Tag Archives: WordPress

Writing Journal 24: Website, New WordPress, and Workshops

Writing Journal 24: Website, New WordPress, and Workshops
My writing journal for Friday, September 5, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Another oddball morning.

I received a call last night from a client who’s developing a website for a product launch, so I can’t start the day with my current fiction and nonfiction books as I usually do. I had to start work on the website content, because it’s a rush job.

I read all the material he sent me. Then I created lists of interview questions. Julia will call the company to line up some chats for me with their subject matter experts (SMEs.) I hope the chats will be later today, but somehow I doubt it. It’s Friday, and it’s very short notice. Not to worry, I can do some research on my own. I’ll need to look at competing products and the marketplace, so that will keep me going for a while.

I meant to work on the novella last night, because I didn’t get to it yesterday, but I had the coaching call, which took longer than expected. MUST get to fiction today…

Breakfast for Honey, and for me, while reading email. Then answering email, and giving feedback. I’ve got several students’ short stories to read, but I’ll save those until the weekend, when I have more time to think.

WordPress 4: looks great

When I checked my blogs this morning, I noticed that WordPress 4.0 has been released. Excellent… I’ve updated the blogs, but haven’t had a chance to check out the new options yet. TNW has an article reviewing 4.

The updated WordPress editor means less scrolling: excellent. I do most of my writing in WordPress. Well, I use a Markdown editor to write drafts, then I post the HTML into the WordPress editor, but one way or another I spend a lot of time scrolling.

After that, I set a reminder to make sure that I WALK today. I need to get back to daily walks. I spend far too much time sitting. As a reward for that, hummingbird cake at lunch. :-)

More email, and a post about our new “Leap” workshops for the freelance writing blog.

Then it’s off for a walk…

UGH! Rain. And it’s cold. So I weasel out of walking and set a reminder to do some yoga and a session on the rowing machine tonight.

Finishing up the week’s projects

I’ve made a list of projects which are almost ready to be sent to clients, so I devote the rest of the morning to that.

Julia and I head for our weekly lunch. We missed out on it last week, and I can hear a BIG slice of hummingbird cake calling my name…

Back to the office. It’s time to return phone calls, and wrap up the week. I do a quick review of the week’s projects, and adjust our schedules for next week.

No more tech aggravations, I hope

I’ve got to keep an eye on my data usage with the hotspot — I’ve used 1.5 GB in a day and a half; that means I’ve got 2.5 GB left before I need to recharge.

And… YAY! Cable Internet is back. Bless you, Telstra.

The technician suggested I turn the cable modem on occasionally to see whether the cable has been fixed, and it appears it has… a miracle.

However, that was a real lesson to me: keep the hotspot charged. Usually when I go out, I use others’ networks: clients’, the library’s, etc. From now on, I’ll take my little hotspot with me. That will keep the SIM active, so that it doesn’t die. It’ll save unexpected journeys to get another one, and it gives me peace of mind too.

I feel like dancing around the room… Happiness is a good Internet connection. :-)

Research for the client’s new website

As expected, Julia couldn’t get any interviews with SMEs today. Onward to research the client’s competitors, and make notes.

Evernote’s Adonit Jot Script stylus, or Livescribe Sky?

Last night I was making some notes in Notability on my iPad, and trying to get a fine line. Not possible, really. I’ve been eyeing the Adonit Jot Script stylus, but can’t justify it as a business expense. I may treat myself to one for Christmas. It looks amazing, but so does Livescribe’s Sky pen. I’ve got the Livescribe Echo, but the Sky pen pushes notes directly to Evernote.

(Sigh…) OK, when I start researching purchases, I know I’ve lost my focus. Time to finish up for the day.

Daily and weekly reviews are done, and I know what I need to do on the weekend. So that’s it for today.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Content Creation With WordPress: 4 Essential Plugins

Content Creation With WordPress: 4 Essential Plugins

Is content creation wearing you down? Blogs are voracious. You need to feed the beast constantly. Luckily there are tools which can help, especially if you’re a WordPress blogger. Here are my four essential “content” plugins.

A word to the wise: add plugins one at a time, and don’t add too many. Delete any plugins you’re not using.

1. (free) Editorial Calendar: Know What You’re Publishing and When.

Editorial Calendar
It’s Friday afternoon. You’re finishing up the week’s work. Suddenly you realize… you haven’t blogged this week. There’s nothing worse than realizing you’ve got to post something to your blog within the next hour.

WordPress Editorial Calendar saves your sanity. You’ll know exactly what you’re publishing, and when – no more last-minute panics. I love that I can see my draft posts all in one place.

2. (free) WordPress SEO by Yoast: It’s a Built-in Content Checklist.

WordPress SEO by Yoast

The basics of search engine optimization (SEO) are easy enough. However, keeping them in mind when you’re fiddling around with headlines, graphics and fact checking is hard. WordPress SEO by Yoast ensures that you don’t forget optimization.

It functions as an easy checklist. You can see what a post is missing at a glance. You can even choose to hide posts and pages from the search engines, if you wish.

