Three Years Later

Next month marks three years of full-time employment contributing to WP Tavern

Three years later and I’m still having a difficult time molding myself into a (good) journalist from the shoot-from-the-hip way of writing I did a few years ago. I can’t just write stuff and hit publish. I have to check and double-check for accuracy and then get it checked again. Get quotes from people. Wait hours, or a day or two for a response back. Edit posts because I fail at grammar all the time.

The publishing process sucks and it’s not something I enjoy putting myself through every day. After three years of doing this thing full-time, the job should be easier but instead, it’s more difficult. I gotta use proper English, be professional, put quotes in the right places, start paragraphs in the right places, know when to use a block quote versus an inline quote. Fuck quotes.

The funny thing is, I did a lot of this stuff naturally in the early days of the Tavern (probably incorrectly) but for whatever reason, they’re pains in my ass now adays.

In the last three years, there are quite a few challenges I’ve worked through and ones I continue to struggle with on an every day basis while working from home. No need to get into those here but I’ve formed some pretty bad habits.

You know what, this post is just a stream of conscious thought and it’s beginning to ramble into different directions like my mind does all the time so I’ll end it here. Here’s to another year of figuring shit out, including quotes. On second thought, fuck quotes.

Last Update For WPTavern On Jeffro2pt0

Hell again, it’s me! Just wanted to publish one last update on this blog regarding WPTavern as after this week, I should be in a position to start utilizing the WPTavern website to publish content.

All of last week was generally spent on the forum. I went through a wacky series of events to get where I am today with regards to the forum. To read these events in detail to see what I’ve learned thus far, I’ve shared my experiences in a blog post on Performancing. For those not in the loop, I ended up choosing to purchase a $180.00 owned license of VBulletin. I’ve been wanting one of these for a long time but don’t get me wrong. I did try some open source alternatives. It’s just that in the end, VBulletin came out the winner.

So during these past seven days, I’ve worked my tail off styling the forum to match the main website, set the forum up (which was a boring, but required process), created a series of guidelines for new users as well as staff members, tinkered with usergroups and permissions, fixed styling issues, fixed weird anomalies, had a ton of help from community members such as Itsananderson and much more.

I must admit, I am shocked to see the forum doing so well so early. I honestly did not think the forum would take off the way it has until about 3 months into the new project. After I opened up registration, I sent the word out on Twitter and guess what? About 26-40 people visited the forum and those who have been following the news at least through Twitter ended up registering their accounts. Thanks to a couple retweets, even more people registered. So far, we’re at 34 Threads, 287 Posts, 37 Members, 37 Active Members. The forum is rocking and it has been a blast to interact with you guys and gals on a one-to-one level. You people make this fun and this is exactly one of the things I was hoping to achieve with the forum. Just wait until I actually launch this sucker to the public!

Speaking of the forum, all of the Moderator positions have been filled. They are in no particular order by real name: Larry Monte, Ryan Hellyer, JD Hartley, and Kit (as in Kit the person, not the computer in KnightRider). I personally extend a huge thank you to these individuals for volunteering their time to helping make the WPTavern forum community a success and to also make sure everything is in line. We really don’t want to throw people out of the Tavern through the double doors but if it’s called for, we’ll do it.

So what’s next? This week, I’ll be spending my time and energy on the actual WPTavern website. I admit though, after seeing the forum take off the way it has, I’ve since questioned whether I should actually have a blog/website for WPTavern. I want to be everywhere on the site contributing where I can but I feel that if I have to spend all of my time cranking out content for the website, I won’t have time to be active in the forum. However, I’ve decided that it would be best to do so as a means of keeping everyone updated on the community as whole, plus I have a thing or two to say about things going on within the world of WordPress as a whole. I originally wanted WPTavern to be the TechCrunch of WordPress information but if I really wanted to do that, I would have to sit in front of my PC night and day publishing articles on WordPress. There are plenty of things going on but not THAT many. Plus, I want to participate and interact with those who choose to spend time in the WPTavern community.

I plan on producing screencasts, written content, audio content, contributing in the forum and so much more. There is only so much Jeffro to go around! I have to be careful though with how I do things. Despite WordPress and the surrounding community being part of my passion, I don’t want to burn myself out.

Only a few people have asked, what will happen to the Jeffro2pt0 domain? My plan is to turn it into my personal blog. Cut back on the WordPress coverage and the various other things I used to write about and takes things to a more personal level. Sharing news articles that peak my interest or have an impact on me, sharing thoughts and perhaps even using that damn Flickr Pro account I always end up buying but never using to its fullest potential.

