Blogging is catching up fast. Many people have left good paying jobs and have taken up blogging as as their full-time job. Earlier, only celebrities were known publicly and that too through media but now you can publicize yourself through blogging. Also, celebrities are now using blogs to give first hand information and directly interact with their fans. Besides publicizing, blogs can be used for generating money in many ways. And if your post happens to be a big hit then you know what could happen. Even if that post is controversial, it could be plethora of good opportunities.
But, do you think any blog will reach to that heights. Certainly not. Many blogs are created everyday and are abandoned then and there. Once you have created a blog, you need to do its make-up to really make benefits out of it otherwise you will be just posting with no use.
I will start with a paragraph about blogs who are new to this field. Blog is trimmed word for Web Log.
Blog is essentially a live interactive journal. It is just like your diary made public. You can post on your blog about anything under the sun. The readers of your blog may be given rights to comment on it. There are many terms associated with blogging like blogosphere, bloghost, blogging platform, dashboard, blog archive, RSS, and Atom. Readers can Google Internet to find information about these terms.
To have a blog, all you need is access to Internet and a valid e-mail address. There are many free bloghosts (Blogger, WordPress, . . . ) on which you can create your account. Although features and usage on all bloghosts are similar, I will stick to Blogger on which I have my blogs (computer-science-notes. blogspot.com and recommended-websites. blogspot.com).
Following are the steps for creating your blog:
- Visit blogger.com and sign-up for an account using a valid e-mail address (not necessarily gmail one)
- Select an available URL for blog, intuitive title, and a layout template.
- Your blog is ready for posting.
Now you need to do its make-up to making it more appealing and for promoting it for various reasons.
Following steps help you in doing make-up of your blog:
- Customizing Layout (Default Template): By default, the blog page shows blog title, owners profile, post area, post archive, and may be some other information. If you go to layout link of your blog then you will see current page-elements on your blog and a facility to add more page elements. There are many useful elements that can be inserted into your blog page. I found inserting HTML Code, Label, Link List page elements quite useful. HTML code allows you to place 3rd party HTML code/scripts like that of AdSense. Labels displaying and categorizing your posts based on tags associated with the post. Link list allows me to display links to my favourite sites. Once addition done, you can place these elements as you like. For example, putting Labels as right sidebar and Link List as left sidebar.
- Using Free Templates: Once you start exploring blogosphere, you will find that your blog is not as aesthetic as somebody else. Basically, they are using a different template. If you wish to make your blog more appealing look-wise then there are ways to fulfill you wish. Just Google ‘free blogger templates’ and you will shown websites offering these templates. Visit any of these sites and download template (usually a text, xml, or html file) that suits your taste. Using this template is quite easy. You can either upload template to your blog or you can select Revert to Classic Template and copy-paste the template code in Edit HTML tab of Templates link. Save the code and view your blog with altogether different layout. You can play with many templates until you are satisfied or tired.
- Developing Your Own Template: While copy-pasting the template code in above step, you may have noticed that template is nothing but some HTML and CSS code and intervened tags enclosed in $ and starting with Blog word like $BlogURL$. We are now coming on to the point. To develop your own template, all you need is some knowledge of HTML, CSS and information about blogging tags. Going through a downloaded template code can help you in familiarizing with these requirements and starts developing your own template. ‘Blogging Tags’ are quite few and information can be downloaded from Internet. To make the development faster, you can even use web authoring tools like Dreamweaver.
- Promoting Your Blog: If you don't promote your blog then there is no use of creating and customizing it. Following ways can be used to promote your blog:
- You might have come across the phrase ‘Content, is really the king’. This is 100% true. Although you can post anything on your blog, it is advisable to make different blogs for different topics like one for technical postings, one for posting about health tips, and so on. Post about topics that readers are really looking for and not the ones you know all about and are present elsewhere in better way.
- Be consistent in your posting frequency - be it daily, weekly, or monthly but stick to it. This will ensure re-visits by readers who like your blogs.
- Under the Settings link on your blog dashboard, you may find a feature to allow feeds. You must allow feeds to which your readers can subscribe so that they know when you have updated your blog. I am using Feedburner which not only provides feed for subscription by others but also provide statistics about its readership and helps in monetize using AdSense. Feedburner provides you small scripts for each of these which you need to insert into your blog template.
- But how people will know about your blog. One way is to popularize it by telling, e-mailing, and putting words about in online communities. However, like if we have search engines for websites, there are specialized search engines for blogs as well. One such search engine is Technorati . Again you need to open up an account with Technorati and claim your blogs there. You may need to do certain settings as well like automatic or manual ping to let technorati know about your blog updates. Now, you blog will appear in search results and will come to top blogs category or to homepage of Technorati if it has achieved sufficient authority.
- Posting comments on other's blog posts and leaving link to your blog does not work technically now as your links in comments as marked as no follow tags.
- Maximizing from Your Blog Promotion: You have publicized yourself enough, now, is the time to make some money out of it. Just sign-up with Google AdSense and put the scripts provided into your blog template. These scripts will show advertisements on your blog pages based on your blog content and you will get paid for impressions as well as for count-per-click.
I think the theory and tips are enough. You must now start blogging. Keep a notepad handy to jot down login and other information about your accounts that you are going to create on various sites. And also keep a tab on time your are spending in blogging.
Till next time, Happy Blogging :)
Al-kaatib, a masters in computer science & engg. and a software professional from India, loves writing on variety of topics like computer science, spirituality, and self-improvement. He maintains his blogs at: http://www.crossroadsbyzainvi.blogspot.com