WordPress 3.8 Parker features an Updated WordPress Dashboard

WordPress 3.8 Parker was released only a few days ago on December 12th, 2013 and the latest iteration of the world's most popular blogging and content management system has just gotten a major backend design update.  Checkout the refresh below when I updated one of my other websites, CarNewsCafe.

WordPress 3.8 Oscar

wordpress 3.8 parkerThe new WordPress dashboard and backend is much cleaner and seems to be more inline with how a lot of WordPress themes look nowadays.  I imagine this is not a coincidence on the part of Automattic, the company that handles WordPress development.

The new backend uses Open Sans font, which most people probably didn't know about but it works well in the WordPress dashboard.  The idea is to make things less cluttered and easier to read and manage.  In addition icons have been updated and they are now vector based which means they can scale to your screen.  That means they load faster and work better.

Dashboard Color Schemes

wordpress dashboard color schemeIn addition to the udpated look you now have options in terms of what colors you want the WordPress dashboard to look like.  There are currently 8 options to choose from which includes Default, Light, Blue, Coffee, Ectoplasm, Midnight, Ocean, and Sunrise.  The idea is to provide more options and better contrast to be easier on the eyes for WordPress users and admins.

If you have a WordPress website that a lot of different people access, a user can individually choose what WordPress dashboard color scheme they prefer.  A pretty cool update to the backend.

WordPress Twenty Fourteen ‘Magazine' Theme

wordpress twenty fourteenFor WordPress 3.8 Parker there is also a new theme called Twenty Fourteen (2014).  It has the layout of a magazine which seems to be what a lot of people use WordPress for.  The new theme is by far the cleanest default WordPress theme Automattic has come out with.

Other WordPress 3.8 Improvements

In addition to all these cool updates to WordPress 3.8 Parker there are several other nice updates.  This includes better theme management which allows you to see more advanced previews of themes you might want to switch to.  Also the widget menu is easier to handle.

It seems that the WordPress team also has improved the functionality of WordPress for mobile phones and tablets.  Creating and managing posts should be easy no matter what device you are using now.

There are other WordPress tweaks you might notice too.  For instance if you check your plugins page eeactivted plugins are highlighted in white while active plugins are in blue.  (I personally find this confusing.)  Also there is no “Quickpress” in the WordPress dashboard anymore and in it's place you will find a “Quick Draft” box.

wordpress quick draftAt first I was apprehensive about the WordPress 3.8 update since I've been using WordPress for awhile.  Automattic didn't change too much and they make ease-of-use a top priority unlike a lot of other open source software.  After a few days I really like the updated WordPress dashboard and backend.  It is definitely faster and snappy and I imagine that Automattic developers worked hard on improving the WordPress core code to achieve this in addition to reworking the design.  Kudos to everyone that contributed to WordPress 3.8 Parker.

By the way WordPress 3.8 was codenamed “Parker ” after the great Alto saxophone player, Charlie Parker.  Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress, likes to use Jazz musicians to codename WordPress releases since he is Alto saxophone player.  WordPress 3.6 Oscar was named for Oscar Peterson and WordPress 3.7 Basie was named after Count Basie.  Matt Mullenweg and these these other Jazz giants might be great musicians but they don't have singing dogs. 🙂

If you haven't updated you WordPress website(s) or blog(s) to WordPress 3.8 I would recommend you do it to enjoy the new features.  I would encourage you to make a backup of your WordPress installations before you pupated though.   You never know what might happen in an update and it is always a smart precaution.

If you are used WordPress 3.8 Parker are you thoughts about the updated and new dashboard?  Do you love it or hate it?

When Starting a Blog Focus on Quantity over Quality

quantity over qualityIf you are someone new to the world of blogging then I recommend that you focus your efforts on Quantity over Quality.  Notice I did not say “quality” first I said “quantity.”  When starting a blog I encourage clients I work with to put their efforts toward writing a lot of posts instead making them awesome.

