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A little info for beginners on WordPress.

April 17, 2011

Hi!

Since I have begun this WP blog, I’ve had to scour the internet looking for various answers. A few questions I’ve had: What are WordPress plugins and how do I use them? Why can’t I change the layout of my blog? How to I add media to my blog for free?

At times it has seemed like a wild goose chase, so I hope to end that chase for others. Here I will post some questions and answers about WordPress blogging that I’ve had while creating and working on this blog.

Here’s the questions I will be answering:

    1. How do I change the layout of my blog?
    2. How do I add media to my blog for free?
    3. What is self-hosting and what are the benefits?
    4. What are WordPress plugins and how do I use them?
    5. How does WordPress compare to other blogging websites?

And I am willing to help others as best as I can if they have any other questions.

Oh and one great tip before I begin, always always always try to use the WordPress forums and WordPress support for your questions first. They are extremely helpful!

Q1: How do I change the layout of my blog?

This question is hard to answer. Although WordPress makes it easy to choose your theme (under Dashboard>Appearance>Themes), WordPress makes it difficult to change the layout of your theme.

For example, you just start a blog about food, and you want your header at the top, your pages underneath your header, your widgets on the left side of your blog, and your main body to the middle-right. That all deals with the layout of your blog.

When I first started my blog, I tried to get the pages of my blog (“About the Author”, “About this Blog”) right under my header. After struggling to figure out to do this, I finally figured out that the theme I had chosen “Neat!”, would not allow me to edit my layout.

So, before you struggle away trying to figure out how to change the layout of your blog, you should consider two things:

  • What are the features of my current theme? (Can I change what I need to with these features?)
  • Can I edit my theme’s CSS (Cascading Styles Sheets)?

Some themes allow you to change certain things and some do not. If a certain layout is important to you, you might want to consider your theme based on your ability to shape it.

A theme’s CSS is the code that lays out the design of your blog. You can only edit a theme’s CSS if you buy the upgrade.

Therefore, either choose a theme that allows you to have what you want, or buy the Custom CSS upgrade, learn how to code for CSS (if necessary), and design it how you want to.

I’m not one for spending money or wasting my time, so I will stick to my current theme and deal with layout problems as they pop-up.

One more thing, you can only have your own custom theme and use it if you are self-hosted (have your own website). I will talk about self-hosting later in this post.

Q2: How do I add media to my blog for free?

I’ve already answered this question in previous posts (One about pictures, video, and audio). As you can see, my information about them is kind of scattered. So I want to summarize it all here.

With WordPress, they want you to buy features so you can further customize your blog. Therefore, they give people enough for free for them to want to use WordPress, but they don’t give too much because they want people to buy something from them.

Everything on here that is free is usually somewhat limited. With this in mind I will give the ‘down and dirty’ on adding pictures, audio, and video.

Pictures:

Pictures are the most easy to add to your blog (WordPress explanation/help). You simply click the “Add an Image” symbol after “Upload/Insert” above your text editor’s toolbar. Your image can only be one of the listed file types (as listed when adding them).

And your blog images can only come from three sources:

  1. Your computer
  2. A website/URL
  3. Your media library (pictures you have used previously on your blog)

Be careful to make sure your pictures fit within the area you posting them by previewing your post. Here is some information about fitting your pictures to your blog. I’ve had trouble with this in the past as you can see from my first post.

Those are the few problems I’ve had since I began my blog. If you have other problems I recommend searching for answers in WordPress forum first where you can make your own post so others can help you. Or you could use WP’s 24/7 support. Or you can just Google it!

Audio:

This was the media I had the most trouble with. I really, really wanted to add just audio to my blog so you can press one button and listen to music as you peruse my blog. A playlist would be pretty nice too. However, I want this to be free and maybe you do too, so we are limited as to what we can do.

As described here, users can only add audio if they buy a Space Upgrade. The Space Upgrade also allows users to have more storage space for their blog. Another way to add audio is to get plugins and use them on your blog, however this is only possible if you have bought your own website (I will discuss plugins in depth later in this post).

I also searched Google and read that you can upload your own audio to websites online so you can have a link in your blog to it. But this is not what I want to do. I want the audio to be on my blog.

