How To Blog

by admin

If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog, don’t let fear that you don’t know how to blog, or enough about technology, or that you might not be a good enough writer keep you from taking the plunge. Everything that you need to know about blogging and blog tools is available for free on resource sites like this guide to how to start a blog, and frankly all over the Internet. In recent years setting up a blog has become much easier, and many web hosts offer free installation software that is pretty much one-click. Once you’re set up, remember that you can move at your own pace; no one says that you absolutely must post every single day to have a successful blog of which you will be proud.

Maybe the expense of creating and maintaining a blog has put you off from getting started. Well, aside from hosting costs and registering your own domain name (if that’s something you desire) there is virtually no expense at all that you must necessarily undertake. The fact is that many bloggers have very large and very popular blogs that not only cost next to nothing to own and operate, but that bring in much, much more than hosting costs! In addition, if you’d like to start a blog and literally spend nothing, blogging platforms like blogger and WordPress offer free hosting, without having to register your own domain. Most people would prefer to spend the $10 or so per year to register their own imaginative personalized domain name, and the few dollars a month that it will cost to self host a site, but it’s really up to the blog owner.

As far as technological know-how goes, hosting companies like GoDaddy and hostgator offer the aforementioned one-click blog set up, and if you get stuck there as 24/7 customer support waiting to help walk you through. It really is quite simple though; you’ll most likely be very surprised. Once you’ve got your blog set up, almost all of your interaction with it will be through your own password-protected backdoor to the administrative control panel. Here you will create posts, add photos and video, manage comments that others leave on your blog, and make changes to your blogs functionality and appearance. If all this sounds very abstract, not to worry; dive in and you’ll see how easy it is. If you go with WordPress, you will have a lot of fun choosing the theme that you install on top of your basic WordPress installation. It’s incredible the range of looks for your blog that you can test out with a couple clicks and switch over to literally with one click. I want to emphasize that it is not necessary to spend any money for an excellent WordPress theme, however one that I use on several of my own blogs is The Thesis Theme for WordPress, and although it is not free, it has many features that make it easier for you as a new blogger to quickly change the look of your site with zero tech knowledge. Just something to think about.

If you’ve been wondering if you have what it takes to create posts on your blog, known generically as “content”, I cannot advise you strongly enough to put the doubts aside and get started! This is not school and no one is grading you on the quality of your production. Regardless of the theme, style and subject matter of your site, believe that the world will be a better place for your publication of your own thoughts, flights of fancy, political diatribes, tributes to children or spouses or automobiles, or whatever else inspires and drives you to either write about what you’re interested in, or take photos or video of it, or all of the above. Case in point: that was a ridiculous run-on sentence, but it didn’t hurt anyone!

Part of the beauty of the blog form is that there are very few rules. Most people approach their blog as a sort of public diary, less personal than a private daily journal, and hope that introducing themselves and their thoughts to the world will provoke responses from others, usually in the form of comments in the comments section of each post. Your blog will be found over time by people who either share your interests or who enjoy your attitude or writing style, and trust me they will leave comments for you. The amazing thing is that the geography that formerly separated people with common interests suddenly becomes less relevant when other people discover your blog, and you will be astounded at the places in the world from where you will gain readers, if you post regularly. People come together almost as if by magic, because of their genuine commonalities, despite traditional barriers.

Many people conceive of their blog as a commercial platform of one kind or another, whether it be as an online multimedia resume, or to sell specific services or products. Even if you don’t think you have anything to sell, at least right now, just creating a regular readership can indirectly become a source of income. You’ve probably heard of bloggers who make a full-time living from their blogs, and this is most certainly something that happens. Blogging has become a sort of informal journalism, a meritocracy of ideas where people who can regularly produce interesting or valuable content are rewarded by having enough regular traffic so that their blogs become online billboards for third-party advertising, or as platforms for a the blogger to sell his or her own products or services. There are a million places on the net that will help you learn how to blog for money, should you decide to purse it.

Asking how to communicate successfully is exactly the same as asking how to blog successfully: the answer is sincerely and thoughtfully. Regardless of your subject matter, this approach will serve you well. Don’t be too self-conscious and most definitely don’t allow any doubts regarding costs, the technical know-how required, or your own ability to communicate restrict you from getting started today with your own blog.

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Why WordPress

For many people WordPress has become almost synonymous with blogging. There are many reasons for its success as a blogging tool, some of which are only really becoming clear now, but suffice it to say that if you intend to start a blog nowadays, you really have to give WordPress some very serious consideration. Since it works well as a blogging platform for so many people you would expect it to have breathtaking flexibility, and it really, really does. In this article I’ll look at just a few of the reasons why it’s such a good solution for people who want to create a web presence that is at once visually impressive and also allows for easy addition of content in absolutely any form or combination, all while requiring very little in the way of technical skills.

WordPress Makes You Feel Like A Graphic Designer

There are now many tens of thousands of WordPress themes available to apply to your basic WordPress installation. These themes or templates establish the basic look and feel of your website. Once you have cleared the minor technical complexity of installing WordPress on your host it’s just a few clicks to find and swap out themes, testing them to see which one you like the best. Expect to have so many options that you have a hard time choosing between suitable templates and establishing your site’s basic look. There are some functional differences between themes, but the main differences have more to do with aesthetics. If you decide you’d like to change your theme down the road it’s as easy to do two years from now as it is when you first set up your blog, by the way.

