Monday, January 10, 2011

Blogging 101 ~ Lesson #1: Sign Up and Set Up @ Blogger

At the end of this first thirty minute lesson in the Blogging 101 series, we will have set up a blog and will be able to write our first post if we choose to.  This is the easiest part of blogging.  As stated in the "About" page I am choosing to walk readers thru setting up a blog thru Blogger.com as it is designed with ease for the everyday blogger.  It is free and quick & easy to
set up.

Lesson #1 Signing Up and Setting Up a Blog

10 Minutes:  Set up a Google email account.

If you already have a Google email account you can just sign into it and use it to join Blogger.  If not visit Google Account Setup and sign up for an email address.  Decide on a name that matches your blog name or that may reflect what your blog is about. Or you can choose to use your own name.

5 Minutes:  Sign up for a blog @ Blogger
  • Visit Blogger.com and click on Create a blog.  
  • Enter the title you wish you use for your blog.  Capitalize it just like you would want it to be on your blog's banner.
  • Check the availablity of the URL you would like.  Make this as close to your blog name as possible.  Often the actual name will not be available, but try different ones until you have one available that you like.
  • Choose a template.  It doesn't really matter which one you choose, as you can easily change it as you design the look of your blog in an upcoming lesson.
2 Minutes:  View Blog & Set Up as Private
  • Click to view your new blog.  You should see "Followers" and "Contributors" or "About Me" gadgets in the sidebar.  
    • The followers are readers who also have Google accounts and choose to follow your blog.  When someone follows a little icon will show up and there will be a number tally of how many followers you have. 
    • The contributors are you and anyone else you invite to have author privileges on your blog.  
  • If you do not want these to be on your blog, click on the little "tools" icon beside it and a pop up window will appear.  Click remove to remove it.  You can also edit the title of each if you would like.
  • Notice the bar across the top of your blog which includes "New Post, Design" etc.  This is the Blogger navbar (navigation bar).  Click on "design."
    • Click on "permissions."  You want to make your blog private until it is ready to share with others.  Under "blog readers" click on only blog authors (or "only people I choose if you want to invite others to watch your progress).
      • If you want to invite anyone else to be an author to read your blog while it is private you can do it on this page.
13 Minutes:  Exploring Blogger Account and Detailing Settings Step #1

