This blog is my first blog. I had known the blogs for several years but I was never really interested it. I discovered thanks to the blog a new way of creating his Internet site in a simple and intuitive way. Well on, a blog does not allow as much thing than creation of a site with Joomla and a Php/MySQL, but it makes it possible to the beginner in data processing to try a new form of specific communication to this virtual world and thus to understand the passion which has caused the blogs for a few years.
In this file, I would like to engrave my experience gained through many hours of research on the net and to make you share my experiment of beginner before forgetting it.
We will see which are the tools essential to use for the creation, the control and the referencing of your blog.
First step: Choose a blog provider
There are many providers of free Blog. I would quote only those which I know to have used them:
- Blogger (http://www.blogger.com)
- WordPress (http://wordpress.com/)
Blogger also proposes:
- the management of your Blogger profile to post it on your blog,
- the possibility of changing when tou want the URL of your blog. I disadvise it however because, we will see it, make known its blog is a rather difficult thing,
- a rather fine management of the comments,
- a publication of messages in your blog with a special email,
- a management of several authors for your blog.
Blogger proposes less options than WordPress. It will be appropriate consequently to the beginner who could lose himself quickly in the options of WordPress. However, after a few times of use of Blogger, I realize that some options of WordPress would be quite useful for me.
Indeed, the concept of Page in WordPress is quite useful to create HTML page accessible from the main menu. This possibility brings closer a blog WordPress a traditional site.
People of WordPress are malignant! They propose to you to import your blog Blogger in WordPress. I tested it! It works very well. All the articles, comments and the tags are recovered. There are just some small changes of page setting on a few articles.
Moreover, I find that the great force of WordPress is in the number of Widgets proposed. I like particularly:
- TagClouds which display your tags according to their importance. It is very visual and very practical.
- the visualization of your Flickr images,
- the display of the statistics of Blog,
- the access to your Box.net storage space,
- the calendar,
- separation between archives and the last published articles.
Which URL I need ?You can choose Blogger, WordPress or another provider ! In any cases, you must be careful when you choose your Blog name.
Indeed, if you aim to create Blog internationally read, your blog need to be well referred by the search engines. And a good URL is the first step to do this.
For example: nongeekhelp.blogspot.com consists of 3 domains:
- COM which is the principal field universally known
- blogspot is field of Blogger (it would be wordpress for Wordpress)
- nongeekhelp is the name which I chose because I wanted to create a blog which brings a help to the beginner in data processing.
That's why I use the 3 key words “none” “geek” “help”.
Do not choose your key words randomly. I advise you to use the following links which will enable you to know the popularity of each key word:
Where can I put my files ?A blog enables you to write articles. However, you will want quickly to enrich the contents of your articles with images, videos… and all kinds of files.
It will be necessary for you to record somewhere on Internet these files which you want to refer in your articles.
Here, I explain the free solutions that I use to lodge my files. I would classify it in 3 categories:
- other documents.
First of all, you need known that there is often disk space offered with your blog.
With Blogger, you have provision of 1Go on PicasaWeb to store only your images. Indeed, if you connect yourselves on your PicasaWeb account, you will find an album photo containing all your images of your Blog.
With WordPress, you have only 50 free Mo to store files images (jpg, JPEG, png, GIF) and office documents (pdf, doc, ppt).
My technique is to use multiple accounts on various sites:
- I store my images on PicasaWeb (1 free Go) and Flickr (100 Mo of upload per month). Each one of your images or each one of your albums is then accessible via a URL that you copy paste in your blog.
- I store my videos on YouTube.
- I store my other files on Box.net (1 free Go).
The difficulty lies thereafter in the management of your multiple accounts users.
To facilitate you the management of your storage spaces like Flickr, Picasa, Box and YouTube, I advise you to use a plugin of Firefox named FireUploader. You will find on this subject an old article (http://nongeekhelp.blogspot.com/2007/06/firefox-plugin-universal-uploader.html).
There is many others sites to lodge photos and videos:
- BuzzNet (http://www.buzznet.com/)
- Fotki (http://www.fotki.com)
- ZoomR (http://beta.zooomr.com)
- DotPhoto (http://www.dotphoto.com/)
- PhotoBucket (http://photobucket.com/)
- Ofoto, Shutterfly, SmugMug…
To know the functions of Picasa, you can refer in this article:
There is also a 4th category of files: the Slide.
