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Blog Challenge: Teach a Blogging Technique

This week, your blog challenge is to become a teacher. Specifically, a teacher who teaches about blogging.

There is a lot more to blogging than rattling on about blog content, copyright theft, comment spam, and WordPress, though I know I tend to do a lot of that lately. So it’s up to you to tackle other aspects of blogging in this week’s blog challenge:

Teach us a blogging technique.

Teach us a how to, tip, or technique that you use to blog. Do you use special software or blogging programs? Do you use a particular text editor to write your blog posts?

How do you come up with your blog post ideas? How do you keep track of your ideas? How do you keep track of your blog?

Teach a technical aspect of blogging such as design, building widgets, using javascript, php, css, html, template tags, and template files, or how to use a Plugin or how to write a Plugin.

Share with us how you designed your website or WordPress Theme. How you got the codes to work together with the database to pull the information into your Blog. About the customization you did.

Make screenshots, screencasts, video, and dig into the code of your blogging process and tell us how it is done.

Explain only one aspect, not dozens. Focus. Use specific command language: move mouse over link, click link, look at the right hand column, direction, command specific language. Step by step instructions, number them if you want. Keep it short, concise, and instructional.

For tips on publishing code on your WordPress blogs, or any blog program, see:

These are published weekly and are an attempt to kick your blogging ass. They serve to challenge your thinking and efforts in blogging and blog writing. To participate, start challenging yourself now. Today. Go for it.

Past Blogging Challenges

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network, and author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.

9 Comments

  1. Posted November 1, 2007 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I have always thought that one of the main flaws of many WordPress themes is that the main Page navigation, when called by using the wp_list_pages() function, applies a title to each of the navigation links with whatever value is used in the the_title() of that particular Page.

    Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a Page title that was more descriptive than the short title that WordPress wants to display in your navigation link?

    Don’t get me wrong, this is a good idea, but because of the way most navigation links are designed, the page titles need to be quite short and not very descriptive. Similarly, these themes tend to also use the_title() as the main H1 or H2 tag for the page display itself. In other words, if the navigation link says “Home”, the page title for that page usually displays as “Home” as well. This may be the way a designer wants it, but often it seems that a more descriptive page title is what’s really needed.

    By applying a nice bit of coding and sharing it with the world, Mike Cherim gave me the idea about how to solve this problem. I adapted the code he uses to display WordPress pull quotes, and now use it to afford the WordPress user the option to add their own, more descriptive page title rather than relying on the_title() alone. By using Mike’s technique, along with the built in custom fields feature of WordPress, the user is not required to to add a more descriptive page title, and if they don’t, the code defaults to using the_title() as normal. However, it does afford the user the option to be more descriptive in their page titles. Not only is this a neat feature that allows for more descriptive titles, but it also allows for keyword insertion into these WordPress Page titles – something that can only increase page rankings in the search engines. After all, which H1 page heading is more SEO friendly, “Home” or “Welcome to LifePlan Financial“?

    The code in this image shows how I implement thee page titles in the PHP code. (Sorry, I could not get the actual PHP code to display correctly in this post, so what you see below is an image.)

    Essentially, the code above says the following: If the custom field named main_title is NOT empty, display the text contained in that field as the H1 title. If the custom field named main_title IS empty, display the standard WordPress the_title() tag as the H1 title.

    Based upon our example above, let’s put this into action. We’ll add one custom field called “main_title”. The following instructions will demonstrate how to add this information to a post using Custom Fields.

    From the Write Post panel, choose Advanced Editing. If you are using the Simple Editing screen, look for a button with Advanced Editing » next to the Publish button. Click the button to go to the advanced editing screen.
    After you have written your post, scroll down to the bottom of the Advanced Editing screen and look for an area titled Custom Fields.
    To create a new Custom Field called “main_title”, enter the text “main_title” (without the quotes) in the text entry field titled Key.
    The newly created Key should now be assigned a Value, which in our case is the name of H1 title you would like displayed on your page. Type this text in the Value field, again without the quotes.
    All done. If I explained this correctly, and you followed the directions, your WordPress pages will now display the custom page title field!

    You can add a page title to each of your WordPress pages meta-data. In the Custom Fields section, the Key will now feature a pull down list with the previously entered Custom Fields. Choose "main_title" and then enter the new page title in the value. Click Add Custom Field.

    You only need to create a new "KEY" once, after which you can assign a value to that key for every post, if you so desire. If you do not enter any value in the main_title key, the code I wrote will default to using the standard WordPress page title contained in the_title() function

    That's all there is to it - custom WordPress page titles!

  2. Posted November 2, 2007 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Well the first thing I do when I talk to someone who is new to blogging is this. What interests you? Thats the key thing for people. Focusing on one subject or niche can work for some people depending on the subject matter.

  3. Posted November 2, 2007 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Am I allowed to mention my pencasting tutorial?

  4. Posted November 2, 2007 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    @mandarine:

    You can mention anything you want, mandarine. A great tutorial, by the way!

  5. Posted November 3, 2007 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    For those who want to combine penmanship with blogmanship, I have a tutorial on pencasting.

  6. Posted November 3, 2007 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I use the Diigo bookmarking site to collect links, annotations and tag them with the week for the post I will make. I think use the blog-it feature to write my post based on the link, annotations, and my comments.

  7. Posted November 5, 2007 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,
    I’m a fairly new visitor, been reading your blog for a little while now. I wrote a post on creating a print stylesheet for your blog in response to this weeks challenge. Let me know what you think about it.
    Thanks

  8. anandkrishna
    Posted November 9, 2007 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    I started blogging just about 2 months ago. And some 700 visitors later, I feel that the two things one absolutely must possess in large measure before blogging are:

    1. Passion for the subject: You don’t have to be an expert (though it helps!). But you do need to feel strongly about the subject.

    2. Commitment to the blog: A new broom sweeps well. But the key is to sustain your blog beyond the first few weeks or months. And nothing can kill your blog (in terms of declining visitors) than the lack of updated content.

    Cheers,

    Anand

  9. Posted January 3, 2008 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    I agree with anandkrishna. I start my blog at 8 month ago. First think i learn was i have to make one specific content for my blog, and the regularly update it my new content. That is what i do until know and forever. :D


6 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] This week’s challenge enables me to become an unqualified teacher and teach about a blogging technique. [...]

  2. [...] Can you complete Lorelle’s latest blogging challenge? [...]

  3. [...] I suspect, she reads Lorelle On WordPress. These blogging challenges are published weekly and are an attempt to kick your blogging ass. They serve to challenge your thinking and efforts in blogging and blog writing. To participate, start challenging yourself now. Today. Go for it. [Via Lorelle’s Blog Challenge] [...]

  4. [...] Blog Challenge: Teach a Blogging Technique [...]

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  6. […] Blog Challenge: Teach a Blogging Technique challenges bloggers to share a blogging technique with their readers. […]

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