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How to Blog

Updated on December 30, 2014

What is a Blog?

What is a Blog? A blog is a Web-log. It is a chronological collection of entries, primarily written by one person and often about the same topic, or "niche".

Blogs became popular in the late 1990s as a means of getting news out to the public. Where news was once reported exclusively by professional journalists, ease of access to the internet now made it possible for anyone to report "news". This type of news was not restricted to one style or approach. It was entirely up to the blogger to write whatever he or she wanted to talk about.

Today there are many hundreds of thousands of blogs on every topic imaginable! Blogs about home decorating, finance, sports, animals, food, cooking, music, love, health & fitness, antiques, education, organizing, time management, mechanics, cars, collectibles, crafts, even blogs about blogging!

The list of topics expands the universe of human interests! And for every blogger, there are plenty of people out there interested in reading what they have to say. Interested in starting a blog? There is a vast community to support your need to be heard. Communicators must have someone to communicate with!


Bloggers Kept Us in the Know

Bloggers played a big roll on 9-11
Bloggers played a big roll on 9-11

Blogging on 9-11

An interesting aside: blogging had a big part to play in information-flow on 9-11. That's right. Do you remember how jammed up the landlines and cell phones were on September 11, 2001? Especially if you were attempting to call into or out of New York City, you could forget it. The circuits were busy for hours.

Bloggers took to their keyboards that day passing along news,updates, on-the-spot photos, heartfelt comments and helping others to get much needed information, as best they could. A lot of venting went on in the blogosphere that day, too, as you can well- imagine. On 9-11, blogging rose to a new level of visibility and importance.


Blogs in Plain English

Find Your Niche

So, how do you get started? Pick a topic! Selecting a subject to blog about is a personal matter. You will be happiest blogging about a topic, or topics, that you absolutely love. After all, you will be writing about it a lot.

Do you have a particular area of expertise that others can draw from? Are you a carpenter? Antique collector? Sports enthusiast? Photographer? What are you good at? Baking? Dog training? Organizing? Teaching?

How-to blogs are very popular sources of information and the possible themes are limitless. But don't consider how-to's to be the only way to blog. Blogs expressing opinion, performing product reviews or just entertaining their readers can also be very successful. Mix it up. You may want the primary format to be instructional but occasionally slip in an interview piece or something of human interest. Be predictable and spontaneous, all at the same time. Above all discover what your readers are looking for and give them what they want.

Build Your Blog

There are two excellent free sources where you can publish your blog: Blogger and Wordpress. Each has a wide variety of designs to choose from and are user-friendly. Are you a novice? Don't worry. The more you work with your site the better you will get at it.

Blogger, a Google product, hosts itself. All you will need is to select an original name for your site. This is my first year of blogging and mine is on Blogger. The only complaint I have, thusfar, is that I can't set up links to open in a separate window! I like keeping my readers on my page. Hopefully they'll add that feature soon. (Hint, hint!) Otherwise, I am fully satisfied with my selection.

Wordpress can be found on either Wordpress.com or Wordpress.org. The basic difference between the two is that one allows plugins--Wordpress.org-- and the other does not. Plug-ins (called "gadgets" on Blogger) are cool-tools that you can use to beef up your site for your readers. You can add RSS feed, stores, subscription sign-ups, polls, comment luv --lots of bells & whistles. Additionally, Wordpress.com is self hosted; with Wordpress.org you must purchase hosting from a separate source (but remember, "dot org" is the one with the plug-ins).

For Love or Money?

Determine whether your blog is designed purely for your own writing pleasure or is it also to make a profit. Making money online is very possible (including making money writing on HubPages, I might add). Making a lot of money online takes much work, patience and determination. It seldom happens overnight and, let's be practical, for some it may not happen at all. Better love what you're doing, too!

Give Your Blog A Name

When it comes to a title for your blog, think carefully. If you are hoping for SEO (search engine optimization--which means that people can find your site easily by searching the topic on Google, Bing or Yahoo) then you'll need to do a little homework first.

Use keyword tools to find possible names for your site. Enter words that line up with those that people are likely to type in when they want to know about your subject. You will see how often they are searched, globally. Search Engine Optimization does not only include finding terminology that is searched for by multitudes of people. Try to select something that is well-searched but has low to medium competition on the internet! You will be supplying a need that has not been over-populated. Some subjects are so well-covered that the best written articles still may still find themselves on the bottom of the heap on Google or other popular search engines. Consider many variables including popularity, competition, CPC and the number of clicks per day that topic receives.

Experts undoubtedly have more to add to this advice on this subject. I defer to my favorite expert, Darren Rowse, of Problogger and recommend that you read what he has to say about it: How to Craft Post Titles That Draw Readers Into Your Blog. Blog-site names and post titles can be researched using similar criteria.

Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income

Get Trained

There are many successful bloggers who are also great online teachers. My favorite is Darren Rouse, also known by his website's name "Problogger". This man knows how to blog effectively, make money doing it, and teaches it well to writers of all different levels and experience.

I have often printed out his blogs and tutorials, hole-punched them, loaded them up in a binder and taken them to the porch! Yes, I like to be outside in nice, summery weather. So, I take my cup of coffee (that's a requirement), my two dogs Lexi & Troy, my binder and a highlighter. Then I just soak up the rich training material that Darren writes.

For the first time, I've paid for an e-book. There is so much great free information on the internet for writers, that I hadn't thought it necessary to buy anything. But Darren provides so much quality information for free that I figured that anything he sold would even be better (if that is possible). I was right! My new acquisition has now become my next training manual in my blogging journey. It is called "Problogger's Guide to Your First Week of Blogging". I am way-past my first seven days of blogging but there is so much I can do to improve my writing that I don't mind "starting over", so to speak, using this training manual. It will be time well-spent.

Blogging's Built-in Benefits

Why blog? There are intrinsic benefits of blogging, outside of fulfilling the dream of being able to quit your day-job and living solely on your writing income.

Benefits:

First, enjoyment. It is a pleasure to write for an audience that appreciates your work. Keep on writing good content and the readers will come!

Second, it's a learning experience. It gives you a reason to train in the mechanics of writing excellent content, selecting quality titles, identifying and utilizing keywords, producing and maintaining a website, use of affiliate advertising, writing support documents like newsletters, e-books, books, producing videos, and marketing your blog via commenting, social networking, guest posting and paid advertising.

Third, it establishes your authority in a field. This can lead to other income possibilities such as paid freelance writing, profits from books, guest posts on high traffic websites and speaking engagements.

Fourth, you'll make friends. Yes, the community of bloggers and readers that you can connect with are a wonderful product of blogging. It's fun to "hang out with" people of like-interests. Bloggers tend to be enthusiastic and passionate about their field. Enjoy getting to know them.


Purchase a Domain Name

Whatever name you decide on for your blog, you will need to obtain a domain name, as well.Many online companies offer domain names and hosting packages. GoDaddy® is one of many popular sources. They have a solid reputation and are reasonably priced.

Sinea Pies is a freelance writer who writes frequently on HubPages, GVParent Magazine, and her own blog: Ducks 'n a Row.

Helpful Resources for New Bloggers & Writers

Learn from the masters in the field! Be sure to sign up for any free newsletters and/RSS feed available so that you will continue to receive valuable training and tips of the trade in your new profession:


Comments

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  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 4 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks so much, homesteadbound. :)

  • homesteadbound profile image

    Cindy Murdoch 4 years ago from Texas

    Great post. I always learn from your hubs.

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thank you so much for the encouraging comments, NiaG, Jason-Stacey and Dr Pooja. Blogging can be fun and rewarding. Enjoy!

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thomas, can't speak for famously wealthy but I think you can earn money doing it. How about writing great short stories that build an audience and then sell an e-book on how to WRITE short stories? Just a thought.

  • NiaG profile image

    NiaG 5 years ago from Louisville, KY

    Great informative hub. I'm thinking about starting my own website for talking about different topics. I might just do it to see how it goes. I have a website for informational purposes but I'd like to give blogging a shot. Thanks!

  • Jason-Stacey profile image

    Jason-Stacey 5 years ago from London

    I know about blogging but today i learn how to make it interesting and earn as well. What i loved is the way you presented this information easy to get. Also liked the Get Trained section which i thought is very useful.

    Thanks and keep Hubbing

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Daughter of Maat, I plan to re-read my Problogger book this summer. It is so rich with information. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Dr Pooja profile image

    Dr Pooja 5 years ago

    I am a newcomer to world of writing.Your hub has opened new avenues for me.Thanks for your information.

  • ThoughtSandwiches profile image

    ThoughtSandwiches 5 years ago from Reno, Nevada

    Sinea,

    Since I started writing at Hubpages, I've had a number of friends say that I should blog. None of them were able to successfully (entirely my fault...not theirs) explain to me the purpose of a blog. You have finally made the blog thing comprehensible to me. Woot!

    My concern is that my "writing" is almost entirely short story orientated. I guess that's were the love part comes in. Do people blog short stories and become famously wealthy? That's what I would like to do when I grow up.

    Thanks for the info!

    Thomas

  • Daughter Of Maat profile image

    Melissa Flagg COA OSC 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

    Fantastic hub. The links and information are invaluable! I just recently found ProBlogger and you're quite right, he offers quite a bit of information for free!

