Monday, 28 November 2011

I Want To Make A Private Blog

How To Create a Private Blog or Invite Only Blog
There are a lot of reasons why you might like to make a private blog (that the general public can't find). Situations arise everyday - grief, trauma, unwanted diagnoses, accidents - in which we find ourselves screaming at the world. Having a private blog where you can go and vent your frustrations is not only therapeutic, it also acts as a diary of your progress. You can go back and read just how far you have come since that first day when you embarked on your journey.

Blogger blogs make having a personal and invisible blog very easy but I'm going to walk you through it...just in case.

I recently got a message from my step sister asking me how to create a blog but one that nobody else could read, unless they were invited. It took a message from her - a mother of two, awaiting a biopsy of a tumour in her lower abdomen the size of a sports bottle - to make me realise that she's not the only one - we all have a story to tell, but not all of us want to publicise that story to the world.

BEFORE YOU CREATE YOUR NEW BLOG
You are currently reading a Blogger blog. These are blogs are free to create and are hosted by Google for free. You can't lose. No, I'm not getting paid to say that. Creating a Blogger blog is a 3 Step process. Sign In or Up to Google. Name you new blog. And choose a template.

Before you get too carried away, I always suggest taking a moment to think about how you want your blog to feel. How do you want to present your blog, what is its purpose? Do you want to inspire or educate people, or write to (or on behalf of) a loved one? Will it be a Dear Diary of the latest news? Perhaps your blog will have a very raw or primal feel to it? Somewhere you can go & vent your true feelings.

It may seem irrelevant at the moment if you want your blog to be invisible to the world...but never say never. One day you may decide to let someone special in there to read about your life.

Thinking about the feel of your blog will also help you to decide on the name of your blog, the URL (the website address), the style of writing you use and the themes, pictures and fonts that you choose. Just give it a passing thought before you start. And then click here to Create a Blogger Blog. I'm going to walk you through the creation of your new blog. =)

SIGN IN OR UP
You'll need a Google account. If you don't already have one, follow the links to create one. If you do, then Sign In.

NAMING YOUR NEW BLOG
A URL is fancy talk for the full web address of your blog. NOTE: you can only choose the URL ONCE. So choose wisely. Never choose a URL that has more that 15-20 letters (or characters...you may use numbers too). You will want to choose something short and catchy, memorable, relevant & something that you don't mind rewriting hundreds of times.

The blog "title" however can be changed as required and it does not have to match the URL. For example:

Blog Title: John Smiths Journey to the Ends of the Earth
Blog Address/URL: http://johnsjourney.blogspot.com

You may need to try a few variations of "JohnsJourney" before you find a URL that hasn't already been taken. 

CHOOSING A TEMPLATE
Blogger provides a number of templates to choose from - you won't have to worry about choosing the colour of your text or the size of your title. The templates come in a number of colours and themes - all of which can be customised later on.

This is something that professional bloggers and web masters even struggle with. It's very easy to find yourself side-tracked by the overwhelming options for the layout and theme of your blog. Don't worry about it! This is a private blog, for your eyes only, nobody else is going to visit any time soon so choose something that is pleasant and later on, once you know you're way around the dashboard, you can go back and make it look amazing. I won't spend more than 5 minutes having a look through different templates & adjusting them slightly to my needs or tastes. And that's plenty, I can go back to tweak later on.

MAKING A BLOGGER BLOG PRIVATE
Last year, the major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc) had over 20 trillion web pages in their indexes. Over 1 trillion websites. The odds of somebody you know finding your blog is astronomical. However, you can change the privacy settings of Blogger blogs to make them invisible. Without getting to techy, the search engines will not index your blog - it's like having a private phone number that can't be found in the phone book. 

If you decide to hand out your phone number (or your URL) to just one person, or if you like the idea of Caller ID (where friends/family can become members to your blog and cannot access it without being logged in)...then Blogger blogs can accommodate your needs. They are very flexible, so lets get you over there.

1) If you are viewing your blog, in the top right corner click on the DESIGN option. The Design option used to be called Dashboard, because that is where it will take you.
2) Using the updated (the white) Dashboard, there are a number of options on the left of your screen. Later, you will use these option to create Posts, make Pages for Photo's or Video's, change your Template, or your Layout. Take your time to get familiar with your Dashboard.
3) Select the option called SETTINGS - you will automatically find yourself on the BASIC settings page, but there are also other options that allow you to change the timezones, language, comments, etc
4) Click on PRIVACY - if you answer No for both questions, you're blog will not be added to "the phone book" (the search engines will not let people find you)
5) SAVE CHANGES after you make them
6) Scroll down to BLOG READERS (and save changes if you make them)

Here you have a few options. If you select the ONLY THESE READERS option, you will be given the chance to email an invitation to some guests. These guests (your family or friends) will need to accept that invitation and sign in to visit your blog. 

ANOTHER PRIVACY FEATURE
In the event that you do choose to list your blog in the search engines, you may find that you come across that occasional spammy or offensive comment. You can moderate these comment, delete them or restrict who is allowed to post comments to start with.

On your SETTINGS page in your Dashboard, there is an option called POSTS AND COMMENTS.

You can accept comments from anybody, or only those from members of you blog (those guests that invited via email). Choose whichever options please you and don't forget to SAVE CHANGES if you make them.

And there you have it...
A brand spanking new blog, which nobody will ever find - unless you invite them to - ready and waiting for your very first post. 

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