Lorelle Presents Writing with WordPress Workshop in Salem, Oregon

If you live in the Salem, Oregon, area, don’t miss this special event and workshop.

I’ll be leading a workshop in Salem, Oregon, specifically designed for writers and authors using WordPress. The event is part of the great work the Salem Chapter of the Willamette Writer’s Group, a regional group of writers and authors in the Pacific Northwest area.

The events begin with a presentation on Wednesday, March 12, 2014, at 6:30PM at Macey’s Salem Center. I will be talking about the challenges of a writer and author site, and introducing members to the different types of sites for writers and authors and how to build a community and audience around a site or book. The meeting is free, I believe.

Sunday, March 16, is a half-day workshop from 1-5PM at the Salem Public Library. We will dive deeper into customizing a WordPress site specifically for the needs of the writer, be it for the author and their books, to support a book or book series, and other alternative site types. This is a highly interactive workshop.

Participants in the workshop will need to bring their laptops or tablets. WIFI will be available. If participants do not have a current WordPress site, they will be led through the process of setting up their own free WordPress.com site.

The workshop will be customized based upon the needs of the attendees, so here is a general list of topics covered during the four hour workshop: Continue reading

Stats: The Analytics of Reading to the Bottom of the Page

Featured

In “How people read online: Why you won’t finish this article” on Slate Magazine, author Farhad Manjoo explores the statistics on whether or not you will read to the bottom of his article.

I’m going to keep this brief, because you’re not going to stick around for long. I’ve already lost a bunch of you. For every 161 people who landed on this page, about 61 of you—38 percent—are already gone. You “bounced” in Web traffic jargon, meaning you spent no time “engaging” with this page at all.

So now there are 100 of you left. Nice round number. But not for long! We’re at the point in the page where you have to scroll to see more. Of the 100 of you who didn’t bounce, five are never going to scroll. Bye!

OK, fine, good riddance. So we’re 95 now. A friendly, intimate crowd, just the people who want to be here. Thanks for reading, folks! I was beginning to worry about your attention span, even your intellig … wait a second, where are you guys going? You’re tweeting a link to this article already? You haven’t even read it yet!

He talked to many expert web analytics researchers and analysts about the statistics associated with reading an article on the web. The numbers are fascinating, and may change how you write your next post.
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Tutorial on Creating Footnotes in WordPress

Footnotes are often requested in my workshops and classes. I’ve published “Creating Footnotes in WordPress” explaining how to do this in WordPress on .

Footnotes have been replaced by links, but there may be times when you wish to link to a footnote in a blog post.

Here is a list of the pros and cons of using footnotes from the article.

Links cover one or more words thus are easier to see and easier to click over a larger area. Footnote links are tiny, hard to see, and hard to click, especially if you have mobility issues.

Footnotes are familiar to academics, scientists, and researchers. If you are publishing such papers or writing for that audience, it would be natural to include traditional footnotes.

There are also times when you may need to cite a source that isn’t online. How would you site a paper or reference that is not online? A footnote serves to cite the source while not interrupting the natural flow of the content with explanations in parentheses.

Three techniques are described in the article.

You may use WordPress Plugins that make adding footnotes to posts easier, or you can create them manually.

The process of adding footnotes manually to WordPress involves using jump or page links with the footnote numbers within the content to “jump” down to the footnote list at the bottom of the post.

I’ve included an example of how to create footnote jump links to take the reader to the footnote list and not a specific item in the list, and how to create a footnote jump link to a specific footnote in the list if there are many footnotes in the article.

What is a Properly Formed Link?

I talk about properly formed links or proper HTML anchor tags in all of my articles, workshops, and classes. This article serves as a tutorial and reference guide on the proper formation of HTML links.

Links tie the web together, linking one site to another, one web page to another. They are critical to helping us find information and understand what is being written.

In “What You Must Know About Writing on the Web,” I describe a link dump:

Ugly is as ugly does. Don’t clutter up your site with ugly link dumps.

A link dump is when the blogger is lazy and just pastes the link into their post such as http://lorelleteaches.com/2012/10/14/what-you-must-know-about-writing-on-the-web/ instead of the properly formed What You Must Know About Writing on the Web.

Which is easier to read?

A properly formed link makes it not just easier to read the post, it is clean and presents professional looking content. It invites the reader to click.

