Set Up Your Own Blog Using Blogger
Lloyd Borrett explains how to set up your own blog / home page
on your Melb PC Internet Service using Blogger
The First Step to Your
logs are reshaping the Web, im- The blogging experience is about not
pacting politics, shaking up only putting your thoughts onto the Own Blog
journalism, and enabling mil- Web, but hearing back from and con-
lions of people to have a voice and necting with, other like-minded If you have an account with an
connect with others. people. Comments enable readers of Internet Service Provider (ISP) such as
your Web site from all over the world, Melb PC, chances are that you already
Whats a Blog? to provide feedback on what you have, or have rights to, some Web
share on your blog. You can choose hosting space, and all of the resources
A blog is an easy-to-use Web site, whether or not to allow users to leave you need to setup your own Web site
where you can quickly post your comments on a post-by-post basis and/or blog. However, most people
thoughts, interact with people, and (and you can delete anything you don’t utilise these resources and don’t
more. don’t like). You have more power over set up either a Web site and/or a blog
your publishing efforts than Rupert because of the learning curve they
A blog is a personal diary. A daily pul- Murdoch or Kerry Packer! fear is involved.
pit. A collaborative space. A political
soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A Its Easy! Its Free! There is a fair bit to learn if you do
collection of links. Your own private want to build your own Web site in
thoughts. Memos to the world. Anyone with access to an Internet any of the traditional ways. But there
browser and e-mail address can have is almost nothing to learn if you want
Your blog is whatever you want it to their own blog for free. If you can use just a blog, or are prepared to use a
be. There are millions of them, in all a browser and fill in online forms, then blog as your Web site home page, as
shapes and sizes, and there are no real you can operate your own blog. You thousands of people do.
rules. don’t have to learn HTML. You don’t
have to learn how to design, code, Even if you don’t have Web site space
In simple terms, a blog is a Web site, build and manage a Web site. You just available from your ISP, there are many
where you write stuff on an ongoing need to have some information and/ providers like Blogger who have an
basis. New stuff shows up at the top, or thoughts that you would like to option where they will host your blog
so your visitors can read what’s new. share with others. for you. So now you have no excuse
Then they comment on it, or link to not to get started.
it, or e-mail you, or not. There are numerous free blog man-
agement and hosting options Your first step is to simply decide that
Why Have a Blog? available on the Internet. Many have you want to have a blog, and then
extremely easy to use browser inter- point your browser to <http://www.
As Rebecca Blood said in “The Weblog faces. The one I use and recommend is blogger.com>.
Handbook”, “There are as many kinds Blogger, at <http://www.blogger.com>.
of blogs as there are kinds of people, but Setting Up a Blog via
there are only three motivations for keep- Blogger was started by Pyra Labs in Melb PC
ing one: information sharing, reputation August of 1999. In February 2003,
building, and personal expression. And Pyra Labs was acquired by Google. So Relatively few subscribers to Melb
though any one of these may be the pri- there is a fair chance that Blogger will PC’s Internet Services have created
mary reason for a blog, no one maintains be around for quite some time. In- their own Web site and home page.
a blog for any length of time without deed, Blogger has gone ahead in leaps And then only a small handful of those
eventually doing all three.” and bounds since getting the re- members have established a blog.
sources of Google behind it.
10 PC Update, August 2004
Well the rest of this article is a sim- (Those of you with a different ISP will As you see, Blogger promotes the fact
ple, step-by-step guide to setting up need some additional information. that you can create your own blog in
your own blog on the Melb PC Please read through the rest of these just three easy steps — and so you
Internet Service using Blogger. instructions and take note of what can — but to set up a more functional
you’ll need to find out. Then ask your blog on the Melb PC Internet Service
The only real decision you have to ISP.)
make is to choose between:
From here on...
