Bonus Post: WordPress Trick #1

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I figure since I asked you to read 2,000 words about my long-term planning today, the least I can do is give you a laugh at my expense and a WordPress trick you might not be aware of. Thanks, Diana, for the meme, and Luther, for the awesome conversation on Twitter that prompted her to dig it up. David, this is the post I promised you last time we talked about the technical side of WordPress. Join us all on Twitter, folks. It’s a laugh-a-minute over there on Saturday afternoons!

If you go and look at your WordPress account settings, you’ll see a checkbox right under the interface language that says “Surprise me (Fun mode).”

WP_FunMode

When you check that box and save the change, it enables a check-box in your dashboard called “This post is super-awesome.” You can find it right beneath your publicize settings and check it or not for individual posts as you see fit.

SuperAwesome

And what does it do, you ask?

I have no freakin’ clue. So far, the Internet has refused to yield that secret to me. Diana and I discovered it by accident. My two favorite theories are that it makes your post more likely to be seen by Freshly-Pressed editors and that it introduces some random bonus element into news feed placement. Both of those are speculation, though.  Diana tends to use it only for Part Time Monster’s best posts. I use it for just about everything.

We discovered it almost a year ago and I have yet to figure out what the point is, but it still counts as a WordPress trick. I’m assuming that whatever it does is entertaining at the very least, and I did get a trophy notification that included a Leetspeak reference once.

Notice how this is #1? That’s because I’m planning to do more of these once I get next year laid out and settle back in to the Sunday social media blogging for spring.

EDITED: And . . .  the Internet has yielded the secret. Or actually, All Thoughts Work yielded it 😉

In another recognition of the solitary nature of blogging, Mullenweg and Roth also wanted to celebrate the publishing efforts of the individual writer. Or, at least, allow the user to celebrate him or herself. So they added a “this post is super-awesome” button authors can check when particularly pleased with a specific post. And they’ve introduced video snippets of scenes replete with whooping, high fiving, slamdunking and general celebration that might play when someone hits the “publish” button. The Tiger Woods hole-in-one footage seemed off to me but there were some great clips. Randy Kennedy from the New York Times even filmed a little segment saying “from the world of publishing, congratulations on publishing.” I’d definitely smile if that played after I’d just sent my pearls of wisdom off into the ether.

From Businessweek.

One more reason to love blogging! Thank you very much, Anna!

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Blog Traffic and Engagement: What A Year of Everyday Posting Has Gotten Us

It has made us a ton of friends. It’s also put me in a position to put together another long stretch of everyday blogging next year and it’s put our goal of building Sourcerer into a blog that runs on collaboration within reach. Totally worth it.

Diana and I have proven we’re able consistently to produce good content, manage a contributor-based operation, organize collaborative projects, and find clever ways to use other social media to support it all. We have 50 weeks worth of archives on two blogs and enough related social media to back it up. We also have relationships with a ton of other bloggers. The two contributors who have joined us most recently, David of Comparative Geeks and Luther of Infinite Free Time, are friends we met through WordPress. As long as we can maintain enough contributors to post fresh content frequently, my anxiety over the need to post every day is gone.

I trust the television and comics to carry us to the end of the year. We may simply be done posting on Mondays and Tuesdays for awhile. I’m putting most of my time into planning, writing a lot of posts for later, and strengthening my relationships with other bloggers.

I've mastered the "social" part. Still learning the "media" part. Hear me out and give it a chance!

I’ve mastered the social part. Still learning the media. Stick with me!

Relationships with other bloggers are what that Follow Friday on Twitter that Luther and I did last week was about. It’s what my Facebook restructuring is about.  Not about growing my accounts immediately; about finding better ways to keep up with people who have taken an interest in these blogs for months. I paused in the planning long enough to do that stuff because it was fall break last week and my final opportunity of the year to give a big show of support to friends of these blogs.

And speaking of the Facebook restructuring. If you’ve known me for awhile and we’ve had enough conversations to build a sufficient level of trust, I’m open to discussing Facebook friendships. The bloggers in my Facebook network are the only ones who are interacting with me over there, so friendly bloggers can have all my Facebook likes and shares forever as far as I am concerned.

