How to Start Your Blog on

Set up your blog and get started. Here is how to begin…

If you are using the free version of Word Press:

1. Sign Up

Go to and “Sign Up.” You cannot change your user name, so choose an appropriate one.

Pick a URL that fits with the title or subject of your blog.

Under Privacy Settings:

Make sure the box is checked for “I would like my blog to appear in search engines like Google and Technorati, and in public listings around”

Click on Create Blog.

2. Pick a Theme

Once you are in Dashboard, click on Appearance tab on the left.

Pick a theme that fits with the subject and tone of your blog.

Click “Activate” to select a theme.

Then explore your theme options.

-Two or three column themes are best. Check out some of the other features that each theme has to see if it will fit what you want to do.

-Press Row, Cut Line and The Journalist are three simple designs that will work well if you want to give your blog a more “journalistic” look.

-Once you pick a theme, explore some of the options (i.e., some themes will let you create additional pages, select colors, etc).

–A theme with a Custom Header means that you can put in your own image. If you have a Custom Header, put in an image that sets a style and tone for your blog. You can take your own photo. Or if you are looking for free images, try Flickr Creative Commons, Openphoto or some other free photo services.

Don’t steal images you have don’t have the rights to or permission to use. Always give credit to the photographer. See the About page of the class blog for an example of how to give a photo credit.

3. Adjust Your Settings

Click on Settings.

Under General Settings:

  • Give your blog a title and tagline.
  • Timezone – Set it to UTC-5

Click “Save Changes.”

Under Settings> Discussion:
-Make sure your blog allows comments, but select the level of security that you wish to have.

4. Add Widgets

Click on the Appearance tab. Click on Widgets. You can pick from a bunch of widgets. To add a widget, drag it into the box on the right, then click “Save.”

To begin, you are REQUIRED TO HAVE:

  • Links – This is your blogroll with a list of at least 5 blogs that related to your beat. Delete the placeholders. Creating a blog roll is a two step process. First add the Links widget. Clikc “Save.” Then go the Links navigation on the left hand column. Add your blogroll links here. This will add it to your blog roll.
  • Archives – so the reader can see what you have posted.
  • Blog Stats (so I can get a quick sense of your traffic). This is different than the Blog Stats function in your dashboard, you have to add it.

You can add others if you wish. Suggestions are RSS feeds, tag cloud, or delicious.

For more on widgets, see What is a Widget?

5. Write Your First Post

Write an initial post to introduce your self, your blog, what you hope to cover over the course of the semester.

You can view your blog post in Visual or HTML mode by clicking on the tab.

Click here for a list of basic HTML code.

Create a hyperlink. Highlight a word or phrase that you want to link to another Web site or blog. Then click chain link icon. Add the address to the Link URL. WordPress puts http:// in the field so make sure you don’t put it in again. In the Target field, always select “Open link in a new window.”

Delete the “Hello World” post that WordPress gives you.

6. Create Categories and Tags

Tags – a list of keywords that describe your post (5 tags for each post is a good number).
Categories – are broad areas within your blog topic.

For example, if you are writing a food blog, a post titled “Last Night At Burger King” might be filed under the “Dinner” category, but could have tags like, “burger, chicken fries, chocolate shake, dr. pepper”.

For more, see the difference between tags and categories.

7. Take responsibility for your publication.

Your full name must appear on your blog. You can create an About page. Or you can add some text to the sidebar of your blog using the Text Widget.

8. Spend some time exploring your Dashboard and learning how to use it.

9. Double check everything.

Go back, look carefully at your blog. Look for typos, misspellings, weird things. Always use the spell checker before you publish a post.

For more info, check out the Getting Started help page.

If you are not using Word Press, make sure your blog still has all of the required aspects.

This entry was posted in Assignments, blog, Blogging Tips. Bookmark the permalink.

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