This page will be added to as I think of things that would be helpful and I have time.
I am a fairly new blogger, starting on January 1, 2010, and I have figured things out myself as I went along, so I thought I would share some of what I have learned with other new bloggers. Many of the tips below were things I struggled to find out. Please note that my blog is on Blogspot so that is all I am familiar with.
If you have questions or suggestions please feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The fastest way to get to your dashboard is to click on the Blogger "B" in the upper left corner of your blog. I only found this out after I had been blogging for more than 2 months, even though it seems like the most basic thing.
The fastest way to edit a published post is to make sure you are signed in, then click on the little pencil icon at the bottom of your post, which will take you to edit mode.
Have your comments set so that you get email notification. That way you can keep track of when you get a new comment. To set email notification do the following: go to the 'Settings' tab along the top, then press 'Comments' and then scroll down to the bottom. The last item is 'Comment Notification Email'. Just put your email in there (and I would suggest you get a separate email address for your blog as you will get a lot of emails) and you are good to go.
I just know you are super organized and want to schedule posts to come out later in the week. In order to do this you need to click on "Post Options" in the lower left corner of the frame where you write a post. When you click on Post Options a drop-down area appears with lots of things to chose. Over on the right side you need to select "Scheduled At" and put in the date and time you want your post to appear. Then you just need to hit the orange "Publish Post" button. The only other thing you might need to check is that Blogger is set to your time zone. In order to do this you go to
1. go to the blog you want to link to and copy the URL (the 'address' part along the top)
2. write in the words you want to say in your blog post, e.g. Grace at Sense and Simplicity,
3. then highlight the words that are going to be linked, e.g. Sense and Simplicity,
4. then go to the top frame of your post and click on the blue words that say 'Link"
5. you will see the words from your post in the top section and then you paste in the URL that you are linking to in the bottom section and press OK
6. you have just created a link to another blog or website
To make pages (the pages that you see along the top just under the header) do the following:
1. Go to the dashboard.
2. Select Edit Posts
3. Look at the tabs along the top. You will be looking at "Edit Posts" which is under "Posts". If you look to the right of "Edit Posts" you will see "Edit Pages". Click on that.
4. Then select "New Page" and write up your page and press 'publish' when you are done. To add another page, select 'New Page' again etc.
5. You can change the order of your pages, once you have several finished, by going to the 'design' page and clicking on the 'edit' icon for "Pages".
To centre your pages follow the directions here. (Thanks to Ann at On Sutton Place for letting me know how to do this).
Here are the steps I used to make a blog button:
1. The first thing you need to do is make a picture to use. I like Picnik so I started playing around with photos and adding text until I had something I liked. The important thing is to resize the photo (click on the 'resize' button under the 'edit' tab) so that it is less than 200 pixels, and the width is preferrably about 150 pixels so it will fit on sidebars. I made about 8 different versions which I showed to my hubby and he voted for the keeper.
2. Upload your photo to an imaging hosting site, like Photobucket (it's free). You need to do this so you can get a photo URL location (it is called 'direct link' in the box with all the info about your photo). Trust me this is a crucial step as that was where most of my problems came from as I couldn't figure out what my photo URL was.
3. I made a trial blog so I can mess around with it and not affect my real blog. That is actually a great idea - so you should do that right now. Okay, you're back from making your fake blog. Excellent, now on with the blog button instructions.
4. Now that you have your picture finished and a fake blog to experiment with, you are ready to up-load the button, which in my opinion is easier said than done. It was recommended to me that I use the tutorial on Shabby Blogs. Give it a try and if it works first time for you, then congrats and you can just go read something else - assignment well done. If, however, you are like me and you still struggle to make it work, then read on.
5. Shabby Blogs has you open your blog in Page Elements. Then click on 'Add a Gadget' and select 'HTML/Java Script' . Copy and paste the HTML code into the text area ( you can tell everyone you were just doing a little work with HTML - sounds very impressive, doesn't it). Then you have to add your photo URL and your blog address to the 3 areas in the HTML code. That doesn't sound too hard but when you copy your button location URL you need to fit it into the entire area I have highlighted in red below. That may be obvious to everyone but me, but I didn't twig in all that mess of letters and symbols that I needed to include the http and jpg parts. The same goes for your blog address. Replace the entire area that I have highlighted in blue with your blog address.
