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Thanks to some continuing help from the wonderful Kate Bladow, Jade and I are continuing to refine our efforts and identify key tactics, including the possibility that NSCA (our organization) operates with JaguarPC, which might mean that the installation of a WordPress would be “a one-click installation.” Obviously–since their original site is lacking–it’d still involve major renovations, but it’d be a well-received head-start. Jade is at the Board Meeting today (best of luck!), so we’ll hopefully have plenty of new information to play around with.

But, I decided we didn’t need to wait to be Board-certified to start working (hey–this isn’t practicing medicine, right?), so Jade and I started up a WordPress page on Thursday. Accordingly, I decided to do a little research on TechSoup to see what people have to say about picking themes and getting banners. My first stop was at “cyndin’s” post about picking themes (especially free ones). She stressed the need to have an effective banner (i.e. those fancy slideshow headers you see on nonprofit pages).

“Cyndin” also recommended tabs that lead to “Forums” and a blogging space, as well as widgets that connect to other social media. Although NSCA has a Facebook page, Jade and I couldn’t find it, so for now I just added a widget to English Club’s CEC Facebook Page. Oddly enough, it didn’t quite link up: “Could not retrieve id for the specified page. Please verify correct href was passed in.” …Hmmm, I’ll have to work on this a bit. But the TechSoup blog highly encouraged adding several widgets to the page just to make sure it looks fine on your new blog.

Next, I found my way to Andy Geisler’s set of links that relate to “The Dangers of Free WordPress Themes.” One person (Audrey Watters) said to be very cautious of taking free themes from random and unknown websites because there’s “a trend” of people making themes that are vulnerable to “malicious” codes and hackings… Dang internet deviants. But when we’re shifting from “personal use to corporate use” of social media, it becomes far more important to think about general internet security.

After surfing the TechSoup blogosphere, I starting looking for information on creating the all-important slideshow banner. First, I discovered how to simply change the header image–something most of us have known for a considerable amount of time. The size of the photo is crucial–and the photos I have from NSCA so far are all a bit too small. Looks like 920X360 pixels is optimal. I might need some more help on this, but it seems like many of the free WordPress themes do not have the option for creating a customizable banner slide (or maybe I need to brush up on my computer code).

However, I was able to find a good link that explains the astonishingly easy process of creating a slideshow–unfortunately it is not in the header area. Again, it looks like the photo size is important. Here’s a look at the page “as is”:

As you may (or may not) be able to see, the main image is grainy--we'll have to find a larger picture. I don't think Jade or I plan on having this image as the main picture, so we'll have to be sure to find an appropriate-sized one (or perhaps there is software to increase size without losing quality...probably haha). The image in the slideshow is much clearer, but it only takes up about a quarter of the space. So, off to a good start with experimenting, but a long way to go before it looks professional.

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