By Amy Lupold Bair, Susannah Gardner

You officially join the blogosphere by writing your very first blog post, an entry, for your new blog. (The blogosphere, by the way, is the semi-ironic way that bloggers refer to themselves, their blogs, and the phenomena that is blogging today. You’re a member of the blogosphere when you have a blog, regardless of whether you think it’s the dumbest word you’ve heard this year.)

The mechanics of writing a blog post aren’t much different from writing an e-mail. Bloggers usually make most posts quite short, and they write those posts directly and conversationally.

Of course, you might decide to use your blog to write the next Great American Novel, in which case your posts might be quite a bit longer than what’s standard! That’s fine, too. Every blog takes on a personality and life of its own.

If you’ve used a web-based e-mail service such as Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo!, the Blogger software feels very familiar. To create the post, you simply have to fill in the appropriate text boxes in a form, format the text, and then send it off to its destination — in this case, to your blog, rather than a friend’s e-mail inbox.

Follow these steps to write a blog post on Blogger:

  1. From the Blogger home screen, click the orange Pencil button next to your blog’s name.

    Blogger opens the Publish entry screen.

    All the elements in the Blogger Publish entry screen explained.

  2. Enter a title for your post in the Title text box.

    Titles are a lot like newspaper headlines: They should be catchy and informative, and they should encourage visitors to your blog to continue reading the rest of the post.

  3. Write your post in the large text box.

    Consider writing your blog posts in a standard word-processing program, such as Notepad or Microsoft Word — and then saving that post. Too many bloggers have spent hours composing right in the entry box of their blog software, only to find that their Internet connection has failed or another technical problem has occurred — which results in a lost post.

    You don’t want to lose all your carefully considered prose just because your cat pulled the cable modem out of the wall! It’s safer to compose offline and then simply copy and paste the text into the blog software.

  4. Format your post.

    Blogger’s entry box includes icons across the top that let you change the font style and font size, apply bold and italic to text, and create common formatting styles such as lists. To use these features, select the text that you want to modify by clicking and dragging over the text; then click the appropriate icon or select an option from the desired drop-down list.

If you know how to write HTML code, you can also try composing your post in the HTML mode. Click the HTML button and include HTML tags in your text, as needed. If you want to find out more about coding HTML, check out the discussion of common tags in Appendix B.