wordpress

Gutenberg Is On The Horizon!

Gutenberg Is On The Horizon!

WordPress is introducing Gutenberg as a new way to add and edit content on WordPress websites, based on a Block Editor concept. The full WordPress 5.0 version isn’t available yet, but the (Beta) Plugin is. When WordPress 5.0 arrives, Gutenberg will be built-in to it, and it will change the way we build WordPress websites.

Disclaimer:

    I’m not an expert in Gutenberg, or creating websites. This post is simply to show you how a novice website builder (me), has installed the Gutenberg plugin, and started using it right from the get-go. I created this page on my iPad Pro, not a desktop or laptop, so if things look different on your screen – that might be why.

MD

At the WordPress Meetups I attend, I’ve been hearing about how good Gutenberg is going to be.  And when I found out that a Gutenberg (Beta) plugin was available, I thought about installing it – but I didn’t.

I sat back for a while, and waited

Eventually, curiosity got the better of me, and I installed the plugin. And then I sat back again, and waited. Installing a new plugin is one thing; activating it is something else.

I was a bit hesitant because I had read some reviews that hinted that it wasn’t quite ready – one review even suggesting that it might break your website. I was excited about trying it, but certainly didn’t want my site to ‘break’, even though I’m not sure what a broken site looks like.

When the videos from WordCamp Sydney 2018 were released recently, I couldn’t wait to see them. I followed the link to YouTube and tuned in to see the Panel Q&A on Gutenberg. An experienced website builder gave it the thumbs up – having activated the plugin – with no adverse effects on her site.

That was all the encouragement I needed. I activated the plugin and figured out where to start. Super fast – super easy.

So what does Gutenberg do?

Right out of the box, I began by adding a Quote to a blog post I had started a few days before I downloaded the plugin.

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. 

Albert Einstein 

All I had to do was just click on the + sign, and add a block to write a Quote in. What makes it really easy is being able to add the author of the quote, in a pre-determined place. Before Gutenberg, I used to spend a lot of time trying to make sure the author tag stayed close to the quote, without being picked up in the formatting assigned to the quote itself, usually a Heading. With the Gutenberg block – it’s all taken care of.

It doesn’t matter that I started the blog using the traditional method – Gutenberg just slid into place, effortlessly.

And to see if using Gutenberg from scratch is just as easy, this post was created using Gutenberg – from beginning to end. It couldn’t have been easier. 

Block-based, and easy

It’s the blocks that make Gutenberg easy to use. Instead of building a page in a single block, Gutenberg provides multiple blocks for adding text, images and quotes (plus a whole lot more). By having everything in blocks, I can move them up or down the page without having to mess around with cutting and pasting.

Each item is in its own block. This paragraph is in one block, and the images (below) are in their own. This gives me the flexibility to move things around without the risk of losing the whole page, or messing things up.

It gives the page flexibility

Adding a new paragraph still works the same way. Hitting the Enter or Return button moves the cursor down to the starting point of the new paragraph. But instead of continuing the text in the same Block as the previous paragraph, Gutenberg slips a new block in, without you even noticing – until you want to change something. When you click on the paragraph, you open up the Block – and the manoeuvreability comes into play. You can easily change the paragraph to a heading, or move the block up or down the page, or even convert the text to a list.

Adding a photo

Just click on the plus-sign to add a Block and the available options open up. Select the Image icon, and add your photo. You still have the same features –  either select a photo or image from your Media Library or upload a new image. It’s all just easier with Gutenberg. 

I Love It!

This is only scratching the very outer layer of what the Gutenberg plugin can do. I have only played around with the parts that are relevant to me, right now. As my needs grow, so will my learning.

In writing this naiive and humble outline of my short journey with Gutenberg, I hope I have inspired you to get that domain name you’ve been thinking about, download WordPress and the Gutenberg Plugin, and start creating your own website.

And for the more experienced WordPress website creators, I can’t wait to read about your journey with the new Gutenberg (Beta) Plugin. 

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, 0 comments

Day 12 – UBC – What Question?

In today’s blog post I’m supposed to answer a question that comes up often in my comments. I don’t have the answer. In fact, I don’t even have the question. But what I do have is a question of my own. It’s a question that I ask myself constantly.

How the heck do you work out the Comments section on a blog site?

This is the one thing that has kept me up at night since the Blog Challenge started. I have ‘plugged-in’, tweaked, and deleted everything that isn’t nailed down in the back-end of my site, and still I haven’t worked it out. I was lucky enough to be able to sit down with my tech-guru on the weekend (thanks Ricky), who went straight to the source of the problem. He unchecked a box here, checked a box there, and Voila!, I was able to find the comments, under the heading of Comments. I walked away from the table, confident that I would now be able to see the comments people have been leaving, and know where to find them in future.

