Learning WordPress

I had a bit of learning lust this past weekend. Peter Beens (@pbeens on Twitter) was attending a WordCamp in the Niagara Region. It’s an opportunity for WordPress users to get together and get smarter with a full day devoted to the platform.

I really appreciated the fact that these social media users were using social media and posting thoughts, images, and ideas to Twitter using the hashtag #wcniagaraont.

In particular, this Twitter message got me thinking.

Screenshot 2019-10-20 at 10.04.51

Blogging can be kind of a lonely process. As I write this, I have my walking partner beside me. He’s no help. I’m listening to Stingray Music on the television and I have a cup of coffee on my desk. I’m in the WordPress online editor just typing along. I have a collection of thoughts sitting in a Google Keep document on my other monitor to inspire and keep me on track.

I’ve never had training on how to actually blog. I do remember that we booked Will Richardson to do a whole day on Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms (which ironically was the name of his book published in 2006).  The problem was that I was the organizer of that WesternRCAC PD event so I had to spend time troubleshooting and doing all the other things that come along with being a host.  I did catch a bit of Will’s attention and it inspired me to create my own blog and wiki.  The learning was not very deep.  Ultimately, I just kept experimenting until I got it right or at least passable.

I’ve led workshops on how to start and maintain a blog. I’ve helped people start blogs or using WordPress to host a website. My self-hosted instance of WordPress has never been published. I always use this hosted on WordPress to encourage people to blog for free and without any worries about maintenance.

I love it when ideas fall into my lap. As I was musing about Peter’s experience and checking my email, I ended up with this being referred. WordPress Admin Dashboard – Everything You Need To Know I know that I’m going to find digging into this interesting because, quite frankly, I’m self-taught. I’ve made lots of mistakes and recovered from many of them.

My biggest challenge is not to finish this writing by clicking Publish. I need to switch to Document View and schedule it for tomorrow morning at 5:00am.

That will give me time to look at those Twitter messages to see what I’ve overlooked and to perhaps even proofread and edit before it goes live. And, of course, following the link to the blogs/websites of those who sent messages to see what I missed.

How about you blogger-reader? Are you self-taught or did you attend a class/workshop/seminar? What’s your recommendation for anyone who is looking to get interested in blogging?

Hmmm. I wonder what my word count is.

Author: dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: http://www.dougpeterson.ca Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dougpete I'm bookmarking things at: http://www.diigo.com/user/dougpete

8 thoughts on “Learning WordPress”

  1. I have to give a shout out to the amazing, Jared Bennett (@mrjarbenne), for not only getting me started on blogging, but supporting me with all of my blogging queries over the year. I wouldn’t have my own domain if not for him. He taught me all of the basics of WordPress, and while I continue to do some playing, it’s often Jared who helps out with one of my many questions. Aaron Puley (@bloggucation) has also helped me over the years, especially with my professional blog (adunsiger.com). His wife, Jennifer (@learninghood) designed my header for me on this professional site. When it comes to WordPress, there are many people out there that know a lot and can add a helping hand. Hopefully it’s not the platform that stops people from blogging. Now I’m curious to know if the article suggested an ideal number of words in a comment. 🙂



  2. I had a long (wonderful if I do say so) reply but the Internet ate it. For now, those stats were interesting but clearly aimed at business people for the most part. Disappointing was
    “45. Negative messaging can result in a 63% click through rate lift over more positive ones”


  3. Oh, I have and have read Will’s book. I think it may be a bit dated these days but still useful for some. Most of what he talks about I had figured out on my own by the time I read it.


  4. Thanks for profiling this, Doug! I’m glad to know our Twitter back-channeling benefited others that couldn’t be there in person.

    Alfred, your comment about negative messaging is so true, sadly. Clickbait seems to be prevalent everywhere lately.

    Natasha Burtenshaw-deVries (@natasha_bd) presented on “How to Write SEO-Friendly Blog Posts and Get Them Ranking”. Her presentation was really excellent and had lots of great tips for blogging.
    You can find her presentation here:

    Click to access WordCamp2019_Final.pdf

    Aviva, I’m sure Natasha’s rule for blog length applies to comments: “Quality and comprehensiveness > quantity”. Your comment was the perfect length. 🙂

    Doug, are you up for a road trip? https://2019.us.wordcamp.org/


  5. What a nice selection of comments added to a great topic! Comments from members of a blog’s community add depth and increase engagement — regardless of the blogging platform!

    I would be interested to hear more from Peter on the general focus at this weekend’s Wordcamp in Niagara. Although I have signed up for at least two different Wordcamps over the years, in the end I’ve never made it to them, in part because the topics tended towards the technical rather than the writing, and in the end the overall appeal hasn’t had the same draw as something that focusses more on teaching.

    I wonder if Peter is actually suggesting a trip to St. Louis for the weekend before BIT19?

    Interestingly, when Doug talks about composing within the WordPress interface, it reminds me that although WordPress has an autosave for post authors, comment boxes do not. I am right there with Alfred, having lost numerous (frequently long) comments prior to submitting. If this one makes it through, then this comment and it’s content have survived being eaten.

    Aviva, you are indeed fortunate to have had Jared leading the blogging charge in your district all those years ago. There’s no doubt that having had such support at the time allowed you to focus on the writing, as that is what blogging is really about.

    Idea: I wonder if there would be value in this day and age in hosting an education-focussed Wordcamp? I can think of a few people who might be interested in attending.

    Can you? 😉


  6. Andy, when we selected the speakers we tried to mix it up with a cross section of skills (beginner to advanced), speakers (local and distant, male and female), and content (ranging from social aspects to technical). For the keynote we concentrated on wellness and general support of the WordPress community (which is amazing, BTW).

    So, there isn’t really a general focus of the WordCamp, other than trying to make it is appealing to a wide range of interests and audience members. Which I suppose is the focus of any good conference, right?!!

    Hah, I would have loved to go to St Louis with a car full of other teachers, but I have an OSSTF regional conference to attend that weekend. Next year, maybe!

    As far as putting together an education-focussed WordCamp, I tried to drum up interest with teachers via Twitter to attend this WordCamp but didn’t hear from anyone, other than you and Doug. Perhaps we can do something at BIT20 to get teachers more aware of it.


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