Monday, January 23, 2012

3 Tips and Resources for New Bloggers

   This weekend I sat down to do some updates on my blog and the one I manage for my roller derby team.   My blog is on the Blogger platform and my team’s blog is on Word Press. Due to different platforms,  it may often take a few more steps to create the same effect on one site versus the other.  Tweaking the look and the design code often intimidates newer users, but by paying attention to detail the blog you desire can be achieved.
    I decided to add a cute little countdown graphic to both sites and in the process made a few mistakes, several corrections, and learned a little about programming.   Here are three things I wish I had done before I decided to make changes to both blogs: 

  1. Keep a backup of your blog saved in a safe location. This sounds relatively simple, but if you make several programming changes over the course of a session, it can be hard to determine exactly which codes may need to be corrected if something goes wrong. I ended up making a total of 3 changes to my blog and in the process incorrectly configured a code. With no backup previous to those three changes, I had to redo several things.  Each backup overwrites the last one in blogger, so I soon learned to save the most complete design in a different folder. 
  2. Keep records of programming codes and examples.  I utilize several websites with codes supplied by excellent programmers. They often include tips on tweaking the code for color and size purposes. I bookmark the websites and then paste the code and site the source in a document saved in a folder on my computer. It is also handy to note any tweaks done to the code in red and what worked best on which site.   This has come in handy when I have decided to use the same code on both blogs. I can quickly locate the code in my document and paste it into the blog. 
  3. Spend time learning about the platform. I spent two hours trying to work on the team site only to realize I had not been granted full administrative privileges by the previous designer. During the research I did on Word Press sites, I did find several websites with codes I wanted to try. I did not take notes however, and this resulted in time spent searching through my browsing history. 
Some of my favorite blog resources are: 
  • Blogdoctor -This resource will explain to you the how and why of setting up a new widget, navigational bar, etc.
  • Quackit -Has an extensive collection of HTML and CSS programming code and tutorials.
  • Bloggersentral-Has many articles on blog promotion, widgets and even content ideas.
Do you have a favorite widget or design site? Please share it in the comments section. 

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