Almost everyone you know talk about their wonderful blogs and how they enjoy blogging. Some of them even claim to have earned a sizable income from blogging. You are interested and you would like to visit their blogs, and eventually, create a blog of your own. You do not know; however, where to start because you are not a computer savvy.
Well, fret not! Here is a step by step outline of how you should go about making your first blogging experience a truly memorable one.
What is a blog?
A blog is a web site which features articles, videos, pictures, journals and many possible means of communication. They could be categorized according to niches or interests. There are blogs for writing and the arts, health and education, IT and computer technology, Travel and photo blogs, money-making blogs and many more.
Blogs gained popularity in 1999 when the first web hosting tools were discovered. From then on, the number of bloggers increased steadily with majority writing their personal journals.
Eventually, blogging areas broadened and more and more topics were included.
Today, there are blogs on all topics under the sun and it still continues to grow in leaps and bounds around the world.
Blogging would be more meaningful if you could interact with other bloggers.
How could you interact with blogs/bloggers?
You could interact with blogs through the following:
1. Commenting on articles you find interesting.
Your comment should leave your email address or your back link where the owner of the blog would be able to reply to your comment. Comment only on articles that are of real interest to you; that way your comments would be well thought of and of real value to the discussion.
2. Promote the blog or an article in the blog.
You can Digg, stumble, mixx or Yahoo Buzz the article to promote it. You could also post the URL at MyFace, Yahoo answers, MyLot forum and several forums.
3. Find blogs in your area of interests
The best way to search for blogs is through Google or Yahoo search. You could also visit blogging communities like Entrecard.com to browse their different blog categories.
At Entrecard there are various niches, like arts and culture, mixed bag, personal diary, education, books, blogging, cartoons, and several others. In lifestyle the top three blogs are:
Blogs to Note
West of Mars
You could also search blogs in several blog ranking sites like Technorati, Blogtopsites,Alexa ranking, Blogtoplist, etc.
The blogs are usually categorized into different niches or areas of interests, so it would be easy searching and browsing through these sites.
If you want to follow a certain blog or writer, you can subscribe to his RSS (Rich Site Summary) or Atom feed.
This machine-generated summary, will update you through your mailbox of new articles written in the blogs that you have selected.
4. Creating your own blog would maximize your interaction with other blogs/bloggers.
Your blog URL (blog internet address) would show up every time you comment or interact with a blog. This would allow you also to follow your favorite blogger.
How can you create your own blog? Below are simple steps to follow.
Chronological steps in creating a blog.
1. Determine the purpose of your blog.
Before you create your blog, be certain of what you would like the content to be. What would be the name of your blog? The name of your blog should be in congruence with your content. What is the purpose of your blog? Who are your intended readers? All of these should be taken into account.
2. Choose a domain name.
The domain name should be in congruence with the purpose, the theme and the content of your blog. Choose a name that is catchy and that could easily be remembered by a casual reader.
3. Selecting your web host carefully.
After you have carefully chosen the name of your blog, you have to select now your web host. A web host is a site that owns a server which is accessible in the World Wide Web (www) for internet users. This host will allow your blog to be available in the internet.
There are two most common hostings and these are the free hosting and the paid hosting.
If your blog is for business purposes or other significant enterprise then you should opt for paid hosting. If you just want to experience blogging, then free hosting would be sufficient.
The two most popular free hosting sites are wordpress.com and blogger.com. If you blog for fun, there would be no problems with these two sites. They both have user-friendly features.
For paid hosting, there are hundreds or more, available in the net. Some of them are HostGator,Blue Host,Go Daddy, etc. You have to select the one that best fits your purpose of blogging.
You must consider whether they would provide technical support or not. This is very important if you are a newbie to blogging.
4. Select appropriate theme/template design
Your template design should match your purpose. A formal looking template would be appropriate for a money making blog instead of the flowery, colorful ones.
There are several to choose from:
Two column or three column or more, templates are available. Do not clutter your blog with two many useless columns.
5. Post interesting and related contents to your blog.
After the steps 1 to 4 are done, you are now ready to post your first article. Your article’s title should be carefully selected. More specific titles are preferred than short, general titles.
6. Insert pictures, images or videos to enhance your post.
An all text article would look drab without any picture or image. Be sure to double check your spelling and grammar before posting.
There are spell-checkers and grammar checkers in your blog templates.
7. Be sure to save your article after posting.
Label and assign tags so that web crawlers would be able to pick them up. These crawlers are responsible in updating your blog every now and then.
8. Maximize your blog exposure.
You can do this by enlisting it in ranking sites like Technorati, Blogtopsites, Alexa ranking, Blogtoplist and many others. You could also “Add your URL to Google Search” and “Add your site to Yahoo.”
You could also join blogging communities like Entrecard.com, MyBlogLog, Twitter,Mixx, etc. to increase your ranking and readership.
9. Update your blog regularly.
This may be done three times a week or daily. It all depends upon your goals. A consistently updated blog would be visited more often by crawlers of search engines, thus increasing the exposure of your blogs.
You should also be familiar with the general features of a blog to be able to interact with bloggers properly. These features are:
General features of blogs:
1. Comment section
This makes blog unique because of this interactive feature. Readers could comment on posts they find interesting. The comment section maybe moderated or not. If you want to screen the comments, then you should choose “enable comment moderation”. The comments then would only be posted after your approval. This would prevent “spam” (unwanted comments) from being published.
2. Customize/edit features
You could customize/edit your posts/articles anytime you want to. You could download pictures, upload videos and create external links to other website or blogs.
3. Archives of old articles
Old articles are arranged chronologically according to the date they were written. Labels and tags are also included to further categorize the posts.
These are machine generated updates of the content of your blog; they maybe RSS (Rich Site Summary) or Atom feeds.
They can be subscribed too and are easily available through emails or Google readers.
5. Blog roll
These are links from other blogs or sites. You can add or delete the links anytime you want to, by entering the customized mode of your template.
6. External links
You could link your article to any source in the internet just by clicking at the link icon.
These are the basics of blogging. As you “blog” along, you’ll be learning more about how to tweak your HTML and many more.
Blogging is a dynamic and challenging activity. You write, learn and interact simultaneously. Be a blogger and be part of this exciting blogosphere!