Start A Business or Personal Blog – Basics

Believe it or not, there are still many people out there who have not yet set up a personal or business blog, and they absolutely should. Chances are you’ve been wondering whether you should even bother and maybe you’ve been worried that no one will read it or that you won’t have time for it.

With the ease of access we have thanks to smart phones, tablets and other devices, you can update a blog from just about anywhere and for whatever purpose.

My very first blog was on LiveJournal and I immediately made it an extension of what I was already writing in my pen and paper journals. I talked about how things were going with me at school and the expectations I had for my career. Then, I moved onto the MySpace blogs (this was several years ago, obviously) and there, I would update with horror movie reviews or other updates for my friends to check out. I loved the immediate feedback. Eventually, I tried out Blogger but it wasn’t my cup of tea and now I’m on Tumblr and have been for about 2 1/2 years.

People are opening up blogs on TypePad, Tumblr, Blogspot/Blogger, and WordPress. Each website allows users to post information of any kind, but each platform offers something a little different. Depending on your needs, you will want to choose carefully as you set up a website for personal or business blogging.

The blog format of choice for many business owners is WordPress. When buying a URL, for example, the user is able to install WordPress and design it from there, usually with the help of a professional. Home business owners typically use this so they can funnel their traffic through and build a subscriber list. They do that by setting something up with Constant Contact or some other newsletter service.

Because WordPress is easy for anyone to use, business owners who would like to continue to add new information on their own terms can do so easily without fussing over the appearance of the webpage or anything too technical.  Granted, some businesses best benefit from creating a website where they can set up a sales terminal, but this type of website is generally for allowing clients to feel that they are forming a more personal relationship with the business owner. They are able to sign up for informational newsletters and eventually become repeat customers and clients.

How do I know this? Because I worked closely with people in the home business industry and I did a majority of their copy writing. I worked with people who provided Search Engine Optimization services to home business owners. They researched the keywords that would draw in the most traffic and I did the content writing using those keywords. Very sexy stuff!

WordPress was the #1  choice because it offers plugins that do many useful things on your website. Some plugins do keyword research for you. Some help you create forms to add to pages on your blog where visitors can submit questions or contact info. Even better, you can easily use Google Analytics to visually track your website’s visitors. But that’s not even the tip of the iceberg. If it’s up your alley and useful to you, you’ll find a lot of great and helpful add ons to best benefit your business efforts.

My favorite personal blog platform is Tumblr. I’m not very tech savvy so I love that it makes everything very easy for me to do. Most importantly, I appreciate the sense of community and how quickly one can provide feedback to blog posts that show up on the dashboard. It’s easy it is to post up different kinds of items such as pictures, quotes, conversations, links, and videos.

When posting on tumblr, people will either create original content or reblog what they see on their dashboard which was posted by others. The trouble with that is not being able to cite the original source correctly. Still, with consistent use, you curate a sort of personal album which reflects your interests and happenings. I think of it as an extended form of social media because you can write entries of varying lengths and they will appear on your followers’ accounts. It’s like tweeting, but with more room to stretch your legs.

I don’t mean for this to sound like I’m some kind of Tumblr spokesmodel (if they’re looking for one, I wouldn’t say no), so I’ll move on to answer a question that readers have asked over the last couple of years.

First, tell yourself that your blog is your own space. You cannot let yourself worry about what others will think of what you post. You’re allowed to say whatever it is you want to say and eventually you will attract like-minded individuals and find yourself in a community. I usually just encourage people to be honest and to share things in very basic, clear sentences. The hardest part is getting started, but you’ve gotta start somewhere, right?

A first entry could be about any recent incident that you wouldn’t mind recapping just for the sake of getting into practice. It’s okay to write about work as long as you’re absolutely not bashing your boss or your colleagues.

Write about a television show you love.

Throw up some rad pictures of your favorite outfits.

Or if you’re like me, you’ll talk about how weird your dating life is.

The main thing, I think, is to not get too wound up about what you share and don’t let yourself get discouraged just because you think you’re not interesting. I follow a few news and local blogs, but I also follow people who post snippets about their lives and share about parties, friends, and things that they’re doing in their normal daily lives.

You can start your blog with a specific idea in mind but it’s likely that you will see it evolve as you continue to add content. Sometimes these things take a shape of their own and you might even find yourself posting videos and getting really media savvy with it.

Whatever path you choose, just make sure you’re enjoying it.

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