Starting a Basic Blog

Posted by Jennifer on February 8, 2011 – 10:59 pm

image photo by cheetah100

I’ve received numerous emails from friends, family and readers asking questions about starting a blog. Rather than continually typing out emails, I thought I’d turn it into a little post.

Let me start by saying that I’m no pro. I don’t know 10% of all there is to know about blogging. I’m still a little fish in a big, big pond and I’ve been blogging for 2 years. But, I will share with you a few little things I learned when I first set up my blog. If you follow these steps, you will have set up a basic, functioning blog.

Set up your physical blog: when I started, I set up mine on blogger because it was simple, free and took seconds to set up. It’s a super user-friendly option and works well. Though I am now self-hosted, I blogged happily on blogger for over a year.  I have no experience with wordpress.com blogs but it is a free option as well. If you want to invest a little money in it, you can set up and host your own blog for as low as $4 a month with 1&1. My husband tells me it’s a very simple step-by step process.

You’ll also want to consider purchasing a domain if you don’t decide to host your own blog. It’s completely optional. If you set up a blog on blogger, your website address will look something like this:  www.blogsname.blogspot.com. If you have your own domain it would look like this: www.blogsname.com. It makes it more memorable for others and looks more professional. You can buy a domain for about $10 a year. I bought mine at http://www.10dollar.ca/ but there are many out there.

Find a theme: blogger only has a handful of designs/themes when you initially set up your blog but if you search the web you will find thousands of free templates for blogger. With patience, I’m sure you can find a design that suits you and your vision for your blog beautifully. Again, blogger makes it very simple to install themes. You may go through a couple as you look for the right fit for your blog. If you want a custom logo etc. you can certainly hire a designer to make you one. The prices range wildly depending on their experience and  what you’re looking for. They can be fairly inexpensive or cost hundreds of dollars.

Add some gadgets/widgets: what’s that? As soon as you set up a blog you’ll see. They are things you can add to your sidebar to enhance your site. Add a search box, your followers, some text…the options are endless.

Then I would suggest adding the option to subscribe by setting up a feedburner account; again another Google service. The step-by-step instructions are pretty simple.

Adding a statistics tracker is optional but a good idea. If you don’t care about numbers, who’s reading etc. and it’s just going to be a personal then you may not want to bother but again, it really is quite simple. Google to the rescue again; Google Analytics makes a great statistics tracker that is easy to add though Site Meter was the one I used initially.

LiveWriter: while you can certainly write your posts in the online editor provided by blogger or wordpress, I’ve found that downloading LiveWriter makes writing posts and inserting pictures or videos an absolute breeze. This fantastic tool is free too.

So there you go.  Using the above links, you can set up a free blog in minutes and be sharing your thoughts with the world. This is not by any means a comprehensive list but it certainly has your blog started and going in the right direction.

So do you have a blog? I’d love to hear your tips for setting up a basic blog?

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2 Responds so far- Add one»

  1. 1. Kathryn Said:

    Great tutorial! I’ve never used Live Writer but will have to try it out

  2. 2. Teresa@multi-facetmom Said:

    This is great Jenn! Thanks for the post! I will definitely be checking out LiveWriter!

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