Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Blogging 101 ~ Lesson #2: How to Publish a Page (Thru Writing an "About" Page)

This how to blog lesson is about writing an "about" page.  In order to truly work with the Template Designer in designing the look of our blogs we need to have a tab showing at the top of the page and a post showing in the body of the template.  This lesson may take you more or less time than 30 minutes depending on how much you have
thought about the purpose of your blog and how long writing it out takes you.  You can always go back and edit it later, and we will actually be doing a lesson on that, so making a draft will be fine since only you will see it.

What Is a Page? 

A "Page" on blogger is a stand alone post that does not have tags.  Each blog is allowed to have ten pages.  So be sure of what you want to publish on these before you use them up.  Also, they can be deleted later if you choose and another page can replace it.  Pages can be added for reader navigation thru gadgets either under the banner or in the sidebar.  We will be putting them under the banner to begin with for the purpose of designing our template to be able to see what the tabs will look like.

How to Publish a Page

To find the publisher from your blogger dashboard or the navbar at the top of your blog click on "new post."  This will open a post editor window--you do not want to type in this.  Look below the tabs at the top of the page it takes you to for "edit pages" and click on this.  Then click on "new page."  This will open a post editor that is actually for a page, not a post.  You have the option of composing your post directly in this publisher or you can type it in a Word document or some other text program and copy and paste it into the window.

There are benefits to both ways of composing a post.  Posts written in the Blogger post editor are not "what you see is what you get" and they are automatically saved every few seconds.  This is nice if you loose your internet or your computer crashes, what you typed is saved, but it also means you can't undo very well AND I have inadvertently erased a bunch of what I have had written when trying to highlight something to add a link or to change the font or color.  This has not happened in a long time, but has in the past.

I have also, as have friends of mine, encountered spacing and font issues when transferring from Word to Blogger.  But I have found two solutions that have worked for me, but require extra steps.  You can copy your Word document, paste it into "notepad" and then copy and paste from there into Blogger.  But any font changes or links added will be erased when transferred.

I mentioned that I opted for the "new editor" in Blogger in Lesson #1 and also to answer "no" to allow float alignment and these two things seemed to have helped my spacing issues.  So this is what I do now.  I type in Word (sometimes), copy, paste into Blogger post editor, highlight all, click on the font option, choose a random font and then choose "default."  I then choose font size and choose smallest and then normal.  I know this seems like an overkill, and you may find it not necessary to do more than just choosing "default" and "normal" but I have had so many bad experiences that I now choose to go that second mile to be sure my posts look acceptable.

A Look at the Blogger Page Publisher

Open your blog page editor in another window to view as you read thru this list.
  • The Post and Page publisher are almost identical. 
  • If you want your page to have a title, type it in the space provided beside the "Title:" tag.  Most often you will choose to have a title, but if for some reason do not want a title leave it blank.  The URL for the page is based on the title so it can make a difference in search engines finding it when the topic is searched.
  • You can compose your post in HTML or in regular text.  The editor automatically opens in "compose" mode, if you want to use HTML click "Edit HTML" on the top right of the text box.
  • Below the "compose" and "edit HTML" tabs are the options for changing the looks of your text--much like a Word editor and include
    • Font Style (don't worry about this now, we will be setting the default for this when we work on the Template Designer.
    • Font Size
    • BoldItalics, Underline, Strikethrough Options
    • Font color and Font highlighting options
    • The ability to add a link (to do so highlight the text you want to be the link, click on "Link" and add the URL to the web page you want it linked it.  In Blogger, the link will open in the same window.  There is not an option for it to open in another window.
    • Ability to add a picture.
      • Click on the little photo icon and you will have to option to upload them from your computer, from your blog, from Picasa web albums or from a photo URL.  Any pictures you upload will be stored free at Picasa, hosted by Google.  There is a limit of 1024 MB of photos per Google account at which time you would need to delete photos from your blog, or pay for more storage.  I have blogged at Simply CVS for nine months and have 41% of my Picasa account full.
      • Once the photo is in the post editor text window you can resize it, add a caption, remove or move it.  Just click on the picture and options will be shown.  You can also drag it to where you would like it, but once in a while this causes spacing issues.  I have not yet conquered the adding a picture option when adding several pictures with little text.  I seem to always run into spacing issues--I just haven't had enough experience with it as I don't need it very often.
    • Ability to add a video.  Click on the video "take" icon and follow instructions.
    • Text alignment option
    • Numbering or bullet option.
    • Quote option.
    • Remove formatting option (click to remove all formatting) 
    • Check spelling option (click on the ABC and it will highlight any misspelled words)
  • Below the text window is a "Post Options" link which includes reader comments options, HTML settings, and compose settings options. I have just left these in default and ignore them.  You may at sometime want to choose to allow or not allow comments on certain pages.
  • Below the text box are the options to publish the post or preview the post.  If you want to look over your post before publishing it, click on the preview.  
  • The "Save now" button can be used if it has not automatically saved and you want to stop and come back to finish later.
30 Minutes:  Write an "About" Page

Most blogs, and many sites, have a page dedicated to describing the purpose of the blog or the author of the blog.  They may also give some instructions as to how to navigate the blog.  Think thru if you want an "About" page or not and what you want it to include.  You can see a few examples at the following links:  Frugality Is Free,  Nurturing Cuisine,  Simply CVS,  I Am A Money Magnet, Story Time Under The Stars.  These were all written by women, I apologize to you guys, I just grabbed a few of my blogging buddies' pages to share here.

If you do not want to include an "About" page, choose a subject you do want a stagnant page on your site about and write it.  You can look around other blogs or sites and see what types of things they have links for under their banner to get an idea if you don't have one of your own.

Using the above tutorial on the basics of the page publisher type and publish your first page.  When it asks you where you want your page gadget choose "blog tabs" as we want it this way for an upcoming lesson.


Beth said...

I just wanted to say how much I'm enjoying your classes so far...woohoo, lesson 2:) anyways, I've been wanting to start a blog for a long time and got frustrated the first time I tried, so I ended up deleting all my posts, which weren't all that great anyways (I still love my blog title, "somewhere in all this mess" so I kept that!) However, Blogger has changed their interface since you posted these lessons...and while I'm figuring everything out without too many problems, would you consider updating your posts to match the current blogger interface? It might be helpful to people who are new to Blogger. Thanks again:) you're fantastic:)

Cheryl said...

Beth, I hope you enjoy blogging this time around. My life has changed since I started this blog, and I barely have time online at all so have not been doing anything on this site. Updating would take hours which I do not have. I do hope to find the time to at least put disclaimers on those posts which have changed info.