How to Create a Properly Formed HTML Link

To create a properly formed link, you may use the Visual Editor toolbar button called link or Hypertext Link.
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This is an Example of a Blockquote

According to Lorelle:

We are all born with two ends. One is used for sitting. The other is not. Success in life depends upon which one you use the most. Heads you win. Tails you lose.

This is great wisdom of the ages, applicable to everyone, especially students.

I’m reminded of the old Hillbillies television show. There was an episode with the son, Jethro, where he decided, after jumping into the cement pond and bashing his head on the bottom, that he had a light bulb idea. He wanted to go to a fancy universiteee and become a world-famous neurosurgeon. His dad took one look at his son, trying to find a reason to feel pride and stay politically correct, and said, “Ain’t hope wonderful.”

Don’t be a Jethro.

Blog Writing: Imagine You’ve Been Blogging for the Past Five Years

Can’t think of anything to blog about?

When choosing your blog topics, realize you could be blogging about this topic for years, coming up with new ideas all the time, sometimes daily.

Two photographs of a cat looking out the window of a house, from Band of Cats site.I recently found Band of Cats, a site by an owner of 4 cats, stuffed with funny cat pictures of their own cats plus any other cats, and cat stories, they can find on the web. The first post was July 27, 2007.

While Band of Cats doesn’t publish daily, though they did through most of 2008, they continue to update their site with cat art, cat pictures of the month, holiday cat pictures and items, cat products, and more. While they publish irregularly now, that’s still a huge commitment to the subject of cats.

Think about your own subject matter and imagine you’ve been blogging about it since July 2007 (or pick another date). What would your blog have covered during the past five years?

Usually, we have to project into the future what topics we would blog about. Why not take this backwards and imagine what you would have blogged about if you had been blogging about something for the past five years.

What You Must Know About Writing on the Web

1975.

While that number might mean different things to you, like your birthday, an anniversary, graduation year, part of a lottery number – to me it represents a quota.

Several years ago, a fan counted up all the articles I wrote every year and came up with an estimate of 1,975 articles published annually across multiple sites.

I was stunned. No, staggered. I now had a number. I didn’t know what to do with it. It freaked me out. That’s 164 articles a month. Thirty-eight articles a week. Five and a half a day. That’s a lot.

Don’t even ask to add up the word count. I couldn’t. Yet, the same person estimated that I wrote 2,370,000 words annually.

It took a long time for me to come to grips with that number. I worried when I became smarter with my time and dropped some of the online columns and magazines to concentrate on more influential sites. What if I couldn’t keep up with the numbers?

After a while I gave up and realized it was just a number. Like a random phone number or birth date. Another number not to worry about. Much.

Along the way to generating all those words every year for many years on end, I learned a few things worth sharing. 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

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.
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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.

Example of a Sandbox Post for Testing WordPress Themes

This is the H1 Heading

This is an example of a sandbox post for testing WordPress Themes and web page designs to ensure every design detail within the content area of a Theme meets with your design needs.

To use this sandbox post for your own testing, right click the following link and save the file as a text file. Open it within a text editor and select all of the text and paste it into your WordPress site with the HTML/TEXT editor – not visual editor. Save the post or publish it to view the post content designs.

This is the link to the sandbox post text file.

This sandbox post is available for free. Use as you wish.

At the top of this paragraph should be the H1 heading for your web page. If it is not visible, the design settings for the H1 tag is set to display:none which many WordPress Themes use to hide the blog title text and replace it with a graphic. Do not use H1 within your blog post area.

If the design in the H1 heading looks like your blog title or blog post title, then that is the style set for that HTML tag and you should not use it within your blog post area.

Inside of this test data section are most of the basic HTML and XHTML and CSS styles that you might use within your WordPress Theme. You need to know what that will look like as part of structuring your styles.

This is the H2 Heading

Above this paragraph should be the H2 heading for your web page. WordPress Themes use the h2 heading for various purposes. Logically, it should be either the post title or the first heading in the post content.

However, it is used all over WordPress Themes including the subtitle, tag line, post title, comment area, sidebar area, and even in the footer. Be specific when styling each h2 headings to ensure you are not styling all of them.

