Blogging - getting started
How to begin to use your blog
The following guidance may be helpful when creating a blog:
To set up the blog simply click the blog link on your Learn course.
This may be in the side navigation (fig. 1)
or in the content area of the course (fig. 2). Once you click the link your blog will automatically be created and you will be taken to your blog’s homepage.
Navigating to the dashboard
The blog’s dashboard is the place where you can access the majority of features and options you’d use to customise your blog and write blog posts. It is also the place where you can find summaries about your blog’s activity and get quick information.
To navigate to the dashboard:
- On your blog site, hover over your blog title in the top menu and select Dashboard from the dropdown
- Your blog dashboard page will display. The left pane is where you have access to most of the tools and settings of your blog.
The user view allows you to see your blog as if you were a visitor to your blog. You may want to use this to see how the design, posts, or layout of your blog looks for visitors to your blog.
- From anywhere on your blog site, hover over your blog title in the top menu and select Visit Site
You will then be able to navigate through your blog viewing as if you were a visitor to the site.
When you first create your blog, it will have a default title of likely your name and Learn course. You may want to change this title to something more relevant to the contents of your blog. Please ensure you follow any guidance on naming provided by staff on the course (for example, they may want you to make sure your name is visible).
To change your blog title:
- Navigate to your blog site and select Customise from the top menu
- A left-hand pane will appear, select Site Identity
Change the Site Title field to your preferred title and select the Publish button to save the changes to your blog
To add a new post:
- Select the + New option from the top menu and select Post
- The Add a New Post page will display with options to set a title for the post, the content and various other options. You will need to select the Publish button to publish the post to your blog
You may want to edit an existing post to add additional content, media or fix typing errors.
To edit a post:
Navigate to the post you would like to edit on your blog. In the top menu select Edit Post
- A page will appear where you can edit the post’s title, content and other properties. Select the Update button to save any changes you have made to the blog post.
When adding media (such as images) to your blog it will be stored in the Media Library. The Media Library is a repository that allows you to re-use media across multiple posts or pages, so you don’t have to upload files multiple times.
To add media to your blog:
- Select the + New option from the top menu and select Media
- The Upload New Media page will display, you can either drag and drop files into the box or click the Select Files button and find the files on your computer.
- Any media uploaded to your blog is added to the Media Library. The Media Library can be accessed from the left-hand dashboard menu.
- YouTube and Media Hopper Create videos can be embedded into your blog by simply copying and pasting the web address of the video into your page or blog post.
A theme is a collection of templates and stylesheets used to define the appearance, display, and often the layout of your blog. There are many different themes available on blogs.ed from you to choose from. By default, your blog will have a University branded-theme.
To change the theme of your blog:
- Select Customise from the top menu
- A left-hand menu will appear, select the Change button beside Active theme.
- A page will display with the themes available to use at the university. Select the Live Preview button on the theme you would like to preview.
- Your blog will then display a preview with the theme you chose, if you like the theme select the Activate & Publish button at the top of the menu, otherwise select the Change button to go back to select a different theme.
Please note, you can often change colour schemes and header images with themes – however, every theme will give you different options.
A plugin is a piece of software that extends the functionality of WordPress blogs. They can enhance the features of WordPress or add entirely new features to your blogging site. There are many plugins available to use at the university. An example of a plugin is the Email Subscribers & Newsletters plugin which can be enabled to automatically notify subscribers on your blog about new posts once they are published.
To enable a plugin:
- Navigate to the dashboard of your blog and select Plugins from the left-hand menu.
- The Plugins page has a list of the plugins available to use within your blog. To activate a plugin, find the plugin through the search box or by scrolling down the list and simply select Activate. The plugin will then be able to be used with your blog.
By default, your blog will only be visible to yourself and your instructors on the Learn course. If necessary, you can change the site visibility to allow others to view your blog.
To change your blog’s visibility:
- Navigate to the dashboard of your blog and select Settings > Reading from the left-hand menu.
- The Reading Settings page will appear. Scroll down to Site Visibility to see the visibility options. Once you have selected the desired setting, select the Save Changes button change the visibility of your blog.
Blog comments are written reactions to your blog posts. They are a way for your instructor or other visitors to communicate with you on your blog. By default, anyone who can view your blog is able to comment on your posts.
To manage the comments on your blog:
- Navigate to the dashboard of your blog and select Comments from the left-hand menu
- The Comments page will display with the list of all the comments on your blog. If you hover over an individual comment the options will display to unapproved, reply to, edit, spam or delete the comment.
- The default settings for comment approval is that all people who comment need to have their comments approved the first time they post. After this, approval should happen automatically. Each time someone comments, you’ll get a notification by email.
- Occasionally a comment may be marked as spam. You can see how many comments have been marked as spam by clicking on the Spam link on the comments page.
To remove the comment from the spam folder, hover over it and click on Not Spam
You may find the resources below helpful with concepts such as creating an engaging blog, managing your digital footprint, making your blog and content accessible and understanding copyright. The University of Edinburgh have created guides to help you with this:
Creating an accessible blog
Creating an engaging blog
Advice on copyright for students
Managing your digital footprint
Advice on reflection
For further information contact the ISHelpline