A Rough Guide to Blogging
First, some lingo: the “Dashboard” is the website’s administration panel–that’s where you will create and edit your posts, check your user stats, and comment on posts.
You will be added to the blog in the “Author” role. Once you are on the course website, look for the “Sign In” area along the right-hand side of the course website. Once you click the “Sign In” button, you will be prompted to enter your CofC User Name (what comes before the “@” in your CofC g-mail address) and Password. Please note that this is your official CofC password. When you change your CofC password, this password will change as well.
Once you are logged in, you will access the dashboard via the gray navigation bar at the top of the page. The two items on the Dashboard that will be most important—both along the left-hand column—are the areas for “Posts” and “Users.” Through the “Users” link, you can change things like how you want your name to appear in your post using the “Nickname” drop-down option (this affords some degree of anonymity if you prefer it).
Once you set up the user name that you want displayed along with your posts, click on the “Posts” link. This is where you will compose and edit your posts. Clicking on “Posts” will reveal a sub-menu. Click on “Add New” in the sub-menu or at the top of the center page. You will see a prompt in the main part of the page that says “Enter your title here” and then a text box below. Offer an engaging post title and type away in the text box below. Rather than work in the small space provided, you can toggle between the small text box and a larger text box by clicking on the icon with arrows pointing to the four corners in the composition toolbar (above the text box). In order to save or update your post, however, you must return to the small text box screen. You can save posts that are still in progress as a draft if you want table it for a while. When you want it to go live with you post, you need to click “Publish.” The “Preview,” “Publish,” and “Save Draft” buttons are all on the upper-right-hand side of the Dashboard. I encourage you to preview all posts so you can check the links and the general aesthetics of the post before it goes live. You can always go back and edit your own published posts.
Here are some suggestions to make your blogs stand out from the crowd:
Make it Dynamic
Blog posts are great because they can point (link) to other things online. You can also make them visually appealing by adding pictures and videos. Moreover, you can help readers categorize them by giving the “tags.” All of these things help bring a blog post to life. Here’s a rough guide to all that good stuff.
To add a link: In order to link to other blogs, news items, or anything else online, you need to add a link. You’ll see the “link” button (it looks like two links of a chain) in the composition toolbar. Highlight the text in your post that you want linked and click on the “link” button. You’ll be prompted to enter a URL (web address). Make sure the “http://” tag doesn’t appear twice when you cut and paste). You can also give the link a title (these words will appear when a user hovers over the link). Check the box next to “open link in new tab” so you don’t lose your current place on the website. Then, just click “Add Link” and you’re done.
To include a picture: Click “Add Media” button above the composition toolbar and load a picture from your files or simply cut and paste the image URL. Select the appropriate size (small thumbnail, larger image, etc.) and alignment (left, center, right). You have to press the “upload picture” button at the bottom of the insert-picture dialog box to officially upload the post. Once the picture is uploaded into your post, you can change its size and/or location, add a caption, or work with the advanced features by clicking on the picture itself, and clicking on the icon in the upper-left of the picture. Please also link your photo to the website from which you borrowed it (see linking instructions above).
To add video: Simply click on the youtube (or other) video you would like to upload and cut-and-paste the URL (web address) directly into your post.
Adding Tags: When you compose a post, it will help readers of the blog if you offer 1-3 keywords what will help identify it. In order to insert a tag, look for the “Tags” box to the right-hand site of the composition box (you may have to scroll down just a bit). You can choose from frequently used keywords or add new ones. The tags will join a “tag cloud” on the right side of the course website.
To Comment: Commenting on other posts should be self-explanatory, though make sure you are logged on–otherwise the blog server won’t accept your comment.