About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Top Ten Tools: Blogger.com

I have tried two other blogging software, but you can tell from this blog that I currently use Blogger.com. I really like this blogging software for several reasons: it is easy to set up, it is easy to add on features without having to know HTML, it allows for customization as you get to know the software better.

Blogger.com for dummies

The first step in using blogger.com (as my students found out early) is to set up a google account. Once you have a goggle account, you simply click on "blog" in the menu bar on the top of the goggle page. You then can click on "create a blog". Up will come a menu that asks you to name your blog. I would use a title that gives the essence of what you will blog about. In my case, I wanted to include a blog that looked at international communication, learning, 21st century tools, and international business. This is why I chose Connecting 2 the world. I used the number 2 to differentiate my blog somewhat.

The next thing to decide is your URL address. Make this simple for both you and your readers to find. This usually means use the title of your blog (without spaces). Sometimes, if you have a blog with the same title (such as elearning blog) you might have to change the url. However, I would suggest changing your blog name so it is distinct.

Finally, choose a template for your blog. Often this is based on personal choices. You might find (as I did) that when you actually look at how the blog looks with pictures, graphics, or even the length of your posts, that one template is better than another for your blog. In addition, you might want to change your "image" which a blog template might project. You can always change the template later on (although I would warn your readers when you do so they know it is the same blog, just a different look). Now your blog is set to go. You only have to click on "create post".

Choose an engaging title, then start typing in the box below. You can change font, add pictures, do a spell check, add video, and add links using the icons above the text box. Unless you know html, make sure you click on compose as this gives you a user friendly view of what the blog will look like (including pictures)

To add a picture, simply click on the picture icon, browse in your picture file, choose whether you want the picture to the side right, side left, or above text, then "upload" and the picture will automatically be added.

The first page of blog when you come back to the blog is the "dash board". This is the control center. To design your blog, click on settings. This gives you options on how you want to moderate our comments, who can comment and who can author the blog, security, email, etc... I would recommend that you just scroll through and see what the options are.

Layout allows you to add tools to your blog such as a blog roll (links to blogs you read or recommend), subscription tools (I strongly suggest you add this as it allows readers to subscribe to your blog, giving updates when you post), add followers (those that want to admit that they subscribe to your blog), and a personal introduction about who you are and what your blog is about.

I suggest that you play around with the different features of the blog. After you add new tools, you can click and drag the box (indicating the tool) to different places on your blog to order the features however way you think makes sense for your blog.


While there has been much written about how blogs should be written, there is less written about the features of the blogs that allow for different affordances. I find that blogger.com allows for a greater level of collaboration than other blogging software I have used. It allows an easy way to have multiple authors (I had my class as authors for my one blog). The followers option also allows for linking blogs.

Another affordance is to use google analytics to analyze readers and traffic to the site so writers can get a better idea of who their audience is. This is especially important to my teaching as I spend a lot of time teaching audience analysis and the impact this has on communication.

Finally, the design options allows for multiple designs and the ability to test out different designs and its impact on audiences.