Tutorial - Blogger Basics

Blog Hop is coming! Blog Hop is coming! For today's tutorial, Paula is sharing some tips for new bloggers, to help everyone prepare for the big weekend. You may already have seen these tips on her blog at Handmade by Paula.

A Cram Course in A Few Blogger Basics

OWH sponsors "Blog Hops" on a regular basis and I know I was confused and intimidated when I made my first attempt to join in the fun so I've decided I'd write up a post that might help some of you who might want to participate but feel you're not tech savvy and not sure you can do it. I am far from being a "professional" in the realm of blogging but hope that I can help ease your way with these few simple lessons.

Note: You should be able to click on these images to make them larger and easier to read.

Checking Your Time Zone

1) Choose the "Settings" Tab

2) Choose the "Formatting" Tab

3) Scroll down and check your time zone. I'm on the East Coast and have set my zone accordingly. Most of the OWH hops/events I've taken part in are scheduled on EST Time so you may find it easiest to use this setting as well. If you decide to use your own time zone just be sure you do the math and are careful when you schedule posts. (More on that later in these lessons).

Scheduling Posts to Be Published (Go Live) at a Specific Date and Time

Scheduling your post to appear at a specific time is a great thing to know how to do and it's quite simple. Knowing this little trick means your post can appear to have just been "posted" while in fact you set it up weeks ago and you're actually lounging on a beach in the Bahamas! (Margarita anyone?)

1) Create your post as your normally would.

2) Then click on "Post Options" in the lower left hand corner.

3) You will now see some additional POST OPTIONS available to you as shown below. Here is where you will type in the DATE and TIME you want your post to "go live". Click the "Scheduled At" button (instead of automatic which will post the entry immediately). Enter the date and time accordingly. It's important that you know WHAT TIME ZONE setting you are using. Remember back in the beginning of this cram course we set my time zone at EST, so the post example you see here would go live at 8 AM on the East Coast but my friends in San Diego would see this post at 5AM because of the time difference.

4) After you've input your date and time settings click on PUBLISH POST. While this may not "seem" right, it is. Once you do this you will then be able to see exactly what you have set up in the post lists screen that comes up and looks like this next image. As you can see my post in this example will be published at 8:00 AM East Coast time on April 29, 2011. I can still go back and edit, delete or even change the scheduled date and time if I want or need to.

Turning Off Word Verification

Turning off word verification means that when someone visits your blog and wants to leave a comment they can do so without the extra step of 'word verification'. It makes leaving a comment especially easy when you are taking part in a blog hop or online event. While I leave mine set to OFF all the time, you can turn it on and off easily so it makes sense to turn it off at least temporarily if you are taking part in an event and want to make commenting fast and easy for your visitors. I should mention that turning verification off can also open you up to receiving 'spam comments' but blogger does have some built in filters to keep most spam from being published and you can also review and eliminate any comments you choose.

1) Choose the "Settings" Tab

2) Choose the "Comments" Tab

3) Scroll down until you see "Show word verification for comments?"

4) Click on the "No" Button.

5) Scroll to the very bottom and click the "Save Settings" button to retain the change.

You can go back at anytime, the same way, click YES and SAVE SETTINGS and word verification will once again be required of anyone trying to leave you a comment.

Creating a Simple Link in Your Post

1) Write your post as normal and highlight the text you wish to turn into a link.

2) Click the LINK tool on the tool bar.

3) A new window will open in front of your post window that looks like the image below. Notice the TEXT TO DISPLAY box is automatically filled with the words you highlighted. You need to fill in the box that is asking for the URL (which stands for Uniform Resource Locator, in case you enjoy trivia) which is the web page (or blog etc.) address you want that link to take your reader to.

4) In my example here below I am creating a link to the OWH Stars & Stamps Blog. I cut and pasted the address into my box to make it easier and avoid any typos but you can, of course (carefully) type it too. Just be sure you remember to use the 'test this link' option you see in blue right below where you've entered the URL so you are certain the link goes where you expect it to. Clicking the 'test this link' option should open up the 'destination' page in a new browser window.

5) Make sure you click the OK button in the lower left corner of the 'Edit Link' window to save your entries/edits. Here below you can now see what the link looks like in my blog post. Though it appears in blue and underlined in my sample you can use the toolbar to edit color, font etc. Just be sure if you do make edits that you recheck your link. I typically make 'checking my links' one of the last things I do before I publish (or schedule) my blog post.

Add a Supplied Badge to Your Blog Post

1) Create your post in compose mode as usual.

2) When you are ready to add your badge (or any pre-coded link) switch to HTML mode. Notice how you see the text I typed but also some HTML 'coding' that represents setting for fonts, sizes, colors etc.

3) Next cut and paste the provided text into the post while in HTML mode. You can see that the text I cut from the supplied badge link/artwork now appears at the very top of my post in HTML mode.

4) When you click the tab to return to 'Compose' mode you will now see that the badge artwork appears. Clicking on this encoded badge art will now cause the viewer to be directed to the designated page (the top of the OWH Blog Hop in this example).

Whether you are new to blogging or just want to learn a little something you didn't know I hope you found these short lessons a helpful guide and that you'll be encouraged to join in some of the fun online events hosted by Operation Write Home.

Happy Crafting and Blogging Everyone!


P.S. — If you'd like to start a blog and need some basic guidance I'd suggest you visit this page at Dummies.com which has six fairly simple lessons on the essentials of getting started with blogger.

Thanks, Paula, for the great tips!

Remember, everyone, if you'd like to share some tips or techniques with the OWH community, email me at kate@operationwritehome.org. "See" you all on Saturday!

Shauna  – (May 24, 2011 at 8:45 AM)  

Those are great tips Paula! Thanks for sharing! I'll be bookmarking this post :)

Anonymous –   – (May 24, 2011 at 10:20 AM)  

Thank you for this post! I am just starting a blog to participate in challanges and hops. This post is perfect timing!

Cherie  – (May 24, 2011 at 10:47 AM)  

Thanks for the tips! I'm more inclined to participate in hops now.

Marsha  – (May 24, 2011 at 1:56 PM)  

Thank you so much. I will be gone for this blog hop but maybe now I will be brave enough to try the next one. Again, thank you for all the work and for sharing with us.

Lee Mae  – (May 28, 2011 at 4:26 PM)  

Thank you Paula! I just started a blog last night and your tutorial is very easy to understand, so who knows? I may be in an OWH blog hop sometime!

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