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WordPress Vancouver Social Meetup Sunday, Nov 16

WordPress EventsThe next WordPress Social Meetup in Vancouver, Washington, is this Sunday, November 16 at 4-7PM. Reserve your spot now on the WordPress PDX Meetup page. We will be getting our social WordPress on in the the Parkway Plaza Building near the Vancouver Mall, a quick hop for those crossing I-205 from Portland or up I-5 following the signs to the Vancouver Mall, and in the eastern heart of Vancouver.

Confused about the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com? Think one is better than the other, or that only a specific type of user or business can use one over the other? We’ll spend the opening section of the social meetup to talk about the difference and how to choose the right one for your needs or those of your client. The rest of the time will be spent working together to help you with your WordPress questions, issues, and the things you wish to learn on how to use WordPress.

There will be snacks and goodies for those that bring, so bring something fun to share with the group. Please bring your own water/coffee/tea mugs to use (we love being green) and non-alcoholic drinks. Hot water will be available.

Reserve your calendar now for Next month’s meeting. The meeting is Sunday, December 14, and it is a holiday social event. There will be time for learning and sharing, but let’s make this a fun holiday event and a chance to share in the WordPress holiday spirit. There will be hot spiced cider, cookies, and inoffensive holiday tunes in the background. Anyone for “Aunt Lena got run over by a reindeer” for a sing-a-long.

The beautiful facility is in the basement floor of the Parkway Plaza Bldg on the east side of Vancouver by the Vancouver Mall off I-205 and Highway 500. Free WIFI, electrical outlets, presentation area, etc., available. It’s cozy and luxurious. It also is a security building, so please be there by 4PM to get in the door easily. After that, call the number on the sign at the door for access.

8100 NE Parkway Dr, Vancouver, WA 98662
Map and Directions

In 2015 we have topics on basics of a Child Theme, WordPress Plugin favorites, Social Media integration, how to tweak a WordPress Theme with a Child Theme (basic HTML and CSS for the uninitiated – we will need initiated folks to help others!), and more WordPress joy to celebrate.

Appreciation goes to Jolene Wright of Vancouver Hypnosis (recently graduated WordPress student at Clark) for the free use of the facilities.

See you there!


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Bye-Bye Facebook: Changes in the World of Social Media

Copyblogger is saying good-bye to its Facebook page and account. According to Erika Napoletano, brought in by Brian Clark to clean up and reengerize their Facebook page:

See, Copyblogger’s main focus is serving its audience. And if that audience wasn’t engaging on Facebook, then there was no real reason for us to pour energy into it. That’s energy we can put into other areas — ones you appreciate more.

When I’m teaching clients, students, and in workshops about social media, for years I’ve been saying that you need to play in the sandbox where your audience plays. If they aren’t playing on Facebook, don’t play in Facebook. If they aren’t on Twitter, why bother? If they are on Reddit, be brave and go forth because that is where you will meet future friends and business prospects.

As Liz Strauss has explained beautifully over and over again, it’s about the relationship not the selling that makes good business.

To quote Napoletano again:

It’s not our job to tell our audience where we live. It’s to grow communities where they live.

For the highly successful “Copyblogger, their community lives on their site and wants to stay on their site, or thrive on the social media channels that work for them like their Google+ Community and Twitter.

While this is true for many sites and online identities for a long time, maybe it is a sign that social media is changing again.

The Changing Tone of Social Media

When social media began to gain a foothold in our consciousness, it was about sharing and broadcasting. It was about communication, instant or slightly delayed interaction with people around the world, free of barriers such as time and borders.

We build communities around our sites, enhanced by the social media interactions, but the main action was still on our sites, our sandboxes, the place where we could take a thought and expand it through our community, our fans, and have intellectual intercourse. Social media was jewelry to sparkle and charm, decorations to our beautifully clothed content. Read More »

You’re Invited: Vancouver WordPress Social Meetup October 19

WordPress EventsThe last WordPress Social Meetup in Vancouver, Washington, was such a success, we’re going forward with these monthly meetings.

