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WordPress School: Google Maps

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.We’ve experimented with image and video embeds in your test site in Lorelle’s WordPress School. We’ve also worked a with WordPress shortcodes in the contact form on the Contact Page, and you’ve gotten a little HTML awareness within your site’s content. Today’s assignment is another form of embed. Today, we are going to embed a Google Map.

Many sites use maps on their Contact and location information Pages to help people find their physical location, but what if your site doesn’t represent a brick-and-mortar spot on a map? How would you use maps?

  • Maps are used in posts to provide visual information about the location associated with the topic
  • Want to share directions to an event you are involved with?
  • If you blog about a specific area or region, maps help to point out tourist sites, landmarks, and geological features
  • Blog about natural science, hiking, traveling, and other geolocation topics? Maps flesh out the stories you tell.
  • Publishing educational material? What is better than just talking about a volcano? Showing pictures of the volcano on a map!

Google Maps - Mt St Helens Satellite view.

I’m sure you are thinking about several ways to use maps in your site’s content even now.

The above map is not an interactive map but a graphic screen capture of a Google Map satellite view of Mt. St. Helens, an example of an educational use. Around the image is a link to the Google Map for more interactivity with the famous volcano. I’ll explain how to do this. Read More »

WordPress School: Blavatars

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.About a month ago in Lorelle’s WordPress School free online course you added a Gravatar image to your test site. A Gravatar image and profile is linked to your email address and displays on any WordPress (and many other services) site in the world when you use that email address to comment.

Another visual part of your online persona and profile is the blavatar.

A blavatar is your site’s blog avatar.

Here is the difference between a Gravatar and Blavatar:

  • Gravatar: Linked to your image, displayed anywhere Gravatars are used including all WordPress and sites, in comments, author profiles and icons, and throughout any site where you are a registered member. Your Gravatar follows you from site to site, wherever you use your email address.
  • Blavatar: Linked to your site, displayed within site networks like to represent the website. You may be the owner or a contributor to the site, and your Gravatar will appear there and your Gravatar profile highlights these sites if you wish, displaying their Blavatar. The Blavatar is also the site’s favicon, the image that appears on the web browser tab.

Just like a Gravatar image, a Blavatar must be square and withstand a wide range of image sizes from 16 to 148 pixels wide, maybe even larger. Read More »

PDX Writers and Bloggers: Join Me at Press Publish WordPress Event March 28 in Portland

Press Publish banner for Portland, Oregon event.Press Publish is a one-day conference in Portland, Oregon, and Phoenix, Arizona, described as “featuring inspiring WordPress bloggers and the people behind I’d rename it to “Rocking Your World with Inspired Authors and Web Publishers on WordPress in the Pacific Northwest!”

I will be attending the Portland event on March 28, 2015, and the speaker line-up looks fascinating. Come join me.

The schedule for Portland features two tracks for beginners and more experienced bloggers, writers, and publishers. The focus is totally on publishing, web publishing, and book publishing. There is even some design presentations tossed in to help you tweak your WordPress site in and around the content.

If you use WordPress with a strong focus on the blogging and publishing aspect, and you wish to meet and learn from those who have branched out with their blogs and beyond their blogs to amazing success stories, register now.

Tickets are $150 for the event on March 28, 2015. Your ticket includes a 1-year subscription to the Premium upgrade, a $99 value, for any blog.

Because you’re a friend of mine, and a student in one of my WordPress, blogging and social media classes, use pdxwp30 as a coupon for a whooping reduction to $30, but register immediately as space is limited and this coupon might not last forever.

If you are in Arizona, the April 18 event in Phoenix sounds like it going to be just as exciting. Jump on that right away to save your seat.

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WordPress School: Week 7

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.In Lorelle’s WordPress School free online course last week, we covered:

This week we will continue to edit and update your Article series on your test site with more content features.

Want to Join Us?

Lorelle WordPress School Tips and Techniques Badge.While this course started the first of February, it is a year-long course designed to go at your own speed. Just because a few people started from the beginning, you are welcome to join at any time.

You do not have to rush to catch up. As one of the participants explained, “you will be ahead of us because you will learn from our mistakes.”

When you complete an assignment, you may share the link from test site in the WordPress School Google+ Community post for that assignment. No matter how far along the others are, and everyone is moving at a different pace, they will be there to cheer you on and help you through the process, as will I.

Come join us by introducing yourself to the other participants and tell us why you are here. We love meeting new folks!

