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Promoting Your Blog – How to Start a Blog Part 5

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This is part 5 in a 5 part series on How to Start a Blog. This post will deal with promoting your blog, managing your blog, and growing your readership. Also see Part 1 – Choosing a Blog Name, Part 2 – Choosing a Platform and a Blog Host and Part 3 – The Basics of Blog Design and Part 4 – Creating Great Blog Content.

I feel a little bit like a fraud writing this, because obviously I’m not some huge blogger with huge readership, and clearly, The Pioneer Woman should really be writing this post.  (I’ve heard her give the speech – it boils down to “Be Yourself!”  which apparently works well if you are the redheaded wife of a wealthy Oklahoma rancher but the rest of us might need a little help.  Another variation on this is, “Write great content, and people will come.” NO!  There are thousand of great blogs out there without a ton of readers.  Honestly, a big part of your blog really taking off is timing and luck.  Sorry.)    But truly beginning bloggers often have NO IDEA how to get anyone besides their mom to read their blog, and I can give you a few tips.
Continue reading Promoting Your Blog – How to Start a Blog Part 5

Creating Great Blog Content – How to Start a Blog Part 4

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This is part 4 in a 5 part series on How to Start a Blog. This post will deal with creating great blog content. Also see Part 1 – Choosing a Blog Name, Part 2 – Choosing a Platform and a Blog Host and Part 3 – The Basics of Blog Design and Part 5 – Promoting your Blog.

When it comes to blogging, content is king.  You can have the best name, the fastest hosting package, and the most beautiful blog design anywhere, but if you don’t have something to say, then blogging may not be for you.  I can’t tell you what to write about  – you may want to just have a personal blog, or be the world’s expert on the appearance of cats in 19th century Scandinavian literature, and those are both OK!  But I can give you some advice – mostly on things to avoid. (Spoiler alert: don’t plagiarize!)

Continue reading Creating Great Blog Content – How to Start a Blog Part 4

The Basics of Blog Design – How to Start a Blog, Part 3

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This is part 3 in a 5 part series on How to Start a Blog.  This post will deal with blog design and the elements to include.  Also see Part 1 – Choosing a Blog Name,  Part 2  – Choosing a Platform and a Blog Host,  Part 4 – Creating Great Blog Content, and Part 5 – Promoting your Blog.

Now that you have a blog and a place to put it, you might want to start thinking about what your blog is going to look like. Web design is a huge business, and I do not pretend to be an expert, but I do have a few pointers in this area.

CHOOSING A BLOG THEME

When you set up your blog, on WordPress or Blogger or wherever, you will be prompted to pick a theme.  A theme is really just the building block for hyour blog design.  If you’re familiar with coding, you can adjust your theme to look nearly however you want, but it’s best to start with a theme that’s close to what you want in the beginning.  Here are some things to think about when choosing a theme.
Continue reading The Basics of Blog Design – How to Start a Blog, Part 3

Choosing a Blog Host and Platform – How to Start a Blog in 5 Steps Pt. 2

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This is part of a series on how to start a blog.  This post deals with choosing a platform and blog host.  T. Also see Part 1 – Choosing a Blog Name, Part 3 – The Basics of Blog DesignPart 4 – Creating Great Blog Content, and Part 5 – Promoting Your Blog

Now that you’ve got your name all set, you need a place to put your blog – a hosting provider or platform.   Below are a couple of options to consider when choosing a blog host.

1.  Blogger

When doing anything web-related, the first name most people think of is Google.  Google provides a free, very comprehensive blogging platform known as Blogger.  Any blog with a url like blogname.blogspot.com is a Blogger hosted blog, but there are some other blogs using the Blogger Platform (Tartelette comes to mind) that use their own URL’s and link structures, which I would recommend for reasons I’ll get into in a minute.

2.  Wordpress

The other major blogging platform is WordPress (which, full disclosure, this site uses).  Wordpress comes in two flavors – WordPress.com and WordPress.org.  Wordpress.com is similar to Blogger, in that your default domain is blogname.wordpress.com, your blog is run by Automattic (the company that owns wordpress.com), so you don’t have total control, and there are some limitations on what you can put on your page (wordpress.com doesn’t allow for scripts to run, and doesn’t allow you to place ads on your site in the free version.  The other flavor of wordpress is wordpress.org – WordPress.org provides a free, open source blogging platform software, but you need to host it on your own (or a shared) server that you pay for separately.  When you use a wordpress installation from wordpress.org, you have total control over your blog’s content – everything except the hosting.

Which to choose? 

Blogger is comprehensive, and if you have or are a talented web designer, you can really customize it.  However, there are  a couple of disadvantages to Blogger – one, your site is run by Google, and if they decided to shut down the blogger service (it’s happened before – remember google reader?)  you’d be SOL.  Second, Blogger doesn’t give you the same kind of control that WordPress (which I’ll get into below) does.    Finally, I personally don’t find Blogger to be as user-friendly  as WordPress.  When I started TDF (then Savour Fare) in 2009, my only coding experience was a little bit of html knowledge.   I found wordpress.com to be very simple to navigate.  I’ve started several Blogger blogs over the years, and they never look or function quite how I want them to.  There are lots of very professional, very successful blogs that operate on the Blogger platform, and you may find it suits your needs.

Personally, I will always recommend WordPress.org with a separate hosting provider as your ultimate hosting solution.   
Continue reading Choosing a Blog Host and Platform – How to Start a Blog in 5 Steps Pt. 2