Sunday, June 24, 2012

Blog Basics #1 - How to start a blog?

Buffer

Since I have been approached by many people - friends, relatives, acquaintances, etc asking on how can they start a blog, thought it would be better to write a post & redirect them to it rather than narrating the same story to each of them. But instead of writing the entire script at one go, believe it would be easier to share it across multipe posts highlighting the basics.

Now that it's a series of post that I shall be doing, this is what you can expect in the coming week(s) (I have a day job too).

1. Content Strategy (It has been covered in earlier post here)
2. Platform
3. Promotion
4. Monetization

Before going further, you might consider to read one of my earlier post which covered the 'Basics of Blogging' written as part of the #AtoZChallenge. That was a short post though given the challenge was to write daily. This post instead is a detailed one to let the readers understand each step to achieve their goal which is 'Starting a blog'

One of the biggest decision once you have decided your niche areas for blogging and/or content strategy is about choosing a blog platform. Remember, there are several options here and it depends how much premium you're ready to pay. (there are free ones too, which is where I start)

1. Free Services or Hosted Blog

If you are of the 'testing the waters' kind, it makes sense to use one of the free services to start your blog. Listed are 3 popular options that can be utilized:

1a. Blogger
Blogger started as one of the earliest forms of free blogging site, where they eliminated the need to setup exclusive softwares on your site. Instead, they offered to host your content on their site with the catch that your blog would come up as .blogspot.com. They have since move to map custom domain, but there are still certain restriction on the designs, plugins.

1b. Wordpress.com
Often, we have seen people getting confused between Wordpress.com & Wordpress.org. The significant difference is, Worpress.com is a hosted-blog service, where it offers space to its registered members & your name appears as .wordpress.com. Again, like Blogger, there are few designs & plugins available for use. But the biggest difference is, you cannot have a monetization services like Adsense on this free service.

1c. Tumblr
Tumblr, I would say is rather a splash page where you can either redirect your social feeds or post your own content on their site. It could be more like your online diary, where certain posts are made for public consumption where there is no certain content strategy.

2. Self-Hosted Blog

2a. Wordpress.org
Wordpress.org gives a download option of the very popular Wordpress blogging software. The software can be installed in your local machine as well as on the hosting server and helps you easily setup blogging capabilities on your OWN site. It also gives you access to innumerable themes, plugins which can be configured per your requirements.

2b. Blogging softwares
If you're a power user, it makes sense to install a blogging software on your host server and have a strong team who can design it specifically for your purpose. Remember, those were the early days of blogging and many amongst us used it when Worpress.org was not around. I do not have any personal favorites here though because I haven't used any.

Your turn

Which of the above or others are you using & what has been your experience. Do share you stories & enlighten the post, readers. 


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