by J – HotHolyHumorous
When I started blogging, I went for what was free and easy to start. I chose Blogger. I have since started a different blog in WordPress, but I kept Hot, Holy & Humorous on Blogger because I really like some of its features. So now that you’ve chosen Blogger, where do you start?
The first thing to do, of course, is to establish an account. Click over to Blogger, then click on the Create Blog tab at the top right. Fill in the information and go to Next Step. Remember that the email address you use with the account is where you will receive notifications. If you don’t want to use your personal email account, establish a new email account beforehand (try Gmail if you want to stick with Google). Most of the fields are required information, but you don’t have to provide a mobile phone number.
Then create your profile. This is where you provide a short bio or explanation of your blog and load a picture or logo. When someone looks you up or you leave a comment on someone else’s blog, this information and picture will be used. If you experience any difficulty uploading a photo, try resizing it until it fits. Now click-through the remaining pages (Blogger button) until you get to the page that shows :Your Username’s Blogs.” You have an account, but not a blog yet.
Click on New Blog and enter the title of your blog. Choose your blog title wisely, making sure someone else hasn’t already claimed it, that it represents what you’re talking about, and that you really, really like it because you’re going to see that name a lot. You can also choose your URL address, which is followed by “blogspot.com.” Usually, marriage bloggers choose an address that matches their blog title, but it’s up to you. You can also use your own domain name (for instance, “www.spockismyman.com”), but you’ll need to input that later and choose something temporary now. Click Create Blog, and Blogger should take you a general Blogger page.
You chose a template, but that’s not the end of it. You can mess with your design and change-up the templates. On the top right, there is a button with a text document picture and a drop down menu next to it. Click on the drop down menu and choose Overview. This is the page from which you can make lots of changes. On the left are your options, including Template. You will see what your template looks like on a web page and on a mobile phone. Click Customize to alter your template.
To customize the look of your page, play around here for a while. You can choose a different template, adjust the header and fonts, and play with how text appears on the screen. Whatever you choose, make sure you end up with a clean look. If it’s too busy, readers will be overwhelmed with the visual hoopla, and you want them focused on your content.
Setting is where you will set up your domain address, how posts will appear, and how comments will be managed. Start by clicking on Settings, then Basics. While you’re working on your blog, go ahead and change the Privacy settings to “Not listed on Blogger. Not visible to search engines.” You can go public when you are ready to launch. Under Basics, you can also add your own custom domain (like “www.spockismyman.com”) under Publishing and choose who else can post to your site if you are sharing your blog (for instance, with a spouse) under Permissions.
Under Settings, Posts and Comments, choose your preferences for how many posts will show, who can comment, and whether you’ll moderate comments. Since my blog deals with sexuality within marriage, I approve all comments before they go live. If you don’t moderate your comments, you may need to add a spam blocker. Spammers are relentless and annoying. (I don’t know how well Blogger blocks these without comment moderation.)
Back at the Overview page, you can also choose Layout. Layout permits you to add gadgets of all kinds. This is how bloggers get their links, badges (like the CMBA button), and Follow Me (on Facebook, Twitter, etc.) loaded. If you click on the Add a Gadget box, you’ll get a menu of popular choices. Note that the picture button is particularly helpful because you can upload a book cover, button, photo, etc., and provide a web link so that clicking on the picture takes you somewhere else.
You can also drag and drop the boxes around the layout screen, moving items where you want them to go. Click Preview to see how your changes would look. When you’re done, be sure to click “Save Arrangement” at the top right.
Writing a Post
There are several places where you can start—with a button titled Create a New Post or anywhere you see a pencil. As soon as you click, you’re taken to a word processing screen, where you’ll find familiar features like font, justification, and spell check. A few features may not be familiar: One looks like a Tx, and it means to remove formatting. If you copy and paste something in or your spacing just isn’t working out, click the remove formatting button and then add back the formatting you want. To the left of that, you’ll see Link, Insert a Picture, and Insert a Video. To insert a link, just highlight the text you want to link to, click the Link button, and input the URL. Insert a Picture and Insert a Video walk you through finding visual media on your computer or the Internet. Another feature is the drop-down menu that says Normal. It has the choice of headings and subheadings as well if you want to organize your posts in that way.
When you’re finished typing the text and inputting any visual data, be sure to add Labels (on the right). These are keywords that someone can use to search for your post’s subject. By the way, your blog name should almost always be one of your labels because more appearances of your name on the web brings you to the top of search engines. For instance, type “hot” and “humorous” into Google, and my blog should show up at the top. It didn’t do that a year ago. After adding Labels, you can Publish your post or Schedule it for later. (Be sure to go back to Settings, Basics, and make your blog public.)
One of the great things about Blogger is that it regularly saves without you asking. It also saves your post every time you press Preview. Even so, if you’re not ready to Publish, click Save before exiting.
Managing Your Blog
So you’re done, right? Not really. If you’ve chosen to moderate comments, you’ll need to stay on top of those. In the Overview section, you have a Comments button on the left where you can track comments that are Published, Awaiting Moderation, and ones you’ve marked as Spam.
Decide whether you plan to Reply to every comment, only those that seem to need a response, or simply let the conversation flow without you. Note that as your blog grows, it becomes increasingly harder to reply to everyone. Thankfully, your readers also supply some great wisdom in the comments section.
Finally, to track visits to your blog and which posts get more hits, click onto the Stats page from Overview. Blogger will give you a breakdown, and you can look at information for the day, month, year, or for all time.
Sound difficult? It’s not once you get started. For the most part, it’s initial set-up and then word processing. If you have any issues, join CMBA and then you will be able to post a question on the CMBA website, and someone will likely know the answer. We have some fabulous, tech-savvy members!
Remember, the most important part of your blog is not what it looks like but what you say. I have visited amazingly beautiful websites with little substance, and obviously homegrown blogs that conveyed God’s truths with great impact. Do you best, and cover your blog in prayer.