Adventures into the Madness

Tepring and the 30 Day Challenge


Ok, there’s a nice symmetry here in blogging about the 30 Day Challenge, but it probably requires explanation!

The 30 Day Challenge is a teaching, marketing seminar organized around making an online business.  The lessons and coursework are spread out over – you got it – 30 days and each day includes a set of video presentations and, presumably, a task or two.  I say presumably, because as of now, Day 3, I am still looking for the “action” statements at the end of each lesson.  It took me the first three days to figure out that the daily email rants showing up in my inbox are actually “pep talks” and designed to encourage the “classmates” to show initiative and persistence.  So perhaps the lack of specific “go do this” at the end of each day’s assignment is an homage to the idea that the entrepreneur just seriously needs to <insert the phrase “get off your ass”> and go DO it.

I must have passed the test, because I’ve dutifully spent time with each of the concepts and tools being taught. I’ll conveniently ignore the fact that it took me 2 days to complete Day 2.

For me, the exercise is partly to test out their theory that “anyone can make money on the web” and partly to learn some of the basics of SEO and marketing that is very well presented in this course.  Those basics will be applicable to several personal projects, whether they turn into “businesses” or not.  The course is free and so are the basic tools one needs to set up the site.  My husband’s business does tons of SEO and small business websites, so this also may provide a way for me to get more involved in his work.  Or not.

My main interest is in writing and spending the next year exploring ways I can earn some income for my family doing it.  As I understand it, a big part of the 30 Day Challenge revolves around product and market niche blogging, so…  There’s the lovely symmetry: Blogging about learning to blog.  And hopefully someday making a little money doing it.  The 30 Day Challenge sets a goal of making your first dollar online by the end of the 30 days.  It may be ONLY one dollar, but the process is the key.

I’m going to spend my dollar on gum.

Wherefore Art Thou “Blog”?


As I’ve been tinkering with my blog the past weeks, I’ve wondered what kind of blog I’m actually writing.  As with the visual theme, I spent some time analyzing other blogs – of writers, entertainers and other venues.  There seem to be many styles to choose from.  Here are some of my personal names for them:

A diary blog is the most personal.  Posts are usually nothing more than a rant of the day from the very specific worldview of the author.  Mood, daily activities, and even slights or arguments are recorded, often in excruciating detail.  I generally dislike this style because it is hard to subject myself to the problems and emotions of someone I don’t know without good reason, however entertainingly they might tell them.

A topical blog is at the opposite extreme.  Posts are composed (meaning deliberate), well-crafted, and focused on a specific area of expertise that the author is knowledgeable in.  Often, very little about the personal life of the author is known at all.  Sometimes the area of expertise is somewhat personal, but the delivery will then be fairly dispationate.  I read several of these, and applaud the authors for providing true value to the greater community.

A personal PR blog is somewhere in the middle.  I read several author blogs that not only effectively communicate with a fan audience, but provide a venue for marketing and audience building.  They are often very personal in the sense that everything from what the author ate that day to what bookstore they are signing books at are painstakingly cataloged.  They are also often very ‘professional’ in how they communicate their image to the blog audience.  And when a new book comes out, or a new job is announced, their loyal blog fans are the first to know.

Other:  Other styles range from massively professional, print-quality publications like Gizmodo (that hardly seem to fit inside that tiny word ‘blog’), to painfully unprofessional merchant sites peddling their latest homemade wordpress themes.

So what is Tepring.com?

To further complicate matters, I thought back to the origin of the word ‘blog’, a contraction of the phrase Web Log.  Dictionary.com defines the word ‘log’ as: any of various records, made in rough or finished form, concerning a trip made by a ship or aircraft and dealing with particulars of navigation, weather, engine performance, discipline, and other pertinent details.

In its truest form, a Web Log is a record of an online trip.  A journey, if you will, of exploration into uncharted electronic waters.  THIS definition finally offered me some direction.

Tepring.com is a journey of one who is exploring a new venue for writing.  There will be days where it might look like a diary.  Others where the easy-to-use posting tools will offer an opportunity for the most vain of vanity publishing.  Still other times, when I hope to be able to offer something of value on a topic on which I have some expertise.  Many writers say that keeping a journal of interesting observations or thinking-while-driving revelations is a useful and necessary tool for the writing process.  Tepring.com, in part, will be my venue for that end.

I expect I’ll be travelling alone.  But drop me a note if you happen to tag along for the ride once and a while!

How to pick a WordPress Theme


Since I worked up the courage to post my first post, I have been thinking more about the blog and what it should be, do, look like as I devote more attention to it in the months to come.  I have dabbled with wordpress.com on a group blog project, and was familiar enough with blog style and layout to have an inkling of what role a theme plays on a site.

So this is what I did.  First I asked a professional (aka web developer hubby who snapped up my domain on a lark and has been bugging me to blog ever since).  He tells his clients to look at competitors and come up with a list of sites that they like.  I did this by actually clicking through to the several blogs I read daily.  Then I started looking at free themes, one at a time.  I made a list of any that appealed to me for any reason, keeping in mind the other blogs .  After looking at dozens, I realized that my favorites had at least one of three consistent elements:  blue color palette, swirly graphics, and a two colum, right nav layout where the posts were distinct and prominent.

Once my preferences were more specific, I skimmed several more sites until I found this one.  It’s blue with pretty, swirly designs, and a clean layout for posts.

And MOST importantly?  Writing about picking themes pushes out the moment when I have to write about something actually interesting!

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