How to Start a Blog

How to Start a BlogStarting a blog is relatively easy – and in comparison – starting a successful blog is relatively hard.

The thing that makes starting a blog frustrating for most people is that it is important to plot your course BEFORE you begin.

Starting a blog is easy.   You can start a free blog in less than five minutes.  Simply click on a link, choose a user name and password and you’re ready to begin blogging.

Now, comes the hard part.  The answer to the qustion of “WHY do you want to start a blog?” rears it’s ugly head.

In general there are three types of bloggers.

  • Do you want to start a blog because you want to promote your business?  (A blog is a GREAT tool for promoting your business!)
  • Do you want to begin blogging for dollars?
  • Do you want to blog to create community – a blog with lots of comments and communication?

Your answer to the question of what kind of blog you want to start will determine how to start your blog.

As in most things in life – while starting a free WordPress.com blog is the fastest and easiest way to start a blog – it’s not always the best option in the long run.

A few months ago, I was contacted by a woman who had launched a free blog on WordPress.com.   She was a tireless practitioner of the principles of the 8 Week Power Blog Launch course….and she was stunned at how “quickly” her blog gained readership.

In a matter of just a few months – her blog was a raging success.  She had great tightly targeted content – she had dozens of comments and hundreds of loyal readers. Around this time, she got laid off from her job.  She decided to expand upon her success and launch her own business.

She contacted me to help her migrate her free blog onto a self hosted  fully managed hosting WordPress blog.  She wanted to preserve everything from her free blog and just  “transplant” it on her own web hosting account.

Unfortunately, there was no way to accomplish this.  See, she had built a strong presence under the domain name username.wordpress.com.   She had made comments on other blogs – leaving that URL as her “bread crumb trail” back to her blog.  She had incoming links from other bloggers coming to that URL.  (URL stands for Universal Resource Locator.)

To use a real world word picture, she had worked hard laying blocks to build a building which sat on ground she didn’t own.

She desperately wanted to convert that brick and mortar structure into a mobile home – she wanted to put wheels under the blog she had created and “transport” it to a self hosted blog – so her blog could continue to thrive and grow under a domain name she owned for the new business she had launched.

What she ended up doing was launching a NEW blog on her own webhosting account and then putting up a post on the free blog informing readers where they could go to get recent content.

Confucius  said, “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

This woman learned the hard way how important it is to start with the end in mind.

It’s tempting to use one of the many “free” services – businesses do it all the time.  They use their Myspace page as their company web page – they use Facebook as their company web presence – they use free blogs at WordPress.com and blogger.com to promote their business.

It’s free – it’s easy – but in the long run – you’re building a house upon ground you don’t own and most importantly do not control.

How to Blog

Maybe you’ve heard how EASY it is to blog.  A blog makes it easy to get your thoughts and ideas  onto the internet. A blog is made up of posts and pages.  Posts are like articles arranged in reverse chronological order.  Pages live outside of the blog posts. There are two reasons why blogs are so popular these days:

  1. Unlike “static” web sites, a visitor to a blog can leave a comment and add his or her voice to the conversation.
  2. Unlike “static” websites, a visitor can subscribe to the RSS feed.  An RSS feed is simply a text version of the posts on the blog and can be delivered via an RSS reader or via email.

Blogs are simply software that makes it easy to get content onto the web. Blogs today are being used by tens of millions of people who want to share information (content) via the internet. Sometimes that information is personal, sometimes that information is political and sometimes that information is to promote products and services offered for sale. The modern “blog” is really just an easy to use “content management system” or CMS. Some blogs are hosted on individual hosting accounts just like “regular” static websites. These types of blogs carry the “responsibilities” of domain name registration, hosting and keeping the blogging software of choice up to date. When you hear people talking about the “magic” of blogs, the real “magic” is in the ease of use.  Blogs make it EASY to get your message onto the web.  However, creating a message worth reading is still the most difficult job of all.

Tips to Increase Blog Traffic

Blogging is easy – but getting traffic to your blog is another story.

One of the best ways to increase your blog traffic is to reach out to other bloggers.  One way to increase traffic to your blog AND reach out to other bloggers is to create an award.

That’s what the MommaWannaBe.com blog did.  A simple graphic, a few rules and suddenly, bloggers are playing “link love tag” with each other.

Dolly’s Daily Diary was a recipient of the award and she was nominated by Ray and outlined the rules for the award in her “acceptance” post:

Uber (synonym to Super) Amazing Blog Award is a blog award given to sites who:~ inspires you~ makes you smile and laugh~ or maybe gives amazing information~ a great read~ has an amazing design~ and any other reasons you can think of that makes them uber amazing!

The rules of this award are:

  • Put the logo on your blog or post.
  • Nominate at least 5 blogs(can be more) that for you are Uber Amazing!
  • Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog.
  • Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.

If you don’t post awards on your site, that is ok. I just wanted to let you know I like your blogs all for different reasons. Keep up the good work!

This type of “tag, you’re it” is also known as a Blog Meme.

