What is blogging, and how do I get one?

Blogs have been around for over 10 years. The word stands for ’web log’ and they’re effectively online diaries. Anyone can set one up, that’s the easy part. Thinking of something interesting to say each time you blog is the tricky bit.

Assuming you don’t understand or want to learn about writing websites in code, you’re probably best off looking at one of the sites that offers free blogging. A couple of the more popular are WordPress, LiveJournal and Blogger. Others are available.

Both of these will offer you a free blog site with its own address – so it becomes, for example, http://www.yourblog.blogsite.com. This is the address you give friends who might want to take a look.

Before we get to the mechanics, you need to think about why you want a blog in the first place and how often you’re going to put an entry up.

Is it for a small business? People won’t thank you if it’s just going to be one long sales pitch. Is it for a club or society? Great, but do the members want to contact you online? Or is it a personal thing? In any case, how often will you be blogging and can you be sure to have something to say each time you post an entry?

How do I set up a blog?

Let’s assume you’re through these stages. Blogging is easy. You enter your details where it says “create account”. If you already have a Google account you can use it to log on to ‘Blogger’, as Google’s the owner.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll be taken to the page where you’ll enter your data, upload your pictures and videos, whatever you want to do. You’ll get the option of allowing people to comment or not (whichever is your preference). Then, all you have to do is write your entry, hit “publish” and it’s live. It’s really as simple as that.

Remember it has to be well written and people’s expectations will be of a good website rather than a good book. Short sentences are better than long ones. Mention your subject as often as possible without labouring it in your first paragraph, as this will help your blog get listed prominently on the search engines.

There will be a section for ‘tags’ – words you’d want to associate with your blog, which also help it come up in searches. You’ll also find buttons to help you upload pictures, videos, anything you’ve got that you want to put online.

Word of caution

Be careful. Just because someone’s said you can share something or put it on your site doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about.

Try searching for any Beatles song on YouTube and you’ll find someone has uploaded them and ticked the ‘share with anyone’ box. But they don’t own it. So you’d be best advised to use images and videos that you own, and no others.

Keep it well written, keep it lively, tell your friends and they’ll probably tell other people. Before you know it, you’ll start growing a readership and exchanging ideas. Good luck!

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