Everybody’s doing it. Blogging’s the thing these days, and you don’t need to be a computer geek to make it happen. In this Newbies Guide I show you how to use a blog to keep in touch while you’re away from your Mac.
First published October 2006. Some details may be a bit dated.
Imagine this: you’re taking your digital camera and going off on an overseas trip, but you’re leaving your Mac behind. You’d like to keep family members up to date with your progress as you travel and wouldn’t mind hearing what they’re up to back home while you’re away. You’ll be relying on Internet cafes and friends for your Internet connections, and you may be anxious about needing to use unfamiliar computers.
There’s an easy way to achieve all of this, and you don’t have to be a computer geek to do it: set up a blog. There are several free and low-cost blogging systems around, but one of the best is WordPress.com. It’s free, easy to use, offers great features and produces good quality web pages too. And best of all, you can practise on your Mac before you leave because the process is identical, whatever type of computer you use while travelling.
Sign up for a free blog
First think up a good username — this will be the first part of your blog’s address, so keep it simple. Then go to WordPress.com/signup and fill in your chosen username and email address. Read the Terms of Service then check the box to confirm you agree with them. Choose the option to “Gimme a blog!” and click the Next button. They’ll send an email with a confirmation and details for logging in.
Once you’ve received your password you’re underway with your blog and can log in at wordpress.com. If you aren’t taken straight to the Dashboard then click on the My Dashboard link at the top of the window.
Write a post
Don’t get confused by all the possibilities in the Dashboard. Start by writing a new entry. Click on the fourth line down: Write a post.
Every time you want to add a new snippet to your blog you write a ‘post’. A post has two main parts: a Title, and the main body of the entry. Type a Title for your post into the Title area and then click in the Post area to write your main entry.
Just type your entry in the normal way. If you happen to know something about making web pages then you can use the tools WordPress offers, but if you don’t know anything about that and don’t want to, then just type your entry in the same way you would type a story to print on paper or send in an email.
Click on the Publish button below the Post entry area to send your post to your blog so the rest of the world can read it. Don’t fret if your post isn’t perfect — you can edit it or even delete it if you want to, even after it’s been published.
Before you leave for your trip make sure you tell friends and family the address for your blog.
Part Two tells you how to add photos.
This article includes Windows screenshots (made on a Mac running Parallels software). This article was first published in Macguide magazine Issue #29 September / October 2006 and has been modified from the original.