Improving Our Site

Programmer At Work
Programmer At Work Improving This Site

My regular readers (at least three) may have noticed some changes to this humble piece of cyberspace over the past few months. Well, that would be because I have tinkered around making, what are hopefully, improvements to this site. 

My work on this website comes in spurts and stops. Starting a couple of of months ago I decided to get back to adding more frequent posts. I also started paying around with my various website projects, making a focused effort to better understand WordPress.

Although I once stayed employed (for several years) doing programming and related software development work, my software background is self-taught. I was an Electronics Technician while in the navy, during the era when hardware was king and software something us technicians tolerated. How times have changed! I left the Navy just as software was becoming a critical piece of electronics equipment.

WordPress Upgrades

I’ve poked around with WordPress since December 2013, when I had to wipe my PHPNuke – powered website due to being seriously hacked. I migrated to WordPress as it appeared to be the most popular open source Content Management System (CMS) available. It appears I made a good choice. But I hadn’t really tried digging into WordPress much beyond what I needed to run this site.

A few months ago I decided to get deeper into the inner workings of WordPress. In part, this was because I started tutoring website development as part of my Instructor’s portfolio through WyzAnt, an on-line tutoring operation. Other subjects I qualified to tutor through WyzAnt included English as Second Language (ESL), photography, and MicroSoft Office applications. It turned out that website development became my most common tutoring request

Some of the more obvious upgrades to this site was adding a header illustration. I didn’t take this sunrise photo but I wish I did. My source for this art was Wikimedia Commons, a wonderful open-source graphics art resource. I’ve also added a quote server (on the homepage sidebar titled “Random Thought”). I enjoy reading quotes and have wanted to serve quotes on this site since inception. I was able to find an excellent free WordPress quotes plugin and since then I’ve built up my quotes collection, the better to offer my many readers a refreshing bit of random wisdom upon opening my homepage. Just on the homepage though, because I’m a firm believer that too much of a good thing is too much.

Social Media

I’ve also been doing some under-the-hood improvements. I’ve added plugins for improving loading speed, upgraded security functions, and improved guest logins. More importantly, I’m trying to expand my readership through more effective promotion. I’m now making a systematic effort to promote my work though social media and improve my Google search engine visibility. Which assumes I’m writing stuff people want to read.

The plugins and services I’m subscribing to are designed to cross-post my articles to Facebook and Twitter. These services also optimize the ability for Google (the 800 pound search-engine gorilla) to index my content. 

Other Website Projects

I’ve built a few other websites as experiments and demonstrations. I have a sister-site for Charest family genealogy, which I may spend more time expanding. Someday, when I have the time to devote to genealogy. I’ve built a couple of demo sites I used when I was tutoring one particular student to offer creative ideas. One is especially cool (for me) as it supports full multiple language postings.  I built this as my student was a native-Iranian looking to build a multi-language media site. 

Another project is to expand my independent tutoring work after I retire from the Washington DC commuting grind. I’ve worked in training off and on over the years since I was a full-time Navy technical Instructor. I am now working part-time as an adult education ESL instructor and hoping this job lasts.

I’ve built two websites to try on-line training and consulting techniques, and will be poking at these as my time permits. Neither site is ready for prime time, although one is actually providing some real information through front-page RSS feeds so it’s not a complete waste of cyberspace and endangered pixels. 

So please feel free to poke around in my humble piece of cyberspace, and share any posts you enjoy. Thanks!

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