Tag Archives: blogging

Feeling chatty????

IMG_0154

Don’t be left behind….

Don’t be left behind….Did you ever feel like the social media take-over can be overwhelming?  That if you’re not engaged in a conversation, that you’ll be left out of all conversations?  I know through my exploration of developing blogs, it is very clear the more you are connected, the more “relevant” you become…as far as the internet goes.  Cross linking and search engine optimization and keywords and tagging and…well the list goes on – seems to be an art and part strategy.

To continue information on Twitter, I thought I would post information on  Twitter chats.  There is an actual twitter chat schedule, where you can delve into “communities” established around specific topics.  At any given night there are a variety of topics you can enjoy.

For the aggies out there, there are several you might be interested in:
#AgChat
#AskAg
#AskUSDA
#HayTalk
#FoodChat
#AgChatOz (AgChat Australia)

Did I miss any???

 

 

Register/Log-in Screen for WordPress

Starting a WordPress.com blog

This is the first of a long list of posts on how to start the process of blogging with WordPress.com.  This platform is easy to use, free and allows you to have a good amount of control on our content.  First go to www.wordpress.com.

There you will find this screenshot.

Register/Log-in Screen for WordPress

Register/Log-in Screen for WordPress

 

If you have never signed up for WordPress, you will need to click on the “Get Started” orange button.  Here you will develop your url name through the WordPress platform.  This is seen here:

URL development for WordPress

URL development for WordPress

This is an important step.  Here you will create all your access information, but more importantly, you will create your blog address.  This is the web address people will use to find your blog.  It will be a reflection of you and your concept.  Please make sure you put some thought into this title.  Once it is created, it is final – you can’t change it without creating another blog site.  Once you are done doing this, you will see the “dashboard” page (shown below).

The control panel or "dashboard" for your blog.

The control panel or “dashboard” for your blog.

I am currently developing a blog for our farm and have used it as an example. If you see in the web address line after the farm name it reads “wp-admin”.  You will use this full web address to log directly into your blog from now on.  This is an alternative to going to the WordPress page.  WordPress does a good job of walking you through on how to get started in the light yellow box.  It would be recommended to spend some time here.  In subsequent posts, I will list some things I’ve learned writing posts and beginning the blog process.

 

 

Choosing a Blogging Platform…..Part 1

As I was stumbling around trying to figure out what the best blogging platform, it occurred to me that there are a few fundamental goals that need to be identified before you settle on a platform (or at least consider as you proceed).

1.  Who is your ultimate audience?

2.  How advanced is your “techie-ness”?

3.  Do I want to pay for the platform?

4.  What do I want my aesthetic to be?

As you consider these, it will come down to whether you want ease of use (at the cost of control of aesthetic and promotion) or you want more control with you doing the work!

Ease of use means they provide space for you to develop your blog on their hosting site; however you will have to use their free templates and service.  There are many choices and very good blog themes to work with, so don’t be concerned if you are just starting out.  So it is easier and quicker to use but you have limited options.  The inverse of this is a self-hosted software like WordPress.org.  Here the website does not provide you with internet real estate to post you blogs.  You have to purchase a domain name and hosting space.  However, once you have these you are only limited by your knowledge.

 

Free Blogging Sites:

WordPress

WordPress

 

Blogger-Logo

 

If you are like me and always seem to have to take the hard road, I used a hosting site and bought my own domain name.  The domain name cost me $15.00 through HostGator.  I than bought a web hosting plan through them as well.  They seem to come well recommended and some of the other sites just seemed pretentious.  {I also have to say that I had a question about downloading WordPress when I did it myself for another blog and they were BEYOND helpful.  I had a really great experience with them so far.}  You have the choice of committing as long as you want and paying what you feel comfortable.  The most complicated thing about getting this started is downloading WordPress to your site.  There is a really wonderful opportunity out there in Blog Your Passion where they will load WordPress for you.  The only request that is made is you purchase your web hosting from HostGator through them.  {They get a commission from HostGator – brilliant!!!}  They also have some really great tutorials to help beginning bloggers.  Here is the site for the free set-up.

So to sum this up; you can do one of two things starting a blog:

1.  You can go with a more user-friendly site which provides you with both internet web space and the software to start.  This will have limits on the creative base that you may want for your blog, albiet still a wonderful service.

2.  You can go with purchasing your own domain name, web space and downloading the software yourself.  This will provide you the opportunity have endless latitude in creating your space.

 

How to Begin Blogging…early steps….

I had always looked at blogging as some kind of self-absorbed conquest by other people.  However, over the last year, I have enjoyed reading many blogs that have helped me both in technology/e-learning and in day-to-day interests.  I stand corrected!  Blogging in many instances is a platform for people who know a little bit {or a great deal} about a specific subject to share what they know.  It is a ‘take it or leave it approach’.  I will share my learning process along the way.

One of the first things I did was to try to organize my thoughts.  In blogging, it is best to first focus on one major topic or niche.  That way it is easier for people who are interested in your subject matter to find you.  I am a lifetime learner, I love to learn about different things.  This is the biggest reason why I started two blogs (shameless plug here: justtodifor.com) At the beginning of this blogging journey, I felt very limited by thinking I had to just deal with one specific subject and what’s what MY blog had to be all about.  Not good.  So I began compiling information, ideas, and thoughts.  One of the best ways I found was through Evernote.

Evernote

Evernote

It is super easy to save material in many different forms {plus I think it is a cute logo with the friendly elephant – so you now have the memory of an elephant!}.  You can voice record ideas and save that within a specific topic note.  You are also able to take pictures and scan documents as well.  Everything is tabbed and is easy to navigate.

Evernote, how to use evernote

Evernote

Here is just a screen shot of some general notes I have taken thus far.  They are all “boxed” for easy access and it give you a snapshot of what you have in that note in case you forget.

Evernote

Evernote, How to use Evernote

To me, it is the easiest to use.  I had used others and they were harder to navigate and I lost material (beware of “notes” on your iPhone!).  I will post more about how to use the different functions in blogs to come!

 

 

 

 

Beginnings….

It was close to seven years ago this year I will have earned my Master’s Degree {mostly} online from North Carolina State University.  At that time, I was one of the first they had graduated and moved through the program.  It was great.  I was teaching full-time at that time and although I was able to successfully complete the program, I had little time to really research and understand the finer points of the technology I was using.  That time has come.  I am making a full blown effort to increase my awareness of e-learning and thought I would document my findings along the way.  Here we go….