Am I making progress?

I feel the need to record what I have been doing as I feel like I haven’t been making much progress and I’ve allowed myself to be distracted, but actually the things I have been doing are all part of learning around this subject, it’s just that I haven’t been following the course material. So writing a summary of what I have done might make me feel better and also consolidate what I have learnt. Here’s what I have been doing recently:

Learning about LayersWP

I have a half written blog post on this subject, but want to do more to it before posting.

In the meantime, here is a video that comes up highest when you google layerswp that I haven’t watched yet, just embedding it as a reminder to come back to:

Designed a site for student film editor (using LayersWP)

This has given me some practice on working with a client (although it is a freebie), coming up with ideas, communicating back and forth, tweaking the ideas and making things work. I looked at other sites for inspiration, one of which put me on to HTML Boilerplate, which I wrote about in another post.

The list of example sites and comments from ‘my client’ are below. As we were having exchanges by email, I found it useful to put all of the comments together in one document so that I didn’t lose the points. Also as I was trying out colours, I found it a good idea to keep a note of which ones I had used before, particularly once I got to a point where I thought I liked an earlier one. Perhaps this is not how standard design is done, but I’m more a suck it and see person.

  1. http://www.kateblackham.co.uk/ – wordpress template – “I like that it is quite quirky, but I think it is a bit more arty than I want”
  2. http://www.calthomson.com/ – Only have a show reel to put on like this one, but don’t like the style.
  3. http://triffid.tv/ – “I like, but it is a little dull in places”. “I like the way it is laid out, having a portfolio of work as the first thing someone would see”.
  4. http://tvcameraman.co.uk/– “I like this, I think the design is simple but works well and looks professional, that is the sort of thing I want.”
  5. http://www.davewalshmedia.co.uk/ – grey background – No mentioned – don’t like.
  6. http://ukjoncollins.com/– Orange navbar -“I also like this (not the orange!) but I think having the colour bar at the top does add”
  7. http://www.gregmoore.co.uk/ – “I like the top of this, that is the image with the three options of what he does, again thinking that if I had an image at the top which could also be the image on my business card.”

Another working method I have is I create two new folders on my computer for each client, one in Documents and one in Pictures, and then keep everything for that client in those folders. Is this the most practical way to do things? I do it this way because I have found that mostly when you open up a package and go for insert media, it takes you straight to the Pictures folder, and if you have a next level folder there to pick from, it is quicker than trying to navigate elsewhere. Also I name the folders that I frequently use starting with 00 plus a meaningful short name, so they appear at the top of the alphabetical list. Then if they are not in use as frequently later, I remove the 00. For example, for this course I have a folder 00DevCourse, and inside that a folder BlogPics.

Downloaded Rob’s book

I downloaded the book accompanying this course to my Android tablet (Kindle version) and my laptop (PDF version) from the profile page on the Eco Hosting account. It took me some working out how to make it appear in my Kindle app on the tablet. I had to open the downloaded documents folder and move the file to the Kindle app folder. I googled to find that out.

I have read up to the end of chapter five, but there are still links and resources that I want to come back and check out. I spent a long time this morning browsing “35 Landing Page Designs to Drool Over [With Critiques]“.

My learning point is it takes time to absorb things. It isn’t just a matter of reading something and that being it. If there are links to more information then I think they are there for a reason and need a look over. That’s why having the Kindle and PDF version are good. It is easier to read the links on my laptop than the tablet, but easier to read the rest on the tablet.

Looked at becoming a Udemy tutor

I’ve started thinking about what would be involved in that and if there are any skills and experience I have that I could turn into courses. I’ve made videos before for various purposes, including screen capture tutorials, so I could expand on this. I had a look last night at some of the videos linked to in the guidance for tutors:

Enrolled on free “How to Create Your Udemy Course

I sent this information to my friend, who replied with a link to a review on PCMag. (Makes me think I need to do some blog posts on my experience of online learning since I have done quite a bit and also of all of the providers in the field).

So far I have watched half of the intro video and read the PDFs in the first section. One of the things for me is I’m not sure that I really like video as a method of delivering learning. There are some situations where it works, but there are others where for me I want to read and reflect rather than watch and listen.

The notes I have made while looking through all of this material so far are that Udemy courses typically have 1-3 hours video content (the minumum allowed is 30 mins) and a course should be at least 60% video (although how do you calculate that percentage? As a number of total lectures or the time it takes to read the written material versus the time it takes to watch the videos? And where does audio fit in to that?). Paid for courses cost $10-30/hour and most courses are in the range $29-99. If students book via Udemy marketing, the tutor gets 50% and Udemy gets 50%. If you bring in students yourself, you get the full amount minus admin fee (think it is 97%, but I haven’t checked that) and you can use coupon codes. Videos must be at least 720dp HD in 16:9 format, steady cam, good lighting, with text large enough to read across all devices. Make a promo video as well and have a course image that is 16:0 2048x1152px min and follows Udemy Guidelines.

Researched Web Hosting

I have found it is very difficult to compare hosting and the price all depends what you want. I looked at the following:

The reason for looking at only those is those are hosts that either I have had some experience of before or friends have. Price is an issue but so is customer service.

I didn’t do an exhaustive check, just looked at what the total cost would be for one year and decided that the Eco hosts looks to be a good economic option for starting out. But I decided to do the review of the course and get the full year free hosting anyway and see how that goes first. I plan to buy a domain soon to start this blog and other projects on a proper footing, but I am still thinking what that will be. If I need more than the starter level of hosting on the Ecowebhosting then the budget needed would seem to be in the region of £50-£100/annum.

Question in my head

How do you make the link for each post on a self hosted blog have the title of the post or a shortened version of it, rather than this ?p=123? A plugin maybe? A setting I haven’t set?

The answer to this is in wp-admin/options-permalink.php (or Dashboard then Settings then Permalinks). I have changed to the Post name option after reading this article which didn’t really make me confident what is the best option to use.

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