When people send me mail at About Weblogs the majority has to do with how to start a blog, specifically the first steps to take. Not necessarily how to write a blog, but the steps one needs to take before one begins. Everyone has different advice on how to prepare, but here’s what I tell those who ask.
1. Choose your niche. What do you want to blog about? Whether you want to turn people on to the joys of asparagus farming or start yet another blog about blogging, you have to talk about something. Make sure you know enough about your chosen topic, however. If you’re spouting off fluff your readers will know; find something you’re good at and talk about it.
2. Visit lots of other blogs. Don’t just visit blogs in your niche; check out as many popular blogs as you can. What is it about them that appeals to you, and what don’t you like? What do they do to encourage community? There’s a reason popular blogs are popular, study them and learn why. Get ideas for your own blogs.
3. Choose a blog platform. I’m going to receive a lot of flack for this, but I always recommend Blogger for beginners. Stop laughing for a second and hear me out, because there are good reasons for this.
- Blogger is a really simple platform. Registration is easy and so posting. If you’re technically challenged like me, it’s a good place to start.
- Blogger is free. Sure you can host your blog on your own domain but what if it’s a flop or you find you really weren’t as interested in it as you thought you were? At least with a free blogging platform your only loss is that of time.<.li>
- You can monetize Blogger. WordPress.com is a great free platform for beginners, but the difference is that you can’t place Adsense or other ads on a WordPress blog. You can monetize to your heart’s content with Blogger.
- If you find you love blogging and it’s working out for you, it’s not difficult to switch to WordPress.
Still, even though Blogger is my platform of choice for beginners, don’t just take my word for it. Research the different platforms and choose the one you feel works best for your needs and level of expertise. If you feel confident enough to purchase your own domain and host a WordPress blog, that would be my first choice.
Writing a blog is easy. It’s all those steps you need to take to ensure a blog’s success that make it more of a challenge.