Learning to use WordPress

For your weekend assignment, I’d like you to get familiar with WordPress.com so you have the technical stuff down when we begin our group blog projects in a few weeks. To do that, I’d like you to …

1. Set up a blog around a topic (any topic) that really captures your interest. Bear in mind, though, that this is more of a “beat” than a diary. Pick a current issue/topic that’s relevant beyond you personally.

(Note: Ultimately, successful bloggers get that way in large part because they’re hugely passionate about their subject. So, picking something you think about—all the time—is key if you’re looking to build a long-term blog. But, this is just a little assignment, so don’t feel pressure to come up with THE blog for your future. Just something interesting to get you started. If you can’t think of an idea, try this idea.)

2. Build your blog using WordPress. It’s a pretty intuitive system, as you may know already, but spend some time running through each of the menus and categories to become very familiar with how it works. Play around with various blog designs, and try to create your own personalized page header. 

3. Populate your blog with at least 2-3 posts over the next week, mixing up the lengths and styles of posts. Try to make one post no more than 50 words, while another may go as long as 300 words. How do you write a good post or maintain an attractive blog? Some ideas here and here. Also, you’ll find some good suggestions from Mindy McAdams and her class assignment to blog … but, not to worry, I won’t be grading your posts so rigorously. But, I will be looking for the right ingredients in your work.

4. Add visual elements to your blog: embedded video from YouTube, for instance, or maybe a PowerPoint from Slideshare. Post at least one photo (of your own, or from the Web) and write a caption for it. (Note: For how-to support for WordPress.com, see this page; for help on putting YouTube video on WordPress.com, see this.)

5. Add some widgets. These are the add-ons that go in the sidebar of the blog, and can be anything from RSS feeds to hit counters to tag clouds and much more. Read about them here.

6. Have fun with this! Be current, interesting, on-topic, and give us some relevant links to outside material … but, above all, just experiment and enjoy yourself. Look at this as an opportunity to break into blogging (and WordPress especially) before we plunge into the semester project work.

(In case you’re wondering, I’ll be grading this as part of your larger participation grade. Just show me that you can do the work and enjoy it!)

This initial blogging effort is due Tuesday. Please tell us about your blog (include a URL) in the comments section.

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19 Responses to “Learning to use WordPress”


  1. 1 Robert Rich February 14, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    My blog is titled Rob ‘N Roll, and yeah, it’s a play on Rock ‘N Roll. I’m fairly clever. 😉

    It’s basically my outlet for looking at the world of entertainment and all the stuff that goes down in it. I mostly focus on music, reviewing new CD’s, analyzing interesting newsbits, etc., but I’ll branch out into other areas from time to time.

    Check it out at http://robnroll.wordpress.com

  2. 2 Jill February 16, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    This blog basically consists of everything I find interesting…Not necesarily important but interesting in the world of arts, culture, fashion, etc. Not the hard news, but the “Window Dressings”

    Visit it at http://justalittlebitoftheoutrageous.wordpress.com/

  3. 3 meerarajagopalan February 16, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    My blog mainly focuses on reflections on the latest celebrity gossip. My first post is about the aftermath of the Chris Brown/Rihanna scandal that happened last week. I picked this topic, because I know that I read the People.com feed everyday, and it interests me that People spends so much effort in covering all their topics so in-depth.

    http://meeraprajagopalan.wordpress.com/

  4. 4 oliviafong February 16, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    My blog will be some kind of combination of things I come across that I think will be useful to my peers and personal commentary on varying issues. (I know I’m giving myself a ton of leeway here).

    My first post is on the new and slightly frightening contract Facebook has with its users.

    http://YouOughtaKnow.wordpress.com

  5. 5 Michele Pierini February 16, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    I made a blog about my KVRX radio show, Sing Electrik, that is also about random music stuff that I like or come across.

    WordPress makes me angry.

    You can’t directly post mp3s without purchasing a space upgrade and it’s a bitch trying to customize it. The theme I chose is part of the problem, because it ridiculously has the body copy aligned to the left of the screen. It was the only one I liked, though.

    http://singelectrik.wordpress.com/

  6. 6 Amy Neyhard February 16, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    My blog is called Amy’s Epiphanies because my blog will be about something each day that I find really interesting and that other people will enjoy. ( or at least I hope they will) Like relationship thoughts from my Family Relationships class or interesting thoughts/stories that are new every day.

    It was a little hard to get used to and figure out how to embed a video. But I’m getting the hang of it.

    Here it is:
    http://amyneyhard.wordpress.com/

  7. 7 Lauren Oakley February 16, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    My blog, I think most college students can benefit from, is called Battle Of The Binge … college binge drinking.

    It will be about binge drinking, the dangers, why it happens, when it happens, how to avoid it, and some personal experiences. I think it personally interests me because I have experienced it, been hurt by it, and it’s relevant to a large college audience.

    My first post was over hazing. It was short. I also added some video and a slide show.

