potential clients. It is true that trust is built, and when it is lost, it is incredibly difficult to regain. Continue reading The Importance Of Building Trust With Your Readers In Your Blogs

The Publisher Confirmation WordPress Plugin

Ever go a long your merry way writing a killer article. Your in the zone fingers cruising along the keyboard, you feel great your ready to tell the world. You hit publish but just as you do an overwhelming feeling of dread hits you like burlap sack full of 900 pound gorillas.

You forgot to proof read your post and now the damage has been done. People are reading it as you frantically try to cover your tracks before one more persons eyes can molest your post with snide comments.

Fortunately there is a plugin for that I learned about while reading an article on WP Tavern called “Prevent Publishing Mishaps In WordPress With The Publisher Confirmation Plugin.” The Publisher Confirmation WordPress Plugin was written by TristanH.

When you click the publish button a little alert box arises. And all it does is ask you “Are you SURE you want to publish this post”?

Alert Box for the Publisher Confirmation WordPress Plugin.