First thing first, why blogging in the first place? Well, the answer to that will solely depend on whether one wants to share to the world what they know or think. This is why I strongly believe blogging can be a good tool for knowledge sharing.
There are many ways to start a blog site, and here I’d like to list down some of the available options for new bloggers:
1. Theme for your blog
You can create anything you want in a blog, but t would be better if you have some sort of ideas prior to creating your blog site as to what kind of content you want to put. Many people just want to list down what they are thinking, or use it as some sort of journal. Others may have more niche content such as IT solutions, self-help informations, as well as other contents like quotations and/or jokes. Once you have this content idea, then creating contents will be easier.
2. Hosting site
There are many free blog sites in the internet, such as Blogger, or even some existing social network sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, Multiply, etc. The good thing about these free websites is two-fold. First, of course, is the no-cost associated to those hosting sites. Second, you may have a social network of friends and acquaintances who you may want to inform when your blog is being updated, and most of the social network sites provide such feature.
In my case, although I already use those free sites to host my blogs such as here or here, I would like to use my own domain to accomplish these objectives:
- Learn how to manage a domain & subdomain
- Learn how to install and use a blog system from scratch
- Learn how to promote your own website
In short, I want to learn how this thing works from end to end. 🙂 But for a starter, I suggest you to use the free available sites.
3. Deciding the blog system to use
If you are using the free sites, then you will be stuck with the blogging program that they provide. Well, actually even when you have your own domain, you’ll be stuck with the blogging program that you have selected in the first place. However, in those free blogging sites you will have to make do with the limited features in that site, while if you have full control over the programs, you can easily add the plugins you desire into the site.
There are many blogging programs out there, but I am focusing on two: Typepad and WordPress. These two systems are the most widely used blogging programs out there, albeit there are many Content Management System (CMS) that can be used to host a blog site such as Drupal and Joomla.
My choice is WordPress, since it is free and relatively easy to manage. There are many plugins such as Ajax-based plugins and Tag Cloud available in WordPress. Typepad is available in a 14-day free trial, after which you need to purchase the program. However, there are some affiliate sites that is using Typepad such as Friendster, though it is using the limited version of Typepad.
I suggest you to try out a few sites first, then choose the one that you like most, usually the ones that can give you more capacity and / or more features.
4. Promoting your blog site
There are some pointers out there on how to promote your blog sites. Here are some of them:
- List your blog site link in your e-mail signatures
- Join a widely used forum and put your blog site link in your comments / replies
- Simply ask your friends to look at your blog sites and give comments
One key point: Meta tagging used to be very popular to “trick” search engines on what your site contains; however, this method has been over used to the point that Google and many other search engines have changed their methods to categorized their searches from using meta tags. I still suggest you to use meta tags sparingly, but don’t rely on it too much.
A good tool to use for reporting is Google Analytics. It’s a free service from Google to keep track how your blog sites perform by listing how many hits per day your blog site reaches. Currently I am using it for two of my sites already. The result is quite accurate, and it even shows a map to where the visitor IP addresses come from. In my case, it is as far as USA, Australia & Sweden. 🙂
Final word: Enjoy blogging, y’all…
Originally posted on February 12th, 2008 at http://ruben.sentana.net