The Art of Blogging 101: How to start your own blog (and why you should!)
So you want to start a blog. Well, you’re in good company – there are over 450 million blogs on the Internet. The technology supporting the dot-com world has become more user-friendly and as businesses begin to fully realize the potential of social media as a marketing tool. Blogging has become more than just an online outlet to record your personal rants and raves about how much you love jeggings or why you wish you’d never signed up for that 7 a.m. spinning class. It’s a way for you to share information within an online community (or a “blogosphere” in tech-speak) while garnering response from site visitors and using the web to brand yourself to potential employers. All you have to do is type, click, and post – and the rest is web history.
1) Why do you want to start a blog?
Take a long, hard look at that computer screen and ask yourself why exactly you’d like to start blogging. This is an easy step to skip but one you’ll regret if you do. Your answers to this basic question will key you in on what kind of a blog you’d like to whip up, your short and long-term goals for writing a blog, and your target audience.
2) So why, exactly, do people start blogs?
Different strokes for different folks. Are you the confessional type who wants someone other than your best friend or a boyfriend to comment upon your choice of outfits for next week’s job interviews? Blogging can be a perfect tool to attract public feedback for private matters while also being an effective way to let friends and family in the loop on what’s going on in your life.
Are you a self-professed foodie? Do you love traveling the seven seas and snapping up rolls of film while you’re at it? Or maybe you’re the type who can’t live without having at least five vintage boutiques within a five-mile radius. Free yourself up to explore your passions and hobbies via blogging – not only is it a fun sidekick but you’ll also be able to reach out to others who share the same interests.
3) SO many possibilities – how do I get started?
4) I don’t know the first thing about HTML – can I still blog?
5) The Knicks and Knacks of Blog Upkeeping
How often should you blog? Should your posts be short and sweet, long and lanky, or dominated by Photo-shopped visuals? And what are the current best practices when it comes to comments? All of this really depends on the type of blog you have, but there are a few basic pointers.
If you’re at the helm of a personal blog, then posting once or twice per week is considered the acceptable norm. Although many popular or professional blogs may hit the tape with news multiple times a day (or even an hour!), don’t feel obligated to keep up if you’re on a full student schedule.
For the matter of length, there really aren’t any hard-and-fast formulas that will guarantee you the maximum number of site visitors. If your blog is all about dissecting today’s financial issues, you might find it difficult to limit your discussion of the econonmy to less than 150 words. And if your blog is geared towards a teen audience, think twice before publishing something that you don’t even have the stamina to finish reading.
And you should always respond to thoughtful comments or questions from your readers. Always. It’s one of the best ways to generate talk around your blog and goes miles to encourage your current followers to keep reading.
6) How do I get out the word about my blog?
Start with your immediate network. Your strongest and longest support will come from those who knew and loved you before you decided to enter the fame game with your blog. Get them on board first and ask them to spread the word to others!
Next, load your blog’s link onto your Facebook profile, and sign up for a Twitter account if you don’t already have one. And if you’re blogging for professional reasons, make sure you also include a link on your LinkedIn profile. Every time you post something new, update your Twitter followers, Facebook friends, and Gmail chat partners about it. Sync your social media marketing so that the same blog name and link appears on all of your media targets.
Be sure to customize your blog settings so that visitors can easily comment directly on your post, Tweet about it to their friends, or syndicate your posts through an RSS feed. Remember also that what goes around comes around. If you’d like other bloggers to take a look at your material, why not leave some comments about their content?