We will now spend our remaining 13 minutes beginning to get familiar with all the info available to us on our blog's account.
  • Open a new tab or window.  It will be quickest to open the rest of these steps in new tabs if you have that option in your browser.
  • Type in blogger.com.  This should bring up your blogger dashboard.  This is where you can begin each lesson to work thru setting up your blog.
    • Open "veiw blog."  This is an easy way to get to your blog from your dashboard--if you begin other blogs they will all be listed here.
    • Open "new post."  You will see the post editor.  This is one way to get to the post editor.
    • Opening "edit post" would bring up any posts you have in draft or published.  You can view a list of them all or of just drafts, scheduled, imported or published.  You can click on edit by any post to make changes.  But you currently do not have any posts so this is not relevant for now except to become familiar with Blogger.
    • "Comments" will show a list of comments--those waiting for moderation and those published.  There is also a spam folder, but not all spam comments are filtered out.
    • "Settings" takes you to several links that allow to modify your blog settings--we will be walking thru these later.
    • "Design" allows you to add gadgets to your blog's header, footer or sidebars and also allows you to edit the template HTML if you choose or to edit the template thru the "template designer."  We will be designing the template in lesson three.
    • "Monetize" is the link you can use to be able to sign up for a Google Adsense account so you can advertise on your blog for an income and after you have it up and running you can check here for your income reports.
    • The "stats" link allows you a look into how many viewers are coming to your blog, from where and what they are looking at.
Now let's go back to the "settings" page and walk thru it.
  • Basic:
    • You will see the title of your blog and a place for a description.  If you type a description in here it will show in the blog heading in smaller font under the blog title.  You can come back and change or remove this any time you want to.  So if you have a description you would like under the title add it here now.
    • Read thru the other options on this page and choose according to your personal desires.
    • Under "select post editor" I advise choosing "updated editor."  As I have used both and the updated is much easier.
    • When you are thru making any changes click "save settings" at the bottom of the page.
  • Publishing:
    • This is for buying a custom domain.  Your own .com or .net address.  We will be discussing this option in another lesson soon.
  • Formatting:  
    • These are the options for setting up the looks of your posts on your page.  Read thru them and decide how you want your blog to look.  You can always come back and change them later.  I'll give a couple opinions below on a couple of options.
    • "Show at most"  One thing to consider is if there are photos in your posts these can make your blog load slower so the less posts on the main page the better for this.  Look at other blogs and see how many they have and what you like the looks of and what will make navigating and reading your blog pleasant for your readers.
    • "Enable float alignment"  I have learned that by choosing "no" I do not have issues with extra spaces in posts like I used to.
    • When finished be sure to click "save settings."
  • Comments:
    • More options to read thru and choose.  Again, I'll comment on just a couple.
    • "Who can comment?"  I advise choosing "anyone" if you want a very public blog and want it interactive.
    • "Comment form placement"  I choose Pop-up window because I choose to have word verification for comments to avoid spam (I have learned this thru experience).  When choosing pop-up the word verification appears before hitting submit comment, if the comments are below the post when the reader hits submit the page refreshes and then the word verification is there--I think this is time consuming and can be confusing for the reader.
    • "comment form message"  Add a message you would like readers to see before the leave a comment.  Many bloggers say something like "I love your comments" or "comments are appreciated."  Since mine are  moderated I note that here so they know why their comment doesn't show up right away.
    • "Comment moderation"  As I said I do choose to do this as I have had problems with spam.  I receive email notifications of any comments and then I publish them from there and then go and comment back at the post.
    • "Show word verification for comments?"  Again, I choose yes to cut down on spam.
    • Once you have made all of your choices "save settings."
  • Archiving:
  • Site Feed, Email &  Mobile, & OpenID will be discussed at a different time but if you have time you may want to explore them, as well as other parts on your own.
Our next lesson will be how to publish a page on Blogger.  Until then, be thinking about your content, your "about" page describing your blog's content and what "look" you want your blog to have in the way of colors or design.  Visiting other blogs is a great way to get ideas.  If you don't have any favorites to visit, you can got thru the ones on my blog roll page at Simply CVS.  Also look for blog rolls on other blogs and visit some of those.

10 comments:

Shopping made Easy said...

Thank you so much!

Cheryl said...

You are very welcome, I hope the lessons are understandable and helpful and I can post them at a pace that will help you.

Betty said...

Thank you so much I have been trying to blogg at wordpress but its so complicated to use. Im starting to like blogger thanks so much for all that you do.

Cheryl said...

Grrrreat, Betty, so glad to help you out. I have heard great things about Wordpress and wondered if I was crazy to stay with blogger, now I am glad I did.

Trish said...

thank you soooo much for your blog... I really needed it!!!

Cheryl said...

You are welcome, Trish. It is hard to do all alone....this is why I share what I have learned by experience. I wish I had more time to devote here, but Simply CVS takes a lot of my time. If you have any questions ask away!

CouponistaMomma said...

Thanks a lot. This is all very helpful for a newbie blogger like myself. :)

Cheryl said...

So glad to help, CouponistaMomma. I have been blogging almost a year now and I know it was a lot to take in at first--and I am still learning! happy blogging!

Ya Ya Couponz said...

Thank you so much!
I found you at WUC.

I'm starting a blog for my local area and your steps are really helpful.

Thanks

*lisa*

Cheryl said...

Fantastic, Lisa! So glad to help. Stop by when your blog is set up and leave a link in the Alumni tab above--would love to see it.