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 http://www.wordpress.com 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 WordPress.com.”
Click on Create Blog.
For a video demonstration of this, click here
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.
-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.
For more, check out the Themes Support page.
3. Adjust Your Settings
Click on Settings at the bottom of the left hand navigation bar.
Under General Settings:
- Give your blog a title and tagline.
- Timezone – Set it to UTC-5
Click “Save Changes.”
Also under Settings, click on 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 which are items that will appear on the side or bottom of your blog. To add a widget, drag it into the box on the right, then click “Save.”
Add a widget for Archives – so the reader can see what you have posted.
Add a widget for 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 a Twitter feed, RSS feeds, tag cloud, or delicious.
For more, see What is a Widget?
5. Create a Blogroll
Create a blogroll with a list of at least 5 blogs/web sites that related to your beat.
Creating a blogroll is a two step process:
1. First add the Links widget to your side bar. Drag the Links title over. Click “Save.”
2. Click on the Links tab on navigation bar on the left hand side. Delete the WordPress.com other ones that are there by default. Click on Add New Link Add new linkyour blogroll links here. Put in the name of the blog or web site and the URL. This will add it to your blog roll.
For more on how to add a blogroll, click here.
5. Write Your First Post
Click on Posts on the left hand side navigation bar. Delete the “Hello World” placeholder post. Click on Add New. Write an initial post to introduce yourself, your blog, what you hope to cover over the course of the semester.
See How To Post for instructions.
You can view your blog post in Visual or HTML mode by clicking on the tab.
6. Create a hyperlink
In your post, highlight a word or phrase that you want to link to another Web site or blog with your cursor. 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. Select “Open link in a new window.” Save. Make sure it works.
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. Create an About page. (Here is info on how to create a new page.) Or you can add some text to the sidebar of your blog using the Text Widget and put your name there.
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.
Also check out the links to helpful info on the “How To” page.