Vancouver, Washington, is just a few minutes from downtown Portland, and our next meeting is this Sunday, October 19, from 4-7PM.

Please arrive by 4:15PM to be allowed into the building. It is normally closed on weekends and we’ll have someone staying by to let you in.

These events are part of the WordPress PDX Meetup, so go there to register for the event and subscribe to keep updated on all the Portland area events.

This month’s topic for the beginning intro is WordPress basics. Bring your questions about the basics of WordPress and your questions will be answered in the first hour as a group, then the rest of the time we will all help you with whatever WordPress issue you need help with.

These meetings are designed to be social times, bringing WordPress users together in an informal setting to learn more about WordPress from each other. There will be a 20-30 minute presentation on a WordPress feature then the rest is your time to work on and get the help you need for your WordPress projects and sites, and socialize.

All levels are welcome. Bring your questions and problems. We’re all here to help, even students. This is an ideal place to get extra tutoring and help with assignments.

At the last meetup, we helped several people understand what WordPress is and how to use it for their business, resolved some header art issues, found a WordPress Plugin causing conflicts with another, helped a couple people redesign their site, and helped others better understand how to get their content from other sources on their site. Everyone pitched in, so if one person didn’t have the answer, another one did.

People brought baked and bought goodies to share as well as some favorite recipes – and we’d love a repeat of the fabulous food, and we are always willing to be introduced to new snack or baked goods!

The beautiful facility is in the basement floor of the Parkway Plaza Bldg on the east side of Vancouver by the Vancouver Mall off I-205 and Highway 500. Free WIFI, electrical outlets, presentation area, etc., available.

8100 NE Parkway Dr, Vancouver, WA 98662
Map and Directions

The next WordPress Social Meetups are:

  • Nov 16 – WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
  • Dec 14 – Social Work and Play (no official presentation but a good reason to celebrate the season!)

In 2015 we have topics on basics of a Child Theme, WordPress Plugin favorites, Social Media integration, and more on the basics of WordPress. Please bring cups and water bottles. Water, tea, and coffee available. Snacks welcome.

Appreciation goes to Jolene Wright of Vancouver Hypnosis (recently graduated WordPress student at Clark) for the free use of the facilities.

NOTE: We are working on putting together a similar WordPress Meetup in Beaverton. If you are interested in helping, please let me know in the comments below.


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WordPress and Blogging Workshop in Forest Grove, Oregon

WordPress EventsOn Friday, October 10, 2014, from 1-5PM I will be presenting a WordPress and Blogging Workshop in Forest Grove, Oregon, at the Forest Grove Senior and Community Center as a fundraiser for the center and part of the Writers in the Grove group. The price for this 4 hour event is $30 ($5 discount with non-perishable food donation).

The program is designed to help the novice to WordPress and web publishing create their own free WordPress.com site and set up the site for personal or business use. Participates learn how to write articles, add images and video, create galleries, how to link and cite sources, social media integration, and site organization and basic management.

The workshop will help you overcome your fears about online publishing, too.

If you have something to share with the world, be it your memoirs and stories, experiences, expertise, family history, or writing, this is an ideal workshop to help you get started.

Bring a wifi-enabled laptop or tablet and an idea for your site. We will put your idea into action with this hands-on workshop. If you do not have a laptop, extras may be available, but you are welcome to come and learn and to share a laptop with others.

To register, contact the Forest Grove Senior and Community Center at 503-357-2021. Here is the address and map to the center.

If you live and work in the PDX area, please help to spread the word. This is a fundraiser to help support the Forest Grove Senior and Community Center, a center that provides free and discounted meals to hundreds on the west side of Portland, and a variety of free and low cost events and activities for the community.

Writers in the Grove is a writers workshop group offering a variety of free writing workshops and educational events and activities in the Forest Grove area. The group meets Mondays at the Forest Grove Senior and Community Center from 9-11AM to work on creative writing and poetry skills, as well as at the Forest Grove Library on weekends. Check with the library for dates and times.


