Before I started this blog I was kind of intimidated. Blogs and websites seemed mysterious. What did they look like behind the scenes?? Could a regular person understand? I didn’t really know anyone to ask. I also don’t think of myself as very tech savvy and I heard a bunch of words associated with them that meant zippo to me. Who wants to learn THAT? Booorring!
I feel, in the months since I’ve been here, like I’ve gone behind the curtain. Ohhhh. So this is what they look like. Let me show you around a little.
WordPress – the only blogging platform I’ve seen – is fairly user-friendly. I am going to guess that over time it and other similar sites, have become more so, which is fortunate for the likes of non-techie people. Behind-the-scenes is not as pretty, or colorful as I might like but it’s not bad. The posts themselves are written in a word processing form, with options to do things like insert links or italicize, assign to a category, etc. Thankfully, drafts can be saved and/or revised. There’s even a “Preview” button! Yay!
The main area in WordPress, the command central if you will, is called the Dashboard. I love that, the word itself. This may sound peculiar, but I have good associations with dashboards. It probably goes back to childhood and the mysterious lights and numbers and buttons that captivated a child (but couldn’t be touched). I also have good memories of sitting in a car talking – let’s go with talking for these purposes – listening to the radio and staring transfixed at the dash. I’ve always found them visually appealing. Sadly, the “dashboard” in WordPress looks nothing like the dashboard on a car [insert sad face].
There are also notifications for whenever someone likes or comments on a post, a list of followers, links to blogs followed, and blog stats. WordPress is decidedly fond of numbers. There’s a business-like feel to most of it, although a few auto-comments from WordPress are goofy and stand out in contrast to the overall vibe. They make me think someone in the 16 to 22 year old range is writing them. If I could, I’d be giving them a withering look in response.
I have no direct interaction with “management” if you will; WordPress doesn’t send me any personal messages. That said, they write articles geared to bloggers with advice or information. Also, they do change things around from time to time, without notice. That’s a little weird. If you preferred the “old way”, tough. For example, when I first started, I could post large photos, but that’s gone away, at least from my blog “theme” (the layout the reader sees that a blogger chooses).
To blog, it helps to have a knack for ferreting out information and solving problems. I generally like a challenge so it suits me. Without that inclination, someone would probably grow frustrated and/or bored with the mechanics of blogging. Luckily, there are forums available to ask questions, and they’re archived. I’ve never needed to ask a current question; when something comes up I Google it and invariably find an old answer.
While I’ve chosen a free blog (with ads I have no say-so over), there are paid options to upgrade, get dot-com added to your site name, or just to add fancier stuff, colors and so forth, to your blog. A blogger is not pressured to cough up cash, so much as reminded it’s a possibility.
The whole kit and kaboodle is definitely a learn-as-you-blog endeavor. For the first two months I wrote this blog I thought a small headshot of me was displayed on it. Come to find out, only I could see it. In the early months, I’d find something, a way to accomplish a task, and later not be able to find it again. The right hand side of my blog, that you, the reader, can see, with its lists of categories, recent posts, and tiny calendar, are all things I selected to put there (from a list of options). They are called widgets, who knows why. I can make ’em disappear too!
I have my limits. I don’t really need or want to become a WordPress savant. I’m here to write above all else. The mechanics are secondary. In the end, the prose is what matters.