Friday, January 20, 2006
What's it all about?
Let's jump right in with why. It's fun. This is all about vanity publishing: it was seeing the Paris Daily Photo blog that made me think, "I'd like to do that!". It was a combination of good photos and interesting words that seemed to add to the the sum total of good stuff in the world. I wanted to do that.
Now, what is a blog. That's easy too. It is a website which is arranged by date. It is up to you how often you do it. There are lots of services available that make it easy to do without any technical knowledge. Best of all, they are free!
So, within 30 minutes of deciding, I was a blogger. I'm pretty technically literate, so I've written this blog so you can follow me and do the same. I should say that as I'm interested in Photography, my instructions will be geared to creating a Photo Blog.
I have two main blogs, London Daily Photo and My Other Stuff. Take a look, see what you think, leave comments if you feel like it. Browse the blogs, following the links especially from blogs you like, and get a feel for it.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
I've set out to make this blog short - just the interesting bits, but all you need to know. If there is stuff missing, let me know and I'll develop it through people's reactions.
Anytime things go wrong, go back and make sure you've followed the steps. You can always eMail me if you are really stuck and I'll try to help.
This is my basic equipment, once again, there are lots of other ways, but this is what I'm using and happy with:
A PC with Windows2000 (or Windows XP, doesn't matter),
A digital camera (I use an Olympus E500 and a Canon A640)
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Step 1 - Get yourself a blog
Step 1 - Go to www.blogger.com
Step 2 - Follow the instructions to create an account. just note:
Step 3 - Congratulations! You are now a blogger!
You will be offered to go to the "Create Post" page. Do it, and poke around the settings. See my post on "Tuning" for the important stuff.
Note: Since I wrote this Blogspot has updated, as a result there are a few whizzy ways to change your template in the new version. However, if you want a more basic version you can choose the "Classic" template option. These instructions are for the older version. Don't worry too much about the changes.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Step 2 - Getting photos on the blog
Step 1 - Install Picasa 2 from Picasa. If you have Picasa 1 installed, un-install first, and then install Picasa 2. You NEED Picasa 2.
Step 2 - Get used to Picasa - it rocks. It's free, easy and versatile.
Step 3 - Select the photo you want to blog, and click the "Blog this" button in Picasa. You will be asked to log in - you can then choose a size and type the text. YOU MUST have Internet Explorer running and open on your PC for this to work. If you don't the photo may not upload.
Step 4 - Open the Blogger Dashboard and edit the post you have just made if you want to.
Monday, January 16, 2006
Tuning - The Settings tab on dashboard controls
Basic - the only one you may want to change is "Add your Blog to our listings?" to "No" while you are mcking around. Remember to switch it back to yes when you are ready for the outside world.
Publishing - you don't need to change
Formatting - all self explanatory , you will probablywant to change
-> Number of posts to show on the main page
-> Time Zone
Comments - You will probably want to change to allow anyone to comment (it's nice having comments!) and have comments appear in a popup window, so visitors aren't navigated away from your page.
Archiving - self explanatory, no need to change
Site feed - all to do with RSS, just ignore
eMail - self explanatory
Members - no need to do aything
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Tuning - the Template tab on dashboard controls
The main thing you need to know about the template is that if you choose to change to a new one, all changes you make will be lost. Make certain that the template you choose suits you and has all the necessary elements on the page - notably, Links and Archives. So, what changes would you want to make? Here are the main ones:
Links - adding links to your favourite sites, and ones that link to you.
Stats - adding in code that provides you with information aboutvisitors to your site.
I'll post a section dealing with each of those. Truth is, you can do much more than this, but those are the key starters.
