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Campaign 2011: Prove It!

Prove it campaign by LorelleEvery year I create a personal campaign. It’s my own personal soap box that I stand on throughout the year to make a point. In the past I tackled copyright issues, freedom of speech, breaking global language barriers on the web, creativity, education, and more. You helped me spread the word and slowly, the world has changed. This year is a good one for me. Puts me, and you, in the proverbial spotlight.


I never understood my mother’s reference to the “proof is in the pudding” but I believe it to mean that you better walk the walk and talk the talk not talk the walk. So prove it. To yourself. To the world.

I’m guilty of this. I have traveled all over the world teaching, speaking before audiences of hundreds and thousands, offering training programs and workshops, and what do I have to prove what I do that? Not much here. You can Google me and find a ton of stuff all scattered around. You can find some presentations on , too. I’ve written for a variety of magazines and websites, and while I brag about it, I rarely put it on a visible resume. I’ve gotten away with this for a long time, but now it’s time to start tooting my own horn and proving that I know of what I speak. So expect some changes around here soon.

A good example of proving what you can do and how good you are at it is found on – Martin Gauer – Web Developer.

martin gauer attackement website front page

Links to Martin Gauer site

I could give you a thousand bad examples of WordPress experts, web developers, designers, programmers, WordPress Themers, Plugin authors, SEO experts, social media masters, marketing and advertising geniuses, and even fellow bloggers who really are great at what they do, but their sites don’t speak well of them. Their energies are either too far spread out or poorly represented. Honestly, does your site speak well of you? Or does your LinkedIn profile say more about you than your own site or business card? Or has that gone ignored, too?

I’m taking a (w)holistic approach to my campaign of “Prove It!.” It’s not just about the blog any more. It’s about everything you do on the web. It all has to speak well of you and bring fans and friends back home to your blog to find you, the real you.

Here is the definition of “prove” from Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary that will apply to my actions this year on behalf of my “Prove It!” campaign.

  1. To learn or find out by experience: I’m going to dig into how to help you prove to the world that you are who you say you are and do what you can do, and put those lessons into practice myself. We’ll learn together how to help your site walk the walk and talk the talk.
  2. To test the truth, validity, or genuineness of: Part of “transparency” is the proof. So you say your site has X number of traffic, but what does that mean? Really? Where is the proof? Are you blindly taking actions on your site because of personal preference or perceived response, or facts and figures? We’re going to look more into analytics and how to test and validate the “proof in your pudding.”
  3. To establish the existence, truth or validity of: As with the previous definition, we’re going to dig the truth out even if it hurts. Do you make claims without proof? Do you come up with stats and figures and not link to real sources to support them? We’re going to talk about how to get those sources fast, and how to change your style so you speak truth with supporting evidence. We’re also going to look at how to identify fraud on the Internet, even though most of us know fake when we see it, we’re going to be talking about how to test for fake, and what to do when you get caught (even for tiny infractions).
  4. To demonstrate as having a particular quality or worth: Many of us are afraid to toot our own horn, to brag about our accomplishments. Some, like me, believe the proof is in our pudding as our work speaks for itself. Sometimes it does, sometimes it whispers. I’ll show you examples we can learn from, good and bad, on how someone proves their worth and value, and how they can improve it. We all need to brag a little, so let’s learn how to find the balance between arrogant and informative.
  5. To show oneself to be worthy or capable: Martin’s site is a prime example. He not only tells you what he can do, his site proves it. Does your site prove you are worthy and capable? Mine does, if you dig deep and long enough. Does yours? Mine needs to do it faster, as yours probably does, too. We’ll talk about how to make your site tell the world you are worth hiring, worth working with, and worth knowing, as well as worth coming back for more.

Yes, we will tear apart WordPress blogs and sites to tear off the mask behind the blogger. Yes, I will revive my very popular Blog Clutter: WTF Is That Doing There? series which I’m turning into an ebook for release this year. Yes, we will look at WordPress Theme elements and WordPress Plugins to help make this process easier.

I’ve a huge list of topics to cover to help you uncover yourself on the web. If you have some suggestions or ideas on topics you wish covered this year on this subject, I’m all ears.

Are you with me? Isn’t it time you threw off your cloak of invisibility and came out into the light to shine? Isn’t it time that you learned how to use your WordPress site to show off what you can do and how well you do it? Isn’t it time we all heard your story and came to adore you as I do?

The campaign is on. Start waving your flags!

Prove It! Campaign Article Series

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen.


  1. Posted December 29, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like a useful objective for yourself and others.

    As a nitpicking obsessive I believe I can criticise material with some (limited) skill. However rarely does anyone ask me to use my “skills”.

    From the opposite end as soon as I learn about something that I find useful, I add to my web site.

