YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE

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Submitted Date 01/06/2020
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Your Online Presence

Once you feel ready, you may want to let others know about your artwork. WriteSpike, for example, is an excellent place for writers and others to appeal to a like-minded community. I feel that this group has many of the qualities I value. The members generally give positive criticisms, useful feedback and the site connects you to other people who are on the same wavelength.

However, I think everyone should have a separate website or web area they can design and call their own. If you are tech-savvy you may want to start your own website which means you will need a domain name and also a space for your website. While this should not be expensive, it will cost perhaps $100 a year. BUT you will have total control over the look, the design, the different areas, the navigation and so on. Also, websites are generally ranked higher than other areas such as your spot on Facebook.

And while I think that a website is a good idea, it does take work and maintenance which can be time-consuming.

I would suggest that the best choice for writers and such here at WriteSpike is a blog. Blogs are free and much of the designing is taken care of by the blog itself.

My own choice is Blogger.com which is owned by Google. While it will take you a while to learn all the ins and outs, it is really quite simple once you get used to it. And it is very flexible. You can change the entire look of your blog, for example, and still keep all the text and pictures and videos you posted as you try out different designs.

Most important are what Blogger calls 'gadgets'. These are little apps that extend the blog so that the blog can be searched, for example. Or you can have a list of subscribers, or the blog can be translated (terribly but better than nothing) into just about any language, or your contact information, or a listing of your most popular posts, or a list of all your blogs in a tree structure.

With the gadgets, a blog approaches the power and flexibility of a website. Blogger also does all the hard work of making your posts mobile friendly. And the Blogger now uses https meaning that it is secure. And it is all FREE! You can even put ads up on Blogger and get paid when people click on them.

You can see an example of my academic blog at:
https://deconstructingtime.blogspot.com/

I would suggest that your Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, WriteSpike, etc. all link back to your blog. That way your blog can become the central point of your online presence.

OKAY, YOU'RE SOLD.
SO HOW DO YOU GET STARTED?
GETTING STARTED WITH BLOGGER
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If you have a Google account you can open a Blogger account directly with your Google Gmail account.

If not get a gmail account from Google, which allows you to use Blogger and a variety of other Google services. Go to the following web address to get a Google account.
https://accounts.google.com/SignUp?hl=en

Then open a Blogger account at:
https://www.Blogger.com
Next, decide on three basic things:

#1. Enter a "Display Name" and click "Continue". The display name is the name that will show as the author of the blog and any comments you make on other Blogger blogs. You can use your real name or create a name.

#2. Blog Title: The name of the blog you want showing at the top -- the overall name of your blog such as:
TechCrunch or SmashingMagazine to name two very successful blogs that make a lot of money or for example, Fantastic Author
Later you can change the overall name of the blog under SETTINGS > BASIC in the DASHBOARD.

#3. The name that will be used for your Internet address. You are limited to letters, numbers, and dashes. NOTE: While you are allowed to use an underscore, for various reasons it is not recommended.

For example, you might pick
fantastic-author
for the blog named Fantastic Author

This web address name will then be tacked onto
.blogspot.com
So the address of your new blog would be
fantastic-author.blogspot.com

So when you tell your friends and customers to look at your Blog it will be that address.

If someone else has already used the address name, you will have to find another name but often you can just add a hyphen or make a slight change such a synonym or plural.

ALSO:
You will need to pick a template from the Create A New Blog creation popup screen before you can begin to Blog. Just pick anything. You won't be stuck with it. You can completely change and customize this template later in a variety of ways.

Here is a help page from Google that walks you through the steps of getting started:
https://support.google.com/blogger/answer/1623800?hl=en

IN ADDITION: You can have more than one blog -- at the moment Blogger has a limit of 100 blogs per account. You can link your blogs from one to the other and link separate blog-articles as well.

You can also limit your audience. You could have one blog just for a select group of authors, for example. And more than one person can be the administrator -- so more than one person can run the blog or post on the blog. You can also allow comments, BUT be sure to moderate the comments otherwise you will have a ton of spam comments.

QUICKSTART CHEAT SHEET
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HOW TO START BLOGGING IN 10 MINUTES
I culled this quick startup list from:
http://www.wikihow.com/Start-a-Blog-on-Blogger

Go to https://www.blogger.com
Sign in using your Google Account or click "Get Started" to create one.
Enter a "Display Name" and click "Continue".
Choose a "Blog title" and a URL for your blog.
Enter the word verification and click "Continue".
Choose a template for the design/layout of your blog.
Click "Start Blogging".
 

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