Blogging on WordPress: walled gardens, wilderness, rooms of one’s own

“To say the truth,” replied Miss Crawford, “I. . . may declare that I see no wonder in this shrubbery equal to seeing myself in it.” Austen, Mansfield Park, Vol. 2, Ch. 4

I spent the morning getting this site up and running. I’m not new to WordPress–I’ve been using it for my professional web pages at http://mirandaburgess.com for a couple of years–but I’ve never blogged in WordPress before. Maybe you haven’t either. Or maybe you are old pros. Either way, the WordPress platform is flexible, fairly intuitive, and can make an attractive home for your writing, in Arts One and beyond it. (If you’d like to use a different site, please feel free. If you think you might need to ask for my help, it’s safer to go with WordPress, as I actually know how it works.)

UBC has its own WordPress domain here at http://blogs.ubc.ca. What’s nice about this space is that you can build on its situation as a walled garden (an area of webspace that is protected from other parts of the internet and inaccessible to  internet users from beyond it) or you can open your blog up to users outside UBC, just as you wish. (Once you’ve created your blog, use the “Settings” menu at right, and then the “Reading” menu, to control access to your site from outside UBC, and to encourage or discourage access by search engines.)

To create a blog, log into the UBC WordPress domain using your CWL login details, click on your name at right, click on the “Blogs” tab near top left, and then click the button marked “Create a Blog.” After that, you can choose a title, tagline (goes underneath the title and explains it a little), and theme (some more graphically beautiful than others; some more hospitable to blogging than others) using the menus at left. You can create pages, which host stable content, and arrange the pages in hierarchical trees if you wish. (My site has several pages with stable content related to the course.) You can also create posts, or blog entries, which are dated, allow tagging, and accumulate on whichever page you choose in the order in which you posted them. (This here is a “post.” Welcome.) If you just want to blog, and want to do so on a single page that unspools in time, automatically indexed and archived monthly, simply skip “Pages” and go directly to “Posts.” And if you want to insert images, video, or URLs, use the “Upload/Insert” command just above the text editor at the top left of the posting/ content field.

There’s a good FAQ in the help menu under your log-in and avatar at top right, and the help pages are keyword searchable. There is also a tutorial available at http://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Lessons. Because some web developers use WordPress platforms for commerce sites and similar, some of the materials there are intended for site creators who intend to write code, embed apps, and so forth. If you are new to WordPress, and even if you’ve been around the WordPress block a few times, the “Beginners” section is a helpful overview (or reminder) of the basics.

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