You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Whether you intend to pursue employment with traditional media institutions, seek freelance assignments, or plan to monetize work that you produce independently, your online presence and identity will most likely play an important role at the beginning of most of these relationships.
In a nutshell, a blog is a website where you can create, post, edit, format and manage content, including multimedia. Content usually appears in reverse chronological order, is automatically archived by date, categories, tags, and is searchable. Blogs permit a great deal of creative customization without requiring a high skill threshold.
Recent estimates suggest that there may be more than 150 million blogs online, with 175,000 new blogs launched every day. The lack of quality content is usually the greatest impediment to greater traffic and overall success. Convergence students won’t have this problem.
We are working in WordPress.com as a free introduction to the more complex and powerful alternative of self-hosting with WordPress.org, which allows greater customization and development.
This blog is your online identity. Adhere to our journalistic style, always check spelling and grammar, and be honest and accurate at all times.
Always back up your blog content offline.
Step by step:
Go to http://wordpress.com/ and click on “Sign up now.”
Enter a username, password and your email address. Save this information. Read and check the Terms of Service, check “Gimme a blog!” and click the “Next” button. (Your username will become part of your first URL, so think about branding. I recommend “firstnamelastname” in many cases, but this is your decision. Because you may log into your blog and other social media platforms from many locations, think about a universal password.)
If any areas are highlighted in pink, they have been taken by a previous WordPress user. Try alternatives and click the “Next” button again.
Next, you will receive an email containing links to your blog and other resources. Keep it!
If you are not satisfied with the the domain created by WordPress, or the title of your blog, you can make changes.
Your blog title is an essential element affecting how you might appear in Google search results. Choose something sensible, but Google will dismiss all but a few keywords; so, keep it brief.
Enter your name and a brief bio for your WordPress profile. Be accurate. Don’t be humble.
You will receive another email to complete your registration. (Don’t worry if your workflow takes you through these steps in a different order. Just click on the link.)
You should see this confirmation screen.
This is your dashboard. Try clicking the gray arrows along the left column links. You will need to use the “Edit” text link under “Posts” later in this exercise.
For now, click on the “New Post” button, near the top, right of the screen.
At the very least, add a title into the top window, post text to the window below, and consider adding categories for later search-ability. Experiment with the many buttons in between to control fonts, add photos and link to other multimedia. (*NOTE: Video and other content must be hosted elsewhere – such as on YouTube.com – and can be embedded into your posts using these controls.)
Mouse over the buttons to check their functions. The “Insert/Edit Link” button is useful to create a link from any text or other elements in your post.
*** Click the “Preview” button to see how your post will appear, and click the “Publish” button when ready. Do not publish until perfect because this action will initiate distribution for anybody subscribing to your RSS feed – possibly including your instructors, or anybody else.
You can always make updates and corrections to your post, but this will not retrieve content that has already been sent to subscribers.
Click your blog title at top left, or “Visit Site” to view results.
Finally, WordPress created your blog with a default post entitled “Hello World.” Let’s get rid of it!
First, click the arrow next to “Posts” in the left column.
Scroll over “Hello World” and click on the “Delete” text link.
Your blog should look like a lot like this, but feel free to experiment with templates, widgets and other variables.
Don’t post content you don’t own, at least not without confirming and chronicling permission. Do not rely on amateur legal advice about fair use.
Some words about widgets. Dozens of widgets are available to add functionality to WordPress.com blogs. However, when adding new widgets to a template, other widgets in a template may stop functioning. Proceed cautiously and be prepared to retrace your steps to solve problems, for example removing a widget.
Maintenance matters. Nobody ever comes back to a blog that appears to be poorly maintained. Good blogs are identified by fresh content, moderated comments, and new features. Check all pages at times for expired links or missing embedded content.
Experiment with the comment settings. Consider the setting that requires all commenters to have at least one comment approved by the moderator, which will be you in this case.
You can create “pages” instead of posts for content that exists outside of the blog chronology. For example, an “About” page may be linked to your homepage.
Back up, back up and back up.