Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blog Basics for Boomers

Ideas for this Tech and the Baby Boomer come from a number of places.  About a week ago, my brother-in-law said he wanted to start a blog, but didn't know how to begin.  So in this entry, I'll talk about the mechanical part of how I started my blog and give some good references for people who want to start one. I'm assuming that Boomers and others reading this have a good idea for a blog, and want to try it out.

I know there are many competing, free, blogging "platforms" that people can use, but I wanted something that could be up and running within minutes and felt intuitive to use. After watching my daughter post her blog,  I chose Blogger, Google' s blogging software, hosted on their site. For the most part it has been easy to use and not intimidating at all.


To get to blogger, I went to Google's home page, and looked for the listings at the top of the page. I pressed "More."

After that I pressed the "even more" tab at the bottom. That opens up a screen with a vast array of options, including ones under Communicate, Share & Save.
.
 Here you'll find a connection to Blogger, Google's blogging platform. When you click on Blogger you'll find a page that looks like this:

You can sign into Blogger with your free Google account, and create a blog. As you can see Google has many tools for  you to use to understand how to start the blog. You can take their Quick Tour or watch a video about how Blogger works.

If you don't have a free Google account, you'll be asked to sign in to the account, create passwords, and accept Google's terms of service.

After you've filled in the form, you are ready to pick a name for your blog.

And after you've selected a name, you'll be asked to select how you want your blog to look from a few simple designs.

Choose one of the Templates, or designs, offered. Once you select one of the templates, you'll see a note that your blog has been created. If you want to start posting, you can, by hitting the Start Blogging button.
You'll be taken to a page that looks like this:
You can start blogging right away, but I'd suggest taking some time to take a look at the Settings page. Here is where you can decide if you want your blog publicized to the entire Internet, or if you want to keep it to a limited number of selected individuals. If you only want the members of your community --a club, a group, your friends, your family --to see the blog then select the appropriate settings.

Once you've selected your settings, go back to the blank blog entry, take a minute and decide on a title for today's post, and write. If you want to see how what you are writing or posting looks before you publish it hit the Preview button. You can go back and make changes before you publish. If you hit the publish button,and then want to make changes to your post, you can, just by selecting the Edit Posts tab.

That's pretty much all there is to it to get started in blogging. Of course, once you get started you might want to consider issues like how many people are reading your blog or how to make money blogging.

In this post, I gave you a step-by-step overview on how to use Blogger, and I hope it helps any Boomers out there who might want to take their first baby steps into this online world.  Blogging can be therapy, it can be a way to share ideas or pictures with a select group or a wider audience, it can be an online diary, or a way for you to share expertise with an audience. Frankly, I think more Boomers should get into blogging and I hope this post inspires you to do it.

Here are some additional resources beginner bloggers can use to learn about blogging:
Here is a link to the  Google YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU4gXHkejMo
Here are a couple more articles about starting a blog:






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Man, look at all those open firefox windows! What a mess. (Just kidding).

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