Goin' Bloggin'

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ok I hope to be getting around to lots of new stuff in 2008 and one of those things is the series of blogging articles I promised last year. So here is a beginners guide to starting your own blog I had published in Scrapstreet May 2007 ezine. Let me know what other blogging tutorials, tips etc you'd like to see!

So first things first, what is a blog? The word blog is defined in the dictionary as an online diary , a personal chronological log of thoughts published on a webpage, also Weblog. If you have a blog you are a blogger. Why blog? If you look at any scrapbooking message board lately blog links are popping up daily in people's signatures. Celebrity scrapbookers are blogging, magazines are blogging, and even scrapbook manufacturers are getting in the blog bandwagon. For me blogging started out as a way to keep in touch with friends and family back in England when we moved to America. I was able to put all our information on a blog and visitors could read the information that was pertinent to them. It saved me a lot of emails let me tell you! As time went on I discovered scrapbooking and not wanting to clutter up our family blog (and some of my family just don't "get" scrapbooking) I decided to start a blog dedicated to my scrapbooking. Some blogs are just daily updates of random thoughts, some are photoblogs, each blog is a little bit different, because each blogger has a different reason for blogging.

Privacy issue - I know for some privacy can be a difficult issue with the threat of online predators. Blogs for this very reason can be private. In most blogs settings you can make your blog private, either by password protection or email invite only. Think of these private blogs like your own little yahoo group.

Guidelines for bloggers - As with ANY activity online please be careful with the information you share! Offer little in the way of personal information, especially if you have children. I realize that isn't always possible, but if safety is a concern follow the guidelines below:

  • don't post personal information such as: your surname, phone number, home address, email, instant messaging name, birthdate, schools name, email address or personal information of friends
  • use initials only of your children or other family members if you aren't comfortable declaring their name
  • don't post provocative pictures online or you or anyone else.
  • assume anyone can see your blog, post anything you don't want online permanently. Whilst YOU can edit/delete your post, anyone could have saved that information to their own computer, or printed it out. Its up to each of us to decide the how's and why's and if's of blogging. Is it right for you? If the answer is YES then read on....

How to blog? There are many resources for blogging. The first thing to decide is whether or not you want a free blog. Yes blogging can cost you nothing! Or you can pay per month for a blogging service, like www.typepad.com. No they won't blog for you, but typically the paid blogs provide more services, such as separate webpages for galleries etc. I personally choose blogger.com its free, and I'm thrifty, plus with the new blogger its very easy to customize your blog to suit your style with some basic blogging knowledge, which I hope to provide in this series of articles.

Free blogs:

Is it easy? If you want a basic blog yes its very easy! If you can navigate your way around message board forum, sign up for message boards etc then you can definitely blog! In these tutorials we'll deal with www.blogger.com as it is one of the popular blogging services. When you go to blogger the homepage has a tour you can take or in just 3 steps you can be blogging, click create your blog now.

Blogger is now owned by google so if you already have a google/gmail account you're good to go and can just sign at the top of the page and move onto step 2 - name your blog by just clicking "create my blog" on the next page.

If you don't have a google account it will ask you to sign up for one. They are free and quite honestly a great email account and definitely worth having!

As you can see it is pretty foolproof with help to the right if you are unsure of what anything means. Once you've pressed continue check your email account you signed up with, a verification email will be sent to that email address to ensure you meant to sign up for blogger. All you have to do is click the link in the email to confirm you are the blogger. Then you can move onto step 2 below

Again blogger is very helpful giving you tips. The blog title and address do not have to be the same. The blog address is the url you enter into your web browser to read the blog (in my case dihickman), the blog title is simply the heading at the top of your blog, this can be anything you wish. Both the title and URL can be changed later if you decide you want a new title, bear in mind that not all urls will be available. Once you press continue you will see the template page.

This is where you will decide the layout of your first blog. There is a scroll bar to the right where you can see more templates. Once you make your blog, more options become available. On most templates you will be able to change the colors and layout later. Not to worry if you don't like the template you selected you can change it later. Once you hit continue you get the following message!

Congratulations! You are now a blogger! We can go to the posting page and create your first post! If you've posted on a message board or used a word processing program the next screen will look familiar, for now we're going to stay in this screen and create your first basic post. We'll go into more detail on the icons another time. Click the title box, enter your post title, then click the text box and enter your text. You then have the option to save as draft or publish. Saving as a draft means you can save the post and publish it at a later date. Publishing means that the post goes out into the world wide web and everyone can see your post! Click publish, on the next page you have the option to view to blog, so click it and take a look at your first blog entry!

I added a "blogging" over on the side bar to the right which has the tutorial for making url links in your blog post. Want more blogging tutorials? Hook me up in the comments with what want to know? How-to ideas, tips and tricks, etc. I hope to get around to one or two blogging tutorials a month.

Tutorial by Di Hickman published in Scrapstreet Ezine May 2007

More coming soon!



JanMary January 19, 2008 at 11:58 AM  

Where were you when I needed you when I started blogging?!!

This is all great info.

A few ideas of what I would like to learn - how to make your own blog header. As a digi-scrapper I know I should be able to!

How to create your own button/blinkie for your blog for forums etc?

Visit my blog and you could probably see some more I need that I don't even know yet! All suggestions and tips gratfully received.


lam January 20, 2008 at 3:23 AM  

Thanks for sharing this awesome tutorial! I would love to read about how to make / change your blog header.

sylv January 20, 2008 at 12:12 PM  

Thank you so much for the tutorial! I have always wanted to start a blog, but was a little intimidated. With your tutorial, and as soon as I can think of a blog name, i'm going to take the plunge! But, how do I post pictures on the blog?

Thanx again!

Dawn January 25, 2008 at 7:49 AM  

Great tut Di! I am with everyone else so far in wanting to know how to make my own header which I know is relatively easy. The hard part is figuring out how to get it where it belongs on my blog, lol. That is what I would really need help with.

Some other things off the top of my head here; Do you use one of the templates that come with blogger or are you making your own? Can we do that and if so how?

I wanted to put in a youtube video once, in my side bar with a song and video. While I got it there, I couldn't figure out how to make it smaller to fit the space, so I took it off. Not that I cared if the video was there really, but you could only see half of it, and I just didn't want it there if I couldn't get it to look right, kwim?

How do you get your own background or even just a different color? And for now, that is all I can think of, lol. I will be back as more comes to me..and now I am off to update my own blog!

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