Start Your Blog

Oh dear decisions

Arghh blogging decisions

Introduction

A blog is a way for you to publish your thoughts and ideas on the internet.  Once on the web your thoughts can be read by potentially billions of people.  People will find their way to your blog through search engines, links and recommendations on other websites, reviews and even from social media, such as Twitter and Facebook.

Before you start blogging you have to consider the following:

How are you going to blog?

There are two free methods of developing a blog and four alternative premium methods of blogging. The majority of blogs being set up today use one of the free methods.

The two free methods of blogging

The four premium methods of blogging

  • Using a premium blogging package: such as Moveable Type.  Usually the blog owner has to buy the domain and pay for hosting.
  • Using an integrated support service: such as Sitesell, which manages the technical side of blogging and provides a lot of support and training for someone wanting to run an income generating blog or website.
  • Use a freelancer to develop the blog: and even to write the posts.  This option is mostly used to develop business blogs and some campaigning blogs.
  • Using a high level content management system: which also has blogging facilities. The two most common, Drupal and Joomla, are free, open source packages, but will require a lot more technical work than standard blogging software. Both packages have a good reputation but I would advise not using them unless you have a good reason, such as you need additional business facilities and you have the skills to learn the package, or are working with a developer, who has the relevant expereince.

What are you going to write about?

For those starting a blog there are a number of different strategies the most common are:

  • low key blog: as a personal blog a blog aimed at a small group – be they family, friends, colleagues at work, members of the same church congregation or a blog aimed at a local sports team.
  • focus blog: for someone who is very clear on what they want to write, but wants to reach a wider audience – such as aimed at hobbyists, fans of a specific performer, followers of a particular game or political blogs.
  • business blog: for someone who wants a blog to promote a business, product or service.
  • contact blog: more a back-up to a business card with an address, what you do and maybe the occasional post.
  • expert blog: for freelancers, consultants, coaches, artists and  authors, where the blog fulfils two objects: the first to build the authority of the writer and the second to promote their service, books or other products.
  • income blog: someone who wants to use a blog to earn an income either part-time or as a full-time professional blogger.
  • portfolio blog: where a professional, such as a writer, journalist, photographer, thinker or technical person who wants to use the blog as a portfolio.
  • entertainment blog: aimed at making some money through advertising by providing humour, gossip, celeb information and reviews.

What are your long term intentions with the blog?

It is useful to be aware of your long time goals with your blog.   It affects your strategy and decisions made today can cause problems in six months or a couple of years down the line.  As an example if you built up a successful, profitable, business blog on a free service, such as Blogger, you will not be able to sell it for anything like the value you would get for a blog, with its own domain.

Decisions you ought to think about include:

  • What is your target audience?  Do you want your audience to be passive readers?  or do you want them to do specific actions? vote a particular way? fund a charity project? attend a particular event?
  • What is the expectations of your audience?  What style of writing will they want?  Will they require daily posts or will they be happy with one longer post per week?
  • How much time or resources are you prepared to put into the blog?
  • Where will the blog be in 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, five years time?
  • Are you planning to use the blog to promote yourself? a business? a product?
  • Are you planning to make money from the blog?  If so how? Are you going to have advertisements? affiliate links? sell services? sell products?
  • What if you become ill?  Will the blog fade? or will others take over the blog?
  • Are you planning to sell the blog?

Over to you

What do you think?

Comments

  1. Tyler Slusar says

    I’m currently in the process of starting my own business. I’m a young entrepreneur (24 years old) so I understand the power that marketing on the internet can give you. I already have a domain registered an a website for my upcoming business active, but am planning on maintaining a blog (at the very least) during the process of building my dream in order to keep my clients up to date and interested in the development of my business.

    Reading your article gave me a better understanding of what to expect. Good job. 

  2. Crombiekat says

    Can you start using a Free blog –  if it starts to become successful move it over to your own domain to keep the value of it?

    What does it cost to purchase a domain and pay for hosting? Tips?

    If you intend to make money from a blog site, do you need to register it as a business?

    • says

       Hi 

      Free Blogs

      You can start writing content with a free blog, such as Blogger or WordPress.  It is relatively easy to transfer the content over to your own domain.

      As you will need at least 10 posts, ideally more, before you start serious promotion or trying to make money from the blog a free site is a good place to start and experiment until you’re sure you want to blog.   

      Although there are many successful blogs using the free services, look in Technorati.com in any subject  and you will see that are quite a few in the top hundred which are from free services –  however these have usually be around for some time.  

      It is harder these days to brand your blog from a free service and some visitors are less likely  to take you seriously without your own domain. 

      Buying a domain and hosting

      You are talking about a budget of  $80 per year for a reasonable hosting and buying a domain.  You can get cheaper. 

      Domains you pay for by the year – I tend to pay for 2 or 3 years at a time.  

      I’m using Hostgator as a hosting company and I am very happy with them.  Their support is the best I’ve ever used and they have a good range of facilities including a free, easy install of WordPress, using the Fantastico utility.  

      I would appreciate you using the Hostgator link on my sidebar as it makes me a little cash.  

      Should you register as a business? 

      Technically yes – but I would wait until you’re sure that you blogging is making money.  

      It is worth early one to make notes of expenses and income.  

      If you are generating a steady income – even if say $100 a month – then you can start claiming expenses like research, magazines relating to your niche, travel costs to buy a book or interview someone etc.  

      I’m in the process of restarting the site after a rest so I will be writing posts covering most of the above.  

      Good blogging 

      Paul  

  3. sweet city sue says

    Thanks…this helped me understand what blogging involves and the things to consider when deciding if you want to blog or not.

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