With iWeb 06 anyone can publish a blog or podcast right from their Mac. In this Newbies Guide Miraz Jordan shows you how to share your photos, movies, thoughts and ideas with friends, family and the world at large. First published April 2006. Some details are a bit dated.
Apple’s iLife 06 software package brought significant updates to iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes, iDVD, Garageband and also introduced the new iWeb 06. While you don’t have to have a .Mac account to use iWeb this article shows you how to use one to create your own blog.
If you want to experiment with .Mac sign up for a 60 day trial account. Open up iWeb and click the Learn More button on the splash screen. Once you’ve filled in the online form you can click the Sign In button on iWeb’s splash screen. It will open up the .Mac System Preference where you can enter your login name and password. Your computer will store these for you, making it easy to use iWeb for publishing.
Create a web page
Open iWeb and choose a template for your web page. I’m going to choose a Blog in this article. iWeb now opens up a document with some placeholder information. My choices have brought me a photo of someone on a snowboard, a header that says: Blue bird day, today’s date and some junk text.
This is just to get me started. The idea is that I’ll replace the photo, heading and junk text with real content of my own.
A blog is a website in the format of a diary or journal. You make regular, probably fairly short, entries, maybe including pictures, videos or sound clips. Each new entry appears at the top of the Home Page. Older entries automatically move into an archive. A blog is fantastic for keeping friends and relatives up to date on happenings.
My first blog entry
OK, first to go is the chap on the snowboard! I click on the photo and a Tooltip shows up to tell me to drag a new photo in to replace this one. But how and where?
At the bottom of the window is a button marked Media. I click that and then click on the tab for Photos. Now I can see all the photos in iPhoto where I choose a picture of my cat. I could also just drag in a photo from anywhere on my computer, and that may in fact be a better idea if I have prepared some photos with reduced file sizes. See the Sidebar for more on this.
Tip: use iPhoto to resize and optimise your photos before you add them to your blog.
Note: as a comparison, most of the screenshots in this tutorial are 340 pixels wide.
Tip: make the Media window larger so you can better see your photos. Drag the diagonal stripes at bottom right of the window.
Next I double click on the heading text and type a new heading to replace it. Finally I double click the junk text and type my own entry to replace it. Voila — an entry about what’s going on at our place today.
The Blog header
That takes care of the first entry, but what about the grander design? What about the overall header? Text and pictures will let people know who I am and where this blog is. I need to click on the item Blog in the Site Organizer on the left. This shows my new Cats at play entry in context.
Follow the principal of double clicking text and entering what you want to say. Click on the photo and click the media button to select a new photo for your Blog.
With text selected use the Colors and Fonts buttons at the bottom of the window to change colours, font sizes and styles.
Also click on the Archive item and change the default photo to one of your own.
Publish your blog
Well, with all the hard work done, let’s get this Blog on the road! Connect to the Internet and click the Publish button at bottom left of the iWeb window. iWeb pops up a wee reminder message about copyright then gets on with the job.
You may have to wait a while at this stage. Even with a high-speed connection it took quite a while to upload my cat photo and bit of text. Luckily there’s a progress bar to keep me informed. If I had optimised my photos this should go quicker.
Once finished though I was presented with some very pleasing options: Announce my new blog, Visit the site or just OK, I know it’s done. This being a brand new blog and all I decided to Announce it. Note that the dialog box also told me the address for my new blog. This helpful dialog box appears every time you Publish your site.
On clicking the Announce button I’m taken to my default email program where a newly created message contains some default text with a link to my site.
Visit the page
Back at the iWeb screen I can now click the Visit button at bottom left of the window. This opens my default web browser and takes me to my Blog. I added more entries before I made the screenshot.
This is a pretty easy way to make a blog. It’s quick, easy and convenient. It allows you to drag photos straight out of your iPhoto library and into iWeb. iPhoto 06 also has a button to send photos to your blog.
The pages themselves are attractive and you can easily change fonts, colours and layout. Your blog has its own RSS feed — the increasingly popular method for tracking updates to web pages.
But once you have more than one or two photos on your blog you may find your .Mac size limit has been reached and visitors may find your pages are slow to load, because the images haven’t been optimised for web pages. I found that my two entries plus header and archive graphics filled almost 8Mb of the 25Mb available to me for my free trial.
My cat and cabbage tree photos arrived on the web page as 500Kb files. Any web design professional or enthusiast would have reduced that to 50Kb (which would load 10 times as fast).
It would be a good idea to export photos from iPhoto at a reduced size and use those more moderately sized pictures in your blog. It adds a step but could save you a lot of money and prevent your visitors from being so frustrated they never visit your blog again.
Photocasting, podcasting and more
iWeb 06 makes it equally easy to publish a blog, photos, audio or video podcasts or just regular web pages. Try it out, have a bit of fun and see what you can do. A trial .Mac account will give you 60 days to experiment before you decide if this is something you want to do more seriously.
First published in Macguide magazine Issue #26 March / April 2006 and republished with permission. This article may have been modified from the original.
This tutorial is now somewhat outdated. You may like to see a much more extensive, up-to-date and detailed tutorial at TechRadar: Guide to iWeb: tips and tricks you need to know: Design an entire website in a matter of minutes.