You’ve probably read a fair share of them. You’ve wondered, “hey! I can do this blogging thing too!” And yes, you can. In fact, anyone who knows how to use a computer (and, by extension, a mobile phone) can become a blogger. That’s the beauty of blogging; it empowers ordinary people with a platform on which to express, in their own, unique voice, to a global audience.
I started blogging way back in 2007, and from then I’ve gone on to set up a number of blogs, mostly tech-focused. Today, I’ve decided to give back, in a sense, to the blogging community, with this simple post on the basics of blogging. It’s by no means a comprehensive list, and I will refer to additional resources at the end of this post, where you can continue your adventure into the blogging realms. (Click through to read more).
First, the preliminaries: what is a blog, and why it’s better than a regular old website to post your musings. You see, a blog runs on something called “blogging software”. This isn’t software you install on your computer; rather, it’s something that lives on the Internet. There’s many different types of blogging software available, but the two most famous ones are WordPress (what I use and swear by), and Blogger (developed by the folks at Google).
Blogging software is free. And what’s more, it’s dead easy to use. Head on over to www.wordpress.com or www.blogger.com, and you’ll find it a cinch to sign up and be blogging in minutes – literally. Before you do, though, you may want to read on for more info on blogging.
Now, you could go the old-fashioned route, and learn HTML and CSS code, hand-build a website, and upload it to the Internet. However, here’s the problem with this method: it’s damn hard. And time-consuming. By the time you’re finished with the site development, you’ll have probably lost all interest in writing a blog. So, after slaving over complex code (which you’d have to learn first), and then configuring a web server, paying for hosting and a domain, and then uploading the site, you’ll need to constantly re-upload it every time you want to “update your blog”. If you didn’t understand any of the stuff written previously – don’t worry. There’s an easier solution, and it resides in what I mentioned a little earlier: blog software.
Using blogging software like WordPress, all the development tasks are taken care of for you. The hardest thing you’ll probably find will be choosing a name for your blog, or, what I often find myself stuck in a quandary over: choosing a decent, stylish theme for your blog.
Thereafter, you can start writing your blog by simply clicking “Add New Post”. No need to re-upload a site everyime you update it. What’s even better: you can write your blog from wherever in the world you might be, provided there’s an Internet connection. With WordPress, you can even use the official WordPress for Android, BlackBerry or iOS app on your mobile phone to manage and update your blog on-the-go. That’s quite difficult if you choose to create your site from scratch…
Why not? Firstly, blogging is fun. Ask any blogger, and they’ll be unanimous on that call. It’s an immensely enjoyable hobby, and it could become an additional source of income – provided you play your cards right. To this end, I’d like to refer you to fellow blogger, Darren Rowse, of ProBlogger fame, who became so successful from blogging, that he was able to quit his day job to focus solely on the thing he enjoyed best – blogging.
Once, not so long ago, if you wanted to share your opinions on anything from politics to fashion, you had to become a journalist, and write for a published magazine. Now, blogging provides a unique platform for anybody with anything interesting to say, to publish to the world. There’s a great community of bloggers out there as well, and this offers you a chance to meet interesting people who share your interests.
where to from here?
I encourage anyone interested in blogging to try it out. Visit www.wordpress.com and sign up for a free blog. Choose a cool blog name, theme, and boom – you’re off. Don’t forget to let me know about your blogging adventures by leaving a comment on this post, or tweeting me @RahulDowlath.
If you’re serious about blogging, I highly recommend Darren Rowse’s excellent book on blogging, ProBlogger (you can order it from Amazon.com, or TakeALot in South Africa). Also, visit the ProBlogger website for more great tips on improving your blogging. And I’m also quite happy to assist where possible with questions about the art of blogging. Drop a line in the comments below, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Blog. It’s the fun thing to do 😉