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The Giant Blog Exercise Check List Part 1

Blog Exercises on Lorelle on WordPress.July is the midway point of these Blog Exercises and time for a Giant Blog Exercise Checklist to help you keep score of the exercises you’ve done, and what’s left undone.

I’ve arranged the blog exercises by similarity, tasks related to each other, rather than chronologically. If you are playing catch up, you might wish to work on all complementary assignments together. For those who still wish to do this chronologically, I’m including the monthly summaries in a list.

The posts in this list go up to July 1, 2013.

Site Organization

The following blog exercises deal with the organization of your site, both by look and feel and content strategies.

The starting point is to review the purpose and goals of your site before you make decisions about content and design.

Blog Purpose, Goals, and Focus

I consider blog purpose, focus, and goals the maps to your site. Without them, you have no idea where you are going or what it will look like when you get there.

Blog Structure and Organization Basics

These blog exercises are the starting points for your site, to begin fresh or refresh an existing site.

Site Design

These blog exercises are not about how to design your site as they are how to evaluate the design of your site. Every pixels matters so make them count as you go through these exercises and ensure that every pixel on your site identifies your site’s purpose, focus, and goals, and most importantly, serves your reader and audience.

Post Organization: Categories and Tags

These blog exercises review how your site’s content is structured and organized into categories and tags, or the equivalent for your publishing platform. Remember, categories are your site’s table of contents and tags are the index words.

Content Organization and Structure

Today’s websites are typically dynamically generated, not static HTML web pages. It’s important to understand how your site displays content in different ways, called pageviews, and where to put which content. These blog exercises will help you understand how your site is organized and structured when it comes to key content.

Site Maintenance, Web Design, and Workflow

A website is only as good as its webmaster, and a good website requires maintenance. These blog exercises focused on maintaining your site, setting up regularly scheduled upkeep, and reviewing your site design and construct on a regular basis to clean up messes and clutter and keep the site looking updated and fresh.

Publishing Tips and the Business of Blogging

Without a doubt, a blog is self-publishing. You become a publisher when you hit the publish button. You are the idea person, the writer, the photographer, the editor, the marketer, the master of ceremonies on your site. These blog exercises explore the publishing aspect of web publishing.

The Business of Blogging

While these blog exercises are not specifically about making money on your site, they are about the professionalism that comes with making blogging your business or a part of your business.

Requirements and the Law

The following blog exercises cover the basics you need to know about the your rights as a blogger and the legal aspects of blogging.

Blog Techniques and How To

The following blog exercises deal with the basic tips and techniques of how to blog. In another section I cover web writing tips and techniques. These focus strictly on the concept of blogging.

Writing, Editing, and Content Development

These blog exercise focus strictly on content development and writing for the web. They include content strategies and planning, creating an editorial calendar, tracking projects and task lists, and how to write and edit your content to best serve your audience.

Editorial Calendar and Content Planning

Without a plan, you are rambling aimlessly along on your blogging journey. While that’s fun for a while, you will stay on the path and attain your goals if you work from a plan, typically an editorial calendar and schedule.

Technical Tips for Blog Writing

Writing for the web is very different from traditional forms of writing. It is best described as letter writing for the masses. It has its own rules and regulations. These blog exercises focused upon the technical side of blog writing.

How to Write for the Web

Similar to the technical tips for blog writing, these blog exercises focused on content strategies, writing for your audience and developing a personality on the web through your writing.


The most important part of web publishing is editing. Throughout the blog exercises series I’ve handed out monthly “random editing” days to encourage you to dive into your previously published content and clean it up. Look for spelling and grammar errors, but mostly clean up the content so it better reflects your evolving writing style and personality. Add links to newer content and ensure that what it says is still true, to yourself as well as the facts.

Prompts and Inspiration

We all need a little inspiration and these blog exercises were to motivate you with prompts, writing exercises to help you expand your writing styles, formats, and connect with your readership in different ways.


Like inspiration, we all need some ass-kicking once in a while to get our bloggy butts moving and back on track. These blog exercises served to make you think about how you spend your time in and around blogging, work, family, and life. They were designed to help you handle the low times of blogging as well as the high. Blogging is not just about having your say. It is about having the confidence to be heard.

Community Building, Social Web, and Interactivity

You don’t blog in a vacuum. You blog in a huge microcosm of virtual life on the web. These blog exercises were developed to get you thinking about the social web, about building a community in and around your site, about how to handle the interactivity of the web, especially on your site.


If there is one thing you need on your site, it’s links. Link often and well.

Blog Interactivity

Interactivity on your site is not limited to comments.

Blog Comments

One of the most fun and important aspects of blogging is the comment box. One of the most painful, exhausting, and frustrating aspects of blogging is the comment box. These blog exercises help you deal with all of these comment box challenges.

The Social Web (Social Media)

These blog exercises focused on building stronger relationships with your audience and other bloggers and web publishers. It is through these connections that the most joy arises on the social web.

