The Art of Blogging

This “blogging” stuff is pretty neat, and you want to get in on the craze. Good for you. You have an idea, so where are you supposed to go from here?

First, you need to approach this with some introspection. What is the reason you are choosing this path? What is your level of dedication to this project? Is this going to be an emotional outlet premised on fearless anonymity or is this going to be a project to which you will boldly attach your real-world name? In an age of cybersleuths and powerful internet searches, you have to assume that someone out there will eventually figure out who you are unless you take steps to protect your identity Sherry dyson . If you become popular and/or controversial, someone will try to track you down.

If you blog about work or personal issues, it could hurt your reputation, your life, and your career if you do this incorrectly, so you need to make sure you choose the right theme, can live with the consequences, and can accept having your name attached to what you write. These considerations are not good or bad, they are just the way things work online in this day and age. Not scared off yet?

Now, you need to determine what your definition of a “blog” is. The word means, literally, “Web Log,” but there are any number of forms out there for you to adopt, or maybe you`ll be the fortunate writer who creates a unique form all your own. Will you be the angry political satirist, the corporate product update resource, the media critic, or something else?

Most so-called “blogs” on the internet today are personal ranting and raving spots on social networking sites, but the true “blog” is another kind of entity. Whether personal, hobby, corporate, political, or some other theme, the true blog is a serious enterprise that stands on its own merits. It may be a series of essays published periodically, or it may become a focused hub for people with similar ideas and interests. Many blogs have blossomed into full-service communities, complete with comment books, forums, advertisements, syndication feeds, and inter-blog networking (blogrolls).

Do not let all of this intimidate you, though. Just think of these as a bunch of tools available to you to get your message out to the people who are lucky enough to read your opinions. Some bloggers have a very limited scope, but all blogs aim to disseminate opinions and/or information on a regular basis to dedicated repeat readers. The timely release of those writings is key to gaining readership.

Next, you have to determine what kind of audience you want to attract. For instance, the writer of a hobby blog may write regularly about recent projects, designs, and challenges, but his or her real goal may be to attract fellow hobbyists from around the web to increase awareness or to launch a book being written. A political blog is usually utilized to spread commentary and news to political allies and to taunt or challenge the opposition. Do you want a friendly, hostile, or mixed audience? Do you want clients? Are you looking for friends with similar abstract interests?

Your answers to these questions are the most important considerations you face, as they will shape your design, your software choices, your format, your readership, and, ultimately, your success. The oddest thing about your blogging experience is that your answers may change as experience changes your perspective. In fact, if your blog becomes a must-read website, your answers should change over time. This is natural in such a fluid current of success. It should be noted, however, that you do need a concrete plan before you enter into this project, or you will find yourself lost, confused, and frustrated, which will turn your outlet into a burden rather than a blessing.

Speaking of burdens, you still need to select your software. For our purposes, I will assume that you want something more than some social-networking site`s glorified guest books for your enlightened ramblings. This leaves you two options: free software and licensed or purchased software. For the beginner, there are any number of free softwares and hosting options available, and you really do not need anything expensive when you get started. In these days of cheap domain names, you may choose to spend a few dollars a month to have your own web address, but there is no practical need for expensive software or hosting until you figure out how big your audience will be.

For those of you who just know your blog will be the next big thing on the web and who will need all the advanced features available right away, there are any number of options. Your best bet is to find a good hosting service with blogging software preinstalled, and there are several of those hosting options available from providers that also provide free entry-level blogging services. The major difference is that you will usually receive additional privileges like enhanced image hosting, opportunities to grow revenue through advertisements, options such as forum hosting and multiple contributors, and extended control over the basic format and customized content.

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