6. Once you have the sections filled in then press 'save' and go and 'preview' your blog to see if it worked. Hopefully you are now doing a happy dance cause you have a new blog button.
Use a photo-editing program, like Picnik, to improve your photos before posting them. I wrote a post about the wonderful features of Picnik. Big Huge Labs allows you to make mosaiks and turn your photos into stamps and magazine covers, among other interesting features. There are many other on-line photo-editing programs but these are two I have tried so far. As I experiment with others I will add info.
I have recently helped several people figure out how to take clear close-up photos with their digital cameras. If you have already read your camera's instruction book then you can skip down to the next paragraph, but if not then you might be interested to know about the macro-setting on your camera. It has the little flower icon beside it. Once you have selected the macro-setting, then you can go right up close to objects and the camera will focus on them. I do find I have to partially hold down the button to take picture while the camera focuses and then I click the photo.
I used Minima Stretch template because I wanted the text to fill the page so you wouldn't have blank sections down the sides and have to keep scrolling down to read the text. When you use Minima Stretch template you can select the x-large setting for the photos and, surprise, surprise you get big photos. My theory is you want large photos to avoid having to squint to see the details.
I have noticed that sometimes my photos are not centred, especially if I move them around in my post as I'm writing it. I've seen this problem on other blogs as well, so I know it isn't just me. Through trial and error I have found a solution. What you do is click on your photo so the instruction bar appears, then click on 'right' and then click on 'centre' (presuming you want your photos centred). I'm not sure why just clicking on 'centre' doesn't work, but it often doesn't. However, I have never had a problem when I click on 'right' and then on 'centre'.
For information on how to create a blog header for free using Picasa, check out this post at Blissfully Domestic.
For an explanation about how to create a photo mosaic, check out this post at Little Red House.
Helpful websites and blog posts about blogging
10 Tips that will take your Home Design Blog to the Next Level at Colour me Happy. I switched my background to white after reading this post - not that I specifically have a home design blog, but it was good advice.
Goldilocks and the Three Bloggers at Life with a Little One and More. An excellent article about good blog etiquette and the how-tos of setting up a user-friendly blog.
I honestly never gave my post titles much thought, until I read this blog post. I may have to try a few of his suggestions.
Have a look at 28 Ways to Make Money with your Website at DailyBlogTips and Seven Ways for Beginners to Make Money Blogging at Blissfully Domestic for ideas on ways to make money blogging.
For blogging help, ongoing posts, and tutorials on a wide range of blogging issues check out seven thirty-three.
Lots of helpful articles, how-tos, and videos at Beautify My Blog.
You can read about how to put your own keywords in your post's title so Google can find it more easily in this great post at At the Picket Fence.
Google Analytics- see 3 Very Simple Google Analytics for Bloggers post at Blissfully Domestic for tips on using Google Analytics
Creating a signature to go at the bottom of your posts - I wrote a post on this here.
After you have a fair number of posts published you might want to add a "Link Within" gadget. You can find information here, but basically it adds 3, 4, or 5 small pictures and the titles of related posts to the bottom of a post. It helps visitors find older posts that are hidden in your archives.
Sometimes to illustrate a blog post you may want to use the "print screen" option on your keyboard. You can see an example of it in this post. To take a picture of what is showing on your screen at a particular moment press the "print screen" button, open Paint and go to "insert", then you save it, and can upload it into your blog post.
I read a blog post somewhere in blogland early in my blogging days and it recommended that you post as often as possible at the beginning to attract interest in your blog. Then after you have an established readership you can post a little more sporadically. It sounded like a good idea, so I have committed myself to posting every weekday for the first year. So far I have done it, but who knows how it will go through the summer. It is an interesting idea and one a new blogger might consider.
Another good way to attract viewers to your blog is to join blog link parties. Basically a blog will host a link party, often on a particular topic, and you are invited to add your relevant post link to the list for others to see. You need to click on the title of your post and then copy the web address for the actual post not your whole blog.