I have received so many questions about how to start blogging from our readers lately that I thought I would just go ahead and do a whole post on it and share some of my tips to help those of you just starting out as well as some more experienced bloggers. Just for background, I have been designing web sites for companies since 1997 and have been blogging (not just on Doll Diaries) since 2006. I have made plenty of mistakes and learn something new every day, too.
Blogging is a fantastic way to share what you love with others who have the same interests. It is also a way to improve your writing skills, photography and creativity! So with that, here are my tips for new (and experienced bloggers)!
WHERE TO SET UP A BLOG:
1. Blogger – this free service from Google is the perfect place to start if you are new to blogging and want to blog for fun and personal expression. It is super easy to use and customize. Just remember, because it is a free thing from Google, technically anything you upload becomes theirs – and if Blogger goes down, so does your site. Another tip for Blogger users, allow the Name/URL combination for commenters so I can leave you a note telling you what a great job you are doing.
2. WordPress.com – this is also a free service, but not quite as user friendly as Blogger. It is similar to what I use, but like Blogger, as soon as you upload content it is no longer your own. WordPress.com also has a lot of restrictions as to what you can and can not have on your site.
3. Self hosted WordPress – Doll Diaries is self hosted WordPress. I bought the domain name from Godaddy and I pay for hosting on HostGator. If you are really serious about blogging or want to blog for your business (or even set up your business website), then self-hosted WordPress really is the way to go. You control everything and everything is yours!
WHAT TO DO NEXT
1. Get permission! If you are a child, be sure to check with your parents before you do anything new online! Anything you post can be read (unless you set your blog to private) by the world so be sure to set guidelines as to what you can and can not post. You may even want to use a made up name for your online persona.
2. Decide on a name – pick something short and sweet and easy to remember if at all possible. Also, pick a name that has to do with what you want to write about. Be careful about using other brand’s names in your site name, too.
3. Start writing! Don’t worry about whether your post is too long or too short, just write. The more you write, the easier it will become.
While there are not a lot of blogging RULES, you need to be aware of some basic etiquette.
1. If it is not yours, CREDIT THE SOURCE. Ok, this one is a RULE. If you use a photo, idea, or text from another site, let your readers know where you found it. If you don’t know where it came from, then state that, too. A link to the original source is always the best practice. Just because you found it on Google Images does not make it free to use as your own.
2. Use your own images when you can. You can use tools like picmonkey.com to make cool collages, add photo credits, special effects and frames that make your photos even more special.
3. When sharing text, don’t copy the other person’s entire post! That’s not right. Feel free to copy 1-2 paragraphs, just enough to let your readers know there is something good worth reading, and then link to the original post. Trust me, the first time you see an entire post you wrote on someone else’s blog, you will understand.
Most of all, have fun and be yourself. Write when you have something to say and don’t stress about it when life gets busy!
I hope you found my tips to be helpful! If you have a blog, put the address for it in the URL box when you leave a comment so we can check it out – you don’t have to beg us to visit you, we know you are there 😉
PS – If you are a company that needs guidance with your blogging or social media strategy, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’d love to work with you.