Building a Blog, Part III: Making Your First Post

When you first start your blog, you’ll already have one post and comment; you’ll want to get rid of these samples before you start actually writing.  Click on Posts in the sidebar; this takes you to a list of your posts (currently just the one); by mousing over the sample article, you’ll get the option to send it to the trash.  Now, let’s add some real content.

In the sidebar or at the top of the page, click the button that says Add New.  This brings you to a simple form with a number of fields; the only ones you need to worry about to start are the first two boxes, which are the title and the body of the post.  The title should be something descriptive that draws people in and makes them want to read what you have to say; the body can be whatever you like.  Go ahead and type something into both fields.  Now look to the right and you’ll see a box labeled Publish.  What you’re currently working on is a draft; you can hit Save Draft and it’ll be ready for you to come back to and finish later.  Alternatively, you can go ahead and hit the publish button; this will put the post up on your website for all to see.  Not sure how it’s going to look?  Go ahead and click Preview first; in fact, I recommend always previewing your post and reading over it for errors before it goes live.  The preview function will show you the most recently saved version of your article, so if you’ve just made changes and it hasn’t autosaved yet (and you haven’t hit the Save Draft button) you may not be looking at the most recent version; when I finish typing an article, the first thing I do is save it and then read it over for errors.

One of the nice things you can do is categorize your posts, which makes it easier for people to find what they’re looking for.  By default, everything goes into the Uncategorized category (you can change this in your settings), but you can put it into any categories you want; just click Add New Category and then be sure the boxes for every appropriate category are checked.  You can further help your users (and search engines) find the appropriate articles by adding tags; for example, this article falls under our category Web World, but is also tagged as dealing with blogs.

The key to making a good blog is to write about something you’re knowledgeable about and interested in, and to avoid things that turn people off, such as spelling mistakes.  An SEO specialist would also be checking for proper keyword placement (among other things) to help the site rank highly in search engines.  For example, there are a huge number of businesses with the name “X Ear Productions”; a Google search for ear productions turns up about two and a half million websites, with names such as Broken Ear Productions, Write In Your Ear Productions, Flapping Ear Productions, Dog Ear Productions, etc.  Very little SEO has been done for Moonlight Designs Studio, but we’re still on the first page of the results.  The more unique your business is, the easier it is to get you top placement for the appropriate search terms; this is particularly true if your business targets a particular geographical area. However, building a loyal customer base has always been about providing good service, and in the case of websites, this means providing useful content.  So get writing!