Problem solved – Except?

I still can’t get the comments to land on my actual blog page. I’m not complaining, just stating a fact. When I didn’t know much about my website, and my site was much more simple, comments used to just land at the bottom of the blog post. I would approve, or not approve them, and that would be it. But when I got a bit more technical and started adding more Plug-ins, the wheels started falling off the wagon. It seems that plug-ins, much like humans, have fall-outs with each other. And when they don’t get along, or stop talking to each other, it gets ugly.

And there, in a nutshell, is my problem.

How do I get the Comments to land at the bottom of a blog post on a WordPress Website?

All answers to this problem will be gratefully accepted, and I thank you in advance!

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, 0 comments
The July Ultimate Blog Challenge

The July Ultimate Blog Challenge

I can’t resist a challenge! – well, as long as the challenge fits within the reasonable limits of my comfort zone.  A recent email had the word ‘Challenge’ in it, so naturally it got my attention. The email was a call to action to sign up for the July Ultimate Blog Challenge. It sounded simple enough – write a blog each day for thirty-one days – so I signed up. But it’s the ‘each day’ bit where I usually come unravelled. I’ve been known to set all sorts of agendas to keep me on track, but my creative-train is easily derailed. It doesn’t take much: an invitation here, a slack day there, and before I know it – I’m panicking about a deadline.

I can usually get the writing part done reasonably fast, but it’s the other bits that make the difference between meeting deadlines – and hearing them whoosh by.

The Support I Need

My websites are built on the WordPress platform, simply because the support from WordPress is phenomenal. WordPress Meetups and WordPress WordCamps are for learning new things, as well as getting answers to questions and solutions to problems. Meetups are held monthly in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, so I get two opportunities a month to learn something new.

WordCamp Brisbane 2017

WordCamps are less frequent, usually once a year in any city, and provide a weekend of learning. You have the opportunity to attend as many talks as you can comfortably fit in over two days. Everything from novice topics, to the highest level for developers, is covered at WordCamp. While costs might vary slighltly in some cities, I only paid $50 for the WordCamps I attended, and that covered admission, food, after-party, t.shirt and lots of swag (that’s tech talk for freebies – thank you WordPress!). Generous sponsors contribute to the cost of the event so that we can attend without breaking the bank – and they bring lots of swag too – (thank you sponsors!).

Smart-casual wear is fine for the After Party (WordCamp Brisbane 2017)

Getting your ducks in a row before you hit the ‘Publish’ button.

Okay, these are Canada Geese, but you get the picture, right?

The real value of Meetups and WordCamps is the networking. It’s the people you meet before and after each session that really makes the difference. The true value of networking, according to networking guru Sally Eberhardt, is the sharing of ideas and information. And I couldn’t agree more.

At WordCamp Sunshine Coast 2016, I met some other bloggers during one of the coffee breaks. One of them shared some valuable information about a Plugin that monitors the readability and the ‘find-ability’ of your website – (thanks Di Hill). I downloaded and have been using Yoast ever since. When I get the readability right, I get a green light, and another green light when I have all the right elements to make my site more ‘findable’. With WordPress websites, adding a Plugin or two is easy, but since I plugged-in Yoast, the days of writing a quick blog have ended. If I choose to ignore the suggestions, I can still write and publish a fast blog. When I follow the suggestions, it slows things down, but it is SO worth it. When you get all your ducks in a row, you get a green light. I love that green light!

I’ve been limbering up for long enough..

… now it’s time to get out on the track, and start sprinting.

My random blog posts have probably been a bit too random lately and need reining in a bit (okay – a lot!). While I was holidaying overseas earlier this year, I signed up for the Ultimate Blog Challenge for January. It seemed like a great idea at the time. Piece of cake, I thought; I have plenty to write about; I can do this. Then disaster struck. I broke my wrist and ended up in a full cast. The cast started at my shoulder and ended just above my fingers, with a quirky bend at the elbow. I couldn’t tie my hair back with one hand – it just can’t be done, but I managed to type – very s-l-o-w-l-y. So I wrote blogs for the challenge. I didn’t manage every day; in fact I didn’t even get half-way, but I gave it a good shot.

At the time, I was also negotiating with the Travel Insurance company to get me home for possible surgery. I’ve used the same company for years and now I know why. They organised amazing flights and took care of everything I would need for a very comfortable trip home. I managed to dodge the surgery, but that’s another story. It would have been great to have seen more of Seattle, but I will remember with fondness the people I met while I was there. It’s the people you meet that make the difference between a good trip, and a great trip.

So let the Ultimate Blog Challenge begin!

