Bene Diction is the alias of a Canadian blogger who had a successful long-running career in broadcast journalism. BD is now a passionate blogger who is renouned for connecting, encouraging and supporting other bloggers. BD blogs about world news, politics, the Christian faith and more at Bene Diction Blogs On as well as being a regular guest blogger on many other blogs. I’ve been meaning to interview a number of people about blogging and BD is one of those – because of the broad background with different blog platforms and recently switching from a custom blog system to WordPress 2.0.

If you’re considering blogging and would like to try WordPress but think it’s just for people with a tonne of technical skills: be encouraged!

You’ve been blogging now for how long?
I don’t know…May 2003?
And in that time, you’ve gone through a tonne of changes including domain name and blogging software…. how many different blogging systems have you tried? What were they?
Front page, Greymatter, Movable Type, Blogger, two hand coded…one in Cold Fusion, Word Press 1, Word Press 2.
Wow! Why so many?
I was a guest blogger on many blogs and for my own blog, I’ve had to use what I could afford.
Why not stick with blogger? It’s free.
It was not an easy system…infuriating…not worth the hassle.
Would you consider yourself quite a “techy” person?
Not at all, I have a form of dyslexia. I mix up symbols and numbers.
Do you think that blog software is intuitive for non-techy people?
It’s getting better, but I can say a few years ago it was not geared for non-technical people, access to blogging was limited.
What would you imagine the biggest hurdles for non-technical people getting started on say, WordPress 2.0, to be?
Excellent question! Taking the first steps, figuring out where it goes, then how to get it there :)
Do you like to discover things for yourself, or do you think a beginner’s tour of the features would help?
Depends – this is such a great platform anyone with a bit of courage and eagerness can bounce right out of the gate. I would use a beginners tour and would recommend one if for no other reason than a sense of accomplishment and an “I can do this!”
After all those different pieces of software, which would you most highly recommend and why?
Hands down, not a contest: Word Press 2.0. It anticipates my needs, it feels solid, I’m not worried about breaking anything or making a fatal error. It’s well-designed and fun to be in the template. I have control, I can explore and do things for myself. It’s very fast.
Where do you go for support – or do you just try and figure things out for yourself?
WP 2.0 has given me the opportunity to figure things out for myself because of how it is laid out…it’s tabbed and labelled very well…in non-tech speak. I haven’t had to holler for help :)
If people didn’t have a tech support person who knew about WordPress, and got stuck, do you think it’s obvious where to go for help?
I have no idea where to go, but that is because I have an awesome tech :) I would want a help menu that is handy and not too obtrusive and written simply. One of the difficulties with prior platforms I’ve been on is help menus they aren’t helpful. It would be great if there was tech support where I could write and get a person responding quickly.
Live support or a forum?
Live support, or email support, forums make me crazy! There is too much to follow. For example my virus/firewall company provides live tech support. It’s excellent, I don’t have to waste time reading things I have no understanding of. I go to their site, click on tech support and a chat window comes up a person deals with me directly. The response is immediate and I’m treated like a person :) Since blogging is so interactive and communicative that would be ideal. Probably not realistic, but ideal :) It would be terrific if we bloggers could have that kind of tech support, most of us don’t have the money for our own technican. I think if that was available it would assist the developers also. They’d become aware of what problems are cropping up consistently and would be able to address them.
If you were on the advisory group for WordPress 3.0 (if there were such a thing), which areas should they work on improving?
Keep doing what they’re doing. Listen to us non-tech users. This platform has made networking with other blogs and following links wonderful. Keep helping us connect :) Don’t tech speak, keep using english :)
Do you look around much at ways people are extending WordPress through plugins?
I confess I haven’t. I have read about them and understand they have tremendous potential though.
There’s been quite a bit of talk about the “Dashboard” which is the first page you see when you log in. What else would you find useful to be listed there – or do you ignore this page entirely?
I ignore it in terms of the WP news but I like the sidebar. It would be useful if the news wasn’t so prominent. When I log in I want to get to where I’m going.
How do you find uploading images?
I like the click and drop very much, but I have to learn to use it better, I find it sticky sizing and placing needs a bit of patience. I haven’t been able to figure out the text wrap around writing yet nor can I download blog quizes because I don’t understand what I need to do.
Yeah… I hear you… do you like the preview feature in checking if your code works?
I need that preview feature! My ideas get ahead of my fingers!
Have you recommended WordPress 2.0 to anyone since you stared using it?
Oh yes! I wish I could help more bloggers switch…I’ve recommended it online, I’ve emailed and I’ve had several bloggers I know upgrade or switch over. If I can use it, anyone can…my math dyslexia is proof of that.
That’s great :) Thanks for all your thoughts.. I think I’ve run out of questions for now!
Thank you for asking, this was a pleasure. Did you ever think you’d see the day I didn’t have tech questions? That’s how good this platform is: it’s made blogging fun again.

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