Wednesday, 8 August 2012

An afternoon helping James with his hyperlocal website

Last week I popped into the @talkaboutlocal office to meet up with James from It's Happening In Bulkington; a hyperlocal blog that James set up in April 2011 with talk about local's help.

James felt he needed a little more support and guidance with feeling more confident with his blog, so we spent a couple of hours answering his queries and showing him some aspects of this blog that he didn't know about.

 Some of the things I helped him with:

  • Blog post layout, inserting images and adding descriptive text to the photographs
  • How to copy and paste text from elsewhere into a Wordpress blog post
  • What categories and tags are; how and why to use them
  • Ideas on how to tell the local community about his blog
Afterwards I grabbed James for a quick chat about why he started his hyperlocal blog and how he found the Wordpress help. 


I subtitled the video, so I might as well make use of the transcription and include it in this post. By the way, I use Universal Subtitles to subtitle youtube videos. Universal Subtitles have made a few little changes recently and have made it even smoother to use.

Anyway, here's the transcript!

Karen: Okay, so I'm here with James from It's Happening In Bulkington.And James has come to visit us at talk about local today for a little bit of extra help with his hyperlocal website that we initially helped him get started about a year ago, wasn't it James?

James: That's right. Yes.

Karen: Today we have gone through some practical things like laying out a blog post with pictures, how to copy and paste words into a blog post, using categories and tag to help with the google juice, and also how to insert links so you can link out to other websites.

How are you finding running a hyperlocal website? Can you tell us when you started and why you started it?

James: Yes, the reason for my starting my hyperlocal website is my way of trying to come back and say 'Thank you' to the people of Bulkington. I've lived in Bulkington since 1979, and it's a small village on the north side of Warwickshire. It's recognised as one of the largest villages in England and the people themselves are more than village. They are a warmer kind of people. I felt as if they welcomed me to the village and because of this I find myself going round and taking note of how they have accepted me.

I see the village, and they will know how outsiders come into the village and they would be able to recognise how  outsiders recognise them, and the beauties that they've got there.

Karen: So, in a way, blogging about how your were welcomed to the village, and what it is like for a new person to move to the village and be welcomed by everybody else who lives there already?

James: I also find that they village itself is the gateway to some of the more known but less talked about areas, such as the George Elliot, being part of the George Elliot countryside. We are close to Bosworth the battlefields, for people for interested in history. But living in Bulkington has got tremendous outreach for people. I think that's the right word you use. I do love to boast about my adopted village and hence the reason again for the blog. It'll say the village; how I see it which even surprises me, the beauty that is around here.

Karen: What kind of feedback have you had from the residents of the village that have seen your blog and what you have been writing about, and your brilliant pictures as well?

James: Yes, they have been very complimentary and most of the people that I've spoke to do recognise that I'm unbiased in the way I speak about the area is refreshing to them, that's how they see it. We know that there is negative things everywhere and I can touch upon them as well with a view of perhaps betterment. I am not politically driven, I just feel as if the village offers a lot. And the village people do recognise that I love to see a lot of people showing an interest.

Karen: That's fantastic. Well, your blog is going from strength to strength and we have been talking about the number of visitors it's had and we've had a look at the stats and how it's grown over the last year. With the technical side of running a hyperlocal blog, say, on the platform your using, Wordpress, we've gone through of the aspects of that today as I've mentioned.

How have you found the tutoring that you've had this afternoon? Is it something you're going to be able to put into place easily yourself when you get back home again?

James: First of all, when I was introduced to Wordpress that was about 12 months ago. I have little or no knowledge of computers, but the assistance I've had did help me and when I showed signs, hiccoughs I would call them, I got in touch with Karen, who I'm talking to now, and Karen welcomed me to Birmingham and she went out of her way to show me extras ways of widening expectations of views, such as...

Karen: All the things you can do on there...

James: Yes. It's lovely. I spent a good hour in her company and it was definitely well worth my trip.

Karen: Well, thank you very much James and I hope that you are going to go away now a bit more confident about the wordpress platform and in it's use and you can get stuck into you blog.

James: I know I will. I definitely know that the blog will have a wider field because the  events that takes place will be highlighted, when I've put on all the tags like you've told me.

Karen: Yes, tags and categories. We've discussed that a lot today. Thank you ever so much for coming out to see us. Much appreciated James and we look forward to continuing reading It's Happening In Bulkington!

Thank you very much James!

Say hello on twitter @karenstrunks

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Here I go again!

What happened, Karen?

Thanks for asking! ;)

THIS has happened!

Ta da! Amazing eh?

Well, of course, this weight gain didn't just happen. I actively MADE it happen. Like Oprah tell us to - I'm 'owning' this one ;)

Of course this wasn't a deliberate sabotage effort, and I really didn't think I would be in this position again; not after all my work, effort and commitment of getting to my goal weight.

Looking at the chart above, I spent 9 months losing 50 lbs. I stayed at/under my goal weight for 4 months and have spent about 10 months putting it on 40lbs.

I stopped tracking by not weighing myself - I can't do this weight loss thing instinctively. It needs facts and figures.

I introduced processed/junk food, bit by bit, ('Oh, this little bite won't hurt'), and it was enough to get my taste buds accustomed to those flavours again, whereas previously I had lost any cravings for processed food.

Why am I blogging out it again?

I guess you could say the 4th 'secret' to my weight loss was this blog. I dedicated a post about how this blog has helped support my weight loss goals and how I helped a few people along the way.

I know that there are people who are trying really, really hard to lose weight. When I wrote about my weight loss it resonated with a lot of people who were in a similar position.

My goal is to get to where I was before - under 140lbs. This blog and my readers and twitter friends and followers supported that goal, and so that's what I'm going to do again. You use the tools that you know will work and get the job done. I know writing about it helped other people and there was some behind the scenes mutual support going on too, and that's something I really appreciated.

Getting to goal and staying there isn't something I'm going to give up on. I'm not a quitter! I will not be defeated.

Reaching my goal weight didn't happen overnight, and neither did putting on weight either. I'm not sure why I allowed this to happen. There's nothing I can (nor would) blame for it, and I'm not going to spend too much time dwelling on it. I just want to get back on track again and feel the benefits of being free of extra weight again! I deserve it. I did it before and I can do it again!

My weight loss journey didn't finish when I got to goal. It's continues with maintaining, and actually never finishes! With whatever goals we all have, there will be things that go astray, things that might change our mindset, things that can get in our way. That's life I guess! We've just got to keep on doing our best.

I want to live the best life that I can. If that means swerving off course, but getting back on track 100 times, then that's what I've got to do.

What was the 'secret' to my weight loss success? 

There are 3 things that were key to my weight loss:
Why do I want to get back to my goal weight?

Health - diabetes is enough to scare me on it's own. Not to mention all the other health risks; high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

It felt great! I had so much more energy (you don't realise it until you lose it, how much extra weight physically weighs you down). I had an great sense of achievement and personal pride that stayed with me and not only that, carried through to other areas of my life and my work. I had big boost to my confidence levels. Oh, and I loved how much easier it was to shop for clothes and rock new frocks!

What am I going to do now?

I've made a start by writing about it today, and I will update this blog with my weight loss at least once a month (that's manageable and of course there's lots of other things I like to write about!).

My fridge is well stocked with these colourful beauties that are essential to my weight loss.

Last week I picked up the exercise again and walked 5 miles, and did various workouts with my dumb bells (after I had dusted them off!).

Join me!

If you are ready for your weight loss challenge, then I would welcome your company! Feel free to send me a tweet or an email, or leave a comment. Let's start, now! :)

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