How to start a blog
By Catalogs Editorial Staff
One key component in social networking: start and maintain a blog.Blog writing has become a very popular tool for online entrepreneurs. It is a very exciting communication and marketing vehicle for business people, especially those who have an online business. “Blog” is derived from the phrase “web log” which referred to a web-based diary, or record of thoughts and events.
The rewards and benefits are numerous. Many people who do business online want to find tips on how to start a blog that will increase their traffic and revenues and give them a platform to showcase their products and services.
Blogging gives people a portal to share their ideas and thoughts. Blogging is a way to exchange information in a social environment. Everything about blogging is social in nature. Blogging promotes interaction among people who share similar interests. Although the concept of blogging is not new, there are several methods you can follow for how to start a blog and make it successful. Here are a few:
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ResearchUse a search engine, like Google, to find blogs on topics that similar to the one you will be blogging about. Look at their graphics, photographs, headers, layout, writing style. Notice how bloggers use links, lists, widgets and other “bells and whistles” to enhance their blog. Establish accounts at a photo management site like Flickr, and at a video management site like YouTube or MetaCafe. These sites will be a great help in uploading and accessing content for your blog. Read comments and click through to the blogs on the “blog rolls” of those that you enjoy reading. Start to understand the community of bloggers.
Domain NameDetermine and purchase your own domain name. This is important if you want your blog to become synonymous with a particular service or product. Ideally, you want your audience to associate your domain name with whatever your area of expertise is. Also, you want to make a catchy domain name. For instance, if you sell makeup, you might decide on a catchy blog name like www.makemeover.com. Make sure the domain name is not already taken, then purchase it for at least one, and preferably three years. You can renew it at the end of the specified date. Domain names are bought and sold incredibly quickly. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to have a great domain name.
You can purchase a domain name from a domain registration service, like Network Solutions. You can also purchase a domain name and link it easily and immediately to your new blog at most of the free blog hosting websites, like Blogger.
Blog TypeDecide on the theme and nature of the type of blog that you want to produce. This is where you really start a blog. Deciding the theme of your blog will help you assemble your post ideas and blog topics. Are you going to promote your a product through your blog? Will you simply share your ideas and thoughts with your audience? Will you provide a link to other discussions forums on your blog? The type of blog you set up will form the personality of the blog from the beginning so it should be carefully thought through.
Blog HostingWhen you are going through the process of learning how to start a blog, your initial steps will be very critical. Decide to host the blog with a service or get a free hosting account. Sure free is free, but for the future of the blog, deciding which route to go now will help determine the blog’s success. If you host a blog that is on a free platform, the hosting service owns the content and the rights to the blog. That means that everything – copy and photos – within the blog content is the property of the hosting company that you’ve partnered with.
However, If you decide to pay for your hosting plan and to purchase your own domain name as discussed earlier, the content of the blog is yours. Also, if you decide to start off with free hosting and change over later to paid hosting, this could certainly delay any start-up costs for you but you may have trouble later transferring the content of the blog from the free to the paid host. Be sure to read the fine print of either plan before you decide which route to take.
Web SkillsYou do not need to download or install any software in order to start a blog. Blogs can be hosted on the Web by a free or paid service. It is very useful to acquire basic HTML skills when learning how to start a blog. Although most blog hosts provide an “easy editor” template for posting to your blog, copy can be enhanced in the “HTML editor.” The templates provided can also be altered and customized using modest HTML skills.
Determine which platform you will use for your blog. WordPress is a very familiar, user-friendly platform that many bloggers use when they first start. It is very easy to implement and easy to navigate. Many professional bloggers suggest WordPress as a good resource and say that it’s great for beginners as a step in how to start a blog. Within the WordPress community, there are several resources and informational pages that you can access for help. There are a host of other tools and software that will help drive traffic to your blog, monetize it, customize it and make it a viable business tool.
Remember that your blog is web-based content. It does not reside on your computer. If you write posts that you would like to safeguard from crashes (rare) or hacking (rarer), archive a Word version on your computer. You can also save your posts as articles to a bookmark site like Digg or Delicious, or upload them to ezine.com.
Blogging is rich with diverse techniques for marketing, networking and advertising that you can use in your business. Determining what works best for your blog simply requires a little research and testing. Every blog is different and has different requirements, so use the blog host’s instructions on how to start a blog that works best for your site’s theme and personality. You can always change and tweak something if you see that it’s not working.
Keep in mind your goal for the blog and the audience that you’re trying to reach. Make changes as necessary and keep the content fresh and inviting. This keeps your blog current and appealing to your readers. Over time, you will see your blog become successful through your diligence and attention to making the site work.
Starting a Blog
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