Some people may call blog memes “silly”, but it’s often a great way to connect with other bloggers and let them know that you’re paying attention to their blog.

I once had a client who was tagged for a Blog Meme – and he didn’t know what to do.  That’s why, if you decide to start your own “award” be sure to do as Jade did and make part of the “rules” posting exactly how to “play” the game!

How to Blog

You’ve heard the term bandied about like crazy these days… blogs, blogging and bloggers are definitely the buzz words of the times.  What you may not know is the what, the how and the why of blogging.

  • What is a blog?
  • How to blog?
  • Why do you want to blog?

What is a blog?

In a nutshell, a blog is simply an easy way to get content onto the web. See, back in the 1990’s, if you wanted to share your thoughts and ideas via the web, you either had to learn to program in HTML or find someone you could pay who knew how to program in HTML. Then, around the turn of the century, a new way to get content onto the web emerged. Known as Weblogs, these blog predecessors allowed people who didn’t know or didn’t WANT to know HTML to get their thoughts and feelings onto the web.

Little by little, blogs grew in popularity. Then internet marketers discovered that, “HEY! My WordPress blog is doing much better in the search engines than my HTML websites!” Thus the explosion of blogging began.

Of course, there are other blogging platforms other than WordPress, but WordPress is the darling of the internet marketing crowd with good reason – with the right selection of plug ins, a WordPress blog can do very well when it comes to the search engines and SERPS.

A blog is simply an easy way to get content onto the web.

It’s that simple.  If you produce good content, then a self hosted WordPress blog can definitely help your quality content rise to the top of the search results.

How to Blog

For some people, blogging is merely a way to share their thoughts, their dreams and their experiences.  From weight loss to life changes such as death and divorce, people have blogged about the human condition for almost a decade now.

If that’s your goal… to simply share your thoughts and ideas, then head over to blogger.com or wordpress.com and set up a free account.  You’ll find it quite easy to get started blogging.  If you can write in a word processing program, then you can blog.

However, there are a lot of pepople who have different goals for their blog.  Some want their blog to be their business and to earn money with their blog.  (Money is earned by first developing a devoted audience and then selling ad space on the blog.)  Others want to use their blog to create marketing magic for their business.

For those who want to earn income from their blog, I have to encourage you to begin thinking like a business person.  Just as you wouldn’t expect to start any other business without a single penny invested in inventory, supplies or even office space, don’t expect to launch and run a business oriented blog from a free blog account.  When asked what they would change about their blogging experience, many successful “accidental” bloggers will say the biggest mistake they made starting out was not starting out on a self hosted blog.

Why do you want to blog?

You may have heard that blogging is your way to fame and fortune, and it may just be your ticket. However, if you do find fame and fortune thanks to blogging, the magic will be yours and not because of a blog.

Blogging is but another way to communicate.  A century ago, communicating with the masses meant writing a book or an article in the newspaper.  Today we can communicate by publishing content to the web.

Blogs are simply an easy to use CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM to easily and effectively get your content out of your head and onto the web!

Blog Post Secret of Success: Keyword Research

Looking for the best kept blog post secret of success? Look no further than the title of your blog post.

Blog Post Secret of Success:
Using the right keywords in your blog post title can make or break your blog.

SEOmoz’s CEO outlines this 4 step process in his post Run Your Blog Post Titles Through Keyword Research Before You Hit Publish

Using this mind-numbingly simple and obvious tactic every time you publish requires a bit of discipline, but if you make it part of your blogging process, you’ll see incredibly positive results over time. Not only do you earn more search traffic, but that traffic will send more links, resulting in higher rankings and a snowball effect that will make your blog the envy of its niche

It’s true, doing keyword research on your blog post titles will increase your blog’s visibility with the search engines and it’s one of the steps I outline completely in The 8 Week Blog Power Launch.

See, people use keywords to find information on the internet. In my blog post Wickedly Wise and Wonderful WordPress Plugin for Keyword Research, I use the following illustration.

There’s a song in the musical West Side Story that begins with the phrase, “I Feel Pretty”. If you search for the keyword term “I feel pretty” you get some YouTube videos featuring Adam Sandler singing the sing in Anger Management followed by some Westside Story websites which featured exactly what I needed for that post.

There’s another word for pretty and that word is beautiful. However, if you search for “I feel beautiful” you won’t find at the top of that list websites featuring the lyrics for West Side Story but instead you’ll find lyrics to another song by the similar but different title.

In creating this blog post, I began by using the Semvironment Keyword Research WordPress Plugin, I was able to research my anticipated blog title. I began by clicking on the prominent Google Keyword Tool link on the Write Blog Post page in WordPress. I then typed “Creating Blog Post Title” into the Google Keyword Tool.

blog post secrets
blog post secrets

Oops! According to this, not very many people are searching for help on creating blog post titles. However, there are a LOT of people searching for BLOG POST SECRETS- thus the headline of this blog post and the secret to making your blog a success.

Using the right keywords in your title is a significant factor in blogging success.