Conversations on Commenting

… thoughts on commenting in general and on blogs in particular.

One of the most important tasks of a blogger is to set up a commenting policy. It doesn’t matter whether a person writes for a blog professionally or works on a site for fun and family — a clear statement on comments is necessary. The Props Blog, a good source for blogging information, features this informative post, The 10 Commandments of Commenting. I’ve rewritten these 10 commandments for my students using “Thou shalls” rather than “Thou shall nots,” and I’ve attached this document at the end of the post.

In today’s world, many people do not understand the purpose of commenting, and only recently have many websites started to set limits. Moreover, the rough and tumble, devil-may-care attitude that many people assume as they navigate the web (see newspapers — paper or electronic — for the latest digital scandals) leads to individuals not always thinking before they write, send, and post. I wrote a post, also titled Conversations on Commenting, sharing more of my views on this subject.

Continue reading

All About WordPress Widgets! Lesson #12

Widgets are mini programs or applications that create digital tools, and these tools can be added to a blog to perform various functions.

The part of WordPress (WordPress.com) that provides free blog access also offers widgets for people to use on their blogs. However, in order to manage and protect these free blogs, WordPress limits widget access to a small number (thousands of widgets are available for blogs out in the blog world). Too many widgets that are not vetted can open the door to digital problems, and WordPress wants to avoid these digital difficulties as much as possible.

You can read this interesting blog post at the Edublogger site, Getting More Out of Widgets, but all of the information may not be specific to WordPress blogs.

Continue reading

Adding Links to Your Post, Lesson #9

Several people have e-mailed me with questions about making links in posts. They’ve requested a set of simple but clear steps. So here we go. To learn more go to this Word Press Links Tutorial.

Four Steps to Link Making

Step #1

A link name is much better if it has descriptive words rather than an address. Thus Visit GDS is a better name Visit GDS http://www.gds.org.

Continue reading

What Makes a Good Post? Lesson #8

Thanks to those of you who have sent e-mails about your blogs. Great work! I’ll be happy to take a look at these and others anytime during this online class, but you can also feel free to share anytime the summer. I’ll always try to get back to you promptly, though when I am traveling, it may take a bit longer.

Read this WordPress document that explains how to start a new post.  My GDS tech colleague, Laura Loftus, discovered this blog post, Advice for New Bloggers: 12 Tips on Writing for Your Blog. While this document was originally written as advice for not-for-profit agencies  that hope to blog build up a large readership, many of the tips are great for beginners.

Tips on Posts Continue reading

Your Blog – Getting Started: Lesson #7

Look for this image and click the get started button.

It’s time to start your blog. At WordPress.com look for the illustration on the right to help you start building your site. Before setting up the blog, however, please read through the following steps.

Step #1

Your blog needs to have a name to use as a part of the blog’s address (or URL — letters that stand for universal resource locator). The words you choose will be a semi-permanent part of the address. For this course our blog address is https://familyblogclass.wordpress.com. Think carefully about what name to use for your blog site’s address. For instance, if you are making a family reunion blog, personalize your address just a bit. (I expect that FamilyReunion.wordpress.com was taken long ago). In a web address you seek a combination of short and descriptive. It’s possible to edit this later on, but that means notifying your readers of a change of address. Continue reading

Blogging Terms: Lesson #6

In a few days, when we begin setting up family blogs, you will encounter all sorts of terms –vocabulary words that literally fly around the blogging world. At the bottom of this post I’ve attached three blog glossary links that you can use in the future, anytime you discover an unfamiliar term.

To get started, however, I’ve chosen a few blogging terms that I believe are most important. I copied some these definitions from Daily Blog Tips, however I tweaked here and there and also appended my own comments in green type inside of square brackets.

  • AdSense: The most popular advertising network on the Internet, owned by Google. Adsense allows bloggers to monetize their blogs by displaying contextual text messages. Every time someone clicks on one of the text links, the blogger will earn some money (ranging from $0.01 up to $50 in some rare cases) Read more about how AdSense works. [I will devote a post to advertising, blogs, WordPress, and how to stop advertising on a personal or family blog.]

Continue reading

Parts of a Blog, Lesson #5

Blogs come in all sorts of shapes and forms.

Some contain only posts with no other content, while other blogs feature all sorts of bells and whistles — calendars, archives, copyright info, pictures, and more. Check out these links to learn a lot more about WordPress blogging and find out more about the seven essential parts of a blog.

Take some time to examine our course blog, and you’ll observe a number of different parts with different purposes.

Our Start a Family Blog course blog has the following parts:

  • center section features our blog posts. The most recent post always appears at the top, and the older posts are below, going backwards by date. I’ve set this blog to show the seven most recent posts on the home page. As we accumulate more and more posts, links at the bottom of the blog page (at the end of the seventh post) will direct readers to move back and forth to see other posts (older or newer). Continue reading