Gotta publish

Gene Kelly sang Gotta Dance in the immortal musical Singin’ In The Rain.

I know how he must have felt because I often get the feeling that I Gotta Publish something. I have published a book, various websites, these columns and yet, it seems, that is not enough for me. For some time now, I’ve been having the urge to do a Blog on photography even though I’ve done my best to resist by reminding myself that the last thing I need is more time spent in front of the computer.

That didn’t work and I soon started considering how, rather than whether, to go ahead with it. My usual blogging platform it is a Blogger, where these articles are kept in an archive and, while I’ve got nothing against it, I was starting to think that it is a little less professional than I would like.

One blogging service that crops up often nowadays is WordPress which offers anyone free blogs at www.wordpress.com. You get 3GB of storage space for, which will hold a whole lot of words, and you can upgrade that for a nominal amount.

The sign-on process is very quick and once you have an account, you can go ahead and create a blog which will end up like end up having an address like http://allanjackson.co.za/fn/, to pick a random example. There are a large number of layouts (or themes) to choose from to give your blog the look and feel that you want.

You also get integrated statistics which tell you exactly how many people are viewing your blog, a list of people linking to your blog, and you get can import existing blogs from other locations, including from Blogger.

One very handy feature that WordPress has is static web pages which can be linked from your blog’s header or sidebar, and which don’t change as you update the blog’s pages. This feature fixes one of the great lacks that I found in Blogger, which is that everything is filed in date order and there is no direct way of keeping pages, such as a biography for example, near the front.

The key to using WordPress is the dashboard which is an admin page that allows you to view all the information to do with your blog. It is where you create and edit pages and blog posts, change the appearance of the blog, choose a new theme, and much else besides.

I had a quick look through the list of templates that are available and picked out a very clean and uncluttered black-and-white layout, which suited me perfectly. That particular theme allows you to add a picture to the header section of your page which I did very easily because it told me exactly what size to make it.

I found the WordPress interface to be really smooth and easy to use and I had a professional-looking blog site up and running in a short while. The first post took an additional couple of minutes using some text I had created and a picture from my online Flickr account.

The interface for creating and editing posts and pages is like a basic word processor which you use to enter text, apply formatting or insert pictures, video clips, or whatever. Pictures can either be uploaded from your computer and stored in your web space or you use pictures stored elsewhere on the Internet, such as in Flickr.

WordPress is a very easy but powerful publishing tool which would be ideal for keeping a day-to-day blog, or a much bigger website. I don’t intend to remove my current blogs from Blogger, but I must say that I very much prefer the features and power of WordPress.

Highly recommended!

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