3. (free) Related Posts by Zemanta: the Easy Way to Add Related Posts and Images.

Related Posts
Call me shallow, but I like Related Posts by Zemanta because it makes your “related posts” look pretty. I’ve tried lots of related post plugins; Zemanta’s gets the most clickthroughs. You can see it on my Just Write a Book Blog, in the image above.

4. (free) Edit Flow: Easier Collaboration With WordPress.

Edit Flow

If you’re working on a blog with others, corralling content is frustrating, to say the least. Edit Flow makes it easy. Not only do you get a content calendar, you also get custom statuses. As content moves through the editorial process, you can change statuses with just a couple of clicks. Users can not only pitch content, but can also see which posts are in progress, and which are ready for editorial review.

So there you have it. My essential WordPress content creation plugins. If you need WordPress to do something for you, chances are that someone, somewhere has created a plugin to do it. Have fun with WordPress. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

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3 Great Writing Apps for Distraction-Free Writing

Byword app
Byword

Writing can be hard if you’re not in the mood. Great writing apps can make it easier, especially those which allow you to create a distraction-free writing environment. I’ve explored many of these apps over the years; these three are currently my favorites.

I’ve scored the apps out of a possible 5; my opinion, based on how I write, your mileage will vary.

1. Byword (Mac, iOS)

Distraction-free score – 5.

Byword is an excellent all-in-one distraction-free writing environment with an added benefit: one-click publishing to Evernote, as well as to WordPress, Tumblr and Scriptogram blogs.

Please be aware that blog publishing requires the Premium version; it’s an in-app purchase which enables Premium on all your devices.

That said, I rarely use the blog publishing option to publish directly to a blog. Byword gives you a choice of RTF and Markdown formats. I write in Markdown, then “publish” to Evernote.

If I’m writing a blog post, I copy the HTML to the clipboard so that I can paste it into WordPress. Once the text is in the WordPress editor, I SEO the post via the Yoast plugin. I’ve found that if I don’t add the meta data immediately, I procrastinate on doing it later.

2. Write.app (Web, free)

Write app

 

Write.app

Distraction-free score – 4.

I like Write.app. It’s available anywhere, on any browser, and has mobile apps for iOS and Android. You can write anything you like with Write.app, from simple notes, which are stored in note books for you on the Web, to full-length novels. Everything’s encrypted, so your notes stay private. You can make any note public, and can download your writing as a text file at any time.

If you click the full-screen icon, you’ll just see your text in a browser window, distraction-free.

Why the 4/5 score? I like to see a word count as I write, and this isn’t available in Write.app.

3. ZenPen (Web, free)

ZenPen

 

ZenPen

Distraction-free score – 5.

ZenPen is fun to use. It’s just a browser window. Delete the placeholder text – it’s a Help file – and write away. You can export to Markdown, HTML, and plain text. If you want to format, or add Markdown syntax, just highlight some text, and select from the options which pop up.

I was tempted to drop ZenPen’s score to 4 because of the lack of a word count. There’s a target word count, which you can enter, but which does nothing to let you know you’ve reached your word count goal. Maybe I missed something?

ZenPen’s gorgeous, uses Markdown, and you can use it in any browser; it gets 5 from me. :-)

Give these three writing apps a try if you’re feeling uninspired and need to write anyway. One of them may become your favorite.

, and on Twitter: @angee

WordPress 3.8 “Parker” Is Here, And It’s Gorgeous

WordPress 3.8 “Parker” Is Here, And It’s Gorgeous

If you’re a WordPress blogger, you’ve been waiting for 3.8 codenamed “Parker” with impatience. It’s finally here, right on time, and it’s gorgeous. Get the details of the changes here.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the new dashboard is sleeker. You can set the color scheme, choosing from eight styles when you first update to 3.8. If you want to change the admin color scheme after that, as I did, go to your profile page to change it.

Widgets under control: yippee!

With older versions of WordPress, widgets were a pain to manage and install. So much so, that whenever I thought of making changes, I avoided it, unless the change I wanted to make was absolutely essential. Dragging widgets to where you wanted them, even with a large monitor, was frustrating.

Now you can click on a widget, and a menu pops up, so you can add it to the widget area you want. Much more relaxing.

New theme: Twenty Fourteen, a magazine theme

I’ve been eager to try out the new default WordPress theme, Twenty Fourteen. I love Twenty Thirteen, which I use on this blog, and on my freelance writing blog.

The big benefit of using default WordPress themes? Fewer headaches. Over the years, I’ve used many commercial themes, and while some were wonderful, there were always headaches.

The holidays will be perfect for testing Twenty Fourteen for those of my blogging clients who want a good magazine theme.

So, what are you waiting for? WordPress 3.8 is here. Head for your blog’s dashboard, and install it. You’ll be enthralled. I can’t wait to explore and discover more of the changes to our beloved WordPress.

If you’re not yet a blogger,  and are wondering how to get started, here you go: Blogging Maestro helps you to become a top blogger.

