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Tutorial: Master blogging guide

How to blog well and influence people

Dale Carnegie’s bestselling self-help book How To Win Friends and Influence People could have been written with blogging in mind. A well-designed blog can be an effective way to reach out to the world, strike up friendships and sway opinion.

Ready your content for the web

As with a website, you need to get your written text, the design and layout of your blog pages, the navigational structure and the accompanying images set up correctly before you begin.

Set up a folder where you store everything related to your blog and save only blog-related items here. Keep to this rule even if you plan to use some of the same text documents and images elsewhere too. We've called our blog folder ‘Rosie Writer' and have created subfolders for our main topics.

This will help you keep track of what's where on your computer so you can easily lay your hands on it. It's a good habit to get into a set method of naming files depending on their content. WordPress and LiveJournal automatically add underscores between words in the titles of HTML blog pages. Do the same for your images so you can recognise them more easily.

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You should also resize photos and logos for the web. Use Jpeg or GIF images and make sure they aren't too large. Unless the image is to be the main point of a blog post, you shouldn't need an image larger than 400 pixels across with a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi) or 96dpi if you prefer. A PC or laptop screen won't show more detail than this, and a large file will take ages to load and may deter blog visitors from looking at what you've posted.

Images on your blog should be no larger than 400 pixels across and 72 or 96dpi

Bear in mind too that a large photo will quickly eat into your storage allowance - a major consideration if you're using a free blogging account with a limited monthly allowance.

The same principle applies to any video you wish to post: if your monthly limit is 3GB of uploads, video will be a bit of a no-no. YouTube automatically transcodes videos uploaded to its site into a format that most web browsers can play, but the YouTube site isn't hobbled by bandwidth or usage restrictions (it makes plenty of money from other avenues, after all). If you must embed video into your blog, keep clips short and convert them into a format such as Flash that most people will be able to view and that won't take ages to buffer and play.

Choosing a blogging platform

Getting started with WordPress

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