So, after reading this blog for a while, you’ve decided to start a blog of your own. I’m flattered. Really, it’s wonderful that I serve as such an inspiration…just kidding. But, to be serious about it, there are things you need to consider before you get up and running with your blog.
Whether you want to use your blog to make money (and I heartily approve of that) or you just want to voices in your head to get their own platform, you need to get some things straight before you ever compose your first post. Which you’ve probably already done in your head, haven’t you?
Anyways, here are the big decisions you need to make before you set up your blog:
Your blog name and tagline. This is perhaps the most important step. Not only will your bog name and tagline be indexed by Google and the other search engines, but it is also the single most important branding tool you have. And you can’t change it easily once you’re established. Sure, I could start a new blog, but I would lose everything I’ve built into the this brand. Even if I attempted to publicize the change and move my audience over, there will still be a loss, both in audience and perceived authority.
Where your blog is going to be. Typepad, WordPress (I like WordPress the best and is what I use), and Blogger (Google) all offer easy-to-use blogging software. All have free versions available, as well as fancier paid options as well. If you’re just starting out, go with a free service until you know you’re going to stick with it. If you do, and you decide later that you need some of the options the paid version offers, then you can upgrade.
Choose your URL. All of the blogging services offer customizable URLs, but if you can, you’ll want to also buy your own domain name to redirect to your blog. In fact, you shouldn’t choose a blog name unless you can buy the domain name as well. It doesn’t cost much to register a domain name, and you’ll be glad you did it if your blog takes off.
How you want your blog to look. There are a lot great, customizable blog schemes out there for low-to-no cost. If you don’t have a talent for graphic design, keep the header text-based. Later, when you’ve made some money, you can pay someone to design a proper logo/header for you. Trust me, a text header looks way better than a poorly designed graphic one.
Above all, when you start your blog, make sure you post. A lot. Even if you think no one is reading it (and your stats counter sadly confirms this) it will create a great archive for readers to peruse when they finally do find you, and the practice will help you refine your style and voice before you hit the big time. I personally have sucked recently with being good at continual postings… and the traffic difference is substantial!