The closest one can get to having audio on their WP blog for free is by embedding videos from four select video websites: YouTube, Vimeo, Google, or DailyMotion. Yes, the only way to have audio on your blog for free is to have a video embedded in your blog.

I wish I had this laid out for me this clearly when I was trying to figure this out. I probably wasted about 3 hours trying to figure out how to have audio on my blog.

Video:

This is a great blessing on WP. For all it’s limitations, WordPress allows you to embed videos from Youtube, Vimeo, Google, or DailyMotion. The perk is that you can create your own videos on these sites. If you have your own audio you want on your blog, you can make a video with the audio, post it on YouTube, and then embed it in your blog. Just make sure you follow the embed format when typing in your video.

For example:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Iem96ITbfY%5D

Here is some WordPress information about videos.

Of course, if you don’t mind paying, you can buy WP’s VideoPress Upgrade.

Q3: What is “self-hosting” and what are the benefits?

This was another question that came up while trying to figure out my blog.

Self-hosting is where the individual has their own domain (website where individual has authority) that they buy from a hosting company.

People can get their own domains from hosting companies and WordPress is included (more WP hosting info here).

If one has their own domain they can download the WP software from WordPress.org.

Pros and Cons of Self-Hosting:

WordPress describes the benefits of self-hosting here, when describing the differences between using WordPress.com (free non-self-hosting blog website) versus using WordPress.org (users need to self-host to use WP software).

Basically, free WordPress blogging pros:

  • You get to use it for free.
  • You get to use a lot of free features and your blog can actually be pretty nice.
  • You don’t need a lot of technical knowledge.

Free WP blogging cons:

  • You cannot completely edit your blog’s appearance.
  • You are limited in space (unless you upgrade).
  • You are limited in what you can embed in your blog (unless you upgrade).
  • You cannot use plugins!

Self-hosting pros:

  • You can use whatever theme you want and you can edit it.
  • You can upload plugins (plugins have many uses).
  • You can edit the code of anything.
  • You can post your own ads using WP’s plugin (Ad Code).

Self-hosting cons:

  • You need to pay for a web-host.
  • You need technical knowledge.
  • You’re responsible for stopping spam.

I’ve found a lot of information about the pros and cons of self-hosting when it comes to blogging (like this one and this one).

From the sites I have found, self-hosting is spoken highly of. But I would think that self-hosting is recommended if you are a big company that has money to hire people to manage your website. The focus of self-hosting is on making money by spreading word of your company/product and through advertising.

For people like me who just want to blog for myself, self-hosting is too complicated, too time-consuming, and too costly.

Q4: What are WordPress plugins and how can I use them?

This was another topic that I had to research when starting up my blog. I really wanted to add media to my blog and I read that plugins make this easier. Basically plugins are software that can add additional features and functions to your website. Unfortunately WP plugins can only be used when you have a self-hosted WP blog.

In other words, don’t worry about it if you don’t want to pay and don’t want to self-host your blog.

Q5: How does WordPress compare to other blog sites?

I started using WordPress because I had heard that many companies used WordPress. I wanted to learn something useful and I wanted to write, so voila! I chose WordPress.

You may be wanting to blog for other reasons.

But what are your other options? And how does WordPress stack up to the competition?

I found a quick list of popular blog sites on doityourself.com

Free blog sites:

  • Blogger.com
  • WordPress.com
  • Weebly.com
  • FaceBook.com
  • Myspace.com

First, I’m going to discount both Facebook and Myspace. Although both are nice options for having a blog, I think having your own, separate blog is much cooler. Also, it makes one’s blog more serious and legitimate.

So, I’m going to compare the first three blogs.

To me, the most important difference is that Blogger allows for template (theme) editing for free while WordPress wants you to pay money to edit your theme. However, I chose WordPress for its reputation of usefulness in the professional world. I had not heard of Weebly.com until today. And that all ready says a lot.

Since I am not a blog expert, I looked for more comparisons/recommendations:

  • Pulsed.com compares both Blogger and WordPress here.
  • I found this on recognizedexpert.com, where a few people recommend WP over both Blogger and Weebly.
  • I also found a Google Trends comparison on WordPress’ main page of WordPress, Blogger, Typepad and a few other blogging platforms.

