How to Create Your First Blog
Below is the extract from an article I'd read yesterday by Donna Gunter, an Online Business Coach and Business Manager of The Online Business Coaching Company about how you could start your own blog in 10 simple and easy to understand steps. It is informative enough if you are new to blogging and thinking of having one as your own, sooner or later.
Please review this and possibly create your own checklist based on the points given.
How to Create Your First Blog
By Donna Gunter (c) 2007
How do you begin to blog? Here are 10 simple steps you can follow:
- Blogging platform. The easiest way to get started is to use the frëe service found at Blogger.com or Wordpress.com. The ability to customize your blog is limited with the frëe services, so I urge my clients to subscribe to Typepad.com, which will host your blog for you on their servers, or purchase a hostíng account where WordPress can be installed. The downloadable version of WordPress is located at Wordpress.org and is frëe of charge if you need to install Wordpress yourself on your hostíng account. I use Typepad for my blog, so many of my examples will relate exclusively to blogs hosted on that platform.
- Name. What do you want to call your blog? Blog names tend to be attention-getting and off-beat. However, for service businesses, I encourage my clients to use keywords important to their business when naming their blog. You will also want to acquire the .com version of your blog's name or your blog's name with the word "blog" attached as your blog URL. After you have set up your blog, your blog provider can give you more info about how to map your domain to your blog. (Note: You don't want to simply forward your blog to your domain name, as that impacts the URLs of your individual blog pages).
- Look and Layout. How many columns do you want to display? Do you want links to static pages? What colors do you want to use? How about a signup box for a frëe giveaway? Should you use one of the templates provided or have something custom designed? Do you want your blog archives displayed? Do you want to be the only author or do you want to permit others to make posts, as well? There are many questíons you'll be asked in the startup phase about the look of your blog. A Typepad blog permits you to change your mind about your layout at a later date. The best way to determine the look of your blog is to look at the layout of other blogs and determine what appeals to you.
- Widgets. There are a number of widgets, or add-on programs, that you can incorporate into your blog. Chëck your blog software's site for more info about what features you'd like add to your blog. At a minimum you'll want to give visitors a couple of ways in which they can receive blog updates through various updaters, or feeder services, as mentioned earlier.
- Comments. The newest spam making its rounds online is comment spam. Don't these guys have anything better to do? Set your comments to moderated, which means that you have to approve any comments to your blog before the post goes live. You'll save yourself a great many headaches and time by choosing to moderate the comments.
Once you've gotten this far, you should have a basic blog established and are ready to begin to blog.
- Blog content. The time has arrived -- your blog is ready to accept posts. What do you write about? You can post content rich articles of interest to your target market, comment on a current event, answer questíons from your visitors, present a before and after case study outlining how your business helped someone, etc. Keep your eyes and ears open for information relevant to your audience. I use my blog to bring forth info that doesn't fit well into my newsletter format or something that arises between newsletter issues. I post my ezine content to my blog, as well.
- Posting frequency. Blogs are just like gardens -- they need watering regularly and require some care and attention. For maximum effectiveness, you need to post several times a week to your blog. I try and post 4 times per week in my blog -- 2 posts are items I run across or comment upon as noteworthy in the moment, and the latter 2 are the contents of my ezine posted over 2 days. And, respond to reader's comments when they arrive -- blogs provide a great forum for ongoing discussions.
- Blog traffíc. In the same way that you publicize your website URL on everything that you do, you can similarly publicize your blog. Submitting your blogs to blog directories is another way to get traffíc. A very comprehensive líst of blog directories, RSS Top 55 has been compiled by Robin Good. Searching out blogs that appeal to your target market and making comments to those posts will also drive traffíc to your blog. Another trick is to post your blog on social bookmarking sites like Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon, and del.icio.us.
- Measure the results. Some blog programs, like Typepad, have built-in statistics so you can view details of your blog traffíc. Some of the feed/updater programs have built-in statistics as well, or you can install a metrics program as an add-on to your blog. Review your statistics regularly to determine how much traffíc your blog generates.
- Rinse and repeat. Don't let the novelty of blogging wear off. Blogging is effective only if you continue your blogging efforts regularly over a long period of time. I know of several individuals who have gotten book deals from their blog and radio and TV interviews as well. Just think -- your blog might be your ticket to fame!