Blog with WordPress
Monali Gaikwad | 30 January 2009
WordPress is one of the most powerful blogging engines available today, which is loaded with awesome features to help you create a blog with ease. CHIP shows you how to
The web has given everybody a medium to pen their 'Dear Diary,..' moments online in the form of blogs. Blogging is an easy way to express yourself and share your world with others and connect with them through the message in your blog. Blogging is not restricted to any topic and you can blog about anything, be it your obsession with music, politics, technology or even your pet! It’s a medium where you can freely express yourself with the power of your own words without bothering to be politically correct.
WordPress is one of the most popular and powerful blogging engines on the web today. It is packed with amazing features, themes, plug-ins and many powerful tools to create a state of the art blog. It is really simple to use and you don’t need any previous blogging or site maintenance experience to create your own blog. WordPress also allows you to create your own custom themes and plug-ins with its easy to use API and clear documentation. To start creating your own blog, follow these steps and share your world with everyone!
Step 1: Register
To join the blogging bandwagon, first log on to www.wordpress.com and register. After that, enter a blog domain name and a title for the blog and enter all the details for the registration process. Make sure you enter the correct email address, as the link to activate your WordPress account will be sent here. Now activate your account from the link, log in and you will then be taken to your blog page with the welcome post on it. You can choose to keep or delete this post.
Step 2: Create a post
To start creating the post for your blog, you will have to log on to the ‘Dashboard’. On the welcome post, click the log in link in the Meta category, or you can log in from the WordPress homepage and click the blog name. Alternatively, just add /wp-admin after your blog link in the browser and it will take you to the Dashboard. The Dashboard has a simple interface, with each activity categorized well from creating the post, selecting the theme, adding a poll and so on.
WordPress has a QuickPress tool that lets you write and post a blog very quickly. You just have to add the title, type the post in the relevant field and hit 'Publish'. You can also add pictures, music and videos to your post here. Alternatively, you can click ‘Add New’ in the post category and a word editor with more elaborate features opens up. It has options to edit the font type, size, color and the alignment of the text with options to add or remove links too. When you type a title in the title text box, WordPress automatically generates a Permalink for that particular post. You can also add videos, pictures and music to your blog from here. In the ‘Excerpts’ text box, type out a brief description about your post for a quick read, this however is optional. While you type your post it is also auto-saved in the drafts, so you don’t have to worry about re-typing everything in case your computer restarts or if there is a power failure, you can retrieve whatever you typed from the Draft.
After your post is ready, you can also create tags and categories for the post. For example, if your post talks about your favorite album, create a music tag, the artist/album name and so on. For categories, you can create a category as music and the subcategories as the genre of the music. To add the tag or category, simply type in the text box and click ‘Add’. When you add a tag to your blog, it is added to the global WordPress database. So every time some one types this tag in the search box, your blog will also be listed in the search results. Note that, with WordPress you can create a number of categories and subcategories for your posts. In the Publish section, change the visibility settings to choose who can view your blog. WordPress gives you the option to let everybody view your blog, or only a select few to view it with the password setting. After you have finished typing and added all the necessary tags and privacy settings, click ‘Preview’ to see a sample of how the post will look after publishing. If you are happy with what you see, click ‘Publish’ and your blog is ready for the world!
Step 3: Changing the Appearance
If you are not happy with the default theme and want to make sure your blog looks smashing and is loaded with cool stuff, then WordPress fulfils this wish too! It has a number of themes to choose from, ranging from different types of layouts and colors schemes. To change the theme, in the ‘Appearances’ section, click ‘Themes’ and select the theme you like. When you click on the theme, you get a preview of the theme on the page. If you like the look of the theme, click ‘Activate’ or close the window and choose another one. You can also tweak the theme to your liking by using the CSS Stylesheet Editor. Some themes also allow you to change the header image and page layout according to your choice
WordPress allows you to add widgets on the sidebar of your page too. By using widgets, you can add some additional features to your page, such as Flickr, to share your photo albums on the blog or maintain Archives of all the posts you have made so far. To add a widget to the page, just click ‘Add’ from the list of ‘Available Widgets’. You can select multiple widgets at one go, and then click ‘Save Changes’ in the Selected Widgets section. After selecting the widget, click ‘Edit’ and make the necessary changes to the widget, such as adding the link to your Flickr album and selecting the number of photographs displayed on the pages.
