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WordPress Workshop for Writers in Salem, Oregon

Are you a writer? Author? Thinking about it? Live in the Salem, Oregon, or nearby areas? 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 […]

Blog Exercises: Where You Came From

Inspired by these blog exercises, Janet Williams of Janet’s Notebook has been taking her readers on a journey back through time and space, exploring her family’s Chinese heritage from her little corner of the south of England. Her “Letters from China” have evolved from a few posts to an entire series, and eventually, I hope, […]

Blog Exercises: I Don’t Trust That Site

I recommended an article to a student and they said they didn’t trust that site, thus shed doubt on my personal integrity. I asked why. “Because it’s on Blogspot.” Wow. I have to say that wasn’t the answer I expected. I didn’t expect someone, not web savvy in the least, would associate a blogger on […]

Blog Exercises: How to Create a Blogger Identity

A rebroadcast of “How Much Does Your Name Matter?” from Freakonomics Radio looked at the impact of a name on society, perception, prejudice, and ability to succeed. Indeed, there is some evidence that a name can influence how a child performs in school and even her career opportunities. There’s also the fact that different groups […]

Blog Exercises: Making Notifications and Alerts Work for You

In the blog exercise on eliminating noisy distractions from your computer, mobile phone, and other areas around your working environment, I wanted you to remove the things that interfere with your blogging time and space, with your creative energies. I wanted you to identify what is getting in your way that you might not be […]

Blog Exercises: If You Wouldn’t Do It In Public, Would You Do It Online?

If you wouldn’t do it in public, would you do it online? Unfortunately for many, the answer is a resounding YES! However, most of us have some…whatever you call it…oh, yeah, class, ethics, moral fiber, manners – etiquette. I’m not the Dear Abby of social norms, but I’m first in line to tell you that […]

Blog Exercises: When You Assume…

One of the class projects for my WordPress college course involved the students working together on a single broken post to find all the errors in the content. Typically, this is a quick test of their basic coding skills, but this quarter’s students are not typical. They are exceptional. The goal was to identify and […]

Annual Thanksgiving Orphan Party

You’re invited to the VanFossen Annual Thanksgiving Orphan Party Saturday, November 30, 2013 For many years we’ve gathered together anyone missing home, left out of Thanksgiving celebrations, or eager for more social during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. You are invited to join the craziness. It starts around 2PM. We eat about 6PM, if things go […]

Blog Exercises: Taking Inventory on What Keeps You Blogging

The recent major desktop computer crash has left me reeling. I thought I had all my data backed up. For the most part, I did. What I didn’t have backed up was my programs. Getting back up to speed fast, I’ve had to prioritize the programs I had download and install. Yes, download. Who gets […]

Blog Exercises: Ingredients of a Professional Site

Two questions on the same day triggered this blog exercise. I was asked by a student in my WordPress class recently what defined a “professional blog.” I told him it was one that met all the criteria for a well-designed, well-formed site that met web standards. This is a good definition, but lacked specifics. A […]

Blog Exercises: Learning From a Mentor Makes You Better

“What One of the World’s Great Novelists Learned About Writing from David Ogilvy” on Copyblogger tells the story of how famous author Salman Rushdie learned copywriting and writing in general from another great copywriter, David Ogilvy. Imagine it’s your job to convey the taste of a chocolate bar in just one word. And by the […]

Blog Exercises: A Link List Post to Dazzle Readers

In blog exercises on making lists and making your lists pretty, we worked on the links, understanding how they work and formatting your styles. In this blog exercise, I want to focus on the content within those links, the real reason people love those link lists. I’d like to cite my friends at Daily Blog […]

Blog Exercises: Blogging Loss and Grief

Loss is a part of life. This year, I’ve lost friends, family, and pets, and some days the sadness permeates everything. Other days, we laugh and smile. As with all things, in time, the balance between sunshine and dark shifts the scale towards sunshine. Grief is often best when shared, at least during the earliest […]

Blog Exercises: Make a List of Everything on Your Site

Today’s blog exercise will require a little time, magnifier, and a score card. Well, maybe not one of those items. I want you to grab a piece of paper and load up the front page of your site in a browser. Zoom in so you can really see it up close and personal. Start counting. […]

Blog Exercises: Site Models

In “WordPress Site Models” I describe the three main formats for a site layout. They are static, blog, and hybrid. Each site model works for a variety of content and presentation of that content, though some work better for specific types of sites. A static site model, even in WordPress, uses Pages and not posts […]

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