The reasons to blog can be dime a dozen, so I am sure you have one as well. That is good. Having a reason to write will increase your chances of actually writing something on your blog that some innocent soul may find interesting. Or worthy of the holy-grail of blogging, a comment!
To start writing, all you’d need is a pen and a piece or pad of paper. To start blogging, you’d need a computer, some (if not ample) web space, a blogging software/platform and eventually an internet connection. You can get the hosting, domain etc here (please note, I own this little enterprise, so buying from this may end up benefiting me directly. Can you live with that? ).
When you have the necessary items set up (PC, Web space, Blogging Platform), you would start off by writing about what you feel like. This will give you a high of unmeasured proportions. And it will get you probably no where. Our lives are highly interesting to us and only us. Unless you present it from the readers’ perspective that makes it interesting for them. It has a lot to do with presenting your content that is sell-able (selling here does not necessary mean earning a profit in terms of money – it means earning a profit in terms of your readers’ attention). Take a clue from newspapers; they are not in the business of reporting the facts, they are in the business of selling newspapers. Some of the times, facts make way into their papers, but that is a function of selling to the market. So, now that you are over your Homer Simpson moment, I suggest you take stock of what you want to say, and how you can make it interesting. (Of course, this advice is for the general, everyday blogger. If you are into serious publishing, then finding your market is the only thing that will differentiate between your success or failure. And yes, I said the only thing. But given that you are an everyday blogger who wants to say what he or she feels needs to be said, then read on.)
There is no difference between blogging and writing as such. All writers are not bloggers, but all bloggers are writers. How good or bad they are at writing is directly proportional to how good or bad their blogging (and their blogs) becomes. So I will play your boring English teacher and tell you to write correctly, write to the point and stay objective. But then I’d be wrong. Are you always correct, to-the-point and objective? You should be, yes, but are you? If you are mostly level-headed and have trained yourself to look at both sides of the story etc, then this will automatically get reflected in your writings. If you are not ‘all that’, then do not hide behind any metaphorical mask. Yes, yes, I know, the Internet is all about being anyone you want. The y2K was also all about instant doom. So people say things all the time that they know nothing about. Probably because they wear a mask and pretend to be someone they are not. Get it? Stay true to yourself. If you feel the need to, change yourself, not just your writing (and blogging).
Now that you are ready to blog, you would have to pick your blogging platform. Just cut through the jungle and go for WordPress, only the best damn blogging platform on the planet. Yes, it is free and yes it is ‘remarkable’.
You can also try some of the following tools to enhance your blogging exeprience:
- Scribe Fire, (Scribe Fire website) only because I downloaded it like three minutes ago.
- You can also try out an account at Flickr, or Youtube to get a nice little collection of your blogged or bloggable pictures and videos.
- Social websites like Facebook (I use) and Digg (I don’t use much) can play a part in promoting your blog in a white-hat manner.
- If you want to try your hands at making some money, you can get an Adsense account (I have but don’t use) or an Amazon affiliate account (I have and use). But given you are an everyday blogger, your bling-bling won’t be that much of a thing-thing. So go easy on that. Focus on what you want to say and say it in the most effective presentation that you can muster.
But tools are just that, tools. What you really need is content. Yes, content. As has always been the case, Content is King. Undisputed all the way. Make sure your content is interesting and intices the reader for a reaction (possible manifestation of a reaction is a comment on your post). Based on the reactions, you can have the all important feedback and adjust your style of writing and if required, your content accordingly.
To get content, aah, now this is where men are separated from the boys, my friends. (I usually am a male chauvanist oink-oink, but seriously, the expression ‘women are separated from the girls’ is not as mmm, expressive, and ‘middle-aged persons are separated from the adolescent persons’ is just way too politically correct to be any fun).
Getting content is a lifelong exercise. Observation and that cat-killer curosity are essential in coming up with content that not only your audience likes, but you enjoy in creating and sharing as well. And for this, my friends, you would need a life. So go get one.
It makes blogging all the more easier.