We will cover:

  1. Category Names as part of continuing work on site organization
  2. Creating a Blavatar
  3. Embedding Google maps in WordPress
  4. Explore the many ways to log into WordPress
  5. Help you choose a text editor to prepare you for the upcoming HTML, CSS, and WordPress Theme customization, tweaking, and design assignments

The WordPress School Google+ Community Discussions and Assignment

Each week, our WordPress School Google+ Community features additional discussions and assignments helping you learn more about how WordPress works and all the ways to use WordPress. Come join us.

Current additional assignments and discussions held in the Google+ Community include:

If you are new to the Community, join us by by responding to the assignment posts rather than starting your own thread on the assignment discussion. This keeps the discussions together so we can learn from each other as we work on each assignment.

How Goes the Battle?

How goes Lorelle’s WordPress School so far? Are you diving into learning WordPress from the inside out, focusing on content as you would a site owner, author, or content provider as well as seeing WordPress from the perspective of the client? Any insights so far?

I’ve been honored to receive notes from web designers and developers around the world telling me how much these have helped them with their clients as well as their clients. It’s been fabulous to finally have the basics spelled out to help others.

As time goes on, I will be adding more videos and slideshows to these posts and updating the content as WordPress moves into the next interface changes. Until there is some stabilization there, creating these are a waste your time time and mine as they will just have to be updated. Part of the process of teaching WordPress.

I want to share with you “Your Dreams Are Your Motivation: Make Time for Dreams” written by my dear friend, Shashi Bellamkonda.

Your dreams may appear illogical, those who believe in you will support you. Sometimes your dreams may take a backseat but you have to dream every day. Stay energized and leave time for yourself and your thoughts.

…I have learnt to dream in stages. Small dreams that come true give me great satisfaction. Visiting Macchu Picchu was a dream come true. I remember reading about the Inca civilization in my elementary school in India. Visiting the Red Square in Moscow. Seeing Sweden, Denmark and Finland…

Shashi’s life is a dream life, one filled with work harder than you can imagine, but a big heart and determination to live life to its fullest, dragging his family and friends along for the ride. No matter the barrier, struggle, loss, or frustration, he embraces it with all of his heart and soul, seeing the greater good in everything and everyone.

I know this is easy for some, hard for others. I know you are struggling to find the right words in your posts, the right pictures, the right ingredients to make your content sing as part of the learning process. Excellent.

Keep striving. Keep thinking. Keep learning. Keep energized. Keep focused. Most of all, keep going. Dream in stages for maximum satisfaction.

This is a tutorial from Lorelle’s WordPress School. For more information, and to join this free, year-long, online WordPress School, see:

Subscribe to Lorelle on WordPress. Feed on Lorelle on WordPress Follow on Twitter. Give and Donate to Lorelle VanFossen of Lorelle on WordPress.

WordPress School: Category Names

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.In Lorelle’s WordPress School free online course you are to create a test site on or wherever you choose to experiment. It is your WordPress personal sandbox.

This doesn’t mean you can do anything you want in the sandbox. The goal of the test site it to emulate a real site, influencing the decisions you make as you learn WordPress. It’s too easy to just put in gobbledygook content, play with images, change Themes, and call yourself a master of all things WordPress. When confronted with real life situations, you will make different decisions.

In the tutorial and assignment on categories and tags, you were to use forms and the tutorial to help you start the process of naming categories, category names that truly represented the content within each category. The more faithful you are to the mission and purpose of your site, even if it is a test site, the more clarity there should be in the process of choosing categories.

I hope.

As we go forward with the course, I’ve seen many of you stumble already with category naming. It’s hard, I know well. This assignment is to help you with the naming of your categories on a WordPress site. This is critical as WordPress users categories and tags in many different ways to help you direct people to the information they need, and if you don’t help WordPress, and your visitors, out by providing specific names of the various areas of your site…we all lose.

In this assignment, I’m going to cover three topics dealing with categories in WordPress.

I begin with a story about a blogger whose been blogging for three years. We’ll call her Sally.

Wordle featuring uncategorized and category asking what is this site about.

The Real Life Evolution of Categories and Tags

She threw herself into this blogging thing because she was told that she needed a blog. As a published author, her book did okay but could do better. She was told she needed to build a community around herself to promote herself and her books. Once she got past her fears about blogging interfering with her writing, actually improving her writing by blogging, at the end of the three years she had 600 posts to reflect back upon.

That’s when she realized that her categories were a mess. Read More »

WordPress School: Background Images

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.A few days ago the tutorial was on changing and setting the header art in your test site. Today’s tutorial in Lorelle’s WordPress School free online course is about customizing your site with a background image or color.

