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View Full Version : Some questions about blog formatting, set-up, etc.....



SeanDSchaffer
01-05-2006, 08:43 AM
I have a few questions to ask, if I may, about blogging, as I am becoming more and more interested in starting a blog.

1.) What kind of formatting do blogs usually take? Also, are there rules to how a blogger is supposed to post on their blog?

2.) Would you all be willing to recommend some sites that would host a blog for me, and the costs, set-up features, etc.? I am completely new to the blogging idea, and I also am very poor at handling such things as html and other fancy programming languages.

3.) Is there a special ettiquette to blogging, like there is to webforum posting?

4.) Finally, I want to make my blog about writing, specifically. What kind of writing would be good to post on such a blog, and also, should there be content on my blog other than my own writing? (You know: advice, ways I myself treat my Craft, etc.)


Thank you all in advance for your responses. I look forward to reading them.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/emoticonhi.gif

Medievalist
01-05-2006, 09:01 AM
Sean

LiveJournal (www.livejournal.com) and Blogger (www.blogger.com) and WordPress.com (http://wordpress.com/) are free. LiveJournal has lots of nifty community features. All three are easy to set up.

If you're seriously geeky, you can install a more complex blogging tool on your own server; WordPress will let you install their tool. MovableType is another option. These require some care and feeding--at a minimum you need to know HTML. Some ISP/Server hosts will install the software for you. But your own server/domain means money--roughly around 5 to 20 dollars a month, though there are extremes at either end.

On the cheap but worth the money side, you might want to take a look at http://www.typepad.com. It's quite lovely, easy to use, easy to set up, and you pay a flat fee per month or per year.

There are many many other options; these are just some to think about.

SeanDSchaffer
01-05-2006, 09:19 AM
I just thought of this, and was wondering: when I start my blog, will I want to make an introductory post or just get right down to business?


BTW, Lisa, I looked at every one of those blogging sites, and I like what I'm seeing in all of them. I'm torn between Typepad and Blogger, personally. I think I might go with Blogger for my particular set-up.

Edited to Add:
One thing, though. Is there a restriction on any of these sites when it comes to content? Not that I would be wanting to do anything raunchy or something like that, but just that I do have a tendency to use a strong word or two in my writing on occasion, and some of my writing has a small amount of sexuality to it. Not porn, just a small amount of sexuality that might not be appropriate for younger readers.

paprikapink
01-05-2006, 09:22 AM
I don't speak HTML and I ain't got no money.

I went with blogger (http://www.blogger.com). It was easy and even fun to set up and the same is true for using it.

I think that as far as what else "should" be on your blog, the sky's the limit. And it's fine to just write, too.

Dawno's is an excellent example.

Dawno
01-05-2006, 09:55 AM
First off, thanks Paprikapink for the "props" :)

Sean, I have a LiveJournal, a personal site and a blogger site. My blogger site has taken over. I just like it best, for now.

Live Journal has great features and if you join it can I put you on my friend's list? :)

I believe in the "just start blogging" school of blogging. But I blog for the heck of it - I'm one of those people who likes to hear herself talk.

Maybe you need a "mission statement" - why is blogging appealing to you right now? What do you want to say and to whom? That might help you make your decisions about what kind of blogging site (free or your own domain), too.



...but just that I do have a tendency to use a strong word or two in my writing on occasion, and some of my writing has a small amount of sexuality to it. Not porn, just a small amount of sexuality that might not be appropriate for younger readers.

I don't think blogger or LiveJournal would have a problem with posts along those lines, but the best thing to do is read the Terms of Service very carefully before you commit. With your own domain/site you probably wouldn't have to worry at all and you could put stuff on a 'back page' with a notice (must be 18 to read, or something like that - not sure if that really protects you, maybe someone more knowledgeable around here will pipe up and let us know) - again check the hosting service's Terms of Service on that.

I've got links to tons of sites in my sidebar - you could get a pretty good sample of what writers are blogging about by checking some of those links.

Good luck!

Medievalist
01-05-2006, 10:21 AM
I don't think it would be a problem on any of the "free" sites; honestly, you'll have to go look at the TOS or Policies they have.

One of the nice things about LiveJournal is that you can restrict some posts to known readers. Many people on LJ write fan fic that's far, far more explicit than what I think you have in mind; these people "lock" the posts and tell people to email them if they want access, and ask readers who email them to state that they are over 21 or whatever.

