What Is a Blog?
- "A blog (a portmanteau of web log) is a website where entries are written in chronological order and commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. 'Blog' can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog." Read more....
- ALA and its division, office, and round table blogs, wikis and other websites must follow ALA website guidelines for branding and other criteria.
- Questions and requests for site reviews should be referred to the ALA User Experience Manager, Nick Aleck, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supported Blog Software
- ITTS can install and upgrade WordPress software for ALA-affiliated units
- If you need an "FTP" or "uploading" program in order to work with you blog, one possible option is Filezilla
Links to WordPress Documentation and Info
- WordPress Codex help site - this site will answer 95% of your questions about the software; This site includes a special section WordPress for Beginners
- Troubleshooting Help from the WordPress Community
- Official WordPress Plugin Directory - all kinds of useful plugins to add functionality to your blog
- You can also try the list at the WP Plugin Wiki
- WP Theme Browser - lets you easily see what all of the default WP themes look like and sorts them by parameters such as number of columns, where the sidebar is located (right/left), color, etc.
If you want to design your own WP theme/template, check out the WP Theme Guide, which walks you through how to design your own
- Advice and plugins for Combating Comment Spam
- WordPress Theme Generator - will help you create a unique theme instead of just using one of the defaults. You will need to upload the files to your blog, though.
- Lorelle on WordPress has lots of great posts with WP tips and tricks (look for the categories on the left if you want to browse a little)
- How to Install WordPress Plugins
- Draft Blog Guidelines by Karen G. Schneider for her former place of work (FPOW)
- Since many people still don't know what a "blog" is and it's not a very descriptive term anyway, consider using the word "news" in its place. For example, instead of calling it "Division Blog," call it "Division News." And instead of putting it at the web address division.ala.org/blog, use division.ala.org/news instead. That way, when the next great thing comes along and replaces blogs, you can easily switch to it and keep the same name and URL.
- Make sure that the template you use makes the title of each post a link to the individual page for the post
- Use the Subscribe2 plugin to let users receive updates via email.
- See the comment guidelines on the ALA Marginalia blog for a sample policy for your own blog.
- Be sure to flesh out the "About" page on your blog with a description of your unit, the purpose of the blog, and a link to contact someone in case the user has a question or needs help.
- Use "Syndicate this site" with the orange icon ( http://blogs.ala.org/syndicated-feed-icon.gif ) to clearly indicate your RSS feeds
- Don't forget to include a link back to your site on ala.org somewhere in the sidebar or navigation
- RSS syndication can run in parallel with email since not everyone uses a feed reader yet. If you're using WordPress, consider installing the Subscribe2 plugin, which also lets readers sign up to receive updates via email.
- Categorizing your posts is a good way to illustrate the types of topics covered in your blog and to allow for browsing. Alternatively, you can use "tags" (keywords), which will allow your posts to appear in the Google and other search engine site results for those terms. Consider using categories for broad groupings and tags for more specific topics.
Plugins Other ALA Units Use
- The Washington Office is using the Subscribe2 plugin to let users sign up to receive blog posts as email notifications instead; it's working well, and ITTS is also using it now
- ITTS has used the following plugins
- Category LiveBookmarks Plus - displays the RSS feeds for each individual category on your blog
- Val in the Library suggested we use the Chunk URLs plugin that shortens long URLs in comments. It's come in handy - see what it does here
- FireStats - detailed statistics for your blog
- Live Comment Preview - lets users see what their comment will look like while they're typing it, kind of like a real-time "preview"
- Sociable - plugin to add one-click links to popular bookmarking and sharing sites. See it in action at http://discuss.ala.org/marginalia/ at the bottom of any post
- Spam Karma 2 - working pretty well at capturing spam
- Subscribe to Comments - lets users get email notifications when someone else comments on a post they left a comment on.