Friday, 1 January 2010

How To Be an Author

So, you've decided to write an article for the Club web site - or you've been told to do so! I can't help you with what to write, but here are some simple instructions on how to write an article.

Firstly, you must be invited to become an author, else you won't be able to add anything to the web site. If you're reading this then you've probable already got an invite to be an author (contributor) sitting in your email inbox. In the email you'll find a link that you need to click on. Our club's web site is hosted by Google Blogger; the link in the email will take you to a web page that prompts you for your Google Account. If you don't have a Google Account (or aren't sure), an earlier post describes what it is and how to get one (it's very simple).

Sign-in with your Google Account, i.e. specify the email address that you used to create the Google Account. Having done so, you may need to do so again(!) and fill-in one of those "what word is this?" checks. Having done so, you be delivered to the Blogger Dashboard. This is the centre of your authoring universe, and you will see all of the web sites (blogs) that you are authorised to edit - probably just the Club will be listed.

You'll see that you can edit your profile (on the left-hand side) and supply a mug shot. You'll also see that there are three options below the name of the club's web site: New Post, Edit Posts, and Settings. These offer:

New Post - brings up the editing screen that allows you to type your article. Within the editing screen you can type the title of the article and the body of the article; you have editing and formatting features such as font, text size, bold, italic, insert a hyperlink, insert a picture, left align, centre, and numbered bullet. There's a Preview feature, and at the bottom you'll find buttons labelled Publish Post and Save Now. Don't be too afraid of the Publish Now button(!), the Edit Posts option (below) allows you to edit and delete your article after you've published it.

Below the Publish Post button you see a "Return to list of posts" link. You can use this to save your article as a draft, i.e. exit the screen without publishing your work.

Also near the bottom you'll see Post Options and Labels (and Show All). Post Options allows you to specify what date/time the article should be published after you press Publish Post. By default, articles are published immediately after click the Publish Post button but you should be aware of our publishing schedule.

We use labels to categorise our articles. If you click on Show All you'll get a list of the labels that we generally use. You can click on any number of them to associate them with your article. This will make your article easier to find. As with most other elements of an article, you can go back and add/remove labels after you've posted the article.

When your post appears on the web site it'll indicate who posted it; but when your post is included in the email to subscribers it won't! So, we have an authors guideline that says that the first line of each of your articles must state the name of the author, e.g. By: ECfencing Web Admin (Andy).

Edit Posts - This screen lists all of the articles that you've written - published and in draft. For each article, you can edit and you can delete. You can edit articles after they've been published - you can change title, body text and labels.

Settings - You'll not need to visit these very often, if at all. The most notable setting you might want to set is the Email Posting Address. This allows you to send a new article to the web site via email. There's limited security around this option, it simply depends on a) you supplying one or more secret words (with no spaces) that make up an unguessable email address for you to use, and b) the email must be sent from the email account that you logged in with.

So, I've briefly described the facilities of the Dashboard and the article editing environment. Hopefully, you've now got enough confidence to have a go. Remember, your article won't appear on the web site until you press Publish Now. There are some very helpful articles on posting and editing in the Blogger help pages. I recommend you take a look once you've become familiar with the basics.

One final important point... please take note of our publishing schedule and use the scheduler in the Post Options when necessary.

Have fun!

Welcome

Welcome to the ECFC web site. The aim is for this to be a dynamic and up-to-date location for you to learn about fencing activities at Eltham College and ECJS.

In the past, parents such as me have relied on word-of-mouth and printed newsletters to know what's going-on in the fencing world at Eltham College. This has meant lots of duplicated effort for Tim (saying the same message over and again to separate parents), and lots of newsletters that sunk to the bottom of smelly fencing bags and never saw the light of day again.

This site will offer the latest information on upcoming competitions, club coaching activities (including courses in the holidays), club events (such as charity fencathons) and other fencing activities and events that are of interest to the boys.

This site can also become a repository for:

  • Hints & tips for beginners (fencers and parents alike!) with features on buying kit and entering your first competition
  • Fact sheets on technique, warm-ups, diet, etc.
  • Competition results
  • Popular photos
In fact, I could go on-and-on about what this site could contain, but the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. The two key parts of that pudding eating will be a) putting information onto the web site in a timely fashion, and b) a groundswell of fencers and parents regularly accessing the information here (and finding it useful).

To help with the latter, I have provided a range of different methods of getting informed of changes to the web site, so there's no excuse for not using at least one of these methods!

I'm keen to gather feedback on the accessibility of the web site and on its value. If you have any thoughts, please let me know.

Regards

-Andy Ratcliffe (Rabbit's Dad)