How to Blog : An Idiot’s Guide to Blogging…

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.

Hedgehog

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.

adder

Why blog?

The great thing about blogging is that there is no right or wrong. It’s totally up to you what you blog about.Β  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.

spider

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:

All about Blogger and how to get a Blogger Blog – Click Here

All about WordPress and how to get a WordPress Blog – Click Here

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!

Wood Mouse

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!

fox

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.

Get started!

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!

Jane

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37 thoughts on “How to Blog : An Idiot’s Guide to Blogging…

  1. Thanks Jane. Heard you on Radio Solent this morning talking about Blogging. Thinking about getting a blog of my own now. Hope it’s as easy as you make it sound.

  2. It really is easy… promise! Give it a go. If you get any problems leave me another comment and I will talk you through it if I can. Really glad you are taking the plunge. Good luck. Jane

  3. Hi Paula. I hope so. Lots of people have been reading this post…(all too shy to comment πŸ™‚ ) so hopefully it’s helped fill in the gaps for anyone thinking of starting their own blog in the New Year. Jane

  4. On the radio AGAIN?! When do you get on tv, and more importantly – have Hollywoood called yet?! πŸ˜‰
    Nice post Jane – gottae admit I thought UE was older than “just over a year”?
    Have a wonderful christmas downin Darzzet, and see you next year.
    On the silver screen no doubt!
    Doug

  5. Hi Gilly. Not all my photos I’m afraid. As you can see from the post I find my pictures all over the place. I try to take my own but at this time of year it is difficult. Thanks for stopping by. Jane

  6. Doug. I know… and I’m going to be on again on the 28th December. Just can’t keep me off it! Doing an On-air Nature Blog for Radio Solent on their “Good Life” programme. The other day was just talking about blogging on the morning show. Trying to get people interested in getting their own blog (hence the post). TV… I don’t think so! Started UE in October 2007 – I’m quite proud to have kept it going for over a year… usually I lose interest in stuff in a couple of weeks but this blogging lark is addictive! Jane

  7. I love that photo of the hedgehog Jane. Have a great Xmas and if you can, I’m trying to get blogers to post their Xmas sightings on the 3/4th Jan – just a bit of fun, have a look at my latest posting, spread the word.

  8. Hi Jane, great blog and really good post for people considering starting up a blog. Thanks so much for including Rural Diaries on your blogroll. Have you tried stock.xchng for photos, they have some great countryside ones and many are free.

  9. Still confused about blogging, would like to report a brilliant white headed bullfinchin our garden, after listening to radio solent today will try and report on bees

  10. Hi Jackie. Sorry to hear you are still confused about blogging. I was trying to write a blog that would help people just like you. Let me know what it is that is still confusing you… I might be able to help. White headed bullfinch… that sounds very strange. It would be brilliant if you could get a picture of it. Good luck with the bee watching and thanks for visiting my blog. Jane

  11. Your article was helpful…but I want to know how do people actually generate income from blogging? I am interested in writing and also promoting a women’s clothes website I am in the process of creating. Can you explain to this “blogging idiot” how the money comes from blogging? Thanks gina

  12. Hi Gina. As I said at the beginning. This blog is purely for “fun” so I don’t make any money from it… just try to stimulate responses to the things I write. However others do use them in conjunction with their business. If you do a search for “commercial blogging” or “business blogging” on Google you should get a few ideas of how you can use it with your business. Thanks for stopping by. Jane

  13. Hi Frowedurada. It’s one of WordPress’s free templates called “chaotic soul” however it doesn’t look like you can use it anymore, but there are other black themes that are available. You just need to get yourself a wordpress.com blog (FREE) and then choose a template. Jane

  14. Enjoyed the post Jane, the information is easy to read and understand. I especially like how you describe the process from your actual experience…thank you.

  15. Did you take the photo to the hedge hog at the top of your blog? You must have a load of patience if you did get al these, the animals do not exactly sit around waiting to have their portraits taken. You said some things are taken from photo selling web business.
    And thank you for the tips on starting a blog. Your title is almost the same as a book that is out there, eight chapters, how to BLog> Yours

  16. Thanks for all your comments. No I didn’t take the hedgehog photo (although we did have a hedgehog in the garden last night!) all the photos came from Wikipedia and iStockphoto. Wikipedia allows some of it’s photos to be used free, iStockphoto is very cheap! Hope the tips help.

  17. How useful was this info on a 1 – 10 scale? 10, said Dudley about Bo Derek (for those old enough to remember!) Having only just realised that I should be doing this blogging business as a new old writer, I have trawled through pages and pages of blurb and made very little sense of any of it; this is a clear, logical step-by-step ‘How to’ – you must be British (personal bias seeping through, oops?) – Thanks for the help – love the hedgehog!

  18. Well, that was another interesting read – I’m about to start a blog which I can hopefully Monetize, but spent the last week or so researching it all – while it might be easy to register and indeed writing a blog, what is a struggle is finding relevant, interesting topics to write about – the research goes on! Thanks Jane.

    • Thanks Brenden – glad you found it useful. Good luck with your blog! Tough to get it to monetize. My blogs have only ever been for “fun” – that way you have a never ending stream of content, because you love the subject you are writing about.

  19. Almost in despair after an initial search which found me a lot of off-putting geek-speak , I entered “Blog sites for idiots” and found your entirely understandable guide. Excellent – totally unfrightening and very encouraging!

    • Thanks Don! Unfortunately this was written quite a few years ago now. Some of the things in the post might not be up to date, but hopefully most of it is still relevant. Good luck! – Jane

    • Domains are very cheap – I usually get mine at http://www.123-reg.co.uk but you don’t have to buy a domain name (if you blog name is near to the name you wanted anyway, it comes with the blog). No web hosting costs if you go for a wordpress.com blog. Really depends what you’re hoping to do with it as to how much it will cost. There are also a lot more options since I wrote this blog post in 2008, although I must say that IMO WordPress is still up there with the best! – Jane

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