“I want to blog, but how do I get started?”
I’ve actually been asked this question quite often lately; and so I thought, what a great blog series! Mind you, I’m in no way an expert but I can definitely help you get started, hopefully point you in the right direction, and give you some great resources so you can create a blog that is just right for you! The biggest part to getting started is brainstorming ideas and the direction you want your blog to take. So introducing Step By Step Instructions on How to Begin Blogging.
Step1: What do you want to blog about? You need to decide what you want to blog about. What topics will you be writing about in your blog? What category would you like to have your blog fall into? In most social networking you will find that you have to categorize your blog; where do you want to be classified? Some general categories are:
- Small business
- Mommy/Daddy Blog
- and many more
Step 2: Create a NAME. You need a unique name for your blog that will fit your personality and the direction you want your blog to grow in. For instance: “Business 101″ would not be a very good blog name for a Mommy blogger who will be blogging about her children or cooking. You also need your name to be unique. If you decide on a name, google the name and make sure it isn’t already taken. Also check for it being in use on facebook, twitter and in domains. You don’t want to be running into others having the web addresses you want for your blog or having name confusions when signing up for Twitter/Facebook, etc.
Step 3: Choose a platform. You will need to decide what platform you want to create your blog on. As far as I am aware, you have 3 main options.There may be others, but I’m not as familiar with them; as they are not as popular.
- wordpress.com: This is a wonderful free platform that will allow you to create a large variety of looks to your blog and gives you greater freedom with your design. CONs: there is absolutely ZERO ability for income or monetizing your blog. You cannot host reviews or giveaways as per the user regulations.
- Blogger.com aka Blogspot.com This is a right brained bloggers best friend. It is quite easy to get started, as there are a large number of pre-designed looks and templates available not only from Blogger itself but from many other creators out there. Simply google “free blogger template” or “free blogger background”. You will find a lot! There is also a large number of options for widgets that aren’t available on wordpress.com. Plus, you can have Google Friend Connect on blogger blogs. This is a great traffic measuring tool and a wonderful means to tracking your readers but also for your readers to track you. As of January 2012 Google Friend Connect will be available exclusively on Blogger blogs. Blogger is also free to use, they provide the site hosting and even give you a blogspot.com domain, and you have the option to monetize your blog, host reviews and giveaways. Blogger uses HTML coding, so a little educating may be in order. CONs: Blogger technically owns my site. If they wanted to be facetious, they could shut you down. Also, if you are looking to monetize your blog, you will run into the picky sponsors that want nothing to do with “blogger blogs” and you may lose out on possible jobs.
- WordPress.org: I believe this platform gives you the greatest freedom of all in your design, layout, look and function of your blog. It requires a bit more tech savvy knowledge base as it uses CSS coding, and you also must purchase your own domain name and site hosting. Basically you OWN this website. No one can tell you what you can and can’t publish. Many sponsors who normally are anti-blogger blogs, love users of WordPress.org. I haven’t had much experience with WordPress.org; but it is the direction I would eventually like to move with JadeLouise Designs. Cons: you must purchase your own web hosting, and domain name (it’s not free). You need more coding knowledge and web designs experience or pay someone to design your site for you and teach you how to post.
Once you decide where you want to go; you will want to set up your site, get your unique domain URL; and start designing how you want your site to look. There are many tutorials if you google search them that can help you with any special feature you would like to add to your site.
Step 4: Social networking: If you want your blog to be the kind where people visit and comment, host giveaways, reviews, monetize, or offer other services (basically not a private blog) you will also want to set up accounts for a Facebook PAGE (not profile), twitter and Google Plus PAGE (again, not profile). These are the most used, common and needed networking tools you can have to interact with your fans, and new potential readers. You want to create these sites as soon as possible and have them host the same name as your blog; thus ensuring that no one else can use the same name in the future. It doesn’t matter that you don’t have a huge following yet, you want to have these sites set up and ready to go for when you launch.
It is very important due to the user terms of service via Facebook and Google Plus that you create a PAGE for your blog and not a profile. I don’t know how strict Google is about this as they are still rather new, but Facebook is very strict about this and if it is discovered you are using your personal profile instead of a Facebook page; they will shut you down and you will lose everything you work so hard for. The pages are fairly easy to learn how to use, and definitely worth the peace of mind. Plus, I highly recommend it as then you can keep your “business” side of your life apart from your more personal side.
Step 5: Join a community: There are many blogging communities out there that network and help build each other’s sights. The purpose is to provide a place where you can bounce ideas off of each other, support each other and learn from each other. Two of my favorite communities are Voiceboks.com and Mommy Blog Society. While they are both fairly new within the last 2 years, but they have given me the most support and help as I learned how to blog than any of the other communities I’m apart of. These ladies are truly amazing! There are even a few Men bloggers among them. So I highly suggest you join a community or both of these communities, and be active in the events and groups! If you aren’t active in the activities, events, groups then you won’t learn very much. Plus, I have made some truly amazing friends from both of these sites.
If you decide to join these communities, if they ask for who referred you, simply say, JadeLouise Designs or Amber Edwards; this doesn’t give me any income or bonus, it just merely lets them know where their community is growing from.
Another community site I highly recommend is Blogher . It is a wonderful site to discover, explore and participate in; as it is full of amazing activities, events, and many resources that will help you grow and learn not just in blogging but in all aspects of life.
Step 6: Decide your Frequency: You will need to decide how frequently you are going to blog. How much time do you have to put into blogging? Many blogs only blog once a week. Others blog once a day, and many even blog several times a day. There are some blogs that blog only once a month, but these blogs aren’t considered active and it is harder to increase your ratings with only blogging once a month.My goal for JadeLouise Designs is to have at least one post a day. This keeps me quite busy, but it is something I enjoy doing and it is also part of what I use for “me” time. I’ve always loved writing, even in high school and college, writing was a favorite subjects, so for me this is part of getting back my hobbies and talents that I lost sight of for a while.
Step 7: Start blogging: Now it is time to start blogging. Write articles on the topics you first decided would be included in your blog. As long as you are active in your communities mentioned in step 5 you should start getting a small following and then you will be ready for our next Blogging 101 activities.
Hopefully this list will help you get started. I will continue to research and work on more blogging tips and articles that will help you improve your blog, exposure and ratings.
Questions?? Please comment below and I will do my best to answer them or include your question/topic in my next Blogging 101 article!