Creating & Using Blogs

Technology Tutorials

A Blog is a Social Networking Tool that can be used for teaching and learning purposes, communication, project management and presentations.  There are many Blogging applications available for free on the Internet such as WordPress, PBWiki and Blogger.

In this tutorial you will learn how to create a Blog, post comments and create posts. 

Guidelines for Creating Blogs and Building a Community of Blog Readers

There are a few general guidelines to follow when creating a Blog.

  1. Develop a strategy for your Blog by choosing an interesting topic, identifying your target audience, and defining your goals for the Blog.
  2. Offer “engaging content” to attract readers to your Blog.
  3. Choose the Blogging Tool of your choice! There are many “free” Blogging applications available on the Internet such as WordPress, Feedburner, PBWiki and Blogger.
  4. Help Readers find your posts easily by making sure they can be found through search engines.  Most Blogging tools have built-in search engine features that will help optimize searches for you. 
  5. Build a Blogging Community of Readers by allowing them to comment, but to avoid having a free-for-all setup some simple rules to filter and delete spam comments or even “monitor” your Blog.  Most Blogging tools have similar features.
  6. Include some Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds in your Blog to keep readers coming back often!  They’re available by default in most Blogging tools.  Give your readers the option to subscribe using popular RSS readers such as GooleReader, Bloglines, etc. and via email as well. 
  7. It’s not all about you! Start conversations, not diaries, don’t make your Blog a boring monologue about you, yourself and your thoughts!  You can easily do this by bringing other voices into your posts, quoting an article you’ve recently read, interviews of other readers etc.
  8. Check the “vitals” of your Blog on a regular basis.  There are usually “reports” options within the Blogging tool that you can use to check statistics on your Blog (or you can use a statistics plug-in).  Statistics will give you an idea of what brings your readers to your Blog, what most visited posts are and who the largest referring website is.  They can also help you determine topics for your future posts.
  9. Keep it Up! Don’t start a Blog if you don’t have the time to keep it up.  Don’t expected readers to read your blog if you are not willing to keep up with it.
  10. Happy Blogging!  Have fun with your Blog!

Creating a Blog (and an Account) using "WordPress" Blogging Tool

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The first step in using a Blogging tool is to create an account.

  1. From your browser, access the WordPress server by typing the following url: www.wordpress.com

  2. Click on the button labeled “Get Started" and fill out the required forms. (You can change your blog address if desired).

  3. Click Create.

  4. An email will be sent to your chosen email account. Open the email and click the "Activate Blog" link.

Setting Up Your Blog

  1. Use the given fields to edit your current information.
  • Blog Title
  • Tagline
  • Language

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  1. Sign-in by typing in your username and password (previously created).

  2. In a highlighted area on the screen, you will see a message “welcoming you back” and below it there will be a list of Blogs you have created. 

    welcome
  3. To access your blog, click on the name of it in the highlighted area on the screen.

  4. You will automatically be taken to your “Dashboard”, which is an administrative area where you “manage” your Blog. 

    dashboard

    • The dashboard is where you customize, setup parameters, configure search information, and create new posts for your Blog. 
    • There are a number of “tabs” across the top of the screen (i.e. Write, Manage etc.)
    • There are a  number of “nuggets” displayed on the main page of your dashboard such as:
      • Right Now
      • Recent Comments
      • Incoming Links
      • Stats
      • Your Stuff
      • What’s Hot

  5. Settings

    Please note: The following settings will apply to your “Blog”, not your “Posts”.

    • Click on the “Settings” tab on the upper right side of the screen.

      settings
    • Click on the sub-tab at the top of the screen called “Discussion”.
    • A number of settings appear for your Blog.
    • You will want to specify settings for “Before a comment appears”. 
      • If you want all comments entered by users to be approved by the administrator of the Blog before they become visible, then check the checkbox “An administrator must always approve the comment”.
      • If you want to require the user commenting to indicate their name and email, then check the checkbox “Comment author must fill out name and email”.
    • The author will receive emails when comments need to be approved.
    • Your settings will be saved automatically when you exit this screen.

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How To Create the First Post

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  1. Log in to your Blog and from the Dashboard page click on the link "Write a New Post".
  2. Type in a “Title” for your New Post.

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  3. In the text box titled “Post” type the text for your post (or copy/paste it from another document).  You have the ability to “add media” such as image, video and audio.

    post
  4. Categories are used to organize your Blog and can be thought of as folders where related Blog “posts” are filed.  When creating a New Post you can either choose an existing category or “Add New Category” for this post to be associated with. 

    categories
  5. If desired, “tags” can also be used in your Blog. Tags are keywords used by search engines to locate your blogs/posts.

    tags
  6. “Advanced Options” – * There are a number of advanced options that can be set for your post. 
    Please note: These settings only apply to the post you are currently accessing or creating. 

    • Click on the “Comments and Pings” option

      commentping

      • Check the checkbox “Allow Comments” to allow users to add comments to this post.

      • Check the checkbox “Allow Pings” so you can keep track of how many users linked to your Blog

  7. When finished creating your post, click SAVE, then click PUBLISH to actually "submit" the post.

    savepublish

    • If you only click SAVE, your post does not get submitted for posting until you access it again and indicate that you want to "publish" it. 

      • To publish a saved post at a later date either go into the "Dashboard" area again and click on "Posts" or click "Manage" at the top of the screen and then you can Edit your post.  Your post will be listed.  Click "Edit" next to your post and then click the "Publish" button.

    • Your new Post will appear on the Screen.
    • Click on the name of the Post to view it.

Managing Posts (Viewing/Editing/Deleting/Search)

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  1. Posts can be managed from within the “Dashboard” of your Blog.
    • Access your Blog and then click on the “MANAGE” tab at the top of the screen to see a list of all of the posts for your Blog.
    • Click on the Post you want to view/edit/delete.
    • From this screen you can make modifications to your post.
    • When finished, click Save.
    • At the top of the screen a message will appear saying "Post updated.  Continue editing below or click here to go back".
    • Click the link to go back to the previous page.

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How to Access, Read Comments and Add Comments to a Blog

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* Please Note: Depending on how a Blog is configured, you may have to wait for the administrator to approve your comment(s) before it becomes visible. 

  1. Accessing the Blog and Adding Comments
    1. Access the Blog directly through the “domain name” that was created for the Blog.  From your browser, type the “domain name”  (i.e. http://ctle1.wordpress.com)
      Note:  This is the web address that public users will use to access your Blog and enter comments.  Users do not have to log- in to an account in order to post comments.

      access
    2. All of the posts for this Blog will be listed.  Find the one you want to add a comment to.
    3. Click on the “comments” link at the bottom of the post to view comments and/or add a commentComments will be listed with author name, dates and times.

      comments
    4. To add a comment, scroll to the bottom of the screen and type your comment in the “leave a reply” field.

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    5. Click SUBMIT to submit your comment.
    6. Your comment should appear toward the bottom of the screen (provided the Blog isn’t configured to have the administrator approve all comments first).
    1. Access your Blog and then click on the “COMMENTS” tab at the top of the screen to see a list of all comments for this Blog.

      commenttab
    2. Click the checkbox next to the comment you want to manipulate and then click the appropriate action (i.e. approve/unapproved/delete/mark as spam).

      commentcheck
    3. Click on the "Dashboard" link at the top of the page to return to the Dashboard in Wordpress.
  2. Managing Comments (approve/unapprove/delete/mark as spam)

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    Comments can be managed from within the “Dashboard” of your Blog.