“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

“Custom Text and Image Widgets” Challenge

We have a better sense of what widgets offer, so let’s go further and learn how completely custom widgets create a cohesive look from header to sidebar.

Today, create a new custom image widget using one of the tutorials on the resource page. If you don’t want to add any new widget content, add a graphic element to an existing widget. Visit the resource page to explore:

  • Image widget basics
  • Custom image widget inspiration
  • How to create a custom image with PicMonkey or Canva
  • How to use custom images in text widgets

Image widgets can be used for just about anything; we particularly appreciate when bloggers use them to highlight social networking profiles, direct our attention to special features, or draw us into different sections of their blogs. They’re eye-catching, and encourage readers to explore.

Ready to add your new image?

Open your widget settings

“All about Widgets” Challenge

Widgets allow you to add content to the sidebar(s) and/or footer of your site.

Today’s task: consider important information you want to share with your customers. Add one widget to your site.

Want to keep your business hours front and center? Put them in a text widget at the top of your sidebar. Have a logo for your business? Put it in an image widget that appears on every page of your site. Having a special event? Use the milestone widget to count down to the big day and generate some excitement.

WordPress.com offers over 40 widgets that add special content to your site. Visit the resource page to learn more about widgets and how to add them to your site.

Go to the Customizer

“Let Social Media Inspire You” Challenge

One of the goals of this course is to help you tap into new and unexpected places for post ideas. Today, let’s look to Twitter for inspiration. Don’t worry — you don’t need an account. Even if Twitter isn’t for you, you might be surprised at how you can find starting points for our own writing there.

Below, you’ll see five tweets, and we hope one will elicit a response from you.

A tweet by @AbbyHasIssues that reads, 'I’ve deleted enough tweets to know that I should never get a tattoo.'

A tweet by @BluMarTen that reads, 'In our universe a star explodes and dies every single second and there’s you, worrying about work tomorrow.'

A tweet by @granddraws that reads, 'I can’t decide if procrastination kills creativity or is essential to it.'

A tweet by @leverus that reads, '"Why is writing so much harder for me than it is for everybody else?" — every novelist ever, secretly to themselves, all the time'

A tweet by @thisisEJKoh that reads, 'You study, study, study, and at the end, you are lucky enough to discover the greatest gift of education: that you know nothing at all.'

Write a response to one of these tweets. Shape your post in any way you choose — agree or disagree with the tweet, or use it as a starting point for a story, poem, or something else.

Publish a new post

“Intros and Hooks” Challenge

Dandruff shampoo commercials don’t lie: you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Your opening lines are your first chance to hook your readers — or lose them. Nowhere is this truer than on the internet, where we make instant decisions about where to click. Make sure people stick around by crafting a compelling opening. Ask yourself:

  • What’s the question I’m trying to answer with this piece of writing?
  • Is my angle evident in the introduction?
  • Have I buried the real point of the story?
  • Am I giving away too much of what’s to come?

At the heart of any piece of writing, fiction or nonfiction, is a question the author is trying to answer. Identifying your question and asking it in a unique way creates an introduction that gives readers a strong sense of who you are, while including relevant, limited details piques their interest.

On the resource page, go in-depth with eight ways to craft a compelling introduction, and give them a try with your own pieces. Remember: if you decide to publish something, use the tag #shapingyourstory to make it easier for other participants to find you — or visit someone else, and leave a supportive comment!

Start a new post