Blogger Tutorial 1 of 10: Blogger Settings - which do you select and what do they mean?

First things first, of course. This post assumes you know a little about blogging but nothing about Blogger. Maybe you've read a blog or two, or perhaps even subscribe to one via email. You're intrigued enough and feel you have something to say and enough intelligence to construct a grammatically correct sentence, or at least the semblance of one. Ok, great, where do you go from here?

Since I use Blogger, and if you're reading this, you're reading a Blogger blog, I'm going to use Blogger as my system for all tutorials. Although some things will be system specific, others can be applied to any blogging platform. This will be the most basic post, dealing with the mechanics of setting up your blog for success.

Setting up your Blogger blog:
  1. Go to www.blogger.com
  2. Click on the orange "Create An Account" arrow, about 2/3 of the way down the page.
  3. Sign in or create a Google account, pick your blog name and choose the template.
  4. Click on "Start Posting" and hold your horses! No, don't start posting yet. This is the part where I'm checking to see if you're paying attention. It's important to go through your account settings first. You'll see an empty post, just waiting for you to start typing, but spend 10 minutes following the steps below and you'll be posting in no time.
Getting the settings right the first time around:

The Settings Tab
  1. Click on the Settings tab in the upper left of the screen, right below your blog's name.
  2. Enter a short 2 or 3 sentence description for your blog. Don't worry about exact phrasing, you can always modify any of these settings at a later date.
  3. Next to "Show Email Post links?", select "Yes". This allows your blog's readers to easily email the post to friends. Important if you want people to tell others about your blog.
  4. IMPORTANT - Click the "Save Settings" button. Make sure you always save when you modify settings or you'll have to go back and make the changes all over again.
The Publishing Tab
  1. Once your Basic settings have been saved, click on the word "Publishing", which is one line below the Settings tab in the upper left of the window.
  2. Next to "Notify Weblogs.com", select "Yes". This notifies one of the biggest blog search engines you've updated your blog with a new post.
  3. Remember to hit "Save Settings"
The Formatting Tab
  1. Now click on the word Formatting, which is in the upper left below the Settings tab. Getting the hang of it now? We're working our way across all the items under the Settings tab and changing the items that will make your blog more user-friendly and ready to be spread around the Internet.
  2. We'll leave these alone for now, but feel free to come back and change at any time. I just want you to know they are there.
The Comments Tab
  1. Now click on the Comments tab.
  2. Next to " Who Can Comment?", select "Anyone". Don't worry, you'll have the option of moderating and deleting comments. The beauty of a blog is that it encourages reader dialogue.
  3. Next to "Backlinks" select the button for "Show".
  4. If you would like, next to "Enable Comment Moderation", select "Yes". If you choose yes, you will need to login and approve comments before they are posted on your blog.
  5. IMPORTANT: Next to " Show word verification for comments?", select "Yes". Requiring commentators to type in a verification key cuts down on spam tremendously.
  6. Next to " Comment Notification Address", enter an email address for receiving notification of your comments. This isn't necessary, but as your blog gains popularity and readers, you may want to respond to comments in a timely manner. Getting an email when someone comments is a good way to stay on top of things.
  7. Click "Save Settings".
Whew! We're done modifying the most valuable settings that Blogger has to offer. Now your blog is set up to allow easy browsing and let your readers spread the word about your Shakespeare-like abilities to comment on your chosen subject matter with lyrical prose. Or simply to put a noun, verb and subject together in the correct order, at least most of the time.

You're also ready for your first post and for my second tutorial, coming on Tuesday Wednesday. Try your hand and compose a few posts, or simply start thinking about 5 to 10 somewhat related thoughts you can turn into a 3 to 5 paragraph post. Good luck and thanks for reading.
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