Biz Blog Class

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CCTI Biz Blog Links (Class #2)

Published May 14, 2008 by Dr. Tammy Powley

There are a number of places you can get a blog hosted for free such as the following networks:

wordpress.com

blogger.com

livejournal.com

For this class, we are going to set up a free wordpress blog, so go to WordPress.com right now to sign up for a free account. Once you have your account set up, we can start setting up your first blog.

 You can actually run more than one blog per account, so if you decide to make something totally different later, you can still use the same account. Therefore, it is important to remember your username and password when you set up this account.

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Once you have set up an account, before you start making a blog, think about the questions you were to answer for homework:

• What is my purpose for blogging?
• What type of blog do I want to write? Filter? K-blog? Journal? Combination?
• What do I want to blog about? Can you word this topic into phrase, tagline, or subtitle?
• What would I like the title of my blog to be? (This can affect your URL.)
• Do I want my blog to be public or limit it to a select group who will need a password to access it?

Use your answers to create your first blog. You’ll need to come up with a unique URL, a title, and possibly a tag line.

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Once you have a WordPress account, you’ll need to check your email to activate it. You will be prompted in the email to set up areas of the blog like the theme (the template or how your blog will look); your settings (adding a tag line, changing time zones, setting comments for approval); and of course, writing your first post.

Spend some time setting up your blog before you start writing.

Starting with your theme – Click on the different themes available to view a sample. If you like it, click on the “activation” link in the corner of the theme you are previewing. This will change the them of your blog to match it. You can change this later and not affect any of your posts, so don’t worry about changing your mind later.

Now for settings – When the Write Post window is open, you’ll find a “Settings” link in the right hand corner of your screen.  Click on this link, then click on the Discussions like, and select the option “An administrator must always approve the comment.” This way, spammers can’t just post away. Comments will stay in the comments area of your dashboard until you release them.

Writing your first post – See the next section below. I suggest writing your About Me page first.

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When you have the prelimaries set up, you should write your About Me page next. Try to include the image you were asked to bring as well. If you aren’t sure what to write, look at some of the blogs you have listed in your Bloglines.com account for ideas.

You can also find some examples here:

My About Me page at Crafty Princess Diaries

Heather Armstrong’s About page at Dooce

Margot Potter’s Profile page

Disapproving Rabbits About page

To write your About Me page, you are actually making a static page, so click on the Manage link in your dashboard. Then click on the Pages link. You should see a sample post there already. Select it and start writing away.

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Adding images is very important to blogging because the web is a visual medium. People read differently on a computer than in a book. Rather than read in a linear pattern, they tend to read by skipping around, skimming, and clicking; it’s much more fragmented, so keep this in mind when writing.

When you write for the web you want something easy to read:

  • Short paragraphs
  • Related images
  • Bulleted text
  • Hot links

These all help the reader jump around and creates more of an interactive reading experience.

To add images in WordPress, you have a few different options:

  • You can use the insert/link option available by selecting the green icon at the top of your post window (move the mouse over the icons and you’ll see what each is for). To use this option, you’ll need your images stored some place else on-line. If you have a web site already, you may have images over there you can link to. If not, you can use a free service like photobucket.com and load them over there. This is helpful too if you want to use images on more than one blog or site (like myspace).
  • You can also upload images directly into your blog using the “Add media” located directly above your post window. Free WordPress blogs have a min. of 3GB for images, so keep this in mind. To upload an image, select the icon that looks like a box that is directly after “Add media.” A window will come up covering your post window, and here you’ll have the option to browse for and upload an image or also you can add a link to an image already on-line some place. If you have trouble with seeing all these options, your screen resolution may be too small. It should be at least 1024×768 pixels. You can change this on your desktop by right clicking and scrolling down to Properties and then selecting the Settings tab. Also, sometimes you may just need to try it again. I’ve noticed this feature can just be weird sometimes.