1. Having your blog as your home
page, or The rest of this article is a step-by-
2. Having your blog as a separate step guide to the process of setting
Web page within your existing up a Blogger Advanced Blog. The
Melb PC Web space. standard Blogger setup process leaves
you with Blogger hosting your blog,
If you don’t already have a Web site and then some blog facilities are not
hosted by Melb PC, and are never available to you.
likely to do so, then you should
choose option 1. Melb PC Internet Service users, or
those of you with Web space provided
If you already have a home page and by another ISP, are better served by the
Web site hosted by Melb PC, and you Advanced Blog option from Blogger.
want to keep it, then choose option With an Advanced Blog, Blogger main-
2. If you want to switch to running tains a database of everything in your Figure 1. The Blogger Home Page Start to create your blog here.
your Web site in a much easier man- blog, and it publishes the static HTML
ner, choose option 1. pages and site feed file that the world
can use to read your blog, into your
If you are with some other ISP that own existing Web space.
also provides some Web space, then
you can still follow this step-by-step The Advanced Blog setup process re-
guide. However, you’ll need to make quires a few steps more than does the
a few changes along the way. Don’t standard blog setup. Even then you
worry, I’ll refer to them. are left with a functional blog, but
without some nice features activated.
What Youll Need To
Know Before You Start In the rest of this article, I provide easy
setup instructions and explanations,
You’ll need to know your Melb PC which if followed correctly in the or-
Internet Service username and pass- der given, will leave you with a blog
word. That’s it! and/or home page fully functioning
with the features I believe most of you Figure 2. Create An Account Blogger needs to know who you are.
You need to know whether or not would desire to have in place. Even if
your Web space on the Melb PC Blogger was to change aspects of the
Internet Service has already been set setup process sometime in the future,
up for you. If not, you should go to reading through these instructions
the “Melb PC Internet Service Mes- and understanding them should help
sage Of The Day” page at <http:// you to easily set up your own Blogger
hww.melbpc.org.au/motd/>, and se- based blog.
lect the “Web Page Registration” option
in the list of useful links on the right Setup Instructions
hand side of the page. This should
take you to the “Melb PC Members Step 1. Blogger Home Page
Web Page Registration” page where
you can register to have Web page Connect to the Internet and point
space. your browser at <http://www.
blogger.com>. You should soon see
If you have already done this, then you the Blogger Home Page displayed. See
are ready to proceed. Figure 1.
Figure 3. Name Your Blog Just choose the Advanced Blog Setup.
PC Update, August 2004 11
requires the Advanced Blog Setup Click on the “Create Your Blog Now” First fill in the Blog Details section.
process which takes a few more steps. option.
Hence I decided to write this step-by- Enter a suitable ”Blog title” for your
step guide for you. Step 2. Create An Account blog, eg. “Lloyd’s Melb PC Blog”.
You should now see the “Create an You can choose to have your blog
account” page. See Figure 2. listed or unlisted. I recommend select-
Take your time and fill in the details.
Now fill in the Server Details section.
For “Choose a user name:”, I recommend
you use your Melb PC username, eg. For those hosting their blog via
“lborrett”, if it’s available on Blogger. Melb PC, the “FTP Server” name is
“member.melbpc.org.au”. If you are us-
For “Enter a password:”, I recommend ing another ISP, then you will need to
you use your Melb PC password. Then find out their FTP server name.
it’s one less different password for you
to remember. For “Protocol”, select “FTP”.
For “Display name:”, just type in your Leave the “FTP path” blank.
own name, eg. “Lloyd Borrett”.
Figure 4. Advanced Blog Setup Provide your blog and FTP server
details. If you want your blog to be your
For “E-mail address:”, enter your Melb PC home page, then for the “Blog
Melb PC e-mail address, eg. filename” enter “index.html”. If you al-
”firstname.lastname@example.org”, or some ready have a home page and want
other e-mail address that you prefer. your blog to be a separate page as
I did, then enter a new unique
Accept the terms. filename, eg. “blogger.html”. If you are
using another ISP, and want your blog
Click on the big “Continue” button at to be your home page, then you’re
the bottom of the page. going to have to find out from your
ISP what their default home page
Step 3. Name Your Bog filename is.
The “Name your blog” page should For Melb PC Internet Service users,
now be displayed. See Figure 3. the “Blog URL” takes the form “http://
If you are going to host your blog via username>/<blog file name>”, eg.