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Research on the WordPress, Web Development, and Web Design Job Market

Pie Chart featuring WordPress compared to other CMS publishing platforms by Open Source CMS.In 2012 and 2013, I did extensive research for the grant program to develop and rewrite the Web Developer degree program at Clark College. This research included an analysis of current and future job opportunities for students graduating with that degree with a solid understanding of WordPress.

Now that the program has completed its first official year at Clark College, I can proudly share some of my research as it relates to the job market with an emphasis on WordPress expertise.

If you are considering a job or starting a business in web design, development, web writing, and WordPress, this research data may influence your decisions.

Web development is a growing industry. US News Money reported that the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 21.7% employment growth for web developers through 2020, resulting a placement in the 9th spot in their Best Jobs of 2013 Report. In 2011, the median salary of $77,990 was expected to increase as web development moves from do-it-yourself and self-taught to college educated and trained professionals.

A Workforce representative reported that multi-skilled web designers are in demand and high on recruiters’ jobs lists.

With the national unemployment rate for Web designers at just 3 percent, demand for their skills in animation, graphics, social media, apps design and video is at an all-time high, says one staffing firm executive.

Read More »

What Does WordPress, iThemes, Goodwill, Home Depot, and Target Have in Common? Your Identity and Security.

WordPress logo with padlock transparent over the logo.We received a new credit card in the mail today to replace our old one AGAIN. An “unsuccessful attempt” to access our secure security data happened and this is a precaution the bank is taking to protect us. I have no other information so I’m left wondering.

Yesterday I received an email supposedly from Home Depot about the cyber attack compromise of their consumer records. The Home Depot security compromise is larger than Target’s security theft last year, yet only a blip on the news among redundant, critical news stories on the personal lives of US football players.

Long before we know about events like these, our credit card information is sold via sophisticated, easy-to-use carder sites and could result in $3 billion in illegal purchases in what is now being reported as part of an inside job. While I shop at Home Depot frequently (what homeowner doesn’t?), I don’t have a credit card, shopper’s card, or any other personal information registered with Home Depot to my knowledge, but somehow they found my personal email address to warn me, or someone did. I didn’t click the link. I’m that paranoid.

According to various news reports, Home Depot credit card purchases gives the company access to your information, thus access to my personal email. Still…I’m always nervous about unsolicited emails from branded services and companies. You never know if this is legit or a phishing scam, so I type in their direct site address and look for information on whether or not this is real and applicable to me.

The local Goodwill stores around the Portland, Oregon, area are some of the best in the country I’ve found. Clean, boutique-style with lovely items well displayed and sorted. Moving from an RV of 280 square feet into a huge house, most of our furniture and household items come from there as we are now among the house poor. A malware security breach this spring made me paranoid, but so far Goodwill stores in my state are not affected.

Two minutes after that, a spoof and phishing email came in from “Google Gmail” alerting me to an out-of-date Gmail service. It looked real, but a closer look revealed the spammy email and the embedded link was to a scam/spam/spoof/malware site not Google or Gmail.

Google Gmail phishing scam email.

This one was obvious. Gmail would not send out such an email. Still, I have to be on my guard and paranoid every time I access my email accounts.

Once again this is more time out of my busy day I have to spend checking to see if my privacy, security, online identity, and credit card information is at risk. Read More »

WordPress Social Meetup in Vancouver, Washington, This Weekend

WordPress EventsWe’re putting together a WordPress Social Meetup in Vancouver, Washington, just a few minutes from downtown Portland, on Sundays from 4-7, and the first one is this Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014!

Part of the WordPress PDX Meetup, we’re excited to be one of the first to offer a social meetup rather than a formal presentation meetup.

These meetings are designed to be social times, bringing WordPress users together in an informal setting to learn more about WordPress from each other. There will be a 20-30 minute presentation on a WordPress feature then the rest is your time to work on and get the help you need for your WordPress projects and sites, and socialize.

All levels are welcome. Bring your questions and problems. We’re all here to help each other.