I’ve received enough interest in my idea to do the April A to Z Challenge here to proceed with planning. I’ve got a schedule up  and I’ve drafted posting guidelines and strategy notes. I’ll publish those as soon as I can. It’s 2,000 words and doesn’t need to be read all at once, so I’ll break it into separate pages and post as needed.

If enough people stay on board through the end of the year, we’re doing it. Diana, David and I are likely all doing A to Z on other blogs, so this can’t turn into just the three of us doing A to Z here. That would be too much on all of us and leave us no way to post regular contributors for that whole month. But I will have my personal A to Z taken care of well in advance, so I can easily write ten of the posts if that’s what I need to do to make it happen.

Planning for another round of The Feminist Friday Project will get under way within a month. We have some issues to discuss about how to organize it from here on out, and I want everyone who has a stake in that project to have a chance to join in.

Here is my plan with specific details and a timeline.

  • My Tolkien series for Part Time Monster and my A to Z for Just Gene’O finished or mostly finished, and A to Z topics for Sourcerer completely assigned by January 2.
  • Kickoff date for Feminist Fridays to start sometime in January and run through Mid-March, then a second round to begin in early May. At least four weeks’ worth of posts agreed to in advance, and more would be better.
  • Register for A to Z early for good list placement. Use my Twitter and Facebook to build buzz about the A to Z Challenge and meet A to Z bloggers once people start chattering about it. Use the A to Z comment threads, topic reveals, etc. to find new readers. Know who among our friends and regular readers are doing the challenge and help them by tweeting and sharing their announcements, topics, etc.
  • Use the A to Z posts here to link to our most popular posts and to the blogs of people who contribute. More on that when I post the planning documents. A to Z is about discovery. It guarantees new visitors, but you only get one chance to sell them because everyone who’s doing the challenge is visiting five new blogs every day. That means the new readers you see on day one might not come back for a month. If they don’t like you enough to follow or bookmark you, you’ll never see them again.
  • Give Sourcerer a better look and more useful categories before April. This one is contingent on getting the writing for early spring done.

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    I am a fair hand with the visual stuff, but obviously not good enough to produce logos. I’m going to need some logos next year for a couple of these projects.

To accomplish all this I have to spend a ton of time writing in November and December. It’s what I plan to do over Thanksgiving and during most of December. Once we get late into November, you’ll see me less than you’re accustomed to seeing me. I’m not going completely silent and not shutting down any blogs. But I’ll have to cut back to a Saturday Coffee post only at Just Gene’O and be a lot more disciplined about my social media habits. That means you’ll see me here when I’m checking comment threads or scheduling posts, at Twitter for only a few minutes in the evening, and on Facebook only when I go there to check my messages.

If this works and we still have enough contributors on May 1 to keep going, Sourcerer will be a clean, seamless pop culture blog with a larger audience than we’ve ever had, and Just Gene’O will be the hub in the blogosphere for a small but well-connected network of WordPress bloggers who collaborate across social media. From that point forward, we’ll have a written post in the morning and a photo feature in the evening five or six days a week here for as long as we can sustain it.

If we make it all the way to July, we’ll start a slowdown the week after July 4. We’ll wrap up our major projects and spend the last two weeks of the month clowning around. We’ll write August off, traffic-wise, and figure out what fall tv series we can blog to get us through the end of the year while we’re all dealing with back-to-school insanity. Then I will start planning for 2016.

Once we pull this off, I’ll quit worrying about growing the audience for my personal blog. I’ll be content to blog Tolkien, do the Saturday coffee thing, and post this planning-type stuff at Just Gene’O. I’ll use my photoblogging and social media blogging to make sure Sourcerer posts twice every weekday and has readers on Sundays. I’ve put a year of my life into getting to the point where I could write this post and have enough people read it to make it worthwhile. The next year is make or break for this blog. I want to see it stable enough and running smoothly enough to allow me to get back to putting serious time into some fantasy fiction by the end of next summer. That’s totally doable if people keep contributing.

How does all this strike you?

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