Those are sequences of pictures with sympathetic effects which you can stick in your articles.
There are several sites which make it possible to do that:
Widget complements for your blogThe addition of widgets to your blog makes it possible to bring additional services to your visitors.
I particularly recommend the addition of a search bar on the blog. Especially to allow your users to seek information on your blog.
Personally, I use the bar of http://www.blogbar.org/ because:
- you can customize the skin by changing the color to integrate easily in your blog,
- it is compatible with Google AdSense, you can thus receive money for each research,
- it makes it possible to use an incredible number of generic search engines (google, yahoo, ask, exalead…), on the blogs (technorati, google blog search, yahoo blog search, icerocket, blogpulse, feedster, del.icio.us), in various sites (digg, del.icio.us, reddit, twitter, newsvine, wikipedia), for the images (google image, flickr, stock exchange, fotolia), for the videos (video google, youtube, dailymotion).
Visitors in real time
A small pleasure when you have a blog is to note the effective visits on your blog throughout the world. Google Analytics permits you that but not in real time.
For that, I use the http://www.neoworx.net site which enables me to add free but in their limited version (i.e. with a skin not very pretty) 4 very sympathetic widgets:
- NeoCounter: Display your online visitors and past traffic by country..
- NeoEarth: Navigate the planet in search of your visitors..
- NeoFlag: Collect the flags of every country and display them on your blog.
- NeoBoard: An innovative and easy to install chat room for your blog..
Personally, I use only the 2 first.
Certain article can raise questions which deserve a small survey. And well, for that I use the http://www.polldaddy.com site.
There are other sites of surveys:
- Bravenet Mini Poll
- Web Central Poll
- Go 2 Poll
To supervise your flow RSS
If you don't know RSS, it's time to inform you. This link about RSS towards Wikipedia (http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS_%28format%29).
Some people will never come on your blog but will subscribe with your RSS flow.
On Blogger, the default RSS flow is http://nongeekhelp.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default and you can reach it if you see at the bottom of the page the sentence “Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)”.
Not very practical nevertheless! Moreover, you cannot know how much people subscribed on your blog.
To have a follow-up of these subscriptions and some quite practical statistics, I was registered on the http://www.feedburner.com site which enables me to transfer my default RSS flow to a FeedBurner RSS flow which will be supervised. My RSS by FeedBurner thus becomes http://feeds.feedburner.com/nongeekhelp.
Then, in option, it is possible to add another widget to post the number of people subscribed.
FeedBurner proposes many other options.
To make known its blogThe ultimate goal of a blog is to have a maximum of visitors and much of comments on each article :-) !
For that, you must start an assiduous advertising step thanks to several media.
To be well referred by Google can lead a significant number of visitor per day. However, Google is not all alone. The proof on this page which reference all engines of the world except Google :-)
Some of these engines enable you to propose your site to referred it. You can visit each site and make this tiresome but paying step.
You can also pass by sites specialized like http://www.submitexpress.com which takes care of this spot.
In order to be referred on Google very regularly, I use Google WebMaster (http://www.google.com/webmasters).
This tool enables me to accelerate the passage of GoogleBot on my blog. It also gives me information concerning the interactions between my various pages and with pages of other sites.
Those are sites of news suggested by the Net surfers and for whom people vote. The more a news has votes, the more it climbs on first page. If your news is displayed on first page, you are ensured to have a significant number of visits in short time.
Digg-like that I use mainly are digg and del.icio.us.
If you want more detail on the digg-like, here is an impressive list of digg-like:
Other solutions are possible to make known your blog:
- Register on forums and paste your URL in your signature.
- Send emails at all your communities (on Internet or your friends)
- Play weak games to gain bonds with super pagerank:
Visits counter and statisticsAs I a few moments ago evoked with NeoWorx, it is cool to have statistics of visits on your blog. See your number of daily visitors increase is always a personal satisfaction after several hours to have typed an article; -)
For that, many tools are available. Obviously, I can only advise to register you in Google Analytics which free and is so much well made.
Other tools exist on which we will probably return in future articles:
- Meter Site
- Bravenet Hit Counter
- Easy Hit Counters
Make profitable your blogGoogle proposes to you to makeyour site a little bit profitable.
For that, return on the site of Google AdSense (https://www.google.com/adsense).
However, it is a small additional motivation to work on your blog !
The last update of this file: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dxvwf97_59fdd5qm