Log In: Click the login link under the Home button in the main menu. Once you are logged in, you will see new links appearing under that Home button for instructions and editing your profile, etc.

Edit My Profile: Use this to change your password, update your profile information, change your photo, etc. There is a place for your Twitter name so your tweets will show up, and a place for your Google adsense information so visitors will see your Google ads on your profile and you get credit for that.

Add/Edit Articles: Here is the fun area. You will see a list of your articles. To edit one of them, click the edit icon at the far right of the article in the list (looks kind of like a pencil on a sheet of paper). This will open the article in an editor so you can modify it.

To add a new article, click the New Article button at the right side.

TITLE: Rule of thumb: Keep it short and interesting! Try to keep your title inside the box. This keeps our layout consistent.

1. Type your article on your own computer in Notepad or Word and save it.This way you have a copy of your work in case you want to edit and resubmit it elsewhere down the road. But there is another huge reason for saving it to your own computer. The script we use will time out after 5 minutes of inactivity. Let’s say you’re typing away on your article and the phone rings. You take the call, spend a few minutes away from your computer, etc. When you come back and try to continue your article and/or save it, you may well find you have been logged out of the system and everything you just typed is GONE. Most bloggers only have this happen to them once, but we would prefer you not have that kind of crisis. So write your article first and save it where you can find it easily.

2. Copy your article and paste it into the editor. We HIGHLY recommend that you not copy and paste from a word processor like Word or Wordperfect, because the word processing characters will get carried into the article and make it harder for you to edit or adjust things. Here’s a simple trick: Copy your article from the word processor. In our editor window, click on the [show/hide] link. This puts the editor in text mode. Paste your article into this editor. Now highlight the entire article in the text editor, and copy it again, and click your delete key. Click on [show/hide] once more and paste into the editor. This keeps your paragraph formatting, but removes the other word processing format. Now you can bold, highlight, and hyperlink to your heart’s content.

3. Set your readmore link (usually after the first paragraph). The Insert Read More icon is in the bottom row. Just click at the end of the sentence where the readmore link should go, click the icon, and it’s done. A grey horizontal line shows the readmore link placement. 

4. Add your images: Please do NOT link to images on another website, like flickr, because they will often block the images from appearing on our site when posted. Save any images you want to use to your own computer, resize as needed, and then upload the image to our system for your posts.

LEAD IMAGE: For our layout, the lead image/photo (at the beginning of the article) needs to be 400×300 pixels, oriented landscape (horizontal, or wide) rather than portrait (vertical/tall).

RESIZING IMAGES: With today’s megapixel digital cameras, you can get wonderful photos, but they are often HUGE files.

To resize your photos, you can use a nifty online service.

Go to http://shrinkpictures.com

To resize your images it is as simple as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5!  They even have a little video clip to help you.

1. Browse your computer and select your image/photo to resize.

2. Click the radio button for Custom and set the size to 400px

3. Optionally, add an effect to your image (not needed for our purposes)

4. Select output image/picture quality Lower quality means a smaller file (choose Good)

5. Click “Resize” and wait for the processed images to be displayed.  When you see the smaller image, just right click on it and save it to your computer where you can find it again to use it with your article.  Choose a name that’s different from the file you uploaded so you can keep your larger photo and not overwrite it.

Image Manager: To add your pictures to the article:

A) Click on the Insert Image Icon on the bottom row of editor icons.

B) In the left side box, find the current month’s folder (this month is 02_11) and click on the title of the folder to open it. All the files in that folder will appear in the middle window. IF no file names appear in the middle window, click the dropdown at the bottom of that window and make sure it says ALL.

C) On the upper right side of that box, click on the Upload button (next to last button)

D) In the popup window at the top, click Add. That will open the file manager for you to find the image on your computer. (Once again, we remind you, do not link to images on third party sites, that often causes us to have images that won’t display. Always upload your images to our folder so we have them)

E) Find your image and click on Open. NOW…. if your image is larger than 400×300 pixels, all you have to do is check the box near the top of the window that says Resize. Now click the Upload button at the bottom of the window. When your image has finished uploading the red X will change to a green check mark. Then click Close to close that window.

F) Locate your image name in the middle window (the file name should be in bold) and CLICK on the file name. This lets you select that image as the one you want to insert. The path to the image and Alternate Text fields should fill in automatically (note: you can change that Alternate Text field as needed to help with search engine ranking)

G) Parameters: By default, we have the editor placing images aligned left witha margin of several pixels around it as a buffer when it’s placed inside the text area. If you want to change the alignment to Right, use the dropdown box next to Alignment and adjust the margins as needed.

H) Insert! The image manager should disappear and your image should show up inside the text area.

The rest of the process on posting articles should be self-explanatory,

Choose the appropriate category and section
for your article.

: Do NOT check this box, so our editors can check the article first.

Show on Front Page
: Check no.

Author Alias
: Leave blank. Since you are logged in, the script will input your author info.

Start Publishing
: Unless your article is time-sensitive you don’t need to change anything there.

Meta tags and keywords: The upper box is for description.  The lower box is for keywords. Description should be a short sentence or two about the post–what you want readers to know about the post if, for example, they find you on Google. Please take a moment to complete these, otherwise the system will randomly choose keywords from your post and they are rarely the words you want.

Lastly, when you are done, remember to scroll back up to the top and hit SAVE.