So You Want to Start a Blog

Bloggers do it for the clicks

People start blogs for a variety reasons. Some start a blog to generate an income, some do it out of passion and many businesses create blogs to engage their existing customers. Blogging, which is an integral part of  any social media marketing strategy, can do wonders for a business, whether it be brick and mortar or virtual. The first question a potential blogger should ask is what are their motivations and expectations. Determining this will make choosing the correct blogging platform much easier.

Do you plan on creating an income generating website, or do you simply want to share your life, talents, expertise and opinions with the world? If the latter sounds more to your liking, then I would suggest checking out Tumblr or Posterous (a great mobile blogging platform). Simply sign up for an account and you will be blogging in less than two minutes. Seriously! However, these types of platforms have their strengths and weaknesses. See below:

  • Strengths: Simplicity, ease of use, ease of cross-platform integration (facebook, twitter, etc.) and a built in audience. These platforms are built more for “lifecasters,” which many predict to be the future of social networking.
  • Weaknesses: A lack of flexibility, they are very difficult to monetize, they don’t optimize well with search engines, they don’t have very much design potential and they lack features and add-on applications. These platforms operate in giant, semi-closed networks of  fellow bloggers that interact with one another, but have minimal contact with “non-bloggers” that are just surfing the net.

Now for everyone else out there that wishes to venture into the wild (the wild web that is), I would suggest checking out WordPress. WordPress is a blogging platform that requires more work and effort, but offers a lot more flexibility and potential. Here’s a simple breakdown of what you need to do to create your own self hosted blog:

  1. Choose a hosting service. I use Godaddy, but there are a lot of these types of services out there. I like Godaddy because they’re a one stop shop for everything, they offer WordPress specific hosting plans and they have good customer service.
  2. Choose a domain name. I think people over emphasize choosing a name for their website sometimes. Create good content and people will find it no matter what. Food for thought: Myspace was actually a furniture website before becoming a social network and Google was supposed to be spelled “Googol.” They messed up the spelling when registering the domain. Oops!
  3. Install WordPress. If you don’t use Godaddy, you’ll have to install WordPress. Go here for simple installation instructions.
  4. Choose a theme. This is the fun part. WordPress is incredibly flexible. Check out Themeforest, Rockettheme or WordPress Themes. You can choose any theme you want for your blog and it requires no programming and little design work on your part.
  5. Get some plug-ins. WordPress has thousands of free plug-ins / add-ons that range from creating a chatroom on your blog to adding a shopping cart to automatically optimizing your site’s SEO.
  6. Start writing! – And that’s it. Check out Mary’s post, Blogging 101, for great tips on how to successfully engage your readers.

For a great comparison of different blogging platforms, check out this article as well. It’s clear and concise.

Now get out there and start sharing. And if you need any help, don’t forget I’m always just a click away.

(You can also find this article at MoreThanMary.com as well as more very helpful articles on life, fashion, fitness and travel.)

Crowdkindle.com – Let's Start a Fire

I’m developing a new website that I just decided to name Crowdkindle.com. It’s one of the more basic websites I have in development, but it has me excited! It’s very much me!

I plan on merging the match.com concept with my own ideas. I hope to turn Crowdkindle into a place where those garage tinkering dreamers can share their thoughts and connect with like minded individuals.

The concept is creativity and innovation, my hope is collaboration and my goal is to free everyone’s minds. I think it will be a lot of fun and this is only the beta version.

Follow me as I take you through the steps of creating your own fully functioning website! I’ll be posting articles as I develop the site and show you the little tricks I’ve learned.

What do you think of the logo?? I greatly appreciate any feedback and ideas for the site!

Social Media Marketing – Visuals Are Key

It’s like they always said in business school when giving presentations, visuals are key. Today’s ritalin popping culture is growing more and more dependent on visuals and short excerpts rather than essays and articles. And the more businesses try to reach their customers over the internet, the more engaging content they must create.

The saying a picture is worth a thousand words could not be truer in today’s market. And if a picture is worth a thousand, then a video (well put together) is worth a hundred thousand.  For bloggers, this means posting more photos in their articles and more videos of themselves. For companies, it may mean more videos of end-users interacting with their products or perhaps photos or videos of company events.

The costs of electronics has taken a nose dive the past few years. Good digital camerasand HD flipcamsare very affordable at around $150. Sites such as Youtube and Vimeo are free services that allow users to upload and broadcast their videos. Flickr is another free site that allows users to upload large amounts of photos for online use and sharing. Clearly, the costs of production and broadcasting are no longer to expensive for small businesses or individuals.

Examples: Check out MoreThanMary.com to see great examples of how a successful blogger does it. Mary has mastered the art of using visuals online and I myself have learned tons from her. Another great site to check out is ShopWatchBuy.com. I just recently discovered this and love its creativity. This site has taken the visual concept to the next level by allowing users to sell their products using their own videos.

So bloggers…stop being camera shy (I totally am, but that’s going to change). As for businesses, start getting creative with advertising via multimedia, and start engaging with your customers.

This is a whole new type of branding, where creativity is more important than the budget. No more giant billboards. No more million dollar Super Bowl commercials. They’re being replaced with amateur videos that cost squat and can reach the hearts of millions.

This is Our World Now..

http://www.retireat21.com/top-young-entrepreneurs/

Anyone who doesn’t think we’re surrounded by opportunities should take a look at the link above. Looking at what seems like high school yearbook photos of just “normal” looking kids, I can’t help but feel encouraged and even excited.

Some of these guys and girls used creativity and innovation, some used passion and some just got lucky. Some may have had a little more start up capital than others, but look at #35. He started that site with nothing, got a little publicity and his concept exploded…it was F’in brilliant!

#18 started with a simple forum for webmasters. #6 is one of the simplest concepts I’ve ever seen. #2 blows my mind and makes me realize how much money is really in social gaming.

My point is, if they can do it…you can do it. We can do it.