Saturday, 23 August 2014

Psst. Want to start a blog?

Hiya peeps, kicked off early this morning, multi tasking as usual. Sewing machine at the ready, I'm making shopping bags to sell on our stall at the Epworth Show on Monday. Anyone coming, look me up in the shopping marquee. Listening to Sounds of the Sixties on the radio, singing away to the songs I know. It's funny but I can remember every word of some of them, they are embedded in my head.

Anyway I'll press on, no time for chitter chatter. I've had a lovely email from Sue, yes we have several Sue's I think, this is a newish one. 

Through your blog I have found a whole community of frugal lovelies who support each other and blog so movingly about their experiences.  When I leave work I would very much like to write one myself, can you give me advice about getting started?

Hi Sue, Looking like you are getting organised for your retirement, I can thoroughly recommend it. It would be great if you join our lovely community. Advice about getting started then. First have an idea in your mind of what you want to write about. Will it be all aspects of your life, or will you specialize in your favourite subject or hobby? I write about all sorts but then you get sewing blogs, food blogs, political blogs, travel blogs, arty blogs, in fact any subject can be covered. If you specialize though you will limit the size of your target audience, only attracting readers with the same interests.  You can have a chatty laid back blog where you meander through life, or you can narrow it down to one subject only, the choice is yours.

I started mine as a hobby, it still is a hobby, jotting down my day to day experiences and my thoughts on different subjects. You don't have to post every day, once a week is ok if that's all you want to do. A web log is an online diary, I wrote a diary from 1963 and gave up in the late 1990's. I thought I would resurrect it here, almost six years ago.

After thinking about what to write you need to think of a title for it. I can guarantee you that almost every title has  been taken. You need to go to the Blogger web site, there is a button on the top left hand corner of every blog, Get the blog building wizard on screen and type in your title. You might have to come up with several options before it accepts one that hasn't been taken. This title will be your web address, you don't have to put the whole thing on your header. I wanted my address to be Life After Money, but it was taken, so I added Meanqueen- to the front of it and it was accepted, although you can see that I don't have Meanqueen on my header. So, my full address is  www.meanqueen-lifeaftermoney.blogspot .co.uk 

I had a look at Wordpress, another blog hosting site but I didn't get on with it. I found Blogger easier. Blogger takes you through the various stages. You write a profile about yourself, it can be as short or as long as you like. You are taken to the Dashboard which has all the elements you need to build your blog. Decide which template you like the look of, there are lots to choose from. You can change the colours and the layout at any time if you want to alter it. You choose where to have your sidebar, left or right, or both. You can change the width of the columns to accommodate what you want to fill them with. I hope my blog sits nicely on the screen so all of it can be seen, it does on my computers. I don't like extra wide blogs where you have to scroll sideways because the text drops off the edge.

Have a play with the layout, and colours. Stick with a standard template at first, till you get used to it. You can add a header photo later. You will need a photo for your profile, it can be anything if you don't want to show your face. You drive your blog from the Dashboard, so you want to set that address in your favourites so you don't have to go looking for it. You start there every time you switch on, then click on whatever you want to do next. Check comments maybe, look at your stats perhaps. Click on View blog to see what it looks like, does it need any changes. You will get used to the look of your Dashboard in time, go in and out of different pages, have a look at what they do.

At this stage you don't publish your blog until you are happy with it. You can play around with it to your hearts content, but it will not go live until you hit the publish button, so don't be worried if you make a mistake, you can change it.

I will stop now, that's enough to take in at the start. I'll be back with a few more pointers.

Toodle pip    

13 comments:

  1. Great advice on getting started. I've also found that when I see something on another blogger site that I'd like to incorporate, each person is anxious to help out. Also, blogger has so many opportunities to get answers to questions. But one still needs to have a bit of computer savvy.

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  2. Sue, it may sound intimidating at first,but you will soon get the hang of it!
    Jane x

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  3. All this is great advice! I've had my blogs on Blogger for years and years! and I created another one, also on Blogger, for my embroidery guild. They're very impressed, have no idea how easy it is. But it is work, and you need to remember you're writing for an audience, if you are, that is! pix are lovely, don't need to be professional quality, just interesting, well composed and to the point.

    That said, I join Ilona in encouraging you to get going! and if people comment on your blog, realize how special that is, and respond to them, too. And let us know your link when you're in action, so we can come in and encourage you!

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  4. I agree with Ilona about Blogger, it really is quite easy to use. And the excitement when you get your first comment and realise that someone (apart from your best friend and your mother) has read your blog is brilliant!

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  5. I always enjoy your blog - I think you are funny but what I like best are the snippets about the cats. I've thought about a blog but could not deal with the nasty comments. I keep a daily record of what I do though and it's been invaluable as an aide memoire (someone got murdered near me and I had to account for my whereabouts). I like Ilona's as it is a bit of everything but then I do also like specialized ones too. I'd say go for it.

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    1. Nasty comments - That's what comment moderation is for and sadly limiting comments to people who have an on-line presents.

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  6. Ilona's advice is great. I started my first one as much as to record the arrival of our new kitten as to see if I could manage to set up a blog. I use blogger too as it is easy to start and publish your first post. I don't do much in the way of fanciness but it works for me.

    As a blog is a public entity I write with others in mind and have made some wonderful friends but always remember this is your online diary and write what you want to record and remember. Occasionally, I'll read back some of my own posts and have a lovely little delve down my own memory lane as much for what I've written as for the back stories of my life that only I know are between the lines.

    Give it a whirl, its easier than you think and it is great fun.

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  7. Great advice MQ. I have started about 3 blogs in the past and didn't really keep up with them. They are harder than they look (to do a good one). You make it look effortless but keeping a wide demographric interested and keeping up with it regularly takes skill and commitment...and not to mention the pesky trolls! But I'm glad that you and a few others I follow take the time because I love reading them. I get inspired, I get good advice, I get entertained, and I the more I read the more I feel I know the bloggers and find myself genuinely rooting for them. I think it is brave telling the world about your lives, inevitably you are opening yourselves up for some criticism, I guess you have to have a thick skin to a certain extent. But don't let me put anyone off - give it a go and see what happens. Good luck with the Epworth show. Debbie

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  8. Good Luck to Sue in her blogging venture. Hope you do well with the bags Ilona. I used to sew peg bags for the Cats Protection putting an applique cat outline on the front they sold like hot cakes. Have a good weekend.

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  9. Good advice.

    I always find the best sort of Blogs and the easiest to read (and to write) are when you feeling you are just reading chat, rather than a list of things or a lecture if you know what I mean. I find I write as I talk and sometimes have to go back and make it make sense in the written word on my Blog, but hopefully it means that it is easily readable.

    So from one Sue to another .... Go for it. :-)

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    1. Your blog is nice, I don't like lectures either.

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  10. Ooh, yes, do it! I find it a great hobby and also use it as a kind of on-line diary. It is interesting to look back and see what I was up to, where I have got to and what I have achieved. I use Wordpress as it was the first one I came across. I find it OK, but I know others haven't. I am quite computer savvy though.
    Good luck
    Jane

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  11. Oh! Oh! Oh! Ilona, I have only just found this wonderful, kind, encouraging and supportive reply to my email you last summer!!! What a blooming shame that I missed it, I was still working then and didnt check for new posts every day. You must have thought me so rude for not responding! Well, thank you MQ, apologies that I'm a year late!
    I have started my blog, very tentative, but I'm enjoying the process. As anonymous says above, you make it look effortless!
    A belated Thank you, Ilona, once again. Sue XXX

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