Web Writing: The Editorial Article

Editorial writing consists of writing and publishing an article that takes a stance on a topic. The position must be supported with documentation, reference material, and quotes.

Editorial writing for the web is based upon the fundamentals of traditional editorial writing, similar to op-eds but slightly different, modified by the needs of the web reading audience.

An op-ed piece is an opinion. It is distinguished from other articles in a magazine and newspaper as they may be well written but they do not represent the rules and guidelines required by journalists and reporters. The writers are typically not reports, nor educated in journalism.

An editorial article may be an opinion piece, but it is one that argues a specific point or perspective. On the web, an editorial article may be written by a reporter, journalist, professional writer, or anyone with a defensible opinion.

This article explores the specifics of editorial articles written and published on the web, specifically on blogs. It covers the basics of a web-based editorial article with tips, techniques, guidelines, and references. It is used by the students at Clark College in the web publishing courses taught by Lorelle VanFossen, and may be used by other educators. Continue reading

How to Add Images in Your Post Content

Round beach rocks in shade - photography by Brent VanFossen.Images, graphics, photographs, drawings, cartoons, badges…our websites are filled with imagery.

This article addresses the techniques used by WordPress for aligning images and image sizing and links in published content. Check your publishing platform for their methods.

Image Terminology in WordPress

There are several terms we need to develop to help you understand how images are used in WordPress. The most important terms describe the images within WordPress based upon how they are used and generated: original image, published image, media file, and attachment image.

The image uploaded to your site is called the original image or image file. When uploaded to WordPress, a minimum of three sizes are automatically created and stored in the wp-content/uploads/ directory on the server. The images are grouped by year then month by default.

The image sizes available for displaying in your content are thumbnail, medium, and full-size. Depending upon the image’s original size, large and x-large may be available. Full-size is the original uploaded image size.

When an image is used on a web page in WordPress, it is typically viewed within the content area of a post or Page. For the sake of this tutorial, we will called this the published image. WordPress makes available the three size options by default.

Image Sizes and Links

WordPress Media Uploader featuring multiple images - screencap by Lorelle VanFossen.

The WordPress Media Uploader redesigned in 2012 now features Attachment Display Settings options. They include setting the alignment of the image, the size of the published image, and the Link To feature. Continue reading

Hot Podcasts You Need to Put In Your Ear

Many of my workshops and classes specialize in podcasting or include podcasting tips and techniques.

The following is a list of recommended podcasts to give you a taste of what is out there, the styles and techniques that have proved successful, and those you should add to your listening habit. Continue reading

The History of WordPress

WordPress logo began with a humble question from to the world in January of 2003:

My blogging software hasn’t been updated for months, and the main developer has disappeared, and I can only hope that he’s okay.

What to do? Well, Textpattern looks like everything I could ever want, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to be licensed under something politically I could agree with. Fortunately, b2/cafelog is GPL, which means that I could use the existing codebase to create a fork, integrating all the cool stuff that Michel would be working on right now if only he was around. The work would never be lost, as if I fell of the face of the planet a year from now, whatever code I made would be free to the world, and if someone else wanted to pick it up they could. I’ve decided that this the course of action I’d like to go in, now all I need is a name. What should it do? Well, it would be nice to have the flexibility of MovableType, the parsing of TextPattern, the hackability of b2, and the ease of setup of Blogger. Someday, right?

Mike Little in England responded to the 18 year old in Houston, Texas:

Matt,
If you’re serious about forking b2 I would be interested in contributing. I’m sure there are one or two others in the community who would be too. Perhaps a post to the B2 forum, suggesting a fork would be a good starting point.

By May 30, 2003, the world of web publishing was changed forever.

It didn’t happen overnight, but it happened fast.

As explained in the About WordPress on the , the online manual for WordPress Users:

WordPress started in 2003 with a single bit of code to enhance the typography of everyday writing and with fewer users than you can count on your fingers and toes. Since then it has grown to be the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, used on millions of sites and seen by tens of millions of people every day.

Everything you see here, from the documentation to the code itself, was created by and for the community. WordPress is an Open Source project, which means there are hundreds of people all over the world working on it. (More than most commercial platforms.) It also means you are free to use it for anything from your cat’s home page to a Fortune 500 web site without paying anyone a license fee and a number of other important freedoms.

WordPress is unique because it is an open source project created by the users, its own community. All these years later, little has changed. In August of 2005, with the creation of , the free hosted version of WordPress, was created, a commercial company dedicated to all things WordPress and supporting the WordPress Community. Continue reading

The Basic Structure of a Blog Post

There are many ways to present a post or article on a web page. This tutorial will cover the basic formatting, styles, and structure.

