How to create a blog if you’re a real beginner

How to create a blog

© GotCredit, from Flickr

If you go into Google and type in "How to create a blog", you'll be confronted with a huge amount of tutorials in all sorts of guises all claiming to show you how.

Some of them will be OK, some will be totally awful, but I bet the majority of them won't understand how to teach a real beginner.

I know, I have watched and read enough of them to know this. All for research purposes, of course! Just to learn how not to teach how to create a blog.

So how do you teach a real beginner?

If video is the preferred method, it should contain these fundamental elements:

  • Have a voice-over explaining exactly what is going on, slowly and clearly
  • Move the mouse slowly from example to example
  • Once your mouse has moved, wiggle it about a bit to give the viewer time to catch up with the cursor
  • Don't race through each transaction or onto the next one at lightening speed
  • Explain what is going to happen, and then show the result to reassure the watcher everything has happened OK
  • Give reasons or relevant explanations for each transaction or example
  • Show your human side by not editing out any mistakes
  • Provide extra explanatory examples which your viewer can relate to
  • If jargon is necessary, explain it properly and appropriately using ordinary, everyday words

I have watched many videos that don't do this, even for stuff I wanted to learn. Only recently I suffered a new website demonstration for a local school I work for, with the young developer whizzing his mouse about while he 'explained' how everything worked. Since I was left none the wiser, I pitied the poor admin staff sitting with me!

How to create a blog tutorials can be presented either in

  • a video format (which can be paused and rewound to go over bits again)
  • a slideshare format (with highly visual screen shots showing before and after)
  • a tutorial blog post (the same as the slideshare with highly visual screen shots)

And a variety of methods can be used, with arrows, circled areas and bubble explanations, but the idea is to be as clear as possible and show absolutely everything, even if there is repetition, or transactions you might assume the viewer already knows (which they might not).

Here's some rules of thumb when presenting to beginners:

  • Never miss anything out
  • Never assume prior knowledge
  • Never expect the learner to know anything technological beforehand

That is what makes the difference between teaching a real beginner and totally confusing them to distraction.

What kind of platform should I first create a blog on?

There are plenty of blogging platforms that are suitable for a blogging beginner:

  • WordPress.com
  • Blogger.com
  • Tumblr.com
  • Medium.com
  • Pulse.com

To name but a few.

But I have plumped for WordPress.com, because it is the most well known, widely used and probably one of the easiest. And it has so much more potential if you want to move on to better things later.

Nothing stays the same

WordPress is well known for being very clear and simple to use. However, as with all technology, nothing stays the same. Everything always has to develop into something better, faster, slicker. WordPress has had to become responsive, which means it is adapted for the smaller screen, such as the mobile phone or tablet.

As a result WordPress has created an alternative presentation, an alter-ego, another version. And all new WordPress.com users are greeted with this new method, whether they like it or not.

However, even WordPress's own tutorial videos don't use this new way (certainly not at the time of publishing this post).

But my new e-course does. And I think this is something worth noting. This e-course is a journey taking you through what you would see as you create a blog for the first time. I am with you every step of the way, because I am doing it with you on the screen.

Do you know someone who wants to create a blog?

I've been busy doing something I should have done ages ago. Create a full blogging e-course that shows beginners how to create a blog.

It needed to be clear, simple, expertly performed. I wanted to make short videos, but even though they are a bit longer than I wanted them to be, I believe they are captivating enough so you won't mind or notice.

There are five in all:

  • How to sign up to WordPress.com
  • How to write your first post
  • How to upload a theme to make your blog look good
  • How to set up the Settings that makes your blog work better
  • How to understand the extra bits that answer all those questions you have (if you're curious enough)

And they can all be listened to within a couple of hours, and at the end you'll have a fully functioning blog! With your first post!

So if you have any friends who have been going on about saying they really ought to start a blog, here's their best opportunity to create a blog now!

Just tell them to go to http://www.attractreaders.com and choose whichever e-course they want to do.

Simples.

Want a blog? Why are you dithering? Click on the link above!

And I look forward to seeing you on the other side.

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Alice Elliott writes the Beginner Bloggers blog for beginner and post-beginner bloggers to “explain things really simply” about blogging and WordPress. She specialises in simple, easy to understand, highly visual courses and tutorials using ordinary, everyday words. Why not also visit her award winning Fairy Blog Mother blog to learn some more.

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