Melb PC or another ISP, ignore the ”http://member.melbpc.org.au/~lborrett/
Figure 5a. Choose a Template Pick a template that matches your
image. details at the top of the page and just blogger.html”. If you are with a differ-
click on the “Advanced Blog Setup” link ent ISP, figure it out!
in the Advanced Setup section.
Click on the “Continue” button at the
If you want Blogger to host your blog, bottom of the page.
then fill in the details at the top of
this page, and click on “Continue”. Step 5. Choose a Template
The rest of these instructions are for You should now see the “Choose a
those who choose “Advanced Blog Template” page. See Figure 5a.
Setup”. However, parts of these instruc-
tions may also be useful to those who Take all of the time you want to de-
choose the Blogger hosting option. cide on the template that best reflects
your personality, then select a tem-
Step 4. Advanced Blog Setup plate. For the purpose of this article,
I have chosen the default “Minima”
The “Advanced Blog Setup” page template by Douglas Bowman.
should now be displayed. See Figure 4.
Figure 5b. Creating Your Blog.
12 PC Update, August 2004
Then scroll down to the bottom of the should be already set using the vales
page and click on the “Continue” but- you gave in Step 4.
Scroll down to the bottom of the
Blogger displays a page that animates page.
while creating your blog. See Figure
5b, Creating Your Blog. For the ”FTP username:” option, enter
your Melb PC Internet service
If everything has gone okay, you username, eg. “lborrett”.
should then see the “Your blog has
been created!” page. See Figure 5c. For the ”FTP password:” option, enter
your Melb PC Internet service pass-
Click on the “Start Posting” button. word.
Step 6. Settings Basic Providing these values here gives
Blogger the information needed to
Figure 5c. Your Blog Created.
You should now see the “Create New logon to the Melb PC Internet server
Post” page. See Figure 6a. and update your blog when necessary.
If you choose to not enter these de-
You could now just create your first tails here, then you will be asked by
post and go for it. However, I recom- Blogger for them every time you up-
mend you first step through the “Settings” date your blog. If you don’t provide
options with me to fine tune a few these details you won’t be able to post
things and make your blog more useful. to your blog via e-mail.
Click on the “Settings” tab near the top For the ”Ping Weblogs.com:” option,
of the page. select “Yes”. Blogger will then ping
You should now see the “Settings — .com>, when you update your blog.
Basic” page. See Figure 6b. Then Weblogs.com can tell the world
that your blog has been updated.
Want to change your blog ”Title”? This
is where you do it. Click on the “Save Settings” button.
The page will refresh and you should
If you want to, type in a short ”De- be told that “Settings Were Saved Suc-
scription” of your blog. cessfully”. Figure 6a. Create New Post You could start posting to your
blog, but we will go through some more setup options first.
I recommend selecting “Yes” for the Next, click on the “Formatting” tab at
“Add your blog to our listings?” option. the top of the Web page.
It’s one of the best ways to get the
fact that your blog exists known to Step 8. Settings Formatting
the rest of the world.
You should now see the Blogger “Set-
Now, click on the “Save Settings” but- tings Formatting” page. See Figure 8.
ton. The page will refresh and you
should be told that “Settings Were You can do as you like on this page.
If you are planning to post entries to
Next, click on the “Publishing” tab. your blog frequently, you might
choose to stay with the default value
Step 7. Settings Publishing of “7 days” for ”Show”. Otherwise,
maybe increase it to a value of say 30
You should now see the Blogger “Set- days, or 10 posts.
Figure 6b. Settings Basic Make sure you tell Blogger to list your blog.
tings Publishing” page displayed. See
Figure 7. I recommend changing the following Change ”Date Language” to “English
The “FTP Server”, “Blog URL”, “FTP Change ”Time Zone” to “[GMT 10] Aus-
Path” and “Blog Filename” values tralia/Melbourne”. Change ”Show Link Field” to “Yes”.
