Introduction to WordPress Class Featured on Blog Herald

In Clark College Offering WordPress Development Classes on The Blog Herald, author James Johnson describes our class as possibly not necessary.

In the meantime while I applaud Clark College for realizing the importance of content management system design and implementation, the truth is the WordPress Codex is more then capable of teaching even a non-programmer how to fully work with a barebones framework to create vastly interesting WordPress pages without paying by the credit hour.

Do you think a WordPress class is a good idea or would you rather learn from the Codex?

As students of the first WordPress college course, how about you have your say. Head to the Blog Herald article and let them know if you think a WordPress class is important. Tell them why you choose to take it, and how learning in a college course is different than learning from the WordPress Codex.

Thanks!

Have WordPress on a Stick Installed

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This week we are working on WordPress Themes. Make sure you have WordPress installed on a USB or portable hard drive. As the machines in the class are Windows, use Instant WordPress. For information on other alternatives for your laptop or home computer, see How to Install WordPress on Your Computer or USB.

How to Install WordPress on Your Computer or USB

WordPress code logo thumbnailInstalling WordPress on your computer is a great way to test and explore WordPress features. It’s also an excellent way to work on WordPress Themes and Plugins without exposure to the public view. When your site is set up and ready, it’s easy to move WordPress from your computer to your hosted server.

Why would you want to install and setup a portable version of WordPress?

  • It allows you to design and develop a testing environment protected from public eyes.
  • It allows you a safe, secure space, especially for testing private and security-specific WordPress development.
  • You can take WordPress with you or mail the thumbdrive to anyone. Plug it into any Windows-based machine and fairly instantly have WordPress up and running, ready to show clients what their future site will look like and have them test it fully while not connected to the Internet nor exposed to the public.
  • You can work on WordPress while not connected to the Internet.

There are a variety of tools that will help you install WordPress to your computer dependent upon the operating system. Some are very simple requiring few steps to completion. Others are a little more complex, so read through the documentation carefully before deciding which one to try, or try several to get the feel of how they work and which ones will work for you and your needs.

You have two choices in making WordPress portable. You can install it on a thumbdrive or to your laptop or desktop computer.

For my classes and workshops, unless you are used to bringing in your laptop, I recommend you install it on a Thumbdrive. Most of the computers in the classrooms where I teach are Windows based, so use Instant WordPress and install it to your thumbdrive. Continue reading

What Do Students Want to Learn About WordPress

On the first night of class I asked the students of Clark College’s first Introduction to WordPress class to explain why they were there and what they wanted out of the class. Here is that list.

  • How to make my site “mine”
  • How to design
  • How to fix the CSS
  • How to maximize SEO
  • How to publish and edit (resize) photographs
  • Understand basic HTML and CSS
  • Learn about analytics and tracking traffic
  • Understand how WordPress works and underlying technologies
  • Understand how to handle permissions and multiple users
  • Understand more about Open Source, licensing, and GPL
  • How to handle multiple contributors and authors
  • How to publish on the web
  • How to integrate social media
  • How to migrate from one site to another (import/export)
  • How to re-brand a site and make it fresh and new
  • How to handle spammers and nastiness on the web
  • How to create good content.
  • How to make the page and content easy to read
  • How to monetize my site.

As with everyone WordPress touches, it boils down to:

  • Web Design
  • User Experience
  • Content Management
  • Content Publishing
  • Social Media, Marketing and Advertising

Example of a Gallery Post in WordPress

This is an example of how to create a gallery in WordPress. There are a variety of options you have with the gallery shortcode on WordPress.com and self-hosted versions of WordPress.

The following images are from the morning of January 17, 2012, when a snow storm moved into the Pacific Northwest and dumped almost a foot or more on the 1000+ foot elevations, including us in North Plains, Oregon, in the Coastal Mountain foothills. Photographs are by Lorelle and Brent VanFossen.

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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Clark College WordPress Class Featured in The Columbian

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We’re famous! Jacques did an amazing article for us in The Columbian on Saturday in “Blogging pioneer blazes trail for WordPress at Clark College.”

Get your copies online and off. It’s snowing here so I’m not sure I can get off my mountain and across the river, so if someone can get me a couple extra copies, I’d really appreciate it. Get a bunch to send friends and family and put in your scrapbook! Congrats to all!!

WordPress.com Terms of Service and Copyrights

For those worried about the issues of content ownership in regards to WordPress.com (as opposed to Facebook and others), here are the relevant sections from the WordPress.com Terms of Service which covers both your copyright protections as well as respect for the copyrights of others:

Section 8: Copyright Infringement and DMCA Policy. As Automattic asks others to respect its intellectual property rights, it respects the intellectual property rights of others. If you believe that material located on or linked to by WordPress.com violates your copyright, you are encouraged to notify Automattic in accordance with Automattic’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) Policy. Automattic will respond to all such notices, including as required or appropriate by removing the infringing material or disabling all links to the infringing material. Automattic will terminate a visitor’s access to and use of the Website if, under appropriate circumstances, the visitor is determined to be a repeat infringer of the copyrights or other intellectual property rights of Automattic or others. In the case of such termination, Automattic will have no obligation to provide a refund of any amounts previously paid to Automattic.

…By submitting Content to Automattic for inclusion on your Website, you grant Automattic a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your blog. If you delete Content, Automattic will use reasonable efforts to remove it from the Website, but you acknowledge that caching or references to the Content may not be made immediately unavailable.

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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How to Help on the WordPress Support Forums

WordPress logoThere are many ways to give back and support WordPress and WordPress.com, as an experienced user or a coder and developer. The WordPress Forums are the first place to begin.

There are two support forums for WordPress.

The WordPress.com Forums are dedicated to providing help to WordPress.com users. It is staffed by Automattic employees who monitor and moderate forum posts but a majority of the support comes from volunteers, fellow users who want to give back and help others but also learn more about how WordPress works.

The are for those using the self-hosted version of WordPress or WordPress MS (Multisite). This is mostly a volunteer support forum where experienced users help others get their questions answered.

WordPress.com questions will not be answered on the WordPress.org forum, and the reverse is true. Questions must be posted (and answered) in the appropriate forum section as well.
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