I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Blogging: Where to Start

So you’ve decided to blog. Good for you. But where do you start?
Of course you need to know that this is not an exhaustive post. This is simply to help you get the ball rolling.

The first thing you need to do is choose a host. There are a whole group of hosting sights such as Blogger (where MBT Ponderers blog), WordPress, Weebly etc. where you can go to begin. All of the blogging hosts are similar in many ways, it just takes fiddling with them to get the hang of it. Or, here’s a novel idea, how about going to the Help section and watching the How-to videos they have :)

The second step after choosing a host is to decide whether you will be a website with a blog or just a blog. Okay, I can hear some of you asking, “What’s the difference?”
A website where you would "host" your own blog is a little more difficult to start. First you have to find a unique domain name that has not been taken by somebody already. That's where Google AdWords tool comes in to play.

Your name not only must be unique, but it must be made up of words that people are searching for. Such as Christian novels. If you choose a name that no one is looking for, no one will find you, paying to advertise aside, and I never do that. The right domain name will make a big difference and should help you avoid the advertisement pitfall. 

A website is also set up to have what’s known as static pages. These are pages that your visitors return to again and again. For instance. At Christian Romance Magazine, we have several pages that are dedicated solely to basic information on writing Christian romance. Those pages never change. They are static. One click of the button and you can find it any time you want. Where as a blog has only one real page called Home or the Posts page. This changes or “rolls down” every time you post. Scroll down to the bottom of this page and you’ll see what I mean.

For today's post, we assume you do not want to own a website and take the time to register your unique domain name, work up hundreds of pages, garner advertisement etc.
You, want to blog. And your blog needs to have a personality.

Using Blogger as an example, you might Google “Blogger Templates” to begin. Choose a “look and feel” that suits you and your blog's personality. Download and follow the directions.

Now you have your site host chosen, your look and feel installed and you’re ready to post your first post.

Check list:
1.       Do I have 350 word count or less?
2.       Picture displayed for every post (did I make sure to check the “no robot follow” box to make sure I do not bleed off my page rank?  Trust me on this, it’s important)
3.       Have I posted only those links that I would want Google to associate with my blog or did I manually place in that link and use the “no robot follow” attribute?

Questions 2 and 3 are far more important when you own a website than a blog. Many would debate that it’s just as important. For now, learn the ropes and add to your knowledge as you go.

For more info, check out this post: How to star a blog.

BTW, if you decide to go with a website, stay away from SEO (Search Engine Optimization) stuff. Most try to be helpful, but Google changes its rules all the time and SEO cannot keep up with it. Take my advice. Write good content and they will come :)

ginger takamiya


  1. Great advice, Ginger. One thing I'd add--set aside a block of time to work on building your blog site. With any program, there's a learning curve and if you feel rushed, it's just plain frustrating.

    Building your blog can be lots of fun, and you'll feel really good about yourself when you get it done!

  2. In my opinion, Blogger is the easiest platform for beginners. It walks the blogger through each step.

    I recommend choosing a name that will be the one you use on your book covers. If your name is taken like mine was, you can add books after it. For example, Lisa Jordan was taken, so when I signed up for Blogger, I went with lisajordanbooks. It was easy for readers to remember. It's easy to say. It's easy to spell.

    Stay away from adding hyphens and other symbols within your blog name, if you can. Readers may forget to include those and miss visiting your blog.

    One of the quickest ways to bring readers to your blog is to comment on others' blogs. Blogging takes time and patience, but every blogger has something valuable to add.

  3. Great post, Ginger! Thanks so much for the suggestions. Pat and Lisa, thanks for sharing your wisdom!!

  4. Lots of great, practical stuff!

  5. Great stuff, Ginger!

    I'd echo what Lisa said about taking the time to visit other blogs--that's how I've seen my own reader numbers steadily rise and even better, how I've made really fun friends! To me, blogging is about building relationships as much as it is building a platform.

  6. I only just got internet access again on son's computer. Also got official FedEx box to mail in my Toshiba for open-heart surgery.
    Thanks for good advice for when we're ready, Ginger

  7. Pat, Lisa and Melissa, Thanks for the wonderful tips. I really enjoy all the extra advice peeps have put into it.