29 February 2016

How to Start a Blog


If you're anything like me, it can be quite intimidating going to a new website and wanting to start a new social media page, or a blog. It can be confusing and hard to know where to start, so today I'm going to show you quick and easy steps of starting your first blog and making it good!

Part One - Blog Topic
Before anything else, you need to decide what you're going to write about on your new blog. If you already have an idea, that's great skip ahead! If not, deciding what you're going to write about should be very easy.  Write down a list of your passions: do you like music? Drama? Sport? Fashion and Beauty? Cooking? Is it creative, informative, news headlines, private research, detailed analysis, opinions, nonbiased, what is your USP? Whatever you feel most passionate about, you should have as your blogs main topic. My blog doesn't really have a specific topic, which makes me appear quite hypocritical, but I have had lots of blogs that revolve around a specific thing e.g. makeup and beauty, and I lost my passion to write on it, so I merged all of the things I love and think about together. Plan out everything. Make a spider diagram and put down all your ideas. I suggest getting a notebook so if any ideas come to you, you can jot them down.

Part 2 - Setting up your blog
First of all, you need to sign up for a google account.

After you've signed up, go to blogger.com where you will get given a screen that looks like this, except yours will be blank:
You need to click on new blog:
Once you've clicked on 'new blog' a window will open that looks like this:
You will be asked what you're going to call your blog, a URL for your blog, and which template you wish to use. The title and URL should be sort of the same, for example my url is sample-blog28.blogspot.co.uk and my title is 'Sample Blog'. Choose a nice simple blog title that you, and your readers, will remember, which also relates to your content.  If you're struggling with naming your blog, check out my post 'identity' which tells you how I named my blog.
Always pick the simple template; it's easier to work with.

Once you've done that, blogger will take you to 'overview' which is where you control your blog, here is where you see your stats (i.e. who and how many people have looked at your blog), your posts, pages, settings, etc.
Next, click template:
Then customise

On customise, you will have lots of different options and sections and different ways to customise your blog. The longer you have your blog, the more accustomed to these different sections you will become and you'll start to use HTML and understand it all a bit better, but just to begin with:

You're on the templates section, under simple, there are six or seven different options, click which one you like most. I suggest using the plain white one, because it means developing your blog will be a lot easier. 
So, you have your template. Skip background, I spent a long time working on different backgrounds and designs:

But over time I learned that they took way too much often and more often than not, didn't work out.

By the way, I use a site called PicMonkey to do all of my blog designs - it's an incredible site; it's so easy to work with!

Skip 'adjust widths' and layout (the default layout is the best one, feel free to experiment but I recommend the default setting) and then go to advance. Here you will find the really fun stuff, this is your customise section basically where you can add the colours etc. I won't talk you through everything, just experiment here really (ignore the last three sections).

Okay, so, once you have your blog you need a header. The most unprofessional thing about a blog is a really crap default header, it needs to be personal. My previous blog had a bit of a melt down because I use a site called image maps, and that uses links and the link was connected to photos on my computer so when I deleted those photos, the links messed up. But, the header still stands so you may have a look at that. All the information you need to make a header is here on Something Swanky, which is a brilliant site for blog design, it has all the information you will ever need to know, I use it for everything! Here's a header that I very quickly made for sample blog:
So, once you have your header, you can pretty much mess about. Check out my blog for things to add. You can always build on your blog by adding more and making it more professional and refined. If there's anything you can't work out (which there will be) ask me and I'll tell you or work it out with you. The best things to start with are Nav-bars, intro pictures and gadget headers, which, if enough people ask for it, I will make a blog post for!

Okay, so, we head onto section 3:

Have your first blog post as an introductory post when you introduce yourself and your personality, or just go straight in there with a post like the rest of your posts will be. Here is a link to my first post!

Here is my sample blog for you, which I did very quickly, in under fifteen minutes! www.sample-blog28.blogspot.co.uk

The rest is up to you! If you have any questions, do ask me, also please follow my blog :)

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Thank you // Jeani