start your own blog

This is for those looking to start a blog but might be reluctant to do so because of the required setup, the feeling of obligation to publish, or the belief that what may be published may not be interesting. Believe me, the process is simple and everyone has something worthwhile to share.

SETUP
1. Use blogger/blogspot, wordpress, tumblr, or another blog hosting site. In choosing a host, you’ll want to think about level of customization and design allowed, credentialing (OpenID, Google Accounts, etc.), and availability of RSS/Atom feeds for use in Twitterfeed, email subscriptions, and more. I use blogspot and it works very nicely with regards to all three of these.

2. Name your blog and get your blog address, understanding that all desired names may not be available. Think of something unique to you and intriguing to the reader.

3. After registering and getting your blog address, begin with design and customization. Choose colors, posting templates, applications for side columns (e.g. reading list, tags, archive, followers, etc.). With blogspot/blogger, it is very easy to begin with a template and design from there.

4. Think about registering a custom domain address to use as an alias. This means you can buy http://www.yournamehere.com and point it to your blog, as I have done with http://www.adsideology.com. It costs only 10 bucks a year with GoDaddy and the aliasing is easy.

5. Setup Google Analytics. Set up a new website profile for your blog address (use your new custom domain name if you have one) and follow the directions to copy the tracking code into your blog. There are good instructions here.

Note that once the tracking code is added to your blog, it may take up to 24 hours for it to start working. When done, this will allow you to track visitor locations, visit length, and other useful admin stats.

POSTING / SHARING
6. Get a first blog post in. Talk about why you wanted to start a blog and a little about yourself. This is a lead-in post most new visitors may see first. This is practice for you to be familiar with the posting process.

7. You’ll need to get your link out there. Link it to other social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc). Put it in email signatures, as your IM away message, gChat status, well, you get the idea. If you are on Twitter, don’t just put the link in your profile, but setup a Twitterfeed to automatically post a tweet every time you post. 

CONTENT / GUIDELINES
I believe everyone has something interesting to say. Some just need the right approach to get it out and on paper. I suggest not going with a theme for your blog, but rather trying to keep it open to all possibilities. Also, try and keep up the same frequency of posting. If it’s weekly, blog around that. If it’s daily, shoot and maintain a post every 1-4 days. My only other point of advice is that bloggers need a starting place. Whether it be a thought, a song, a picture, news article, an event, a dish of food, an emotion, a color, a time, a concept, or imagination, take it and run with it. Take notes wherever you are and bundle up our thoughts into a post to share. Not everything will be interesting to everyone, but getting thoughts on paper itself will expand your right-brain capacity and hopefully trigger that same reaction in your readers.

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