Every writer who wants to get hired to write, or wants to sell his books, needs a blog. Of course, if you’ve just landed a million dollar book contract (kudos!), you might give blogging a miss for now.
All other writers need blogs: your blog helps you to write every day – this is a wonderful habit… and it’s harder to develop than you might think. Of course, on the other side of the coin, you have those writers who don’t want to write “for free”. If you feel this way, consider that you can DO STUFF with your blog — why not turn it into a book, or a series of books?
I’ve been working with several newbie bloggers over the past few weeks, so here’s some advice I shared with them: start blogging on a free service.
When you first start blogging, it’s best to start on a free service.
Here are some reasons:
1. You’ll learn what works.
Free services aren’t ideal for long-term blogging, although I know several writers who’ve been blogging on Blogger for over a decade. Long-term, you need to own your blogs, because you can create what you like, and no one can take your blog away from you — you never need to worry that your service will close its doors.
When you’re just starting out, a free service gives you everything you need, and shows you how to use it. Moreover, free services only offer you tools which are easy for you to use. Look on free blogging services as training wheels, before you go out on your own, creating your own blogs in your own spaces.
2. Someone else deals with stuff that goes wrong.
Stuff always goes wrong. You visit your blog one fine morning, and shock, horror! It’s been hacked, or the home page has vanished.
A thousand things can and do go wrong when you blog. This sort of stuff doesn’t happen when a huge company is in charge. They deal with the hassles. You never even know there were hassles, unless the entire service goes down. This happens, once in a blue moon.
3. You save money.
Even if you have some money to invest, it’s better to start with a free service.
If an idea you have doesn’t work out, you can just drop that blog, and start another one, without worrying about it. Please don’t feel guilty if an idea doesn’t work out as you hoped it would. Ideas are everywhere. Many don’t work, but every idea, every blog you create, and every word you write teaches you something.
Which free service for you?
For your first blog, I recommend that you start with WordPress.com. Here’s why: eventually, you’ll want to create your own blog, and it will be on WordPress. So you might as well have some experience in using WordPress.
A WordPress blog on WordPress.com is a HOSTED blog. It’s free, and is hosted on WordPress’s servers.
A SELF-HOSTED WordPress blog is a WordPress blog which you create with the WordPress.org script (also free), after you’ve chosen a domain name, and have organized your own Web host.
Hosted and self-hosted WordPress blogs use the same script, but in the hosted setup, you don’t have ultimate control. You can’t install plugins for example. Plugins can turn your WordPress website into anything you’d like: an online portfolio, a news site, an online store, a membership site, and on, and on. You can create almost anything with the WordPress script.
For your first blogs, the fact that you can’t get under the hood of your WordPress.com site needn’t bother you. Just write.
You’re learning. Get experience in creating content, and posting to your website.
Eventually, if you discover that you can’t do something on your website because it’s hosted, you can move your entire WordPress blog to your own host. This is easy to do, so don’t feel that you’re trapped on your hosted site. You can move the whole kit and caboodle anytime you like.
Your next step: check out WordPress.com.
Go to WordPress.com, and watch the video on the site, to familiarize yourself with what it offers.
DO NOT create your blog yet. You need to develop a strong idea, and do a little research first before you create your blog.
Get on the blogging fast track.
Why blog? Most bloggers want one of two things: money, or fame. Hey – you can have both. There’s a formula for making money with any blog. Here it is. Content + Conversions + Traffic = money.
Discover how you can make money blogging 24 hours a day, when you turn any spare half hour into an income stream.