2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 11 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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WordCamp Toronto 2012 Presentation: Malvern Red & Black Society Success Story

Here is the presentation I gave at WordCamp Toronto 2012 today. It was a last minute addition to the “Success Story” track, but I had a great time delivering it. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

#FF WordCamp Toronto

I’ve been slowly learning WordPress over the last year or so. I’ve gotten pretty good at it, but I don’t know everything. I’ve just registered for WordCamp Toronto at the end of this month. They have less than 30 tickets available for their “End User” WordCamp, which is meant for beginners and intermediate users. Topics will include migrating from .com to .org, which one do you choose for your site and even a little bit of theme stuff (which is what I’m looking forward to most!) If you ever wanted to know more about WordPress this is for you. For you developers out there, there will be another camp in November that will be just for you. 😉

For more information on WordCamp 2012, click here. Follow WordCamp Toronto

WordCamp Toronto 2012: I'm Going... Are You?

WordCamp Toronto 2012: I’m Going… Are You?

What one feature do you wish WordPress.com had?

What one feature do you wish WordPress.com had?.

I was just about to write one of my Follow Friday posts and wanted to add a number of photos to it. There isn’t going to be all that much text, but putting a gallery into it would be a great way to showcase all those lovely photos. I know that we can add a plugin to the wordpress.org sites, but I wish that there was a way to have a simple built-in gallery.

How do you find your muse?

How do you find your muse?.

Finding My Muse

Finding My Muse – Borrowed from “Wrestling The Muse”

I’m not sure if I actually find it. I think it comes to me at the last minute and says: “Hi! yeah, just kidding. I’m here.”. I also think that it comes in waves, which is why I do a lot of scheduled blog posts. I’ll sit down one day and decide to go through all my challenges, both the text ones as well as photos. This is how I create my content. The WordPress Post A Day Challenges have helped a great deal. I’ve had subject matter floating around in my head and haven’t really found the question it should answer. The Challenge has allowed me to do that and helped my business too. When I meet with a new client, I give them a challenge of their own. Depending on their business, they have to give me a 250-500 word blog post on a topic I give them. Most people smile and then say: “Yeah, I can do that.”. Sometimes, it is truly that simple.

I’ve also decided today that I’m going to start a new menu item and call it challenges so that you can see what challenges I’ve completed. I haven’t done them in the order they were given to us, but I find that when I look at a list of options, something comes to me, such as this topic.  It’s like crossing things off a to do list. It needs to be written or, if absolutely necessary, turfed. I’ve done that with very few posts, but I have not yet mastered the art of letting go. Not sure which one is harder: writing it or letting it go.

I’ve also found a new service that prompts topics everyday. It fills the void left after the Post A Day Challenge ended in December 2011. It’s called Plinky and though I’ve only received one email from them yet, I think it will help with feeding the muse. One of the topics I’d already written on, but you can add a link to the post and share what you’ve written which is kind of cool.

What have you feared that turned out to be much easier than you expected?

What have you feared that turned out to be much easier than you expected?

WordPress

WordPress

One of the pieces of my consulting work is setting up WordPress installations. I thought it was going to be extremely difficult, like retraining everything I’ve learned. But in fact, it is much easier than originally thought.

As I wrote in one of my book posts, I picked up WordPress last year when a friend of mine suggested that they thought this would be something that I could do fairly easily, given my previous experience in web design and programming. In our program at Ryerson University, we were given some of the basics of programming so that we would at least know what we were looking at when dealing with some of the issues that might be put in front of us during our careers. Some of us have actually become pretty decent programmers, such as Wes Bos, head instructor at HackerYou. Once I got into it, I realized that you didn’t really need to know any programming to get the site up and running. When dealing with design of the site, some knowledge of web design is helpful for coming up with the structure, such as the categories, but very little if any programming is needed. A little research might be needed when looking at plugins or themes, but the WordPress forums help a great deal with this. THere are also a number of groups out there, including the Toronto WordPress Group and the Developers group that are amazing. This month, I’m helping launch a website built entirely on WordPress for the MRBS. The challenge that I’m hoping to overcome: getting the contributors to the community to own their respective areas and post it to the site with little technical knowledge. Will let you know how well this worked in my follow up post. 😉

Book #5 – WordPress for Dummies

WordPress for Dummies All-in-one

WordPress for Dummies All-in-one

I had a great talk with a friend of mine, Carolyn Van about a year ago about what direction I should head in for my career. I’d heard of WordPress before, but didn’t know a heck of a lot about it. I’d done some web design many years ago and did some programming during my degree, but I wasn’t really interested in spending a few more years just learning how to code all this stuff. She gave me the simplest advice possible, but it has been the most valuable: Buy a book.

