Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blogging 101

This continues the series on basic blogging which started with 

The steps that follow assume the use of a Google account and Blogger software. For those just starting out, I believe that you could not do better than this for free. 

If down the road, you feel the need to switch to WordPress, you can export your posts and move them to WordPress. 

If you want to start with WordPress, feel free to do so. The links at each step may be different but the overall process would be the same.


The following steps are the one time/creation events to begin blogging.

1 - Create a Google account 
(carefully choose an email name that is memorable without being too complicated)  https://www.google.com/accounts/

The Google account will now allow you access to all the services that Google offers.

2 - Create your blog on blogger.com/
Sign in with your gmail (google account)

a) Carefully choose the blog name
You want it to reflect your mission, goals, objectives (remember Blogging 100)
Be memorable without being too complicated

A good example:
For my running blog, I chose "Passionate Runner"

A bad example:
For my blog on creating a good experience, I chose "Passion for the Good Customer Experience" and abbreviated it to be "p4tgce". Who is going to search for that?

b) choose a template
Don't worry too much about this right away, this template can be changed fairly easily

You want to be mindful of creating a good experience, hence choose a layout and color scheme to help foster your mission
Ensure good readability with good contrast between the background and the text.


3 - Create a Feedburner account
http://feedburner.google.com/

Burn your feed, following the steps in the wizard.
Update your feed within Blogger's settings page on the tab for "Site Feeds"

Set up options for your readers to subscribe via email (still the most prevalent) or RSS Feed. 

Keep these subscription options above the fold on the home page.

4 - Create an account for Google Analytics
http://www.google.com/analytics/

Copy the code from analytics to blogger template

5 - Create a Google feedreader account (if you haven't already)
https://www.google.com/reader/
With the retirement of Google Reader, I use Feedly 
http://feedly.com/
Start subscribing to your sources of information

6 - Create Google alerts
http://www.google.com/alerts/

Select key words to be alerted via email when they are published

For example, for Franklin Matters, I use "Franklin, MA". I did try "Franklin" but it required too much filtering to get the good stuff I could use or care about.
Whatever you choose may require some tweaking but these are easy to manage. They will generate an email to your inbox.

7 - You can choose to have additional analytics from StatCounter
http://www.statcounter.com/

The wizard will walk you through the create of the account and then provide the code to install on the blog template to enable the tracking from that point forward.

8 - Choose a Creative Commons license and add the code to your blog template  http://creativecommons.org/

9 - Backup your template
Once all the adjustments to the template are complete, download a copy of it to save with the blog name and date (as a backup).

You are now ready to create your first post. We'll continue with those steps in Blogging 102.

Note: you should also subscribe to your own feed via RSS and email to ensure that the process works and to see what your readers will see when you post!