“Build a better blogroll” Challenge

Today, let’s continue to weave the fabric of the blogosphere using one of the web’s essential tools: links.

Today’s assignment: use a widget to create a blogroll, a list of links you love that you want to share with your readers.

Here’s how:

  1. First, decide what kind of widget you want to use: the Blogs I Follow widget, or a Text widget.
  2. Next, click the button below to open the Customizer, then select Widgets, and add the widget you want to use.
  3. Finally, customize the widget’s settings and/or add your text, then click Save & Publish.

Recommendations are like getting advice from a friend rather than blindly searching the internet; adding them is a no-brainer — and often comes with traffic-building benefits.

Open the Customizer

“HTML Columns, Tables, and Post Styling” Challenge

Once you have some basic familiarity with HTML, you can use the HTML Editor to add code that overrides the Visual Editor’s defaults — handy for poets, creative writers, and anyone who has a very specific idea of how they want their posts to look.

Today, open your draft post from yesterday, and create either a column or table from scratch using HTML. (You can trash the post when you’re done.) Visit the resource page to explore:

  • How to use preformatting to space text exactly as you’d like
  • How to control line breaks and indentation
  • How to create columns
  • How to add tables

The Visual Editor does a pretty good job of formatting content in a neat, reader-friendly way. But what if you have a particular vision for your post, and it doesn’t give you enough flexibility? HTML to the rescue.

Ready to dig deeper into code?

Open your draft post

“Customer Header” Challenge

A header can be as simple as an unedited photo. But taking a little time to tweak an image — or to create a text-based header, if that’s more your style — communicates information about your topic and personality, making your blog immediately recognizable.

Today, use one of the tutorials in the resource materials to create a customized header image. Even if you don’t need one, these are useful tools to learn that will help you in other areas of customization. Visit the resource page to explore:

  • How to turn any photo into a custom header
  • How to create a custom graphic or text header
  • The finishing touches that highlight your new header

We often look at other people’s blogs and think “ooh, they look so much more polished than mine.” No more! Today, everyone gets a spit shine.

Ready to upload a new header?

Open your Customizer

“Creating menus and adding your logo” Challenge

Now that you have pages and some content, the next step is to add them to a menu, which forms your site’s navigation. We’ll also add your logo. (Exciting, isn’t it!?)

Today’s task: Create a main menu for your site and assign your pages to it. Upload your business’ logo.

Check out the resource page for full details on how to create menus and upload a logo to your site.

Create a menu

“Theme Selection” Challenge

You’ve put a lot of thought into defining your site and creating pages and content. Now, it’s time to have a little fun and play with themes.

Today’s task: explore some themes. Try three new ones, even if you’re happy with the one you’ve got. Try a business, photography, and blog theme.

Here’s how:

  1. First, click the button below to browse through the available themes.
  2. Next, scroll through the options, and click Preview on at least three themes, then click Try & Customize to see the theme in action, with your posts.
  3. Finally, decide! Click Save and Activate on a new theme, or click the “X” to close the Customizing tools and keep your original design.

Check out the resource page for tips on picking the theme that fits you best.

Explore available themes

“Organizing your side bar” Challenge

Time to move on to another part of your blog where small changes have a big impact: your sidebar.

Today, add one new widget to your blog — think strategically! — and customize its title and settings. You don’t have to keep it, but get comfortable with the process. Visit the resource page to explore:

  • What widgets are and how they’re useful
  • How to choose the right widgets for your blog
  • Basic ways to customize widgets

(Using a theme that doesn’t have a widget area, or prefer not to use widgets? That’s fine! Spend some more time playing with color and font; the combinations are endless.)

Widgets add color and personality along with additional information. But! Too much of a good thing invites clutter and distraction; overdoing widgets becomes counterproductive. Make sure you’re happy with how your sidebar functions today — tomorrow, we delve deeper into custom widgets!

Ready to add a widget?

Open your Customizer