Blogs are online journals in which people write about things – whether it be the ramblings of their life or tutorials to help others along. The word ‘blog’ comes from the word ‘weblog’, and has many words which derive from it; these words being: blogger and blogging. The word blogger is the name given to the author of the blog, and blogging the name given to the process of writing to a blog; the world blog can also refer to the process of writing to a blog. Blogs have been becoming more popular over the last 2 years, and as of July 2007 there are around 70 million active blogs on the internet. If you are looking to start your own blog, there is no time better than now to do so.
To start your own blog, there are certain factors which you need to work out before you start anything, there are:
- What you are going to blog about.
- Your intended target audience.
- The name of your blog.
- Whether you are going to use a free or paid blogging service.
- If you are going to pay for a hosting service: what blog software you are going to use.
What You Are Going to Blog About
The most important factor to consider when starting your own blog is what you are going to blog about; this is because the content of the blog will determine how successful it is: if you write about personal stuff then your blog is not going to gain much traffic, as the only visitors will probably only be friends or family; if you write posts which will help others out in any way then they are most likely to recommend your blog to others which means that it will gradually gain traffic.
Identifying Your Intended Target Audience
Once you have worked out what you are going to blog about, you need to work out who is most likely to visit your blog, and why; this is important because when you come to promoting your blog, you want to make sure that you are promoting it to the right group of people. This also plays a huge part in the amount of visitors that you receive; if it’s only family and friends visiting your blog then the amount of traffic that you receieve won’t be a huge amount, however, if people are finding and visiting your blog from web searches then they are most likely to be returning visitors, and will recommend your blog to others.
The Name of Your Blog
You can name your blog anything you want, you can even name it after yourself. However, most blog names are normally linked to the blog’s subject in some way or another. The name of your blog must be simple to say, and easy to remember; simple names are more likely to stick in people’s heads which means that if people can remember the name and address of your blog then they will most likely recommend it to others.
Using a Free or Paid Service
There are many different services which you could use to host your blog. You could use a free service which gives you a sub of their main domain name; the main downside of free blog hosting services is that they normally fill your blog with unwanted adverts. The following is a list of free blog hosting services which you can use to help get you started:
- http://www.blogger.com/ – Blogger is Google’s free blog hosting service. It is one of the most popular in the world. The adverts that they place are rather discrete and blend in with the chosen design. The address given is normally ‘blogname.blogspot.com’.
- http://www.cjb.net/ – CJB.net run a free blog hosting service along with a range of other free services. Adverts placed by them aren’t that discrete and don’t blend in with the blog. The url provided is normally ‘http://blogs.cjb.net/blogname’.
- http://www.wordpress.com/ – Witth WordPress.com you can create your own instance of the popular open source WordPress blog system, but hosted on their servers. The url provided is normally ‘blogname.wordpress.com’.
If you are not tempted to use a free blog hosting service, then you buy a cheap web hosting package with a web host along with a domain. With paid blog/hosting services you have full control of your blog and don’t have forced advertisements displayed. You can then install one of the following free blog software packages:
- http://www.wordpress.org/ – WordPress is the world’s most popular open source blog system.
- http://www.b2evolution.net/ – B2Evolution is another piece of popular blog software. It is different from WordPress in the way that you are able to create multiple blogs within one installation.
- http://www.mephistoblog.com/ – Mephisto is a relatively new piece of open source blog software. It is different from both WordPress and B2Evo since it was written in the up and coming RoR scripting language.
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