Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Blogging 101 ~ Lesson #3: How To Publish a Post

In Blogging 101 Lesson #2 you learned how to use the page publisher in Blogger.  The post publisher is exactly the same except for three additional options:  jump break, labels and post date & time.  You will want to open your own post publisher to view as you read thru this lesson.  There are two ways to find it:  1) open your Blogger
dashboard and click on "new post"  2)  open your blog and in the Navbar at the top of your window click on "New Post."  You can review Lesson #1 if you would like to re-familiarize yourself with the rest of the post publishing options.

Adding a jump break into a post.  The little piece of paper torn in two when clicked on will make a jump break in the post.  This will cause just the part of the post above the break to show on the home page of the blog (this option does not show in the Page editor).  Some bloggers do not put the whole post one the home page--see Simply CVS for an example.  I put a small amount of the post on the home page, enough so readers know what it is about and can click to read more if they choose to.  I feel, in my type of blogs, this gives readers the ability to scroll thru the posts to find what interests them without having to scroll far to see the next post.

Adding labels to a post.  On the bottom right of the post publisher is a text box called "Labels."  This is where you will  put post tags:  words or phrases that will identify the post for navigational purposes later and for search engine optimization.  You will want to capitalize these just as you would want them to appear on a list of labels so they will be ready for your blog sidebar later if you choose to add them.

Post date & time options.  If you click on "Post Options" in the lower left a window will open below the post editor.  On the top right is a "Post date and time" option.  It is set to automatic by default so when you are thru composing your post you can click publish post and it will automatically post immediately.  If you would like to schedule the post to publish at a later date you can click on "scheduled at and change the date and time to your choice.  Then you click publish post and it is set up to publish at the scheduled time.

There are two other benefits to being able to set a post date and time.  After posting a series of posts you can go back in and edit the post time to change the order in which they appear on a page.  Say you do a series of posts on a ten step process beginning with step one.  On your blog page they will appear in reverse order of how they were posted with the newest on top.  This will cause the steps to be in reverse order and the reader will have to scroll to the bottom of the page to see the first in the series.  You would have the option to go back in and edit the posting times and dates so that they would appear on your page in order of one to ten.  You can see an example of what I mean in my CVS Shoppers Personality series at Simply CVS.  I originally posted these in order of one to five.  If I wanted them in reverse order I could change the dates so when a reader clicked on the series page they would be listed one to five instead of five to one.

Another benefit is if you want to put up a post that for some reason you do not want to show up on your home page at the top.  You can choose a date in the past and put it in and the post will appear in the time frame of other posts put up on the same date.

20 Minutes:  Write A Welcome Post

Think about what you want your first post to be.  Many bloggers start off with a welcome post (see Scribbling Sarah,  Nurturing Cuisine,  Simply CVS, The Aldi Spot for examples).  They can include a little about yourself, your goals for the blog or what got you interested in blogging about your topic.  Or perhaps you just want to jump right in with an informational post.  Whichever you choose go ahead and publish your first post utilizing the information you learned in this lesson as well as in Blogging 101 Lesson #2.  Practice inserting a picture, moving it around and removing it to become familiar with this feature.  You can right click on the picture in this post, click copy image URL and use it to practice with if you'd like.  Also practice putting in a link and removing it.

5 Minutes:  Practice Editing Your Post

Now that you have published your first post practice editing it.  Go to your blog's home page.  You should see a little pencil icon below your post.  Click on this and it reopens your post editor and it will be as if you never published it and you can make any changes to any post that you would like.  If you click off the page without making any changes it will not affect the current post at all--it will still be posted on your blog.

Notice at the bottom you can publish it, save as a draft or preview it.  The "save now" button is gone and when editing a published post the post editor does not automatically save your changes as you make them.

I have mentioned that I have had problems with spacing issues. One thing that seemed to happen whenever I edited a published post that had a jump break inserted is that it would leave an extra space at the jump break.  So when I go into edit a post I first erase the jump break with the backspace key and then re-insert it.  Also, when I have noticed extra spaces in a post I found that the delete button would not actually delete them, I have to use the backspace key.

When you are thru practicing editing your post re-publish it if you made changes you wish to keep and just close the window without saving changes if you did not.

5 Minutes:  Edit Post Gadget

At the bottom of your post you will notice several links and icons such as labels, comments, and time posted in the post footer area.  You have the option of removing any of these you would like and moving them around to suit your taste.

Go to your blog's dashboard and click on design.  Scroll down so you can see the Edit link in the bottom right corner of the Blog Posts box.  You will see several options to personalize your blogger post footers as well as  what appears on the home blog page:  the number of posts and the link test that will indicate there is more of the post to read on another page  when the jump break has been used.

The number of posts on the main page is a personal preference and you will probably change this option several times throughout your blogs life.  Too many posts on one page can slow down the blog's page loading time especially if you have either a lot of photos, or if you include the full post on the home page.  That is something to consider.  If you are having a deal blog and want  many of the current deals to show you may want to choose to have 10 to 12 posts per page rather than the 7 that show by default in Blogger.

The post page link text can be changed to anything you'd like it to say.  Some examples are, Continue reading, For the full post, or something in line with your blog's topic.

Now just look thru the rest of the options and choose what you want to show and edit any wording you want different than what they offer by default.  Then in the bottom of the edit box move around the icons and links to be in the order you would like to have them below your posts.  Click save and view your blog to see how it looks and if there is anything you want to change.

Now that you have your first page and first post published we can move on to working thru the Template Designer on Blogger to give your blog a personalized look.

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