If you have a message to share with the world, a blog can be the ideal medium for sharing your thoughts. A blog, short for “Web log,” is an online portfolio or virtual notebook where people share information and ideas with others. Blogs can have an almost infinite number of topics, including personal diaries, political rants, business promotion, and instructional material. The sooner you start your blog, the faster you can begin adding your opinions and perspective to the Internet.
Starting a blog will involve choosing a topic or “niche” for your blog. This will be the theme of your blog, and it will determine the type of information that you publish on it. Your blog topic may be based on specific skills or knowledge you have that you want to share with others. Your blog topic could also be based on views and opinions you want to share. Once you decide on a niche, it’s time to name your blog. Consider your blog’s name carefully because this name will become associated with you and your blog and known as your brand. If your blog becomes popular, your brand will be tightly associated with it.
- So You Want to Start a Blog: Learn how to choose a topic for your blog and when to post on this page.
- Ten Tips for Quality Blogging: The American Bar Association offers tips for writing and maintaining a high-quality blog.
- Nine Reasons You Should Blog: Forbes gives reasons why those who aspire to success should blog.
- What is a Blog?: The Forsyth County School website offers a basic definition of a blog.
- Blogging Comes to Goochland: Explore blogging and associated benefits on this school website.
Start Your Website
Your domain name is the address people will enter into a Web browser to reach your blog. Optimally, your domain name will describe your blog or it will contain your blog name. For best results, your domain name should be unique and simple. Avoid unusual spellings because this could prevent visitors from finding your blog. Once you have ideas for a domain name, you will need to register it with a registrar. This involves searching a database to ensure that no one else is using the domain name. Once you find an available domain name, purchase it to make it yours. After you have your domain name, the next step involves purchasing Web hosting services. A Web host provides you with space on the Internet, where your blog will reside. You can pay for Web hosting on a monthly, semi-annual, or annual basis. With Web hosting purchased, the next step involves installing the platform that will run your blog. WordPress is a popular and user-friendly platform used by many bloggers. Whatever platform you choose, you will need to install it onto your website using the controls provided to you by your Web host. Installation typically takes only moments to complete, and then you will be ready to write your first blog post.
- New to WordPress: Where to Start: WordPress is one of the principal blogging platforms available. Explore the information and support available for new bloggers beginning their websites.
- How to Start a Blog: The International Reading Association offers information for starting a blog with the purpose of helping high school students improve their writing skills.
- Stating and Maintaining a Blog: Learn everything you need to know about starting and keeping up a blog on this page from the U.S. government.
- Why and How to Start a Blog (PDF): Learn the basics about why people start blogs and how you can do the same from this document.
- IP Addresses, Host Names, and Domain Names: IP addresses, domain names, and host names work together to identify and connect computers and websites on the Internet.
- Where to Start When Starting a Blog: The New York Times breaks down the options available for people who want to start blogging.
Write What People Want to Read About
Blogs need regular and recent content to keep them alive and thriving on the Internet. Visitors will find your blog and continue returning as long as you continue to place engaging and informative material on it at least two or three times each week. Make your post titles catchy to draw people in. Keep paragraphs short, and use subheadings and bullet points to break up the text for easier reading. Add images to make your blog posts more interesting. Engage with your readers as you begin receiving comments on your blog posts. Ask questions and respond readily to feedback you receive.
- Writing a Blog: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers information about writing a blog and promoting it to assist students.
- Effective Academic Blogging: Learn about writing an academic blog with information provided by the University of Richmond.
- Blogs as Writing Practice: Explore how writing a blog can serve as effective writing practice to enable students to improve their writing skills.
- How to Write an Effective Blog Post: Syracuse University provides a guide for writing effective blog posts.
- Only Typing? Informal Writing, Blogging, and the Academy: Explore writing in the digital age, which includes online publication and blogging.
- Who Owns What?: The University of Texas offers comprehensive information about copyright, which bloggers must understand when writing content on a blog.
Blog promotion involves putting your blog out there where people will find it. Interact with other bloggers to share links: You publish their links and they publish your link. Promote your blog posts on social media to drive traffic to your blog. Visit websites that are related to your blog topic to learn about organizations and groups you might join that could help you promote your blog. Pay attention to how you use keywords in your blog titles and posts to ensure that search engines pick up your content in search results. Place your blog name and website address on a personal or business card to share it with people you meet.
- Seven Most Important Things You Can Do to Promote Your Business: Explore how a blog can help with business promotion, and learn how to promote a blog online.
- Blogging and Chatting to Promote Your Business and Generate Leads: Read a research report published by the Keller Center, which explains how to use blogging to promote a business.
- Get Known! How to Promote Your Business for Free: Learn tips for blog promotion from Harrington College of Design.
- Promote Your Website, On- and Off-Line: The Indiana University of Pennsylvania offers tips for promoting a website.