Blogging Because You Enjoy It

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 27, 2011

People start blogs all the time. The problem starts the second week. It is like that cute puppy you saw, you took it home, and you promised to take care of it. After a while you moved onto another hobby, and the dog needs to go out.

With this in mind, it is time for a post about HOW TO BLOG. This will not tell you about search engine optimization. There are lots of people who will tell you that, and a few will know what they are talking about. Today’s feature (and a future page) is about blogging because you enjoy it. Yes, compulsively checking the stats is part of the fun. There will be posts that you think are home runs, and they will be ignored. There are also posts that will surprise you with their popularity.

When you are starting out, you probably want to choose a venue for your blog. The two obivious choices are WordPress and Blogspot . Chamblee54 started on Blogspot, and produced 264 posts. In February 2008, Google services were no longer available to PG, for mysterious reasons. The blog moved to WordPress, where it remains today.

To PG, WordPress is better in a number of ways. It has a better look, it is not owned by Google, and it is slightly easier to work with. It should be noted that not everyone has a hosted blog… one with .wordpress or .google in the url. Some people have their own domain. You can still use WordPress or Blogger software. For someone starting out, the hosted blog is a bit easier. (If you become popular/controversial, you might want to stay under the umbrella of a host. It would be tough for a hacker to take down Google If you have your own domain, you are on your own.)

Once you choose a service, and set up an account, you will need to choose a template (or theme). This is the look of your blog. PG likes the plain templates, with large columns. The one on this blog now is “The Journalist 1.3 “. The columns are 720 pixels wide, which is good to know when you add pictures. The Journalist is used by two very fine blogs, A Philosopher’s Blog and Futility Closet . If you choose to go with Blogspot, the best theme is Herbert. (If you have already started a blog, and want to use another template, the switch is easy. The pictures will remain the same size, which might look odd if you go with larger columns.)

At this point, you are ready to get started. You will, hopefully, learn by doing. This tutorial is open ended, and will probably have future chapters. Here are a few suggestions.

1- The number one rule is Just Do It. The formula for writing is ass plus chair. Don’t worry if it is not terrific, or if it doesn’t fit the theme of your blog. Don’t worry if it will attract a large audience. Just write something that appeals to you, make it easy to read, and put it up. If it finds an audience, great. If it doesn’t, you had fun writing it.

2- Use spell check. Avoid profanity. Use good grammar. Write short sentences and short paragraphs. Try to make this easy and fun to read. (Easy writing makes for tough reading.) Know the correct use of Their/There/They’re .

3- Use Pictures. The blog is a visual medium, and should be fun for the eye. Be careful with copyrights. Adjust the size of your picture to the size of your columns. (You don’t want to load in huge pictures, that will take a long time to load.) If you don’t have photoshop, you can download GIMP .

4- The more you say, the stronger your opinions, the greater your chance of being a hypocrite. Try to walk the walk, but don’t worry too much about this. Hypocrisy is in the eye of the beholder.

5- Enable comment moderation. Your service will send you an email when you get a comment, and you can approve it. You should check your spam folder frequently, as sometimes legitimate comments wind up in there.

6- Videos are fun. Youtube has a good search engine, and probably has something to liven up your post. Blogspot will embed more types of video than WordPress. Some music players can be embedded as well. Be sure to use the code for WordPress.

7- When you get information from another source, give a link. This is a way of giving credit (like a footnote in a term paper), and it enables the reader to learn more about the subject. To insert a link, click on the Visual tab. Highlight the text that you want the link to target. Click on the tab for inserting a link. Copy the url into the field, click “Open link in a new window/tab”, and click on “Add Link”. There is an easier way to insert links, using HTML, that we will cover in a future tutorial.

8- Write your post in a word document. (Here is the basic template.) Check it for mistakes, and add any code that is appropriate. (A later tutorial will deal with HTML). When you are through, click on New-Post, and give your post a title. Click on the HTML window. Add your pictures before you add your text. (This is not totally necessary, but seems to work a bit better.) Find a spot in the pictures, and copy in your text. Click on the Visual window, and see what it looks like. Go to the bottom of the window and click save. Right click on the preview tab, and open it in another window. Review the text and pictures, and correct any mistakes. Hit publish. Look at the finished post, and make sure it does not need any changes. Right click on edit post, and open that in a new tab. Click on HTML. Hit ctrl+A, ctrl +C, go back to your word document, and click ctrl +V. You now have a coded copy of you post.

9- Have a good time. You are not curing cancer, or eliminating world hunger. You are sharing your thoughts with anyone who wants to see them. When you finish a post, start to think about the next thing you want to put up.

10- Top ten lists are often one line too long.

2 Responses

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  1. Cloud Server said, on December 28, 2011 at 1:47 am


    Really loved your blog.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. […] is part two of the Chamblee54 tutorial, Blogging Because You Enjoy It. This lesson will focus on the template, and the HTML codes in it. A companion piece, template with […]

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