Blog Exercises by Chronological Order

If you would like to review these blog exercises in chronological order, I publish a monthly summary list at the end of each month.

  1. Blog Exercises for January
  2. Blog Exercises for February
  3. Blog Exercises for March
  4. Blog Exercises for April
  5. Blog Exercises for May
  6. Blog Exercises for June

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen.


  1. Posted July 25, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    This list is very helpful, Lorelle. Thank you. Out of curiosity, why did you make an elephant out of a fly, not making a mountain out of a molehill? Is the elephant reference from another culture that I don’t know of?

    This list is comprehensive, yet it can be a bit daunting to new bloggers.

    A lot of bloggers don’t have a master plan before they blog. Take me as an example: I had a general idea that I wanted to write, and I started from craft, then it slowly grows to cover language, culture, and current affairs. Perhaps it isn’t the best approach and my site is not focused enough, but I learn many little tips along the way from making a lot of mistakes. Since I found your site, I feel safer and learn faster and better.

    Do you think some people may be too scared to start blogging, as they may feel there’re too much to learn? Or, too inadequate? Just look at your long list above! If they’re too worried to start, as they worry that they can’t accomplish, it’ll be a shame.

    Perhaps you could also consider bloggers of different levels, like structuring a language course:

    Absolute beginners
    Intermediate (I think I’m at this level!)
    Advanced ( and plug-in, css)

    Bloggers at different levels might need different nutrients.

    Once again, thank you for your generosity for sharing your knowledge and your crusade and philosophy in blogging. You have inspired many of us, and in your words, transformed lives.

    • Posted July 25, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      LOL! I was spending a lot of time studying with my friend who introduced me to that concept. It’s the same as the mountain verses molehill but I liked the description of the elephant out of a fly. More poignant. I don’t know where it came from.

      The list is not meant to daunt. It is just a list, but I love your insight and thoughts about this process. Isn’t it amazing how different people can look at the same list and see different things.

      I’d like to challenge you on the concept of bloggers not having a master plan. Today, few people start a website without some goal in mind. You said so yourself. Often it is to sell stuff, promote themselves, or share things including thoughts. They have some idea in mind and something the resembles a plan. They just don’t think far enough into the future. My blog exercises are designed to challenge bloggers at every level to push themselves in new directions.

      Blogging is an evolution not a fixed point. I know bloggers who’ve been doing this for 5 years and they are loving these blog exercises because they are helping them finally do things right that they never learned alone the way. Blogging has been around long enough for people to learn how to do it right and well at any experience level. I’ve been teaching it for twenty years, so it’s time to call it a professional industry as well as a hobby and treat it accordingly. I consider bloggers at all levels.

      As I planned my blog exercises almost two years ago, I thought about the many approaches. Teaching Web Writing and WordPress at the college level to people of all ages, education, and experience, I found that there is great commonality between those who need to learn from scratch and those who need or wish to relearn. They all are sponges eager for water. Thus my approach from the beginning with these blog exercises is that someone could enter them at any time and at any experience level and find value.

      I didn’t want to start the year of blog exercises only for beginners and take them on a ride to expertise, “graduating” at the end of this year. As you say, I wanted to break down the elements of how to blog in a way that appealed to the widest audience, anyone interested in “flexing their blogging muscles.” As I looked through my list, I saw where there were gaps and holes in my series. From my list, and a little 20-20 perspective after six months of writing non-stop blog exercises, it looks like I’ve gotten most of my goals accomplished.

      By reading your powerful and enlightening posts, I am humbled at how beautifully you take a simple exercise and make it your own, spinning it into gold. It’s magic! I’m so proud of you.

  2. Momwithahook- Sara
    Posted July 26, 2013 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Sara Duggan | Writing My Day Away and commented:
    Awesome list of tutorials from Lorelle on blogging.

  3. Posted July 26, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Wow. This is seriously one of the biggest resources I’ve seen online. Would literally take me weeks to consume! Thanks for putting soo much quality content into one place!

    • Posted July 26, 2013 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for the kind words.

      These blog exercises started as a year long series in January as part of my tribute to the 10th anniversary of WordPress, changing the face of blogging forever.

      • Posted July 27, 2013 at 12:05 am | Permalink

        That’s awesome Lorelle! Super happy that you went all out on that resource, I know a lot of people are going to get a ton of value out of it 😀

        If you ever need help, I’m always here to help!

      • Posted July 27, 2013 at 12:22 am | Permalink

        Not sure what kind of help you are offering but thanks for the loyal vote of confidence! This is a great project for me on many levels. Most importantly, it is the least I can do to pay back to the WordPress Community for 10 wonderful years. Thanks!

      • Posted July 27, 2013 at 12:32 am | Permalink

        Like anything blogging, business, marketing related! Or heck even a pat on the back related! 😀

      • Posted July 27, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        LOL! I’ll keep you in mind. Thanks.

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