It’s quite easy to find very good free themes or templates all over the Internet, as you might expect. In fact the word “ecosystem” has been applied to the hundreds or even thousands of people worldwide who spend time creating WordPress themes. Very often these web developers or designers are first rate programmers and graphic artists, and you will probably be amazed at the quality and variety of templates that they create and make available, often asking nothing more of you as a user of their theme than to keep the link back to their website somewhere on your site.

Naturally a lot of these professionals charge for a license to use themes that they create, but the cost rarely exceeds $100. For people who are not very technically inclined, the support that comes with a premium theme license probably makes it worth the money spent, especially if one is not familiar or comfortable with basic programming.

If you’re reading this as a blogging neophyte you’re probably wondering if it’s necessary to buy premium theme to have a WordPress blog or website that is elegant and functional. The answer is that it really is not necessary, especially if you don’t mind learning a little bit about basic programming such as CSS (cascading style sheets) and HTML. If your motivation for starting a blog with WordPress is more about business or simply creating content and you really aren’t interested in getting to the nuts and bolts of your theme when you want to modify it, I would seriously consider paying for a premium theme, though. Again, the ready answers to questions you might have should you decide to customize your theme, or if you have problems, will most likely be well worth the money you spend.

It has to be said also that bloggers who have absolutely no desire taken into the technical aspects of their blog can easily find web programmers on eLance and other sites who are capable of major or minor modifications. The success of WordPress benefits you here again– platform success equals support opportunities for experts, so they are easy for you to find.

All this leads us to a primary part of the attraction of using WordPress as your blog tool, and its overall success: it is completely functional and customizable right out of the box with a learning curve that can be measured in hours, but if you have technical capability or interest you can use WordPress in ways that are only limited by your imagination. A lot of people find that they grow in technical proficiency over time as they familiarize themselves with the inner workings of WordPress. Again though, if your only interest is in writing or sharing your photography or video, you will be well served by WordPress and its compelling aesthetics, as a container for the content you want to create.

10 WordPress Plug-ins For Every Need

In addition to themes, WordPress is attractive as a blog tool because of further functional enhancements you can easily make with plug-ins and widgets. These are small bits of code that you can easily download and install on your site. If the theme houses your content, plug-ins and widgets might be analogous to interior and exterior customizations of the basic structure that expands what the blog can do, beyond what the theme establishes. There are many many thousands of plug-ins available and as a quick example of what they do, take a look at this plug-in, which allows you to
As WordPress has evolved it has become simpler to install plug-ins: as with themes, it’s usually simply a matter of finding what you want and installing it with a few clicks. Most often these plug-ins are free, although they usually come with an appeal to make a donation to the programmer if you find the plug-in useful.

Your Domain Name On Your Host Or WordPress.org

Another benefit of choosing WordPress to be your blogging platform is that you have a choice as to whether you want to install it on your own unique domain name and pay for your own hosting, or let WordPress.org host it for you for free. In the latter case you would choose a URL or domain name whose format will be username.wordpress.com, where “username” is a name you choose. Many bloggers, especially those who aim to create commercial sites, prefer to purchase their own domain name and pay for hosting, but either way the WordPress software is an option for your blog.

By the way, it used to be that if you did buy a domain name and host your own blog, you were more or less on your own when it came to installing the WordPress software by file transfer protocol (ftp). This is no longer the case though, as many hosting companies will supply you with software auto installers that make database creation and a file uploads to your host as simple as a few clicks. Be sure and ask the hosting company you are considering if they offer Fantastico or something similar. They will know what you mean! This makes the prospect of having and controlling your own .com (or other extension) domain name even more attractive. Other blogging platforms such as blogger offer free hosted blogs, but if you want a blogger blog, self hosting it is not an option at this time.

Making Money Using Blog Monetization Techniques Or As A Virtual Storefront

Whether your motivation for starting a blog is to make money or to simply share things that interest you, chances are you’ve thought about ways to bring in a little bit of income with it. WordPress as a platform can accommodate monetization elements ranging from small ads and banners to helping you establish a purely commercial storefront for your online business, whatever its scale. Again we see that with the flexibility of WordPress, a blog can be almost anything you’d like, as its function and appearance are really constrained only by your own imagination.

SEO Benefits With WordPress

A major source of traffic to most websites are search engines like Google. To ensure that your site can be found by them, the internal structure of your site, the programming of it, must be optimized to be friendly towards the virtual robots that scour the Internet, enabling search engines to create indexes of websites and webpages, hopefully including yours. Does it sound like a lot of work, and a lot to learn?

If you build a site from scratch using HTML or other labor-intensive methods, you’ll have to create it with an eye toward how it appears to search engines. WordPress makes it very easy to simply create content that will be presented, by default, in a way that is quite easy to read by the search engines. The degree to which your blog will be optimized so that search engines can find and crawl it easily will vary depending on what theme you choose for your blog and many other factors. But features baked right into WordPress, such as categories and tags, will ensure that you have at least a basic level of so-called SEO. There are also many, many WordPress plug-ins available that can help you optimize your blog for search engines even further.

Other blogging platforms such as Blogger or Movable Type help to establish a site as search engine friendly as well, but suffice it to say that WordPress makes SEO easy.

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How Do Bloggers Choose Their Hosting Provider?

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Backing Up Your Blog

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If you are a new blogger, or even if you’ve been blogging for a long time(!) it’s important to understand that just because you save and publish a post it doesn’t mean that it is reliably saved forever on your host. From time to time hosting companies have problems, and sometimes it happens that files […]

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