Before I dive into the details, please note that things are a little confusing right now with sites where most of you should have your test site. In my WordPress in person class last night, half of the students did not have some of the WordPress Theme design elements under the Appearance menu, others did. a live testing ground for WordPress development and they have the ability to constrain testing to small groups of users. Sitting in a classroom teaching two different methods for the same goal is just a prime example of the challenges faced by WordPress educators and trainers. I’ll do my best here.

Look under Appearance in the WP-Admin menus. If you see Background and Theme Options, great. If you do not see both of these, you will modify the header art and background image/colors through the Customize feature. I will explain using the former as the latter is still a work in progress.

How to Change the Theme’s Background Image

In WordPress, the background image may be changed if the WordPress Theme activates the feature. The Twenty-Eleven Theme we are working with on the course test site offers the option to change the background image and color of the Theme.

Background Image Screen before uploading image - Lorelle WordPress School

To change the Theme’s background image:

  1. Go to Appearance > Background
  2. Select the image by clicking Browser to access an image on your computer’s hard drive and upload it or Choose Image to select one already uploaded to the Media Library
  3. Choose from one or more of the Display Options to set the background image
  4. Save changes and preview the front end view of your site

Read More »

WordPress School: Post Slug

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.In the tutorial on creating links in your WordPress content, I mentioned that I’d love to do an entire college course dedicated solely to the power of the hyperlink – it is that fascinating and influential in all things web. So far we’ve talked about links that connect related content on your site together, citation links, how to share links, and about the way WordPress links within the Admin area work and how to, and not, link to preview posts and deal with problematic nonces.

In this tutorial in Lorelle’s WordPress School free online course I’m going to cover one of the smallest and yet most powerful details associated with links in WordPress, the post slug.

The post or Page slug is the title of the post or Page that appears in the permalink, specifically the pretty permalink in WordPress, the contextualized link used for WordPress web pages. By default, the link to a post is The pretty permalink feature changes the post ID number to the title of your post as how-i-solved-the-post-slug-problem. These are known as URL-friendly version links.

WordPress brought the concept of canonical URLs to WordPress with version 2.4 in 2007, code under the hood that does its best to redirect a link to your post no matter how many times you change the post title or slug.

In the Post or Page Edit Screen of the classic editor, look under the title for the word Permalink The first part of the link in that section is not editable. This reflects the permalink structure set by the web host, such as, or the site administrator. In this example, the pretty permalink structure is set to feature the year, month, and date of the post, followed by the post title, the part that is editable.

Post Slug - Screenshot of the Visual Editor post slug feature - Lorelle WordPress School Read More »

WordPress School: Header Art

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.It is time to begin to customize the design elements of your test site in Lorelle’s WordPress School free online course. We begin with the header art in the Twenty-Eleven WordPress Theme.

When you set up your WordPress test site for this course, you were instructed to set the WordPress Theme to Twenty-Eleven as it serves as an excellent teaching Theme. It also puts all of the participating students on the same level and experience so we learn together before the WordPress Theme choices get in our way.

This assignment begins the process of customizing the site to make it uniquely your own beginning with the header image. On Friday, you will be styling the background image for the site.

Twenty-Eleven WordPress Theme Header Art

The header art for the Twenty-Eleven WordPress Theme recommends an image at least 1000 pixels wide, and suggests a height of 288 pixels.

We covered how to prepare and modify an image for uploading to WordPress in an earlier tutorial. The principles are the same.

Typically, the image is a photograph or artwork. If the image has a great deal of color and detail, it should be a JPG file. If not, then PNG is a good choice.

The Theme will allow any height for the image, so their 288 pixel height is a suggestion. However, the taller the image, the more the reader must scroll down to get to the content on your site. Read More »

WordPress School: The Article Series

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.To help me teach you WordPress from the inside out in this free online course, we’ve been focused on creating a five-part article series to learn the various WordPress content features and functionality. Each article offers you the opportunity to dive into how WordPress works right out of the box, focusing on the content and web publishing features.

You were to choose a topic you are family with and can explain adequately to readers. The article series included the following posts:

  1. Introduction: Why should we learn about this
  2. Tutorial: How to do this
  3. Gallery: Photographs of doing this
  4. Citations: What others have to say about doing this
  5. Resources: More information on how to do this

Part of learning to blog and to use WordPress is learning how to edit as well as write and publish. Editing and fixing client work is one of the most tedious but common tasks for creating or modifying an existing client site.