    Unlike Mr. Rich, I am not so clever with my URL:

    http://laurenoakley.wordpress.com/

  8. 8 Christina G February 17, 2009 at 1:06 am

    My blog doesn’t have a title really, though the url is seriousLola.wordpress.com. I got that name from the Go Go dancing group I manage (the Lola Dolls), and I decided my blog would revolve around reviewing the events I dance at (to an extent, because of course, your patron can never be fully dissed to the entire world), and electronic dance music events I attend. I am hugely passionate about edm (the many shades of house, breaks, the list goes on and on), so no worries on that front.

    I’m excited. I think it will be fun. Anywho, once again:

    http://seriousLola.wordpress.com

  9. 9 Rachel February 17, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Well I just created a quick and dirty blog for this class. I’m not sure I will continue to work on it after this class is over though I am very interested in the topic: social media. There’s just so many other blogs that cover that topic, but I thought I’d go for it anyway. I want it to move towards analyzing new sites that go up since there are tons of social media sites out there. We’ll see how it goes.
    ilikesocialmedia.wordpress.com

  10. 10 Scott Richert February 17, 2009 at 9:32 am

    My blog is called The Rhythm. It is devoted to covering music that I find cool, interesting, offbeat, fun, or just plain good. It took me a while to get things going (I only saved my first post and didn’t publish it), but now it is up and running smoothly. check it out!

    http://thesecondline.wordpress.com/

  11. 11 Rachel February 17, 2009 at 9:34 am

    My Blog
    Sorry, now you can just click the link! 🙂

  12. 12 Kristin February 17, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Alright, my blog is called The Newest Wrinkle or two, because “the newest wrinkle” was taken. The blog is NOT about wrinkles women complain about getting or how to prevent them. It IS about the newest wrinkles in fashion! You will see this important description statement in the first post as well. My blog will cover fashion news, models, trends, etc. http://thenewestwrinkleortwo.wordpress.com/

    Setting up the blog was extremely easy, however I am still working with changing the font, color and the likes on my custom header. So the appearance will definitely change in the future!

  13. 13 ldechant February 17, 2009 at 10:11 am

    My blog is titled Celebrity, because it talks just about that: celebrities. I love celebrities and am obsessed with their lives! I think it is so fascinating to be famous! My blog link can be found here: http://www.celebrityentertainment.wordpress.com.

    I found WordPress surprisingly easy to use! I like being able to voice my opinions in the blogging world, and love to publish things I gather from media outlets and other gossip websites such as Perez Hilton. WordPress provides a great forum for this type of expression. I dont know if I will continue it, but so far it is really fun!

  14. 14 Justine February 17, 2009 at 10:31 am

    My blog is called J’s and its about fashion, music, celebrities and media news that I think is interesting and worth writing about.. but we’ll see what this turns into. It’s been difficult for me to blog so far because the things I am passionate about are covered so widely by all the blogs that I READ (gawker, fashionista, fashionologie, the cut, bricks and stones gossip, Rock n roll daily.. ya i read too many thanks to discovering RSS feeds). But I’m going to try to have fun with it and make the blog about the most interesting things to me personally and see where it takes me.

    So far it’s been easy to upload photos and videos and I figured out how to put a background on and stuff. I’m not really sure how to add music though? But I’m working on it.
    Heres the link http://jpombo.wordpress.com/

  15. 15 Sarah Lacy February 17, 2009 at 10:39 am

    My blog is called “Travel with Sarah.” It is, you guessed it, a blog about travel. I want to focus on the cultural impact travel can have on a person. I have started with posts on places I have been before and have a basic knowledge about. I can start with my own resources and expand by researching new places I have never been. Here it is:

    http://travelwithsarah.wordpress.com/

    I really enjoyed creating this blog. I would like to make a custom header for the site. I just learned how to do this in my multimedia class. I also think its great how easy it is to upload videos and images. The variety of blog templates and ways to customize your blog are really great.

  16. 16 samanthadeavin February 17, 2009 at 11:16 am

    My blog is called “An Aussie Comes to Austin”, and it’s about my observations, experiences and musings over my time here as a foreigner. What are the major cultural differences between Australia and Texas? I’ll aim to share any interesting, enlightening or amusing experiences I have here, and explore some questions I have about Southern/Texan/UT cultures.

    WordPress and blogging are all totally new to me, but it’s been fun putting this together – although there is still a lot more to do it it!

    You can view it here :
    http://anaussiecomestoaustin.wordpress.com/

  17. 17 Stephen.keller February 17, 2009 at 11:46 am

    My blog is a photoblog. It documents the people I see, and the places I go.

    http://s-keller.blogspot.com/
    http://stephenkeller.wordpress.com/

  18. 18 Simrat Sharma February 17, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    I finally got a blog running. It’s called Scheherazade’s Tales which sounds like a mouthful I know, but its not that bad if you know its pronounced. It is the name of the young woman who tells the epic thousand and one nights to save the women of her city from the evil king dude. Fascinating stuff, I know. I thought that would be apt since I intend to focus on women’s issues in the Middle East and India, since they are the two places I identify with personally.

    I will try to make it relevant and interesting to readers in Austin as well. While the topic is heavy, I am trying to write it in a very personal style. Just an intro post down so far!

    http://simrat.wordpress.com/


  1. 1 Getting ideas for your blog « Editing for Clear Communication Trackback on March 23, 2009 at 8:30 pm

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