Sunday, February 1, 2009

So You Want to be a Blogger

This may be the first blog you've read or this might be the 1000th. If you are just starting out this is a good place to start. I don't claim to know everything about blogging but there is one thing I DO know-there are a lot of sites that want you to pay to buy products to teach you how to blog. They want to charge you to show you how to do something that quite frankly you can figure out on your own. There are lots of "free" blogging tips on the internet. Since you are here I can tell you, this is one of them. Don't waste your money buying products that claim to teach you everything you need to know about blogging when you can research the internet and get the information for free.

The first useful information I found was:

Find your niche. The first time I saw this, I thought, what the h*** I don't even know what a niche is! What do I know that I can write about? Quite simply this means think of something you enjoy or something you are good at and start writing about it. Pick subjects you know and just start writing. Or, pick something you yourself would like to know more about and then research it. It may seem awkward at first but just write. Your first blog will probably be your hardest after that it does get easier. You don't have to be a great writer to blog. It helps if you can have someone to look over what you have written and help you with punctuation, use spell check etc. You don't want to put people off by having a tremendous amount of misspelled words but most people will overlook a few.

Get your facts. If you are writing about a particular subject and you aren't sure about something you are saying, research it. You can write about anything, even subjects you aren't real familiar with if you do your research and get all the facts about it.

Don't settle for one source. There is tons of information on the internet and not all of it is necessarily true (given). Check several resources before you settle for just one source. If you quote that source or use material from that source, be sure and give them credit, you don't want to get in trouble for using someone else's material. Watch out for copyrights.

Add pictures or captions to illustrate points. Just make sure again that what you use is free to use and that you give credit where credit is due.

There are a lot of places that offer free blogs, once again you can search the internet to find those. Blogger (where you are now) is a good place to start. It's easy to use, easy to set up. Some of the navigation might seem a bit confusing but start out simple. If you know html and want to use it that's fine but if you are novice start out with simple posting. You can navigate anywhere from your dashboard or customize. The one, two, three of blogging is Posting, Settings and layout. Those three are your main keys in blogger. Under posting you can create a new blog or edit an existing blog. Under settings you set up the way you want your blogs displayed and a few other key items. Under layout you can add items to the right side of your blog such as links to your favorite sites, pictures, adsense ads, there are tons of add ons. However, keep in mind that whatever you add to the right side through layouts will continually stay at the top of your blog. So it will move up with each additional blog you add and doesn't anchor in place. If you want to add pictures to stay with your blog the easiest way is to put them inside each individual blog.

Be sure and add some good keywords from your blog to the bottom under labels, these are search terms people use to get information which most likely if you are reading this, is how you stumbled upon my blog. For instance for this blog some of my keywords will be blog, blogging, niche, adsense, etc.

Once you've mastered blogging in blogger you can tackle one of the other many blog sites like Web 2.0, Bravenet etc.

One more tip I might add is to copy your blog and paste it in a word processing program on your computer, Microsoft Word, Notepad or something just in case something unforeseeable happens and blogger loses your blog you will have a copy of it. The worst thing to me that can happen is to spend all this time writing and then have it completely disappear, there is no way I could rewrite it word for word.

Blogger saves as a draft regularly but it doesn't hurt to save it yourself.
Once you are done, check it over thoroughly, hit publish post and you've created your first blog. There is an option to view blog so you can see what everyone else is going to see. Seeing your first blog in print is pretty cool and will most likely be inspiring. Once you've done your first one and see it in print it's pretty exciting and you'll be ready to think of your next subject. :)

That's it for this blog, I'll try to add more later and I'm working on resources for getting your blog out to the public. Good luck and happy blogging.