SeanDSchaffer
01-05-2006, 10:38 AM
I think I will be trying Blogger out. If the TOS say anything about restrictions, I'll be more than happy to follow them. It's kind of strange: I like reading stuff that is explicit, but I don't like the idea so much of someone else reading something I've written that's anywhere near as explicit as what I like to read. (I'm glad I'm writing this and not speaking it; I can only imagine the kind of breath I would have to take to speak that last sentence.)

Basically, all I have to do is find some writing to post and I'll be ready for my first run at it. I think this will be an excellent way of creating some discipline for myself as a writer, and also an excellent way of making my work more known.

I'll be back later tonight, most probably, with the blog URL and the name. (The name probably won't be anything creative, although you never know.) I will talk to you all later.

Thanks again for answering my questions so promptly and readily.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif

Dawno
01-05-2006, 11:14 AM
Yay Sean! I look forward to adding you to my blogroll and coming by to comment on your first post!

SeanDSchaffer
01-05-2006, 02:27 PM
Yay Sean! I look forward to adding you to my blogroll and coming by to comment on your first post!


Hi Dawno!

I've finally found the work I'm going to use as my first post. Do you remember 'Bested' from my first month here at SYW? Well, I found the final long version, and copied it to my Word Processor so I would have it ready to post on the blog.

As for my title, I think I'm going to try simply, "Sean D. Schaffer's Writing Blog." Simple, yet effective. And I'm always a sucker for simple yet effective.

Now I'm off to begin working on my new blog. I'll try to come back later this morning and let you all know how it went.


BTW, I like your blog a lot, Dawno. I was wondering if I might add your blog to my blogroll as soon as I figure out how to do so?

Thanks. Talk to you later!

Nicholas S.H.J.M Woodhouse
01-05-2006, 02:40 PM
good luck sean. i think blogger is the best of the bunch, especially for a beginner to it. the community is rock solid, and certainly when one walks amongst the AW bloggers, one is never alone. and thats not scary, thats friendly.

your title sounds great. it'll help your name stick in people's minds and if your blog is quality (which i'm sure it will be sean), then you become the quality.

good luck mate!

SeanDSchaffer
01-05-2006, 03:03 PM
Thank you kindly, Nique. I appreciate it.


Just so everyone knows, I now have it up. I will be posting my blog's URL in the appropriate thread momentarily.

One thing about the first entry, if I may:

I copied and pasted an old document from my word processing program onto the blog, and it removed all my formatting. I will not do that again, as a four-page short short is now a single paragraph on the blog. What a way to start out!

But hey, it's a lot of fun, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

I look forward to everyone's comments.

SeanDSchaffer
01-05-2006, 05:02 PM
I just set my blog up earlier today, but I have no idea how to put a list of favorite links into my sidebar.

I use Blogger. How do I set up a link list?


Thanks in advance, everyone.

Kate Nepveu
01-05-2006, 06:54 PM
Try http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=110&topic=22 or give us your blogspot URL so we can take a look at the code.

SeanDSchaffer
01-05-2006, 08:42 PM
Try http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=110&topic=22 or give us your blogspot URL so we can take a look at the code.


Kate, thanks. It took me a bit of figuring out, but I now have a decent list of favorite links to websites and forums, along with a working knowlege (due to the hands-on nature of the html coding) of how to add more links as time goes on.

I appreciate the link. Thanks again.

Nicholas S.H.J.M Woodhouse
01-05-2006, 08:56 PM
it can be good fun sean mixing up the template.
if i were you i would spend a fair bit of time working on that now,
try saving a copy of the template as it exists now (make sure you keep this in case anything goes wrong)
then just mess about with it, add random words here and there, then go to preview and see where they came up. its the way that i learnt how to do a blog template. just make sure you still have the original.
maybe try googling some blogger freebies. i once saw a questionnaire on a blog and liked the idea so i googled 'questionnaire free blog' and up came such a site where i could make my own and stick the HTML in.
once you know you have a back-up template saved, the fear factor goes and it becomes more fun to learn.

all the best,
nz

Dawno
01-06-2006, 12:09 AM
BTW, I like your blog a lot, Dawno. I was wondering if I might add your blog to my blogroll as soon as I figure out how to do so?

Thanks. Talk to you later!

Why, thank you Sean. Feel free to add my site to your blogroll - the more links the merrier!

unthoughtknown
01-06-2006, 05:55 AM
Well done Sean. I'm going to visit right this very moment...

SeanDSchaffer
01-06-2006, 10:21 AM
Why, thank you Sean. Feel free to add my site to your blogroll - the more links the merrier!


Thanks, Dawno. I appreciate it.