    I prepare a procedure about what I have learnt and put it on my web site. However last time I tried to give your Readers a link to follow you said you banned advertising. I wrote and pointed out that I do not aim to sell anything for money – just for my own pleasure. However I do not recall receiving an answer from you.

    I taught management to Executives for many years and prepared many many notes on the topic. I have slowly put the material on to my web site. I still have many pages to add. Some topics quite extensive (e.g. Completed Staff Work) However I have the problem of balancing (a) the time spent on putting on new material with (b) learning to make my site better. I would welcome criticism of my material and my site . However when I call for someone from a forum to do so I only got a couple of replies and they faded away when faced with the material .

    Enough of this – I shall go back to adding material to my site – currently Specific Techniques for Specific Conference Situations.

    However good luck with your objective.

    • Posted December 29, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

      The issue with the link relates to your signature or something like that if I remember right. I don’t allow links in blog comment signatures as the link is set with the comment from around your name. It’s a rule most bloggers should practice, and many do. Links to blog posts within comments are also cleared out unless they very specifically relate or add to the content. I don’t remember, but I’m pretty fair while being fast with the edit button, so something made me suspicious. I’m sorry that it bothered you. Now is the time to prove you aren’t anyone to be suspicious of. 😀

      Another glance at your site reminded me exactly of why I removed the link. “Lawn bowling” has nothing to do with blogging nor WordPress, nor anything else I write about. I also found little connection to executive management, which also has nothing to do with lawn bowling and it’s hard to find a connection. Either your site is about lawn bowling or executive management, but the two just stretch the imagination to find commonality. I’d have to work on a lot of imaginative ways to connect the two. Maybe you can do it, but I haven’t seen it on your site. It’s not working, which makes this series perfect for you.

      Not to be rude but merely observant, I understand why people might have not responded to a review and critique of your site. You are a prime example of what I will be talking about when it comes to living up to your self and your blog. Maybe I might use you as an example if you are willing. It will take some guts and faith as I can be harsh when it comes to helping someone make the best of themselves and their sites so they speak well of them, but if you are up to it, and willing to be put in the guillotine, I’ll take you on. 😀

      Who knows, someone might come running (or many) to ask you to use your skills in lawn bowling or management skills, both of which I’m sure you are an expert. Thanks for letting me be blunt.

  2. Posted December 29, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle, right there with you in making 2012 amazing. Bold plans inspire people.

  3. Posted December 29, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad you brought up this blog post at the right time. While I’ve been helping others to make wonderful things with WordPress for more than 3 years, I’ve never had a decent blog. Just started off with one that might show off my skills at least to some extend. Love to see the follow up posts and ideas on this campaign.

    • Posted December 30, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      @pothi, I think this is the right time for a lot of people. I’m excited to do this myself as I, too, have let a few things go, for a variety of reasons. Mostly because people hate it when I change things here. I don’t just get a couple of whiners, I get hundreds and hundreds of whiners. So I’ll make the changes slowly, and discuss them thoroughly so we all learn together! Thanks!

  4. amelied
    Posted December 30, 2011 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    Man, Lorelle – you’ve got me revved up.

    Don’t use me as an example though . . . the known timeline continuum isn’t long enough to deal with all the boo boos on my blogs.

    Keen to see what you cover with others though (I know – I’m just a chicken 🙂

    Thanks for all your inspiration and guidance. I know “Prove It!” will inspires others – I hope therefore it is as productive for you as well.


    • Posted December 30, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      @amelied, ah, come on now, have some courage! 😀 The point is that we all learn together on this. It’s going to be fun and it’s a more daring campaign than I’ve done in a long time.

  5. Posted December 30, 2011 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    Thank you for you candid comments.

    They have caused me to go to my home page and emphasise that a page exists about Procedures – mainly on WordPress.

    By all means use me as an example. I can accept criticism. In fact I usually make the point that I feel happy about ANY criticism. I use this approach because I find that some people ask for “const4ructive” criticism. I do not “demand” that class. I assume that you appreciate that I will not necessarily act on some of your ideas.

    If you read my home page I hope it explains why I have an interest in Lawn bowls AND Management.

    I accept that it would prove better to have two separate sites. However as a Pensioner I need to watch my pennies (or cents).

    All the best for the new Year and to a possible partnership. Perhaps we can walk hand n hand into the sunset (joke)

    • Posted December 30, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Why would anyone want to go to a page on WordPress Procedures? I was wondering that. And you lack an About page that I could find, and links to many of the things you talk about. Navigation is really brutal. Anyway, if you are willing, I’ll give it a go. And two sites with are free. 😀

      And funny about the walk into the sunset. I live off of what is called the Sunset Highway. This could be fun!

