December 14, 2005

A Beginners Guide to Blogging

According to definitions, blogging is ‘To write entries in, add material to, or maintain a weblog.’ OK, so what’s a weblog. Well, in simple terms a weblog or blog is an on-line diary – however it’s not a private diary (as most are) but rather a public diary where people can read and discuss your thoughts. Blogging is the equivalent of podcasting – just with text.

Blogging has been around for years but lately it has risen to a new level of prominence – and some blogs now generate as much web traffic as on-line newspapers. Anybody can become a blogger – and share their opinion with the world. Another great thing about blogs is that they can be interactive – readers can leave comments and others can even comment on the comments!

Popular blogs can generate a huge amount of interest and therefore traffic. The smart Bloggers try to monetise this traffic by using on-line advertising. Rather then in-your-face banner ads they use smaller more subtle content driven advertising that matches the content of of the blog to the ads. The rationale is that if you are interested in what you are reading about you are more likely to click on the ad about the same topic.

Some of my favourite blogs are Engadget and Boing Boing. Each has a unique style and I often check these sites regularly.

Creating a blog 3 years ago required intricate knowledge of HTML (the language of the web) however now there are websites dedicated to helping you set up a blog. My favourite is Blogspot.

Once you create your blog space you are ready to blog. Simply click ‘New Post’ and start your blog entry. In your entry you can add images and links – I’d suggest adding both to your entry as this makes for more entertaining reading for your audience. And speaking of your audience how can you get people to notice you.

In the Blogger preferences you can add yourself to their directory of blogs – this will generate some traffic. A better way is to email your blog link around to your friends and ask them to forward it on to anyone you think might be interested. Next thing to do is add your blog address to Google to generate even more traffic.

If you do create a blog try to keep in current by updating it frequently – that way you’ll have people coming back to see whats new rather then a once off visit – and you’ll find that it can become cathartic, a new way to vent your angst!