How to create a blog

If you’ve decided that you’d like to blog, or at least that you’d like to dip your toe in the water and see if blogging is for you, you’ll be pleased to know that you don’t have to expend a huge amount of time or effort – or money.

Blogging can be as easy as writing! Photo by Denise Krebs http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrsdkrebs/The first thing to do, and probably the most difficult, is to think of a name for your blog. It can be pretty general, it can include your name, or it can include words which indicate the subject matter of your blog. It’s up to you.

You also need to decide on a web address. This can be different from the name (or title). For example, I have a blog called My Writes, but its web address is http://terryfreedman.blogspot.co.uk/.

Once you’ve decided on a name and a web address, it would be a good idea to check whether or not someone else has used them. You can do so by searching for them, eg by using Google.

Next, set up a blog in either Wordpress or Blogger. Each has a different interface, and different (though overlapping) features. Which one is right for you is a matter of personal preference. Wordpress probably offers a potential greater degree of flexibility, because there are so many add-ons available for it. These are little programs that enhance or extend the functionality of the basic out-of-the-box application.

If you wish to host your website, both Blogger and Wordpress have paid-for options which low you to do so. Hosting your own blog means that you administer it on your own website. This has the advantage that you can basically do what you like with it in terms of its appearance and functionality, but has the disadvantage that you have to ensure that you keep everything up-to-date in terms of security patches.

For example, if someone discovers a major flaw in a piece of code you’ve installed, eg one that allows anyone with the right technical knowledge to hack into your blog and make changes to it without your permission or even knowledge, you would have to drop everything and make sure you install the security patch that will fix it, or upgrade the entire program.

To try Wordpress without paying anything up front, go to www.wordpress.com. This will enable you to create a blog with an address like www.mymusings.wordpress.com. Similarly, signing up for Blogger will enable you to create a blog with the address www.mymusings.blogspot.com.

These kind of web addresses are fine for trying out these services, or indeed blogging itself. Obviously, though, if you are thinking of running a business blog, a more professional-looking web address would be, say, www.mymusings.com.

To do so with Wordpress, go to www.wordpress.org. I understand that you can upgrade from the hosted (.com) to the self-hosted (.org) version if you wish to. See the Further Reading section for information on how to do so, and for further differences between the free and paid-for versions.

You can also upgrade a Blogspot web address to a customised one, and again this would be a paid option.

What I would recommend is trying out the free versions of Blogger and Wordpress for a week or two, to see which one you feel most comfortable with. Once you’ve decided that you can quietly drop the other one, and start promoting the one you’re going to use.

Further Reading

Self Hosted WordPress.org vs. Free WordPress.com [Infograph]

Wordpress.com and Wordpress.org

Upgrade from WordPress.com to SelfHosted WordPress.org