That should sum things up and bring everyone up to date with regards to the WPTavern project. I’m still on track to do a public beta launch on February first. Again, I extend a huge thanks to everyone who has signed up to the forum already, contacted me through email or other means to offer your help, and for your support and backing on this project. Not to get mushy but seriously, what the community has done thus far has resonated with me. Warm, fuzzy, feeling!

WPTavern Design Almost Done

Wow, been a little while since my last post. Here are a couple of updates for you.

Last week, I sent in my letter to relinquish myself from my duties at BloggerTalks, Problogger, BloggingTips, and other duties to give myself more time for WPTavern.

I thought I came across an awesome theme to use for WPTavern. It’s called Arthemia Premium.. Now, the theme still looks great but it was a pain in the ass for me to mess around with. I thought about using the featured post section from that theme and transferring it to a new theme but it’s deeply integrated within Arthemia and so, I wasted $70.00. However, perhaps at some point down the road, I’ll redesign WPTavern.com again and that will be the design I go with.

So what does WPTavern look like right now? Have a look.

wptavern

Yes, the WPTavern theme should look familiar as it’s a hacked version of the theme I use on this site. As it stands, I really like a lot of the things as well as the layout of this theme on Jeffro2pt0. I don’t want to hack up another theme to add these features so I decided to just hack up a version I could use for WPTavern. I did add two more widget spots near the footer that I plan on using and I also added the 5 featured posts block along with post thumbnails to give it just a little bit of a magazine look.

Right now, this should hold me over until I gain some momentum and get things going. I’ll worry about a proper/unique identity once the time presents itself.

With the majority of the design out of the way, my focus is now on plugins and the forum. I’m still on track to open the site up for public beta on February 1st. Until then, the site will open with very little content.

Because of this, if anyone is open to writing a guest post to be part of the launch of the site, please send the HTML version of the post to my email address or through the contact form on this site. If you have images that go with the post, label them accordingly in the HTML file and I’ll add them in on my end. Don’t forget to email me the images as well.

I’ve been working like mad between the two podcasts I produce and getting things set for WPTavern. However, It’s been exciting and my head is continuously overflowing with ideas for the site once it launches. Stay tuned for more info as I get time to publish it.

WPTavern Updates

Just wanted to pass along a few updates for those wondering about the progression of WPTavern.

The domain is up and running with a fresh install of WordPress 2.7. The first plugin I installed was Maintenance Mode so that I can work on the site in public without the dust getting in everyones eyes. Next up, I tried my best to install PHPBB3 but for whatever reason, I couldn’t get the installation to accept my Database credentials. I tried every combination known to man. After 30 minutes of trying to figure it out, I went and installed Simple Press which was recommend to me via Steve Hodson of WinExtra.com.

The installation was flawless and I’m going to give this a go. Now, I have to go through and configure the WordPress installation to my liking and then the next thing on my list is to work on the design for the site. Once I get the design finished which is going to be a variation of the one used on this site, I will incorporate the site design into the forums. Once that is finished, I will look at installing plugins for the site and getting the functionality I want up to snuff. During this time, I will also be trying to get my hands on OIO Publisher to manage advertising on the site. I’m hoping to have WPTavern publicly launched in *BETA* form by February 1st. Time will tell though if I’ll be able to make that deadline.

Last but not least, I have created a Twitter account for the site. Please follow @wptavern on Twitter as that will my method of communication to fans of the site. I’ll also be setting up the RSS feed to publish to Twitter for all articles published on the site.

Again, I’d like to thank everyone for their continued support. At this time, if anyone feels like they will be able to contribute some of their time to help me manage the WPTavern community via the forum, let me know as I want a few moderators already in place before the site launches.

WPTavern – Where The Drinks Are Always On The House

Just the other day, I mentioned that I had a decision to make regarding an opportunity for me to purchase a domain centered around WordPress and start up my own project. It’s funny because I didn’t think I would see such an amazing amount of support thrown my way but that is exactly what happened. After reading through the comments on that post, discussing the project with certain people via email and Skype, I have decided to bite the bullet and purchased the domain WPTavern.com as well as WordPressTavern.com from Kyle Eslick of WPHacks.com.

I love the sound of the domain as it’s centered around WordPress and it should be common knowledge that the word Tavern has a social nature to it. If any of you have read my About Page, you’ll know that there are two things that I want in life as it pertains to the web. To foster a community and to be successful. I think with my own project such as WPTavern, I can accomplish both of those goals at one time.