A good way to backup your template is to go into the Template editing screen, key
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Tuning - putting Links on your blog
This is a little bit technical but links are very important and aren't that difficult. To have links appear on your page, you need to edit the Template (use the template tab in Blogger Dashboard)
First, backup your template. Click in the template window and Select All by hitting
Next, find the link section of your template. You will find it near the bottom, in a section that says "Links". Now look for the lines that look like :
<>li> <>a href=http://anysitehere.com> Description here <>/a> <>/li>
Create a line where "http://anysitehere" is replaced with the URL of your link, and the "Description here" is what you call it. You can have as many links as you like.
Save your changes and republish your blog, then check the link you just made. If you want the person to click to have the link open in a new window do this: AFTER the URL but BEFORE the >, type "target=_blank", without the quotes but with the underline.
Note for Daily City Photobloggers: To pick up the most up-to-date list of sites, visit http://citybloglinks.jot.com. Copy the links that you find there from the point:
"<>h2 class="sidebar-title"<>Daily Photo"
right to the end:
<>ul<> - that can be a bit tricky. Once you have highlighted - <>ctrl>C to copy is good. Paste as links, like above and save. Don't forget to back up your template before you start!!!
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Information - Getting your stats
It's easy to do, follow these steps:
1 - Go to www.statcounter.com and register.
2 - Follow the prompts to Create a Project
3 - Follow the prompts to Configure and Install Code
Throughout just accept the default options. You will arrive at a screen that says "Congratulations - here is your code". Follow the instructions on the page to copy the code into your template. You will find the place to put it is almost right at teh bottom of the template.
Tuning - putting links in text
Almost all HTML commands are in pairs - a start command in angled brackets, < and > - in my examples I'm going to use square brackets [ and ], otherwise you won't see them. You need to replace the square brackets with angled ones. The closing command is the same, but starting with a "/".
Easier to show you - for example, to make text bold you put a B in before - [B] and a /B after - [/B]. For
The command to put a link in comments is similar, but has another bit - the URL you want to jump to. Example is like this: [a href="http://www.yoururltojumpto.com"] and at the end [/a]. That will result in anyone who clicks on "and at the end" to be taken to www.yoururltojumpto.com Note that in comments, the quote marks and the http:// bit are both essential - and don't forget, angled not square brackets!!
Last bit - if you are writing a link in a post you can make the link appear in a new window by adding the parameter target="_blank" YOU CANNOT DO THIS IN A COMMENT BOX. In our example this would look like this: [a href="http://www.yoururltojumpto.com" target="_blank"] and at the end [a] Now, someone clicking will go to the same place, but in a new browser window.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Tuning - some useful settings
In the Settings-> Comments tab:
1- Set "Show comments in a pop-up window" to yes. This means that people that comment will not have to navigate away from your page.
2 - Set "Who is able to comment" to "Anyone"
3 - Set "Show word verification" to "No" BUT if you do this, very important to
4 - Set the eMail notification address
2 & 3 make it easy to get comments, 4 lets you know when spam comments are received so you can delete them. If you set word verification on or insist on registered users, some people will not be able to comment.
Information - where is my blog in the rankings?
Create your account, claim your blog and then search on it. Watch your ranking rise as it becomes more popular.
Conclusion - thoughts on how to be successful
1 - Content is king. Try to have a theme and stick to it. Then, the people coming will know what to expect. Think what would make you come back to a site.
2 - Keep it short. There are blogs that are very wordy, but there are very few of those I visit regularly.
3 - Link link link. Use links to illustrate what you want to say. Link to other sites you like. Link to other people doing the same - it will all help you in the end.
4 - Do what you say - if you are going to be a daily blog, then do it that way
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Conclusion - Getting more visitors
1 - Join in - Visit other blogs like yours and join in with comments, leaving your URL. People will follow.
2 - Join in - When you see a blog you like, chances are it belongs to a ring, for example London Daily Photo belongs to London Photobloggers and Blogging Brits, so join some yourself.
3 - Join in - Participate in a forum related to your interest. For example, I often post in Photo Forums, I leave my URL at the end of each post.
4 - Join in - Exchange links with similar sites, you link to them and they link to you. More traffic goes to both.