Getting started with Blogging.

A long time goal of mine has been to be a blogger. My first blog started back in 2001, and I've since gone through about a half dozen different blogs and at least that many different blog platforms. I have learned quite a bit. So I would like to show you how to blog, primarily this is to help my friends and family that are interested in blogging for profit or fun. I often advise companies on how to run their blogs successfully.

I'm not going to get very technical, that is not what this post is about; but I will give you some information that will help you make a decision. Remember (and until I have one up and formally done, this is my one and only disclaimer.) The opinions on this blog, from this point forward or at any time anywhere on the site, are entirely my own, they do not represent my employers, or anybody elses but my own.

What do you mean "start blogging"?

I keep telling people to "start blogging." A common piece of advice I'll give you on any one given situation at any given time might be to blog about it.  Why? because I found what you just told me, interesting, and so will a lot of other people --regardless of how inconsequential or insignificant you think your topic might be. 

I'm a geek of all sciences, so I find a lot of things interesting, but I know that there are people --very special, and unique, just like you-- that actually also have a lot of the same interests and share the same feelings about some things you also like.  You could blog about it, seriously I know you're sick of me hearing it but I am finally putting my money where my mouth is.

Here it is... I am blogging about it. And hopefully I can convince you to give it a stab. It isn't hard, and you might even make a buck while doing it. I certainly plan to have been.  Use WordPress, I recommend it over any other "pre-built" website base. WP is designed and works great for blogging, but really, I think it is one of the most flexible website platforms out there, no matter what your application. Yes, sometimes it needs some coaxing into doing what you want, but its good enough for me.  Do I use other blogging software? or other website software? sure I do, all the time. I'll tell you more later on. For now lets stick to WordPress.

What is blogging?

Blogging is simply said, the action of publishing in a blog. Anything you have to say could go into a blog. The word blog is just a categorical name for a type of website. Nowadays, a blog can be the only section of a website, or a website can have a section that is a blog section. Either way, blogging is here to stay (at least for now).

How do I start Blogging?

It all depends, you should first decide who you want to blog for. Are you doing it for yourself or for an audience? Are you trying to sell a tangible product? An idea? or just sharing your thoughts or some other information? If you have your topic, and you're eager and ready to just get started right now, go read this: Think it, write it, blog it, rinse and repeat.

Getting a hosted blog vs Hosting your own?

If you're starting your first blog, I would recommend you get a hosted blog. A good place to start would be wordpress.com. Get a blog, start writing today. If you're up for the challenge or feel like you have the technical ability to host your own, then you can look at a hosting vendor like Dreamhost, Bluehost, Godaddy, and others like them. Just remember that if you host your own, you'll have a lot of extra work. ((Most of the work I'll talk about while blogging refers to having a WordPress powered site where you have access to the files and database.))

Where to find hosting?

There are a number of hosted blogs out there, All of them have their benefits and problems. If you ask me, use a WordPress based blogging platform. Whether you go to wordpress.com or pay a host to give you a ready to blog solution. Other available websites that give you a blog can be easily found, especially if you want to blog in an established community.

What do you blog about?

Well, if you don't know what you want to blog about you may need to go and figure that out before you go any further. But really this should be the easiest part. If you're blogging to achieve a business goal, then that is what you blog about. If you're looking to share something with the world then you should blog about a topic that is close to your heart, a topic in which you are an expert, or you want to become an expert for example. Other topics include hobbies, passions, or just the art of writing.

Are you ready to blog?

This isn't a question you should ask yourself lightly. Thousands if not tens of thousands of blogs are started each day, and few of those make it past their first post, even fewer than those are still active a year later. Blogging takes a commitment in time and effort; I can't fully explain how much because it all depends on you. You can become very proficient at blogging, thus you will eventually reduce the time it takes you to blog. Before you actually answer the question, remember that the time and effort aren't just for writing, you'll need time to research your topic, time to network and build links, and if you allow for comments (and you should) you also need to take time to respond to each and everyone.