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Difficulty getting started

  1. I have been trying to start my blog for a couple of years, but I always fail because there's so much I simply do not UNDERSTAND.
    Theme: Will my blog look exactly like the samples or can I change font, text size and colour, line lengths etc?
    Until I get going, how can I tell which features I need or like? What if the theme I choose doesn't have a feature I need?
    I don't understand some of the terminology.
    Why on most websites is text so small and lines so long? (against typographical design guidelines) - we are not saving ink or paper!
    It's mind-boggling - "the more I learn, the less I understand"
    Are there small groups or classes that can help?
    I must begin. Nobody knows what's happening to me. Perhaps I should just dive in and face problems as they arise!
    Much of what I want to communicate already exists. Can I cut and paste from my existing material AND upload documents?
    Will everyone in the world be able to read it, or can I hide my identity except from those I tell about it? What is a private blog?

    The blog I need help with is leafmouldandlametta.wordpress.com.

  2. Theme: unless you learn web editing and buy the paid upgrades, your blog will look exactly like the samples.

    The best advice is to get started. If you're not aware of something, then obviously you don't need it. The single biggest mistake I see beginners make is failing to actually do anything until they feel they understand blogging completely. You never will. Just get used to it.

    Here is the best guide for beginners: http://learn.wordpress.com

    Staying completely anonymous is not an easy thing. Some tips are: never ever use the same email for your blog as you normally use in day to day life. Don't blogroll your friend's blogs, or comment on them. Don't post links to your blog on Facebook or other social networks.

  3. Theme: It will look like the demo. To change fonts, font sizes, colors, etc., would require modifications to the CSS and that requires the Custom Design Upgrade and some experience with CSS would be helpful, but staff and a couple others of us here can help out.

    Probably the best thing is to just find a theme you like the looks of, and one that is fairly simple and get to blogging, and as gain experience if you want to change themes, you can do that at any time.

    Web designers are not graphic designers so they don't know about line length and such, and few user do either. People come here all the time wanting to make their sites 1200px wide so they can post large images, but then they put in the text to go along with it and people have to pack a lunch just to make it through one line. It drives me batty.

    On the web though, the feeling is that people are getting used to reading longer lines now and where 500px was the norm a few years ago, "they" (whoever they are) are saying 750px is about the maximum.

    Font size can be adjusted by the reader by zooming in or out on a particular site with their browser, so font size on the actual site is not as critical as it is with print where you can't zoom in or out (well, you can use a magnifying glass I suppose).

    Here are a couple of resources for you to start out with, and Raincoaster was (probably still is) doing some online webinars on blogging and such.

    http://en.support.wordpress.com/introduction/
    http://en.support.wordpress.com/getting-started/
    http://learn.wordpress.com/
    http://raincoastermedia.com/blogging-for-beginners-from-zero-to-technorati-in-7-hours/

  4. G'evening Rain!

  5. Howdy. I'm going to start taking more time off, since you guys have the forums handled!

    And yes, that reminds me to schedule some more seminars.

  6. There are some basic help here: http://learn.wordpress.com/

    Take the advice above and make a few Posts and see how you like it - just remember that Google is forever so maybe don't write something you would be embarrassed if it showed up next year.

    If you don't like a Post it is easy to change or delete - Most people's personal blogs change direction over a period of time -

    And finally - blogging or having a web site is not for everyone - don't worry about some of the fine details and the way a site looks - this is not a time to be OCD with the way things look. Try it -

  7. I knew NOTHING about blogging when I started 12 months ago this week.

    Just jump in, you'll learn as you go!

  8. Much of what I want to communicate already exists. Can I cut and paste from my existing material AND upload documents?

    You can copy and paste however if you are doing so then go to Settings > Writing and select “ ___ WordPress should correct invalidly nested XHTML automatically” and then scroll down and click “Save Changes.”

    When copying and pasting text from elsewhere use either icon 5 or icon 6 in Row 2 of the visual editor http://en.support.wordpress.com/visual-editor/#pasting-text

    Will everyone in the world be able to read it, or can I hide my identity except from those I tell about it? What is a private blog?

    See here for the 3 options you can choose from when it comes to blog visibility ie. public or private.

  9. Why on most websites is text so small and lines so long? (against typographical design guidelines) - we are not saving ink or paper!

    It's important to know that we all have the ability to increase or decrease font sizes to improve readability on any site we visit. If you have difficulty reading the text on any site click to locate the keyboard shortcuts you can use to increase or decrease font (text) size on the site.

  10. Thank you all for your prompt advice. Well I jumped in, and now I'm drowning. I've read the getting started instructions over and over again, but I lose it when transferring between composing text and consulting help. I thought everything I had done was gone, but it was autosaved. I can't find the save now button. After hours of going through the themes, I have chosen one. But how can I see what my first posting (page, about) will look like, and check if my picture is there? If I try to do an additional post, I'm told I will lose the first one. There seem to be different versions - what "mode" am I in? Do you, like Apple. have help at the end of a phone who can talk me through it?

  11. Where is my artichoke?

    I don't understand kitchen sink, 1,2,3 in bigger type? I tried to change the colour but it didn't work.

    I do know about zooming and magnifying as a reader, but it's very tedious as the text disappears into the margins and you have to keep fiddling with the scroll bars, just like the old days.

    I really do not understand why designers can't make the text bigger to begini with. As I said, they're not saving ink or paper!

  12. First of all, if you are using any modern browser, you can keep two tabs or even windows open and then go back and forth between them when you are working.

    Second, if you need a little extra help, I recommend finding a recent copy of Lisa Sabin-Wilson's book "WordPress for Dummies". It mostly deals with the regular WordPress software, but has a few chapters at the beginning on WordPress.com specifically. You can find an online excerpt on Google Books.

  13. I also do online teaching, so you can contact me.

    Write your post and the button to Save as Draft is in the sidebar to the right of where you're writing. Hit the big Publish button when you're done. Once you've Saved the post at least once as a draft, you can look above the Write box and you'll see a link to Preview the post. Save again before you hit that link.

  14. The Kitchen Sink icon is the one on the far right of the row of icons above the Write Post box. Click it and other options open up for you.

    What exact steps did you take to change the colour of your text? If you want to change ALL the text on your site, that's more complicated than just changing a word here or there. That's getting into web design and CSS editing.

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