General consensus from the five minutes of internet research I just did:

WP is best for companies, but requires some learning. Most importantly, WordPress has the most traffic.

Blogger is highly malleable, has the second highest traffic rating, but is viewed as less professional. I think both WP and Blogger would be good for personal blogs and business blogs. However, WordPress has a more professional reputation and I would highly recommend it for business-related blogs.

Weebly comes in last with little reputation, few recommendations, and very little relative traffic. (Wah wah waaaah…)

Of course, if you are seriously wondering what blog site you should use, do your own research. I don’t know the specifics of what you want but I do want you to find the best blog site for what you need.

Dog Blog

Anyways, now that I’m done with my Q’s and A’s, here is my favorite cover of “The Rhythm of Love” by Clara C. and Joseph Vincent:

I hope you found at least one of my answers to these questions to be helpful. I know I would’ve if I had come across this a month or two ago. Yes, WordPress does require time and effort to figure out. But, in my opinion, once you figure it out (by painstakingly going through the WP tutorial, support section, forums, and more), it is well worth it.

Until next time! ūüôā

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Get Famous, Mobile and Heroic!

April 12, 2011

Time to finish WordPress’ lengthy tutorial.

I will go over and utilize the last three sections:

  1. “Get Famous”: Pulling in crowds.
  2. “Get Mobile”: Blogging from my cell phone.
  3. “Get Heroic”: Final notes.

 

“Get Famous”

This is the section where my blog stars in a famous movie, dons celebrity sun glasses and walks down the red carpet.

Stats:

First it goes over stats. On my busiest day I’ve had 27 people visit my blog page. Not very much, but I’m proud.

The nicest thing about my stats page is that it tells me how people got to my page. This can help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), using words that will show up in search engines to draw the right crowds to my page. Very, very useful.

Spreading the word about my blog:

  • Keep and respond to comments people make on my blog. Engages readers and builds relationships.
  • Provide helpful links. Further builds relationships.
  • Connect blog to other social media: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. (Already done!)
  • Make it easy for people to subscribe to my blog.
  • Use polls. Quick and helps me learn more about my readers.
  • Monitor my audience’s growth. Keeps me motivated!

These are all great ideas. I’ve already done all of them except for #1. No one but myself and WordPress itself has made comments on my blog, so no conversation with my readers there. This will change though. ūüôā

 

“Get Mobile”

By Cell Phone:

This section describes how I can use my cell phone to record live media and post it to my blog. It also suggests making new posts with my cell phone.

My phone is a little special. As in old and slow, so this won’t be happening anytime soon. I will keep it in mind though.

Good phone for talking. Not for surfing the net.

If I find things on the net with interesting pictures/text/video I want to use on my phone, I can use PressThis. PressThis can be used a link in my browser so I can easily use things when on my phone. Pretty helpful for when I do get my own fancy phone.

Now that I’ve added “PressThis” to my Firefox bookmarks, it’s time to move on to the next tutorial section.

 

“Get Heroic”

This is the tutorials closing page where they wish you luck, ask for tutorial reviews/suggestions, and links you to more help for your blog.

This is how I feel now that I’m done with WordPress’ tutorial:

I’m ecstatic enough to want to climb a cat tree! (But I won’t and my cat thanks me for it.)

 

This post was short but I really just wanted to finish the WP Tutorial. Next time I will post something more useful and interesting.

Possible posts for next time:

  • WordPress and making a website.
  • Blogging and Search Engine Optimization.
  • Other blog sites vs. WordPress.
  • Successful Blog Language/Layout/Format.

Until next time!

 

 

 

 

 

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Adding Audio and “Getting Connected”

April 5, 2011

Hello!

After a blogging hiatus I’m ready to create another post.

Within this post you will find:

  1. Adding audio to this blog.
  2. Tips and links to better blog writing.
  3. “Get Connected”, section 7 in the WordPress Tutorial.

Adding Audio

To finish the “Get Flashy” section of the WordPress tutorial I need to add audio. What kind of audio will I add? I’ll add my favorite song “Animal” by Neon Trees.

My first question: How do I embed audio into my blog in a similar way to YouTube videos without paying for anything?

