Discover How to Create Your First Blog with Blogger
So you have decided to create a blog right? Well, it’s actually quite simple. This quick tutorial will reveal you how to create a blog using blog service. In that case, we’ll use Blogger service that is owned by Google.
If you have read an article about blog service and blog software, you should be familiar with differences between having these two different platforms. If you use free blog service (like in this case), you should realize that you won’t receive so many features as with paid options. Even free blog software products have more features in some cases. However, if you don’t want to deal with various PHP or CGI scripts, then this service is quite good solution.
Opening an Account with Blogger
The first thing you need to do is go to Blogger.com and open an account. In the signup page you’ll have to enter your details.
Enter your chosen username, password, display name and email address. Your username is required to login and edit the blog. Your “Display Name” is like your username. Difference is that you won’t use it for logging-in. Your display name will be seen by everyone who read your blog. Display name will be seen as your nickname or real name under “About Me” section. And finally, read the “Terms of Service” and tick the checkbox stating that you accept the agreement and click the “Continue” button.
Naming the Blog
After that you’ll be taken to the next page where you’ll be able to give a name and URL for your blog.
First, enter a title of your blog. It will be seen on the front blog page in large font. Then you’ll have to enter the address for your blog. As long as it’s Blogger’s account, your blog URL address will look like: http://yourname.blogspot.com.
Keep in mind that you can use dashes for your name. Your blog URL might look like this: http://your-blog.blogspot.com. However, you are not allowed to enter underscores _ or other non-alphanumeric characters, not even mentioning spaces. Later you’ll need to verify that you are human visitor (not an automatic submission machine) by entering a written word.
You can also choose an “Advanced Setup”. This option means that if you have a website, you can create and upload your blog to your server. So you can have a blog created using Blogger service on your own website. The address would look like this:
This option is very good (if you a have a site). You actually don’t need to upload any files or anything at all. All you have to do is specify the settings so Blogger can login to your FTP server and upload the following files and update your blog. Blogger doesn’t even need to upload tons of files to your server, Just one index.html file (or any other file you specify).
Next, you’ll need to choose a template for your blog. You can select any template you want. Even if you later decide to change your template you can do so at any time. You’ll also be able to create your own template later. After you choose your template, click the “Continue” button and you’ll be taken to next page.
You’ll see the message that your blog has been created. Click “Start Posting” button to continue.
In your blog home area called “Dashboard”, you’ll be able to start posting news to your blog. Simply click on your blog. In this case the blog’s name is “Internet Marketing Resources”.
Click on “New Post” and you’ll be taken to a page where you can write a message in text or HTML format.
If you choose HTML composing option, you’ll be able to insert links, make text bold or italic, insert a picture and even check spelling. You’ll also be able to preview your blog message.
You can do the same in normal “Compose” mode. You can create your message without editing HTML. However, if you know HTML, you can switch the mode and create a blog entirely in HTML and see how it looks by clicking the “Preview” button.
After you create a message click “Publish Post”. You’ll see a message saying that your blog was published successfully. This indicates that you have created a blog and posted your first message to it.
Editing Blog Settings
You can click the “Settings” button at the top navigation panel and edit your blog settings. In the basic settings option, you’ll be able to change your blog title, add a description, add your blog to Blogger listings or not show it anywhere on the Blogger site, edit other setting or delete your blog.
If you have changed any setting here, click “Save Settings” button. If not, go to other editing options. In the “Settings” area, you can also change publishing options (ftp or sftp), blog formatting (date format, time zone, language, encoding, etc.), edit comments (show or hide backlinks, enable verification, comment notification etc.), choose how to archive a blog (daily, weekly, monthly), edit Atom feed settings or add members to your blog.
In the “Template” area you can edit your template’s navigation bar, add Adsense code to your blog or choose a new template. Any time you can click “View Blog” button and see your blog live. You can also at any time edit your user profile by clicking the “Edit Profile” button in your dashboard.
Publishing Blogger Blog on Your Site
If you have a website, Blogger.com allows you to publish this blog on your server. Remember in the signing up process there was an option called “Advanced Setup”? Well that option didn’t disappear. You can still run this blog on your own server.
Click on your blog name from the dashboard and go to:
Settings > Publishing
Click on the “Switch to: FTP” option. You’ll be taken to a page where you’ll have to fill the required fields in order to publish a blog on your site.
