Blogging: To Thine Own Self Be True
by guest blogger, Shirley Petretic, who has a great emerging blog called Proof Positivity
To Thine Own Self Be True — William Shakespeare
Before you create your blog you need to know what a blog is.
A blog (a contraction of the term “Web log”) is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog. Source
The next thing to think about is the topic you will be blogging. I highly suggest brainstorming with your central question being “What do I know?” I feel that writing about what you know makes you a better writer.
After you have a topic to write about you will need to choose a blogging platform.
Maneno means words in Swahili and this is the name of an African blogging platform.
Our articles are a collection of edited posts from people living in or connected to areas where Maneno works. We leave have it as an open space were anyone can contribute, but we require that you register to do so. Contributors we find to have high merit or public response we will ask to contribute to our Afractal Magazine publication on paid assignment.
Vox has a nice look if you don’t care weather or not you get comments. To comment on another blog you must have a Vox account. This makes it inconvenient for your readers who have something valuable to say.
Typepad is a paid blogging platform. That means that you can put advertising on your blog if you wish and you will not have advertising on your page from Typepad.
Blogger is a free hosted blogging platform that I highly recommend. Blogger is quick and easy and you can move objects around on your layout. You can place advertising on a blogger blog. The one problem with Blogger which has sometimes put my own writing off is that their support staff has a poor habit of not getting back to you in a timely fashion.
WordPress.com is a free blogging platform. It’s not as user friendly as Blogger but if you have a problem just give support an email and you will get help in a matter of minutes. The templates look professional and clean. You will not be able to load your own advertising on this site.
WordPress.org is free self hosting software that you can downland and hire a web host for or you can run it on your own server.
Now that you have your blog here are a few tips that I learned through trial and error.
- Place your blog on partial RSS feed. There are people who want your blog. They are too lazy to create one of their own and do the research that you will need to do.
- Always give credit where it is due. If you must copy and paste place quotes around the text and a link back to the original site.
- Be you.
- Search everything – Google is your friend. If you aren’t sure you are accurate look it up. I blogged mistakenly blogged misinformation at one point only to find that my information was wrong by using Google.
- When you are wrong apologize to your readers. This will help you build credibility.
- Have fun!
Now, you have your blog. Your next step is advertising. You need to find places to tell people “Hey! I’m right here!” Few more tips:
- Your user name should be your blog name. This is another way to promote your blog.
- Read all rules for posting in forums. We all make mistakes and when we do others will start on you and they aren’t always so nice or helpful.
- Take it slow. Don’t post in a forum until you have had an opportunity to judge the personalities of others. People will clash and sometimes it isn’t pretty.
Blog Catalog is one of my favorite directories and social networks. You can find thousands of blogs there and promote your own with broadcasts. You can go to the discussion forum and have conversations with other bloggers and often times this generates a blog post.
Twitter is great for sending messages out that you completed a post here it is! I have acquired interviews as well from Twitter.
StumbleUpon is another of my favorites. It takes you to different sites and if you word your profile right you will get hits from your profile to your blog.
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