Step 4: Updating the profile
Once you create your blog, it is very important to connect with readers through an impressive profile and a 'Gravatar' if you like. To update your profile, expand the ‘Users’ section and click ‘Your Profile’ and enter the details such as First Name, E-mail ID and About Yourself. If you want to remain anonymous or use a pen name, then you can enter this in the name field.
The administration and community settings can also be changed in order to efficiently maintain a blog. To do this, click on ‘Authors & Users’ and select the ‘Username’ and click the ‘Change role’ drop down. Here you can change the role to Administrator, Author, Editor and Contributor. To add a new member to the blog administration, enter the email ID in the text box and select the role you want to assign to the user and click ‘Add User’. It is that simple!
Step 5: Editing posts
After creating posts, you may want to change a few things or add some more text or images to the post. To do this, you don’t have to start over and create a new post altogether. All you need to do is click ‘Edit’ in the post section and a list of all the posts you have made is displayed. After that, simply point the mouse cursor to the post to be edited and you will see links such as Edit, Quick Edit, Delete and View appear under it. Click ‘Edit’ and you will then be taken to the word editor where you can make all the required changes to the post and then click ‘Update Post’.
Step 6: Import/Export
WordPress also gives you the option to import your blog from other blogging engines such as Blogger, Blogroll, LiveJournal and so on. In the ‘Tools’ section click ‘Import’ and select the blogging engine from where you want to import your blog. After this, click ‘Authorize’ and you will be taken to the log in page of the selected blogging engine. Sign in to your account and then click ‘Grant Access’. This will display the blogs in your account; just click ‘Import’ on the blog you want to import. After this all the posts made on that blog will be imported to your WordPress account; click ‘Save Changes’ to finish the process. You will then be taken to the Edit posts page where you can edit or delete posts. Other details such as the date and time of posting and the user comments are also imported.
Similarly, you can also export your WordPress blog to another WordPress blog that you may have. To export, click ‘Export’ and then click ‘Download Export File’. Your blog will then be converted to a downloadable XML file which will have to be saved on your computer. After the file is downloaded, go to the other WordPress blog and import this XML file on it. To import the XML file, click ‘Import’ and select WordPress from the list. After that, ‘Browse’ the XML file from your computer and click ‘Upload and Import’. Thus the posts from one WordPress blog can be added on to another WordPress blog too. WordPress also has other Tools such as ‘Gears’ to speed up your WordPress account. This blog consolidation feature is rarely seen in other blogging tools.
Step 7: Changing settings
By changing the settings, you can further customize your blog more to your liking. You can change the blog image, tagline of the blog, comment moderation and so on. In the ‘General Settings’, you can change the Blog Title, Tagline, Timezone and date/time format for your blog. Simply type in the relevant text box and select the appropriate option from the drop down menu to do this. In the ‘Writing’ settings, set the size of the post box, ‘Formatting’ and the default post and link category. The ‘Reading’ setting allows you to set options for the readers such as adding your post to Digg, Del.icio.us or Reddit etc. Here you can also set the number of posts visible on the page and other related options. To add Digg, Del.icio.us etc just click the checkbox and type the number in the ‘Blog pages show at most’ text box.
To change the comment settings, click ‘Discussion Settings’ and click the check boxes to enable different options such as Default article settings, Before a comment appears etc. You can also define and choose to discard a comment in the ‘Comment Blacklist’ option. Type out the words, URL, E-mail or IP address and the comments containing the same will be discarded automatically. You can also choose to show the avatar of the person posting the comment. Just select the appropriate radio button and choose to show avatars and also choose the default avatar.
These are all the options you need to use. You can try a combination of colors, and other settings to change the look of your blog. After creating it you can also view statistics such as the number of hits in the ‘Dashboard’. Just expand the ‘Dashboard’ and click ‘Blog Stats’ to view the weekly, monthly and yearly stats. To reach out to more readers just post the link of your blog on your social networking site and let everybody get a glimpse of your world!