PC Update, August 2004 13
Then click on the “Save Settings” but- Next, click on the “Comments” tab at For the ”Archive Filename”, entering
ton. The page will refresh and you the top of the Web page. “achive.html” should be just fine.
should be told that “Settings Were
Saved Successfully”. Step 9. Settings Comments Then at the end of each archive fre-
quency period (eg. month), Blogger
The Blogger “Settings Comments” will create a new file of the form
page should now be displayed. See “2004_07_archive.htm” in the main
Figure 9. directory of your Web site, and repub-
lish all of your blog with links to the
You can choose to enable your blog new archive file added. You could cre-
readers to be able to leave comments, ate a subdirectory on your Web site
or not. to put these files in. That’s what
the”Archive Path” and ”Archive URL”
I recommend you leave the default settings are for. But I recommend you
setting for ”Comments”, ie. ”Show”. keep it simple, especially if your blog
is going to be your home page.
For ”Who Can Comment?”, I’m happy
for ”Anyone” to be able to leave com- When you’ve made your changes,
ments on my blog. It is a facility that click on the “Save Settings” button.
is rarely abused by others. The page will refresh and you should
Figure 7. Settings Publishing Providing your FTP server login details be told that “Settings Were Saved Suc-
here makes your blog far easier to run. For “Default for Posts” I recommend cessfully”.
”New Posts Have Comments”. You can
chose to allow or disallow comments Next, click on the “Site Feed” tab at
as you create each post to your blog. the top of the Web page.
This setting is just used to specify the
default action. Step 11. Settings Site Feed
The main thing to do on this page is The Blogger “Settings Site Feed” page
to fill in your e-mail address so that should now be displayed. See Figure 11.
you are notified when comments are
posted. Enter your e-mail address as Blogger can publish an Atom site feed
the ”Comment Notification Address”, every time your blog is updated. This
e.g. ”email@example.com”. syndicated content feed is an XML for-
mat file that can then be accessed by
Then click on the “Save Settings” but- other Web sites, or used by users to
ton. The page will refresh and you give them automated access to your
should be told that “Settings Were blog contents via a feed reader and/
Figure 8. Settings Formatting We are Australians not Americans, and Saved Successfully”. or aggregator.
Blogger lets us show it.
Next, click on the “Archiving” tab at You may have noticed RSS buttons
the top of the Web page. appearing on many Web sites in re-
cent times. These are links to the
Step 10. Settings Archiving sites’ RSS format site feeds. Atom is a
new format for syndicating content
The Blogger “Settings Archiving” page that is intended to replace RSS, which
should now be displayed. See Figure 10. Blogger has chosen to support. See
the knowledge base and help infor-
I recommend the following settings. mation on the Blogger Web site, or
the Atom Enabled Web site, <http://
For ”Archive Frequency ”, select www.atomenabled.org>, for more
For ”Enable Post Pages”, select ”Yes”. On my personal Web site at <http://
www.borrett.id.au>, I use the
Leave both the ”Archive Path” and ”Ar- ”SmartFeed” service from FeedBurner,
Figure 9. Settings Comments Allowing others to comment on your chive URL” blank. <http://www.feedburner.com>, to
blog posts is a powerful communications tool. make my Atom site feed from Blogger
14 PC Update, August 2004
available automatically in all of the take the form “http://member.melbpc
major content syndication formats. .org.au/~<your username>/<site
But setting that up is something I feed filename>”, e.g. ”http://member.
don’t intend to go into here. Let’s melbpc.org.au/~lborrett/atom.xml”. If
keep this simple. But know it can be you are with a different ISP, figure it
If you haven’t yet started to use a feed When you’ve made your changes,
reader/aggregator, then I recommend click on the “Save Settings” button.
you try the free “Personal Edition” of The page will refresh and you should
“Awasu”, which can be downloaded be told that “Settings Were Saved Suc-
from <http://www.awasu.com>. cessfully”.
Awasu is a free Windows-based news-
reader. It can be setup to run in the Next, click on the “Email” tab at the
background on your computer and top of the Web page.
monitor the Web site feeds you have
asked it to, while you are connected Step 12. Settings Email Figure 10. Settings Archiving Give your readers easy access to your
to the Internet. Or you can just run it
when you so choose like any other The Blogger “Settings Email” page
program, and ask it to search for up- should now be displayed. See Figure 12.
dated feed content, just as you would
tell your e-mail program to go get new I like to have Blogger send me an
e-mail. Awasu will keep track of what e-mail of each post when it is pub-
you have already read, which saves lished. I then save them in my e-mail
you even more time since you no program as a backup should Blogger
longer need to search through your ever lose my information. You can’t
favourite sites for new stories. have too many precautions and
backup processes in place!
