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Welcome to the New Blog Exercises

Blog Exercises on Lorelle on WordPress.Your doctor tells you to exercise. You tell yourself you need some exercise. You play Sudoku and other mind games to flex the brain. We all need exercise, even bloggers.

In the past, my Blog Challenges have been well received but its time to update them. I used to call them challenges, then prompts, but now they are Blog Exercises.

Blog Exercises are designed to strengthen your blogging abilities. Blogging is not limited to writing. Blogging is more than words, telling a story or teaching a lesson. Blogging is about imagery, in word, picture, sound, and video. Blogging is about connections and the social web. Blogging is about communication. Blogging is about preservation. Blogging is about… whatever you chose to make of it.

Blogging is fascinating to me. Just when you think there is nothing new to learn or read, someone comes up with a new angle, a fresh perspective on an old topic, or even a new topic, expanding our knowledge base and exciting our spirits.

There are all types of blogs and all types of bloggers. It’s time to explore not just the tips and techniques of blogging but the diversity. We have a lot to learn from each other about self-publishing our thoughts, dreams, wishes, and wisdom. Personal bloggers can learn from business bloggers and business bloggers have a lot to learn from personal bloggers.

For the next year, I’m going to release blogging exercises five times a week. Some of these will be simple, some complex and require a lot of thought. You don’t have to do them all, but it will help you expand your blogging and self-publishing skills. There is no order to these and no penalty if you forget or skip some. Like all exercise, you get out of it what you put into it.

I will be including many WordPress tips and techniques as well, helping you create the best site possible from the inside out and back again. I’ll cover web writing, site management, site maintenance, analytics and stats, interactivity, multimedia, planning, organization, structure, and a wide variety of tips and techniques to improve your site and blogging efforts.

Consider this yoga for your blog.

This is a year of expansion, of doing what you have been putting off, of cleaning up, maintenance, inspiration, and motivation. This is your year to get it done and get it done right on your sites.

I’m often asked if there is a method yet to download everything I’ve learned about blogging and WordPress into a vast, searchable repository. I’ve been training bloggers and web publishers for almost twenty years, maybe longer, so I would love it if it were easy to just hook up my brain to a database and dump it all in. Until then, it’s going to be fun to put together all the various tips, tricks, and techniques I’ve used to keep blogging on, to keep the enthusiasm, commitment, and most of all the passion for self-publishing. I’m eager to have you join me on this year-long adventure.

This isn’t a one-sided process. Your input and responses are an important part of the process of learning. I welcome your suggestions or ideas for flexing blog muscles. Contact me with your suggestions.

Blog Exercises Guidelines

The guidelines for the blog exercises are fairly simple. There really are no rules or regulations on using the blog exercises. It’s your blog, it’s your experience. Choose accordingly.

However, we all need to be on the same page. We need to know the basic guidelines that will make this year of blogging exercises a success for everyone.

The Blog Exercise Category: To follow along, you may subscribe (described below) or visit the Blog Exercises category. This category features past Blog Challenges and the current set of exercises.

Assignments, Tasks, and Homework: All exercises, be they assignments, tasks, or homework projects, are designated by a graphic B for blogger riding a bicycle. Blog Exercise Task from Lorelle on WordPress. This is to ensure you spot the instructions for the task in the commentary.

Keep an Open Mind: The exercises are not specific to one type of blogger or content. There is room to learn from everyone and different styles and techniques. What works well for a crafter may not work for a business blogger, but it might actually be the missing piece they need to blog better. Open your mind and your spirit to the possibilities.

Deadlines and Due Dates: You do not have to accomplish the assignments on a deadline. You can do them the day they are published, two weeks from now, or ten years from now. The exercise will continue to be valid no matter when you take it on.

Subscribe: I would love it if you would follow along daily, but that’s your choice. If you’d like to give it a try, consider subscribing through my site feeds or email subscriptions to keep up with the project.

Trackback: If the exercise calls upon you to publish a post, put a link to the exercise post as a hat tip or citation link. This will create a trackback to the exercise on the original post, giving people a chance to click through and see what you did on your assignment. Trackbacks are an important part of blogging and self-publishing, so learn how they work. (I’ll have an exercise on this early on.)

No link dumps allowed. If you would like to post the link to your assignment manually, please add it as a properly formed link and not a link dump. A link dump is just pasting a link into your post or comment, raw and ugly. A properly formed looks like the following links, pointing to instructions on how to create properly formed links: Links and the Anchor HTML Tag, What You Must Know About Writing on the Web, and The Basic Structure of a Blog Post.

If you would like me to review an exercise you’ve done, I will do my best but it will be fast. I have a full-time career. I’m available as a paid consultant for site reviews, training, and assistance if you need more in depth reviews and expertise. Contact me for more information and to arrange an appointment.

I do this not because I wish to expand my client list – in fact, I’m booked full for several months. I have created this blog exercise project to allow me to help my readers, fans, and clients blog better, keeping me focused on the more important aspects of my work. It’s my way of giving back to the community that continues to support me and help me thrive in my industry.

