COLA blogging how-to

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How to Create a Blog Entry - how to blog part 1

About Blogs and the COLA Blog

A blog (short for web log) is a series of entries published (posted) online. Typically they are a mix of text and photos, and many have videos and other features. Some people write blogs about what happens in their daily life, about world events or about their community. Blogs are relatively easy to write and can be accessed by anyone on the Internet. 

The COLA blog was created to provide updates and interesting information about the off-leash areas in Seattle.

If you are thinking of writing a blog entry, expect it to take between 30 and 60 minutes to write an entry, including proofing. If you are planning to include photographs, plan for another 20 to 30 minutes the first entry or two. After that, it should become somewhat quicker.

Two popular sites that offer free blogs are WordPress and Blogger. You can learn more about blogs at the Wikipedia entry on blogs.

Organization of the COLA Blog

The COLA blog is indexed by off-leash area and blogger, so you can view all of the blog entries, or just those for a particular OLA or by a particular blogger.

Getting Started

In order to blog, you must have a login ID and password. If you are interested in blogging for COLA but do not have a login ID, contact COLA.

Create a New Entry
  1. Sign in at the home page
  2. Click "blogs" in the menu at left.
  3. Click "Create new blog entry" in the middle section of the page.
Write, Preview and Save
  1. You will notice there is a title entry field, an OLA drop-down selection box, and a body field. First type in the title of your entry, then select the OLA you are writing about. If you are writing about COLA in general, select "COLA."
  2. In the body portion, you will notice there is a toolbar, followed by a blank entry field. The toolbar provides formatting options and other tools. For now, type your entry in the blank field.
  3. Further below are three buttons: save, preview and delete. Click the preview button and review your entry to make sure everything is correct. If anything is wrong, you can edit your entry below the preview.
  4. Very important! Click the save button (also below the editing window). Once your blog entry has been approved, it will be available on the COLA blog!

Congratulations! You are now a blogger and have contributed to the blogosphere (the collective universe of blogs). 

To make blog entries more useful and entertaining, you can format text (such as with boldfacing), add links to other websites, and insert photos. Keep reading to find out about these other blog tools!

The Toolbar - how to blog part 2

Okay. Maybe you've written a blog entry or two, or you're looking at this in one browser while blogging in another, and you want to know how to format your text. Here we introduce the toolbar, which provides many tools for livening up a blog entry.

The Toolbar

All of the basic blog entry formatting is accessed from the toolbar, pictured below:

Image of the toolbar

Before we actually use the toolbar, first practice collapsing and expanding it. Click the triangle (arrow) pointing upward in the lower right corner of the toolbar. The toolbar should now look like this:

The collapsed toolbar

To expand the toolbar again, simply click on the triangle. Shazam! It's back again.... And now you know what to do if you can't find the toolbar!

Photos - how to blog part 4

For basic announcements, text is generally fine, but for events and descriptions, blog entries are more fun with photos.

There are two steps for putting a photo (or other graphic) in your blog entry. The first is to transfer the photo from your camera to your computer. The second is to upload the photo from your computer to the blog website.

Transferring from Camera to Computer

Most cameras and camera-equipped phones come with a cable or a wireless function for transferring photos to a computer. Typically, the cable is hooked to a USB port on the computer; see your camera manual for instructions. (Tip: If you can't find your camera manual, you may be able to find it online with the model number.)

The wireless method is often Bluetooth. If your computer is compatible with Bluetooth, you will probably have to turn the Bluetooth function on, then tell the computer to search for devices. Once you establish a connection between the camera and the computer, you can transfer the photos to your computer.

Note on names and case: Spaces and punctuation (periods, commas, etc.) can cause trouble for some browsers. It is always a good idea to avoid them in the names of photos and other files. Hyphens and the underscore are safe to use. Also, file names are case-sensitive, so "MyPhoto.jpg" is different from "myphoto.jpg".

Uploading to the Site

Note: Problems have been reported for users of Chrome (the browser) on the Mac OS. It is recommended that Mac users use Firefox or Safari instead.

  1. First, move the cursor to where you want to insert your photo.
  2. Click the image icon. A pop-up will display called "Image Properties."
  3. There are four tabs: Link Info, Target, Upload and Advanced. Click "Upload" and select "Browse" or "Choose File."
  4. A window will appear for you to select a photo/graphic from you computer. After you select it and click okay, then click "Send it to the Server." It may take some time to upload the photo.
  5. A message will appear announcing that your photo/graphic has been uploaded. Click "OK."
  6. Also, the Images Properties window should now be set to the Image Info tag. Your photo should appear in the preview pane. If it does not, try clicking the circular arrow to the left of the preview pane.
  7. Click OK to return to the blog entry window.

Your photo should now be in your blog entry!


Basic Formatting and Hyperlinks - how to blog part 3

Boldfacing, Italics and Underlining

Although boldfacing, italics and underlining are common ways to format text, underlining is usually not used in blogs because that indicates to the reader that there is a link to another web page. 

To use any of these formatting tools, type the text first, then press the B, I or U button in the toolbar to apply the formatting.

Toolbar with boldface, italics and underline buttons circled

Notice that when boldfaced text is highlighted, the B button is clicked. When italics text is selected, the I button is clicked, and when underlined text is selected, the U button is clicked. To get rid of boldfacing, italics or underlining, simply select the text and click the appropriate button.

Instead of clicking on the toolbar, you can press Control (Command on the Mac) + B/I/U to format text.

Linking to Other Web Pages

The ability to create a link to another Web page has been one of the most important features of the Internet since the beginning of time (or at least the beginning of the world wide web).

When creating a link, it's important to remember that there are two parts: the text you see, and the URL (the address) of the page you want to link to.

The method for creating a hyperlink in a blog entry is similar to boldfacing. First you create the text for the link, then you highlight the link text and press the hyperlink button in the toolbar. With a hyperlink there is one additional step: adding the URL.

Let's go through these steps with an example. We'll create a hyperlink to the COLA page for becoming a member. Let's see. For the text part, we want something informative, so we'll use "become a COLA member". The URL is: www.coladog.org/getinvolved.

Steps for Creating a Hyperlink

1. Type the link text

  • become a COLA member

2. Highlight the text 

3. Click the hyperlink button in the toolbar

Toolbar with hyperlink button circled

4. A screen pops up. In the URL field, paste in the URL. 

  • www.coladog.org/getinvolved

It is always a good idea to paste in the URL, not type it in. URLs are really easy to type incorrectly, so the best method is to go to your target page and copy the URL, then come back and paste into the pop-up window. Another tip: Always check to make sure the first and last characters are pasted correctly.

5. Click OK.

Your blog entry is now linked!

When you preview your entry (before saving), it's a good idea to check the hyperlinks to make sure they work correctly. (Why all this fuss about checking the hyperlinks? Because just one character makes them unusable and because it's really easy to make a mistake with them.)

If you've successfully created a hyperlink, congratulations! And there's one more major part to making fun blog entries: including photos. That process is quite a bit more complicated, but becomes second nature after a few times. Check out the next entry on images for more information!

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