What I'm going to do here is write a series of posts about how to start a blog, from start to finish. We're going to take this in small simple steps, and you can follow them at your own speed.
My Facebook friend, Ryan, wants to start a blog, so I'll use Ryan as my student throughout this series.
Before you begin blogging, you have to have an idea what you are going to put on your blog. I've seen blogs that were nothing but fantastic photos of food. There are blogs about poetry, religion, history, news, fishing, knitting, travel, Satan and a million other topics. What interests you?
You need to ask yourself, "What am I passionate about?" Blogging takes passion. Otherwise, you won't stick with it. You'll experience more days of writer's block, if you lack passion. If you're only in it for the money, quit now - because getting to the money takes work, a lot of work.
Ryan wants to do a blog on current events - news, sports, etc. Not a bad choice. There is a lot of competition in those areas, but with his own twist on current events, good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and some marketing tactics, Ryan can be successful.
Blogs that are a waste of cyberspace are the self-indulgent, narcissistic blogs. If you want to see what I'm talking about, go to the very top left of this screen and click on "Next Blog." You can toggle through hundreds of blogs, just to see what other people do. I'll warn you in advance, a lot of them suck. Can't put it any other way.
If you plan on writing a blog about you and your family, STOP RIGHT NOW! No one gives a rat's ass about your family. All those pictures you took at the maple festival in Vermont aren't worth anyone's time. So what if little Jimmy got his first tooth or your daughter is taking equestrian lessons at her over-priced private school. Write about something that OTHER PEOPLE WILL CARE ABOUT. Which boils down to the reader posing the question when they click on your blog: What's in it for ME?
That's what people care about, things that interest THEM. It may be news or TV or a hobby. But why they are at your blog and why they will come back is solely based on what you deliver to them that matters to them. The first rule of blogging: CONTENT IS KING. Good content gets people coming back.
Take a look at some of the best blogs on the Internet.
- Mashable.com - this is a site about social media and new technology. It has grown into a huge business and rakes in tons of money. They currently have a team of writers working on the site.
- PerezHilton.com - Perez Hilton started writing his blog on all things Hollywood in coffee shops because he didn't have Internet access. But he has content that people are interested in and his blog is one of the number one rated blogs in the world.
This blog, even though it has my name as the URL, is not about my family. It is, however, in part, about me.
I spent nine years as a stand-up comedian (1989-1997). I performed in 28 states, Canada and was a regular in Las Vegas at the end of my career. From those years, I have hundreds of stories and life lessons to share. Some of my posts are pure humor. I know they're funny. I had nine years of being paid because I was funny - I know how to deliver funny. LOL, LMAO, ROFL, LMFAO and so on.
I'm also opinionated. So I write opinions and commentary about the world around us. I don't pretend to be a hard news site. I take world events, TV shows and other everyday occurrences, report on them and add my own twist. I still cover a wide range of topics, but I do it in my style. My tag line at the top of the blog is "A place where grown-ups can learn and laugh." That sums it up. Over time, readers should feel like they are sitting down for an enjoyable and informative conversation with me. That is my goal.
Have an idea who your audience is going to be. The better you understand your audience, the better you can deliver to them.
So keep your damn kids off the blog and you'll be better off.
Once you have an idea about what you want to write on your blog, you need to set one up.
The easiest blog platform to start with is Blogger. You can find it at www.Blogger.com.
Even though Wordpress is considered to be the premiere blog platform, I'll give you one huge reason to build a blog on Blogger.
|Blogger.com ranks 5th in the world as far a website popularity. (Alexa.com)|
To get started, you need to open a Gmail account. This gives you an email account, which you don't have to use, but you need it to open a Blogger account.
Now you have to determine a name for your blog. It should be easy to remember. When you initially setup your Blogger blog, your web address will be: yourblogname.blogspot.com
If you want to get the "blogspot" out of your site address, you will need to purchase a domain name. I got mine for $7.95 from www.GoDaddy.com. If you purchase your own domain name, there are a few steps you need to go through to get it to be the domain of your blog. Google (the owner of Blogger) has complete instructions on how to change the "blogspot" name to your domain name. I know there are specific instructions provided by Google on how to make the URL change through GoDaddy.com, so I recommend using them for your domain name. But don't worry about domain names right now. You can always do that later.
How to start your Blogger blog is simple. There is a very simple step-by-step setup. I think it's only a couple clicks and BINGO you have a blog. You can worry about customizing your blog later.
Once you have your blog, You want to make your first post. It can be something like this.
TITLE: Welcome to my blog
BODY: Welcome to my blog. I plan on writing about current events and things that will interest you. I hope you come back often.
That's it. You have a blog.
Wordpress is the premier blog platform, but it also takes more work to set up.
Wordpress has two places to set up a blog - www.wordpress.org and www.wordpress.com
Wordpress.COM is very similar to Blogger. You can be up and running with a blog in just a few minutes. However, I've heard that Wordpress.COM sites are not picked up as readily on search engines, and that is a major consideration, especially if your goal is to get a lot of traffic.
Blogger sites have an option in their setup where you can have your site automatically listed on Google - definitely click YES on that option.
Wordpress.ORG is a download. You will need to purchase a domain name and get web hosting in order to use the download. This version of Wordpress is supposedly the Cadillac of blog platforms. There are hundreds of themes available through Wordpress and third parties. You have tons of ways to customize your blog, and there are dozens of features you can add to your blog. Supposedly, if you're serious about blogging, this is the way to go.
However, I know of several extremely profitable blogs that are all run on the simple Blogger platform.
Blogger has come a long way in the last several years. It used to be very crude. You had one layout and about 10 goofy themes. There were a handful of options you could add to the blog, but that was it.
Now, you can do all sorts of things with your Blogger blog - and there isn't any hosting fee. It's a great place to start. If your blog really catches on, you can spend some money and upgrade it to a different platform.
Before our next lesson, take some time to examine the tabs on your Blogger blog. It doesn't matter if you know what to do with any of them. I didn't either. But, hopefully, I can save you some time by offering some direction.
Now you know how to start a blog. And as far as where to go - Blogger and Wordpress are the best platforms.
Lesson 2: How To Start A Blog | Template And Design Basics
Blog Becomes RogerBlazic.com. I Now Have ONE Blog.
My Old Page View Record Blasted By 582% For This Blog
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