I am a novice blogger with common sense. Meaning I’m less dangerous than a pit viper, but more dangerous than a kitten.
So, take this information for what it’s worth—most likely free.
How to Set Up an Effective Blog
1.) Brainstorm a unique name for your blog BEFORE you set it up.
An A-list blog name will help people remember you and give your blog a professional look. Some people use their names (these are usually authors or people who want name recognition), some use their blog title (I do), and some do neither.
My experience: My blog started as a one-time blog to publish a solution for a computer programming problem many of us were experiencing, but no one was detailing a fix. My blog received thousands of hits in a short time. I like writing so I wanted to expand my blog, but I also wanted a more professional URL.
At this point, I had two options: 1) start over or 2) set up a new blog URL and figure out how to export my posts and comments. I chose the second. The think tank of me, myself and I voted on a new — and as yet unused — blog name, set up the URL matching that name then exported my blog posts and pages to my new site. WordPress made it relatively painless with their helpful instructions, but It is MUCH easier if you decide on a name beforehand.
2). Create your URL on the blogger site you wish to use.
Ask your friends which sites they like and why, and/or you can search the pros and cons of blog hosting websites. I’d do both.
3). Know the Save Draft and Preview buttons.
Find, become familiar with, and use these. The Save Draft button is your best friend, while the Preview button is everyone else’s best friend. Preview allows you — and only you — to review your raw post before publication without forcing the general populace to do the same. Using Preview only, you can make a test blog in perpetual draft format to play with in your blog editing program.
4). Insert relevant photos to break up the verbiage and make your blog more interesting.
I use my own photographs/clips, those in the public domain, or usable with permission. I never knowingly infringe on the copyrights of others. My philosophy: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
5). Use meta tags effectively for each new blog post.
Meta tags are important if you want people to find your blog using a search engine. I include my blog name in my search tags.
6.) Use links and auto post timesavers.
You can add links to your blog redirecting followers to your own or other people’s websites. You can also automatically notify followers of your new blog posts via other social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Some paid upgrades allow you to automatically repost your entire blog post to social media. Your blog help site should have How-to information.
A regular blog can be posted daily, weekly, or monthly. It’s important to update yours periodically or your followers will forget you, or quite possibly think you’ve joined the Amish.
8.) Learn your blog program’s limitations.
If you have a formatting-perfection gene, you’ll need to resolve yourself to your blog program’s limitations… or you’ll need counseling.
Blog programs hyphenate in places there shouldn’t be hyphens, set photos less than exactly where you’d like them, etc. You can lessen your stress by learning a few html commands, but while your blog can be well-written and aesthetically pleasing, it will probably never be perfectly formatted.
Miscellaneous blog thoughts:
A blog is not a cash cow. Blogs are done for name recognition, to garner a following or to showcase a product for sale. No matter what anyone tells you, you can’t quit your day job because people visit your blog.
Attention Writers! If you’re an author, be aware some contests will allow previously blogged stories and some will not.
Take your time. It’s easy to update blogs, but easier on your followers if you take time to make certain everything you want to say is in a blog before you publish it. If you left out something, leave it out or if it’s super important, consider writing an entirely new blog on the subject rather than updating after publication. It’s less confusing for everyone this way.
Spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors can — and should — always be repaired and the old blog updated no matter when you notice them.
After you’ve become a seasoned blogger, you may want to take advantage of the perks paid upgrades offer. There are many things you can do (e.g. plug-ins) which paid sites allow that free sites do not. Sometimes for security reasons; most often to create a revenue stream. I have no problem with sites charging for upgrades— this keeps their free offerings free and their site in business.
Wishing You Happy and Effective Blogging! 😀
DISCLAIMER: Any and all ideas presented in this blog are solely my own unless otherwise noted. I experience troubles with technology just like any other person, and if I stumble upon a fix or suggestion I feel could benefit others I pass it along. At no time, have I suggested or implied that I hold any degrees or certificates related to computer repair.
I have during my career assembled parts into working computers; done troubleshooting on hardware and software; utilized a great many computer programs and software; designed and updated websites and blogs; as well as created brochures, banners, and flyers.