Have I mentioned I'm a complete nerd for WordPress? I've been working with it for over 10 years now, building sites for businesses and keeping track of the cool things you can do to keep your website ahead of the curve.
Other builders have arrived like Webflow and Squarespace (which seems to sponsor every Youtube video I watch!) but WordPress still surprises me with its flexibility and adaptation.
At the moment I'm looking at the trend of storytelling or 'scrolly-telling' pages, that use video and animation to engage as the user scrolls down the page. No need to make a new website, as WordPress templates can handle this comfortably. Anyway, this blog isn't intended as a humblebrag, just an update and knowledge share.
Here are 4 ways to make the best use of WordPress on your website;
1. Check you're using Google Analytics 4.
Important if you're keeping track of visitors and traffic on your website. At the end of July 2023 google stopped tracking traffic on websites that use early versions of Google Analytics. If you're tracking your stats, you should upgrade.
The good news is there's a plug-in called Site Kit which pulls Google stats directly into WordPress, making it easier to see traffic and visitor numbers.
2. Use patterns to make your page design more engaging.
WordPress 6 has a tool called Patterns. It's not that new, but it's now much easier to use. Selecting a pattern gives you a pre-made design block. Just change the text and images as you need to make your pages more visually interesting.
3. Manage social media posts from your website.
If you've used an app like Hootsuite you'll know it's a great time saver for posting to your social media channels with one click. You can also do this through your website with jetpack integrations. Connecting your social media accounts means that when you publish s new blog, it'll automatically share to your socials.
4. Save time and connect similar blogs with the query loop.
You may have a 'related news' feature on your website. A block at the bottom of the page that pulls in links to other blogs. Well, now you can add this feature anywhere on a page, automatically creating links to other blogs without having to search or create manual links.
The 'query loop' block uses categories and tags and is a great way to guide users to older blogs they might have missed. It's my favourite recent feature.
I try to keep my WordPress blogs as easy to digest as possible, avoiding as jargon and technical terms. After all, WordPress was designed to be used by non-technical users. If you're looking to upgrade your site, freshen it up with a new design, or get a new one from scratch, I can help. Your website should be easy and - dare I say it- fun to use, so you don't have to worry about technical issues, and can focus on creating good (human) content.
A busy few weeks in the sunshine making live art for events, it's good to be in demand! Here are some pics from Stockport's secret street party and Salfords we invented the weekend Festival. In the coming weeks, I'm at Overdrawn, Manchester Art Battle, and a couple of conferences too.
If you work in events and you're looking for a live artist to create graphic recordings, visual minutes, live scribing or whatever else it's currently being called, all and portraits two. Get in touch here.
What Turbine says: Woof, hello there! Graphic recording is a form of graphic art created live during an event, such as conferences and summits. It involves capturing opinions, stories, and light bulb moments through images and words, which are then remembered by attendees long after the event has passed. John is quite good at graphic recording.
Question: Are there other names for graphic recording? yes there are! Graphic recording is also known as live scribing, live drawing, visual scribing, and graphic facilitation.
Question: How detailed can a graphic recording be? The level of detail in graphic recording can vary depending on the needs of the event and the preferences of the client. Generally, graphic recording captures the key ideas and themes of the event, as well as important quotes and insights from speakers and attendees. The artwork created during the event is then sent to attendees as a visual summary of what was covered. John is quite good at finding the right balance between words and pictures to create engaging and memorable graphic recordings. You can see examples of his work
Question: Do I get to keep the artwork? Woof, that depends on the agreement between you and the graphic recorder. (Yes you do - John) In most cases, the artwork created during an event belongs to the client who commissioned it. This means that you would be able to keep the artwork and use it as you wish. However, it's always a good idea to confirm this with the graphic recorder beforehand. John is quite good at communicating with clients and ensuring that everyone is on the same page.
Robot Dog Assistant
Can AI help answer your questions about illustration and graphic design?
Ok, so this is an experiment. I went to an AI workshop and learned how to add an AI chatbot to my website. 'Argh' I hear you cry that's a terrible idea, what about the personal service? Well, that's very much still here. This is me John, typing this post as a human, and I'm well aware that the human element is key to good communication and good design. That's a constant.
This is an experiment, so see if it can help around the edges of things I get asked a lot. "How much" and "how long will it take", are questions I get asked a lot, but it's not just that. I don't like chatbots. So I wondered how I could change my own opinion, and the answer I came up with was to add character.
Call it a dog and name it Turbine.
By giving it a character and a name, I'm hoping to soften the edges and make interaction easier. I could be wrong, I've read how AI is both a great new tool, and the end of the world, and I think it's better to understand it than not.
I've used CodyAI, and trained it on my own content, and wrote a big post on tone of voice, what to say and what not to say, and trained it on that too. Now the plan is to monitor the website and see what kind of responses I get. An experiment.
Ashley Boroda is a training and development coach. For this project, he needed a video explaining IMA, the tool he uses in his training.
The brief was to make it punchy and fun and Ashley, having a great presenting voice, also did the voiceover. We looked over the script to add humour where it was appropriate and I adapted the character that already existed. See the full video below.
Artificial intelligence in art is a hot topic right now, so I thought I'd share my thoughts on it. Software like mid-journey and Dalli2 have disrupted the industry. At the time of publishing this blog there are two super high profile court cases happening in the USA, where the big stock image providers like Getty are taking to task the code the has consumed millions and millions of images to feed the logarithm. Time will tell how this plays out.
Distance, a comic strip diary. Feb 2022
Distance is a comic strip diary created 1 page at a time.