By Googling this I’ve found a lot of info for people with their own websites who can use plugins. AND they use fancy coding which isn’t useful to me. So, what about those of us who don’t own their own websites (and therefore cannot use plugins) and for those of us who don’t want to pay squat?

According to a Scribd article, I have to put the audio I own online (Archive.org) and then I can put it on my blog. I’ve previously tried to do this and I found it was complicated and a waste of my time.

I found another site on WordPress that discusses putting your audio on YouTube to get around paying anything on WordPress.

To keep things simple, it seems that the easiest way to put audio on my WordPress blog without paying for anything is by using YouTube. However it turns out that YouTube is striking up a deal with UMG, Vevo, and other music producers so that I cannot embed videos by those producers. A website named “Vimeo” has no such restrictions.

Tips for Better Blogging

As a newcomer to blogging, I’m sure I’ve made many mistakes already. But I’m here to learn, so it’s all right.

I know I’m straying from following the WordPress tutorial but I feel it is important to go over tips and links for better blogging.

A helpful website for bloggers that I got lost on is Copyblogger. This website has changed a lot about how I’m going to blog from now on. I feel that the website is also relevant for other forms of writing on the internet, but I digress.

A few blogging insights I’ve learned from Copyblogger:

  • People read blogs differently from books. They scan it for useful/interesting info.
  • Blogs should be easily visually scannable.
  • K.I.S.S.
  • Bold text to highlight important points.
  • Use headings.

The Copyblogger website also has a lot of helpful tips for writing better blogs, how to get more people to read your blog, and more.

I’m trying to use tips from Copyblogger, thus this post looks different from older posts. My blog will continue to develop into a more interesting and scannable blog.

On with the tutorial!

“Getting Connected” with the WordPress Tutorial

This section is all about using WordPress resources to help with the content and technicalities of my blog.

First it suggests writing a lot, collaborating with other bloggers on WordPress, and utilizing the WordPress forums and support areas.

The tutorial then recommends using tags for each post. For this one I’ve used “blogging”, “audio”, “blog writing”, “writing”, and “WordPress”. The tutorial also suggests searching for tags related to your blog to find more relevant information.

So far, so good. The next tutorial section is “Get Famous” and I will work on this in my next post.

Until next time!

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WordPress Blogging: How to get media on my blog.

March 20, 2011

It looks like my test post worked out very well. The picture was shrunk to fit my template width and the text below my picture was right below the picture. Even though this blog is about my exploration of WordPress I would like to share one picture of my beautiful golden retriver, and then I will move on with the tutorial.

My Superdog, Ohana!

 

On to the “Get Published” section of the tutorial.

Step one: list blog topic and sub-topics that I can type about. Status:  Done!  I decided to just type this section out instead of making a fancy Paint image.

Blog topic: All About Blogging on WordPress

Sub-topics:

  1. Blog Format
  2. Blog Pictures
  3. Blog Videos
  4. Blog Header
  5. Blog Info.
  6. Profile Info.
  7. Widgets
  8. Tutorial
  9. Getting Popular (Search Engine Optimization)
  10. Example Post: Persuasive (selling a product or an idea)
  11. Example Post: Story (Science Fiction anyone?!?!)
  12. Example Post: Informative Researched Article
  13. Job Searching (Networking, Craigslist, Classifieds)
  14. Blog Linking and Materials – Copyrights and References
  15. Code: HTML, XHTML and others
  16. Purposes of Blogs
  17. My future in blogging (I will move on to a passion of mine)
  18. Other popular blogging websites versus WordPress
  19. Alternate WordPress Uses
  20. Blog Introduction
  21. Blog language (tone, grammar, spelling, et al)

There’s what I came up with and I found this tutorial-recommended brainstorm to be pretty helpful. I definitely recommend it for other bloggers whether in the midst of blogging or at the beginning. I’m skipping the tutorial’s recommendations about what I should begin with in my first blog post (I’ve been there and done that), so I’m moving on to questions they want me to ask myself.

Q1: Does my idea give people a sense of the type of blog they’ll be reading?

A1: I’d say so. I’m a beginning blogger exploring WordPress and blog design by making a blog about it.

