Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Blogging the easy way with

Do you want to get blogging but really can't be bothered to figure out how? Easy peasy. Just follow the instructions here. 

Spend a few minutes thinking about what you want your blog to do. If you want to achieve global domination and make a fortune then stop reading now and go elsewhere. If you're still here because you simply want to air your thoughts or share your adventures, carry on. The chances are that you don't care too much about armies of strangers finding your blog on Google. 

It’s also worth having a think about how much information you are willing to share with the world at large. For example I don’t put my address or my kids’ names in my blog though I have loads of photos of them. I’m fairly relaxed about security but I reckon that someone could probably piece together the entire story of my life but they’d have to be pretty desperate and anyone that desperate would ‘get’ me anyway.

Here’s how you set up a blog:
  • ·        Go to and sign in. It’s owned by google so you’ve probably already got an account.
  • ·        Find the button that says ‘new blog’ and click.
  • ·        Choose the name of your blog. The most obvious ones will be taken. It doesn’t really matter what you pick though open-ended and not smutty are preferable. Someone blogging at ‘single girl looks for love’ might not be happy with that when she’s a smug married in the Shires.
  • (Later, if you get keen, you can buy a URL and route your blog through it. There is much waffle about the name of a blog and while you might want to avoid anything utterly stupid, you can change later. Also, unless you’re really interested in becoming leading blogger per se (with lots of traffic from Google) it doesn’t matter a whit.)
  • ·        Choose a template. Simple will probably do you for now.
  • ·        You should get a button that says something like ‘your blog has been created, start posting’.
  • ·        If you want you can start and that’s it.
However, most people like a little personalisation.
  • ·         All the controls you need are down the left of this dashboard page.
  • ·         Go to template and have a look at the different styles of blog background/ layout. Hopefully you’ll find one you like. The less fussy the better. Avoid dark backgrounds/pale text.
  • ·         Layout is the next stop. This is how you can add things like lists of blogs you follow, counters of visitors, search boxes etc. None are necessary. (If you do want to do this, click on add a gadget, a box comes up with quite a good selection created by Once you’ve added it, you can shuffle the position around within layout.)
  • ·         It’s worth looking at the header bit where you can change the title and the sub heading of your blog. You can also put a picture under the text (or instead of the text). Just upload it from your computer.
  • ·         If you want to fiddle further (for example with font sizes and colours) return to template choose customise, then advanced.
  • ·         Cheerfully ignore earnings, google + and stats.
  • ·         Settings has one or two bits of note.
  • ·         Under comments you can control whether you need to moderate comments before they are published (or indeed if you allow comments at all). Personally I find authorising comments too much of a pain, so I just let them go live and have only occasionally had to delete ones later. Here word verification employs the dreaded captcha (the really irritating squiggles you must copy to be allowed to continue) or not. I’d say not.
  • ·         Mobile and email allows you to post from your email address and also sets up notification of new comments.
  • ·         Pages. This is where you can add information that will be permanently attached to the top of your blog. This is one of my pages: It’s up to you, but some people find it helpful to have some ‘about me’ information.
  • ·         Posts. This is the meat of the thing and very simple. Go to ‘create a new post’ or the little pen icon and get going.
  • ·         A heading is helpful. The tools you need for altering the way it looks or adding pictures, links or videos are all along the top.
  • ·         Blog settings run down the right. Mostly they aren’t important.

·         And that’s it…

Obviously there are fiddles and tweaks to last you a lifetime. But I'd say, don’t worry about anyone who says a blog must be or do this and that, it doesn’t generally.

Happy blogging. 

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Do as I say, not what I do.

The theory is very easy - set up a blog and write something relevant in it regularly. How hard can that be?

Well a glance into the archive of this blog will reveal that it really isn't very easy at all. In fact, it's quite hard.

You see, life gets in the way. You set up a blog to help promote your business, to get new work in. Then it works and your order books or diary fill up.

This is fantastic new, but it means that writing blog posts go to the very bottom of your to-do list again. Before long the tumbleweed is blowing through the pages of your blog.

So how can we keep the blogging momentum going after the initial enthusiasm wears off?

  • Make it a priority.
  • Put it on the to-do list - then highlight it.
  • Make a plan for content.
  • Set time aside regularly.
  • Allow shorter posts if necessary.

OK here goes....