My initial thoughts on what WPTavern will be is a website that covers all things WordPress and related projects. I want WPTavern to be the gathering place for everyone in the WordPress community. I’ll be covering BuddyPress, WPMU, WordPress.com, Akismet, WordPress.org, BBPress, and anything else WordPress related. As for the forum, I’ve been thinking long and hard about which forum software to use and even though Vbulletin or PHPBB might be better for the job, since I’ll be writing about BBPress it would make sense for me to use BBPress. I won’t be opening up the site itself to user registrations, I’ll be keeping that tied to the forum.

As for the design. I want to mimic the Problogger look and feel. I want a front page which looks more like a portal for example, Problogger.net where each block has an excerpt, number of comments and permalink. Each block will be for a different category although I don’t want to place every category on this page as I want to leave room for advertising and recent comments. I also want my navigation at the top and one of the links should be ‘BLOG‘ which will take the visitor to the actual blog where I’ll be publishing full posts. If I could, I would just take everything Problogger has for a design and use that as my base. Just change things around to give it a unique look for WPTavern. If anyone can help me nail down a theme or figure out how to accomplish this look and feel, I’m all ears.

In terms of the type of content I’ll be producing for the site, it’ll be podcasts, special interviews, text based content, screencasts, breaking news if I got it, reviews, and anything else I can conjure up. In order for this to work, I’m going to have to bust my ass and produce every type of content imaginable. That ought to be fun! There is no telling how many posts I’ll be publishing a day. It could be one, it could be ten. The point is, I want to be the go to source for all sorts of news dealing with the world of WordPress.

Now I realize that perhaps there isn’t a need for another WordPress centric site/forum and that the news I publish on the site can be easily obtainable if you were to simply subscribe to the RSS feeds of each site. However, a small part of me thinks that people enjoy having all of that information filtered and presented for them in one place. Again, why bother when there is Planet WordPress or Ozh’s version of Planet WordPress? The only answer I can come up with is that, the text would contain my personality and the content would be created and established by me.

With all that said, I have the domain in my possession and I’ll be adding it to my hosting account in the next few hours. I now need to take things one step at a time and with each sign of progression, I’ll keep you updated.

I Have A Decision To Make

I’ve been thinking about something the past few days and I’m not sure if I am going to pull the trigger or not. I make a decent amount of income by producing content for others but it’s generally confined to writing about Blogging. Writing about Blogging and watching the space from a distance is fun at times but doing it all the time is not. My passion does not revolve around blogging, it revolves around WordPress. I can write about WordPress and related projects all day long, something I can’t do with other topics. The problem though is that, I can’t write purely about WordPress and make a decent level of income and it’s not fair if I write specifically about WordPress but across multiple sites.

There happens to be a pretty cool domain name that is available in WPTavern.com. I love the sound of that domain name. Taverns in the U.S. provide a somewhat social atmosphere and in this case, social about WordPress. I envision a forum being attached to the site as I write countless numbers of articles throughout the week on the domain. I seem to have a knack for reporting on WordPress and related items so I’m wondering, do I have what it takes to do things on my own. WPTavern would be my project, my chance to foster a community, and would allow me to pursue my passion in writing about WordPress all day long.

While it all sounds good to me on paper, I have to wonder if doing something like this would be smart for me to do at this current time. If I drop other sites I write for to put all of my concentration and effort into WPTavern, will I be able to develop a loyal fanbase/following in less than one year to the point where the site makes as much money as writing for others. Other things I have to consider is the existence of WPCandy, WPHacks, of course WeblogToolsCollection.com, would I be able to produce content that is on par with those and other WordPress centric sites? I have a competitive nature inside of me but one thing I have learned while writing for Performancing is to not view sites in the same niche as enemies but rather, collaborators. It’s better to link and build relationships with those who are in the same niche as you rather than burning bridges.

I also have to consider that I cut myself down from work to do weekends only as that provides more time for me to do freelancing. I figure that if I were to cut out 3 of my paid writing gigs, that would slice a good chunk of pay from my monthly income.

I have 7 days to make a decision on whether or not I will purchase the domain and go through with the project. I’m just sitting here wondering if I’ve made a deep enough impact to where I can do things on my own, if I have developed any sort of loyal following which would serve as a great base to start from, if I have what it takes to rise above the noise, if I can provide any points of difference regarding coverage of WordPress and related projects, or if I should just continue doing what I’m doing and let Lorelle handle everything as she is the GO TO person as it relates to anything WordPress.org or WordPress.com.

Hmm, and the clock starts ticking!