Q2: Does my idea give me a chance to really show off what I’m passionate about, and communicate something unique to me?

A2: I’m not quite sure if I’m passionate about blogging just yet, as this blog is exploratory in many ways, but I’m passionate about ideas and communicating those ideas to other people. I feel that through learning the basics of creating a blog, I can later blog about my passions.

Q3: If I were checking out a similar blog, would this make me want to read more in future?

A3: If I was curious about learning the basics of blogging and about blogging on WordPress specifically.

These are good questions, but no matter what goals I have right now, I believe good can come out of this blog whether I get a following or not. ūüôā

The next sub-section in the tutorial’s “Get Published” section is about making my first post. Even though I have already done that, I’ve read over it and it does have good advice for me. I’ve been looking at all of the posts I have been writing in the “Visual” format of WordPress, but there is also the “HTML” version. Currently, I only know a few codes for HTML coding (Hyper Text Markup Language) and therefore I don’t see the use in learning it right now if I have the “Visual” format to write in that I believe is probably much easier and faster.

But what are the benefits of using HTML? I found this on the WordPress site about the text editors that explains a little about the difference:    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:HPAg72t7gxMJ:en.support.wordpress.com/editors/+wordpress+visual+versus+html+editor&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&source=www.google.com

Basically the visual editor is for people who don’t know HTML while people who do know HTML can use it to add shortcode, different fonts, and to paste in code from an outside source.¬†It sounds like¬†the HTML code could be useful to explore later on in this blog. But what is a “shortcode”?¬†Shortcodes are “WordPress-specific code that lets you do nifty things with very little effort”. Some examples: embed a google map,¬†videos, slideshows and more.¬†I will definitely explore the¬†HTML editor later¬†on when I¬†am more experienced in WordPress basics. Continuing on with the tutorial.

Next the tutorial is going to instruct me about how to make an “About Me” page. To do this I need add a page which I can do by choosing “Pages” and “Add New” on the lefthand menu.¬†I’ve¬†created an “About the Author” page, but now I don’t know how to find it. It turns out that only some themes have the pages at the top and if they don’t, then¬†one needs to put the¬†pages widget into their sidebar. Problem is, I would much prefer to have my pages at the top of my blog. So, I’m going to see if mt “Neat!” theme allows for that. Turns out “Neat!” doesn’t. I can do this with other themes or if I paid for the CSS editor. However, I like this theme and I’m going to stick with it and I’m not going to pay for anything. I’m finding that WordPress can be very limiting if you want¬†the¬†complete ability to edit your blog’s theme and format. A widget for my pages in my sidebar will have to do.

¬†Next on the tutorial, I will “Get Flashy”!

This tutorial section¬†is about making each post more eye-catching by adding pictures, videos and more. As I’ve already figured out how to add pictures, I’m going to see if and how I can post videos to my blog. WordPress has a list of file types that can be uploaded without upgrades here, http://en.support.wordpress.com/accepted-filetypes/¬†This website says that one needs to upgrade to put in sound files or video files but I’m going to see if there is a way around this. Apparently one can do this with sound files, “If you host the files somewhere else, you certainly can put them into your blog without buying a space upgrade” (http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/cancan-i-host-my-own-video-and-add-it-without-buying-upgrade). So, I’m going to see if I can do that. I searched “Where to host your own audio files on WordPress” and one place that popped up was archive.org, which is free. I’m going to try and put an old, glitchy audio remix that I made on this post. The¬†remix is with two songs,¬†“The Potion” by Ludacris and “Watch the Sun Come Up” by Example. It turns out that if I want to put this song on my blog post, then I need to get a media player plugin that works on WordPress.

First, I don’t know much about plugins. A plugin is “A hardware or software module that adds a specific feature or service to a larger system” (http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/P/plug_in.html). Okay, so a media player plugin is a hardware/software module that adds the ability to have media on WordPress.

