WordPress Verification

After blogging for several months, I’ve decided to analyze my blog and make an audit of it.

In total, I’ve published 11 posts on my blog. Eight of them were school based and set by the blogging challenge, and the remaining three were free posts. I find it difficult most of the time to find an appropriate topic to write about, so I enjoyed writing the school-based posts.

Although most of my comments were from my classmates, I did get a few comments from other students who were also part of the student blogging challenge. It was cool to have people that I didn’t know comment on my posts and share their thoughts, and in a way, it connected us.

I may not have gotten a ton of legitimate comments, but I did get, like, a billion spam comments. In total, my site has been protected from 4,416 spam comments. Every time I log into my WordPress, I have to delete between 10-200 spam comments from my spam queue. This got pretty annoying and I eventually had to change some settings to help prevent spam, but it hasn’t made much of a difference.

Public Domain

The post I got the most comments on was “Syria: What it Was and What it Became.” I think it’s because it was about a pressing issue that was currently going on, and because a lot of people didn’t know about the situation in Syria and were surprised after they read my post.

The post I enjoyed ‘writing’ the most from the Student Blogging Challenge was “A Sentence Using Images” because it was a creative challenge and it was fun to formulate a sentence from pictures and have people guess it. From the free posts I did on my own, I enjoyed writing “The Phenomena of Dreams“. It was fun and interesting to research about dreams, and most of the information I had in my post were facts that I did not know prior to writing the post, so I educated myself by writing it.

I switched from the default theme to “Plane”, and I customized the colors and the formatting. I like this theme because the header image isn’t that large, and I feel like it would distract the reader if it was. I also liked the color and background options and was able to customize the site till I was satisfied.

To personalize my blog, I added six widgets on my sidebar–recent posts, tags, categories, blog statistics, flag counter, and a blog roll. I put the tags, categories, and recent posts widgets to make it easier for my readers to navigate their way through my blog and find my posts. The blogroll is a way to connect with other bloggers and give them sort of a shout-out. And finally, the flag counter and the blog stats are just a way for my visitors to see how many other people visit my blog and where they come from.

I think that having six widgets is just right: not too many and not too little. The widgets I picked don’t take up a lot of space, and I don’t think they distract the reader or take away from the posts. But then again, that’s just my opinion, so if you think otherwise, let me know.

On my blog roll, I only have one overseas student, and that would be Alina. We’ve exchanged a couple of comments, and she was the first overseas student to connect with me so I decided to add her blog onto to my blogroll.

Finally, I’ve only used simple web tools like images, videos, and block quotes, all of which were introduced to us by our teacher. The only web tool that I ‘discovered’ and used on my own was a slideshow, but that’s not that creative. I may need to explore WordPress and look for creative web tools to use in my future posts, but for now, I’ll stick to the basic ones.



Week 8: Commenting Game

For this week’s blogging challenge, I visited three other blogs and commented on a post that I found interesting.

First, I went to Thunami’s blog. She wrote about her favorite place to visit, which happens to be ‘Horton’s Plains’ in Sri Lanka. She gave a detailed description of the scenery, making it easy to imagine what it would be like to be there. I, for one, love to travel since I get to see new places, and therefore be exposed to new cultures, languages, and people. Although reading about someone’s experience is not the same as experiencing it yourself, I still found her post captivating. It was really interesting to hear about a new place in a new country that I’ve never been to or really heard much about. She also talked about a place in Horton’s Plains, the World’s End, and just reading about it made me wish I can go there. Heights are somewhat scary, but, at the same time, thrilling (to me at least) and so it just made the post appeal to me even more.

“Horton’s Plains sounds like a really cool place. I would really like to visit ‘World’s End’. I have to say, when I searched up pictures of it, I was surprised by what I saw. The view was breathtaking, especially since it’s so high up. You must be really brave if you were able to visit World’s End!”

Next, I went to Chelsea’s blog and commented on her book review of ‘Gathering Blue’ by Lois Lowry. I spend a lot of time in my daily life reading, even if I have a billion things to do and no time. So naturally, a book review drew me in and I left a comment to share my thoughts. I’ve never read Gathering Blue before, but I am familiar with Lois Lowry. I’ve read one of his other books, The Giver, and when I found out the book Chelsea was writing about was by Lowry, I decided to check it out. I also liked how she compared the novel with another book from the same author; it offered a new perspective.

“Hey Chelsea!
This was an insightful book review. I, for one, really enjoy reading, and this post made me want to read ‘Gathering Blue’. I’ve only read one book by Lois Lowry, ‘The Giver’, and I found it pretty interesting since it was set in a utopia. Did you read ‘The Giver’? What do you think of Lowry’s writing style?”

Lastly, I stopped at Mohamed’s blog, where he wrote about terrorism and the situation in the Middle East. This post was of importance to me for many reasons. First of all, I’m a Muslim and an Arab, so a lot of what he said applied to me. I’m also a Syrian and I appreciated how he talked about the turmoil in Syria and raised awareness. I had previously written my own post on the Arab spring and the war in Syria, so it was interesting to see someone else write on the same topic as me.

“I found this post particularly interesting since I am a Muslim Syrian living in the West. I appreciate that you’re spreading awareness about the situation in the Middle East, especially in Syria. It’s sad how a government like Assad’s is willing to massacre its own people just to hold on to power. Hopefully things get better for those who are suffering in the Middle East, as well as all Muslims worldwide.”