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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: 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 […]

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: 5,127 Tries

In his native UK, Sir James Dyson is known as much for his quirky looking, superior-functioning vacuum cleaners as for his long embattled path to commercial success. He gave Brits their first bagless vacuum in 1993 after 13 tough years tinkering in the tool shed. He slogged through 5,127 prototypes, a couple of lawsuits and […]

Blog Exercises: Start Here Guides

Training for educators using online learning management systems for high schools and college recommend creating a “Start Here” page to guide the student through the process. If the process is complicated, this makes sense. The question I wanted to know from trainers is why don’t they provide training upon entrance to the school so each […]

Blog Exercises: The Domino Effect

I recently created a domino effect on one of my sites. The Domino Effect is based upon the traditional game of domino pieces stacked standing upright in rows, typically in a straight or curved path carefully spaced close together. Knock over the first one and it falls against the second, and third, knocking down each […]

Blog Exercises: Patterns in the Stats

As we proceed through this year of blogging tips and exercises, we’ll talk more about statistics and web analytics to help you check in with yourself that you are on the right track. Today’s blog exercise is to familiarize yourself with tracking your site’s stats, learning the key numbers and data to watch. I introduced […]

Fall 2013 WordPress College Courses

Registration is now open for the two WordPress college courses I teach at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, and Portland Community College at Rock Creek in Beaverton, just west of Portland, Oregon. See Classes and Workshops for details. I’ve been working with Robert Hughes of the Computer Technology Department at Clark College for almost two […]

Blog Exercises: Site Goals

Early on in these Blog Exercises I asked you to clarify what you do and how you share your purpose on your site, what your target audience is, and review the why of why you blog and self-publish on the web. Hopefully you’ve had time over the past few months to digest those thoughts, evaluate […]

Blog Exercises: Self-Control and Distractions

During a recent WordPress Meetup in Portland, Oregon, I was on the panel of three WordPress experts answering questions from the audience on how to use WordPress. In response to one of the questions dealing with a recommendation that WordPress restrict what a user can and cannot do to protect themselves from doing something “stupid,” […]

Blog Exercises: What’s the View Through Your Binoculars

One of my favorite things is a framed picture by Matt Mullenweg of an old set of mounted binoculars. The eye pieces are worn and the blue paint on the metal binoculars looks like it’s not the first coat of paint it has seen. It’s wonderful, and I find new meaning in it every time […]

Blog Exercises: Where is Your Audience?

In this ongoing series, Blog Exercises, you’ve been exploring your site stats to determine where your audience is coming from and why. Now is the time to explore the where. Using whichever as stats or web analytics program you wish as discussed in the post introducing you to blog stats and analytics, check out the […]

Blog Exercises: Protect Your Privacy

The web world thinks my birthday is January 1. Does the web know your birthday? Among the many Blog Exercises so far this year, I’ve mostly focused on your blog. Today, I want to talk about something related to your blog but mostly to your exposure and presence on the web: your private and personal […]

Blog Exercises: What Story Should I Share?

One of the challenges of family history blogging and many other narrative forms of blogging is to decide what story to tell and how to tell it on your blog. The same applies to the life story or tale you wish to share on your site. Let me take the example of one of my […]

Blog Exercises: Are You a Victim of the Past?

Have you seen the fun video released to promote the then new television show, Portlandia on IFC, recently renewed for another year or two? It’s called “Dream of the 90s” and is part of your homework for this blog exercise. The story is that Jason went on a trip from Los Angles to Portland, Oregon, […]

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