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Other Blog Items to Set Up:

Once you have your About Me page, your basic settings established, theme, and have tried to upload a picture, there are some other items you will want to set up if you have time in class; otherwise, you can do these at home, all through the dashboard area:

  • Blog roll: Under Manage and then Links you’ll see a place to set up a blog roll. If you have some blogs marked in your Bloglines, then you can already starting adding them to your blog roll. But, generally a blog roll evolves over a period of time, so don’t feel like you have to have a complete one right away. At least 10 links is a good min. number to include. 
  • Categories: You can also add categories as you go, even if you are in the middle of a blog post. However, if you know of some you want to add, go to Manage and then Categories. You’ll see one category there called “uncategorized.” That is your default until you change it.
  • Users: If you plan to have more than one person writing on your blog, then you will need to set this up. Select the User link in the top right-hand corner of the page. You’ll see a place here to add them, but they will first need to have a WordPress account.

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Setting Up Blog Posts to Publish on a Certain Date

Though not every blogger will find this necessary, sometimes it is nice to be able to write blog posts ahead of time, so you don’t have to blog every day. WordPress has a feature that allows you to write a post and then set it to publish at a designated time and day. This can save you a lot of time, so it’s worth checking out.

If you look to the right of your screen while you are inside a “Write Post” window, you’ll see  an option that says “Publish on” and an “edit” link next to it. Click on “edit,” and you’ll see an expanded area that allows you to change the month, day, year, and time of your post. Change these to whenever you want your post to publish, make sure the Publish Status window is set on Publish, and save your entry. When you view under Manage -> Posts, you’ll see the future times/date that you set it to publish.

 

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CCTI Biz Blog Links (Class #1)

Published May 12, 2008 by Dr. Tammy Powley

Let’s start with the parts of a blog.

HWY Blogs has an excellent visual break down of the parts and pieces that make up a blog:
blog-parts.gif

Not all blogs have all of these items, especially numbers 13 and 14 (above), but generally, this is a pretty good visual example.

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Now, let’s find some blogs. Here are some links to follow. Use search terms related to your topic of interest to locate a blog. Then, for now, bookmark it in your browser window. We’ll use these for the next part of the class in a few minutes.

After locating some blogs of interest, it is helpful to have an aggregator (a feed reader) set up so that you can start collecting them all in one place. Plus as you find other blogs in the future, you can add them very easily to this list and keep track of updates.

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Let’s now go to Bloglines.com and sign up for a free account.

Once you have signed up for a Blogilines account, click on the Feeds tab, and you should see the following on the right side of your screen:

 

Scroll down. Under the Subscribe to It subheading, click on the browser toolbar link. This will give you instructions for adding a link to the favorites list of your browser. Follow the instructions depending on the web browser you are using. Once you do that, you just have to select this under Favorites in your browser when you find a blog you want to add. Then Bloglines will automatically add it to your feeds.

Now that you have that set up on your browser, go back to the blogs you found previously (remember they should now be part of your Favorites list too). Once you are on the home page of your first blog, click on Favorite, locate Sub with Bloglines, and select that from your favorites. Continue to follow the instructions provided by Bloglines to add the blog’s feed. Repeat this to any of the other blogsyou located so you can have them all located in your Bloglines account.

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Before we move on, we are going to stop here, return to my PowerPoint presentation, and talk about a few topics that are important to blogging – etiquette, comments, and selecting a topic.

Homework:

(1) Before the next class meeting, be able to answer the following questions:

• What is my purpose for blogging?
• What type of blog do I want to write? Filter? K-blog? Journal? Combination?
• What do I want to blog about? Can you word this topic into phrase, tagline, or subtitle?
• What would I like the title of my blog to be? (This can affect your URL.)
• Do I want my blog to be public or limit it to a select group who will need a password to access it?

(2) Bring a .jpg file, no larger than 400×400, that is either a picture of yourself, a related product, or anything that you want to visually represent you on your blog. You can either bring this on a thumb drive, or you can also email it to yourself (just be prepared to access this email when you get to class). If you want to bring additional images that is fine, but at least have one to use on your blog for next class.

(3) Be prepared to write an About Me page. If you want, you can write this ahead of time and save it as a .txt or .doc file. (If it is .doc, I recommend you copy and paste it into Notepad first, and then copy and paste that into your blog window. Otherwise, you may have codes copied in that you don’t expect). This page should be a brief explanation about who you are, what your business is, and why you have decided to blog about it.