Get started with blogging, stress-free

So you have not started blogging yet, but now, you want to. Good for you!

Journalism educators: Would you like to add blogging to your classes? Don’t waste time talking to the IT department. Just do it! Here’s how:

  1. Go to WordPress.com.
  2. Click the big green blue button (sign up and create a new blog).
  3. Look at your Dashboard (everything happens here). Look at the top, where the buttons are: Write, Manage, Design, etc.
  4. Far right-hand side: Settings. (Give your blog a Title and a Tagline.)
  5. Top left: Write Manage Design > Themes (change your Theme). You can change it again at any time.
  6. Top left: Write (Write Post) > Write a Title, write a Post (main body) ; create a link; add an image (there are little buttons that allow you to do these things; look for the words Add Media).
  7. Delete the “Hello, World!” post: Manage > check the box to the left of the post title, then click Delete button, top left.
  8. Modify the blog’s Sidebar: Design > Widgets (drag and drop items from left side to right side, e.g., Links or Archives).
  9. Modify your Blogroll and other links: Manage > Links (add new); Name = text of link; Web Address = URL for link (the Link categories determine which header is seen in the Sidebar; the default is “Blogroll”).

Time needed in a lab, with undergraduates: About 2 hours, hands-on.

Update: I prefer to have the students set up their own individual blogs because then each student is responsible for his or her blog. If someone asks me to address an issue on my student’s blog, I tell that person to contact the student directly. I’m no baby-sitter.

9 Comments on “Get started with blogging, stress-free

  1. Mindy – This is very helpful as usual. I am trying to switch from using blogger for a class blog to wordpress, but I’m having trouble figuring out how to add users so students can also post to the blog. I’m wondering if you can address that? Thanks, Sue

  2. I was just sitting down to write almost this exact thing for my incoming students. Thanks for such a succinct and simple resource!

  3. Thanks, Dan. I have used this little sequence to train journalists, journalism students, and journalism educators (both U.S. and international).

    One key is to let them first play around with changing their theme. It puts everyone at ease!

  4. My administration was worried about my journalism class having public blogs so I went searching and found this AMAZING site called 21classes.com. Teachers can manage the users and privacy settings, approve posts and comments and overall manage the entire blog portal. It’s super easy to set up and use and it makes everyone happy!

  5. I’m using a class weblog in one class (the advanced new media design class) and having everyone create their own weblog in another class (the intro to multimedia journalism class). I debated about having separate weblogs for the advanced class, but I want them to have one place to go to for all the critiques and other miscellanea.

    I’ll see which one is preferred after the semester.

    The real frustration with the themes in WP.com, IMHO, is that you can’t change the CSS unless you pay for it, which is the only advantage I can think of for using blogger. 🙂

  6. Mindy, love the post and the fact that you offer a resource in addition to your appeal. I wanted to offer another possible alternative: drupal. It’s an open source CMS that more and more newspapers are starting to use to publish online content. It offers users the ability to create pages, stories, blogs, forums, and polls out of the box. There’s a nice image plugin as well that helps you create a photo gallery and it interfaces well with flickr. A few of the papers using it are:

    savannahnow.com
    blufftontoday.com
    and here locally
    pilotonline.com

    There’s a bit of a learning curve for the professor/instructor to set it up, but there are lots of tutorials available. I just started learning it this summer, and I’ve got it set up and running for this semester.

  7. Pingback: First day with our WP blogs « JOU 4341 Class Blog

  8. Pingback: Teaching Online Journalism » Using WordPress.com with new Dashboard

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