How to blog, what is a blog, why blog, what makes a good blog?

How to blog, what is a blog, why blog, what makes a good blog? Answers to your most basic questions about writing a blog, buying a domain, and just getting started

How to blog, what is a blog, why blog, what makes a good blog?

How to blog, what is a blog, why blog, what makes a good blog?A blog, short for “weblog,” is nothing more than articles on a website, typically in a reverse chronological order, something like a series of diary entries, with the latest at the top.  A blog may contain text, photos, videos, digital art, audio or music, in virtually any combination.

Why blog?

The answers to the question “why blog?” are as different as the people blogging.  Do you just want to write an online diary with photos for friends and family or do you hope to generate a side income with ads and affiliate links?  A blog can do the former very quickly; the latter will take you some time.  My objective was to try to “monetize” my blog, because having fun and making money is more fun than just just having fun.

What makes a good blog?

The simple answer: a blog that people will read.  Writing your first blog is like singing the song you just wrote . . .  in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.  Continue reading “How to blog, what is a blog, why blog, what makes a good blog?”

WordPress as Art

While cruising around Linked In I found an inspiring blog that incorporates amazing visual elements with a clean and completely functional WordPress design. The site is called Ron Cubbon.

WordPress as artWordPress blogging tends to focus on the technical

WordPress strategy includes so many widgets, doodads, gadgets, thingamabobs, SEO settings, plug-ins and doohickies, it’s easy to let them overwhelm your thinking, your writing and your design.  I search for answers to WordPress problems and often find the presentations aesthetically unimaginative.  A lot of the sites don’t have pictures, either!

While cruising around Linked In I found an inspiring blog that incorporates amazing visual elements with clear, succinct guidance on WordPress writing and design.  The site is called Rob Cubbon.  Here’s an example post with clear, simple directions on Continue reading “WordPress as Art”

Scared to Upgrade to WP 3.2?

Scared to install WP 3.2? After months of slaving over a hot keyboard to write articles and tweak settings with plugins and widgets, I was scared to install WP 3.2. The most common source of problems with WP is incompatibility with plugins, which are written by third parties. I consulted the Internet to find out whether WP 3.2 broke any plugins.

Are you scared to upgrade to WordPress 3.2?

The latest version of WordPress 3.2 aka “Gershwin,” was officially released on July 4, 2011.  And yes, I was scared that WordPress 3.2 might be a firecracker.

Scared to upgrade to wp 3.2After months of slaving over a hot keyboard to write articles and tweak settings with plugins and widgets, and being a beginner, I was scared that WordPress 3.2 would break my blog.  The big black upgrade dot sat on my dashboard, taunting me.  Why so scared? Problems can occur when WP conflicts with plugins, which are written by third parties. I consulted the Internet to find out whether WP 3.2 breaks any plugins. 

I consulted, among others, Be careful before you upgrade to WordPress 3.2 !! on Warrior Forum which advised an important step.

Scared to install WP 3.2?

The first step is to back up your site.  Having had some bad experiences with backup plugins, and following a tip from Hyperactive Warrior Schwarzes, I used the site backup and restore function on the Files section of cPanel.  I use BlueHost (and, full disclosure,  am an advertising affiliate) and encountered no issues doing an entire cPanel Backup and then a restore.  Backup and restore took about half an hour round trip.  I had proven to myself that even if the worst happened I could restore my pre-3.2 blog.

Scared to install WP 3.2?

There are other considerations.  Make sure your web host supports PHP 5.2.4 or greater and MySQL 5.0.15 or greater.  As a BlueHost user I didn’t even check – they know their stuff and, along with the web savvy technorati, programmers, and plugin and widget writers, were warned that WP 3.2 was coming. 

Scared to install WP 3.2?

The accepted wisdom, including many on Warrior Forum, is not to be a beta tester.  Why not wait a few weeks and see what problems emerge?  If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, at least not until a bunch of other guinea pigs (or is it lemmings?) have made the leap.  This was my strategy, too, until I read some other posts.

Several Warrior posters have not encountered problems

Including one who updated unwittingly, several posts reported no problems.  What’s more, several reported liking the new editing interface.  WordPress has a video on Gershwin.  WP 3.2 is cleaner and faster.  I was tempted.  And tired of looking at that black dot.

I took the plunge into 3.2

I installed WordPress 3.2 and held my breath.  Nothing broke.  I clicked around my site in Admin mode.  Everything normal.  The only obvious change I noticed was an advisory on the Dashboard to upgrade Firefox.   I found it easier to click “help” on the top bar of Firefox, and then “check for updates.”  Pretty easy.  Whew.

Gershwin suits the writer

I love the new “Just Write” full page editing interface!  Writing on the old WP was like peering through a porthole, something like writing an article on a typewriter in a glove box.  Now I just click on the full screen toggle and all gadgets disappear!  Often-used functions (link, bold, insert image, HTML/Visual tabs, save) appear out of thin air at the top of the screen.  So does “Exit fullscreen” which takes you back to the “normal” WP appearance.  Gershwin plays nice with the writer-oriented Tiny MCE Advanced editor plugin, which adds the full page option right into its command bar.  For a writer, it’s great not be tempted to fiddle with buttons while writing, although I caught myself going back and writing on the old screen out of habit.  

Problems with WP 3.2?

I noticed that the date display had been reset from my custom setting.  Easy to change in WP Settings>General.  Am I still a little scared?  You bet!  If you have encountered any problems with WordPress 3.2, especially plugin breaks, please post them here!  WP has a list of plugins with 3.2 issues.