blog

Spring Term – Week 1: Blogging with WordPress

Introduction: What is a Blog?

  • A blog (weblog) is a special type of website that displays entries or posts in reverse chronological order. The most recently written post appears at the top. The posts themselves consist of text, images, links to other websites and also, a way for readers to leave comments about the post.
  • Blogs can function as online diaries, soap boxes, journalistic ventures or internet scrapbooks. They can cover any number of subjects from pop culture to politics, to what you had for lunch yesterday. All you need to start blogging is an email address and something to say. There’s more than one free blogging service that you can use. For this exercise we will be using the free www.wordpress.com and your school email address.
  • When you register the wordpress blog, you MUST sign up with your school login name as your username, and your school network password. Speak to the teacher if this presents any problems.

Step 1: Define Your Subject Matter

  • Before you create a blog, it is important to plan or prepare what you are going to write about.
  • For this section of work, your blog title will be, ‘My Christmas gifts.’ As a start, it is probably a good idea to write out a list of the items you received and another for those which you gave to friends or family.
  • This link to a teacher’s Christmas list will give an example of what your blog post title and entry should cover.
  • You must include:

a) The Title of the Post (as given above). b) A sub-heading for each item on the list. c) A description of every item on the list. d) The BEST price for each item which you bought on the list. (You will need to research this from various online shops.) e) An image for every item. You need to ensure that the image is clear, cropped correctly and not pixilated.

Step 2: Name Your Blog

  • There’s no limit to what you can name your blog. Some blogs have names that relate to their subject matter – some blogs have completely nonsensical names that are just catchy. The easiest way may be to name your blog after yourself. Take care not to reveal your full name in the blog domain name or title. Students should sign up to WordPress using the formula we use for all Web 2.0 logins: first name, followed by at least one initial of your surname, followed by your age, e.g. http://www.jamieb12.wordpress.com.
  • A blog’s name should ideally be memorable, short, easy to spell and free of hyphens. Please remember to type up your blog URL, your username and your password in the document we created for this purpose.

Checking Your Name’s Availability

  • Technically, you can name your blog whatever you’d like. However, there are limits to what your blog’s URL or web address can be.
  • As we will be using a hosted blog service called WordPress.com for your blogs, you are assigned a web address, which will look like this: www.yourblogname.wordpress.com
  • You need to check your potential blog name’s availability when you sign up for an account.

Step 3: Confirm your Account Registration

  • Click through to your blog from the confirmation email you receive from WordPress.
  • Insert your username and password to login. Once you have logged in, a DASHBOARD appears. We will save the full blog URL in the Google document set up to capture student web URL’s.

Step 4: Change your blog’s appearance

  • Add a theme.
  • One or two columns or sidebars.
  • Widgets
  • Custom banner.

Step 5: Write your first post

Your first POST will cover the topic, ‘My Christmas gifts.’

A helpful presentation on adding images to your wordpress blog also has good instructions which can help with the general working of your blog posts. Slideshare also has several good guides; ‘How to set up your own blog using wordpress’ (low quality visuals but good instructions) and WordPress for Dummies –  how to set up your first blog. As we’re using wordpress.com and not .org, (a self-hosted blog) the first four slides are not relevant to us.

Once you are ready to insert widgets, there is a help guide here. You can also work ahead and follow the instructions for the next lesson (on widgets).

Please insert your URLs here.

Credits: Doug Belshaw (E-Learning Co-Ordinator), New Media Drivers License Michigan State University, Alan Carr, Mrs Krummel. Image sourced from Creative Commons.