Sunday, July 4, 2010

Creating a Blog, using it and things to know about it

To define a Blog, inform about how to create it, use it, follow the etiquette and benefit from it, there are too many websites, and few websites are mainly aimed at helping new bloggers and they make money out of it.

The scope of this article is to explain about Blogging to the non-techie users in a concise way. It provides you a basic idea about Blogging and provides you many insights about which you can later verify and gain experience on your own browsing the Internet on those topics.

What is a Blog?

As you may already know that Blog is a form of website which is maintained like a journal, where all the articles posted will be displayed in the reverse chronological order – meaning, the latest Post (articles referred to as Posts in Blogging terminology) appears on the front page as the first item and all the previous posts appear in the descending order.
Uses of a Blog

A Blog is mainly used by individuals or a group of individuals or even companies to keep their readers updated about the latest news. Unlike a commercial website, there is more personal communication in a blog where the authors are supposed to be more interactive with their users. Users generally keep posting comments, if they like or dislike a post on the blog, but then it is expected that the blog owners or blog authors should respond to them as early as possible. That is one big responsibility of a blog owner/author.
Otherwise, in the long run, there won’t be so many loyal visitor to the blogs.
Blog is therefore a very dynamic medium of expression and sharing of thoughts, ideas and experiences, that today, it has become a popular hobby to many, including the celebrities in the current generation.
A Blog can be used by anyone right from a primary school teacher to a CEO of a company to share their personal ideas. The teachers can use it as a medium to teach their own students posting their content, so that a student missing one class can get to know the lessons from the teacher’s blog.
A Blog can be used by a professional engineer who can share his personal experiences and the methods of learning with his friends or juniors at his university, he can provide the technical as well as practical guidance to the students, who can get awareness about their chosen field of study.
A Blog can be used by a doctor, a lawyer, a spiritual seeker who can help their own circle of people. And the list of uses of Blog is endless.
Things to be taken care of before creating and using a Blog
While Blog gives us the freedom of expression, we are not supposed to post any article which is obscene, which infringes with the copyrights of others, which promotes racism, which advocates hatred against other organizations or individuals.
The websites hosting the Blogging services may terminate your blog and your account altogether, if someone reports abuse about your blog.
Another notable point is that, the Blog is a medium which can be accessed from any part of the world and once you put some content on your blog, even if you delete your blog too, there will be some content available for a long time in the cache of search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.
Creating a Blog and using it
You have so many blogging platforms like Blogger, Wordpress, typepad, movable type, etc. Few of them are free to all users but few of them are paid services. But the paid services are also offering many features, which are not offered by the free services like the customization of the templates as you wish.
Fortunately, the user don’t even need to know HTML or Java scripts to use the blogger or any other blogging platform though there are a lot of options for the enthusiastic users to customize their blog and bring a new feel different from the default templates of the Blogger.
To start with, Blogger platform is very good to use for the beginners. Blogger is owned by Google and all the hosting is generally provided by Blogger/Google servers.
If you have a Google account, then you only need 3 steps to create a blog.

  1. Go to http://www.blogger.com
  2. Sign in with your Google username and password. Don’t worry, if you don’t have the Google account already. The Blogger will guide you to create a Google account in minutes.
  3. You need to select a blog name which is not taken by somebody like myname…., myspace…, etc.
  4. Select a template after you finish the above step. Blogger has some default templates which are quite beautiful, but you can later switch to any template even after writing your articles. The switching of template will not affect your blog posts in anyway. But this is ensured only if you try the option of choosing the Blog templates from within the blogger when you are signed in.
  5. Start posting your first article. You can edit your article at any time after posting it once.

Things to know after you created your Blog
Once you create your first article, you can immediately watch your blog typing its URL in a browser to find out how it looks like. For visiting your blog, you just need to type the blog URL in the web browsers like you do for any other website.
For doing any modifications to your blog settings like the editing of the posts, or customization to your templates, etc, you always need to log on to your blogger account.
The inevitable thing about using free services is that you can’t choose your desired domain name or URL address, say http://www.example.com

For example, all Blogger blogs are appended with the word ‘blogspot’ in addition to the username, so they look something like http://userdefined.blogspot.com
Buying a Domain Name
What is a Domain Name? To be simple, to say in the non-techie language, Domain name is just like paying money and getting a municipal registration done for an automobile or a house, etc.
There are actually two generic words used by the people regarding any website, one is the Domain Name and the other Web hosting.
Whereas Domain name is something related to the web address of your blog/website, Web hosting is something related to providing some online space for storing your content on some server.
To complete the above said analogy, Domain name is like paying for the registration number, whereas Web hosting is like buying a house or an automobile.
So for a complete free service, you don’t need to think about any of these things, you can just think about signing in into Blogger website your Google username and password, and completing those 3 steps to start posting your articles.
In case you are particular about the URL of your blog, and if you don’t want any appended words like Blogspot to them, then you need to buy a domain name.
Again you don’t need to worry about how to get it done. From inside the Settings option of Blogger, you can easily choose to buy a domain name with a nominal price of $10 or so, probably it may vary from country to country.
There are options in the Blogger settings window, through which you can direct your blog URL something like http://yourname.blogspot.com to www.yourname.com or www.yourname.org or www.yourname.net, etc.
Even after you do this, your blog is still hosted on the Blogger server, and you have no limitations on the number of articles you can post to your blog.
So, enjoy Blogging, and become an important and responsible person in your society and also in this world.
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