Or at least a blog post.
I posed a question to my writing group and asked them what they’d like me to blog about. They asked for a post about how to start a blog. A gasp escaped my lips. I broke out in a sweat. I didn’t want to write it. But only because this blog has gone through about four different names and probably double that in blog styles I feel I should dig in and just write it…
There are plenty of blog options out there and it comes down to exploring and research.
You may be wondering…
Where/how do I begin?
What should I blog about?
What do I want to say?
These are all good questions.
First you should decide on the style of blog: an online journal, food, crafts, how to do whatever, offering help. The topics are endless but we all have to start somewhere. The good news is that if you change your mind you can change your blog. Experiment. Try different topics. Eventually you will find what you want to focus on.
After you’ve decided the focus of your blog you want to start writing down ideas. Get some posts written before you launch your site. That way you will have some posts ready to go when you can’t think of anything or you get too busy. Use your strengths. They will make your viewpoint unique to you and strengthen your voice throughout your blog. Write about what you love, what you’re passionate about. And don’t worry if you aren’t sure about what you’re passionate about. Writing posts will help you figure it out.
We all want our blogs to be perfect before we make our blog visible but don’t try to do it all at once. Be happy with your blog before you go live but try not to obsess over it as I did or you will never publish anything. I went through so many changes before settling on the style I have now it made me a little crazy but I can say I’m finally happy with my blog. Finally.
If you want to have an interesting blog I think research is important. I’m sure you read a lot of blogs so the next time you come across one you really like study it. What is it that makes it a good blog for you? Scroll down to the bottom to see where it’s hosted. Check it out. See what their options are. If you aren’t sure where to start I would recommend connecting on Twitter or Facebook. I found some wonderful blogs by using those sites. If you don’t have a Twitter or Facebook account you’re missing out on meeting some wonderful people. Twitter is especially good for networking and expanding your online profile. For me, it is where I learned the most about social media in general. Google + has become quite popular although I don’t use it yet so I can’t say much about it.
The best way to learn how to use Twitter or Facebook is to participate. At first it’s a little scary but eventually you’ll get the hang of it. After a couple of years on Twitter I’m more specific about who I follow and it helps me to stay focused. Social media can be distracting and slightly addictive if you aren’t careful. Plus there are some people out there who simply aren’t looking out for your best interest.
Here is a list of some of the more popular blog hosting sites:
WordPress.com – a free site.
Blogger.com – a free site which is now run by Google.
Tumblr.com – a free site. I used to have a Tumblr account but eventually downsized and picked WordPress.
Livejournal.com – a free site.
Typepad.com – monthly fee
Squarespace.com – monthly fee
If you are tech friendly, which I am not, I would recommend WordPress.org, also a free site, I hear it offers just about anything you could want for a blog and gives you tons of options for personalizing it. Someday I may switch.
You can buy a domain name and then have it mapped to your site. For example, let’s say you start your blog at wordpress.com and your blog name is “i have a blog”. The address would be http://www.ihaveablog.wordpress.com. Now, if you want to shorten the address and make sure no one else can use your name you would buy a domain name. Again, some blogging sites offer the purchase of domain names, others don’t. You’ll need to do more research. After you buy your domain the address would be: http://www.ihaveablog.com. Now no one else can buy that domain because you own it. Personally, I’m a little OCD, so I bought my domain name as soon as I could, you know, in case my blog becomes extremely popular.
Remember…Blogging is fun. Blogging is cathartic. Blogging is work. Blogging is quality over quantity so be consistent. Set a schedule for a posts, maybe once a week or at least every two weeks and stick to it. I still struggle with consistency. Give your readers a reason to come back. A lot of bloggers do weekly posts or features on certain topics: manic mondays, two for tuesday, wacky weds…you get the idea. Keep it fun. Write something you would want to read. Blogging gives us the ability to write outside of our comfort zone, to interact with others, and to get feedback. In the end we can take it or leave it, but when used properly, feedback can make us better writers. It gives us thicker skin and helps us to stretch our creative wings which can only make us better writers. Let’s face it at some point we all have to have our work edited and we better be ready for the critiques that come whether we agree with them or not.
These are only a few quick tips. Give them a try. We learn by trial and error.
It is scary starting a blog for the first time. Putting yourself out there for everyone to see but it is also very rewarding and you will meet many other people just like yourself, who are on a journey to create and share. Most importantly, have fun!
Just this morning Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray Love, posted this on her Facebook Page:
“Lovely piece of graffiti, just spotted. “FAILURE IS ALWAYS AN OPTION.” This made me feel calm and happy.”
I know I needed to see that today.
Please leave a message to let me know if there is something I missed or something else you’d like to know about starting a blog, and I will find out for you how to do it. Also, let me know if I’ve given any incorrect information.
I wish you much luck and I’m so excited to see what you do. I’m still learning too.
Feel free to post a link to your blog. I’m sure it will inspire.