Awasu is a Melbourne based company,
so if you like the free version and think Enter your e-mail address as
you would enjoy the additional fea- the ”BlogSend Address”, eg.
tures of the “Advanced Edition”, pay ”firstname.lastname@example.org”.
the US$25 to buy it and thus help to
support local developers. Blogger also supports you posting to
Figure 11. Settings Site Feed Share your blog with others via
your blog via e-mail. If you enter a
syndicated content readers and aggregators.
It’s a really cool thing to have a site value for the ”Mail-to-Blogger Address”,
feed these days, and if you follow the you enable this feature. The total
rest of the instructions in this step you e-mail address, e.g.
will have one. (See, not only is this ”email@example.com” be-
whole process simple, it’s leading comes the e-mail address you use to
edge as well!) do the blog posting. You should keep
this e-mail address very secure, as any-
For ”Publish Site Feed”, select ”Yes”. one with it can post to your blog.
For ”Descriptions”, I recommend you When you’ve made your changes,
select ”Full”. click on the “Save Settings” button.
The page will refresh and you should
You only need to specify the ”Site Feed be told that “Settings Were Saved Suc-
Path” if you want to put the site feed cessfully”.
file into a different subdirectory on
you Web site. I recommend you leave The Members settings section can be
it blank. used to set up members to a closed
Figure 12. Settings Email Get notified when your blog is updated,
blog. But that’s not what we’re inter- and post via e-mail.
For the ”Site Feed Filename”, leaving it ested in doing here, so we will skip
as ”atom.xml” is recommended. that. Click on the “Back to Dashboard” op-
tion at the very top of the “Settings
For Melb PC Internet Service users the Email” page.
”Site Feed URL” should be changed to
PC Update, August 2004 15
Step 13. Edit Your Profile Click on the “Edit Profile” option near should enter it here. Or if your blog
the top of the right column. is about to become your home
The Blogger “Dashboard” page should page, enter that URL, eg. ”http://
now be displayed. See Figure 13a. The Blogger “Edit User Profile” page member.melbpc.org.au/~lborrett/
should now be displayed. See Figure index.html”.
If you have an instant messaging ad-
Now select the required Privacy set- dress, feel free to enter it.
tings for your user profile.
Fill in the Location, Work and
I recommend selecting all three. That Extended Info sections as you so
is, ”Share my profile”, ”Share my real choose.
name” and ”Share my e-mail address”.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page
In the Identity section, enter your and click on the ”Save Profile” button.
”First Name” and ”Last Name” values. The page will refresh and you should
be told that “Your Settings Have Been
You can add a photograph of yourself Saved”.
to your profile in two ways. If you have
a photograph of yourself stored some- Click on the ”Back To: Dashboard” link
where on the Web, eg. on your at the top left of the page.
existing Web space, you can enter a
Figure 13a. Dashboard.
link to it in the Photograph section Step 14. Publish Your First
to add it to your profile., eg. ”http:// Post
2002.jpg”. Or, you can try the free The Blogger “Dashboard” page should
photo hosting option offered by now be displayed. See Figure 13a.
Congratulations, your blog should
In the General section, specify your now be setup and ready to roll. The
”Gender” and ”Birthday”. Blogger time has come to publish your first
doesn’t actually display your birthday post and find out if everything is okay.
to anyone. They simply use it to show Exciting, isn’t it? Remember, the fol-
your astrological sign and the Chinese lowing steps are all you need to do
animal of your birth year. The birth- to add a post to you blog in the fu-
day format required is Month / Day / ture. This is how easy the ongoing
Year. It isn’t specified and the exam- publishing of your blog will be.
ple on the page is ambiguous.
From the “Dashboard” page, click on
For the ”Home Page URL” value, those your blog name in the list of Blogs,
Figure 13b. Edit User Profile Tell the world more about yourself here. of you with an existing home page eg. ”Lloyd’s Melb PC Blog”.
