Creating Be Communities blog articles

A while back, there was discussion about what blogs are and how they can be used. But what about options to use for authoring blog articles on Be Communities? Here are some do’s and don’ts that should help regarding that.

Do not use Word to create your blog article

As good as Word might be for creating and editing word processing documents, it is horrible in converting the formatting it uses for other purposes. I have seen and written a lot of Web pages over the years and can usually tell very quickly when a page came from Word. Invariably, portions of the article are improperly formatted and do not render the same way other articles on the site do. Granted, there are ways to remove the formatting from the text (i.e. copying from Word and pasting in an ASCII text editor, like Notepad) and then copying and pasting the unformatted text into a new blog article and then reformatting, but that is extra work that can be avoided. And when you insert images in your document, those will NOT transfer through when you do a copy-and-paste from Word into the article. I could go on and on about this, but the bottom line is unless you really enjoy pulling your hair out, it is best to avoid the temptation of using Word to author anything that will be displayed in a Web page.

The blog editor included with Be Communities does work

It really does. When you create or edit a forum, blog, or wiki article through the Web interface, the same post editor is used. Various HTML formatting is supported, but your results will be much better if you use simpler formatting in the articles. One good tip regarding the editor is that if you want to use images in your blog article, you do not have to upload them to the site and then reference them in your article. You can simply insert an image straight from your computer or Web site into the content. It really is that easy. Information about the Be Communities post editor (e.g. basic controls, adding images to the content, how to make hyperlinks, how to edit the HTML code, etc.) can be found in the Text Editor help.

Microsoft’s Live Writer is a very good alternative

For those who have experienced the frustration in using Word to author a blog article, Microsoft was created very usable editor that provides a similar experience to Word, yet only presents the formatting options that the blog system you want to publish to supports. It is free and can be downloaded straight from Microsoft’s Web site, is pretty easy to install and set up, and works very well – in fact, I used Live Writer to create and publish this article without even being signed in to Be Communities… that is how well it works. A few notes regarding this option when using with Be Communities:

  • Live Writer appears to only be supported on Windows 7 and Windows Vista (32- and 64-bit), the latter with the most recent Service Pack.
  • When setting it up for the first time, make sure to select “Other” when asked about where to create your blog.
  • In identifying the blog where you want to publish articles, go to that blog on Be Communities and copy its entire URL for the Website setting in Live Writer’s options (you will be prompted for that, too, on initial set up). Getting the URL for just a community will not work, you need to go to the specific community’s blog page.

    LiveWriterOptions

 

Whichever you choose, you can blog to your heart’s content. Happy blogging!

Anonymous