- FTP server is the first field you have to enter. It’s the address of your FTP server. If you have a shared host, it might be not your domain name. Your FTP might consist of numbers, like 126.96.36.199.
- Blog URL is the URL on your site that will be seen by public. You can put any folder name you want. You can name it “blog”, “blogger” or “news”.
- FTP path is the exact path to your blog. If you have a shared account, then there’s quite possible that your path will look like this: “/public_html/blog/” (followed by public_html). You should check your FTP settings to know it exactly. The second name is the name of your blog folder that will be created on your server. If you named your blog “news” in “Blog URL” field, then you should include “/public_html/news” in this one.
- Blog filename should be index.html. Then people will have to enter only http://yourdomain.com/blog to enter your blog. Otherwise they’ll have to use the full URL, like:http://yourdomain.com/blog/filename.html
- Username and password are the ones that you use to connect to your server. You can enter them now or later. If you enter them now, you won’t have to enter password and username every time you post a message on your blog.
After you have filled all the fields, click “Save Settings”. You should also click the “Republish Blog” button. It will upload all other files (including all posts archives) into your server.
Now, if you post any message to your blog, it will connect to your server and update the index file automatically.
Editing and Uploading Atom Feed
If you try to subscribe your blog to RSS reader, you’ll notice that RSS reader doesn’t find any feed file. It’s because there is no XML (RSS feed) file on your site. If you transfer your blog into your server, you have to allow people to subscribe from your site. In that case you’ll have to upload an Atom feed to your server. Go to:
Settings > Site Feed
In this page you’ll have to edit the XML feed settings. You should keep the “Publish Site Feed” setting to “Yes”. You can also choose to show full description or just a first paragraph (about 255 words).
Next, you’ll have to enter feed server path. It should be the same as in the FTP settings section. Try to insert the following:
If your blog is named differently then put other name after public_html. You can also name your feed however you want. It’s better to leave it atom.xml or change to feed.xml.
Finally, you’ll have to put your site feed URL. It should be the same as your blog:
After you click “Save Settings” you’ll see few buttons above. They’ll allow you to upload the feed to your server.
Click on “Republish Index” or “Republish” to upload the feed. Click any of those and you’ll have XML file on your server. However, you still need to link to that feed somehow, otherwise no one will be able to subscribe to your feed.
Putting a Link to Your Atom Feed
Blogger is not very flexible in this case. It doesn’t allow you to insert a link to your feed on your blog so easily. It requires you to deal with a code and add a link manually. Don’t worry, it’s not painful. We’ll cover this process quickly.
Template > Edit Current
You’ll see a navigation bar code that you can edit. If you’re not a techie, you probably won’t understand anything there. Don’t worry, you don’t have to. Simply click on the code area and press “Ctrl+F” or go to “Edit > Find of this page” in your browser after you click on the code area. Search for “Google News”. You should find a code line that looks like this:
This is a piece of code that represents links on your blog. Simply copy this line of code:
<li><a href="http://news.google.com/">Google News</a></li>
…and paste above that line. Edit the line so people could subscribe to your blog, like in the image below:
Then click “Save Template Changes” and later “Republish Index” buttons. It’s done. Now if you go and view your blog, you can see that the link to your feed is there.
If you want to put the image into your blog. Simply find an RSS image using Google image search, save it to your PC and upload it to your server.
Then go to this same line of code and put the following snippet of code above the <ul> tag:
<a href="http://www.domain.com/blog/feed.xml"><img src="http://www.domain.com/images/rss.gif" alt="RSS Feed" border="0"/></a>
You should edit URL of a link and the image to your own.
That’s it. You have created your feed using blog service Blogger.
If you are not a “techie” person, you might enjoy creating and publishing a blog using Blogger service. It has some useful features, like removing spam from comments, publishing your blog on your site or hosting it on Blogger servers, editing template and more.
However, such blog software, like Moveable Type or WordPress are preferred over blog services, because they have much more useful features. Blogger doesn’t allow to podcast directly, because it used Atom feed and not RSS. If you’ve read article about RSS versions, you know that RSS 2.0 supports podcasting or vodcasting. Blogger uses additional service FeedBurner. So if you want an easy and not very feature-rich way to publish a blog, Blogger is the right blog service for you.