I’m not sure how to get started writing a blog post. Do you have any tips?

This short blog post has some great starter tips for bloggers, outlining best practices and why they work. It has tips on organization, titles, images, different kinds of popular blog posts, and more!

Ok, I’m in the process of writing my post and I want to add images/media into the body of it. How do I do that?

Adding images and other media into the body of a post is fairly simple, and you can find a step-by-step instruction page here.

As you choose images or other media, please keep in mind things like copyright and ownership (do you have the rights to the images you’re choosing, or does the UCWbL own them?), appropriateness, and how an image or other media might be interpreted. For example, the images in Jake H.’s post are funny and convey the themes and ideas of his post.

For more thoughts on copyright and ownership, see the “Featured Image” section below. For UCWbL-owned images, feel free to use images from our Flickr page!

So what are those “Categories” check box things? How do I use them?

Categories are used to help readers find the info they’re looking for in a quick and easy manner. For example, if a tutor stumbles across UCWbLing and wants to find some tutoring advice, they can click the “things that help tutors” or the “tutors on tutoring” categories on the home page, and they’ll immediately see filtered posts geared towards the kinds of content they’re looking for. The same would apply to, say, a student looking to find out more about the UCWbL, if they clicked “cool & interesting events,” and so on.

Select the one category that you think best describes your post. We use categories for site architecture, so be aware that the categories of your post may be different from what you chose once it’s published.

I’m not finished with my blog, and I want to save it for later. How should I save my post?

So that the exact stage and progress of blog drafts are clear to the admins, you’ll be asked to save your post with one of the following statuses:

  • In Progress: This status signifies that the post is still a draft and is currently being worked on and developed; not ready for review or suggestions.
  • Pending Review: This status means that you’re finished editing the first draft of a post and are ready to have it reviewed or want suggestions. Once a post has this status, an admin will review it and give you feedback.
  • Awaiting Publication: This status is for use by admins only and declares that a post is ready to be published! It’s used once a post has a featured image and has been reviewed and approved by an admin.
  • Hold – Admin Review: This status is for use by admins only.

With this system of post statuses, the admins know exactly where you’re at in the blog writing process and, therefore, have a better idea of how to respond to your drafts and questions.

Wait, I just noticed that I have the option to publish my post. Can I do that, or does it need to be reviewed?

The short answer to this is that your post does need to be reviewed before it gets published. The reason you have the ability to publish your posts is because you all have the status of “Author,” which comes with some awesome behind-the-scenes benefits, like uploading photos and increased access to features on the blog platform, along with the ability to publish posts. However, we ask that you please don’t publish your posts until they’ve been reviewed. This is so that you have the chance to get someone else’s feedback on your post, offering suggestions and ways to expand and develop your thoughts, think “collaboration” and “revision”!

I’m ready to publish my post, but it says “This entry has no featured image. Please set one. You need to set a featured image before publishing.” What’s a “featured image,” and how do I find one?

The featured image is the picture that appears at the top of the blog post, behind the title. It is used to represent the content of the blog post in some way and provide visual interest to a reader—something that makes a reader say I gotta click on this post!.

When adding a featured image to your post, you can take multiple approaches.

  • You can use an image that reflects themes, tones, or ideas in your post. For example, take a look at this post by Allana, a former UCWbLer. Her featured image represents the combined reflective and forward-looking themes of her post.
  • You can find a funny image that adds some humor to your post, if that’s the style you’re going for.  For example, check out Rachel H.’s post. She uses a funny header image to highlight themes and content from her post.
  • You can also use an image of events, people, resources, etc. at the UCWbL, if that would be the most appropriate! For example, the posts by Scrawl usually have an image of the hosts and guests for the day. Here’s an example.

If you want to search for an image online to suit your needs, you can use a creative commons search, which searches photo collections like Flickr, Google Images, etc.

  • Type in your search terms, then select the kind of search you want to conduct (Flickr, Google, etc.).
  • Use the check boxes under the search bar to choose what kind of image you would like (uncheck “commercial purposes” and check “modify, adapt, or build upon”).

For a Google Images search:

  • Select “Search Tools,” which is an option under the search bar. This will open up a new menu below the search bar.
  • Select “Usage Rights,” which will open a drop down menu.
  • Then, click on “labeled for non-commercial use with modification,” which ensures you’ll find free images that can be modified (cropped, re-sized, etc.) for the blog, as needed. Or, choose “labeled for non-commercial use” if you won’t need to edit the image.

Once you have an image you like, from either kind of search, save it to your computer. For both Macs and PCs, you can usually right click on the image and select “Save as” (or something similar) to save it to your computer (be sure to select a location where you’ll be able to find it again, such as the Desktop, or a folder you use often). If you don’t see a “Save as…” option, look for a “Download” option or button. Once you have the image on your computer, you can upload it as your featured image by following these instructions.

If you need additional help please contact Emily P., the Social Media GA, for further assistance!