Let's Talk Blogs: The First Steps

So here we begin our journey - one of great stress and promise!

Ok, melodrama aside, you're staring down your Blogger homepage, already logged in [because I do not work for google, I am not good for helping with passwords or setting up your account. I'm going to live in my little bubble that everyone has a google account and/or set one up for the sake of this Blogger].

Take a big breath in, smell that new-start smell! Lovely first thing in the morning, right? Well it's 5pm here as I write this, but who cares! It's the thought that counts, and we're starting fresh on a new blog!

Now, before we dig in too deep, some common terms I may throw around without realizing you probably have no idea what I'm talking about:
Reapers: My Reaper blog / My Reaper family.
SotN: Abbreviation for Song of the Nightingale.
Factions: Faction of the Lost Ones.
The Glossary: The Book of Atalan.
Madmen: Not the show, but this blog might get abbreviated down some unless I'm talking about a person, in which case I'm talking about this man.

So, what do we do first? Well, we create the blog. I'll do a quick throw-away one for right now. Here comes the creation of "Thumbs Up, Buttercup!"

Basically, pick a title that'll be what is displayed on your headline in the largest print and keep in mind that you don't need to keep the title the exact same as your blog web address. I think I had to go with songsofthenightingales.blogspot.com for that to actually be a thing, when I actually call my story "Song of the Nightingale" (not plural, anywhere). So get your creative juices flowing and keep in mind: it's much easier to change your title and theme than your blog address, so don't stress those as much.

Blogger's homepage has changed a lot over the time I've been using it (AKA, this past year), and so far I do love the change. It makes it easy to move in between blogs if you have more than one, but let's familiarize ourselves with the page that'll be most common for you: the blogger home page.
Important: This page is not your blog page. No one will see this but you.
**Side Note: I'm hosting these images on Imgur; normally I do it directly through the blog, but this way you should be able to click on them to get a larger image, which I cannot guarantee when doing directly onto the blog!**

So let's break these down:

  1. This is your useful Blogger sidebar. It's going to get you around to all the different parts of the back-end of your blog. This will help you tweak your settings, adjust your layout, write your posts... all kinds of good stuff. 
  2. This is the area where you can view whatever it is you'll find in the tab you have selected. Currently, you'll notice in the example picture, we're on blog posts which we have none, so therefore... there is nothing to see here. There will come a point when your page will be full of posts: here's an example of what Madmen's homepage looks like for me on the Posts Page.
  3. This is your top bar, you probably won't use this very much. It's basically your hookup to all-things Google. When we move onto image-hosting we may revisit there, but for now, ignore it. I certainly do. 
Let's dig a little deeper: the Blogger sidebar. NOT to be confused with your own blog's potential sidebar, this one is this pretty thing to the left of your screen with lots of random words written across it that probably have meaning to someone.

What's that you say? I'm the one teaching you these things? Oh. Right. Pip, pip; cheerio, let's go!
I'm not really sure what you expected from a blog titled 'On Pancakes and Madmen.'

Are you ready for some more lists? Of course you are! You're psyched! You're like give me ALL your lists, lady! I got this! Here we go: 
  1. The Blog Chooser. This is the drop down for when you're a nutter like me and you have multiple blogs. This allows you to switch seamlessly between your blogs when it used to be you had to go to your individual blog first to access the different homepage. Good on you for this blogger.
  2. The View Blog Button. This one is self explanatory, if you want to see what your blog looks like to others, click that button. 
  3. Your Posting Homepage (as seen above). This is where all of your posts will be listed in order from newest to oldest. 
  4. The Stats Page. This page is going to be empty for you right now, and it is for "Thumbs Up, Buttercup" (minus 2 page views, one of which is mine... poor other sod who saw it in this state... I'm sorry! *snickers*). For what it'll look like when you've got a few more things going on, here's an example of my Reapers right now (3/23/17) that's been up for a year and a day exactly.
  5. Comments List. This is where you'll find all the comments people have left on your blog! There's a setting you can set that it'll email you when you get a comment, but we won't go into that right now. This page should most certainly be empty, so for an example here's an example of my Reapers Comment List (with the names blocked out for privacy, of course).
  6. The Pages List. You're likely to visit this list as much as you are your posting homepage. These are static pages you're going to create. It really just depends on the blog you want to create; and we'll go into more detail on this one later on in this post.
  7. Layout Adjuster. This is going to be where things get a little more complicated and can start to feel overwhelming. Take a deep breath, it's really not too scary, I promise! We'll go into greater detail with this tab later, but just know that it's not as bad as it looks, and if it doesn't look bad to you - more power to you!
  8. Theme Adjuster. This is where you'll be doing some of the more detailed work on your blog. For now we're going to leave it be because we're still getting to know Blogger. Treat Blogger like a classy date of yours, my friends; you've got to get to know someone classy before you can get into their pants... or in this case their HTML.
  9. Settings Page. This covers a lot of the little things. You can change your blog name and tagline here, you can set your blog to send you emails when someone comments, and this is where we'll eventually learn how to set up a static homepage but for now it's just another tab that we're playing get to know you with. Wave hello. Wave goodbye. Let's move on.
You'll notice there's two places on the sidebar I didn't visit: Earnings and Campaigns. I don't blog to make money, and if you're looking to then I'm not the best candidate to show you how. I've never touched those pages before and I likely never will. 

So now you're familiar with the sidebar, let's talk about the difference between a blog page and a blog post. Some of you may already be familiar, some of you may not. 

The real nitty gritty is this: Pages are static, posts are more flexible. The editor to create them is entirely the same though, so you don't need to do anything fancy. Blog posts will usually show the title and the date they were posted on; blog pages do not show the date they were posted on. Of course, you can turn off dates for your blog posts if you so choose to... ugh but that's getting too complicated. 

The best way to know the difference is the url, here's an example, my Reaper Chapter Page, and my first Reapers Chapter Post

So basically it's a little cleaner in the URL to do a page, which a makes it easier to remember and link to without it getting broken somewhere along the way. That gives it a bigger advantage for things you want to reference back to more frequently. 

Well, ladies and gents, we've accomplished all that we needed to in this post. We've created our blog and gotten familiar with some of the tools we'll be visiting later on. Knowing someone reading this is probably just going to plow on through to the next bit of this tutorial... these take me quite a bit of time to write, so for my own sanity-
(snorts) Like you have any sanity left...
-I'm going to stop here and carry on another day! Next stop: the even more awkward second steps!

Until then: I've got me some chapters to write! So, ta-ta for now! 

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