Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Blog Technology: Photos, Online Storage, Learning Programs, etc.

I get a lot of questions about the technology that goes into producing my blog.  So while this post isn't directly connected to Puerto Morelos -- I think many of you will learn about some really neat, FREE programs that you can use, whether you have a blog or not.

Blog Publisher
First of all, I publish my blog using a FREE online blog publisher called Blogger.  (It has been acquired by the folks at Google.)  There are two giants in the blog world: Blogger and Wordpress.  Both have their advantages and disadvantages.  Blogger offers many more free services and Wordpress is much more customizable.  I chose Blogger because its free services fit my needs perfectly --- and now  it is much more customizable with their new template designer.

Domain Name
Blogger offers a free domain name for every blog, so you don't need to buy your own if you don't wish to.  If you use Blogger's free domain name, your blog address will be in this format: www.BlogNameHere.blogspot.com.  I chose to customize my domain name (www.PuertoMorelosBlog.com) which costs me a whopping $10 USD per year with GoDaddy.com.  They are a fantastic company that has the best prices, services, and customer service!

I store my photos online for FREE using Picasa Online.  If you are looking for a safe way to store your photos online -- so that if your computer crashes you don't loose your photos -- there are many sites available.  Picasa is one of them, and they are free - so why not?  You can also easily send your photos to others, control who can see your photos, and make online photo slideshows like the one I've used here

Picasa also has a desktop version of its software that you can also download for FREE!  Picasa desktop finds where you store your photos on your computer, then allows you to edit them, turn them into collages, make them into DVD slideshows, movies, etc.  It also can work in conjunction with your Picasa Online account and sync your photos between the online and desktop versions easily.  They have also just added a Facebook feature where you can load photos onto Facebook directly and quickly from Picasa.  I made the photo collage below in literally 2 minutes:

Talk about a great way to print your favorite Puerto Morelos photos!

Managing your Blog's RSS Feed
Every blog (and many websites) have something called an RSS feed.  I wish they would come up with a less intimidating name for it, because in reality it is very easy to understand.  The RSS Feed of your blog or website allows users, who are subscribers, to automatically receive a notice when you have posted new material.  Subscribers to my blog can receive their updates via Email, a Blog Reader, Facebook, and/or Twitter.  

I manage all of the subscriptions, along with analysis of my blog's traffic with another FREE program, Feedburner.  It's great and has lot of features that you can choose to use (or not).

By the way, if you are the subscriber to multiple blogs via email, it doesn't take long for them to begin to clog up your inbox.  You can set up an account with a FREE blog reader, like Google Reader.  This allows you to keep up with your various blog subscriptions, but won't clog your inbox.  Your Google Reader can be added to your homepage, your iPhone, etc.

Online Training
Want to learn more about a software that you have or would like to purchase for your blog or anything else?  Try the online tutorials at Lynda.com!  Think "Computer Programs for Dummies"!  It's a super affordable way to learn more about just about any type of computer program available: Photo Editing Software, Office Programs, Design Programs, etc.  Check it out!  I've always wanted to learn to use Microsoft Access and this is how I am going to learn to do it!

Well, I hope this helps to answer the questions that you all have about Blogs.  In short, they are easy, free, and a great way to keep in touch with family and friends or tell the world about a particular topic -- even Puerto Morelos!

Twitter and Facebook Readers can view the original post and leave comments at: http://www.PuertoMorelosBlog.com