Handheld Blogging 101
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Want to join the blogosphere but need a helping hand to get you started? This is absolutely the course you need. In short and to-the-point lectures, I'll guide you through setting up a self-hosted blog using the WordPress blogging platform. I'll include videos and demos, but when you successfully complete the course and put what you've learned into practice, I'll also include a one-on-one 15-minute appointment session access to me personally so if you have specific questions, I'll answer them personally.
In four sections of four lectures each, I'll take you through every step of the process from getting a hosting package, procuring a domain name, installing WordPress, tweaking it, and customizing with some fun features that make your blog uniquely yours.
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|Section 1: I Want a Blog, But Where Do I Start?|
In order to blog successfully, you need a clear understanding of your purpose for doing it. In this lecture, I introduce you to 5 key steps in determining your own purpose. </p>
These steps will help you lay a good foundation for your first blog.
Be sure to print and complete the Blogging With Purpose Exercise Sheet for "homework" as you prepare to begin.
There's more than one way to blog. In this lecture, you will discover the differences between free blogging sites and self-hosted blogs.
There are obvious pros and cons to each approach. For beginning bloggers, free-hosted options are available, and in some cases preferable. However, for those who plan to become serious, long-term bloggers, free-hosting becomes a limitation. Therefore, I explain why self-hosting is the preferred option for serious bloggers.
Download and study the worksheet about Understanding the Differences Between Self-Hosted and Free-Hosted Options as you move forward.
As discussed in the previous lecture, free-hosted blog options do exist and are sometimes preferred by beginning bloggers who do not wish to invest extra money up front.
Self-hosting is recommended for anyone considering blogging as a serious endeavor. However, if you're still deciding, you do have other options. In this lecture, I'll introduce you to some popular free-hosting options.
The Exploring Free Hosted Options resource is downloadable, and includes active hyperlinks you can click on to personally explore the solutions I demonstrated in the lecture video.
In this lecture, I'll introduce you to some self-hosted blog options. The ones included here are some of the most frequently-chosen as blog hosting services. Either of them is fairly competitive with the others since most hosting providers offer common features. I will conclude this section by explaining why I am using a particular self-hosted example for demonstration purposes throughout the rest of the class.
Note: If you use one of the links in the downloadable Exploring Self-Hosted Options resource, you will receive a discounted rate and I will receive a commission at no additional cost to you.
|Section 2: Setting Up A Hosting Account and Domain|
While hosting accounts and domain names are totally separate things, they're often paired together. Just as a property deed refers to a piece of physical property, a domain name points to your online storage space, which is part of your hosting package's purpose. In this lecture, I'll explain in more depth what they are, what they do and why you need both.
Completing the Hosting Accounts & Domain Names Exercise Sheet will help you extend your understanding of both and will help you make some decisions as to what will be your personal best choice.
It's one thing to hear about something. It's another thing entirely to do it. As you begin the process of getting your own hosting package and domain, there are some important things to keep in mind. In this lecture, I'll demonstrate how to sign up for your hosting account and domain name.
Before going through the process for yourself, print the Obtaining a Hosting Package and Domain Name Checklist. Then use it as a guide as you make your purchase.
Different hosting providers offer different tools in their packages. In this lecture, I explain some of the tools that are standard, or at least comparable, in most hosting plan control panels.
The Seeing What's Included sheet lists some things you need to find in your Control Panel. This resource also provides a place to record your important hosting account information for safekeeping.
At this point, you're almost ready to install your site platform. As a blogger and web junkie, I have learned the value of thinking ahead. Since you now have a virtually unlimited hosting package (if you chose one of my recommended options) with only one domain, you have plenty of room to expand.
For the purposes of expansion, it's important to understand how to configure a different folder for each domain. In this lecture, I'll go over the steps necessary to prepare your domain for a WordPress installation.
Print the Configuring Domain Settings checklist to take your step-by-step through the process.
|Section 3: Installing and Configuring WordPress|
After your domain is configured, it's time to do the actual installation of WordPress. In this lecture, I'll show you just how quick and easy it is to get the platform in place.
Use the Installing WordPress printable checklist to walk through the installation.
With WordPress now installed and functional, it's natural to want to find out what it can do. In this lecture, I'll help you get familiar with the platform by explaining what some of the tools and features do.
Use the Getting Familiar with the Platform downloadable worksheet to locate some of the main features you need to use on a regular basis.
Just as you want your house or car to somewhat reflect your personality, you'll also want to configure and customize your site. In this lecture, I'll show you how to begin putting your personal touch on your blog.
The Configuring Site Settings and Appearance worksheet includes questions designed to walk you through finding places to configure a variety of settings and appearance options.
By this point, you've already posted a basic blog post. In this lecture, I'll show you some essential tools in WordPress that you can use to boost your posts to a new level.
The downloadable resource, Publishing Blog Posts, includes spaces for general notetaking, as well as brainstorming areas for future blog categories and tags/keywords.
|Section 4: Basic Fine-Tuning|
While even a fresh install of WordPress comes with some highly functional themes, if you're going to be a serious blogger, at some point you'll want to really customize your site. In this lecture, I'll introduce you to some places to obtain both free and paid third-party themes, and I'll show you how to install them.
The Using Third-Party Themes resource includes information about and direct links to the resources I introduce in the lecture.
Jetpack is a traditional package of plugins available for WordPress. In this lecture, you will learn how to activate Jetpack by connecting it to the main WordPress site.
The Using Jetpack printable resource provides a space to note any Jetpack features you want to explore further. It also provides a place to record the login information used to connect and authorize Jetpack.
Plugins are extra tools that can be installed for the purpose of extending the capabilities of the WordPress platform. They're similar to apps on a smartphone in the sense that they add functionality and integration with a wide variety of third-party features.
In this lecture, you'll see how to install a plugin to integrate a social media feed on your blog. The process used for this example is the same process used to install other plugins.
The Using Plugins activity sheet prompts you to consider functionality you want to add to your blog, and it also encourages you to locate plugins that will accomplish that functionality.
In this final lecture, I recap all the highlights of the course. To take advantage of your complimentary 15-minute follow-up consultation, download the Wrapping Up resource file and follow the instructions. It has been a pleasure sharing with you! I look forward to hearing from you and hope to see you in any future courses.
I've authored two books, am a blogger and an entrepreneur. I'm also a university educator with three degrees. But I am first and foremost a worshiper. While I am obviously far from perfect, I have surrendered my life to the call to set others free into the freedom I have found in Christ. I’m a passionate communicator in many regards. Whether ministering one-on-one, speaking to groups, writing, or teaching computer classes professionally in my university classrooms and online, people tell me I have a gift for being approachable and connecting quickly on a deep level. Secretly, I think it’s just that I genuinely love people and I guess it shows.
The greatest majority of my overall calling includes a mandate to mobilize others into their own destinies for the purpose of advancing the Kingdom of God. Whatever that looks like for you, whatever your passion is, I want to help you discover it.
I love spending time outdoors, preferably on accessible trails near water, especially waterfalls. I also enjoy purses, shoes (despite not wearing them since childhood), lipstick, sunglasses, bling, and no matter where God sends me or what I’m doing, I will always be a sweet-tea-lovin’ Georgia girl at heart.