Archive for March, 2011

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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. 🙂

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. 😀

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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. 🙂

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!

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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. 😉

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.