In these days of internet communities and social networking, no-one is complete without a personal blog.
Everyday, thousands of people start a blog but what exactly are they: According to Darren Rowse, founder of the famous ProBlogger blog, a blog is “a type of website that is usually arranged in chronological order; from the most recent post at the top of the main page, to the older entries towards the bottom.”
Blogs are personal accounts, journal entries, or niche writing on a particular topic, and are usually created and written by one person. Blogs with similar topics can form internet communities, where information and ideas can be shared and friends can be made.
Blogging Software Programmes
There are a number of publishing platforms for creating blogs. Some are free and others ask for a small fee. The two most popular publishing platforms are:
WordPress: This platform is free and offers state-of-the-art blogging software for beginners and advanced bloggers. It is available at WordPress.org, is easy to install and has high quality themes and plugins. Unfortunately, the search engine optimisation used by WordPress is below average, but plugins can solve this problem.
Blogger: Blogger is popular, as it has been around for longer than most blogging software programmes. Like WordPress, it is also free of charge and easy to use. Blogger.com has recently been bought by Google; allowing the tools and features of this software to expand. Unfortunately, the templates are simple, but can be used as a base to create unique and creative themes.
Tips for Starting a Blog
There are a lot of blogs on the Internet: Some have thousands of visitors and fans, and some are just personal accounts or journal entries, for people wishing to express themselves and post photos. Many bloggers monetise their blogs, and blog for money while having fun, while others have expanded their blogs into a full-time job.
Whatever the reason for creating a blog, there are two main decisions to be made, concerning:
The Topic: There are so many blogs that it is impossible to choose a topic that is original. However, if a blogger chooses a topic he is passionate about and has experience with; his blog will reflect his own enthusiasm and personality. Visitors are attracted by a unique voice that makes them feel as though they are chatting with a friend and getting the information they were looking for at the same time.
Hosting: Some blogging services are interesting because they are free, but the catch is that they don’t let a blogger use his own domain name. Bloggers using free blogging services do not own their blogs, or their content, and cannot take their readers with them if they decide to move to their own domain. On the other hand, there are free blog software programmes like WordPress, that allow bloggers to create a blog hosted by them and then to move to their own domain for a small annual fee.
Building a Blog People Want to Read
Important points on building a blog people want to visit include:
Choosing a title and sub-title that state clearly what the blog is about
Writing a post for the profile page that reflects the unique personality of the blogger
Posting a profile picture so readers can see the blogger
Posting regularly on interesting subjects
Writing clearly and well
Answering questions and thanking visitors who comment on posts
Removing dead links from older posts
Posting entries that solve problems for readers, as most visitors search the Internet for answers to questions
Most people spend a lot of time making their blog aesthetically pleasing to visitors and looking for ways to bring traffic to their blog. There are a number of forums and tutorials where valuable information on how to make a blog, SEO, traffic, and links, can be found. Beginner bloggers can learn a lot by visiting blogs with the same topic as theirs and reading posts on forums.