Monday, December 6, 2010

How to create a blog

Everything you always wanted to know about blogging*
*but were afraid to ask...

So you want to create a blog, but don't know how? Follow this quick tutorial to find out how to create and edit your first blog in just a few minutes. I'll be using Blogger, Google's free blogging website, because it seems to be the easiest to begin from what I've read in comparisons to WordPress and other blogging tools. You'll need to sign up for a Blogger account, but luckily it becomes a part of your Google account, so you won't have to remember yet another user name and password. If you have one on hand, you can upload a small picture of yourself to make your public profile more personal.

Once you've created a Blogger account, visit the dashboard and click the big blue button that says something like "create a new blog" to do just that. All you have to do is pick a title and a web address. The title will show up at the top of your blog and in the title bar of the web browser (e.g., Firefox) when someone is viewing your blog, so keep it short and sweet but descriptive. I titled mine "Blogging 101: A Tutorial" with the URL The next step is to select a layout, but I wouldn't worry about it too much at first because you can always change it later quite easily. Just pick anything that works for now so we can get started.

Now you've created the blog itself (you're halfway done!) and it's time to start writing your first post. From the Blogger dashboard, you should see your newly created blog on the right side next to your name and picture. Now click the small blue button titled "new post". This takes you to the post editor, which is basically a simplified version of Microsoft Word inside the browser, so just write whatever you want and spice it up with rich text formatting using the little buttons at the top of the text editing window. Most of the buttons are typical, but there are a few worth mentioning. Undo and redo are the little arrows on the far left side, spell check is the green check mark on the far right side, and the little Polaroid picture next to the button titled "Link" is what you can use to either insert a picture from the web or upload a photo from your computer. Before you publish your post, don't forget to give it a nice descriptive title and always preview it before pressing the "publish" button. However, if you want to later change something, you can always edit your post from the Blogger dashboard.

Also, I should mention that you can upload a bunch of pictures to Picasa, which is Google's online photo sharing website, and then it would be easy to add them to your blog. When you add a photo to a blog post using the little Polaroid button, you'll notice that on the left side of the box that pops up there are a couple of options for where the picture comes from, including Picasa web albums. The major advantage of doing this is if you're going to upload a bunch of photos from your travels, Picasa allows people reading your blog to view your photos in a full-screen slide-show, rather than having to scroll down through your blog, which is designed primarily for text, not photo collections.

Now that you're educated on how to create and edit a blog, go ahead and do it!

Happy blogging...