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WordPress Workshop Outline for the STC Summit

by Tom Johnson on May 15, 2011
categories: technical-writing wordpress

WordPress Workshop OutlineTomorrow I'm giving a four hour workshop on blogging and WordPress at the STC Summit in Sacramento. I thought I'd post my outline in case anyone is interested in how I approach these workshops.

In preparing this outline, I realized that my focus on WordPress and blogging has shifted more towards producing content rather than manipulating the technology. Several years ago, you had to be more techie to make adjustments to your theme and get plugins to work. Now, the technology has matured to the point where you really don't have to dive into code. You can just focus on content. However, it has now become more difficult to create content that stands out from other blogs, since new blog posts saturate the world on a daily basis.

WordPress Workshop Outline

1: The Intrigue Should I start a blog?

  • Reasons for starting a blog
  • What you can expect in return
  • Realistic time commitments
  • Why blogging is a perfect opportunity for writers

Practice: Share your intrigue with blogging and evaluate your expectations.

2: Setting up the Scene -- How do I get set up?

  • Choosing a web host
  • Installing WordPress
  • Configuring basic settings
  • Adding sidebar widgets

Practice: Set up several WordPress sites. Add various widgets to your sidebar.

3: The Initial Euphoria of PostingYou mean I can post anything about anyone at anytime?

  • Selecting a focus
  • Branding the focus on the blog
  • Publishing a post
  • Editing the post

Practice: Find the About page on a popular blog and evaluate it. Publish a test post.

4: Getting Trendy with DesignHow do I make my blog look cool/professional?

  • Introduction to themes
  • Finding good themes
  • Themes with elaborate backend interfaces
  • Making manual adjustments to themes

Practice: Install a new theme. Adjust some aspects of the theme.

5: Writing for the webWhy aren't people reading my long posts?

  • Structuring content for online reading
  • Creating links
  • Linking to other posts
  • Search-engine-optimizing your content

Practice: Create a link to another post with specific anchor text.

6: Comments!Why am I getting spam?

  • What to do when no one comments
  • Dealing with spam
  • Activating Spam filters
  • Responding to comments
  • Implementing threaded comments
  • Responding to mean comments

Practice: Install and activate antispambee. Evaluate comments to identify spam.

7: Making it easy to subscribeHow can I get a thousands of readers/followers?

  • Measuring and track your readership through Feedburner
  • Making subscription buttons prominent
  • Pushing content to Twitter and Facebook
  • Adding the right hashtags to Twitter
  • Offering email subscription on your content

Practice: Burn your feed and add the Feedburner RSS and email links to your site.

8: Experimenting with MultimediaWhat else can I create besides text?

  • Creating a videocast
  • Creating a podcast
  • Embedding a video
  • Creating a screencast
  • Inserting images
  • Working with image galleries

Practice: Embed an image with a caption. Create a gallery. Embed a Youtube video.

9: Blogging for your companyShould I be my company's blogger too?

  • Not as fun as you might think
  • Content curation strategies
  • Time commitments among other responsibilities
  • Platform compromises

Practice: Read your airlines' blog and assess why it is or is not appealing.

10: Making moneyThis is taking a lot of time. How do I make money to justify it?

  • Amazon Affiliate links
  • Google Adsense
  • Sidebar advertising
  • Promotion of a product or service
  • Career leverage
  • e-books

Practice: Add an ad to your sidebar. List 3 companies who might be willing to place ads on your site.

11: Writing compelling contentWhat can I do to create posts that make an impact?

  • Telling stories
  • Danger zones with personal and corporate sensitivities
  • Having an opinion
  • Being insightful
  • Resting and rereading before posting

Practice: Decide on a story you can tell for a post. Share it with others.

12: Running out of ideasI've run out of ideas to blog about. Now what?

  • Read –use Instapaper
  • Write about what you're doing
  • Content curation
  • Collaborative posts
  • Guest posts

Practice: Mine Twitter for hashtags to identify a good post related to your blog's niche.

13: Running out of timeWhere do I find the time to post to my blog?

  • Staying up late, losing sleep
  • Speeding up posting with Press It.
  • Combining your current goals into your blogging efforts.
  • Recognizing everyone has content overload already anyway
  • Maintaining motivation despite crickets

Practice: Use Press It to post a link and excerpt from another blog.

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

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