Blog Archives

Time for a summary

If you like to become a blogebrity, a problogger or a blogstar and aspire to be on the A-list of bloggers you will have to enter the blogosphere and start blogging yourself.

Before you start…

You start with creating a blog. You need to choose a hosting service and decide whether you like to get a hosted platform or use a multi-user platform and self-host. Beginners usually start with a hosted service such as WordPress, Blogger and TypePadall examples of hosted platforms. Just go into any of them, create an account and follow their instructions.

If you like to self-host, you need to register a domain and buy a hosting service. The next step is to point your registered domain name to your blog, a process called domain mapping. Unless you are a bit of a computer whizz you may need help with this!

Start blogging…

A blog usually has a main column where you write your story and sidebar(s) where you can put links and ads, also called blog verts or blogvertising. Apart from the page where your blog will appear there is usually a profile page that tells something about yourself and your reasons for blogging. Your readers like to know who you are so don’t under-estimate this.

Once you have decided on your topic you can post content on your site. Most bloggers publish posts on a regular base, ideally 3 times per week or more. Many bloggers are niche bloggers and they focus on a specialised topic. When giving your blog a name, keep it simple and broad enough to expand your topic!

When blogging you have to make sure you abide by copyright rules and give credit to other blogger or websites when you refer to them. Someone who plagiarises the content of another blogger is sometimes called a doppelblogger. If you like to uses pictures in your blog you can subscribe to sites such as Flickr where you can find countless pictures that are free to use. Alternatively you can take them yourself if you want to stay clear of copyright.

Posts are added in chronological order and stored in archives on the side bar of your blog. You can allocate categories and tags to your blog. This makes it easier for your readers to find posts written on specific topics. As a blogger you have access to the dash board or admin side of your blog. This is where you find all the controls and functions to manage your blog.

Your readers..

People who read your blog are your audience. They can leave comments on what you have posted. Unfortunately they can also leave comment spam but there are ways to minimise this evil. You can add filtering software and verification images such as CAPTCHA that pick up spamming comments and stop them from being published. Hosted services do this for you but when you choose to self host, you will have to install this yourself.

Your readers can follow or subscribe to your blog. By clicking on the RSS feed link, usually on the side bar, they can get automated notification from additional posts. You can create reciprocal links to other bloggers and ways to get notification are link backs such as refbacks, trackbacks and pingbacks all with their own specific functions. Don’t worry too much about this as you can blog without knowing what they are. They can be helpful once you get more serious and you’ll learn to use them when you are ready!

How to find you…

A search engine allows people to find information on the web. Popular search engines are Google and Yahoo and you may find web pages, blogs, images and other types of files on there. If you like people to find your blog you have to make sure that you optimise it with SEO or Search Engine optimisation. Your content ideally contains keywords that are relevant to search engines and the HTML code of your site should be optimised for that purpose as well. Savvy IT friends or in general young people seem to understand this innately!

A blog can consist of text but also of a mixture of pictures, videos, music, pod casts and many other things. Such media files are accessible through web feeds and can make you blog more interesting and interactive.

If you manage to read through the above and I haven’t lost you, you will have all the ingredients to successfully start up a blog.

Have fun blogging! 


Food for Thought!

A friend came over the other night and she told me that she followed my blog, ‘blogexercise’. She said she also followed a blog that diarises the life of one of her friends. She kind of wondered why my blog was not like that. My response was that her friend wrote an online diary of whatever subject came in her mind and elaborated on that – with pictures and all.  A different type of blog than ‘blogexercise’ is.

My blog is more of an educational nature. It is a project, in first instance for me, to explore the world of blogging and for others who find the subject interesting and like to learn. Her next question was why I did not post pictures because that made the other blog so attractive. Good question I suppose and it made me think for a while. I am a keen photographer and seem to take pictures daily. But what kind of pictures can I take that reflect the content of my posts about blogging? I will get the creative juices flowing and see if I can come up with a couple.