Hopefully I will make it through to the end of July with thirty-one new posts, all my ducks in a row, and have successfully completed the July Ultimate Blog Challenge. My floors might not get up-close-and-personal with the vacuum cleaner for the entire month, and I might be living on cheese and crackers, but (hopefully) I will have thirty-one new blog posts completed by the time July bids us farewell. And with the first day of the new month just one sleep away, well at least here in the Southern Hemisphere, I’m starting to panic already.

I can do this! I can do this! I (think) I can do this. And the only way to do it is roll my sleeves up, and start; so let the Ultimate Blog Challenge begin!

These are ducks! – but they’re not exactly in a row – yet.

Journey through the July Ultimate Blog Challenge with me: by subscribing to my Blog.

Subscribe To My Blog

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, 0 comments
Southbank, After WordCamp Brisbane 2017

Southbank, After WordCamp Brisbane 2017

When The Doors Closed on WordCamp Brisbane 2017 –  Southbank Beckoned!

That bittersweet moment, when you are tired enough to want to go home, but inspired enough to want more. A sad farewell to old and new friends and a promise to stay in touch. Only then did our thoughts stray to dinner, and Southbank beckoned. In search of a quick and easy meal, and to ensure the early night we’d promised ourselves, three of us headed across the bridge towards Southbank, on Sunday night.

Crossing the bridge towards Southbank

Looking back at the Treasury Casino from the bridge

The lights shimmering on the river made us forget about food…

….just long enough to capture the beauty of this part of the city.

The Brisbane Wheel gives a birds-eye-view of the city, especially beautiful at night

The shimmer of lights on the Brisbane River was spectacular

Southbank, Brisbane, is a vibrant hub of activity, even on a Sunday night. In search of food, of the quick and easy variety, the splendour of this waterfront corner of the city opened up. Pop-up markets, with a vast array of Asian food, had enticed a large crowd. You would have to wonder if the crowds at the Night Noodle Market were locals having an easy night, or out-of-towners, like us? Either way, the relaxed atmosphere held us captive, for a while. But in need of a quieter atmosphere, we walked on. There are more permanent restaurants along the streets of Southbank, and we found the perfect place. Quiet, warm, peaceful, and enough choices to satisfy all our priorities – even Vegetarian options for me.

The beauty of the Brisbane city night sky

Taking the long way back to the bridge gave us another spectacular light-show

Fed, weary, and in desperate need of rest, we made our way back to our respective hotels.

If Australia WordCamp 2018 doesn’t come soon enough, we’ll look to foreign shores to get our WordCamp fix. The WordPress family comes together at WordCamp, and we can’t wait to meet again.

and
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Posted by Maureen in Travel, 2 comments
WordCamp Is Nearly Here!!!

WordCamp Is Nearly Here!!!

WordCamp Is Just Over A Week Away!!!

22-23 July 2017

QUT Gardens Point Brisbane

I’m Attending WordCamp Brisbane 2017

The Countdown Is On!

Less than 2 weeks to go and I can hardly wait to get there!!!

  • transport is sorted
  • accommodation is booked
  • iPad and iPencil are fully charged
  • spare batteries – packed
  • camera – packed

Why is WordCamp exciting? Because WordCamp is a two-day conference filled with inspiring speakers, generous sponsors and lots of like-minded people, and because the cost of this amazing event is incredibly low! In fact, you won’t believe how low it is.

WordCamp is about WordPress, and WordPress is probably the easiest website building tool on the planet! WordPress has made the process so easy that even I could do it. You start by downloading the WordPress software script from WordPress.org, and you start building. You can have anything from a simple blog site  – to a money-making online business site. The choice is yours.

When I started on the journey of building a website in 2016, I booked myself into WordCamp Sunshine Coast (Queensland – Australia) for my first WordPress live experience. I was hoping to have a lot of questions answered over the two days – only to discover that I didn’t really have the questions clearly formulated – they were kind of swimming around in my head without any specific words attached. It’s kind of hard when you don’t know – what you don’t know. The one big question of ‘How do I Blog?’ was put on the backburner during the first few sessions at WordCamp, when I found out there are a lot more important things to learn before you get to the blogging stage. First I had to overcome my fear and just start building my sites and start my blog, even though I didn’t really know what I was doing. One of the outstanding presentations at the conference was a successful web designer who admitted her initial fear of building her first website, and how WordPress had helped her gain the confidence she needed to start building sites for others. I guessed the secret was to just roll your sleeves up, get in, and get it done, regardless of the fear.

WordCamp has its own cute Logo (Photo from 2016.sunshinecoast.wordcamp.org)

Why Would You Want To Go To WordCamp?

Because these days, it seems that everyone has a blog. And thousands of people read them! When we are looking for information about a specific topic, we type a word or phrase into our favourite search engine and Oila!, more information than you can poke the proverbial stick at. And somewhere in those search results, we’re sure to come across a blog.