    Voted up and shared!! Awesome!

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Rebecca E., thank you! I appreciate the encouragement.

  • Rebecca E. profile image

    Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

    Sinea-- the advice you give here is sound and I still found it very useful. Keep up the good work!

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Sasanka and jenubouka, thank you for you nice comments and the vote UP. So appreciate you both. :)

  • profile image

    jenubouka 5 years ago

    Awesome! Perfect timing for me to find this incredible hub, trying to grasp the realm of the blogging world in a more successful range of idea. So, this was just perfect! Thank you, thank you for sharing this vital info.

  • sasanka7 profile image

    sasanka7 5 years ago from Calcutta, India

    I have learned a lot from this hub . Thanks a lot. voted up

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    I think it is...kind of...possible to write in one niche if you have a blog for that niche and related topics and use HubPages to branch out and write on lots of themes.

  • alphagirl profile image

    alphagirl 6 years ago from USA

    Your tips are helpful. I wish i could just write just one niche. It requires discipline. I was hoping to blog and have the writing guide me to the path of a niche because I have many interests. Making one niche fresh and interesting is a challenge. I want to fall onto my written path and let it choose me. Is that possible?

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thank you Rajan Jolly.

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

    sinea, very informative hub on various aspects of blogging. I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing.

  • Minnetonka Twin profile image

    Linda Rogers 6 years ago from Minnesota

    Sinea-This is a great and informative hub on blogging. I've been blogging for a couple years now. Blogging was my first attempt beginning to write online. I'm now on a few writing sites including Hubpages. Blogging for me has replaced writing in my journal and it's easier and more fun as you have gadgets to make it better.

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thank you DIYweddingplanner and the lyricwriter. Always welcome your encouraging comments.

  • thelyricwriter profile image

    Richard Ricky Hale 6 years ago from West Virginia

    You have my vote. Blogging is much more clear now with your article. Very beneficial SusieQ. Thanks.

  • DIYweddingplanner profile image

    DIYweddingplanner 6 years ago from South Carolina, USA

    Very helpful! I've been struggling to keep up with my own blog for awhile. Lots of good information here. Thanks!

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Anytime, James A Watkins. You post Advice for Success on Hubpages is a great one. Just as you suggest, I learned to read my posts out loud when I wrote for Ehow. Their editors really stress that for fine-tuning the flow. It works! :)

  • James A Watkins profile image

    James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

    Great article! Thank you very much for the link to my Hub. I wondered where all that traffic was coming from!

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks Raquel!

  • profile image

    Raquel  6 years ago

    Sinea, I really enjoyed reading your blog. It is very useful information and interactive. As a new blogger myself, I would love to learn more from all the sources you posted. Keep up the good work!

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks!

  • Rebecca E. profile image

    Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

    okay i shall then, I'll send you a link via email with teh post ect... I have to come up with a really good post...

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Glad you enjoyed it!

  • profile image

    writeronline 6 years ago

    Thanks for such a worthwhile article Sinea, very helpful for someone like me, at the back end of a traditional commercial writing career, but just setting out 'all alone' into the great unknown of the blogosphere..

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Of course Rebecca. I would be honored if you would!

  • Rebecca E. profile image

    Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

    just letting you know I've stumbled this, but I am asking would it be okay to add a link to my blog to this hub? I think it's well done, and I would like to let my readers know about your work.

  • mariasial profile image

    maria sial 6 years ago from united kingdom

    Your list is really impressive...although i know some of them but still great work.

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    I had never heard of a blog or bloggers until 9-11. They played a key role in information flow.

  • Ddraigcoch profile image

    Emma 6 years ago from UK

    I am bookmarking this for its usefulness. A very poignant thought on the blogging of 9/11.

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thank you so much, Rebecca E, RTalloni, Thoughtforce, Mimi721wis, Dallas93444, and Leroy 64!

  • Rebecca E. profile image

    Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

    well done and so true, you'd best blgo for love and passion, because take it from me, it takes time to make money-- if any on a blog.

  • RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

    Interesting and helpful...thanks much! Voted up and useful.

  • thougtforce profile image

    Christina Lornemark 6 years ago from Sweden

    Very informative hub and written in a way that makes me interested in trying! If there only was more hours during a day:)

    Voted up and useful!

    Tina

  • Mimi721wis profile image

    Mimi721wis 6 years ago

    Useful. This is one of the more informative how to blogs etc. I've visited. Gonna try it.

  • dallas93444 profile image

    Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

    Great source of information. enjoyed and thanks! Flag up and useful!

  • leroy64 profile image

    Brian L. Powell 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas (Oak Cliff)

    I have found this blog very informative. Thankyou.

    Now I am going to check out your M&M blog.