Get your blogging brain in gear. We’re about to get serious about blogging! Come join us.


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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen.

17 Comments

  1. Steve and Sally Wharton
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Sounds enjoyable; relevant; productive and will likely improve and contribute to our brand spanking new and under development Seattle WordPress blog devoted to Seattle neighborhood information and local real estate resources…as well as our overall WordPress flexibility, coordination, stamina and agility. Bring it on! Cheers, Steve & Sally Wharton, Seattle

  2. Posted January 8, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    I’ve taught some workshops to real estate and mortgage companies in Seattle! Excellent. Glad to have you join us.

  3. Posted January 8, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Sounds good!

  4. Posted January 8, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Oooh this is great! Looking forward to reading more and participating!

    • Posted January 9, 2013 at 12:56 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Natalie. I’m looking forward to responses and to see where this is all going. I have the first few months mapped out, but I’m relying upon you to help me plan the rest. Thanks!

  5. Posted January 8, 2013 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    I’m pushing up my sleeves already! Sounds like quite the challenge but I think I’m up for it. Thanks for creating this project. Hope you get as much from it as I know we will.

    • Posted January 9, 2013 at 12:55 am | Permalink

      Susan, I get so much more than you could ever imagine from my readers. It’s a joy to offer something like this, and a good challenge for my own blogging skills. I could have set it to be one exercise daily, but I know myself. Five a week is doable. :D LOL!

  6. Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle, this sounds interesting, fun, and challenging. Have been subscribed for some time now, so looking forward to it.

    Like you, there’s a full-time career involved. Yet every morning, before my wife and Son wake up, I’m compelled to write and post five differently-themed blogs, generally short and pithy.

    Thanks Lorelle, for giving back to the blogging community. Very generous. We like that. :)

    • Posted January 9, 2013 at 12:54 am | Permalink

      LOL! I’m glad you are still finding glory in the daily blog slog. Hopefully these exercises will really help you flex your bloggy muscles. Any specific suggestions or ideas you’d love to see whipped out for some blog butt whipping? :D

  7. rethagroenewald
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    This is fantastic. I am very exited!

  8. jarlen
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    Cool, I’m looking forward to follow the project.

    Some of my goals for this year is to both revive my personal blogs, but also launch PHPguiden.dk, a site teaching PHP programming and best practices and community news in Danish. Especially the best practices is something I believe have been missing articles aimed at new PHP programmers, so I hope I can help improve the general state of PHP code at least a bit this way.

    So far I’m making good progress towards all of the above goals, but the blog exercises sounds like a nice way to get some insights that I might not have considered. I’m looking forward to following the project. :-)

    /jarlskov

    • Posted January 9, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Good for you for reaching out to your community help them build their coding skill set. Codecademy has done amazing things in this direction, though I’m not sure if they have yet embraced translations of their trainings. This might be an avenue to consider. Good luck with it!

    • jarlen
      Posted January 10, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Hey Lorelle,

      Thanks for the comments as well. I’ve played around with Code Academy, and they have a really cool product that I’ve played around with before. In this project I’ve chosen to focus on PHP because I feel there’s a lot of job opportunities in that around me. I work professionally with PHP, and another focus of this project is to get a larger part of the PHP community in the area working together and sharing experiences. This is something I feel is lacking in my local area, currently, despite of how many people work with it.

    • Posted January 10, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Excellent. As we go through this series of exercises, I’m excited to hear your perspective on how you will apply them to a code-based site. We need more of them and your insights on how to make code sexy, conversational, and attractive to everyone is invaluable.

    • jarlen
      Posted January 10, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      I guess I’ve just got the added challenge of making code sexy and conversational, I will do my best :-)

      Anyway, thank you for sharing your knowledge and helping out people like this, I’m looking forward to following the project along, and hope I’ll be able to provide valuable input along the way!

  9. Posted May 11, 2013 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    A bit late to the party! I’ll be doing the Exercises at my own pace. All your advice and instructions are duly noted. Thank you so much for these Exercises and all that you do for the community

    • Posted May 11, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Thank you. Please comment on any exercises you need help with or wish to share your thoughts and accomplishments. Thanks for joining us.


4 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Welcome to the New Blog Exercises- “Blog Exercises are designed to strengthen your blogging abilities. Blogging is not limited to writing. Blogging is more than words, telling a story or teaching a lesson. Blogging is about imagery, in word, picture, sound, and video. Blogging is about connections and the social web. Blogging is about communication. Blogging is about preservation. Blogging is about… whatever you chose to make of it.” […]

  2. […] what I hope to be a place to write more about origami. I am also going to try and do a series of blog exercises from Lorelle’s wordpress that I keep on thinking about, and will do on […]

  3. […] is running a year long series called Blog Exercises,  which “are designed to strengthen your blogging abilities”.  She posts daily and […]

  4. […] do not ask this of you lightly. From the very first blog exercise, I told you that just like physical exercise, bloggers need […]

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