Blogging Tools Tips

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What is Blogger?

About Blogger

Blogger.com is a popular, free blogging tool that offers blog hosting and Web interface tools to bloggers. It started out small and was eventually purchased by Google in 2003. Since then, it has grown to serve over one million people. The ease of use and free blog hosting make Blogger.com appealing to beginning bloggers, although the limitations of its features sometimes leave more advance bloggers stymied.

   
What is a blog skin?

About blog skins

A blog skin is, put simply, is the appearance of your blog. Even if a blog has the most interesting content in the world, when readers can't make out the type because the font is too small or the colors offend the eye, they look elsewhere for their blog fix. The bad news is that most people aren't skilled at design nor do they have the technical skills needed to achieve a pleasing design. Fortunately, blog skins, also known as blog templates, are included as a blogging tool by most blog host services. If your host doesn't provide templates, or if you are looking for a wider selection, check out the huge selection of downloadable skins at BlogSkin.com. Skins are available on the honor system by making an online donation to defray hosting costs.

   
What is a blog template?

About blog templates

A blog template, or blog skin, is a blogging tool that provides the basic structure for a blog. Blog templates are easy-to-use, convenient, and quick alternatives to allow people without extensive experience to create attractive, functional blogs within a limited time frame. Reliable blog host services include access to blog templates with their basic service package.

You may want to choose between a free host or a fee-based host depending of your desire and financial concerns. For instance, your access to the host's full range of templates may be limited if you have free hosting. Meanwhile, if you choose fee-based hosting, you should have full access to the complete range of templates. You can decide on a free host for a few months then change to a fee-based host once you have reached a comfortable level. Regardless, before you decide on a host, check out the list of included features to see whether and what templates are available to bloggers.

   
What is TypePad?

Using TypePad

TypePad is Movable Type's feature-rich blogging tool. A PC Magazine Editor's Choice, TypePad makes starting and maintaining a blog a breeze. Thanks to the blog templates and Web interface, you can start a blog without any prior technical experience. TypePad is used by individuals, organizations, and corporations to share blogs with friends, family, and colleagues. The service allows you to do just about anything you might want to do with a blog, including post photos, comments, or keep a personal journal. TypePad offers three levels of service to meet the needs of different users. Plans range from basic, which covers one author and one blog for $4.95 a month to pro, which includes multiple authors and unlimited blogs for $14.95 per month. For those unsure what level of service to select, TypePad offers a 30-day free trial. To learn more about TypePad, TypePad.com.

   
What is Movable Type?

Using Movable Type

Movable Type is one of the most popular blog software tools used by individuals, organizations, and developers alike. It is fully-hosted, there is no software to install, and you can download a fully functional but unsupported version for free. The free version does not offer the full range of features, nor does it provide technical support. Those are, however, available if you purchase a license. Licenses are available at a couple of different levels depending on your usage. Movable Type is popular because it is easy for beginners to use while at the same time flexible enough to meet the needs of more advanced bloggers. For more information, visit Movable Type's Web site.

   
How can I install a WordPress blog on my own domain?

Creating A Self-Hosted WordPress Blog

A self-hosted WordPress blog -- also known as a standalone WordPress installation -- gives you more control over the appearance and functionality of your blog. You can choose from thousands of WordPress themes, modify existing themes, install any plugins and host advertisements to make money from your blog.

Many web hosting companies provide auto-installers that will install your WordPress blog with one click. If yours doesn't install, follow these instructions to set up a self-hosted WordPress blog on your own website.

1. Download the zip file from http://www.wordpress.org/download.
2. Unzip the file on your computer.
3. Upload the unzipped files to your Web server.
4. Navigate to http://www.YOURDOMAIN.com/wp-admin/install.php.
5. Follow the prompts in your browser to install your blog.

The installation takes about five minutes and your WordPress blog will be ready to use right out of the box. If you want more bells and whistles, you can easily search, preview and install themes and plugins from within the admin panel of your blog.

   
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Guru Spotlight
Carma Spence-Pothitt