This series is designed to guide you step by step through the process of learning to blog. The activities can be completed at your own pace and in any order.
The aim of this second activity is to:
- Create and upload a user avatar.
- Publish your first posts.
The user avatar, also known as your comment avatar, displays in places where you leave comments and next to posts you publish on some themes. Your avatar is an online representation of you.
Below is an example of a user avatar next to a comment which looks much nicer than using the default avatar.
Create your avatar
Your first task is to create your avatar using an online avatar tools.
Below is the online avatar tools we recommend — Click on an image below and you will be taken to the website where you can create your own avatar:
Once you’ve created the avatar you save the avatar by either:
- Right click on the avatar and select “Save Image as” or “Save Picture as” to save a copy on your computer
- Take a screenshot of your image (use the Snipping Tool or PrnScrn)
- Most online avatar tools create rectangular images whereas your user and blog avatar are square.
- Allowed image formats are jpg, gif, and png. For best results use jpg.
- We recommend you edit your avatar or photo to 200 pixels wide by 200 pixels high using an image editing program such as Picture Manager, MS Paint or iPhoto before uploading. Remember to save it as a jpg.
- If you still see the old avatar after uploading your new avatar it may be your web browser remembering your old image. Hold the Ctrl key and press F5 to clear your browser cache or right mouse click and click Refresh (Reload).
6. Now when you view a post where you’ve left a comment you will see your new comment avatar.
- If you still see the old avatar your web browser may be remembering your old image.
- Right mouse click and select Refresh (Reload) to clear your web browser cache to view the latest version of your image.
6. You can also upload a blog avatar in Settings > Blog Avatar.
The blog avatar is displayed in your sidebar when you add the Blog Avatar widget in Appearance > Widgets and in the Class blog widget if the avatar option is selected.
INTRODUCTION TO POSTS
Now you’ve changed your theme and set up your user avatar it’s time to write some posts so your teacher and other students can leave comments on your posts.
Your first post might be about why you are blogging, what you will be writing about in your blog or you could write a post about your avatar, how it represents you and which website you used to create your avatar. Alternatively, your teacher may have given you a task to write a post on.
Stay safe online
Remember to be savvy online and don’t give out any private information:
- Only ever use your first name.
- Don’t publish personal details about yourself such as your surname, your address, email address, phone number, or date of birth.
- Don’t share personal photos online.
- Be kind and compassionate. Don’t publish posts, photos or videos that could hurt someone else.
This visual by Kathleen Morris might provide some useful reminders. While there are many things that definitely shouldn’t be shared in your blog posts (YAPPY), there are some grey areas. We recommend you think before you post and always discuss anything you’re unsure about with an adult before posting.
Tips for writing better blog posts
Reading online is different from reading in a text book.
The easier to read and more engaging your posts are the more likely they’ll be read and the better your message will be conveyed.
Here are some tips to help you write better posts:
#1 Use Categories and tags
Categories and tags on posts help readers locate content on your blog.
Categories are like chapters of a book; they provide a general overview of the topics you blog about. Whereas tags are more like the index at the back of the book and explode the topic into a million bits.
For example, you might use a category for each school subject such as: English, Math, Science, PE, English, Drama, Design, Art and Random. The Random category is used for posts you publish on topics that you are passionate about that may not be school related.
Say you wrote a book review on ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ you might assign it the category English and tags might be J.K Rowling, Fantasy Fiction, Harry Potter.
Categories and tags are normally displayed at the top or bottom of the post and using the Category widget and tag widget in your sidebar. You will be adding these widgets in Step 6: Add Widgets.
When your readers click on a categories or tag link on a post or in your sidebar, it loads a page with all posts that use that tag or category.
On a post you can add as many categories and tags as you need to make the post easier to locate.