Monday, June 22, 2015

Summertime - Start a blog...

This is a repeat of an earlier post, but I think it is worth repeating. And if you want to spend some time with me come learn about blogging in a face to face session:
Pirate Tips Live!
One of the easiest ways to have a web page is to create a blog. Your newest content will always appear at the top of the page, you can add a variety of content, and you can post in a number of ways.
Your pinckneypirates.org account (or any google account) has a Blogger account connected to it. Which means that your username (including @pinckneypirates.org) and password will grant you access to the wonderful world of simple web publishing.
In this post I'm going to offer a few "levels" of blogging:
  • Just the basics - you can post and people can read what you write
  • Enough to be dangerous - your posts might include some pictures and videos, as well as scheduled posts
  • Showing off a little - you can post to your blog from your phone or email

Let's get started.




Just the Basics

1. Logging in

Believe it or not, this may be the most challenging part of this tutorial. Logging in is not hard, but there are a number of variables here, and I may not be able to address all of them. To make it as consistent as possible, please start by logging into your Gmail account (pinckneypirates.org).
From here we will click on the app shortcut in the upper right corner of the page.
Next select the More link at the bottom of the list. **
Next select the Blogger button from the list. **
**Please be aware that your Blogger button may be in a different location.
Then a little "multiple choice" for the next steps...
If you have a blogger account set up you will be logged right in. Skip ahead to creating a post.
If this is your first visit to blogger you will need to confirm your profile and choose to use a Google + profile or Blogger profile. For this tutorial I will go with a Blogger profile.
To continue, enter a name and proceed. You will land on a page that looks like this:
Our next step is to click the New Blog button. Go ahead - click it. Then you will see this:
Add your title and consider a simple address for the blog. I titled this one Walter the Mailman...
...but when I tried to use the address "walter.blogspot.com"...
... it was not available. Here's where you need to be creative.
Next you will want to choose a template for the blog - there are more choices and options for the look later.
Click the Create Blog! button and wait a moment.
The blog is set up and we are now ready to post. On to step 2. Step 2 is important. As a blogger it is where you will spend most of your time.

2. Creating a post

Click on the orange button by the title of the blog to create a post.
A new page will open and you will see the composition window. I've numbered the icons/buttons/tools in the image below and created a list below so you can see what the buttons do. Most will seem like familiar tasks.


  1. Back to the Blogger dashboard where you can create additional posts, blogs, etc. It's where you land after you log in.
  2. A link to your public blog. It only shows you PUBLISHED POSTS, so if you are working on one, it won't show yet.
  3. This is where you put the title of your post, but you probably figured that one out...
  4. The PUBLISH button - if you push this your post goes live for the world to see. Blogger doesn't care if you are outlined, proofread, or finished. If you push publish it is posted. (Unless you have scheduled the post for later - that's in the more advanced section.)
  5. The SAVE button saves your post. It is NOT published, just saved. You can leave it saved and unpublished as long as you want.
  6. The PREVIEW button shows you how the post would would look on your blog using the current theme.
  7. The CLOSE button closes the post and returns you to the Blogger dashboard.
  8. COMPOSE/HTML toggle switch. Compose (the default) is like editing in Word. HTML editing is for advanced users. If you want to learn this you will want to do a google search for a tutorial.
  9. Editing buttons. These are mostly standard buttons. Hovering over each button will name the function. The only two that need a little "extra" description are Insert jump break and Remove formatting.
  10. INSERT JUMP BREAK puts a break in the post so only the first part shows, with a "Read more..." link to see the whole article.
  11. REMOVE FORMATTING does just that - it removes the formatting. Use this button to "clean up" the text when you copy info from another source (web page, document, email, etc...).

Enough to be Dangerous

1. Adding images

Inserting images in your post is simple. For this example I will add a screen shot.
Put the cursor in the location where you would like to add the image. I always put it at the start of the line where I want the image. Later I decide if the image goes to the left, right, or center.

Next I'm going to click on the Insert image button on the toolbar.

Now I'm ready to select the image.
There are several options for adding an image. You can use images from the blog, from Picassa, from your phone, from a URL, from your webcam, or upload an image directly from your computer. For this demo I will add an image from my computer. Click the Choose files button to open the file picker.

Select the image you want to upload and click the Open button.

The image will be added to your File selection window. Click on the image and click the Add selected button.


The image is now inserted in the post.
If you click on the image you will have some options for adjusting the image.
From here you can adjust the size, location, and add captions.

2. Adding video

Just like images, video is a simple addition to the page. Videos can be uploaded directly to the blog (from your computer, phone, or webcam), or linked to YouTube. To add a video put the cursor in the location where you would like to add the video and click the Insert a video button.

For this example I will link to the 2014 YouTube Rewind video (from Youtube).  I just need to select the From YouTube tab, search for the video, select it, and click the Select button at the bottom of the window.
My video is inserted.

3. Scheduling posts

One more "medium" level trick to help you get ahead. You can schedule posts to appear at a predetermined time. I schedule these posts to appear on Monday mornings around 9 am. I start working on them weeks in advance and set the schedule. Here's the trick...
On the right side of the screen there is a column of links under the Publish button (it may be only showing the icons if your on a smaller screen - just hover over the icons to reveal the links). One of the links is labeled Schedule. Click it.

The drawer will slide open to reveal the choices. The Automatic choice will post as soon as you click the publish button. Select the Set date and time choice to determine your publishing date.
Once you have completed your selection click the Done button.
You will now see the date and time scheduled the post is scheduled to be published. Additionally, in the blog dashboard you can see the list of posts and any that are "scheduled".

Showing Off a Little

1. Posting through SMS/MMS/email

Here's a fun way to make posting a BREEZE - especially if you want to make short posts.
From the blog dashboard, click on the Settings link (bottom of the menu on the left) and select Mobile and email.
To allow posting via SMS/MMS you will need to click the Add mobile device link.

Next send the code in the yellow box as an MMS to go@blogger.com OR as an SMS to 256447 and wait for a reply.
If all worked correctly you will receive confirmation on your screen and on your phone.
To test it out you can send a message to go@blogger.com.
To post via email you will need to go to the same Settings page (Mobile and email).
This time we will focus on the email section. You will need to add a secret word in the middle of the address and select to save the emails as drafts or publish immediately.
Be sure to press the Save settings (orange button in the upper-right corner) before leaving the page.

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