The Blogger “Manage Posts” page
should now be displayed.
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16 PC Update, August 2004
You could preview the post, save it as via e-mail if you enabled that option
a draft, or play with more post op- in Step 12.
tions. But let’s save that for another
time. If you chose to have Blogger send you
an e-mail of your post in Step 12, then
Now is the time to bite the bullet and check to see that the message has ar-
really see if everything is setup prop- rived. If you enabled the post to your
erly. blog using e-mail option in Step 12,
then send an e-mail to that address
Click on the ”Publish Post” button. and see how your blog updates.
If you didn’t specify your FTP Server If you already have a Web site, now is
username and password sign in de- the time to add a link to your new
tails back in Step 7, Blogger will ask blog somewhere on your Web pages.
for them here. Just enter them and
click on the ”Login” button. Microsoft To see the blog I created whilst writ-
Figure 14a. Create New Post This is where you add a post.
Windows may give you an ing this article for you, check out
“AutoComplete” dialogue box. I sug- <http://member.melbpc.org.au/
gest you answer “Yes”. ~lborrett/blogger.html>.
Blogger will now display its “Publish- To see my real blog, please feel free
ing is in progress” page. See Figure to visit <http://www.borrett.id.au/in-
14b. sight/lrb-blog.htm>, or point your
syndicated content reader, eg. Awasu,
If something goes wrong, Blogger will to <http://www.borrett.id.au/insight/
display a “Publishing failed” page. Just lrb-blog-atom.xml>. As you can see
go back though each of the steps in from my real blog, there is much more
this article, checking everything care- that you can do with Blogger should
fully as you go, and then try again. you choose to do so. I have built my
own template so that my blog fits in
But if everything worked okay, as it with the rest of my Web site. Plus, I
should, Blogger will display the “Your have added some additional features.
blog published successfully” page.
See Figure 14c. However, if you want to keep it sim- Figure 14b. Blogger informs you Publishing in Progress.
ple, then the heavy lifting is complete
You Have a Blog and from here on in it’s smooth sail-
ing. I told you it was easy to setup a
Eureka! Your blog is now a happen- blog. It’s even easier to run it, so I’m
ing thing! not going to even bother to cover that
in this article.
If you click on the ”View Details” op-
tion, you will see the names of the Conclusion
four files that Blogger transferred to
create your blog. One file each for the Think of the powerful tool you now
blog page, the first archive page, the have at your disposal. You can easily
page for the first post, plus the Atom post to your blog from anywhere in
site feed file. But enough of the tech- the world via the Web or e-mail.
But your blog is not a one-way street.
Click on ”View Blog” to see your new Others that share your interests can
blog or home page. See Figure 15. leave comments about each post you
make. You can even give others the Figure 14c. Your blog is now published.
Pretty, isn’t it? See how easy that was. ability to add posts to your blog.
You can now run your own blog or the Melb PC interest groups sets up a
home page by simply getting onto the Thus a blog is a far more powerful blog, it would be far easier for the
Internet, logging into Blogger and cre- communication and community build- conveners and members of the inter-
ating, editing or deleting posts. You ing tool that a simple Web site of est groups to share their events and
can even post an entry into your blog static pages. For example, if each of thoughts with each other, the wider
PC Update, August 2004 17
Figure 15. First Blog Page Your new blog should look something like
Melb PC membership, and the whole on. The possibilities are endless and About the Author
world. Plus with the site feeds avail- yet so simple to put in place.
able, it would be simple for each of Lloyd Borrett, email@example.com, is
us to stay in touch with the areas that There is now no excuse for Melb PC the founder, inaugural president and
interest us via our feed readers. The Internet service users not to have a life member of Melb PC. Check out
Melb PC Web site could have an area their own blogs. So give it a go, and Lloyd’s personal Web site at <http://
where the interest group site feeds then sit back and enjoy your new blog www.borrett.id.au> for more infor-
are aggregated, and everyone can eas- and/or home page! mation. o
ily stay in touch with what is going
18 PC Update, August 2004