April 25, 2013 // Leave a Comment
I’m excited to announce that I’ll be in Seattle on June 8th to speak at WordCamp Seattle, a conference for writers, designers, developers, and others using the WordPress platform.
First, if you’re anywhere in the Pacific Northwest and use WordPress and haven’t yet purchased a ticket for the event, go do that now because it’s on the way to being a sold-out event. Then come back here, and read more about the fact that I’m speaking about
Writing Workflow for WordPress
Having blogged for over 12 years, a majority of that time with WordPress, and having written thousands of articles for a variety of websites, I’ve figured out some tips, tricks, and methods for ensuring a relatively frictionless writing process that produces pleasing results.
This talk will be aimed at intermediate and advanced users who are already familiar with WordPress basics such as posts vs. pages, installing a plugin, adding images, and other fundamentals.
My talk will encompass a look at how I write articles for the online world. From a process standpoint, this flow will include:
- capturing and prioritizing ideas
- drafting articles
- preparing an article for publication (proofing, adding media, etc)
- post-publishing promotion and followup
I also plan to dive into specific tools for the process, including:
- writing in Markdown (why, how to learn, and tools)
- managing scheduled posts (plugins that help)
- a system for ensuring steps in the publishing process aren’t overlooked
- a quick look at article promotion tools that don’t involve spamming or sleaze
Attendees should walk away with several ideas for increasing the efficiency of their writing and publishing process using a WordPress platform.
March 20, 2013 // Leave a Comment
As bloggers, writers, journalists, and other Google Reader users search for a solution to the disappearance of Google’s ubiquitous feed tool, one of the most popular alternatives is the NewsBlur service. Offering web, iOS, and Android portals to one’s feeds, NewsBlur provides a clean interface and supports quick keyboard navigation for power users.
Another neat feature of NewsBlur is that you can “train” the software about which topics, authors, and feeds are of most (or least) interest. Power RSS users often subscribe to hundreds of feeds… in my case I have subscriptions that include:
- individuals’ personal websites/blogs
- news websites (both general news and niche news)
- company blogs for products or services I use
- blogs and websites of my competitors
The list goes on… while I subscribe to all of these feeds, some are of more importance than others. RSS is not email; it’s not critical that every item be read in a timely manner (or at all). Some topics are of more importance however. NewsBlur allows a user to indicate which tags, categories, authors, or keywords are more or less important, and it provides an interface such that if I’m quickly dipping into my feeds, I can easily view only those items that match my “most important” indicators.
Your Untagged, Uncategorized Content is Going to be Overlooked
What I’ve discovered since I’ve started tagging is that there are a lot of folks leaving tons of posts as “Uncategorized” and there are quite a few content management systems that aren’t serving up categories or tags at all. This means that I’m not going to see these items and feeds if I’m using NewsBlur’s priority system to view my feeds. If, for example, I’ve told NewsBlur that I want to prioritize things in a WordPress category, or tagged as having to do with Flickr, your unmarked content won’t be caught.
Help me to indicate I might want your content. Categorize and tag appropriately.
March 15, 2013 // 1 Comment
Here’s an Alfred 2 workflow for creating tasks in OmniFocus. This workflow contains three separate actions:
- New OmniFocus task – keyword ofnew – creates a new OmniFocus task in the inbox using the argument supplied as the task description:
ofnew Enter the Task Name Here
- New OmniFocus task from Chrome URL – keyword ofchrome – creates a new OmniFocus task pulling the page title from the currently-focused tab in Google Chrome, with the corresponding URL as a note
- New OmniFocus task from Safari URL – keyword ofsafari – creates a new OmniFocus task pulling the page title from the currently-focused tab in Safari, with the corresponding URL as a note
Feel free to adapt, modify, and build on these scripts as you see fit. If you find a problem, please leave a comment below and I’ll update as needed.
March 12, 2013 // 1 Comment
Given that I order darn near everything else online (thank you Amazon Prime), it’s a bit surprising that, until a couple weeks ago, I’d never ordered shoes from Zappos.
After a frustrating trip to the mall, I decided to try out ordering shoes online. I was slightly apprehensive about purchasing shoes unseen and without trying them on, but I’d heard the many stories of Zappos’ famed customer service and figured it was worth a shot. I ordered a pair of Nike shoes (nothing too crazy, about $50) and waited for them to arrive a few days later.
They arrived, and I noticed that both shoes had issues. One had a bit of what could only be described as overzealous gluing, and the other had a couple significant scuff marks on the leather on the side of the shoe. Needless to say I was disappointed. So I called Zappos, curious to see how their service folks would take care of me.
A human (Mike) answered the phone quickly. I explained the two problems with the shoes, and he was very apologetic. In a five-minute phone call Mike:
- explained that they’d send a replacement pair of shoes overnight
- upgraded my account to VIP status, giving me next-day shipping on future orders
- emailed me a $15 coupon towards my next Zappos order
- told me not to worry about sending back the defective shoes and that I could keep them for around the house or yard or such
Most companies would’ve exchanged the shoes, perhaps cross-shipping but requiring me to box up the old pair, take them to the post office, or otherwise go out of my way. Zappos went above and beyond the make the process as easy as possible for me, and threw in a little something extra to keep me as a customer. Well done.
The replacement shoes arrived without any problems. I have a nice pair of shoes, a slightly-less-than-ideal pair of shoes, and a desire to shop with Zappos in the future.