So you want to do a blog …
A blog is a great way to grow a community-supported activity or organization or just share your knowledge with the world. Still a blog is created on a website and you’ll have to set one up to distribute your content. Here are some helpful tips for those non-tech people interested in starting a blog.
The first thing to consider is what the blog will be about. As with any kind of writing, I generally recommend you write about what you know. Your content is what matters on a blog. So along with your written material, be sure to include photos, video, and whatever graphics are appropriate and available to you. Be careful to never use elements (photos, graphics, etc.) from the internet without permission from the owners or you could be in trouble for copyright infringement.
Although you’re writing from your own knowledge, you will still need to do some research for detailed information you may not have at your fingertips. Not a writer? No problem. Most blogs are written conversationally, sounding as though the author is speaking, more informal and less forced.
That said, while you don’t need to be a professional wordsmith to maintain a well-followed blog, but I strongly recommend you put your best writing foot forward. You can write conversationally but try your best to maintain proper grammar, spelling, punctuation and so on. Please don’t write like we text, no “LOLs” or smiley faces in the text.
Edit, edit, edit. Before posting your blog, do two very important things that many amateurs seem to ignore. First, read it aloud. You don’t have to read it to anyone else, just read it out loud to yourself and see how it sounds. If you stumble over the awkward phrase now and again, so will your reader, making your blog difficult to follow.
I would also recommend that you get two or three blog entries completed before setting up your site. That way you’ll have content ready to go and immediately online after you get things established.
Next, you will want to choose a domain name for your blog, i.e.: bobscarblog.com, or whatever. The more generic it is, the more difficult it will be to secure an available domain name, so be specific, be short, and be memorable. The domain should include something about the subject of the blog. Bobscarblog.com, for example, implies that the blog is about cars and Bob is writing it. If you write about a very common topic, you may need to get more creative about the domain name.
One more word about domains, buy up every possible combination of your domain that you can afford. Don’t just buy the “mydomain.com” version, but the “mydomain.net, mydomain.us,” and so on. And secure your full name as a domain name as well. For example, I own virtually every combination of “gerydeer.com” so that I always have control of my name online.
Platform. A variety of blogging platforms exist online that make it easy to start blogging right away. Think of the platform as the presentation system for your blog, where you will choose the look and characteristics as it will appear to the user. My recommendation has always been, and will continue to be, WordPress, for its simplicity of use and wide range of themes and community-based support. WordPress is free to install to your web host with dozens of free themes.
Hosting. As with any website, your blog needs to reside on some computer, somewhere in the world and provide access to users to see it, this is known as your “host.” Hosting is available at very reasonable cost from a variety of companies such as WordPress, GoDaddy, BlueHost, and GreenGeeks.
From here, you’ll install WordPress – instructions about how to do that are provided by your web host – choose a theme (the “look” of the website), do some easy customization and start blogging. You’ll also want to make sure you promote your blog on social media and anywhere else it seems fit to do so. Tell your friends to look you up and like, share and comment on your material.
Monetization. Yes, it is possible to make money with your blog, though this is not an easy prospect. Any stories you might hear about some nobody Mrs. Jones who started a cooking blog and got a six-figure cookbook deal from the effort are incredibly rare, if not greatly exaggerated. One way to do this is to offer a paid subscription to exclusive content on your blog. Subscribers would be offered special perks for membership, such as exclusive content, one-on-one live chats on social media, or other such advantages.
Finally, if you’re going to have a blog, make sure you post new content at least once a week, otherwise there’s no point. You cannot and will not gain a following if you only post when you feel like it. And only post content that is directly related to your topic. If you have a cooking blog, for example, don’t post pet pictures or car repair advice. Keep it relevant to your followers.
Blogspot – https://www.blogger.com
Wix – https://www.wix.com/