Status Update for July 2015

What have I been doing since last summer, you ask? I have been teaching ASL classes, mentoring and leading case supervision, interpreting, and teaching interpreting workshops. I have not been much of a blogger because, honestly, as busy as my days have been, the only thing I want to do at night is watch TV. On the weekends, when I am not grading or prepping, I am relaxing, doing housework, and getting out of the house to go to a park, mall, museum, theatre, restaurant, or friend’s house.

After the Spring 2015 semester ended, I took a 15-day vacation with my husband to Alaska and British Columbia. We moved into a new (to us) house in April, so renovating and redecorating have consumed much of my spare time. This summer, I am editing and taking teacher education courses. I update my Facebook profile pretty regularly, mostly just to my Friends, but sometimes publicly. I tweet occasionally, mostly live-tweeting television broadcasts, commenting on current events, or reviewing products and services— only sometimes tweeting about interpreting or teaching.

So, I am alive! Just making an appearance on my blog for a moment to say “hello world.”

Blog 2014: Adding affiliate links to earn money

I just found out that WordPress.com, the advertising-averse blogging platform that hosts this site, allows bloggers to earn revenue by posting affiliate links. What?!? I wish I’d known this years ago! I’m this nice guy who, for years, has had links on this blog to Amazon for books I contributed to — just to make it easier for people to find them — even though I wasn’t getting royalties for purchases or commissions for referrals. All this time, I could have been earning at least a few pennies from Amazon for the business I was sending their way. Who knew?

This affiliate links looks exactly the same as the link I created before; the only difference is I might earn some $$ for it.
This affiliate links looks exactly the same as the link I created before; the only difference is I might earn some $$ for it.

Well, since I’m this nice guy who spreads the word for the greater good, I’m telling the WordPress.com community about this opportunity in case I wasn’t the only one in the dark. Basically, WordPress.com says it’s okay to post affiliate links to goods you like and think your readers might like, as long as you’re a real blogger who writes original content and doesn’t just use your blog to sell stuff.[1] I’ve always been an honest blogger with loads of original content; now I know I can turn my “free advertising” into commissions each time a reader follows one of my product links and chooses to purchase the product. Yay!

There are several affiliate programs out there, but in case you’re interested here’s a link to Amazon.com’s Affiliate Program I just joined. They pay 4% on every purchase readers make from your affiliate links. Hey, even if it only gets a blogger a few dollars a year, it doesn’t hurt.

References

[1] WordPress.com Support > Policies & Safety > Affiliate Links

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Blog 2014: Free WordPress themes that display bylines

This is an update to a post I wrote in September 2012 titled WordPress.com themes that display author bylines, which listed free WordPress themes of 2012 that displayed bylines on both posts pages and single posts, single posts only, or not at all. My 2012 post served as an update to another blogger’s post Author and profile displayed or not (Panos, 2009; 2011). This present post covers all free WordPress Themes for Blogs at WordPress.com from January 2012 through July 2014.

Byline Displayed
Screenshot of a byline displaying in a post info/meta section

A matter of style

Displaying an author’s name is a matter of style, not content. As I wrote in WordPress themes not showing author bylines explained, the author’s byline is on every WordPress post and posts page. It is always there in the HTML; whether it is displayed or hidden is an effect of CSS that makes up the theme. It has no affect on search engine optimization (SEO) or Google Authorship.

Screenshot of hidden byline exposed by stripping CSS, courtesy of Josh, a WordPress Happiness Engineer
Screenshot of hidden byline exposed by stripping CSS, courtesy of Josh, a WordPress Happiness Engineer

A matter of preference

Some authors feel no need to have their bylines displayed except on single posts; for them, there are themes that hide bylines on posts pages. Others have multi-author blogs and want each author’s byline displayed everywhere. (Mind, I tested all these themes on my single-author blog.) Others, especially in organizational blogs, might want to present a more collective identity; for them, there are themes that hide bylines on all posts.

Here, then, is a list of free WordPress themes released from January 2012 through July 2014 that do and do not display bylines on single-author blogs: (more…)

Blog 2014: Adding social media links

Where I learned how to add social media buttons, and where I found them

Today, I added custom social media links to my secondary menu, which appears on the left sidebar in the Twenty-Fourteen WordPress theme I’m using now. I did this because Twenty-Fourteen doesn’t have social links in the theme, and I wanted them near the top of my blog layout. To learn how to add them, I started by reading the WordPress Support article “Add Social Media Buttons to Your Sidebar or Footer.” When I did a Google Image search of ‘free social media icons’, as suggested in the support article, I found my favorite icon set at GraphicsFuel: 20 Popular Social Media Icons (PSD & PNG). Thank you, GraphicsFuel!

What code I used

I used the HTML shown on the support article, but I amended it with a bit of CSS to put some padding (space) to the right and bottom of the buttons so they didn’t look stuck together. While I was at it, I took the width and height properties out of the HTML and put them into the CSS where they belong (since they are style, not structure). Here is a sample of the style code I added to the img element for my customization:

style="width:35px;height:35px;padding-right:5px;padding-bottom:5px;"

How it looks today

Of course things will change with time as I change themes or widgets, but here is what my blog looks like as of this writing, with the new social media button links I added to the left sidebar:

A screenshot of the front page of my blog on July 7, 2014
A screenshot of the front page of my blog on July 7, 2014

Why I wrote this

I always like to share what I learn with others who might benefit, and I like to give credit where it’s due. I hope you find it helpful. Please let me know.

Me, hiking

Blog 2014: The Lifestyle category

Me, hiking
Me, hiking by the North Mountain Visitor Center in Phoenix, Arizona

I was looking for a category for my blog posts about accessibility, ethics, politics, human rights, love, relationships, and family, so I Googled some of those terms together, and the top result was lifestyle. A very nice definition I found on Wikipedia was:

Lifestyle may include views on politics, religion, health, intimacy, and more.

This sociological definition helped overcome my reservations about using the term lifestyle. You have to understand that there is a historical tension between straights and gays about lifestyle. You may have heard the expression “the homosexual lifestyle,” as if there were just one lifestyle for all gay people, and as if everything that made up a person’s sexual orientation and entire way of life outside of the bedroom could be reduced to the a lifestyle. I remember a gay activist saying, “so they [straight people who condemn “the homosexual lifestyle”] have a life, and we get a lifestyle” (as if a lifestyle were somehow cheaper than a life). Well, maybe it’s time to let go of those old connotations and embrace the definition of lifestyle as simply a way of living, minus the judgment.

Another reason I picked the word lifestyle for this category is that some people classify blogs as either lifestyle or niche. Since my blog is a combination of niche and lifestyle, I chose lifestyle for those posts that do not fit a niche (like interpreting), but instead are about, well, “life.”

I might change the name of this category, but for now, that’s why I’m calling it Lifestyle.