The facility is in the basement floor of the Parkway Plaza Bldg on the east side of Vancouver by the Vancouver Mall off I-205 and Highway 500. Free WIFI, electrical outlets, presentation area, etc., available.

8100 NE Parkway Dr, Vancouver, WA 98662
Map: http://bit.ly/1rawtU3

Follow the signs to the meeting.

Facility for WordPress Social Meetup in Vancouver.

Dates and Topics: Sundays from 4-7, typically the day before the WordPress PDX Meetup on Monday.

  • Sept 28 – WordPress Q&A
  • Oct 19 – WordPress Basics
  • Nov 16 – WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
  • Dec 14 – Social Work and Play (no official presentation)

In 2015 we have topics on basics of a Child Theme, WordPress Plugin favorites, Social Media integration, and more on the basics of WordPress. Please bring cups and water bottles. Water, tea, and coffee available. Snacks are possible.

Appreciation goes to Jolene Wright of Vancouver Hypnosis (recently graduated WordPress student at Clark) for the free use of the facilities.

Hope to see you there! And thanks for helping to spread the word.


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What is Your Favorite Article on Lorelle on WordPress?

I’ve been asked to put together a best-of collection of Lorelle on WordPress articles in an ebook. Do you have a favorite?

I’m looking for articles that you’ve bookmarked and returned back to over the years to help you with WordPress and blogging, or articles that helped you understand and embrace a WordPress or blogging concept that changed your work and publishing.

Check all that apply in the poll below.

If you would like to visit the articles listed in the poll, here is the list:

Thank you!


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The Web is All About The Writing

Blog writing tips and articlesReading “7 Things You Need to Know about SEO in 2014” from Compete Pulse, I was fascinating to read that “size matters:”

Most blog posts range between 400 and 600 words, but the ideal length for highest ranking is actually around 1,500.

Many still believe that a successful website is one that offers the information the customer needs and nothing more. Or that the ideal post length should be short, 200-450 words.

It’s not. It’s about the words. It’s about the words it takes to make your point and answer the question.

In spite of my 2007 article, “Blogging Is About Writing,” on Darren Rowse’s Problogger, I still hear that blogging isn’t about writing. Learning how to write for the web isn’t as important as learning HTML, PHP, WordPress, SEO, web analytics, JavaScript, and serious coding.

After four years researching and fighting for a Writing for the Web course at Clark College and other schools around the globe, the first class was held this past Spring with good success, and push back from the students who believed that designing and developing for the web had nothing to do with learning how to write on the web.

It’s time to revisit this discussion and explain that blogging and web publishing, from the perspective of the designer and developer to the business owner, is one of the most critical aspects of our industry, and a skill that needs to rise to the top of your skill set and resume. If you can’t write in today’s web world, you are lost and losing out.

Let’s look at all we do on the web and how it relates to the written word. Read More »

Two WordPress College Classes Offered at Clark College This Fall

WordPress NewsThe WordPress I CTEC 160 courses at Clark College are about to close and there are still seats open in the Monday/Wednesday classes.

This fall there are two times to choose from. Days from 1-3:30PM and evenings from 6:30-9PM.

The 5-credit course covers the basics of WordPress, from content to design. Much of the classwork is done online in this fast-paced 12-week class includes creating your own test site and testing environment on WordPress.com and the self-hosted version of WordPress, guest blogging, working on a multiple contributor site, and managing client content.

This is a unique opportunity to not only dive deeply into WordPress as a user, client, designer, and developer, but also to learn from one of the world’s top WordPress trainers with 11 years of WordPress design, development, and training experience.

Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, honors Oregon Columbia River counties with no out-of state resident tuition, and lodging facilities are available for those traveling from greater distance.

This class is a fundamental and required part of the Web Design (CGT), Web Development (CGT), Server (CGT), Computer Support, and an elective for many other degree programs including English, Journalism, Business, marketing, and many more.

If you are a non-credit student, please tell registration clearly when you register.

To register, you may use the Quick Step Registration Form and include a note that you are a credit/non-credit student. Or visit Clark College and register at the registration office.