I know this is not what most people are used to hearing and most other bloggers and writers will preach the opposite, Quality over Quantity.  That's not necessarily the best thought process when you are starting a blog.  The reason?  You will get too concerned with writing great blog posts, when in reality it's not going to happen if you are new and not used to doing it.

Looking back at my first blog posts, I cringe.  I was not that great of a writer but with effort, time, and lots of practice my writing has improved a lot.  Now I am a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA) and the International Motor Press Association (IMPA).

I want you to embrace the fact that your first blog posts are going to well… kind of suck.  That is just the reality of learning to blog.  Once you can accept that in your head you will be ready to focus on getting articles up, a lot.  If you learn to do this consistently and develop what I like to call a ‘Blogging Rhythm' then writing killer blog posts will come naturally.  Quantity over Quality is going to help you make this happen.  Also you will get faster at writing which is an important skill to master.

For a second I want you to think back to your language classes in school.  Remember when the teacher would ask you to say a sentence.  You would try and then she would say, “No you are not using the correct noun.”  You would try again and get something else wrong.  The best way to learn a language is not how it was taught in textbooks or the classroom.  The best way is total language immersion.  This is where you either move to the country or the teacher doesn't speak a word of English to you.  This forces a student to think harder and work on speaking a lot of say French.  Total immersion language programs focus on the quantity of language instead of the quality in which you speak.  Eventually, hopefully, you will speaking of French will improve over time.

In addition if you don't have many blog posts up to see what people are landing on, it's kind of hard to know what you should be tailoring your writing on.  If you are working on quanity over quality, and not quality over quantity, of your posts you will have a better idea of what is working and not working for your blog.  I am prepared for the nasty emails and comments for saying this, but it's true.  Besides, I can tell you from experience running different sites that cover a range of topics.

I see a lot of clients say they struggle to come up with articles that will ‘engage' their audience.  Well I hate to burst anyone's bubble but if your blog is brand new you don't have a readership base.  You you have few posts up there isn't much reason for someone to find your blog, stay on it, and follow you.  It's a hard truth but that is the reality.

I just want people to understand I am not saying to throw-up a lot of bad blog posts at the beginning.  I just want you to realize that your first blog posts are not going to be perfect and I see too many clients I work with struggle.  They spend hours refining a single blog post almost to the point they don't want to read it or write anymore.  That's just not a good way to start your online career.

If you are not comfortable with my suggestion to put up articles as often as you can I understand.  Coming up with content daily or several times a day is quite difficult.  If it was easy though everyone would be blogging.

Few people are going to have a ton of success when they first start.  I didn't and it's taken me several years to be able to get to this point.  (I still have a long way to go.)  While I would link-up to some of my past bad blog posts I am not going to and hope that you just don't visit or see them.  🙂

What do you think of my decree to focus on quantity over quality?  Is this just crazy or are you going to accept my challenge?

2 Awesome Podcasts to Encourage your Content Creation

Yesterday I wrote an article entitled, “Top 6 Misconceptions about Blogging.”  After the article went up I got an email from a friend of mine asking me about point #6 on the list.  This intrigued my friend since he isn't a particularly good writer but is interested in starting “awesome podcasts” as he put it.

For those that didn't read my article, but you know you should, the #6 misconception about blogging is that “Everyone should start a Blog.”

He then mentioned he had thought about podcasting before but didn't really know where to start.  He then asked what sort of advice I could give him to start a radio or video internet show.

The first thing I suggested to my friend is that he should start listening to a lot of podcasts and watching video shows in topics that interest him.  This will give him a feel for the type of show that he wants to create and what he could possibly do that hasn't been done before.  (Remember you need to find a niche that is Wide Fucking Open.)  This is good to do before you start investing in equipment, hosting, etc.