  6. Posted December 30, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    You revved up me up too and made laugh and I needed that. For years I have plugged away answering forum questions and publishing posts in my blog based on the questions asked. I have never purported to be a WordPress expert and yet all around me there are snapper whippers making such claims. Reamarkably, some get help from me on the forum where I gut my posts to provide what they need for their “clients”. Then they go off and publish their own little WordPress section of posts on their own blogs based on my advice with no backlink to the posts I gutted for them and their “clients”. Experts, who many some cases know less what I have forgotten have paying “clients” don’t you know? I love the “prove it!” campaign. it’s time to lift the carpets and clean house.

    • Posted January 1, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

      @timethief: I’m glad you got a good giggle. Of all people I know and adore, this is a campaign I know you could get your teeth into for sure. And you, my friend, are an expert in WordPress, especially I miss the many tips and articles you used to produce at a good volume. Your work on the Forums is amazing and a fantastic gift to the WordPress Community and ALL those who get paid for working on WordPress for which you give so freely of your time to make possible. You are truly one of the unsung heroines of WordPress!

      One of the topics I will be tackling with the lack of finesse and tact I’m often known for (hee hee) is bashing those you mention, those who call themselves “experts” in WordPress when they have no experience nor qualifications. Many, like yourself, are the true experts and never claim the title. Maybe you should, but that’s not the point. We know what the point is and I may ask your help to make it when it is time to tackle that delicate subject.

  7. Posted December 30, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I got up this morning down under and rushed to my computer to find out your first lot of advice to improve my site. I now feel miserable since no strong criticisms. I guess the holday season interferes. At all events because of the walk in the sunset I have decided to forgive you!!(joke).

    I (and I suspect others) badly need to know what “all” of the site options do. I used to have a border around each of my pages and each had a colour for various actions e.g. a lovely yellow colour came up when I visited a page. However they have now disappeared and I do not know how I “achieved” that change.

    QUESTION 1 – What advice do you have about how to improve the appearance of my menu – and how do I do it.

    QUESTION 2 – I have never found out what the last colour on the Nav menu does – even though I have experimented with different colours I could never see any effect anywhere. What does it do?

    Question 3 – How do I print out any addition to these comments especially your answers? I like to have a hard copy in front of me so that I can check I have answwered/commented on all points.

    Question 4 – I see a mention that I can have two different sites under WordPress. I do not want to pay my Server twice since I rate as a Pensioner – and mean! How do I get two sites for the price of one?

    To the Comment about how others “steal” his ideas and then charge their clients – YOu have my sympathy. If I learn anything from you – happy to give you a plug. Remember that I do not aim to obtain money from people who visit my site.

    • Posted January 2, 2012 at 12:01 am | Permalink

      @Bill Morton: These are absolutely fantastic questions. I’ll address them in the article review I’m working on. I’ve got a few articles before I take you on, so patience. I’m taking screenshoots to preserve the beauty of how it stands now, so you can change it in a few days (just give me those couple of days, please. 😀 )

      In brief, skip the border. It wouldn’t help anyway. I will talk about menus and navigation issues, but let’s start with turning words into links to help point people to the information they need rather than telling them where to find it. Leave all the colors alone as none of them are helping and you need a full makeover. How to print out? Print as in print on paper? That’s not an issue I will cover but if your browser permits it, select it with the mouse and click print (or Control+P or % (cmd) + P in MAC) and choose to print selection. Most browsers still permit that. It “should” print out only the selected content or the “page” with that selection on it. It might take some experimentation with your browser.

      You can put multiple sites on a single server host. I won’t cover how to do that, but the point I’m making is that unless you are selling something directly and covering it with advertising and things that violate the terms of service of, you can have your site hosted there and pay a small fee for use of the dot com name and, if you wish, a small fee to customize the look and feel of your site. Or choose one of the many lovely, customizable free WordPress Themes they offer, lowering your budget completely. Your monthly server fees would be totally gone. We can talk about that later, but look into it as an option to save money and agony.

      As for giving me credit for changes you make to your site, it is totally unimportant to me. That’s up to you. It’s appreciated but I do not expect it at all. You will do the work, thus you will deserve all the credit (and blame…hee hee).

      I’m finalizing the first few articles in this campaign and the first one should be out in the next day or so. Stay tuned!!

  8. Posted January 1, 2012 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    Guilty as charged. I was rather embarrassed to give out my URL when asked, because I just started a new site to promote myself for web design and custom WordPress themes. Take a look, the theme is beautiful.. clean, responsive.. it’s a pristine, untouched TwentyEleven WordPress child theme. The excuse I’ve been making to myself is I’m too busy to work on it. I have client work. When won’t there be client work? When business in slow. Why is business slow?.. because potential clients looked at my blog.. and the default WordPress theme. I’ve just got to wedge it in to my schedule. Maybe an hour a day. It’s a start. I no longer want to apologize for my website!

