So you think you could be a successful blogger? Why not, with a commitment to learn and the ability to write and work hard, anything is possible. In this article I want to share some of the resources available to help you get started.
It is by no means a comprehensive guide – whole websites have been dedicated to this vast subject and a small article here will only help you get your head around the basics of what is available.
So I am assuming you have some sort of plan about this blog of yours. Is it going to be a personal style blog talking about subjects which inspire you? Perhaps you want to focus on a particular skill you have, some information you can share with the world. Do you need a business blog, somewhere to grow your customer base and break into online sales? All of these and many more are feasible; just have a look what’s out there.
I will outline some of the best ways to get started, depending on your circumstances. To start with you need a platform – a way to present your blog online.
Totally Free Blogging Platforms
Believe it or not there are lots of free services to get your first website up and running. Free blogs can be a great way to start – they give you some experience of how things work and you get to start writing – at no cost. You can even make money with a free blog.
There are different types of free blog hosts:
Single Page Free Blogs
Sites like Squidoo or Hubpages are free to use. You simply register with them and start writing articles one by one. They are not true websites of themselves but rather a collection of web pages published under your user account.
People use them for all sorts of informational articles and product reviews. They are good for writing about a wide range of subjects not necessarily related. Plus you can earn money through these sites either by promoting products or through advertizing revenue – where you get a share.
Free Website Platforms
These are different in that they allow you to build mini websites on their domain at no cost. Some good examples are Webs.com and Weebley.com but there are many more available.
Again you just need to sign up and you can start right away. These properties work by allowing you a limited amount of resources – web space basically – and then they will run adverts on your site and so make their money.
They can be a great starting point and are ideal for small niche websites focused around specific subjects. They are limited in certain ways either by the number of pages you can publish or the amount of space the overall site takes up (in memory terms).
Both the above examples of free host sites require very little in the way of technical know-how. If you can write and follow basic instructions you can get started.
The Case Against Free Blogs
They both have a shared major drawback in my opinion – you do not own or control the sites you create. They are hosted by the provider and are subject to their rules and conditions – which can change at short notice. Sometimes these services simply close down with little notice or else switch to a paid service leaving you with problems.
I would recommend them for trying things out and getting a start but for any serious projects you need to look at self hosted platforms. With self hosted blogging platforms you are the owner and are not at the mercy of some other company. You will be surprised at how cheap self hosting can be so don’t let that worry you.
If you get to the stage where you need a professional set up and have a reliable business type platform you need to consider the self hosted route.
Check out part two of this series about getting started with your own self hosted website.
Just Go For It!
Whatever route you choose to go, whether free or self hosted, the most important thing is to get started. Too many people get bogged down with the technicalities and can’t make decisions, endlessly considering which way to go.
My advice is to start writing and work on the details as you go. Successful blogging starts and ends with writing – the stuff in the middle matters, but without the words you have nothing.