Starting a blog is easy. Keeping it going is harder.
First of all, you need to identify why you want to start a blog. There are many good reasons for doing so, and I shall list some of them here:
• The ability to express yourself about something you feel passionately about
• The ability to get feedback on your opinions
• The ability to get an alternative form of income from something you love
• The chance to join a community of like-minded blogs and bloggers
• The chance to market yourself to potential employers/customers
Chances are, you’ll have a combination of reasons. I began my first blog before blogging was even a buzzword, it was non-dynamic (I had to update the HTML page every day and manually add things like the date,) very short, and on some random freebie domain I had picked up somewhere.
Luckily, you have a multitude of resources to help you along.
1. WordPress, Blogger, LiveJournal et al.
You can start a blog on any of the big communities. I find WordPress is currently the most popular, customisable and adaptable. Most of the big-name bloggers use WordPress. However, there is definitely nothing wrong with the other services; ultimately a blog wins or loses on the strength of its content.
You don’t need a domain, but if you want to appear professional then a domain becomes a very important statement about yourself. There are multiple cheap domain registering services, so make sure you get the best deal.
3. Setting it up.
If you’ve opted for your own domain, you’ll need webhosting and to install your blogging software. Luckily, most webhosts I have been with have an “easy-install” centre that include various blogging platforms. I recommend Site5 (http://www.site5.com/in.php?id=342-13,) the host I have been with for the last three years. They make it easy to install, the hosting package is value for money, and you can register your domain with them too to keep it a complete package.
So now you’re all ready to go. Before you start writing your first entry, however, here’s a couple of things to bear in mind:
• If you want a world-famous, money-spinning blog, you need to work at it. And I mean work. You need to write good, solid, valuable entries, and then you need to market those entries. It takes time, but once you take off, increase becomes easier.
• You should focus on one topic. If you try and write about anything and everything, your blog will have no sense of purpose, search engines will ignore it, and readers will get confused and wander off.
• You must offer value. Your blog should either be informative (that is, not a mock-up of some other famous blog,) or entertaining.
If you keep these tips in mind, however, you should find yourself blogging to a small but growing audience very quickly. It’s addictive. But good.