    I’m in! No holds barred! ..just give me a week unless you like tearing apart twentyeleven! 😉

    • Posted January 1, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

      @Matthew: You are a poster child for the Prove It campaign, aren’t you. 😀 What is even funnier (so to speak) is that you are representing your web design skills with a web framework not of your own design – more than a framework. You’re “selling” yourself on the back of a default WordPress Theme. I’m not condemning you. I’ve done this many times myself as the core Themes are excellent template to work from, but that’s a part of lacking proof in the pudding. What does that say about your abilities? That you can paint an already designed structure or that you can build that structure from the ground up?

      There is a huge demand for both, so there is no right answer. What is the right answer is how you market your abilities as a home builder or home painter, if you get my meaning. I’m going to talk about this in the series, so I’m using you as an example now.

      And you made such a beautiful point. If work is slow, is is probably because they did look at your site, your resume, portfolio, and example to the world and found it lacking. Or maybe it’s deeper. Don’t know, but you will through the campaign this year. 😀

    • Matthew
      Posted January 12, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      Thanks so much for your reply. I agree. I do know where my skills are at and I don’t pretend otherwise. I come up with a design and customize a child theme for my clients. I can completely change the look of the theme.. but it’s still based on the work of others. I have not made my own theme from scratch and I will learn how this year. I design more than I program and I need to expand my skills. I’m learning more every day. I’m really challenging myself to keep learning and wanting to do more. I’m not going to settle for being a painter.. I want to be a builder! I believe the closer you are to creating something from scratch, the more original and unique you can be. 🙂

  9. Posted January 2, 2012 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    I have to agree with you Lorelle, I’ve been a regular visitor via Google to many of your articles and I always wondered why what I read there didn’t reflect on your own blog by simply applying some of your vast WordPress expertise. Too busy I guess, as they say, cobbler’s children go unshod.

    And since you are at it, I’d recommend that you get rid of that green-blueish tint that spreads all over, this is just personal taste, though.

    Cheers, keep up the good work, it’s been of great help to me on many occasions.

    • Posted January 2, 2012 at 2:08 am | Permalink

      @Rafelminuesa: LOL! I’m actually know for the color of my blog. Famous for it, in fact. So that green-bluish color called “teal” (or as some call it, Lorelle-teal-blue) will be around for a very long time. I’m often introduced to speak as “wearing the colors of her blog” so it’s part of the branding, whether I want it or not. A reminder to take care when making some decisions on branding. LOL!

      Actually, my site’s design is carefully crafted. It is designed from day one (in 2005), my site has stood as an example for what is possible (and easy) to do on, not the full, hosted version of WordPress. Today, it is easier to be more flexible and creative with WordPress Themes on, but that is a very recent development, and I plan on taking advantage of that.

      So the color will not go away, but the framework and design elements will change. Content, however, is what people are here for, so changes on the visual aspect will be minor. I’d love to get more creative, and I’ll talk more about that, but this site does what it says, puts the focus on quality content and not graphic visual bells and whistles, which stands by my purpose and mission from day one. Having a voice is the most important thing.

  10. Posted January 2, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    I’d love to be a part of this because this is my year to turn my blog into a business. Count me in!

  11. Posted January 2, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    I do not know what I did but I suddenly found all the comments. I shall now try to print out a hard copy of your notes.

  12. Posted January 2, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Just for interest – I copied the material I wanted and added it to an email that I sent to myself and then printed out a copy. Probably an easier way exists but… Next time I shall try your suggestion.

    Take your time I can wait until it suits you.

    I would love to know how to put multiple sites on a single server host – as you mention. However I appreciate you have higher priorities than me.

    However when we get to the end of our walk into the sunset I shall ‘lurch” (at my advanced age) to my knees and implore you to help me. (joke)

    While on my knees (and I may not prove able to get up) I wonder if anyone has written about the Site otions etc and what all the items mean and do?

    • Posted January 2, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

      On every WordPress Administration Panel is a help link. Click it to learn more about how WordPress works. I don’t know what you mean by “site options” but if they are on the WordPress Panels, the help button will give you more information.

      I’ve emailed you. Print it out and have at it. 😀 Happy holidays!

      • Posted January 2, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for your most helpful email. You have proved over kind in your approach. You will feel thankful that I have stopped underlining “everything”. However that still leaves 99% of my material with underlines. I doubt if I will eliminate all of them before I die!! However I will cross my fingers and hope to live until I reach 110!!

      • Posted January 2, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

        I have faith in you, Bill. 😀

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