Every WordPress Theme handles the basic elements in a post different, making the headings stand out in a variety of ways, adding borders around images or not, adding design elements to a blockquote…the list is long. I recommend that you test your own WordPress Theme by writing a test post following the examples in this article, or you may use the Sandbox Post for Testing WordPress Themes. It is a text file with HTML code representative of all the HTML tags found in a blog post.

Formatting the Post in WordPress

Before we begin, I will be making references to the formatting toolbar found on the post and Page Edit Screens. It is blow the post title area and directly above the content textarea where you will write your post.

The WordPress Visual Editor Toolbar featuring the Kitchen Sink Button which expands to feature a second row.

By default, you see only one line of buttons in the Visual Editor. The last button on the row is called the Kitchen Sink. If you click it, a second row will drop down. Continue reading

Tutorial: How to Inspect, Edit, and Save a Web Page

This tutorial from the HTML Fundamentals Class I taught at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, is a guide that will show you how to:

  • View the source code of a web page.
  • How to save a web page to your computer
  • How to view a saved web page on your computer
  • How to open a web page in your text editor
  • How to view the CSS/Stylesheet for a web page
  • How to inspect the HTML and CSS of a web page
  • How to view and edit a web page at the same time

To begin this tutorial, have your web browser and text editor open on your computer. It does not matter which browser or text editor you are using. The process is basically the same.

How to view the source code of a web page

  1. Go to a web page such as the test page for the class, Welcome to Lorelle VanFossen CTEC 122 HTML Fundamentals Class on the Clark Web Server.
  2. Right click on an empty space on the web page and choose View Page Source or View Source.
  3. The resulting popup window (or tab) will show you the underlying HTML structure of the page.
  4. You may save this to your hard drive or go back and save the entire web page to your computer.

Continue reading

Links and the Anchor HTML Tag

This is a tutorial from the HTML Fundamentals Class I taught at Clark College in Summer 2012. It applies to HTML and WordPress.

There are five basic forms of links on a web page.

  1. External Links
  2. Internal Links
  3. Jump Links
  4. Image/Multimedia Links
  5. Email Links

Link Basics

Links are the gateway to the web, the interconnected parts of the web that allows a web user to easily move from document to document.

A link consists of the following HTML tag structure.

<a title="Link to article title." href="http://example.com/article.html">Anchor Text</a>
  1. a: The HTML Anchor tag.
  2. title: It is required by US federal law and international law that all links have a descriptive title property. The value text must describe the destination link in a way that will inform the user of what the destination material is about and help them decide to click through. It should be no more than a few words and written in sentence form, a simple instructional form such as “Link to article on links.” This is read out loud by screen readers.
  3. href: The Hypertext Reference is the destination link. In general, it is typically an absolute link written with the full http: address such as http//example.com/article.html.
  4. Anchor Text: This is the text which the HTML Anchor tag wraps around. It is the visible element of the tag on the web page.

Continue reading

Creating a Blogging, Social Media, and Editorial Calendar and Schedule

Nothing to blog about on picture of desert sandsSportsBusiness Journal has one. So does eSchool Media Marketing, GeneaBloggers Genealogy Blog, SheKnows Magazines, and REALTOR® Magazine. Not only do they have one, they redo it every year. What could these very diverse companies have in common? An editorial calendar.

An editorial calendar is critical for the online publisher and web worker today. In traditional media, an editorial calendar was the year planned out in advance on editorial topics, articles, themes, article series, and events. Today, the editorial calendar goes even further covering social media, marketing, advertising, and virtual and direct social interaction. Whether for the individual blogger or a company, an editorial calendar sets goals and deadlines to keep you on track.
Continue reading

2011 Prove It Campaign: Prove Yourself on Your Blog

In January 2012, I started a year long campaign on called Prove It!

I recently learned the true definition of the word “guru.” It means to lift someone up through knowledge and wisdom. It means to teach, to impart wisdom, “to dispel the darkness of ignorance” so that those who go after you will be better for it.

Too often the label is used with arrogance. It doesn’t mean to lord over others as an expert. A true guru probably wouldn’t call themselves a guru. Others would honor them with the title.

After years of being called a guru in WordPress, blogging, and multimedia web publishing and being embarrassed by it, I realized there was more to being a guru than a line on a promotional ad. It’s time to reconsider such self-proclamations without anything to show for it. It’s time to call myself on the carpet to prove my worth, and for others to step up to the plate and prove it themselves.

