Blogging Basics
Event date: June 27 2007
Posted by: Kristin Vincent

"It was my first Webgrrls workshop and I learned so much -- I haven't taken that many notes in one sitting in years! I thought I knew about blogs...but I had no idea. I'm looking forward to attending other classes in the future." said Kari McFarland - TV Producer, VH1

"The Blogging Basics Workshop was enjoyable, thoroughly professional and chock-ful of information. I learned a lot and was motivated to rush right home and try it all out!. Bravo!" said Gail Cramer, Graphic Designer.

The Webgrrls NYC Blogging Workshop was great. Nelly Yusupova, our chapter leader, led us through the inner workings of blogging. I never knew there was so much to know. The next time blogging comes up at a party (hey, it happens), I may not sound like an expert, but I'll at least be able to confidently hold my own. I work for a .com, I'm a member of Webgrrls, but I confess that if the subject had come up before the workshop, I wouldn't have been able to carry on much of a conversation about blogs.

Nelly started out our Blogging 101 course by explaining what blogs and RSS feeds are (am I the only one who didn't know "blog" is short for "web log"?). Then she showed us how to read and subscribe to blogs. I learned that there are very handy blog readers. In fact, I discovered that Google has a much more advanced reader than the basic Google homepage I had been using. I had really been missing out on some cool new technology because I had been embarrassed to admit I didn't know much about it.

She showed us examples of popular professional blogs for technology (like www.lifehacker.com), graphic design (like www.alistapart.com ), and marketing (like www.ducttapemarketing.com). And she also pulled up examples of blogs centered around personal interests like cooking (like www.simplyrecipes.com). The people in the room who had blogs shared what they are currently blogging about, and we discussed the pros and cons to consider if you're thinking about starting to blog.

Then Nelly walked us through the anatomy of blog: the head, the content area, and the side bar. She showed us examples on several blogs so we could get a sense of how various sites use these same page elements in different ways. Many of us hear buzz words like "tag cloud" or "blogroll", but it was great to see examples and talk through what each term means.

Next came the part I was happy to finally learn about: how to set up a blog. It turns out that there are many options that range from the very simple to the highly advanced. You can choose a company to host it for you (through sites like www.typepad.com, www.blogger.com , or www.livejournal.com) or you can have more control and host it yourself (through sites like www.movabletype.com , www.wordpress.com, or www.textpattern.com). She explained the pros and cons or each option so we could more confidently decide which made sense for each of us. I was pleasant surprised to learn that several of the blogging software options are free.

Stephanie Cockerl of (www.nextsteph.com) also presented focusing on using blogging as a marketing platform. She explained to us the importance of promoting other people's blogs on your site because then they will promote your blog on their site and you will both get better rankings in Google search. (It turns out that the buzz word "blogroll" actually refers to these reciprocal links.)

If I ever decide to enter the world of blogging, I'll know how to confidently create my own.

"The workshop provided me with the tools to start promoting my blog and how to be a good blogger. I look forward to implementing some of the ideas I learned. " said Anne-Marie Ditta of www.firstimpressioncareerservices.com