To help you create your article series and to keep track of all the WordPress features and functions involved in the publishing of the article series, I’ve broken down each article into its related WordPress School tutorials and assignments, and added more information to help you publish each post in the article series. Note that some of the links to tutorials will be repeated.

At the bottom of the post I offer extensive tips, techniques, and resources for more information on writing article series, including how to write better on the web. Read More »

WordPress School: Intrasite Links

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.On the test site for Lorelle’s WordPress School free online course you started a five part article series, each one exploring different content features and functions of WordPress. So far, you’ve explored lists, headings, preparing images to upload to WordPress, the visual and text editors, embedding video, creating a gallery, blockquotes and citations, and the basics of HTML tags found in the content of a post or Page. You also explored how to create making links and today we are focusing on another aspect of linking in WordPress called intrasite links or internal links.

As a reminder, the article series on your test site consists of a minimum of five posts, specifically:

  1. Introduction: Why should we learn about this
  2. Tutorial: How to do this
  3. Gallery: Photographs of doing this
  4. Citations: What others have to say about doing this
  5. Resources: More information on how to do this

You should have published at least three by now. You will need published posts in the article series to begin the intrasite linking process.

An intrasite or internal link is a link from one web page on your site to another web page. An external or off-site link is one that links to a web resource or site that is not on your website, thus external to your site. Throughout this course you learn to link to other posts and Pages and categories and tags, and other linkable content on your site, and this is your first introduction.

Intrasite links connect various internal parts of your site together, linking from one post to another as a reference or for continuity, from a post to a Page such as linking to your About or Contact Pages, links to categories and tags, and even within a web page. The links go in all directions across all different types of content in a WordPress site, creating a web of links to connect all the parts and pieces of your site together.

WordPress generates many of these links automatically such as when you publish a post, on the front page of the site or on a category pageview featuring all the posts published in that category. Click the title to go to the individual post.

When you refer to a previous post even in a casual mention like “As I was saying yesterday,” link “saying yesterday” to yesterday’s post, does the reader know what you are talking about? It is frustrating to walk into the middle of what sounds like a fascinating conversation in our real life. Why not help someone walking into the middle of the conversation on your site by connecting the dots of what came before.

In the case of our article series, we need to create links to connect the articles together in a sequence so the reader can either start at the beginning of your article series no matter which post they landed on, or jump to the section of most interest.

Let’s start with the basics of how to create an intrasite link, not much different from making any links in your content. Read More »

WordPress School: Blockquotes

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.No matter what you do on the web, you will quote or cite someone, some place, or something. In today’s assignment and tutorial in Lorelle’s WordPress School free online course, I’m going to teach you how to quote and cite in WordPress, and save yourself from a copyright violation.

By publishing content on your site, your content is technically copyrighted as it is “fixed” in accordance with international copyright laws. Theoretically, you do not have to do anything else, nor even put a copyright notice on your site. It’s already copyrighted.

However, we live in a world where ignorance is bliss. You grew up knowing if you plagiarized on your homework or copied someone’s test at school, you would be penalized, often kicked out of school. Why do people think that if it is on the web, it’s free to do whatever you want with it? The rules are the same, so we deal with the forgetful people and put copyright notices and policies on our sites to remind them.

Copyright is the ownership rights to content or art applied when it is “fixed.” Fixed means made permanent and tangible. An idea cannot be copyrighted, but a painting or drawing created on a canvas or paper from that idea may be copyrighted. Here is the definition according to the Knowledge Vault of Google:

The exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.

Copyright Basics

Lorelle WordPress School Tips and Techniques Badge.We will explore copyright more later when we get to legal policies on our sites, but to help answer your immediate questions about copyright and copyright law, please see Jonathan Bailey’s article, “Copyright Myths” from Plagiarism Today. He has over a decade of experience working with the online community and copyright laws, protections, and defense as a grassroots advocate and evangelist defending our rights to publish and protect what we publish.

I just created a citation link and blockquote to present that information. Visually, you saw the link and knew that was the source of the material highlighted in the text below. The look and feel of the quoted text was set with an HTML <blockquote>.

“Copyright is a form of intellectual property, applicable to any expressed representation of a creative work,” states Wikipedia editors on the subject of Copyright. “It is often shared among multiple authors, each of whom holds a set of rights to use or license the work…to promote the creation of new works by giving authors control of and profit from them.”

The paragraph above quotes from Wikipedia as if it were a person, but this form of in line citation always works and is familiar to most people who read magazines and newspapers. The citation link and quoted material is incorporated into a paragraph.