Pictures on a blog look indeed nice. A picture says a thousand words. Maybe we could make a lot of mundane topics a lot more interesting by adding pictures. Just imagine law and economy books… I can imagine little drawings or cartoons added to the posts but I can’t draw very well. I know there are enough resources where I could find such things. I am not sure if I want to go that way. I wouldn’t mind finding someone who could draw and make a range of little drawings for me.

No internet! Shock! Horror!

At the moment however I can’t do much. I am finding myself in the in-imaginable state of not having internet. A bizarre thought and I would have not believed ‘ever’ to think of that as a problem. The situation is that we are changing service providers, things went ‘wrong’ with the result that we are finding ourselves in that above mentioned state. We have purchased a number of dongles but they seem to go fast especially with children who think that Face book and down loading ‘stuff’ is absolute essential to their wellbeing.

I have only had the absolute necessary web exposure and the consequence is that my number of posts is down. I have written 8 posts in March, just under two per week. I suppose still not that bad as the internet has been down since the beginning of the month! My friend mentioned another blog she follows and the last post of that writer was the 16th of February. That is indeed a ‘break’ and who knows for what reason. Having no internet sounds a feeble excuse but it has been a major frustration for all of us.

Today is the lucky day that we are going to be connected!  Between 7 and 12 we are expecting a technician. Hooray…. but so were we last Saturday – we waited until 4 to find out that due to an emergency elsewhere we were put forward to the next available day – today! The hopes are high as this is the 4th attempt of this particular provider to connect us. Why are we with them, you may ask…..

If we are lucky today we will have cable connection, fast and reliable. I hope it will be worth it. It would be very welcome as I just received news that my next blog is almost ready to go life. For the newcomers amongst you – Blogexercise is my practice blog on a hosted platform, to learn and to research the world of blogging and I am not done yet!

My new blog Easydone Gourmet and Style is the result of many passions in my life. It will be self hosted on WordPress –  full of yummy food, good wines, attractive homes and lush gardens with gorgeous pictures, easy to follow recipes and inspiring ‘how-to-do’s’. All done by myself by the way!

So if you are inspired and curious, follow my steps!

It is time for a recap!

I have written 20 blog posts so far. I like to ‘recap’ and have a look at all the stuff I have been exploring on Blogexercise. I am a logical person and function the best when presented with logical information.  My experience has taught me that I am not the quickest in internalising technology but once I understand how it works, it usually is there for life.

One thing I have noticed and realised is that there is a lot of information about all aspects of blogging available in books, blogs and general on the web. Some is informative and some is a little confusing, contradicting abnd sometimes even incomplete or incorrect! This in a nutshell has lead to my motive for “Blogexercise’. I like to strive for simplification!

For the average person the amount of info out there may be daunting and confusing and not exactly entice someone to have a go at blogging. Hence the birth of the hosted websites such as WordPress, Blogger and TypePad. They have been successful in making blogging more accessible to all people, web savvy or not. And this brings me to the first decision a blogger needs to make before getting started!

Planning Stage

→First decision to make is ‘hosted or self-hosted platform’

  • Hosted refers to starting a blog on a developer hosed software platform
  • Self hosting refers to own domain, own server and more complicated set-up

→To make that decision you will need to know the following:

  • How do you want your blog to look (appearance)?
  • What do you want to do in your blog (text, pictures)?
  • Assess how ‘technical savvy’ you are (be realistic)

→To give an answer to these questions you have to:

  • Research other blogs
  • Decide on the purpose of the blog
  • Evaluate your technical knowledge or have access to assistance

Choosing the platform

If you choose hosted, the next choice you need to make is which host. The most popular ones are:

  • WordPress  (no costs)
  • Blogger or BlogSpot (no costs)
  • TypePad (charges)

If you choose self hosting, you need to;

  • Choose and research a domain for your blog
  • Choose a host
  • Design your blog yourself or get help

Looking at it now I don’t know why it took me so long to get this sorted. It looks simple and straight forward but believe me it did not look that way to me when I started! I also like to point out to all people out there who consider themselves technically on a higher level – this blog post is not written for you. It is written for those who feel intimidated, would like to give blogging a try but don’t now really what it is all about or what to do. You may not believe me but I get on a regular base the following question thrown at me:

What is a blog……………………..