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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

You Need A Blog

Do you have family or friends who live far away?
Do you feel it's your duty to bless the world with photos of your adorable, yet slightly annoying offspring?
Do you have a special interest or hobby that you just can't get enough of?
Do you have a business that you want to let people know about?
Do you like to talk uninterrupted?
If you answered yes to any of my extremely detailed and intelligent questions then You Need A Blog.
Sooooo many people have told me they'd love to start a blog but were intimidated by the whole thing.  I'm  here to prove that starting and maintaining a blog is within reach for even the most technologically challenged of us.
First, the Disclaimer:  I am not nor have ever and will not ever propose myself to be a blog expert.  
I can simply show you what I did and you can take it from there.  
First you'll need to choose a blog host.  There's lots of them out there and I think the most well-known are Blogger and Wordpress.  I haven't tried Wordpress but heard they're very good and have lots of flexibility.  I started mine thru Blogger, it's FREE and it's basic.  You can find the Blogger home page here.  It looks like this:
When you sign up for your account and provide an email you just follow the steps from there.  It guides you right thru the process.  There were some things I didn't understand when starting mine so I just left those items on the "default". Can't go wrong with default!  
The fun part is putting together the "style" of your page.  The colors, graphics, photos...whatever you want to make your blog fit your personality.  This is also the Major Time Sucking part of the process.  It's literally endless the possibilities of styles available for your blog and I completely ignored the needs of my family for hours on end  just browsing thru websites looking at all the templates and playing around with the colors on my own template.  If you want more than the basic blogger template then check out this site.   It has tons of FREE templates to easily copy and download right into blogger.  
Of course it's hard for me to imagine a blog without lots of PICTURES.  You can load pictures into your blog from the very same screen that you type the text and just upload them like you upload any other attachment.  You can even choose the size you want to display the picture...although my opinion is bigger is better!  A photo like this one is just screaming to be BIG!!
You can also link photos from photobucket or flickr.  They're both free photo hosting sites that allow you to upload your pictures a little larger than normal.  You really need to take an hour or two and play around with the site and just have fun.  Don't worry about messing it up or doing it wrong.  Anything can be deleted or fixed or whatever it is you need.  I've experimented with lots of templates and posts that I "published" then deleted just to see how they'd look. 
I do have one piece of advice:  when you finally get your blog template looking just how you want it download the template to your computer!  There's a link on the Layout page of blogger under the Edit HTML tab that says very clearly to Download Full Template.  By doing this you can experiment with new templates without worrying about losing your favorite.  I really really really really wish someone had given me that advice when I started my blog!   Let's just say I learned it the hard way:)
If you're not ready to dive into the whole blog thing at least there's hope that you can still enjoy reading other people's blogs.  I tend to stalk photography related sites and have picked up some fabulous tips.
Coffeeshop taught me how to do this cool, grungy thing...
Before & After Grungy GMEN
Erin taught me how to defog my photos with just a few clicks in photoshop elements....
I downloaded this funky template at House of 3....
Hof3 Collage
and Pioneer Woman has great FREE actions that helped me make this lovely lady even lovelier...
The Wedding Day
My friend Rockin' Soccer Mama just started her blog today and is already adding templates and pictures and totally rockin' it up. Us busy moms (and everyone else) seriously need our creative outlets!
So go create and share your wisdom with the world~

2 comments:

drewmark19 said...

I totally agree! I started my blog just to keep track of what my kids were doing. I've since become sucked into my sister's website. :) (I ♥ Faces)

Have you ever heard of Live Writer? It makes publishing on blogger even easier! (and it's free!)

{http://download.live.com/writer}

Tara said...

I couldn't agree more with this post. I just started blogging a couple of days ago and it's so exciting! Another good idea is to buy your domain (i.e. without the .blogger part of the address) and configure your blogger account to point to it. That's what I did!

 
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