Blogging 101 - BloggerCon Beginners Sessions

Part Three
: How to Do Everything in a Few Easy Steps


In this section we will try to provide step-by-step indtructions for doing the "down and dirty" work of making your blog a living extension of who you are and what you do.


How to Log into your Blog

1) Once you are on the page of your Blog, find the link on the right that says "Login"


2) Fill in the email address and secret password you used when you registered the site.  You do remember the password, don't you? If not, email the email for a copy, and tatoo it to your arm next time.


3) That's all there is to it! When you have successfully logged in, a new menu will appear at the top of your blog. This is the Editors Only menu, and allows you to post, edit and change the way your blog looks and works.

The rest of what we do in this unit will use these new menu choices.

How do I post a message to my blog?


1) Click on the first link in the "Editors Menu", named "News" - you will see:

2) Click on "Create a News item"  A News Item is an individual entry in your Blog. This is what you should see:

3) Click on "Create News Item"

You now have a last chance to edit your posting before it actually appears on your blog. Check it over to make sure it says what you intended it to say, and that all the links work.

4) Finally, click on "Post to Home Page" That's all there is to it!


How to create a story

A story is similar to a news item, except it doesn't appear in your blog unless you insert it into a news item posting by writing its name inside quotation marks. For this reason it is NOT a good idea to give stories common names which might show up inside quotations by accident in other stories or quotations.  Like "dog".

A story is a good place to park pieces you are still working on, or things you might want to use at a later date.

1) Click on the second item in the "Editors Only" menu : Stories.  You will see the following screen:

2) From here, the process of creating a story is the same as creating a news item. Just remember to give the story a unique name.  Like "dogzx" or "dogEE". Not "About".




How to Upload a Picture

You can upload any picture to the picture storage area of Manila, but remember only JPEGS and GIFS will display in your blog (or any web page).

1) Click on the third item in the Editor's Only menu: Pictures.  This is what you should see:

2) When you click on "Create a New Picture" you will be asked to do two things:

Give a name to your picture. Use the same rules for "unusual" names you used for the stories, because like the stories, pictures are inserted into postings by including thier names inside "Quotation Marks".

Navigate to the image file you want to locate.

While you are navigating to the image, the screen will look like this:

2) After you have selected the source image, just click on the button "Post New Picture" and that's it!

3) As confirmation, you should get a screen like the following:

Note the comment "To include this picture in a page, type "happi", including the quotes!





IHow to edit something after it has been posted.

1) Editing News Items, Stories, or Pictures, even after they have been posted, is easy, if you are an editor (and you are). Simply click on the title of the item, story or picture, and then look for a buton that says "edit" or a button that says "Edit this Page"

2) After you are done editing, look for a button that says Presto chango!



How to add live links to a posting, news item or story.

1) As in so many tasks in this nutty world of ours, there are two ways to add links to your postings: the easy way and the hard way.  In this case, the choice between easy and hard depends on what kind of browser you are using.  In Internet Explorer and Mozilla, as well as many other browsers for PC and Mozilla on the Mac, when you "Create a News Item" or "Create a Story" you get to use a neat formatting pallet that looks like this:

The link will appear in your posting as colored underlined text. However,

2) If you are using IE or Safari on a Mac, the formatting pallette will NOT appear (the tags that create it are not supported by these browsers), and you will need to use a simple line of html code to add a live link.  It looks like this: <a href="URL">TEXT</a>

Just put the words you want linked where it says TEXT, and the web address you want them linked to where it says URL.

For example, in Safari on the Mac, if I want to link some text to my Blog, I would enter:

And the resulting News Item would look like this:



How to Change the Way Your Blog Looks

There are several ways to change the look and layout of your blog.  Here are some of them"

1) When you are logged in as an editor, you can add new links to the links area on the right of the screen, or change the descriptive paragraph just below it, simply by clicking on the "Edit" button below each section.

2) To get to the more profound changes in the way your Blog looks, you need to click on the word "Prefs" in the Editor's Only menu at the top of the page.  This is what you should see:

Eventually you will explore all of these, but most of them I never visit or change.  For now, we will only look at a couple of categories.

3) By clicking on "Appearance" you can easily change the Title and Sub-title (or tag line) of your blog:

On this page you can control lots of other useful aspects of what your Blog looks like, such as colors, margins, whether you want a calendar or not, the date and author format, etc.

4) Don't forget to click "Submit" at the very bottom of the page to upload your preferences.

5) Clicking on the "Themes" option from the right side of the Preferences page lets you choose from between a dozen pre-designed themes which will instantly change the look and feel, but not the content, of your Blog.  Amoung the choices are "Candid Blue" "Colonsay" "Swim Fan" "Crimson" and "USA", all designed by the multitalented Bryan Bell.

6) For the truly ambitious, or those of you who dream in html, choosing the "Advanced" Preferences option opens up a world of possibilities, as it lets you mess with the templates and style sheets that actually create the pages. If you know what you are doing you can change just about everything about your Blog.  Of course, every time I try to do this I make my entire Blog look like an impressionist painting of a flock of crows on a moonless night, but fortunately there is a "Restore Default" button which seems to shine on through whatever I do.



How to Check Your Blog's Stats

1) Simply adding /stats after the end of your Blog's address will produce the following screen:

Hourly Hits shows how many people have hit (requested files from) your Blog for each of the past 24 hours.

Members shows all of the people who have signed up or left comments on your Blog.

Most Read Messages keeps track of your top 50 all-time postings.

Referers shows who's pointing to you and how your visitors found your Blog

In addition, the web site has a list of the top 100 Blogs at Berkman. Watch your new Blog gather hits and move up the rankings!


Continue on to Part 4