FitBloggin 12: Better Blog Design on a Budget

Saturday, I went back to the Hyatt in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore and spoke on blog design [slides] at FitBloggin – how to find/hire someone if you need help or how to do it yourself.

I love seeing how FitBloggin has evolved, and seeing my new old friends from around the country. It was a great conference, as always.

 

 

 

Fitbloggin Ignite: Derby Little Secrets

I gave an Ignite talk Friday night at Fitbloggin called Derby Little Secrets [slides]. I was surprised at how emotional it was. I think some new derby boys and girls were born that night – I hope so, anyway.

I talked about my girls discovered roller derby. We reached out to several local leagues seeking junior league information. My big girl got sick and Chesapeake Roller Derby visited us. Leezle and I attended a few games and I wondered, secretly, if I could learn to play roller derby. I bought some gear, figured out who my alter ego is and jumped in. I learned the rules, some basic workouts and key derby skills. It’s the most fun I’ve had in years – even for a guy with a trick knee. I’ve learned that moms, dads, PhDs, teachers, retail clerks, dental hygienists, florists, gay people, straight people, transgender people, black people, white people, atheists,  believers – everyone can do this. It’s open to all who want to be involved.

 

FitBloggin’ 11

I haven’t posted anything in weeks because I’ve been reworking this site and writing a talk for the FitBloggin’ 2011 conference in Baltimore.

I still have a pretty good list of things to clean up here, especially on the WordPress side of the site.  I experimented with Custom Post Types and multisite functionality, and finally decided it was overkill. I decided to let ‘er rip, because I need to get back to posting stuff. So, please pardon the site hiccups as they happen. I’m still working on it.

FitBloggin’ 2011

FitBloggin’ was amazing, yet again. Seeing friends from last year, and finally meeting guys I’ve been talking with on Twitter was fantastic. As before, I’m honored to have been a part of this. Roni Noone has created something truly special that changes people’s lives. That’s amazing. This is my favorite conference, even more than the WordCamps.

Jennette Fulda gave a comprehensive talk on design. Monica Olivas answered questions about privacy and getting started to newer bloggers. Katy was everywhere I looked. The hookers from Shrinking Jeans are always fun! It was great to catch up with Scott Stawarz and wife, Paolo, Matt Dustin, Jen “in real life,” Jack Sh*t (even more charming in real life) and especially Ryan “No More Bacon” Sullivan and his wife, Mrs. Bacon. And everyone else I met, too. It’s all overwhelming. Check the #fitbloggin hash tag on twitter and you can see what I mean.

Regarding my presence there, someone asked me “are you a vendor of sorts?” I am not. Nor am I a fitness blogger, although I did just join a gym for the first time ever and I like it, obsessively so. To date, I haven’t tried to “monetize” my site(s). I haven’t run adwords campaigns, as easy as that would be to do. I am not a “social media guru” with “the answers for driving the conversation in the community to maximize value in the douche-bag space.” I have a lot of knowledge to share, though – WordPress, Blogger, analytics, SEO, code, design, writing, being part of something positive. It’s fun to help and I answered as many WordPress and blogging questions as I could.

This time, my talk focused on photography for blogs. I decided to address “the art of seeing” and how to get better shots. It was a fun talk to research. I recommended doing a 365 – a photoblog where you post a picture a day – as a way to change the way we see the world around us. It trains our eye and forces us to find interesting ways to tell stories in a new way. I thought I’d try it, too – I’ve created a new section on this site for daily snaps (was at jimdoran.net/snaps). Hence to mad rush to rework my dusty old theme.

My slides are here. Thanks to everyone who listened and asked questions!

Create Baltimore

I woke up feeling a little wobbly but I set out for Create Baltimore with the hopes that it was just left over pizza from Refresh Baltimore disagreeing with me.

I checked in and caught up with a few friends and then settled into the short keynote address by Ellen Lupton. She talked about “design thinking,” that is, stating a problem and looking at it from as many different vantage points as possible.

I also learned there is a real church of craft with ministers and everything. Knitting on Sunday. Coming to Baltimore soon.

And then, my body sent me home. And that’s what I got out of Create Baltimore. I hope there’s another one. So sad I missed it.

WordCamp Philly

I’m speaking at WordCamp Philly on October 30, 2010 at Temple University. I’m giving a newbie talk this time – “Twenty Things the New WordPress User Should Know.” I plan to cover the basics of WordPress, including hosting, WordPress.com, new stuff in 3.0, themes, plugins, using WP as a content management system and more. It’ll be great!

Registration is open. And, time permitting, I’ll be sneaking into the local Barnes & Noble stores and signing their Head First WordPress books.