Not that long ago, there were not a lot of options available for people to get their views and ideas out to thousands, often millions of people. The media was, and to a large extent still is, run by mega corporations who had their own agendas to pursue through TV, newspapers, magazines and radio, and most of us were simply passive consumers.
How the world has changed. With some well-written words, sharp images, and a good layout, you can get your ideas and creativity out there just by starting a blog. There are millions upon millions of blogs on the internet, and it’s all but impossible to find out how many because some come and go quite quickly, some have been forgotten about, and some are simply deactivated because the blogger has lost interest.
If you’ve got a burning desire to talk about things, and maybe offer help and advice in your field of experience, then starting a blog could be just the thing for you. It’s nowhere near as difficult as you might think.
Here are some tips to get you on the road to creating and maintaining your own blog.
Blog and website – the difference
A blog is not a website as such. Websites are created, in general, for businesses and individuals who want a web presence either to disseminate information about what they do (think charities and governments) or use them as marketing tools that give information but also want to sell you something. They need, for the most part, specialist expertise to set them up.
A blog is about you and your interests, things that you hope other people will enjoy reading about and looking at and will find useful. They don’t need specialist expertise to set them up. Where do you start?
Decide what you want for your content
People often think that the most difficult thing about setting up a blog is the technical stuff, but it isn’t. Blogs are all about content, and it’s worth taking the time to think this through. Without good content, people aren’t going to be interested. The attention span of most internet surfers is extremely short. If they’re bored, they’ll go somewhere else.
To start with, you need to get your writing right. There are plenty of people who will switch off at poor spelling and grammar even if what you’ve got to say is interesting, so pay attention to detail, and read and reread your blog posts until you’re satisfied.
You also need to make your blog pages attractive to look at, so you need to consider what visuals you want to use. Depending on what your subject matter is, you can use your own images that are free of copyright, but there will be times when you want some high-quality visuals – you can explore these at Dreamstime. A striking image can say more than a thousand words and, used carefully, can draw eyes to your blog and encourage people to stay with it.
Choose the best platform for you
There are many blog platforms from which to choose, and it’s worth taking some time to research what will work best for you. Many of them have an enormous number of plugins and add-ons and offer many ways for you to design your blog and develop an effective layout. These are free to use, easy to use, and usually have forums for support if you’re feeling unsure about anything.
Remember that if you use a free platform, you have to abide by that platform’s rules. You don’t actually own the blog because the web property belongs to someone else, meaning that your blogs could be deleted without you being asked. It can happen, so you need to be aware of that.
You could, therefore, choose to self-host, where you have your own domain name and your own site and pay a hosting company to put it online. You own it, provided that you continue to pay the host, and many of these companies offer an installation button for popular blog platforms. You can choose the hosting plan that best suits you, and you can get unlimited bandwidth for videos, content, and videos.
Your own domain name can also be very cool as it shows visitors that you could be a player in the blog universe.
The right decisions
Whatever you decide, it has to be right for you. It’s not difficult to set up a blog, so do your research thoroughly, talk to other bloggers, and aim for something that is interesting and with high-quality content.
Oh, and update it regularly!