, and on Twitter: @angee

Savvy WordPress Blogger? Get Ready To Fall In Love With The Barley For WordPress Plugin

Savvy WordPress Blogger? Get Ready To Fall In Love With The Barley For WordPress Plugin

I love WordPress blogging, but like most bloggers, I wish it were easier. That’s not to say that WordPress is hard once you’re used to it, but I have many blogs. The minutes you spend dithering around with the post editor mount up.

I’ve long wished I could just create a post and have it instantly appear on a blog. Another fervent wish: to be able to edit an older post, in place… right on the webpage, so I could do more with my archives.

Here’s what inspired those two wishes: my intense jealousy of Barley. Barley’s an impressive Web editor because you can create and make changes to pages, right on the page. No saving or fiddling necessary.

The green-eyed monster’s gone. The Barley people have created the Barley for WordPress plugin.

Let’s see how it works.

1. Add a new blog post in your chosen format.

I’m using Barley for WordPress on my Just Write a Book Blog. The plugin installs in the usual way. Once you’ve activated it, you’ll need to add your license key, and then you’re good to go.

Here’s where it gets fun. Forget about the dashboard. Just click the New button on the toolbar, and choose the format you want. I’m using the default WordPress Twenty Thirteen theme on this blog; it has a great range of post formats.

Add a new post

Choose your post format from the toolbar

2. Start typing: delete the placeholder text, and go.

Your new post is loaded with placeholder text. Highlight and delete the post title’s placeholder text, and type your post’s title.

Just start typing

Just start typing

Notice the little tag icon? Click it to choose a category, add tags, and a featured image.

(SEO maven? Publish your post, and then edit the post later to add a page title, description and keywords.)

3. To add headings or a link, select some text.

Adding headings or a link is easy, just select some text.

Select text to add a link

Choose an icon from the formatting box

The star icon lets you add headings, quotes, and code. If you want basic formatting, click the edit icon. The link icon lets you add a link.

4. Want to add HTML or an image? Easy

It’s simple to add items such as images, video and code. Just click the “+” button.

Adding images is easy

Click the plus button to insert items

5. Click Publish on the toolbar when you’re done.

Is your post ready? Click the Publish button on the toolbar.

Want to update an older post? Freaky…

If you want to update an older post, you’ll freak the first time you do it. (I did.)

Just start making changes, right on the webpage: delete paragraphs, or add them. Add images, and links.

Update an older post

Updating an older post? Just make any changes you want

The changes stick. There’s no “update this post” or “save” button. The first time I updated a post, I couldn’t believe that the changes were saved. (They were.)

This is a huge timesaver. If you’re been putting off going through your archives because it’s such a pain, you’ll love the Barley for WordPress plugin.

Because I have a lot of blogs – my own, as well as clients’ blogs – I’m always looking for better workflows. Anything which saves time and energy gets a huge thumbs-up from me. After using the Barley for WordPress plugin for a few hours, I’ll be adding it to all my blogs, and client blogs as well.

At the introductory price of $12 for 12 months of use, it’s a bargain. By the way, a disclaimer; I have no connection to the Barley people (kudos to them!) I simply like this plugin. You may too.

 Want to kick your blogging up a notch?

Love the idea of a four-hour workweek? You can make it so. Become a part-time, or full-time blogger. It’s fun, and once you have a method, it doesn’t take much time.

, and on Twitter: @angee

WordPress Blogging: Here Comes Twenty Fourteen (ooh, the Excitement)

WordPress Twenty Fourteen
WordPress Twenty Fourteen

If you’re a keen WordPress blogger, as I am, you’re looking forward to the next release of WordPress, version 3.8. This version is due on December 12.

I’m excited about the new default theme, Twenty Fourteen, which you can see in the image above:

Twenty Fourteen is intended to be a magazine style default theme, so having an easy way to promote featured content is important. The theme was originally intended to work hand-in-hand with the “Featured Content” plugin that is being developed for 3.8. As it is yet unclear if that plugin will be ready, the team opted to implement a “featured content” tag instead, which can now be found in the Customizer.

Some of my clients want magazine-style themes, so this will be perfect for them.

I’m looking forward to creating a new blog for self-publishers, and Twenty Fourteen will be excellent for that, too.

Unfortunately, Twenty Fourteen might not make it in 3.8; we might need to wait a bit longer. As Sarah says: “The theme’s inclusion in 3.8 is dependent upon how many things can be accomplished during the crunch time before the merge window closes tomorrow.”

Whenever it arrives, it’s a brilliant inclusion into WordPress.

BTW, I’m now doing blogging consults. They’re at an introductory price for a short time. So do get in touch if you’d like some help with your blogging.

Blogging Consult: Fast and Easy, with Powerful Results

If you’re thinking “my blog’s driving me crazy!” Here’s the solution, a blogging consult. Tell me what the challenge is, and we’ll fix it. You may have challenges with: creating your first blog, developing content, using social media, getting traffic… it doesn’t matter. This is your one-stop solution for RESULTS.

Consults via emails, phone and Skype: guaranteed solutions. (Introductory offer for a limited time.)


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, and on Twitter: @angee