How to Blog
edited: Sunday, September 25, 2005
By Robin Fowler
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Sunday, September 25, 2005
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This is an article outlining the basics of starting and maintaining a weblog.
About 6 months ago, I was looking for a creative outlet, something to relieve the everyday stresses I experience as the mom of two young, active children. Scrapbooking seemed too expensive and time-consuming. Other crafts required more patience than I had available. Because I have always enjoyed writing, the logical solution was to start my own weblog, or blog. What I have found in my blogging experience is a cost-free, enjoyable outlet for my writing, as well as a way to share my life and experiences to anyone who might be interested in reading about them. How did I get started? It was easier than you might think.
First, you need to find a service that will host your blog. Sites such as blogger.com, wordpress.org, and movabletype.org are free, and I would recommend them for the beginning blogger. Starting up is easy. Just follow the instructions, and before you know it, you will have your own space ready for your immortal words. If you are a bit more experienced with computers and graphic design, you can always alter your blog template, or try a site like typepad.com, where you have more customizable features, for a fee.
The next step is to start blogging! It might seem intimidating at first, but don’t worry. Blogging can be addictive. The more you do it, the easier and more fun it can become. One suggestion for making it easier is to know from the beginning what kind of blog you want to keep. There is every type of blog imaginable, from political blogs to marketing blogs, cooking blogs to craft blogs and pet blogs. These specialized types of blogs are great if you have a home-based business you are trying to get off the ground, or if you just want to reach out to people who share your specific interests.
The most common type of blog seems to be the personal journal. If this is the type of blog you intend to keep, set parameters with yourself, and stick to them. Decide how much personal information you are willing to divulge about yourself and your family. If you are concerned, try changing names, using nicknames, avoid posting specific information about where you live, and avoid posting personal photos. What you decide to do with your blog is up to you. Keeping a journal can be stress relieving, and it can also be a great way to make connections with others in the world.
What should I write?
That first blog entry can be intimidating. Here are a few pointers for getting started:
Write what you know
Write as if you were talking to a good friend
Relay funny stories, life affirming events, interesting web links, anything that represents YOU
After you start blogging, you might feel pressure to always have something “good” to write about. Or you might feel the pressure to write a better post than others. Throw that mentality out the window. That is the quickest way to burn out, and you will not enjoy what you are doing.
Who will read my blog?
At this point you might be wondering if anyone will ever find your blog, read it, and leave comments. If you are seeking an audience, the best way to find one is to become one. Using blog directories like blogexplosion.com and blogwise.com will help you find other blogs that might be interesting to you. By visiting fellow bloggers and leaving comments, you will attract others to your own blog. Blogging, to some extent, is like networking. If you want people to read your blog, you have to advertise yourself. There are a few ways to do this:
Leave comments on other blogs. Other bloggers will in turn be able to come to your blog, read it, and leave their own comments.
Register your blog with several blog directories (such as blogexplosion.com and blogwise.com). Blog surfers can find your blog, and pay you a visit.
Register with webrings that have blogs similar to yours as members.
If you feel comfortable doing so, let your friends and family know about your blog.
Don’t get discouraged if it takes a few weeks, or even a few months, to start seeing traffic on your blog. Remember, you are writing your blog for yourself first and foremost.
There are many ways you can embellish your blog, and make it interesting to visitors.
Guest books and guest maps - try bravenet.com for a variety of free blog add-ons
Blog counters - try bravenet.com, blogpatrol.com, and sitemeter.com for free counters
Photos - visit flickr.com, where you can upload your photos to your blog
Blogrolls – add a blogroll to your site, which shows your readers what you are reading. It’s another way to network! You can get a free blogroll that can be updated as often as you’d like at blogrolling.com.
The best thing about blogging is the writing, bar none. There are also other benefits, such as meeting a whole community of people who share your interests, making new friends, and also building personal awareness about people whose opinions you do not share. That reminds me of one important point. Not everyone will agree with what you write. They might leave rude or hurtful comments on your blog. Try hard not to take them personally. Don’t give up on blogging because of something one or two people say. Keep doing it as long as it is fun for you. Remember, you are doing it for YOU. Happy blogging!