GROW Academy Bootcamp 2012

This week, Jeff and I will be presenting at our second GROW Academy Bootcamp session. We’ll be discussing “Website Design & Development” with the recruits, running through WordPress and how to setup a website using WordPress.com or WordPress.org.

The GROW Academy is an initiative to educate and empower the youth of today through technology. The Bootcamp session covers everything from social media and setting up e-mail, all the way through to search engine optimisation and an internet super-user course, for those who wish to continue on with more advanced studies. The GROW website’s “About” page (built on Canvas and Canvas BuddyPress by WooThemes) has a detailed explanation of the initiative and it’s founding partners.

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Project 365 – The Road So Far

As I mentioned in my new year’s post a few days ago, one of my new years resolutions is to blog more. I, therefore, decided to have Project 365 a try and to write a blog post every day for the year.

So far, the journey (pfff… it’s been only 5 days) has been interesting. The main challenge, really, is to figure out what to post about. I’m definitely of the belief that a blog post should provide some form of value for the reader (not just a video of a cat jumping into a shoe box, for example). That makes it all the more difficult. Luckily, I find I learn a lot and find & pick up web development tips on a regular basis (such as more rigorous use of the Transients API– thanks Warren), which fills up one section of posts I’d like to write. I also tend to think of concepts and theories, which I could flesh out a bit more and post up here in my “thoughts” category. These may become a bit too general though and would need to be filtered into the proper categories.

On the whole, blogging is something I really enjoy (especially using the “distraction free writing” feature in WordPress, which this blog post is currently being written in). I’m really glad I chose to blog for Project 365, as I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far.

Got any ideas for blog posts you’d like me to write up? Pop them in a comment below. 🙂

Good morning, 2012!

As I type this, it’s 6:16am on January 1st, 2012. For the last 30 minutes, I’ve been up with a cup of coffee and bowl of cereal, welcoming in the new year (this after having gone to sleep at around 12:30am as well). Despite the early hour, I’m ready to get 2012 started and get moving!

2011 was a year of much excitement and many developments for me. Travels, WordPress plugin releases and exciting developments at WooThemes, coupled with the inclusion of our new family member, Maddie (now almost 5 months old), made for a truly amazing year.

With 2011 now firmly in the past, I’d imagine the usual chain of thought is happening with you all as well… “what new years resolutions should I make?”, “should I make any new years resolutions at all?”, “can I actually keep any of them?”. These are three questions that have been on my mind on and off for the last day or so (clearly, new years resolutions don’t weigh down on me :P). I figured, lets cement a few down in a blog post as a starting point, and see if it’s possible to get them done sooner rather than later in the new year.

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Are WordPress.org users missing out?

For whatever reason you began blogging, be it personal or otherwise, one aspect of blogging transcends blog type: comments and commenting. Whether you’re blogging about your most recent holiday or about the latest piece of technology, it’s always a nice feeling to receive a comment on your post. A large part of receiving comments on blog posts is, I believe, community related. If there is a community around your blog of regular like-minded visitors who share an interest in your writing, there will surely be more frequent commenting on your blog’s posts.

This brings me to the main topic of this post: do self-hosted WordPress users miss out on natural community interaction? Continue reading

A change of scenery and why I try not to write draft posts

Okay, lately I’ve been blogging a lot about WordPress, Magento and coding in general. Time for a breather, folks. No techie stuff in this blog post, just a fun, relaxing read about a change of scenery, stream-of-conscious writing and why I prefer it to writing draft blog posts.

Okay, just a little bit of techie stuff (let’s get it over with, shall we?). Over the weekend past, I released the WP Section Index WordPress plugin. Check it out and let me know what you think and how it works for you.

I find that, throughout the day, I get ideas for blog posts I’d like to write. Posts about music, WordPress or random thoughts that enter my head. Gradually, I start forming the skeleton of the post in my mind and, at times, the post gets entered as a draft in the administration console, eagerly waiting to be finished, polished and published. This approach, more often than not, doesn’t seem to work. Continue reading

The discovery of blogging

I find blogging to be such a unique and interesting medium for communication. Share news, thoughts and information with the world and interact with those who comment on your writings. This, on the surface, seems like a somewhat well-known concept. The question is, is it?
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Blogging techniques- Daily Blogging

Wow, it’s already approximately half way through 2009. That’s incredible. This June, I decided to try a blogging “style” I had yet to try: daily blogging. I decided that, given the mid-year nature of the month, it was time to try something fresh and new to me. I made a conscious point of blogging daily about whatever I thought about. Whether it was to do with WordPress, music or general thoughts, I gave it a whirl.

Daily blogging is an interesting concept. In terms of content, it can produce interesting results, some posts being “stronger” than others, depending on the day and topic.

Overall, I enjoyed the daily blogging experience. I’ve tried, and will try, one or two other techniques as well. My question today is; “How do you blog?”

BlogSpot Rugby – New rugby blog online

BlogSpot Rugby LogoHey everyone,
Just a quick shout out to say that BlogSpot Rugby,  a new rugby blog based in South Africa, has just gone live. 🙂

The content and layout look really awesome. I look forward to reading this blog, as will many rugby fans. 🙂

Nice one @AMyburgh and co. 🙂

An update on my 31DBBB progress

Hey everyone,
I just thought I’d update you all on how things are going with the 31DBBB (31 Days to Building a Better Blog) Challenge. I’m roughly half way through the challenge now and things are going really well.

Every day, I receive an email from Darren Rowse at ProBlogger with a tip of the day and a link to a more indepth tutorial related to the tip. If anything, the Challenge encourages bloggers to blog more and to enhance their blogs and the promotion there-of.

So yeah, even if you don’t follow the Challenge on a daily basis, Darren does offer awesome advice and a clear direction towards better blogging and starting conversations within and around your blog. I’ve certainly found the challenge to be a great motivator thus far.

If you’re taking the 31DBBB, how are you finding it?

How do you browse through a blog?

Blogs in general seem to cater for similar functionality: tag clouds, categories, post tagging, search functionality, etc. My question here is, which browsing method works best for you when browsing a blog? I’ve been considering adding “related posts” into this blog’s current design. I’m just wondering, do users in general find a related posts block to be useful?

It can be so easy for a layout to become bloated or cluttered. Hence, the reason for streamlining the blog navigation and reading process. The only thing is, everyone reads through a blog with a different process. How do blog theme designers and developers factor this into development?