Starting a Blog: A Step-by-Step Guide

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After roughly two years of blogging, I still can’t believe how many people find me through Google searches and how many more people tell me they found out about me through my blog than through my website. The term “weblog,” which refers to an online diary or journal, is where the word “blog” comes from. Carrie Bradshaw would also be a blogger and columnist if the HBO series “Sex and the City” were being made today. Why? She might update her blog as she learns profound truths about herself, her romantic partners, and the world.

Due to the low barrier to entry presented by blogs, virtually anyone may now publish their website. In reality, many business owners in the service industry are using a blog platform as their primary website, with some using the platform as a blog and submitting updates more frequently than others.

Compared to e-zines and conventional websites, blogs have several benefits.

Blogs are pretty popular with search engines. Search engines currently favor sites with material that is updated often. At the start of each day, I may access my blog and write a new entry. My Google Alerts account will let me know as soon as the post is indexed by Google, which should be within the next 24 hours.

Secondly, content may be disseminated rapidly. If you tell your readers to follow your blog on Bloglines or Feedblitz, they’ll get instant updates whenever you make a new article.

Third, you need to have a basic understanding of web development. After you’ve set up your blog, posting to it is as easy as logging in, writing your post, and uploading relevant images or graphics.

Four, comments from the audience. Almost soon, following a new entry, your readers can comment and provide feedback. One of the best ways to interact with readers is through a blog.

Is there no future for e-zines and classic websites? No, because everyone has their unique way of taking in data. Some people are visual learners and prefer to see the information presented; others prefer to get updates as they are published (blog readers), and still, others prefer a stable, stationary medium that they can refer to when they are ready (readers who archive ezines or bookmark web pages).

To start a blog, how do you? Here are ten easy steps to take:

The primary blogging system. Using a free service like the one offered on Blogger.com or WordPress.com is the simplest way to get started. Since free services constrain your blog’s appearance and functionality, I recommend that my clients either pay for a hosting account where WordPress may be installed or subscribe to Typepad.com, which will host your blog on their servers. If you want to install WordPress on your hosting account, you may find the downloaded version at WordPress.org. Since Typepad is my blogging platform, many of the examples I provide will be unique to that service.

2. Name. What will the name of your blog be? Blog titles are typically eccentric and designed to stand out. However, I always recommend including relevant keywords in the blog’s title for service-based firms. The blog’s URL should be either the blog’s name with the word “blog” or the blog’s name without the word “blog.” When you’re ready, your blog host can fill you in on forwarding your domain to your new site. (Note: You don’t want to redirect your blog to your domain name, as that alters the URLs of your blog pages).

3. Design and structure. Is there a preferred column width? Have you considered static page links? In what hues do you envision working? What about a sign-up form for a freebie? Should you use one of the available templates or have a unique solution developed? Do you want people to see what’s in your blog’s past? Do you plan on writing everything yourself, or will you welcome guest bloggers? In the beginning, you will be bombarded with inquiries concerning the aesthetics of your site. With a Typepad blog, you may alter the look whenever you choose. Examining the design of existing blogs might help you decide what will work best for your site.

Four widgets. Several supplemental applications, or “widgets,” exist in blogs. To learn more about the tools, visit the blog software’s website. You should provide at least two updaters, or feeder services, for readers to subscribe to keep up with your blog.

Remarks #5. Comment sp*am is the newest form of spam to circulate online. Is there nothing else for these folks to do? Make comments visible only after you approve them by switching to the “moderated” comment setting. You can avoid hassle and wasted time if you decide to monitor the comments.

You should now have the foundations of a blog in place and be ready to start blogging.

6. Blog post material. Now is the moment for you to start accepting contributions to your blog. Where do you get your ideas? Content-rich articles, comments on current events, answers to queries posed by site users, before-and-after case studies demonstrating how your company assisted a customer, etc., all work well. Don’t close your ears and eyes to information that could be useful to your target audience. When I have information that doesn’t belong in an issue of my newsletter or needs to be shared between points, I post it on my blog. In addition to my magazine, I also publish articles on my blog.

7. How often should you post? Blogs are like gardens in that they require consistent maintenance and care. If you want your blog to be successful, you need to update it multiple times per week. In my blog, I aim to update at least twice a week: once with random thoughts or observations and once with the entire contents of my ezine spread over two days. Plus, always reply to new comments; blogs are excellent places to converse with your audience.

8. the number of visitors to a blog. Promote your blog like you promote your website by including the URL wherever possible. You can also increase your blog’s exposure by submitting it to blog directories. The RSS Top 55, available at http://www.masternewmedia.org/rss/top55/, is a comprehensive list of blog directories compiled by Robin Good. Find blogs that are popular with your intended audience, then comment on their posts to attract more readers. Sharing your blog posts on social bookmarking sites like Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon, and del.icio.us is another strategy for increasing your readership.

9. Evaluate the outcomes. Typepad is one blogging platform with built-in statistics to monitor your blog’s readership. You can add a metrics program as a plug-in to your blog or use one of the many feed/updater tools already providing this functionality. Check your blog’s statistics regularly to see how many people read it.

10 Always start over. Don’t let the excitement of starting a blog fizzle out. Successful blogging requires consistent effort over a lengthy period. Several people have obtained book agreements due to their blogs, radio shows, and television appearances. What if your blog ends up being your big break?

Blog technology is helpful for all service-based businesses. There aren’t many other marketing methods that can match the speed and immediacy of blogging.

Patented in 2007 Gunter, Donna

Donna Gunter is known as the “Online Business Resource Queen (TM)” and an “Online Business Coach.” She instructs entrepreneurs in the service industry on how to use the Internet to automate their operations, increase their visibility, and attract new customers. Visit GetMoreClientsOnline.com to join her mailing list and receive her FREE freebie, TurboCharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, and other helpful advice.

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