Let's Talk Blogs: The Introduction

Hey Readers!

I was approached recently asking how I do my blogs, and if I could write out a bit of a guide or an article on how to maneuver making a blog. I was rather humbled at first that someone thought to ask - and I also remembered the time when I was struggling to get my blogs looking nice and ship-shape!

I've used both Blogger and Wordpress, but at the end of the day I prefer Blogger for just general usability. I know Wordpress is common in the Simming community, but I just couldn't get used to how counterintuitive it felt. As such, this will be a guide focused on Blogger and the subsequent CSS manipulation needed to clean up the rough edges! 

I suppose I should also point out the style of blog I tend to go for is more clean and static. I like having a static homepage and keeping things neatly organized in their respective tabs. This also works great given a lot of my stories have darker content that I prefer to warn people about beforehand. I run 5 blogs currently (currently being March of 2017): 
  • The Reapers Genetic Legacy
    • This one is my longest running blog - the first one I made and kept. It's had many different faces and styles before I settled on the one I have currently. The theme of this blog is darker, yet I struggle to read and write with light text on dark background, so I purposefully lightened the background of my posting area to allow a dark font to still be legible. 
  • The Book of Atalan
    • This is my next oldest blog and I'm still in the process of tweaking it. The basic style is much the same as my Reaper's blog, however I did some playing around with images behind the title area and a search bar which was a very unique feature. This blog is more of a wikipedia for the lore of my stories, so the search bar actually does have a use. 
  • Song of the Nightingale
    • Third oldest blog, or perhaps I should just say I'm going in order from oldest to newest? That would be faster. This one is where I played with the different style of images to use as a background rather than a pattern. This is also my first blog where I found a use for centering blog-post titles and dates. I also learned how to apply a link onto photos (so you can click on the photo to get to another link) via this blog. Knowledge progress!
  • Faction of the Lost Ones
    • I played with a different style of blog for this one rather than the simple template. Ultimately it was just me getting to use my more honed skills at this point to create a blog relatively quickly. 
  • On Pancakes and Madmen
    • My final blog - the one you're on! So yeah, I won't link to it, you can just get to it from the home page and get back to here via the Tutorial tab and the subsequent 'Let's Talk!' This blog is where I messed with side-bars and (shivers) image transferring. It's where I discovered the best way to image host and some wonderful text formatting troubleshooting. 
(Edit 8/28/17: I have 6 blogs now, heh, not that it really matters, but Where the Willow Walks is now a part of the crew!)
So there we have it, my qualifications! You'll notice the style of them is relatively the same because I like the clean look that I get. Each of my blog features: 

> A Static Homepage
> Interpreted HTML
> Centered Title and Subtitle
> Some variation of background imagery
> A Navigation Bar
> Imbedded images
> Some tweaking of the Blogger CSS. 

Essentially, if you don't like the style of my other blogs, I may not be the best help for you! However, perhaps my tips and tools can help you pick and choose how you'd like your blog to look a little easier and with less hair pulling and teeth-gnashing. 

So, a rough outline of the posts that should follow: 
  1. [The First Steps] in creating a blog in blogger. 
  2. [So Now What] do I do that I have a blog in blogger
  3. [The Basic Settings] how do I color? How do I un-color? The easiest, hardest thing you'll do.
  4. [The Advanced Settings] the place no one likes going, but has to go anyways. 
  5. [The CSS] cue dramatic music: dun, dun, dun.
  6. [Some Posting Settings] to fuss with and pull your hair out over.
  7. [The Static Homepage] because everyone being spoiled by my latest chapter first sucks!
  8. [The Navigation Bar] which is life and my essence of being. 
  9. [The Side Bars] if only they actually had alcohol. 
  10. [The FAQ] For the few (or many?) incoming questions.
So 10 makes for a nice even number. I'll gladly add more, if need be, but 10 is such a wholesome number, no? As we go I'll hyperlink in the blog posts that coordinate with the subjects.

Given that this is the first post, I'm going to stop here. Yes, there was not really any how-to in this "How-To" but I like to think of blogging as wading into water. You've got to start somewhere - and this is where we'll start!

Want to create a blog? Think of the kind of blog you wish to create. As this tutorial will be aimed mostly at Simmers and the Sims communities with stories in mind - think of the kind of stories you want to tell. Will it be one story? Many? How would you like it to look? White on Dark? Dark on lighter dark? Dark on light?

Look around and get some ideas.

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