October 4, 2007
Starting a blog on Blogactiv is extremely simple.
1. Applying for a Blog
To apply for a a blog, just click on Create Your Blog in the top navigation.
You will be asked to supply:
- Screen 1: username: this is how you’ll be known on the site, and will normally also be part of your blog’s domain (username.blogactiv.eu, unless you change it in step 6)
- email address: this is used to send your activation email (see below), so get it right!
- First and Last Name: these are not displayed on the site. Nevertheless, in order to sort out sign-up spam, we require that you provide at least a real-sounding (better even: your real) first and last name.
- Security question: just answer the question to prove to us that you’re not some sort of spam program or other nasty
- Select ‘Gimme a Blog’ and hit Next (if you just want to have a username to make commenting easier, see Commenting on Blogs)
- Screen 2: Blog Domain: If you don’t want your blog’s address to be username.blogactiv.eu, then change it here
- Blog Title: this is the name of your Blog. This site’s Technical Support section, for example, is a blog entitled ‘Blogactiv Technical Support’
- Privacy: untick this if you want less visibility for your blog
- Language: the language you select here will be the default language of each post. At launch, you won’t be able to change this default – this feature will come later. See: Languages in Blogactiv
2. What Happens Next?
Your application is then sent to Blogactiv for approval.
Unless we have reason not to – see the Blogactiv Blogging Guidelines – it will be approved.
As activation email is then immediately sent to the email address you used above (check your spam filter!). Click on the link in the email to activate your blog.
Your Account is Now Active! You will find yourself on a page which provides:
- your initial password to your blog’s ‘Back Office‘, where you manage your blog
- a link to your blog, taking you to the ‘Front Office‘ (what visitors see when they visit your blog)
- a ‘Log In’ link to your Back Office
3. Then what do I do?
It’s up to you, but a good way to get familiar with your blog is to:
Firstly, change your password to one that you can easily remember:
- Log In, using your username and password, from either the above page or from the Log In link in the top navigation
- Select Users > Your Profile
- Update Your Password is found on this page’s bottom left corner
You’ll find that the system has created your first post (“Hello world!”), a first comment to it (by “Mr WordPress”), andï¿½ an “About page” to show you how they look. These should be removed or edited ASAP.
You can edit or delete the post and comment in one of two ways:
- From the Front Office: If you’re looking at your blog like any other user, you’ll notice ‘Edit‘ appearing under the post in the Front Office. This Edit link only appears when you are logged in, and only to you – no one else can edit your stuff! If you click Edit you will be taken to the Write Page, where you can both edit and delete the post (the delete button is at the bottom of the page).
- If you’re in the Back Office, then select ‘Manage’ in the top navigation. This will take you to Manage Posts, from where you can either delete or edit the post.
Note: deleting a post deletes its comment as well. You’ll also be able to delete the comment while you edit the post, or by selecting ‘Comments’ from the Back Office’s top navigation.
Similarly, if you open the About Page like any other user, you’ll see an Edit link. And if you’re in the back office, go to Manage > Pages – i.e., select ‘Manage’ in the top navigation bar, and then choose Pages in the second navigation bar.
We recommend not deleting this page – it’s important to tell your visitors who you are – but if you haven’t got the time to write it now, simply edit the title so it reads “About (under construction)”, delete the body of the page, and get back to it later.
It probably took you longer to read this than it will actually take you to do. It’s very easy, so go for it.
3. Install WordPress Bookmarket
We also recommend that you install the PressIt Bookmarket, which makes creating posts based on stuff you come across on the web very easily. You can install it incredibly easily (a simple ‘right click’), once you get to the bottom of the Write Page. More details.
When you create a blog, you are given a ‘default’ layout. You can customise this quite a bit (see below), but even if you don’t, you should upload your avatar – an image which represents your blog on the site.
It’s very easy. In your Back Office, simply click on Settings, and then choose Avatar. Use the browse button to find and upload an image from your PC – you can even crop it online so that it fits.
If your avatar does not display immediately when you have uploaded it, the reason will in most cases be that your browser remembers (‘caches’) the former picture. The next time that you come back, you will most likely see the new avatar picture.Â
4. Next Steps
The best way to continue familiarising yourself with your blog is to write some posts: clicking ‘Write’ in the Back Office menu is one way, and don’t forget to try out the WordPress Bookmarket (above) while you’re browsing the Web. Your first posts will not appear anywhere except on your own blog, so you can experiment (see below).
If you are happy with the way your blog looks, great. But there are easy ways to customise it – see Customising the Default Blog Template for some more help.
Even more help on using the Back Office can be found via:
- Links from your Back Office’s Dashboard (the Back Office Home Page)
- the Technical Support Blog, where you can both read and ask FAQs, and make suggestions.
5. Note: Your First Three Posts
Everything you publish will appear automatically and immediately on your blog. However, your first three posts will not appear automatically on the Home Page or any of the Sections. Instead, they will first be moderated by Blogactiv, only appearing on the site’s upper levels when approved.
[Note: this functionality not yet fully in place – see Welcome to the Beta Version]
This approach serves two purposes:
- It gives you the freedom to experiment. Your first three posts will only be visible to visitors to your very own username.blogactiv.eu site, so use them to explore the medium, secure in the knowledge that your first three efforts will not appear anywhere else.
- It protects the site: conversely, this ensures that blogactiv’s upper levels are not littered with “Hello world!” posts and new users’ first, exploratory posts. It also provides Blogactiv with a ‘second check’ on all new bloggers – are they following the Blogging Guidelines?