Welcome to your first lesson in the "Blogging From The Beginning - A Step-by-Step Guide". For the next five Thursdays, you will be given brief lessons that will help you learn the ins and outs of building your own successful blog. In these lessons, I'll go over some basic options for setting up your blog as well as some different techniques that you can use to make it popular and profitable.
In this first lesson, I'd like to talk a little about how to choose the right blog platform to best suit your blogging needs and goals. Starting a blog is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to get great online exposure and ultimately make money.
If you are starting your first blog, you are being confronted with many choices about how to set it up, including the selection of your blogging platform.
So...What's a Blogging "Platform"?A blogging platform is the software that will help you turn your writing into a website that can be easily navigated and accessed by visitors from around the world. Think of it as any other software you currently have on your computer or use online.
There are two basic platforms to choose from when it comes to successful blogging:
Both of these options have advantages and disadvantages. Before you make your decision, you should read through the pros and cons of each and think about which will be best for your needs. Go beyond today's class to each platform's website and see what they have to say.
Let's first talk about Blogger.
- It’s very easy for new bloggers to use.
- Setting up a blog with Blogger is as simple as following a few prompts.
- There is nothing to install.
- Blogger is totally free to use.
- You don’t have to purchase a domain name as the system will give you an address based on the name of your blog.
- Posting to your blog is easy.
- You can change the look of your blog very easily. This is all done through Blogger’s dashboard.
- If you have more than one blog with Blogger, you can access all of the blogs from the same dashboard.
- Compared to other options out there, the design and function of a Blogger blog is very limited.
- You can download and install custom themes for the blog, but most look very similar. This means your blog won't stand out as well in your niche.
- You cannot use the your own hosting or URL. You will get a free domain name with your Blogger blog, but the domain name will be “yourblogname.blogspot.com”instead of “yourblogname.com.”
- You will never truly own your Blogger blog because the files and content are hosted on Blogger’s server.
Let's Now Talk About WordPress
WordPress is the other popular platform for blogging. There is a free option that functions similarly to Blogger; they host your site. However, there is also an option that allows you to have your own website name. You install WordPress on your website hosting and hook it up to a domain name that you own. If you don’t know how to do this, your hosting company should be able to walk you through the process.
- WordPress themes are diverse and plentiful. Some themes will even make your blog look like one of the real estate websites that people are paying hundreds of dollars a year for.
- WordPress users have created tons of “plugins” and "widgets" that will increase the functionality of your blog and help you get the most out of your site.
- Some people feel that it's not as user-friendly as Blogger, which can make it intimidating for newbies. I don't personally agree with this opinion but you can check both options out and see which one best suits your skill level and needs.
- You will also have to spend money to get your domain name and your website hosting.
Despite these disadvantages, most professional bloggers go with the WordPress option because they maintain ownership of their blogs and can customize them to their heart’s content.
That's it for today's lesson. In your next lesson we will talk about brainstorming and generating good topic ideas to write about on your new blog.
If you have any questions or need any assistance please feel free to contact me at anytime using the contact information below. I will be happy to help.
By the way, if you have a friend, relative or co-worker you feel would benefit from this short 5-Lesson Step-by-Step Guide about blogging, please feel free to invite them to read these posts, too.