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How I Write Blog Posts: Behind The Scenes Of WPShout

I always find it interesting when blog authors share how they work, where they work and what exactly the process of writing a post on their site is, so today, in a break from WordPress tutorials, I’m going to do the same.

My lovely wooden desk! Note the high-tech monitor stand.

We’ll start with a picture — this is my desk. On the left is my desktop, a pretty nippy machine with an overclocked I5, 8GB of RAM and a decent graphics card. This computing powerhouse has just enough power to let me have Notepad++ and Chrome at the same time, the setup I normally go for, with one on each screen.

In the middle of my desk you’ll see my lovely Apple keyboard. This is the only bit of Apple tech I’ve got and I use it mainly because it’s a damn good keyboard. As I use it so much, it’s something I’m happy spending more on and I’d recommend getting one.

Right at the back of my desk, behind the right side monitor is my Alesis Multimix 4 which I use as an audio interface for my microphone setup, which includes two condenser and two dynamic mics. When I’m not using them with my band, I use a single dynamic for recording screencasts. These are great as they’re directional, so point them away from the keyboard and you don’t get any key noise!

The wonderfully minimalist view I get when writing posts; with editor styles, I see when writing what you see when reading.

So that’s it for hardware. As I mentioned, you’ll normally just find Notepad++ and Chrome running, along with Spotify for music, Rainmeter for my desktop background and Skype. So how do I write my posts? I use Windows Live Writer, of course! Just kidding. I do all my writing straight onto the WordPress backend. The fullscreen mode is a favourite feature of mine and it just lets me concentrate on writing that little bit more. Plus, with editor styles set up, it doesn’t look too shabby, either.

I tend to be “inspired” by whatever I’m working on at the time. Recently on Shout, this has been the Shout redesign, as well as my day-to-day work with the guys at WPZOOM. If you’re wondering, this does explain why WPShout posts during times when I’ve been studying have dropped off in recent years. Once I’ve got a subject matter, I’ll then tend to read up on it, procrastinate for a bit and then finally get down to writing something. WPShout posts generally get written over a couple of days; this one, for example, was started one evening and I’m currently writing the main body the morning after. As it’s a more ramble-ey post, it’s likely I’ll finish this up fairly shortly.

Thanks to Adaptive Images, I don’t even bother resizing images anymore!

After I’ve got all the main writing done, I then go back over the post and add images where appropriate. Images are really handy for breaking up the content into more manageable chunks, so I’ll often use stock images from sxc.hu, or, where possible, screenshots. I use a handy screenshot tool called HyperDesktop, which automatically uploads screens to Imgur as well as saving them in a folder on my PC. This is especially helpful when doing support work; I can just snap a screenshot and then display it in a ticket really quickly. Thanks to Adaptive Images, I don’t have to worry about resizing screenshots or images; this gets done automagically.

After any final tweaks to the actual content, I then have a fiddle with a couple of settings. First is the permalink; I always keep this as short as possible. The post “The Magic of WordPress’ body_class“, for example, had the permalink wpshout.com/body_class. I’ll also set the meta description and stick a <– more –> break in at the top of the post. It’s then time to publish!

At this point I’ll either leave it there, or, when I actually remember, I’ll send out an email to the WPShout email subscribers letting them know about the post and providing a little insight into how it was written etc. If I’ve mentioned certain products in the post, I’ll try and do a little competition as a thank you for those subscribed by email. If you want to join this elite club, there’s a subscribe box in the sidebar.

And that’s it! I then have a new WPShout post! We’ve never had a post like this on Shout before, so if you like it, let me know and I’ll happily do more in the future!

Alex Denning

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HalSF
October 23, 2012 10:37 pm

Thanks for the inclusion of the Adaptive Images tool — it’s new to me.

How about a post that covers installation and work flow of Adaptive Images for a WordPress self-hosted blog?

Cheers to the London environs from the high desert of New Mexico.

Jessica
September 19, 2012 11:41 pm

I love your setup Alex. Its so nice and clean. You forgot to mention your Xbox in the set up. JK.

-Jessica

Adam Geralds
September 18, 2012 3:06 pm

Really love those captions you’ve got Alex – better than just a screenshot with no explanation!

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