Oh my, there are so many answers to that question I almost don’t know where to start! But, never being one to be short of words (just ask my husband) I have a few ideas to share with you!
Firstly, what is a blog? The word blog evolved from “web log”. Some definitions:
blog – a web site containing the writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other Web sites.
Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art, photographs, videos, music and audio. Microblogging is another type of blogging, featuring very short posts.
Why do people blog? Well, you can create blogs for personal reasons, educational and informational reasons, business and corporate reasons or a multitude of other uses and purposes depending on what suits your fancy. Basically – if you have something to say, a blog may be the best possible vehicle.
Want to keep remote family up to date on what you’re up to? Got a new puppy and want to share the cuteness? Proud of what you create and want to share it? A new mum and want to record bub’s development or your journey? Then a personal blog will let you do all this.
Interested in something more business focused? Want to share the story behind your art work with potential buyers? Want to provide tutorials on how to use your products? Desire a forum for like-minded people to meet and converse? Want to share the progress of your new business with clients? Want to write a novel, but need some feedback on your writing? Again – get blogging!
Why do I blog? Well, I think of blogging as consisting of 2 parts – firstly, writing my own blog and secondly, following and commenting on other peoples’ blogs. I write my own blog because I have things to say that I don’t always have an opportunity to express in my day to day life, and I feel I have things of value to share. My 2 and 5 yr olds really aren’t that interested in the power of social media, or how to upload photos to Flickr or the relative benefits of comments on or off. Bless them, they will listen, but it really is a one-sided conversation! And because I want to create my own business that can be a part of family life and that will grow slowly over time so when all my kids are at school I have already done the groundwork and can then really run with it. And then there’s being involved in other peoples’ blogs – moving to a new country and being at home with a newborn was pretty isolating, but I easily found blogs that interested me, that I could comment on and join in conversations on. That’s where it really started, but now I just can’t imagine not being part of this amazing, global community of inspiring, talented, funny, educational writers. I feel blessed to have access to people that, without the Internet, I may never have even known existed.
I strongly believe that we are our stories. That all we really truly own are the stories that make up our life and explain who we are, where we have been and where we are going. And I believe that stories have the ability to transform lives – either by the telling of your own story, or through hearing the moving story of another person. Blogs open up a world of stories that may never be published in traditional formats, but are available for us all now.
The beauty of blogs is that the technology behind them makes it so easy to express yourself online. There is no need to know anything about HTML, web hosting, domain names, or any of those other technical things! It can help to have some understanding of what all this stuff means, but it isn’t necessary to get started.
So, you’ve decided you want a blog of your own but not sure where to start? Following I’ll give you an overview of your options. Keep an eye out for future articles that will go into much more detail of each. And…, once you’ve read all this, if you decide that you want a blog but would like some help with the set up, then you can get me to do it all for you! Starting today, I’m offering several “Get Me An Online Presence Now” packages, check out the link for all the details.
Free Online Hosted Blog Services
It really is as simple as:
- sign up
- create an about and contact page
- start posting
It is nice to have a look around the template options and customise the look of your blog. But you truly can have your first blog post up in a matter of minutes.
The beauty of these types of blogs is that they are so simple to use, but offer so much functionality. In a WordPress.com site you can create pages, assign categories and tags to each post, easily upload photos, video and audio, you can manage comments, link your blog to any other social networks you use, and so on.
Want more options? Mashable has a list of over 40 free blog hosts.
If you want more control over your blog and the ability to make it look exactly how you want and not be tied into the available templates on WordPress.com then you can spend a little bit of money and sign up for hosting and install a WordPress.org blog. Many hosts offer packages tailored to those wanting a simple blog site. This approach will cost you between $100 and $300 per year. However, this is a whole article in itself, so keep an eye out soon for a post covering how to choose a web site host, install the blogging software and get blogging.
Microblogging allows you to exchange small pieces of content such as short sentences, individual images, or links to all types of multimedia very easily. Most microblogging platforms are designed to be updated from the web and mobile devices, so it is so simple to quickly jot down thoughts, ideas, share links, etc from wherever you are. No need to wait until you are back at your desk, online, in front of a text editor – you can act when the inspiration strikes!
Facebook could also be considered a form of microblogging via status updates.
For information on setting up a Twitter account please see my article Getting Started on Twitter.
So, hopefully this has helped you decide if you would like a blog yourself, and then what format you want it in. Or, you can just let me do it all for you!