I was going to ask a couple questions about blogrolls: 1.) What is a blogroll? and 2.) How do I set my blogroll up?

Dawno
01-06-2006, 11:06 AM
Thanks, Dawno. I appreciate it.

I was going to ask a couple questions about blogrolls: 1.) What is a blogroll? and 2.) How do I set my blogroll up?

I like this definition in Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blogroll)




A blogroll is a collection of links to other weblogs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weblog). When present, blogrolls are often found on the front page sidebar of most weblogs. Various weblog authors have different criteria for including other weblogs on their blogrolls. These range from matters of common interest to frequency of updates and posts to country/geographical/communal relations to link exchange (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Link_exchange) policies. Some blogrolls also simply consist of the list of weblogs an author reads himself, and some news aggregators (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_aggregator) allow their users to export that list directly to a weblog.

*snip*


There are two possible derivations of the term. US bloggers tend to prefer the theory that the term is derived from logrolling (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logroll), wherein members of a community liberally "cross-quote" each other's works. To UK bloggers 'blogroll' sounds like 'bog roll' a slang term for toilet tissue leading to speculation that the name derived from the long, list-like nature (and dubious quality) of some inter-blog link lists.


Most folk just put the links in a sidebar area. I've got mine divided into loose categories. My "People" group is set up by size :) My AW bloggers is set up in the order in which I discovered that an AWer had a blog I could link to (before this sub-forum began - then it's in the order they post on the AW Blogs thread). I may eventually do some major cat vacuuming and re-arrange it alphabetically.

It's all up to you!

SeanDSchaffer
01-06-2006, 11:27 AM
Cool! I've got your blog and its title written down, I'll be adding it shortly. Thank you for the information. This is a lot of fun, and good for my writing.

Also, you're welcome to add my blog to your roll, if you'd like.
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif


Oh, before I forget....

I was going to ask you about those advertisements they put on some blogs. Is it a good idea to have those put on my blog?

L M Ashton
01-06-2006, 11:41 AM
I don't think so. To me, it spells amateurish and it's a waste of space.

Think of this way, too. How often do you click on advertisements? (Because that's how the site owner usually makes money). How often do you think people will click on yours? Will it be often enough to actually earn you anything worthwhile?

SeanDSchaffer
01-06-2006, 11:51 AM
I don't think so. To me, it spells amateurish and it's a waste of space.

Think of this way, too. How often do you click on advertisements? (Because that's how the site owner usually makes money). How often do you think people will click on yours? Will it be often enough to actually earn you anything worthwhile?


That makes a lot of sense. I don't normally click on advertisements, so it stands to reason not a lot of other people would either--or, for that matter, would even want to see them.

Thank you for the advice. I appreciate it.

Marilyn Braun
01-07-2006, 12:26 AM
I have adsense on my blog and I don't know why. To date I've 'made' $9.91 - not that I'll ever see any of it. :cry:

Kate Nepveu
01-07-2006, 12:38 AM
Let me second, third, fourth, and fifth the suggestion to save a copy of your Blogger template every time you change something. *Especially* since you're still learning, it will really save you a lot of aggravation.

SeanDSchaffer
01-07-2006, 04:49 AM
Let me second, third, fourth, and fifth the suggestion to save a copy of your Blogger template every time you change something. *Especially* since you're still learning, it will really save you a lot of aggravation.


Right on. That makes sense.

BTW, I've been tampering with the template, and am amazed at the versatility the xhtml language used thereon provides, especially for myself. I like the way I can add defaults and change text decoration in the middle of a sentence. Also, I've noticed places in the template for graphics and other cool stuff, should I decide to put them there. I think this is an awesome set-up. It's coming along great.

L M Ashton
01-07-2006, 05:42 AM
One thing you want to watch out for is adding too much in terms of graphics or other things that cause a page to load more slowly. I've read that something like half of those with internet in the US are still on dial-up (don't know how accurate that is), but I do know that many other places in the world still have dial-up as their primary internet connection. Keep in mind that if a page takes 2 or 3 seconds to load on high speed cable or adsl, it's going to take much, much, much longer on dial-up. So be light with graphics and fancy stuff that causes longer page loads or people will lose patience and go somewhere else.

This is not directed at your present design, but as a warning against what a lot of new people to web design seem to do. :)

SeanDSchaffer
01-07-2006, 07:14 AM
Thank you for the warning. I honestly hadn't thought about it before, but now that you mention it, it does make a lot of sense to me. I will definitely be sure to stay light on the graphics.

Thanks again.
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