Monday, February 25, 2013

Problem Log

My site is going to be a blog that is simply to keep inspired with daily writing exercises, photos, videos, and just randomness. Here is my mission statement paragraph.

Like many other lovers of the fantasy genre, I often feel the need to disappear from reality for a while. Daydreaming consists of a good portion of my day. In that abrupt moment when I am brought back from my fantasy to my teacher asking me what I did to upgrade my professional portfolio in the last week, I am greeted by a sinking feeling when I realize...I have no idea where I just was. So I decided to track the paths of a wandering mind from the real-world environment to that drunken conversation about breeding fire-breathing vampire rabbits. I guess this blog is geared toward writers and readers of the fantasy or sci-fi genres, but who knows what will come of it? A guide to losing yourself in the daydream? A step-by-step process of how to avoid daydreaming in the wrong circumstances? Whatever this will will be random.

My audience is generally writers and artists looking for inspiration. In order to attract this type of audience I must look at other people's pages to see what they do to attract their audiences (it will require more research) but as of now I can post a link to my blog on facebook, since I know many artists and writers.

Since my site is a blog I had a choice between blogger and Wordpress. I chose Wordpress because I had a little bit of familiarity with it and also because it is pretty customize-able as far as I've seen. There are also a lot of Wordpress users and I know I'm able to host my Wordpress page on Go Daddy if I eventually choose to so it seemed like a good option.

Here are some problems I've encountered just this weekend.

Using Wordpress

One thing I’ve noticed about wordpress is that, while it is fairly easy to use, I find that it is a little difficult to navigate for a first-timer.

Problem: Uploading header images.
Solution: Go to “Appearance/ Header” in the dashboard instead of “Customize” in the page viewer.

Problem: Getting posts to appear on Blog page instead of "About" page.
Solution: Go to “Customize.” Set page layout to “Static Front Page.” Under “Posts Page” select Blog.

Problem: Putting new pages in order.  
Solution: Go to page. Under “Order” in the right hand margin select what order you would like the page to appear in in the menu bar. If you would like it to appear beneath another link in the menu bar, select the parent page you’d like it to appear under.

Problem: Display different header images on different pages.
Solution: Upload in “Header Images.” Select “Random” or select image under “Customize/Header Image.” Do not use feature image for header. Template settings will sometimes override it and it will not appear. 

Using Blogger:

I decided that wordpress was a little too confining, design-wise, so I decided to use blogger. At first, blogger was a little bit difficult to navigate, but it soon became manageable. One thing I really enjoy about using blogger is that it is blog oriented and it allows you to link your blogger account to wix, which is less blog-oriented but more design-oriented I think. I haven't had a chance to explore too deeply into the design and coding aspects of wix and blogger, but both are already serving my desire for design freedom more than wordpress did.
For example, in wordpress, the feature image sometimes decides to appear at the top of the page and sometimes doesn't. In blogger, you can insert an image in the header by going to Design, Customize, Layout, and Edit Header. This system is much simpler than wordpress' system, I think, since you can see exactly where things are going.

I couldn't figure out how to change the background of the blog area itself for a while either, but there are two background tabs in the Design, Customize options. One is simply called Background and lets you choose a general color theme for the blog. The other is under Advanced, Background, which allows you to change individual background colors.

Using Wix:

What I like about wix is that you can stream your blog on it. At first, they seemed incompatible because I could not figure out how to change the background behind the blog, the text, and all the other settings. But it's very straightforward in the long run. If you click on the blog in the html editor, go to app settings, the blog settings will appear, allowing you to choose the layout, the colors, and the fonts. I found wix to be very straightforward.

Some less technical problems then were in choosing the design for the background. There are many templates available, but I thought that in order to make my blog unique, I had to make my background unique as well. I took a painting of mine, tinkered with it in photoshop, and uploaded it as the background. To do this you go to Design, which is the icon on the left that looks like a paintbrush. Then you select background, and upload and customize background at the bottom. Then you upload your photo, choose the orientation, and tada! you have your background.

I am still working on figuring out how to make the blog width on the page wider. This is simple to do in Blogger in the design section, but I fear it might not be so straightforward in wix.

Finally choosing a name was difficult because many writers think alike, and many titles sound the same. The only reason I chose Pen Your Brain is because I have an idea for a logo (literally a cartoon man, stabbing his head with a pen. The ink coming out the end of the pen will be the Pen Your Brain title). The logo will help make it completely unique, and will also give readers a sense of the content of the blog, or at least the atmosphere of the content.

Problem: If you use the numbers button in blogger to make a numbered list, it does not upload to wix so it looks like your spacing is off. The easiest solution I found to fix this, then, is just to type the numbers in.

Problem: Blogger feed width is too narrow. Currently I have found no solution. There are people on wix who have requested to be able to adjust the width but the wix team responds that it is currently impossible. I'll keep looking into it.

Problem: How do I upload my professional portfolio from adobe?
Solution: (I am working on this but I believe it will work) Make portfolio page on wix. In app center download free Google Drive App. When it downloads, click on Google Drive Box. Connect this to your Google Drive account when the menu appears. Whatever files you have uploaded to your google drive will appear. The sync button appears to the right in the menu so you can easily sync when you upload more files to google drive. Beware of copyright infringement.

How do I link a file from my computer to a button on wix?
One of the most effective ways to do this is to make a button. First go to Add in the menu on the left side of the HTML editor page. Select a button type and design it. It will give you a Link To box. If you double click this box a link pops up that says "Add/Change Link." Double click in this box to pull up the "File Upload" box. Choose your file and you're good to go. Make sure there are no apostrophes in the title because it will not upload.

How to create subpages in Wix: This is very easy. Make sure you are on the page that you want subpages under (i.e. if you want to have an "about me" subpage for the homepage, be on the homepage). Go to "Pages" in the menu bar in the HTML editor. Select the page style and title. There is a little check box beneath "Name Your Page" bar that says "Add Subpage." This will be indented beneath the page for which it is a subpage in the pages menu.

So the most recent problem I've been having is designing a logo that is appropriate for my site. Logo design should probably have been one of the first things I did since I have a logo I really like but now it doesn't really match the design of my site, so I'm trying to temper this logo to the design standards of my wix page. This includes a quirky font, a matching color, and a little bit of redesigning for my website. Otherwise, things are going fairly well.


So it is impossible to widen the Blogger feed window in Wix. Whatever you post in your blogger feed should be checked carefully in Wix and adjusted as needed. For example, if you use the numbering button in blogger feed, the numbers will not upload to your Wix site so you simply have weird spaces between sentences. You have to go into blogger and manually type in the numbers. Another problem with the blogger feed is that you cannot have readers comment on the wix site. To encourage comments, I added a comment button that redirects readers to my blogger feed where comments are allowed. Wix does show the comments, it just doesn't allow posting new comments. So I added a new page in blogger that says "back to" There is an option when you create the page to make a new page or link the page to a web address, so I simply put the web address in and it redirects readers back to the blog on my Wix site.

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