Using a Blog to Honor Your Life and Tell Your Stories • New Tricks
 In WordPress

mercer-wordmark-ffffff-594x120 I am going to be a  speaker for an event at Mercer University, for seniors (as in the older people, not the graduating 18 year-olds). The class series is called,  Honoring Your Life; Telling Your Stories.  My session is on blogging as a a way for someone to chronicle their life and share their stories.

Blogging is a great way to write, categorize and share your stories and memories for others to read. I recommend for those just starting out to get a free WordPress.com blog.  Set your blog to public and watch your traffic grow or set it to private and allow only certain people to view your posts.

Why a Blog?

  1. A blog is a website located on the Internet where you and the people that you want to see it can easily access it.
  2. You can have static pages such as an About page that explains what this blog is about and a Contact page with form for people to use to get in touch with you.|
  3. You can also create Posts and categorize them into. For example:
    1. Family recipes
    2. College Years
    3. Things Mama always says
    4. Stories about First Child
    5. Stories about Second Child
    6. Our Travels
    7. Holidays
  4. Your can include text, photos, audio and video to your posts and pages.
  5. You can create a listing of the categories on the sidebar so people can easily find specific types of content.

How to Get Started

  1. Get an Account with WordPress.com
    Go to http://wordpress.com and sign up for a free account. You can choose your name and it will add it to .wordpress.com/ such as
    yoursitename.wordpress.com Then to see it on the Internet you will type the url: http://yoursitename.wordpress.com
  1. Configure the Settings
    On the dashboard, find Settings, General and set up the site title and the tagline and check the dates and the timezone.
  1. Choose a Theme
    Search for blog and free. I prefer a theme that has two columns- one for text and one as a sidebar for more informational menus and cool stuff.
    Some tried and true, simple themes are:

    • Elegant Grunge
    • Adelle
    • Choco
    • Crafty
  1. Customize Your Site
    Some themes come with some simple customizations like the ability to upload a graphic title (logo) or change the background image. But most customizations require you to buy the ability to customize for 30.00.
  1. Select Some Handy Widgets for Your Sidebar
    I like to use:

    • Category cloud widget
    • Search
    • Instagram or Flickr (for photos and a link to the rest on your account.
    • Latest Posts
    • Subscribe
  1. Add Your Pages
    • About You: Add a photo and a bio
    • About the Site: Describe what you are doing and how to get involved.
    • Contact: add a form for people to send you a message.
  1. Start Blogging by Writing Posts
    • WYSIWYG what you see is what you get “edit help” for text. Such as headings of different sizes, numbered or ordered lists. Don’t recommend changing text color.
    • Upload images to your post.
    • Add a video.
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