However I also recommended 2 awesome podcasts that put out content quite frequently.  These podcasts were;

Mike From Maine

awesome podcasts

This is a podcasted and video show hosted by Mike Thomas, who is from Maine, and used to build niche websites.  Like a lot of web entrepreneurs he found himself in a bit of trouble after Google decided to update their search algorithm.  So he decided to switch gears and start interviewing successful internet entrepreneurs about how they make money.   Mike puts out 5 interviews during the weekday and his guests cover a wide range of topics from copywriting, video creation, plugins, solo ads, email list building, social media, and even more.  I've found some of the interviews quite interesting and informative.  The Jayson Benoit interview about solo ads was surprising for me since I didn't even realize people were still making a full time incomes from email lists.  (To me this sounds real old school.)  There was a great interview with Michael Cyger, from DomainSherpa, about monetizing podcasts and about what lead him to start his website.  What is interesting is that Cyger wasn't a domain investor but was interested in the industry and decided he should start a show about it.  Listening to the Mike From Maine has made me realize all the various ways someone can monetize websites and make money online.

While I have gotten a lot out of the show, I would be careful who you listen to.  There are a good number of people that come on the show that “Sell The Dream” (STD). When I say someone has an “STD” that means their successful web business is selling you a product and not actually having done much else besides that.  It doesn't take much to figure out who these people are and I encourage everyone to stay away from anyone with STD's.  😀

Mike even has admitted he's let people though the cracks, so at least he knows and is honest about it.

Entrepreneur on Fire

entrepreneur on fire

This is show that posts excellent interviews with successful entrepreneurs 7-days a week.  That is not a typo but the host of Entrepreneur on Fire, John Lee Dumas, might be slightly nuts. It is a great show with amazing entrepreneurs and John's main goal is to inspire others to pursue their entrepreneurial goals.  Since there are around 230 interviews and growing it might be hard to find a certain interview and show that will be useful for you, so there is a Podcast Match Maker.  You can select what level of entrepreneur you are and what you are trying to accomplish.  The Podcast Match Maker will then give you set of shows it thinks are best for you to listen to.  What's nice about the EOF is that John has the show formatted in the same way so you get familiar with what is going to be asked.  I've gotten a lot out of listening to some of the interviews on EOF and I know you will too.

What's funny, is I believe John is also from Maine and currently lives there as well.  I guess people from Maine are good at podcasting.

Food for Thought

Not only are these awesome podcasts but I recommend “Entrepreneur on Fire” and “Mike from Maine” since both hosts update with new content quite often.  When I first started listening to Mike from Maine I didn't realize he posted new interviews every weekday.  At first I thought, “Hey, is iTunes broken or something?”  There were so many new shows it made it hard to keep up.  The same thing happened when I started listening to EOF.

While the shows can be hard to keep up with for some, I am sure a lot of people love listening to every interview.  Even though I don't listen to either of these shows everyday I know when I visit either site there will always be fresh and relevant content on there.  That is a powerful way to encourage repeat visitors.

Are there other great and awesome podcasts out there?  Sure, but these are the only 2 podcasts that I am aware of that post new shows this often.  That's why I suggested these 2 podcasts specifically to my friend.

There are a number of large media companies and news outlets that put out podcasts daily, but keep in mind these are not large scale operations.  It is not fair to compare Mike Thomas and John Lee Dumas to someone with access to several producers handling tasks for them and resources of a news organization.  (John does have someone help him though.)

Mike is so dedicated to putting out new interviews he still did 3 shows when he got married. How's that for dedication?  (If you are reading this Mike, congrats!)

Seeing both of these guys dedication to their content and sites makes me feel more encouraged.  I hope if you follow them you will get the same push that I did.  I am going to start a podcast with a few other people which I am hoping will go well.  This shows make me realize if they can do I can do it.  Certainly my friend who is not the best writer but quite a boisterous talker could do a great podcast.

If you ask me both of these guys are content freaks and are making others look bad.  Hey, both of you need to slow down! 🙂