Now, I need to figure out how to use a media player plugin. After much searching I found that to have plugins on WordPress I need to have a self-hosted WordPress blog.¬†But, since I am new to all of this, I have no idea what it means to self-host. Thus, the internet will help me.¬†¬†http://tools.devshed.com/c/a/Blog-Help/A-Beginners-Guide-to-Self-Hosting-Your-Blog/¬† Note: if I can’t self-host for free, I’m not going to do it. According to that website, self-hosting would require a lot of time, energy and money from me. But maybe there is a way around it? Perhaps I can find a way to use plugins without self-hosting? According to the WordPress forum, the answer is no. http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:RrDH2EpWIUUJ:en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/installing-plugins-on-wordpresscom+use+plugins+without+self-hosting&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a&source=www.google.com

Well, it seems that I have been backed-up into a corner. How can I make my blog flashy and pretty with only pictures and no ability to edit the CSS coding format for my blog? For now, pictures and links are all I have, but I want to keep on researching to find out if there is a way around this at all.

Since my adding audio project is on hold for now, maybe I will try embedding a Youtube video. I’m going to try a favorite clip from “Dexter”, a tv show my sister and I watch.

SUCCESS!

All right, that is all for today. Next time I will try to figure out how to embed audio in a similar way to the bove video. ūüėÄ

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Getting Published and More!

March 20, 2011

Hello! I took a break from blogging yesterday to clean the house, go paddleboarding with my sister in the sun (during which we had seals following us), visit with a best friend, pick my parents up from the airport, and generally just to relax. Anyways, this is not a blog about my personal life. On to my blog!

So, I’ve decided to start my blog off with an analysis of how I’m doing. So far so good. I’ve got my theme, my header, my widgets, two posts (three after I publish this one), a detailed profile, an introduction paragraph, a general knowledge of how to set up a WordPress blog, pictures in my posts,¬†goals for my blog, and that’s as much¬†as I can currently think of.¬†The problems that I have so far are: the¬†blank spaces after my pictures in¬†my second post and the cut off pictures in my first blog. My current¬†idea to solve this problem: have a test post with a picture. So, that is what I’m going to do¬†right now and then I will make a fourth continuing post.

What I’m going to do is post a large picture of a golden retriever because¬†I own one and she is amazing.

 

This picture was a giant one but it looks like I might have changed my post picture settings so that the pictures shrinks to fit my main blog template. I’m also hoping this text won’t be a million blank lines down from the picture. Now to publish this post. Here I go!

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Customizing my blog and more.

March 18, 2011

I’m very excited to continue on the WordPress Tutorial! Now, on to the fourth section of the WordPress tutorial: Get Customized!

The tutorial is recommending a theme for my blog that matches my big idea, which is to display my writing abilities (form, grammar, persuasive writing, etc.) and my ability to blog for potential employers to see. These people, my target audience, would prefer everything to be professional including my content and format (in other words everything on the front-end of my blog). If I were truly creating a blog for a company, or generally writing for a company online, I would need to soup it up to make the content easily found on search engines (i.e. SEO or Search Engine Optimization), but since this is just to display my skills and abilities I don’t need to try and make my blog more internet visible. I just need to make this blog professional and “sticky” so it will permanently be on the internet for as long as I need to refer to it.

So, to make my analysis short, I need to make my blog professional and appeal to social media marketing companies who would, in turn, want to hire someone who can target their clients’ targets. Their clients’ targets widely range and thus a generic target audience would most likely satisfy whom my “imaginary target audience” should be. A simple and professional theme would be best. Nothing too specific and nothing too fancy; my blog will just be a blog to convey information in an effective manner.

After about ten minutes of searching through WordPress’s 121 themes, and another five minutes of deliberation, I chose the theme “Neat!”. I really liked “INove” as well, but I felt that the dark blue background was more attractive and professional-looking.

So, this is what my generically-themed blog used to look like:

Very white, very bland and very boring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is what my blog now looks like with the “Neat!” theme:

More eye-catching and interesting theme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now there are a few problems with the new blog theme: my blog title is gone, my blog caption is gone, and the picture of the strange wiffle ball-like object is rather distracting and not very relevant. I’m assuming I can solve these problems, which I will do later. However, this theme is the best fit for my blog based on appearance and layout. Now I’m continuing on with the tutorial; on to widgets!

What are widgets? According to WordPress.org they are “ like a plugin, but designed to provide a simple way to arrange the various elements of your sidebar content (known as “widgets”) without having to change any code.” Efficient, easy and user-friendly.

