First, the Makeover Update:
Roughly 3 weeks ago, I began a major makeover of my blog. I moved from WordPress.com to a self-hosted WordPress site. My first post about the process covered choosing a hosting service and actually moving everything.
Since then, I’ve tried out several free themes, searching for one with the capabilities I wanted: a custom header, custom background (though I could live without this one), sidebars and widget areas, dark color scheme, and multiple pages were the big ones. I found that many free themes don’t support custom headers – at least the ones I found. One I tried limited the header to half the width of the page, others put the site title and description across the header in a way that was difficult to read for mine.
One was very near what I had on the WordPress.com blog, and I happily installed and started to customize. Then I found it had only the dynamic page template, supporting only blog post style content. Had I known more about CSS, perhaps I could have created the page templates I needed, but learning to do so was more work that I was prepared to invest at the time.
Finally, I settled on Pilcrow, the current theme. So far, it supports everything I need it to, and has many different options. The color scheme, position of sidebars and number of columns can all be easily changed. Custom headers and backgrounds are supported and there are templates for static pages as well as the dynamic page.
From there, after customizing the options available for the Pilcrow theme, I moved to selecting and installing Plugins. The sheer number of possibilities boggles my mind! Thousands upon thousands of choices, to make my site do anything except turn cartwheels, and that one’s probably out there, I just haven’t come across it yet! Many of them do the same thing, and then it becomes a matter of choosing the one that does it best.
WordPress comes with one called Jetpack already installed – it brings some of the features of WordPress.com blogs to self-hosted WordPress users. There’s site stats, a proofreader, and widgets for RSS Links, images, and Twitter feed, among others.
I was already familiar with a few others, because they’re on WordPress.com, or because they’re used on GraveTells.com, where I’m a contributing writer. Akismet catches catches most of the spam comments without the necessity for Captcha, etc., for readers to leave legit comments. Zemanta suggests images to go with each post, and lists blog posts from all over the web that appear to be related to the content of the post you’re writing. The All In One SEO Pack takes care of getting the post out to search engines, using keywords and descriptions that you provide while writing the post. I installed all those, and went searching for more.
The Facebook Like Box, Networked Blogs, and Linky Follower were automatic choices, as was Google Analytics. Others for displaying social media share buttons, profile buttons, and publishing links to new posts to social media were immediately necessary. The sheer number of plugins available for those functions is insane. Some do the job far better than others. I’m still working my way through finding the ones that do exactly what I need them to.
In addition to those plugins, I’m finding tons of others with various functions. Once I’ve finalized my choices, I’ll list them here for anyone who’s interested.
And Now for the Early #writemotivation portion:
As you may recall, I signed up for KT Hanna’s #writemotivation for March. Participants selected attainable goals for the month, and each Monday, post progress updates on their blogs. Well, it isn’t March quite yet of course, but I’m going to go ahead and post an update.
This past week, I’ve kept up with my blogging schedule, and started drafts of a half dozen new posts. I’ve made progress on the Blood Dragon revisions, though not as much as I’d wanted. I haven’t written any new material on Blood Dragon II, though.
I did, however, work on an unofficial goal. Lately, when I sit on the couch to work as normal, I end up dozing off after a while because I’m tired all the time. I’m also having to take more of my meds in order to remain functional enough to keep up with the grandsons, so that makes me drowsy, too. So, to combat that, I’ve decided to make a regular work space.
I have a spare room that’s been used as my library, office, and art/crafts studio. When the boys moved in, that room became a catch all for extra toys, clothing, and everything else that came with the boys. So, this weekend, I moved all the things I had stored in the closet – boxes of things intended for yard sales, boxes of outgrown toys and clothing waiting for the youngest boy to grow into them, and a lot of just junk – to my daughter’s house. It’s now stored in the boys’ former room, since they aren’t using it any longer, and it’s just two houses down the street if I need any of it.
Today, I’ll finish rearranging the spare room, and bring a dresser in for the boys’ clothing so the one I have won’t be so crowded. Then, I’ll have the space organized well enough to get my desk back in working order. With a dedicated space to work, I should be able to accomplish more. Next week, I’ll post actual pics of the before, during, and after. It won’t be anything fancy, but hopefully at least neat and organized.
Next week, the official #writemotivation updates will begin. By then, my work space should be finished and I should have made progress on my revisions,writing new content, blogging. Wish me luck.
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