Tag Archives: Blogger.com

How to Get Started Blogging in 5 Minutes or Less

I put off starting a blog for a long time because I thought it would be hard. I thought it would be technical. I thought I’d have to install scripts and tear my hair out getting them to work. At that point, most of what I’d read about blogs and RSS was just so much geek-speak.

Was I ever wrong!

When I finally got the courage to give it a go, I went to blogger.com and signed up for an account. To my amazement, I had a blog set up in about 5 minutes. My first post was uploaded to my site about 10 minutes later.

The only thing even remotely technical I was required to do was enter the FTP settings for the website my blog would be published on. But even that wasn’t a requirement. With Blogger, you can set up a blog on their site, Blogspot, and not even worry about FTP settings.

Since then, I’ve started 3 Blogger blogs on different sites. Blogger remains one of the most popular blog applications in the world simply because it is so simple to use and set up. If you’re a technophobe or don’t have the time to learn something completely new, I would urge you to drop by Blogger.com and take a look. You could be blogging – and enjoying the benefits – almost immediately.

Another very simple blogging tool is WordPress. This blog is my first WordPress blog, and I’m very impressed with how powerful it is – as well as simple.

WordPress is installed on your own website, but don’t let that stop you. Most hosts that have Cpanel already have WordPress ready for you to install. Look in your Cpanel for the Fantastico application, click it open, and then choose WordPress to install. It will automatically install it on your site for you, and you can start blogging right away.

If your host doesn’t already include WordPress in the scripts on your server, you can still pick it up at:

http://wordpress.org/

Then go to the WordPress Wiki for instructions on how to install it in 5 minutes:

http://wiki.wordpress.org/?pagename=5MinuteInstallation

WordPress is free, open-source software. It is very simple to install, even for technophobes, and has a lot of online documentation. There are also many sites with free WordPress add-ons and templates. I’m using a template for this blog that I picked up at Alex King’s site:

http://www.alexking.org/index.php?content=software/wordpress/styles.php

The WordPress Wiki is a wealth of information on all things WordPress, including installation instructions, help files, a long list of template sites, and all kinds of hacks and extras you can use to modify your blog and make it original.

If you’re a WordPress user, another place to visit is the WordPress discussion forum:

http://wordpress.org/support/

If you’re a new blogger, both WordPress and Blogger are very user friendly. There isn’t a long learning curve. And you won’t have to learn any new technical tricks. Why not give one of them a try?

Blogging can run your entire web site

Blogging is a term that means different things to different people. To some people it means keeping an online journal. To others blogging is about creating a community of people who can contribute to a growing discussion on a specific topic. To me, however, blogging is about creating and running an entire web site. That’s because blogging can actually be used as a complete content management system for almost any web site.

There are several reasons why you should consider using blog pages to run your entire web site. These include:

* You can make changes to your web site content without the need for specialist software

* You can make changes to your content from anywhere you can access the web; you don’t need to be at your PC.

* You can make changes to content quickly – more quickly than with software.

* You can make changes to content without incurring cost – unlike using a web design agency.

* You can use blogs to create content with colleagues, working as a team – something that’s more difficult and more costly with software.

All of these benefits can be obtained free of charge using Blogger.com to run your pages. To use Blogger.com as a content management system, take the following steps:

1. Create a web page template for your entire site.

2. Include Blogger.com ‘tags’ for each blog entry within your template. The key tags you will need are: <$BlogItemTitle$> and <$BlogItemBody$>. These tags will insert the title and the text for each item you enter into your blog.

3. Set up each page of your web site as a separate blog using the ‘advanced’ settings.

4. For each blog, use your template code as the template within Blogger.com

5. Post a single entry into each blog, which is the main content for your page.

6. Publish your blog! That’s it!

In the future, you will be able to change the content or add to it, simply by logging onto Blogger.com, choosing the appropriate blog (or page of your web site) and then editing the post item.

People are beginning to realize the potential for content management using blogs. You no longer have to see blogs in terms of a single page that is added to your web site. Instead, you can view blogging as the way you run your web site.