How to Start a Blog -A Beginners Guide to Blogging

 

Blog defintion –  A shared on-line journal where people can post diary entries about their personal experiences and hobbies –source www.thefreedictionary.com/blog

Although initially used for posting personal information on anything from hobbies to recipes, to personal news from war zones, they are also increasing being used by companies to inform
their customers.

Although Blogs can be difficult to define they are instantly recognisable, as they all have a common form.

They consist of a web page with new content at the top ( ordered
by date of entry -latest on top) .

Weblogs can be used as a way of providing current up to date content, and allow for easy visitor interaction, via a comments form.

However despite all of the hype blogs aren’t for everyone. What they are ideal for is:

Presenting time sensitive information i.e. news

What they aren’t useful for is:

For presenting static information e.g. A product Review.

Starting A Blog

There are many different blogging platforms. however the two most common ones are Blogger and WordPress.

Blogger was one of the earliest free blogging platforms and was
primarily responsible for popularising blogs. Is was acquired by Google and blogger blogs now use a subdomain of blogspot.com.

Blogger is an hosted blog which means that you don’t need to purchase a web hosting account it use it.

However using it this way means that your blog is hosted as a subdomain of blogspot.com.

WordPress comes it two variants

  • A hosted blog on wordpress.com
  • A self hosted blog on your domain and host.

The hosted blog on wordpress.com is free (like blogger) and again means that your blog will be a subdomain of wordpress.com.

I don’t recommend using a free hosting option as there is no guarantee that it will continue to be offered in the future, and if you invest a lot of time and effort into building it you really don’t want to run the risk of losing it.

The self hosted version of WordPress is free but you will need your own hosting account and domain name.

I use Blue Host – for my USA Sites and  1&1-UK– for my UK sites

You can learn how to install at setup your own blog here.

How to Add a Blog To an Existing Website

If you already have a site, and want to add a blog to it then you have several options.

  • You can keep the existing site on its own platform and the blog on its own WordPress platform. (easiest option) .
  • Move the existing site to the blogging platform. This I consider to be the better option in the long term, but

There are several important considerations here:

  • Moving a site to another platform can be very time consuming, and can result in downtime, and maybe loss of search engine rankings if done incorrectly.
  • Large sites are difficult to manage using blogging tools.

If you have a very small site (<10 pages) then this a very viable option.

If you have a large and well established site that ranks well in the search engines it is usually best to keep it as it is and add the blog as a separate entity.

If you do this then you will need to decide where your blog will be located. Here you have three options:

  • Use a subdomain of your existing domain
  • Use a subdirectory of your existing domain
  • Use a link to a the blog hosted on another server

Using a Subdomain e.g blog.mysite.com

This option is the easiest to implement when the when the blog and website use different platforms i.e. the blog is WordPress and
the main site is an HTML/PHP template site.

You need  to create a subdomain and install the blogging software in the subdomain.

You will need to edit the blog template to link to your existing site, and your site menu to link to your blog.

Use a Subdirectory of Your Existing Domain (www.mysite.com/blog)

This method is used by most sites that run their website and blog on the same platform.

You can easily install and configure WordPress as a combined website plus  blog.

This generally is the preferred method, but is a little more difficult to set up than the subdomain.

Use a Link to a the Blog Hosted on Another Server

This option is used when the blog is hosted on a totally different domain name, which is often because you are using a free blog host like blogger.com or WordPress.com.

The problem is that the visitor sees two distinct sites as the domain names are very different. It also looks less professional.

In this case your site would be:

incorporate blog into website

Note: above is example only


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