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?
- What are you going to write about?
- What are your long term intentions with the 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
- Free blogging sites: such as the WordPress.com and Blogger websites. Good if you want to try out blogging with a longer term intention of upgrading.
- Own your own domain and use free blogging software: You do need to organise hosting and then use their free blogging software. This is the option I recommend to most bloggers. (Why you should use a cPanel hosting company)
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.
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.
- 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.
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?