This is the H3 Heading

Is this the same heading as is in your post title or is this the section headings found within your sidebar? Or is it different? This is the post content heading for the HTML tag h3, as is the one below, H4, for section headings within your post to divide up topics. If there is an H3 or H4 tag in your sidebar, you will need to identify the parent HTML and CSS container for the sidebar and style those appropriate in your blog’s stylesheet.

For more information in searching for your styles in your WordPress blog, see CSS: Studying Your CSS Styles.

Also notice how the links in that paragraph are styled so you can style links within your post content area. Links have three styles. There is the link color, link hover color, and visited link color. Be sure and design for each style.

This is the H4 Heading

In this section under the H4 heading, we’re going to look at what the post content, the meat and potatoes of your site looks like. In general, you will have multiple paragraphs, so we will add another paragraph so you can adjust the spacing in between them to the look you want.

Paragraphs are not just for typing your blog babble, they can also hold frame and hold other information within your content area to help make the point you want to make in your writing. For instance, you will commonly have three types of lists.

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The 10 HTML Tags You Must Know to Blog

code wordle - group of words that are synonyms and types of codeTalk to the serious blogging and web publishing pros, the ones turning out brilliant content fast, and you will find that they all have one thing in common. They write with HTML.

Writing with HTML in WordPress isn’t complicated nor does it require a degree in foreign languages or web development. We’re not talking about building a web page from scratch every time you publish. We’re only talking about the HTML that goes into the post content.

How much HTML do you have to learn? Only 10 HTML tags. That’s it. Less words than you probably know in Spanish or another foreign language.

The most commonly used HTML tags in the post content area are:

  1. Anchor Link Tag <a href="…">link</a>
  2. Image Tag <img src="…" />
  3. Headings <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5>
  4. Paragraph <p>Text here</p>
  5. Bold <strong> not <b> and Italic <em> not <i>
  6. Lists <ol> and <ul>
  7. Blockquote <blockquote> and <cite>
  8. Line Break <br />
  9. Horizontal Line <hr />
  10. Code <pre> and <code>

How many of these do you use commonly in your blog posts? All of the ten? When was the last time you needed to put code in your blog post? Rarely, if ever. At most, you use 5 of these in most posts you publish. I think you can handle that.

The five are links, headings, bold and italic, lists, and blockquotes – unless you are a poet. Then add the line break to your collection for six easy to remember HTML tags.

Sure, there are more HTML tags you can use in the post content area, but these are the most common. Tables, font colors, etc., are rarely used and if you need to use them, you probably already know how.
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Managing Multiple Authors with WordPress

The following is the list of the articles in the series I’ve written on how to manage multiple authors and contributors with WordPress.

Publishing Responsibilities: I’m Responsible for What I Say

I am responsible for what I say. I am not responsible for what you understand.

This is going around the web and it’s a powerful statement:

I am responsible for what I say.
I am not responsible for what you understand.

It’s a simplified version of:

I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
Robert McCloskey

Yet, it goes much further.

How does this relate to social media and web publishing?

Plagiarism, Copyright, and Fair Use

copyright symbolRule Number One: Ask first, they might say yes.

If it is on the web, it isn’t free.

If it is on the web, it could be free.

Everything on the web was created by someone. It took hard work. It took time, sometimes a lot of time. Hours, days, weeks, months, possibly years.

Everything on the web is copyrighted and someone owns that copyright. It is up to them to decide what those rights are.

They might want to share what they’ve created with the world but only on their space.

They might want to share it for free for use by others and allow it to be used by others as long as credit in the form of links stays with it.

They might want to share only a small bit with a link as credit for use by others. They should tell you how much they will allow to be shared before it is considered plagiarism and copyright infringement. This is called Fair Use. If in doubt, use no more than 10% or 400 words.

They might want to give it away and not care if it is linked, credited, or changed.

It is up to the copyright holder to set the terms of the sharing, copying, and usage, but understand they don’t have to. Always look for their copyright policy, usage license, or Creative Commons license and permissions to verify the rights of the copyright holder. Anything published and shared on the web is owned and controlled with all rights and usages to the copyright holder. Treat it fairly within the rules of Copyright Fair Use.

This applies to written content, pictures, graphics, images, designs, web art, web templates, web designs, video, animation, photographs, audio, podcasts, music, illustrations, artwork, downloadable files, and any other content on the web. It’s all copyright protected. Continue reading