Sunday, November 20, 2011

How to Follow a Blog 101...


by MaryAnn Carroll

The tutorial "pages" were created by obtaining information, icons, etc. from Friend Connect on Google. The pictures were re-created by me to take you through the process of how to follow a blog that has an address that ends with "blogspot.com."  Since I re-created the "page appearances" in a word document, there will be some small variations from the actual google documents, but they are pretty close.  

For those of you who have your own blogs using blogger, feel free to link this post on your own blogs, to encourage those who might otherwise be turned away by the process, so potential followers can easily join your blogs .

I know when I first started taking an interest in following and commenting on blogs, I really had NO clue what to do.  I'm pretty sure it took hours to figure out something that I might have been able to do in 15 minutes or less.  That was mainly because I really did not know what all of the blog jargon meant and I was totally confused about the difference between blogger and blogspot.  It made absolutely no sense to me.

The first thing I learned was that “blogger” is the address where your “dashboard” will be.  I will explain the dashboard a bit more at the end of this tutorial.   The word “blogspot” is part of the address used for blogs created with blogger.  This becomes their blog address on the internet.  For example, our group blog address is http://lovemyartjewerly.blogspot.com.  This is a blog address with our blog name created using "blogger."
One very important thing to remember is that you do not need to have a blog to follow a blog.  I am going to try to keep this as simple as possible, and hopefully stay clear with my directions.   If there are parts along the way that don’t seem clear to you, I would love feedback since I can go in and make adjustments.  Feel free to leave feedback by either leaving a comment on this post or contacting us at lovemyartjewelry@gmail.com.  I would like this to be as simple as possible, so I welcome any feedback.
  1. Blogs with "blogspot" addresses often invite followers in different ways. Some might offer to follow by email or connecting through a facebook network, etc.  Many blogs, using blogger, however, will have an icon that looks like the one below.  So, step #1 is to click on the icon.   This icon used to have the word "follow" and may have something different in the future, as sites on the internet change their “look” from time to time.
  2. It is on page below that you will either sign in with a previously created google account or you can choose Create a new Google Account.  If you are new to this, then you would want to create a new account.

3.   Once you have clicked "Create a new Google Account," you should come to a page that looks like the one below.   Fill in the information.  You can use any existing email account that you have.  It does not require that it is specifially gmail, yahoo, etc. I could use my work email if I wanted to....  which is not an email address typical of what most emails look like.  Once you have filled in the necessary information, you would then click that you agree to the google terms by "accepting."  You are now almost done creating the account that you will use to follow any public blogs created by blogger that you wish.



4.   The next screen will look like this. You will need to pick a username that you want to be identified by. Mine is artisanbeadsplus which is the name I use for my ceramic beads and jewelry. It does not have to be your actual name, although it can be if you wish it to be. You can also add a photo of yourself or of anything else that you feel represents you. The photo is optional. Choose whether to follow publicly or privately and then click "Follow this blog."



 5.   Once you have clicked "follow this blog" you will be taken to a page that looks like the one below.  For the last part of this, you simply click "done" and that is it!  Once clicking this to complete the process, it may take you to a page that looks like you might need to create a blog.  There is no need to do that unless you want to.  I think the best thing to do at this point would be to log out of the Google account that you just created and log back in by going to http://blogger.com.  Once logged on, you will be on page also serves as your "dashboard."  By scrolling down that page you will see previews of the blogs that you are following. At this point you should see the one blog that you chose to follow prior to completing this process.  An option to read in "Google Reader" is also located on this page.  Similar to reading a newspaper, Google Reader is another way to go through and read all of the blogs that you follow.  Following blogs is a great way to get to know people who share similar interests with you.  Explore and have fun!



 There you have it!  I hope this helps encourage those of your who were turned away by the "following procedure" to now follow all the blogs that you find interesting.  

Lastly, while searching for possible "how to follow a blog" posts to try and make my job a little easier (I couldn't find any), I came across Lori Anderson's very interesting post from February titled, "Why do You Follow a Blog?"  I found the 82 responses quite interesting and it gave me something to think about.  In all honesty, I am not the best blog follower around since I work full-time outside of the house as a resource teacher and I try to juggle that, my jewelry, beads, etc. with the most important part of my life.... my family.  I hope that one day.... I will be able to find the time to be more active on my own blog too..... and maybe Facebook, Twitter, etc. since I seem to get those all started, but don't have enough hours in a day to keep up.  Maybe, someday I will be able to be a little more committed to reading more than I am able to now.  In terms of keeping up with this blog, we have a great group of women working together for our LMAJ goal to spread the love of creating handmade with handmade, so our posting is shared and runs smoothly because of the commitment.

Thanks for supporting those who create handmade with handmade.

MaryAnn

PS  Please read the comments left by others for more information regarding following, reading blogs, leaving comments, etc.








8 comments:

Alice said...

I've noticed that some bloggers don't have this followers gadget. To follow them you can go to the navigation bar (at the top of their blog page) and look to the left side. Click the work 'follow' and it will take you to the screens as shown above.

I wish everyone used the same follow system. I want them all in one place....not via my email or through another system. That really frustrates me and I end up not visiting them at all.

Artisan Beads Plus said...

Thanks for pointing that out Alice. I will incorporate that in my post. I have found blogs that I've been interested in recently and could not figure out how to follow them. Also,I remember when I first took an interest in blogs a couple of year ago, I found the entire process so confusing. I think that was also due to the fact that I was unclear about all of the Google options and the idea of "friend connect" made me unsure what I was opening myself up to. Turns out it was nothing like I had thought and I can remain as private as I choose to.... not that I'm too private ;o)
MaryAnn

KJ said...

I don't "follow" many blogs, but I do have them added to my RSS feed. I use the "next" button provided by Google Reader to navigate from blog to blog instead of reading them in the reader as that enables a better view of all the pretty pictures.

To get a "Next" button, log into Google Reader, go to your settings page, then choose the "Goodies" tab where you will find instructions for the "Next" button.

Gale said...

Great advice to would-be followers. Thanks. I know I was confused and would just add a blog to my reading list by clicking my "Add to Google Reader" button. Some of us are just not born "Followers," so we may not want to hit that "Follow" button and declare publicly what we're up to!

You may want to add something about how commenting works, too. I've been frustrated when I've taken the time to comment and then nothing I've written appears at the blog. I believe you have to be an "official" Follower to be allowed to comment, no? And then comments have to be approved.... And then sometimes (like now) that silly word verification squiggle has a broken link and efforts are wasted (or newbies totally mystified)..... To this moment I have no faith that my comment is going to actually make it onto the blog.

Lela Bouse-McCracken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Artisan Beads Plus said...

Great question regarding comments. Many blog owners open comments to anyone. Some may require that you be a follower to participate in conversations. That is the case with our blog. Then there are blogs that require you be a Google user and lastly, some blogs are private which you would not see anyhow :o)

As for commenting, the blog owner/s can choose from the following comment moderation options: always moderate, sometimes moderate, never moderate

Although it would be nice to never have to moderate, in reality there have been comments left on blogs that were not only unproductive, but destructive as well. We do moderate all comments which means that a member of the group has to approve the comment before allowing it through. This also stops those who leave comments for the sole purpose of promoting themselves or spamming the site. Thanks for bringing up the topic of comments.

Sharon Driscoll said...

Great Directions!

Artisan Beads Plus said...

Thanks, Sharon! :o)

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