After quick analysis of the widgets I need for my sidebar I added a introductory text, an authors list, categories, archives, calendar, recent comments, feed from my newly created twitter account, a “blog subscriptions” widget, and Akismet (a spam blocker). I just viewed my blog with the new widgets, and it looks amazing but the welcome text could use a bit of chopping down, which I will work on later. Before I move on in the tutorial, I want to change my header picture of the terrible wiffle ball. I’ve found this information here: ¬†¬† http://en.support.wordpress.com/themes/custom-header-image/

What I need as a header photo is something relevant and something clean, possibly in black and white and maybe with some blue too. Possibly social media icons? I will edit this in the “Appearance” section on my dashboard and then the “Header” sub-section. For now this video globe on a black background will have to do. ūüôā

I also would like to put my blog title with my header which is in the same section but I decided the process is too difficult to get it exactly where and how I want it to use WordPress (I think I need to know CSS), so I’ve used Paint instead. I really like my new header picture.

Before I do anything else, I need to make sure the pictures I’ve displayed can be fully viewed. The pictures in my first post have been cut off! Unfortunately, according to my Google searches, I need to edit my theme’s CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets which is a language for formatting websites. I found out I can’t edit my theme’s CSS unless I buy the editor, so nevermind. I will find another way to take care of this. I might even have to just scale the pictures down to fit.

While in the midst of trying to figure out how to make my pictures more viewable, I also added a poll asking viewers how they think I’m doing so far. There is a problem however: I’m not sure when the poll appears! If it appears right when they get to my blog, it would not make much sense because they would not have looked at my blog yet. So, now that I’m done for the day, I think I will visit my own blog and see.

For the next day I blog, I will investigate the WordPress tutorial’s “Get Published” section. Even though I already have published, I might be missing some important information.

So long!

h1

First Post

March 17, 2011

I’ve been drawn to WordPress for a couple reasons: out of curiosity, out of usefulness in understanding business blogging, and for my own entertainment.¬† I’m considering pursuing blogging for business reasons (so I can help various companies out in social media) and/or for my own purposes. For now, this blog is designated as my social media exploration tool as I consider entering this career field.

So far, WordPress has been relatively easy to figure out. I suspect they have worked hard to make WordPress a relatively intuitive tool so a variety of end-users may utilize it. As of right now though, I have little knowledge as to all of the features available to me through WordPress and I will need to go through the “Get Started” section of WordPress.

So far, so good. The first part has been quite informative. Now I have edited my time zone, my Gravatar picture, my Blavatar picture (a jungle because I’m exploring WordPress), and I’m going to continue on updating this blog post as I update my site.

Now I’m reading WordPress’s “Get Focused” section where it basically states that the most successful blogs have a singular focus. It said to brainstorm potential focuses of my blog. I know I’ve already decided to make this blog about exploring the features of WordPress (for now at least), but I followed their brainstorm suggestions and came up with this:

Stick-me brainstorming.

Okay, okay, yeah I cheated a little bit and went ahead to their “Get Flashy” section so I could figure out how to post the Paint png file I just created. (And I will tell you now, I’m not creepy looking like the stick figure version of myself. Neither am I purple.) I simply clicked on the first icon after “Upload/Insert” right above the text block and the text toolbar (right ^ up there). ¬†

All of the reasons I have come up with are pretty legitamite. Now they want me to brainstorm my passions:

My brainstorm about some of my passions.

Those are just a few of my passions. Now the instructions want me to link both together, link my focuses in blogging to my passions:

The combo brainstorm wasn't too successful...

The combo brainstorm they wanted me to do wasn’t too successful, then again I didn’t put my effort into brainstorming a bunch of different blogging ideas. I’m simply testing out the various facets of WordPress and what it can do. I’m also blogging in WordPress to¬†preview how it works for businesses in social media and also to demonstrate my own writing abilities and saviness. ūüėČ

I’m going to leave the computer for now and go enjoy the sun while it is out. As for next time, I will continue on the WordPress Tutorial to the section titled “Get Customized”, which I’m guessing is about customizing the¬†appearance of the blog and the blog options.