Here’s another.

A copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to authors of “original works of authorship.” This includes literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and certain other creative works. Material not protected by copyright (or otherwise protected) is available for use by anyone without the author’s consent. A copyright holder can prevent others from copying, performing or otherwise using the work without his or her consent.

Definition of a Copyright – Legal Zoom

Copyright laws reach far beyond the United States, but this is the definition as it applies to that country. In fact, many countries have joined together to honor international copyright laws. Some defend that right for citizens, others do not.

The above quoted material includes the citation link within the blockquote, another example of how to site other people’s stuff. Read More »

WordPress School: Week 6

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.In Lorelle’s WordPress School free online course last week, we covered:

This week, the 6th in this year-long series, we continue with the Article Series on your test site.

We will cover: Read More »

WordPress School: All the HTML You Need to Know

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.In my WordPress community class the other night, we had 15 minutes left when I told the class I was about to teach them how to speak HTML before class ended – well, enough HTML to publish in WordPress. They didn’t believe it.

Believe it. It took about 6 minutes.

I hope to do the same here in Lorelle’s WordPress School course. Believe me? Depending upon your reading speed, we might just accomplish the same thing here.

How Many Words and Phrases Do You Need to Know for a Foreign Language Vacation?

When we go on vacation to a foreign language, how many words and phrases are necessary to learn to get along for a few days or weeks as we relax on the beach or wonder the fascinating highways and byways of a location where we don’t speak the language?

Over the years, my students have come up with a fascinating list:

  1. airport
  2. basic directions (left, right, etc.)
  3. bathroom
  4. beer
  5. can you do
  6. do you speak english?
  7. doctor
  8. emergency
  9. greetings (good morning, afternoon, etc.)
  10. hello and goodbye
  11. help
  12. hospital
  13. hotel
  14. how much is
  15. sorry
  16. I do not understand
  17. I would like to order
  18. money
  19. numbers
  20. ny name is
  21. please
  22. please give me
  23. police
  24. taxi
  25. thank you
  26. this is bad
  27. this is good
  28. water
  29. what is this called
  30. what time is it
  31. where is
  32. wine
  33. yes and no

If you have traveled to foreign languages, right now I bet you are translating some of those words into those languages to test yourself, aren’t you? That’s a huge list. Did you realize you know that many words and phrases?

Consider learning HTML easier than traveling to a foreign country. Trust me, HTML is much easier.

Why do you need to learn HTML to use WordPress?

Ah, there are many reasons.

If you wish to dive deeper under the hood to tweak and modify WordPress Themes, it’s a requirement. But what if you don’t? Read More »

WordPress School: Sharing WordPress Links

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.In Lorelle’s WordPress School many participants are active in our WordPress School Google+ Community and eager to share links to their work on their test site for others in the group to review their work and help them or support and encourage them. Or just to brag and show off, which we enjoy as well. So which link to choose?

Teaching WordPress for 11 years now, I’m always surprised when students and clients publish the wrong link to a post or Page on their site to share with others, social media, or for their homework assignments. It should be obvious and yet many send links to the backend of the site rather than the public, front end view. For my college courses, the failure to share the right published or preview post link could result in a lower grade, so it is important to know which link to share when with others.

If you are new to the course or unfamiliar with WordPress addresses and links, read the tutorials on links and addresses and URLS first.

Share Your Site With the World

When you wish to share your site with the world through social media, emails, email signatures, on business cards, etc., you use the main domain address for your site.

  1. Go to the front page of the site
  2. In the browser address bar, that should be the address to the front of your site
  3. Copy and paste it where you need it

In general, the front page address of your site is similar to the front page of this site: Read More »

WordPress School: Gallery

Badge - Learn WordPress with Lorelle VanFossen at WordPress School.It is time to work on the third post in your article series on your test site. This post is your gallery post.

We’ve been working through some basic content features in WordPress including links, lists, headings, preparing images to upload to WordPress, embedding video, and exploring the visual and text editors on WordPress posts and Pages. Today we turn those images into beautiful galleries in Lorelle’s WordPress School free online course.

What is a Gallery in WordPress?

In WordPress, a gallery is a display of images on a post or Page. The images may be presented in a variety of formats and most typically are embedded as attachments, images that when clicked display the image in a post type called an attachment page featuring your header, sidebar, footer, and comment box for the WordPress Theme you are using.

Galleries maybe also be displayed in a slideshow format, allowing the reader to click through the images in sequence. Read More »


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