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Making a point about finding your voice

Making a point about finding your voice

Hi gang! Thanks a bunch to all who attended our first WordPress Workshop Thursday. It was pretty exciting to meet all of you and have a chance to help you get more out of your blogging – both from a technical perspective (Doug’s piece) and a strategic perspective (my piece). Sorry if we went a little over the scheduled time. There was a lot to cover in just two short hours. ๐Ÿ™‚

For those of you who couldn’t attend, don’t fret: We will be putting together a web version of the workshop very soon.

I also really want to thank Bobby Rettew and View for taping the workshop, The Commerce Club for taking such great care of us, StudioPress for co-sponsoring the event, Jim O’Donnell for taking some of these photos and all of you who helped us promote the event. You guys all rock. It takes a lot of people working behind the scenes to actually pull off events like this one, and I am as ever very aware of that. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are some photos of the event:

Our superfly registration (with free parking vouchers)

Our superfly registration (with free parking vouchers)

Gil Gerretsen and Hank Merkle causing trouble again

Gil Gerretsen and Hank Merkle causing trouble again

@HaroAvo and @XYBrewer before I bored them to death

@HaroAvo and @XYBrewer before I bored them to death

Yes, I talka witha my handsa. It isn't just an Italian thing.

Yes, I talka witha my handsa. It isn't just an Italian thing.

Joel Van Dyke and Hank Merkle - up to no good, as always.

Joel Van Dyke and Hank Merkle - up to no good, as always.

Doug Cone (@nullvariable) talking about CSS

Doug Cone (@nullvariable) talking about CSS

Yapping

Rambling about random blogging nonsense, I am sure...

A few of the tables at Greenville's WordPress Workshop #1

A few of the tables. Check out all the hardware! We need more power sources.

Have a great Good Friday, everyone!

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register

Hi kids! So we’re just a couple of days from Greenville’s very first “Working With WordPress” spring workshop, and I thought now would be a pretty good time to go over a few reasons why you might want to consider attending our event (if you aren’t signed up already).

And assuming you are going to be in the 864 area code on Thursday 9 April, that is.

First, let me break down the event for you real quick:

Hour 1: Doug (@nullvariable on Twitter) will run you through the technical “how do I do XYZ” with WordPress. If you are a beginner and have absolutely no experience setting up a blog, Doug will teach you how to start a WordPress blog from scratch, how to use it, how to tweak it, etc. (It’s pretty simple when you have someone guiding you through each step, so it won’t take long.) Once that is done, Doug will show you how to use widgets and other tools to customize your WordPress blog and make it remarkable. That part of the workshop caters to beginners, intermediate and advanced users.

Hour 2: I will teach you how to create relevant content, build an audience, and turn your blog into whatever you want it to be – a business development tool, your very own online publication, an community hub, a multimedia journal, etc. (We’ll chat about what you want to accomplish with your blog and I will tailor my session to fit your specific needs.)

We will have lots of time for Q&A and one-on-one attention, so bring your laptops and as many questions as you want. ๐Ÿ™‚

Okay. That was the what. Now let’s talk about the why. To that end, let me give you a few examples of who might benefit from attending our workshop:

Marketing Managers, Community Managers and Business Owners:

If your company, church, school or organization doesn’t have a blog yet, your website probably isn’t getting the traffic you would like. And chances are that you aren’t generating a whole lot of net new customers either. Adding a blog to your existing site creates a dynamic online presence that will enhance – maybe even reviveย  – your website. For starters, it will help you link up with industry peers AND connect with your customers in a way you haven’t before. We will cover more at WPgreenville, but that isn’t a bad start.

If you already have a blog but it isn’t getting the traffic or activity you hoped for, or it just doesn’t look or work the way you want it to, we will show you how to fix that as well.

People just looking to get the most out of their blog:

Maybe you’re completely new to blogging. Maybe you’ve dabbled but got stumped because you aren’t technically savvy when it comes to computers. Maybe you’ve mastered most of the technical pieces of the blogging puzzle but have no idea how to create content, find an audience or even get noticed by the people you are trying to reach. Whatever your stumbling blocks may be, we will identify and address them right there and then. You will walk away from the workshop with your questions answered and your problems solved.

Bloggers looking to tie their blog to all of their new social media destinations:

Okay, so now you have a blog, a Facebook page, a Myspace page, LinkedIn, Twitter, Plurk, Tumblr, Seesmic, Youtube, Skype, oovoo, 12 Seconds, Buzznet, PingFM, etc. How in the world do you tie all of these things together with your WordPress blog? We’ll show ya.

Professionals currently between jobs – or planning to find themselves there someday:

If you missed J.T. O’Donnell’s presentation in Greenville last week, here’s a nugget of insight for you: 1 out of 12 Americans is unemployed right now. That means that you are one little drop in an ocean of potential employees. Resumes are piling up in stacks, and statistically, chances are that yours won’t get noticed. (It’s just a numbers’ game.) How do you turn the odds of being discovered in your favor? Simple: Make yourself easier to find on the internets.

Fact: 4 out of 5 recruiters use Google to research applicants before inviting them to their first interview. Consider applicant A who has no internet presence to speak of vs. applicant B who has a well designed blog with interesting, smart, actionable content that is relevant to his/her line of work. Which of the two do you think will be more appealing to an employer?

Having a well crafted blog filled with solid content can and will make you more attractive to future employers. We will show you exactly how to build your personal brand online, make yourselves search engine-friendly, and make sure you never stay out of work for very long.

Professionals wanting to further their new media skills:

Most professional courses cost a whole lot of money and don’t always give you skills you can take to work the next day… or take to your next job and actually do something with. How cool would it be for you to be the only person at your office who knows how to build a WordPress blog from scratch, make it do whatever you want, and then grow an audience where none existed before? Do you think that might be a worthwhile little notch on your belt? This workshop will accomplish just that.

That’s basically the jist. For full details about the event (when, where, etc.) go to www.wpgreenville.com.

The event only costs about $50 so you will definitely get your money’s worth. (Besides, it isn’t exactly being taught by chumps.) ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh, and as an extra little incentive, one lucky attendee will win a FREEย  StudioPress theme (a $59.99 value)! Plus, all attendees will will receive a discount code for 25% off of any StudioPress theme on top of that. That’s a pretty sweet deal.

Be sure to register today and to pass this on to anyone in the 864 you think might find this valuable.

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Aha! Fellow Greenville blogger James T. (of the evidently very well designed Bike Design blog) points me to this list of 12 well designed Blogspot blogs on Pingable. Both Bike Design and The BrandBuilder made the list, which makes me pretty happy.
This is not a list of the 12 BEST designed Blogspot blogs, mind you, but it’s still pretty cool to be recognized in this way.
My three principal secrets for designing such a cool looking blog:
1. A complete lack of web design & code knowledge forced me to keep things VERY simple.
2. When in doubt, flood the page with empty white space.
3. When none of your other ideas seem to work, take pictures of the stupidest looking dog you can find (in this case, my wife’s Chihuahua) and throw all good sense aside.
I am all for making the visual elements of a brand make sense, but sometimes, going the random/abstract route can be just as effective, if not more. (Note to creatives everywhere: When working on a design project for a client, always try to submit at least one off-the-wall but genuinely original design. Worst case scenario: They won’t go for it. Any other scenario: Your unexpected design will infect your clients with creative energy, which is always a good thing.)
Have a great Thanksgiving eve, everyone. ๐Ÿ™‚

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