Registration for these two courses is ending very soon. We’ve only a few more days left, so register now.


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Robin Williams Starts Our Conversation on Depression, Suicide, and Mental Health

The world is grieving the loss of one of our favorite comedic and dramatic geniuses, Robin Williams, and the conversation begins about mental illness, depression, and suicide.

The Facts As We Know It: The news arrived about 3:30PM PST that the actor had died due to suspected suicide. CNN reported that according to the Marin County Sheriff’s office, Williams was pronounced dead at 12:02pm PST of suspected suicide due to asphyxia. The last post on his official site was a week ago. His last tweet was July 31, 2014, wishing happy birthday to Zelda Rae Williams, his daughter with Marsha Garces.

What We Feel: We’ve lost a best friend, one we’ve met through television, film, recordings, and comedy concert halls. Like many highly visible celebrities, we think we know them, then this happens, and we question what we knew, and what we wished we knew.

From time to time, Williams was open about his battles with drugs, alcohol, and depression. Some of my favorite quotes from Robin Williams include commentary on mental health as well as some great lines on the topic from his films.

  • “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”
  • “Reality is just a crutch for people who can’t cope with drugs.”
  • “Freud: If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother.”
  • “Reality: What a concept!”
  • “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel alone.”
  • “You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.”
  • “What’s right is what’s left if you do everything else wrong.”
  • “I believe in destiny. There must be a reason that I am as I am. There must be.”

The next few months will be filled with conversations, positive and negative, as the facts, and rumors, flood the media waves about depression, mental illness, and suicide. We will celebrate the artist and the genius, but we will also have to face the hard questions.

Like many of you, my life has been touched closely by depression, personally and through family and friends. It comes in many shapes and forms, and rarely does it lead to extreme action, but it can. It is a sly form of mental illness, sneaking in when you least expect it, catching you off guard (“Me? I’m not depressed!”), or be a burden we live with every day, making the decision to keep one foot in front of the other on our journey through life day by day. Read More »

Find, Search, Replace, and Delete in the WordPress Database

The following was originally published on WordCast and authored by Lorelle VanFossen. It is reprinted here as a reference guide.

WordPress Tips and Techniques

  1. You’ve moved your WordPress installation from one server to another.
  2. You’ve changed domain names.
  3. You’ve moved images around on your server and now they don’t load.
  4. You’ve changed your WordPress installation and now images show blank boxes on your posts.
  5. You’ve changed your email address.
  6. An author has changed their name or URL.
  7. You’ve been asked to remove all of someone’s blog comments.
  8. You’ve turned things off during development and it’s time to turn them back on.
  9. You’ve gotten smart and changed your WordPress URL and installation from example.com/wordpress/ to example.com.
  10. You’ve realized that you’ve been misspelling “separate as “seperate” and you now need to fix all the missed spellings.
  11. You’ve realized that WP as an acronym isn’t as SEO friendly as you thought and decide to change them all to WordPress.

These are just a few of the reasons why you need to know how to do a search and replace in the WordPress MySQL database. Some people choose to export their entire WordPress site’s data and edit it in a text editor, but for those with hundreds or thousands of posts, it’s easier to do it in the MySQL database.

Playing with your WordPress MySQL database is not for the weak of heart and faint of code. There is much to fear. The worse case scenario is that you blow up your site. The best scenario is that you fix some problems that have been plaguing you. I’ve some warnings below, but trust that even someone with little coding experience can do this, if you are very, very careful and take precautions.

The following search and replace and delete WordPress-related queries for MySQL are included:

Read More »

Speed Blogging Tips and Techniques

The following are the workshop notes for my popular workshop on “Speed Blogging.” The workshop is designed to teach how to take charge of your website and keep the content flowing with enthusiasm over the long term by learning the shortcuts, tips, and techniques to speed up the process of blogging, allowing your blog to work for them, not you work for it. You will find many more tips and techniques for site management and motivation in my ongoing series called Blog Exercises.


