It was over a year ago now that I started this “just for fun” blog on my local Corfe Mullen wildlife. I had no idea about blogs, blogging and bloggers at the time (I was the “idiot” in the title!) but I have to admit it’s been great fun finding out (and free – which is always a bonus!). So this blog post is for anybody out there who has ever wondered about starting their own blog but just didn’t know how.
Whether it’s hedgehogs, flower arranging or wood-turning… you can blog about anything!
What is a blog?
The word started off as “web log” but has been shortened to “blog” over time. It’s really just a place for you to put any thoughts, observations, ideas, news, photos and videos – just about anything goes.
A blog is made up of lots of separate blog “posts” (like this one). Each post is like an entry in a diary and is dated. Your latest blog post will be at the top of your blog with older posts underneath.
Each post has a “header” and “body”. The header is just the subject of the post and the body is what you write (just like an email really).
At the bottom of each post is a place where people can add “comments”. So a reader of any post can respond instantly to anything you have written, and you can respond back by adding your own comment.
The great thing about blogging is that there is no right or wrong. It’s totally up to you what you blog about. My blog started as an online nature diary purely for “me”, a place I could list things I’d seen (mainly so I didn’t forget and also because it was easier than writing it on bits of paper that I kept losing!).
Over the year it’s evolved. I now use it as a place for telling people about (hopefully) interesting stuff and sharing ideas and information with like minded nature lovers all over the world.
So if you have a hobby or interest (or just want to let off steam!) you will probably find a whole community of other people who blog on the same subject.
How do I get started?
Firstly you don’t have to be a computer expert. It really, really isn’t difficult. If it was I wouldn’t have carried on doing it for over a year. If you can write an email you can have your own blog, it really is that simple.
The two most popular free blog providers are WordPress and Blogger (owned by Google). Basically all the blogging software is on the internet (you don’t have to download anything to your computer) and you just log in to your blog online and start blogging.
All you need to do is follow these links and read how to start, you can be up and running with your own blog in next to no time:
These links will not only tell you how to get your blog but once you have registered they will give you detailed instructions about how to use the blogging software. Don’t be scared… it’s easy!
What should I blog about?
Anything, everything… what ever you like. It’s your blog – feel free to make it your own. One word of warning though. Unless you really do want the world and it’s dog to know where you live it’s probably a good idea not to publish your address on your blog. I know it sounds obvious but people do it!
Also, if you want to be “anonymous” that’s fine as well. Lots of people use aliases or nicknames on their blog. There is no rule that says you have to say who you are. Remember it’s your blog!
What’s the best way to blog?
Make your post heading (or title) interesting. That might sound obvious, but it’s the first thing people will see when they come to your blog and if they don’t see an interesting heading they might not bother to stick around and read your blog!
People hate reading long paragraphs of text from a computer screen, so keep your paragraphs short and snappy (it’s loads easier to read). People also tend to scan down text, so if you use sub headings (like I’ve used in this post) or just make some of the words “bold” people will be able to see what the post is about easier.
Use photos. Some people write totally text based posts. That’s fine. Maybe you don’t have a camera but personally I think a post looks far more interesting with some photographs (this post uses Wikipedia and iStockphoto images). It really brings a post alive.
I quite often use iStockphoto for buying inexpensive, good quality images and also use some images from Wikipedia (when they are non-copyright and free!) and of course I take my own when ever possible…
If you have a camcorder (no matter how cheap or expensive) you can also use video on your blog. I’m not going to go into detail how to do it, but the blogging software you use will have step-by-step information on how to do this. It’s really fun to see your first bit of video on the internet.
That’s it. What are you waiting for? What have I forgotten to tell you?
I’d love to hear how you get on and whether you become a “blogger”.
Leave me a comment below.
Maybe even leave me a link to your new blog!