Here is the article series so far which focuses on proving your personal expertise and experience to back up what you blog about. I just published the last article which includes research on what elements of a website design and content inspire trust in their readers.

Future articles will focus on specific design and content elements with recommendations on WordPress Theme and Plugins to help “prove it” on WordPress sites. I’ll be writing about how to prove it through accuracy in writing, publishing, and interaction with readers, and how to measure the proof of your success through analytics and feedback. I’ll add more articles to this post as the series continues throughout the year.

What is WordPress?

WordPress logo is an open source publishing platform for the web. It allows easy content management and publishing via the web browser to the web. There are three versions of WordPress.

WordPress – Self-Hosted Version

, the self-hosted version of WordPress, is often called “dot org” or “full version.” It is the version of WordPress used by those with paid hosting services or “self-hosted.”

The is the most flexible of the WordPress versions as the user can choose from any WordPress Theme and customize it fully or create their own, and add any WordPress Plugin, script or custom code to their site. The self-hosted version of WordPress can be used by beginner or expert.

This version is appropriate for any individual or company.

WordPress.com – The Hosted Version

WordPress dot com logo is the hosted version of WordPress, a blog hosting service where anyone can sign up for a free blog and have their say on the web. Millions of blogs are hosted by WordPress.com and many blogs host multiple authors.

WordPress.com is often called the “limited” or “free version” which is not completely true. WordPress.com is limited only in the fact that you must comply with the WordPress.com Terms of Service and cannot install WordPress Plugins or unapproved WordPress Themes, but much of the most popular WordPress Plugin features and needs of typical bloggers are provided such as integrated stats, social media integration, comment spam protection, writing and linking help options, and more through built-in options and optional WordPress Widgets. Users can pay a small annual fee to customize their WordPress Themes for original designs, breaking the template look many hosting services offer. A variety of custom options are available for a small annual fee such as domain remapping (having your own dot com and not subdomain URL), additional space, video uploading and storage, unlimited private users, etc.

WordPress.com is often thought of as the “baby” beginner version of WordPress as it requires no technical expertise to use, however do not underestimate its lack of code interaction. It is a WordPress blog with its own powerful abilities under the hood. It is exceptionally SEO-friendly and updated more frequently and faster than the self-hosted version of WordPress which requires administrative action to update. Thus it is a safe and secure publishing environment.

WordPress.com is also the demo and testing version of WordPress for the WordPress Foundation development team. New features are often tested in a limited or widespread across the WordPress.com network before they are included in the final release for the self-hosted version of WordPress.

WordPress.com also offers a VIP version where site owners can literally get hand-holding service from WordPress.com staff and developers. This doesn’t come cheap but for many companies, it’s cheaper than their current hosting plans and services. Examples include CNN, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, All Things Digital, Time Inc., People Magazine, Flickr, NFL, and many more. Free WordPress.com users benefit from the funding these companies provide as well as the code developed through those sites and services.

This version is appropriate for any individual or business.

WordPress MS or Blog Network Version

The third version of WordPress is called WordPress MS, Multisite, or Blog Network. Built into the self-hosted version of WordPress and the engine running WordPress.com, WordPress MS allows site owners to host more than one blog on their site as subdomains. This is ideal for businesses with different departments, schools, non-profits, and companies wishing to offer compartmentalized content run by different administrators and authors.

WordPress MS is not for those who wish to run or install multiple blogs from one interface. There are several WordPress Plugins that make this process easier. WordPress MS creates two levels of users. The Super Admin manages the entire network, controlling the various options and features each individual blog or the entire network has access. Individual blog “owners” or administrators control their own blogs and generally have no access to the other sites on the network. The Super Admin can set the site to look seamless between subdomains, or allow each subdomain administrator to design their own look and feel, much like WordPress.com blogs.

While the option to choose a single installation WordPress or the multisite installation is only a few click option during the WordPress install, choosing the multisite version is not for the faint-hearted and code-phobic folks. It requires familiarity and some expertise with WordPress, PHP, JavaScript, WordPress Plugins, WordPress Themes, and web hosting. Those using a blog on WordPress MS require none of that expertise.

Which WordPress to Choose

If you just want to have your say, choose .
If you want to play with code, choose .
If you wish to have ads and monetize your site, choose WordPress.
If you wish to have multiple authors and no wish for ads, choose WordPress.com.
If you wish to have an intricately designed site with a customized Theme, choose WordPress.
If you wish to have multiple authors with complete control over their independent blogs, choose WordPress MS.
If you wish to have various departments or agencies represented with their own sites within the network, choose WordPress MS.