Before we get to the speed blogging tips, especially for using WordPress, let’s get to the excuses that get in our way. After all, an estimated 95% of all bloggers give up after the first year, and it is my goal to make blogging fun and efficient, that you spend more time enjoying blogging than struggling with it.

Begin by realizing that blogging is just about writing, but not only about writing. Don’t like writing, try video or audio. Find a way that works with your personality and capabilities to keep your content going.

Find a way to make this fun. There are many ways beyond what I’m about to share with you to speed up the process of blogging to make it fun and fast, so you can get back to what you really want to do. I’d love to have you share them in the comments below. I’m always finding new ways to save a few minutes. Read More »

Your Blog is Your Business Card

The following are the notes for my popular workshop “Your Blog is Your Business Card”. The premise is that today’s business card can’t hold all the contact information necessary to connect adequately with potential clients, but the blog can. It is the holder of your contact information and online identity. The workshop covers the philosophy behind this position and helps the participant understand how to create an online persona.


In the Victorian age, calling cards or visitor cards were delivered to someone as a request for a meeting. If the recipient didn’t know the person, the information on the card, and tapping into their own social network for information on the stranger’s reputation, would help them decide whether or not to accept the invite.

Today’s business card would fill a billboard with all of the contact information we have on the web. Potential clients may connect with us through Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Ravelry, MNng, YouTube, About.me, CafeMom, CaringBridge, 43 Things, deviantArt, DailyBooth, DailyMotion, Vimeo, Slideshare, MySpace, Orkut, Plaxo, Plurk, Wooxie, WordPress.com, Bebo…the list is long. That doesn’t include the more traditional email, phone, or snail mail.

While potential clients may find you through a search or these social media networks, the key to a successful online presence is to make it easy for your customers and contacts to find you where they hang out, and they find that information through your blog.

Let me explain first that a blog is a website. The definition of a website is a that is an address with a collection of web pages. A blog is a website, a collection of web pages presented in reverse chronological order. So a blog is a website and a website is a blog. I enjoy the word “blog” as it has many other stereotypical and emotional connotations, and it continues to be a disruptive force on the web.

That said, how does a blog become your business card, your representative on the web. Read More »

Sale on Lorelle’s Book “Social Media for Crafters”

Social Media for Crafters: Covering the Basics of the Social Web ebook by Lorelle VanFossenI’ve updated my popular ebook, “Social Media for Crafters,” and it’s on sale for the next week in honor of the Willamette Writers Conference in Portland, Oregon, and to celebrate the power of the written word. The book will be on sale for only $2.99 USD. I’ve not had a sale on my books since they were published, so take advantage of this now.

Social Media for Crafters is designed to help the crafter and artist new to web publishing and the social web learn how to connect with the exciting and highly interactive social networks for any hobby, art form, or craft. It covers the core social media networks, blogging, and was recently updated to include Google+, Pinterest, and changes in the social media industry. As always, the ebook promotes WordPress as the blogging platform of choice.

Blogging Tips - book cover, copyright Lorelle VanFossenMy popular book, “Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging,” isn’t on sale, but continues to be available by mail in perfect bound form for USD $12.95 plus shipping. This book covers a wide variety of blogging and social media tips and techniques, focusing on WordPress, and still pertinent today. Written as a giant to do checklist, the book includes ways to promote your site and encourage interactivity. I’m working on the ebook version this summer and it should be out soon, fully updated, so jump now to get the original while it is still in print before it becomes virtual forever.

To buy either book, visit by Books page, and check out the list of books I recommend be in your library from some of the best bloggers in the industry.

I will be presenting two workshops at the Willamette Writers Conference on Sunday on social media and blogging, and speed blogging tips and techniques, helping writers learn how to blog faster and better, and get back to their writing and life. Attendees will be able to buy a specially printed version of the Social Media for Crafters book for USD $10, normally $15.

Please note that I’m also trying a new third-party PayPal service on WordPress.com. If it works, expect an article on the process soon. If it doesn’t, please use my contact form to let me know immediately. Thanks!


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