After our chat, I walked over to the nearest Indigo book store and picked up this book: WordPress All-In-One for Dummies. I’d never bought a “Dummies” guide before, but I figured eight books for about $40 is a worthwhile investment to see whether or not I can hack it (no pun intended). Some of the topics that are covered in the book include the basics, installing a single or network version (or multi-site), designing themes and plugins, and SEO. It goes from the simplest of instructions to the most difficult. A guide for all.

I have to say, this has got to be one of the best books I’ve picked up in a long time. I learned WordPress through this book. But don’t think this is the end-all-be-all. The beauty of WordPress is that there are so many resources out there, including forums, companies that do nothing except design themes and plugins as well as meetups where you can meet others who work in WordPress, that you don’t have to know it all. I don’t know how to do a plugin or design a theme, but I have a tonne of resources from which I can draw.

Me and Matt Mullenweg

Me and Matt Mullenweg

One of those is the Toronto WordPress Group. They meet at least once a month in a very social setting and I usually get some great advice with good company. It is very popular and does sell out quickly. I even got an invitation to a special VIP event back in February and had the pleasure of meeting Matt Mullenweg, Founder of WordPress! Big thanks going out to Craig Taylor for inviting me. I was fortunate enough to make him a Japanese Crane that he said he’d take on his next flight and was so kind and easy to talk to. I also attended a barbecue that they did last summer that was really a lot of fun too. Hope they will repeat it. This is the crew that does WordCamp every year as well, authorized by WordPress.

For those outside of Toronto, there is also the Niagara WordPress & Internet Marketing Group. I haven’t been to their meetups as yet, but they certainly have some topics that are of interest to me, and it’s just as close for me, living in the Hamilton area.

I usually recommend WordPress to my clients because it is easy for them to use themselves. I believe that small businesses should be able to make simple changes to their website without having to deal with a lot of coding. The interface is very simple to manoeuvre and is intuitive. Once set up properly, writing a post or adding a page takes only a few minutes.

If you’re interested in learning how WordPress works, I would highly recommend picking up this book and just start playing around with it. The book is a great investment, even if you don’t read every single chapter or mini-book, you too can learn WordPress. Enjoy!

Why Am I Posting All This Stuff?

A fellow Twitter fan that I follow, Dan Levy (@TheDanLevy) did a post a short time ago and I thought I might do the same. So, firstly, thanks to Dan for the idea.

Some people may be asking why I’m posting all this stuff? I jump around to a lot of different topics and some are pretty obscure. Well, Dan and I are both participating in the WordPress “Post A Day 2011”. Every day, @PostADay gives you a topic. You don’t have to write about it, but the purpose is to give you ideas about what to write about and get you into the mood of writing.

So what have I learned so far? Firstly, I enjoy using WordPress. I’m learning now about some of the more advanced features, including hosting it and possibly setting up other clients on this platform.

Secondly, a post doesn’t have to be the length of an essay. Even this post is smaller than most, but it’s something that I felt I needed to talk about and explain to those who know me as to why I was doing this. I’ve found there are things that I enjoy writing about and that through this I will find my focus. I’m finding that I’m even posting more than once a day in some cases. I’m reviving old posts that I put on my previous blogs that I easily imported to WordPress. Besides, I know that I haven’t been posting every single day, but I certainly have enough material that I’m catching up.

Hope you all enjoy the ride with me. Thanks Post A Day!

I’m Posting More Often in 2011!

I’ve decided I want to blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting right now.  I will be posting on this blog a lot more often using a tool in WordPress. I can’t promise to do it everyday, but I will post at least once a week. So far so good with my Bridget Jones posts. (Will have another today).

I know it won’t be easy, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome and wonderful. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.

If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.

Signed,

Shanta

PS. I’m going to try and post through my other two blogs depending on your interest, so check there too and follow me on Twitter (@TantienHime)

My ADHD blog: adhdjourney.wordpress.com
My Creative Writing Blog: shadowshui.wordpress.com (going to post there later today.)