Tag Archives: Starting

Blogging Buddies

Firstly, a huge thank you to everyone who responded to last weeks post about my proposal regarding supporting people with starting blogging. It seems that there is interest, or at least some people have some questions which they would like answered. I am really sorry not to have got around to you all, but I will try to. These two weeks are supposed to be my ‘holiday’ although I cannot keep away totally 😉

Last week I did say that we would not start until September when everyone (in England) would be back from their holidays and possibly back into some routine (which includes me). There are two weeks until the start of September but for those of you who are starting from scratch there are two things that you need to start thinking about now as they are crucial to the rest. The first of these is what are you going to call your blog? The second is which theme you are going to use?

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So how do you choose a name? This isn’t completely crucial as people do change their names successfully but it is worth some consideration. I know I didn’t find it that easy to finally plump on something. For one, it seems to be such a big thing when you are starting out, so final and  totally important.  When I wrote about this the last time I summarized the points about choosing your name in the following way:

When thinking of a name –

1) think about what you will be writing about (it doesn’t have to be linked but is definitely a good starting point).

2) Check to see if the name is already in use through Google, Facebook, Twitter etc.

3) If you wish to keep your real identity a secret then consider opening an e-mail account under your chosen name.

4) It may also be a good idea to set up a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr account under the same name at the same time. It depends what you think you will use but it saves your name being taken by someone else in the meantime. You do not have to do anything with them to start with.

I still stand by all of this. One of the comments on Twitter last week was that not knowing what to write about was stopping a blog being started.  I can understand this despite my subject matter being pretty clear to me (although it has evolved over time). I started out wondering if I would be able to find enough to write about. Turns out I have more than enough now I have got going!

Two things happened to me today that made me really determined to carry on with this project:

The first was a blog post that I read by an amazing person that I have been following since I started blogging. Running thriver is a truly amazing person. The lengths to which she went to in order to push her body to the limit were inspirational. This was all really in response to an incident in her history that she overcame (or was getting over). Over the year and a bit that I have followed her she has changed a lot. She is now in a happy place and I couldn’t be more pleased for her. I am still filled with admiration for her. She has used her experiences, been very open about them, written about them and is now helping others to ‘survive’ themselves and not just through her blogging. Her post today was a reflection on her journey and a thanks. It was brilliant to read. Blogging has helped her and I have no doubt helped others as well. I just wish I could be so open about some of the events in my own life so I could also maybe help others.

The second incident was a piece on the radio about people being bullied at school. Many of us will have been in that situation but this one bloke was able to put a positive slant on it, looking at how it has helped him as an adult. It made me stop and think about my school life and what I gained from it. It stopped me thinking that it was a part of my life that I would rather forget but a part of my experiences that has now made me what I am today.

All this is my rather long-winded way of saying that we all have had experiences, have skills and knowledge that can help others make sense of their own life. They may not be dramatic as in the Running Thriver but to someone your knowledge, experiences and interests will be helpful and of interest. It is worth writing it down. There are blogs on weight loss, bringing up children, teaching, travel, politics, craft, poetry, music, food. You name it, it will be there. (Google it.) Try searching for blogs about something that interests you – maybe that will help? If you are still stuck I know that WordPress has prompts for you to write about as well as others who provide something similar. Your life will have something interesting to someone out there, even if it highlights how different it is to their own.

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Finally Alanna from Freebleed shared her concerns with me about whether her blog hasn’t got enough focus. (I will reply in detail to you Alanna, I promise) but for now I will say that I recently  I had this panic. I wrote a whole post on it and the feedback was amazing. Basically people said that it is more about me rather than the subject matter. it comes down to relationships. If you are with friends you don’t just talk about the one or two things you have in common do you? You cover a range of subjects and, in a way blogging is similar. Be genuine and true to yourself. That is the best advice I think that I have ever read about blogging.

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For more advice about choosing a name have a look at this.

If you have a blog already how did you choose your name?

If you haven’t yet got one what are you considering? What are your options and what are the reasons behind them? If you share them we can all give you a bit of feedback which may well help with a decision – we will not be at all biased.

If you would like to write a post on your own blog about the story behind your blog name then please share with the link below:

Blogging for beginners

I apologise to many of you now – these posts are not at all useful to those of you with blogs already. I do, however, know that there are several people who read my blog and would like to start one themselves but are not that sure where to start. So I thought that I would share some of the knowledge that I have accumulated over the last year (nearly).

There are a few things that I wish to make clear from the start:

1. I am no expert so I may not get everything right or have all the answers.

2. I only know how to use wordpress although there are other platforms to use (such as blogger).

Over the next few weeks I thought that I would share tips that I have picked up (mostly from other people), try to explain terms such as widgets as well as some basic know – hows. If anyone reading this has any questions then please do ask.

This brings me to my first ‘lesson’.

Commenting on blogs such as this:

At the end of most blog posts you will find a comments box looking something like this:

The labels you cannot read beside the smaller boxes are:  name (required), email (will not be published) (requires), website (optional). Firstly, to put your  mind at rest your email will not appear anywhere publicly. Secondly, although you have to put something in the name box it does not have to be your name if you do not wish to share it (although I am not totally sure I should be writing this!) It just has to be something that is recognisable as a name so it does not get mistaken as spam (unwanted comments by machines). As an example I usually comment as knitnrun4sanity although sometimes just knitnrun. Other people just use their first name. The website box does not have to be filled in at all.

So there you go – you can now ask questions and not worry about any unwanted consequences.

Sometimes you may get this instead:

This allows you log in via an existing WordPress, Twitter or Facebook account. If you wish to do this you can just click on the icon corresponding to the account you wish to use, type your comment and click on post comment box. Your identity on the platform you have chosen to use is the one that will be shown.

Naming Your Blog

The last thing I am going to write about today is your name. When I started blogging I was very nervous about  exposure online. As I know that I am not totally unusual in this – let me tell you that it is possible to have a complete presence online without ever having to disclose your real identity.  The first thing you need to do is to choose a name you like.  I came to my name because I knew that I was going to write about knitting, crochet and running on my blog. I tried to combine the words knitting and crochet but didn’t like what I came up with. I then hit upon knitnrun but found (though Google) that this already existed hence I then added the 4 sanity. (It is also very true!)

When creating a WordPress.com account (free I promise) you are asked for an e-mail. In order to keep my online identity cohesive I set up an e-mail account: knitnrun4sanity@…….. This meant that there is no link to my personal e-mail which involves my name. I also like that this side of my life is kept separate  from school e-mails etc. As well as using my chosen name on my blog I was also keen to use it for a Facebook page and Twitter account. It all links together nicely making it easier to be found.

So to summarise:

When thinking of a name – 1) think about what you will be writing about (it doesn’t have to be linked but is definitely a good starting point).

2) Check to see if the name is already in use through Google, Facebook, Twitter etc.

3) If you wish to keep your real identity a secret then consider opening an e-mail account under your chosen name.

4) It may also be a good idea to set up a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr account under the same name at the same time. It depends what you think you will use but it saves your name being taken by someone else in the meantime. You do not have to do anything with them to start with.

Next time I shall be talking about choosing themes and Gravatar’s. Hopefully a similar time next week. If you have any questions or subjects you would covered then do please let me know 🙂