Dennis Brooke gave this “Write Start” presentation at Northwest Christian Writers Association September meeting. For more information on NCWA and our meetings go to www.nwchristianwriters.org
There are over a 100 million active bloggers but the process of how to launch a blog is still a deep mystery to many. By following these instructions you can launch your own blog—for free—in ten minutes or less.
But why blog? I’ve found it to be a great way to practice the craft of writing. A goal of one to two posts a week helps me to write regularly. Deadlines make a difference, even self-imposed ones. It also has helped me build a platform for writing and speaking.
The best reason to blog is to influence the world for Christ. There’s plenty of trash to read on and off the web. Wouldn’t it be great to see quality content that helps people live more fulfilled lives and grow closer to God?
These instructions are for WordPress but other options are at the end. Click here for the PowerPoint version.
Start your stopwatch and:
- Go to http://wordpress.com/
- Click “SIGN UP NOW” and enter your personal information. Remember the username and password.
- Enter “User Info”, select “Gimme a blog!” option and select “Next.“
- Complete activation by checking your inbox for the registration email.
- Login at http://wordpress.com/
- Enter your first post and stop the stopwatch. Read on to try a few advanced features.
- Select “My Blog > Dashboard” option. The Dashboard is your “Table of Contents” for customizing your blog, changing passwords, etc.
- Use “Appearance > Themes” menu to select or change the theme.
- From the Dashboard select “Posts > Add New.”
- Enter your post by writing it on the web OR copy/paste it from other software such as Microsoft Word. I prefer to write first then paste it into the blog for editing.
- Use “Upload / Insert Add an Image” tool to add pictures.
- Be sure your picture is ready to post. You won’t be able to crop, lighten, or do other common photo editing functions in WordPress, however you can pick a size and alignment.
- You may need to click and drag your picture to the correct position.
- Use the “Publish” menu to save, preview or publish.
- Back to the Dashboard — some key options:
- Posts: Add New, Categories. Click “Add New” to add a new post to current page. “Categories” lets you create categories for your posts. I use categories such as: “Just for Fun”, “Doing the Right Thing”, “Wooing Your Wife”, etc.
- Pages: Add New. Most posts will go on your main page. But you can add pages on topics such as “About Me,” “My Writing,” “My Speaking” etc. Readers can navigate to key information without having to dig through postings.
- Links: Add New. Create links to other websites, blogs, etc.
- Appearance: Themes; Header; Widgets. For “Themes”, see #8 above. Use “Header” to change header appearance and to add your photograph. Use “Widgets” to add some good tools. I recommend:
i. “Subscription.” To have new blog postings
emailed to readers.
ii. “Search.” To find old postings.
iii. “Recent Posts.” Lists recent articles.
Other Helpful References
- Blogging platforms: http://www.wordpress.com/ , http://www.blogger.com/ , and http://www.typepad.com/ See http://www.bloggingbasics101.com/ to compare different platforms.
- In Depth Advice and Ideas: http://www.bloggingbistro.com/ NCWA member Laura Christianson has a great blog about–blogging and other social media. Sign up for regular tips. Browse old articles for info on improving your blog.
- Our blog: http://www.nwchristianwriters.wordpress.org/ Our Blogger-in-Chief is always looking for good posts on writing, NCWA events, members, etc. To contribute, read “Guest Post Guidelines.”
- WordPress has a nice tutorial (with videos) at http://learn.wordpress.com/
- For background and history on blogging check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog
- The best movie about blogging I’ve seen is Julie and Julia (2009), about a young woman who cooked and blogged her way through Julia Child’s book, MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING, in a year and launched her writing career.
Dennis Brooke blogs about Almost True Stories of Life at www.dennisbrooke.wordpress.com. He’s been a member of NCWA for three years and currently serves as Vice-President and Webmaster. He needs to pass on the webmaster job—hint, hint. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org