Popular blogs include information about:

  • Shopping
  • Reviews – products/services
  • Travel – where to go/how to get there
  • Food – including cooking information/recipes/
  • ‘How To’ Guides
  • Money Making Ideas
  • DIY ideas
  • Fashion – what to wear/where to get it
  • Self Improvement
  • Health
  • Technology
  • Sports
  • Writing – fiction/non-fiction

Whatever it is that gets you fired up, you could be sharing it with the world, on your own website.

Once you’ve downloaded the WordPress Software, you’ll need a quirky name for your new website. I found the domain name for my site from GoDaddy, one of the sponsors of WordCamp Brisbane 2017, but there are lots of sites offering domain names. You simply type in a quirky name for your site, and if it’s available, you can (usually) buy it for a really low annual fee (you certainly can with GoDaddy). Then, you need to find a hosting company, and there are plenty around at very affordable prices. The hosting company puts your site out there, on the Internet. That’s not very technical, but you know what I mean. It’s what makes your site ‘findable’ on the Internet. There’s not much sense in building a fabulous website if it just sits on your desktop and nobody ever sees it, right? Right! There are lots of hosting companies to choose from, including:

What Does Building A Website Have To Do With WordCamp?

Lots!
When you buy your ticket to WordCamp Brisbane 2017, you are buying access to two-days of top-notch speakers (professional and newbies) who are well-versed in website building and sharing their stories about how they’ve progressed through the WordPress journey – the trials, tribulations and successes. The most inspiring are the ones who had no experience before building their first website and who, through WordPress, have gone on to build a successful blog or online business. Your WordPress site can be as easy, or as customised, as you want it to be.

Over a coffee or lunch, you’ll be able to meet and mingle with the speakers and ask any of those questions you didn’t get a chance to ask in the sessions. You’ll also meet other attendees who are on the same web-building journey as you. Perhaps they have the same interests and can share tips and tricks to save you time and effort in your journey?

You just need an idea of what you want to create and the time to ‘play around’ with the site until you develop what you need. The support provided by WordPress will have you sharing your web-address with family and friends in no time. WordPress online training will help you get started, and then lead you down the road of web-development until you reach your destination – your very own website for your blog – or maybe an online business. You don’t have to know anything about Code (HTML, CSS etc.) to build a website with WordPress. There are plenty of Themes, Widgits, and Plug-Ins that are built in or easily accessible. But I guarantee it won’t be long before you are wanting to tweak your site with a few extra quirky bits. I’ve recently discovered the value of adding a little code here and there, and I’m loving it. When  you know a few basics, it makes the job a lot more fun.

When you start building a website in WordPress, you become part of an extended family. While most earthly families get together over lunch on Sundays, or the family bbq, the WordPress family gets together at WordCamp.

WordCamps are held around the world and provide support and encouragement at every level of your development, in all things ‘website’. From humble beginnings at the novice level, to the most accomplished web-design tools for professional web-designers; there really is something for everyone with WordCamp.

Speakers include:

Just Do It!
Presented by Robey Lawrence
Basically a story about how opportunities can open themselves up to you when you make the decision to overcome your fears and anxieties and ‘Just Do It!’.
Starting from the beginning of how he got into the WordPress centred career he’s in today, by punching his fears in the face and putting himself out there.

HOW TO MAKE GOOGLE LOVE YOUR WORDPRESS SITE
Presented by Kate Toon
In this presentation, Kate will tell you the tips, techniques and tactics that she uses to help make sites 100% Google lovable, including:
The impact of hosting and domain choice
Integral set up steps that boost SEO friendliness
My top 10 Plugins to improve SEO
Easy peasy content formatting
What to consider when offering on going SEO packages

Normally, a conference with such qualified and informative speakers would cost a fortune, but not at WordCamp. Value for money puts WordCamp way out in front.

The Total Cost of WordCamp is just $50!   

What you get for your $50 is:

  • access to two days of informative speakers
  • a t.shirt and lanyard
  • lunch on both days
  • lots of coffee
  • after-party (yes, that includes the Saturday night party!)
  • networking opportunities – you’ll be surprised at the people you’ll meet
  • the opportunity to ask lots of questions of both speakers and sponsors over a cuppa, or something stronger at the After Party

Getting your Swag at WordCamp

Photo from Brisbane WordCamp website

Oh, and there are usually give-aways by the sponsors who proudly put their support behind this fabulous event.

Now, There Are Only Three Things Left To Do:

      1. Download the Free WordPress Software
      2. Start building your website
      3. Get a ticket to a WordCamp near you

      At time of writing – tickets to WordCamp Brisbane 2017 have sold out, but watch the site for a possible release of more tickets – no guarantees – but you might be lucky.

      See you online and at WordCamp!

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Posted by Maureen in Travel, 1 comment