Blogging with Windows Live Writer 2011. 1.Let’s begin!

There are many users who blog who have never heard of Windows Live Writer, so I have decided to spread the word about the best blogging editor out there bar none. I can guarantee that once you have tried out Writer, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it and as its free, what have you got to loose? Firstly you’ll need to download it to your computer as its a desktop program, but the upside of that is you can write your blog posts offline if you have no internet connection, and publish to your blog later at a time to suit you.

1. Go to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-live/essentials-other-programs where you can download the 2011 Essentials Suite. Once the installer has downloaded, you will see a Window where you can choose which programs to install, just Live Writer or any of the other programs. As an aside, Photo Gallery works quite well with Writer and is a free photo editing program that you may find useful.

Choose your programs to install

2.  NOTE!  This edition of Live Writer does not work with XP, if you are using XP you will have to download the previous version of Writer. In Vista and Windows 7, its a good idea to pin Writer to your taskbar so that it is just one click away to use. Once downloaded and installed, Writer will invite you to Configure it for your blog so click on Next.

Configure Live Writer

3. Choose the blogging platform that you use, WordPress, Sharepoint, Blogger or Typepad. Writer will also work with LiveJournal and most other blog platforms. For my demo I am going to set up two of my blogs, one on WordPress and one on Blogger. In the topmost area you need to put the URL  (website address) of your blog. If you don’t know this, go to your blog online and note or copy the address from the address bar in your browser.

Filling in the details of your blog

4. Tick the remember my password if you don’t want Writer to be constantly asking for it and then select Next. Writer will then begin to fully sync with your blog settings, the background, the fonts you use, in fact every detail of your blogs theme or template will be synced with. This is so that you can see exactly how your posts will look as you compose them and before publication. It’s what makes Writer so unique and to my knowledge, it is the only blogging editor that is capable of true WYSIWYG syncing.

Writer does its stuff

5. As soon as Writer has completed its sync with your blog, you will see the post area of your blog in its entirety presented in the Writer editing window as shown below.

WYSIWYG edit screen

6. If you have other blogs either on a different blogging platform or even the same one, then simply repeat the procedure as described for each one by clicking on the title of your currently configured blog (to the right of the Publish icon, and select Add Blog Account  from the drop down list. You can add as many blog accounts as you wish from different blogging platforms. I have quite a few on the go including photo blogs and Writer successfully syncs with them all.

Showing list of my blogs

The full sync is best illustrated with another of my blogs which uses a fairly complicated looking theme on WordPress. In the next two screens I am showing you the blog itself online in WordPress and then the editing screen inside Writer to illustrate how Writer really does show your posts exactly as they will look when published.

Firstly, here’s my blog as it appears online.

Screenshot (53)

  And here is that very same post in the Writer editing window where you write and compose your blog post.

Screenshot (54)

Of course the sidebar is missing, we don’t need it for composing the actual blog post of course, and the blog title is also not necessary, but all fonts used, size of fonts etc are present and correct, as is the theme used itself. In a later post, we’ll cover writing one post and then posting the same post to more than one blog which I tend to use fairly often. To see the whole of your blog including the Title and the sidebar, simply click on Preview at the bottom left hand side of the editing screen.

Preview your post

Next post we’ll cover beginning to write your post, choosing your fonts and size of fonts, choosing a header and taking a look at general formatting of your post.

Technogran

From Spaces to WordPress step by step. A Theme with a Menu.

6. Choosing a Theme with a Menu.

1. In this post, we’ll change our theme again to another one, this time stipulating different features namely the inclusion of a Tabbed Menu for our readers to be able to access across the top of our Header. Firstly we’ll be uploading our own header into our theme and changing the background with our own. choice. So we need a theme that contains, Custom Menus, Header and Background. These are the features by which to conduct our theme search. From your WordPress Navibar, click on My Blogs, then select Dashboard as before and then Appearance, Themes.

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From Spaces to WordPress step by step. Choosing a theme.

3. Choosing a new Theme.

As soon as your new blog on WordPress has been set up, you will be assigned the Twenty Ten default theme. This theme is pretty versatile. You can choose to use your own header and select your own background, either a base colour or alternatively a background picture. So Twenty Ten allows you to personalise it and make it look pretty unique and different to other blogs on WordPress that use this same theme. Twenty Ten already gives some different choices of header pictures for you to choose from.  However, if this default theme is not to your taste, then its fairly easy to choose another one instead. Maybe you intend to use your new WordPress blog as a photo display blog and would prefer a darker background or a wider area in which to show off your pristine photos?  Whatever your personal tastes and requirements, there is sure to be at least one theme on WordPress that will fulfil your needs.

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Beginning Blogging 9. Keeping up Appearances.

Next let’s work through choosing another Theme for your blog, giving it a header of your choice and also choosing a new background. Some of the newer themes allow you to add a new header and background to them. So let’s choose one shall we? From your WordPress dashboard, click on Appearance from the left hand sidebar. You will be presented with all the themes that are currently available on WordPress. We need to narrow our search for a new theme down to background and header customisation.

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