Thursday, June 9, 2011

Blogging 101

Did you know that BLOG is short for WEB-LOG?  I wondered where the term "blog" came from, so now we both know.  It was initially just a type of interenet journal where people could vent and voice their thoughts and opinions, but now it is that plus sooo much more.  I find that it is a way for all of us to share our lives with family and friends afar, find and share answers to common and not so common questions, share tips on health and nutrition and yes -VENTING still applies- all the while entertaining ourselves and our followers. 
Now, I'm not all cocky, thinking that my blog is so good that I must "teach" people to blog, but I was asked to help a dear friend of mine begin one and figured I might as well just dedicate a post to her and it.  I know I always find blogging posts from others helpful, so hopefully Amanda and at least one or two others will as well ;) 
If I'm going to dedicate this post to Amanda, I should tell you a bit about her, plus you'll appreciate her reasons for joining the blog world.  I met her in Augusta, Georgia where our husbands were both stationed for A.I.T (Advanced Individual Training).  They were such a cute couple and so sweet.  I only wish we had all had more time together before we all got our orders to be scattered across the world.  Amanda and Chris got orders for Texas, which would have been nice if Chris hadn't also found out that he was getting deployed right away.  Amanda is proud to have her husband fighting for our country, but as you can imagine- you can't help but be a little selfish and wish that your other half didn't have to leave you.  It's just not fair, I tell ya.  Amanda doesn't let her frustration show, though.  She has been very positive and strong and now wants to begin a blog to help keep her sanity throughout this deployment.  I feel ya girl.  I'm sure she will make fast Blogger friends, and it will help and inspire her as much as it has me.  So proud of her and touched that she came to me for help.  I shall do my best!

Here is the cute couple! Notice the "I love my soldier" shirt she's wearing:

Ok, so here we go...bare with me ;)
Starting a blog is simple enough, but it can seem daunting at first.  As a matter of fact, the first time I attempted blogging, I didn't even make it past the set up, believing that it was too complicated for little ol' me.  A few months later, the blogging bug started nibblin' at me again, and I decided to make another attempt, boy am I glad I did!  After sitting myself down full of enthusiasm and determination, I began following the Blogger prompts, and within the evening I had a simple skeleton of a blog, within a week I had added gadgets, edited my profile and had earned a couple of followers.  That was HUGE to me!
I would suggest, that before you even touch the computer, you need to decide your content or niche and then come up with your "domain name".  Your blog name has a lot more importance than you might assume, and unfortunately, I didn't learn that till recently.  Not only is it the opening to your blog that can scare away interest new followers, but it is also how people find you through web searches and how they know what to expect from your blog.  I really like mine, but I don't think many people google the keywords in my title lol.  Better luck next time for me, but you however, can learn from my mistakes.  Have a few options, so that when you are setting up your blog through your blog provider, you have choices in case some of them are already taken.

Next step is choosing what "blogging provider" to actually go with.  I was only familiar with Blogger, so that is the one that I chose, but many say Wordpress is the way to go.  If you want to make money off your blog or if you think you might end up getting really into it, then you might want to go ahead and make the commitment to Wordpress.  For those of you that are doing this for fun and want something simple and user friendly-stick with Blogger.  It won't do you wrong.
Once you commit to a site, you will find that that most of them are pre-made, user friendly, push-button publishing that don't require a Ph.D in computers, although some say Wordpress is too complicated, just to warn you.  Since I went with Blogger, I'll walk you through their setup!

1) Click on the "Create Your Blog Now" button on their page.

2) Create a Google Account as prompted, and then sign in to the account.

3) Name your blog.

4)  Choose one of their templates.  They have cute ones, so I would start out with one of theirs and then once you get used to Blogger and are ready to venture out and add more to the substance of your blog, you can visit sites such as The Cutest Blog on the Block and Shabby Blogs.  I found that this part wasn't hard, but it was a little more challenging, so no need to overwhelm yourself right off the bat.

5)  Get EXCITED cuz you are ALMOST done!

6)  Create your first post and bask in how good it feels to have accomplished your goal!

Phew...I think I made it through that safely....buuuuut I think I'm done for now and have bored you long enough ;)  If I can actually remember how to do some of the fun stuff- i.e. gadgets, fun templates, adding pages, etc., then I'll work on "Blogger 202" ...we shall see!

1 comment:

Kelly said...

This is great! I wish I'd had something similar when I was setting up my blog! I'm no expert, but if I can throw in my two cents - I'd recommend turning off word verification on comments. It makes it easier for people to comment. Its hard to type in those crazy words if you're on a phone, or I just click out of the box after I hit enter and then realize I didn't authenticate it. If that freaks you out and you're afraid you'll get spam, you can always do comment moderation. Again, I'm NO expert, so you can tell me to go jump in a lake!


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