Setting Up Your Blog

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 click on “Get a Free Site.” Follow the sign up instructions.

If you already have a WordPress account log in. Go to Manage my Blogs and Create a New Blog.

Pick a URL that fits with the title or subject of your blog. You can change the Title of your blog later, but not the URL.

Make sure your blog is visible to everyone.

Skip all of the paid upgrades (you can always do that later).

Click on “Create Blog.”

For a video demonstration of this, click here

2. Pick a Theme

Click on “Visit your dashboard.” Once you are in Dashboard, click on Appearance tab on the left hand side. Select the sub category Themes.

Pick a theme that fits with the subject and tone of your blog.

Click Activate to select a theme.

Then explore your theme options.

Tips:
-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 timezone to “New York”

Scroll to the bottom of the page and 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.

For more, see What is a Widget?

5. Twitter

You can use an exisiting Twitter account or set up a new one just for this blog project. On Twitter, follow 20 people related to your topic.

Add the Twitter widget to your sidebar.

6. Create a Blogroll

Create a blogroll with a list of at least 5 blogs/web sites that are 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 your blogroll links here. Put in the name of the blog or web site and the URL. This will add it to your blog roll.

To find sites for your blogroll, look at the blogrolls of other publications on your subject or try using Google Blog Search

For more on how to add a blogroll, click here.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. Create an About page or widebar

Your full name must appear on your blog. Create an About page. (Here is info on how tocreate a new page.) Or you can add some text to the sidebar of your blog using the Text Widget and put your name there.

11. Spend some time exploring your Dashboard and learning how to use it.

12. 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 “Hot To”page.

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About Nick DiUlio

My name is Nick DiUlio, a freelance writer and editor from New Jersey. I have been passionate about the craft of writing since I was old enough to spell, and this love has led to a successful career in journalism and creative nonfiction. As a freelancer, I have covered a wide range of topics and personalities, as my published work has focused on everything from profiles of artists and important political figures to hard-news stories with both national and local appeal; from restaurant and beverage reviews to tips on fashion and finance; from health and wellness pieces to celebrity Q&A’s. My work has appeared in several local, regional and national publications—both in print and online—including Philadelphia Magazine, Slate.com, Miller-McCune, New Jersey Monthly, Eating Well, and Delaware Today. Additionally, I am the South Jersey Bureau Chief for New Jersey Monthly and an adjunct journalism professor at Rowan University. To be sure, the broadness of my body of work seems only to be matched by my boundless interest in almost every subject imaginable (except Warren Zevon). Check out some of my most recently published work here.
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2 Responses to Setting Up Your Blog

  1. Pingback: Week 2 | Southern Accents

  2. Pingback: Blog Set Up and Post 1 Due Sunday, February 16 | Southern Accents

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