Making a Place for Yourself in the Blogosphere, Part 1
Whether your interest in blogging stems from a desire to engage with others on a topic you're personally passionate about or the pursuit of business goals, the good news is that it's easy and cheap to get your own blog going. While its content will depend on the audience you're trying to reach and a plan is eventually important, getting started with blogging is critical. Are you ready to take the plunge?
05/06/10 5:00 AM PT
Starting your own blog does not have to be an arduous endeavor.
"You just do it! There is way too much anxiety over blogging," said Lorrie Thomas, chief executive officer of Web Marketing Therapy.
"Bloggers need blog technology and authenticity," she said. "It's not so much about the tools but how you use them. Be yourself and give great content."
Bloggers need to have a reason for blogging, however, before starting construction.
"People do not plan to fail at blogging," Thomas said, "but failing to plan the who, what, when, where, why and how -- and who cares -- of blogging will result in a blog that will not have a lot of business being in cyberspace."
It is important to figure out the blog's purpose and message, as well as who will manage the writing and development of the theme, she added.
Write your strategy down on a napkin before starting the process of installing software and publishing content, advised Derick Schaefer, managing director of Orangecast Social Media and creator of How-To-Blog.tv.
"Figure out what you want to write about and create a rough content strategy," he said.
It is also important to pick a good domain and title for the blog before getting started. "Trying to undo the wrong decision can be costly," Schaefer told TechNewsWorld.
Worrying about how the blog looks, however, is not important. "Concentrate on the content and getting readership," he said. "The theme can always be changed."
Step by Step
Butterflydiary.com, started more than a year ago by Charu Suri, now has more than 12,000 monthly visitors. Suri decided to start her blog on WordPress, citing its search-engine friendly platform. There are also plenty of plugins and templates, she said.
The name of your blog will make an impact on the topic you plan to write about, Suri told TechNewsWorld, so you should think about possible domain names before registering. You also need to make sure the domain name is available.
The next step is finding a server host for the blog. Make sure the server host provides good support, Suri advised.
You may need to hire a Web designer to help. Instead of doing it all herself, Suri paid someone US$100 to help her design the look and feel of her blog.
"In a matter of two weeks, you have your own blog and business," she said.
For the Proofpoint Email Security Blog, Director of Market Development Keith Crosley decided to go with TypePad. A company acquired by Proofpoint was already using the service.
"After having a look at TypePad, I really liked it because it was very customizable, easy to use, had good analytics, and had all the advantages of a hosted solution," Crosley told TechNewsWorld. He enlisted professional help from the same Web design firm that helps with the company's site.
"It only took them a few hours to do the customizations," he said.
Finding a target audience where there is a demand is key to a successful blog, said Scott Fox, author of e-Riches 2.0: Next Generation Online Marketing Strategies.
If you do not consider yourself a technical person, Fox recommends using TypePad. If you are a little more technically inclined, WordPress is good.
"TypePad or WordPress are just fine for most people," Fox told TechNewsWorld. "You can then customize the designs as much as you like."
I t is probably best to steer clear of custom-made systems, Fox said. "It is easy to get tangled up in a system if you go with your cousin's homemade blogging system."
Building relationships and creating a buzz are important when blogging, said Susan Gunelius, president and CEO of KeySplash Creative and author of Spread the Word: Social Media Marketing in 30 Minutes a Day.
"When you are blogging, you are building your brand," Gunelius told TechNewsWorld.
While the content of your blog depends on the audience you are trying to reach and a plan is eventually important, getting started with blogging is critical.
"Go out and start a blog for fun and just play with the tools," Gunelius said.
Find a free blogging service and play around with the applications, she suggested. "Find your best audience, join the conversation and speak up."