How to Create Your Own Blog

Several times a week I am asked two questions:

1. What is a blog?
2. How can I make my own blog?

So, I thought I would take a break from the deadly serious subject of health and wealth and tackle another tough subject: blogging… and, how to do it.

What is a blog?
Let’s start with a definition. The term blog was created by combining the two terms “web” and “log.” Somewhere along the line, someone simplified these into the single word, blog. A blog is a journal of sorts that stores and displays (usually in reverse chronology) a person’s blog posts (articles).

Most blogs are articles around a certain subject. For instance, my blog HIVLongevity.com was created to discuss how I’ve survived all of these years despite being HIV+. As you can see (if you read my other blog), not all of my articles are specific to surviving, but most all of them relate back to the subject in some form or fashion.

You will find that almost all blogs out there have a way for readers and subscribers to comment on a specific post. In this way there is often an open dialog between the author(s) and readers. Therein lies the magic of a blog!

Should you create a blog?
Do you have a story to tell? Or, do you have lots of things to say that you think others would dig reading? You first might consider sticking to simple social media avenues like Twitter and the Facebook. But, if you, like me, feel compelled to post long diatribes on a routine basis then maybe a blog is for you. An important question is: Will you be able to keep up with a blog? Many authorities in the blogging world recommend posting a blog article AT LEAST once per week. Most say that you should even do more than that (think two or three per week at a minimum). Despite what you might think, this is much tougher than you can imagine without trying it!

If you think you have something to share. And, that you’ll be able to share that weekly (or more often). And, (perhaps most importantly) that others will be interested in what you have to say/share… Then a blog may be just the thing for you.

Before moving forward and creating a blog, I would recommend going out and reading other people’s blogs. Find ones that you like and read them on a regular basis. Note what they do that you like, and what they do that bugs you. This way you will be more prepared to provide a good blog for your future fans.

How is a blog created?
One of the first things you need to decide is if you want to host or be hosted. What that mostly means is how your URL will look. When I created hivlongevity.com and healthywealthytribe.com I decided to host it myself; which gives me the unique URL and a little bit more control (including deciding not to have someone else’s ads on my blog). If I had gone the hosted route, my blog URL might have been something like: healthywealthytribe.wordpress.com

If you can afford to pay for a URL and site, and have the additional time needed to manage and administer your own site, I would recommend hosting it yourself. In addition to not having some provider’s ads on your blog, you also get the unique name, and to me it feels more like your personal site.

That said, a free hosted blog site can be a good way to get started and learn the ropes. Just remember that if your idea/blog takes off and you decide to host it yourself later that you will not necessarily take your subscribers with you! Migration from a hosted blog to your own site is not an easy process, and you may lose readers along the way. Think this out before deciding.

Creating a hosted blog is extremely easy. You simply go sign-up at a service like:

wordpress.com
www.blogger.com
www.movabletype.com

If you plan to do the hosting yourself, then I recommend using a provider like godaddy.com or someone similar. GoDaddy has a very easy process and you can stand up a server with pre-installed blog software using your very own domain name.

I purposely didn’t go into deep detail here, because there are lots of sites that have already done this. If you are new to domain creation and blog install, I would recommend visiting one or more of the following sites:

firstsiteguide.com/start-blog *note: most comprehensive blog creation site I’ve ever run into!
howtostartablog101.org
www.wikihow.com/Start-a-Blog

Another great resource (as usual) is en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog

How Long Will This Process Take Me?
The first thing you need to do is come up with a catchy name that isn’t already taken. This can take a few hours of investigation. After the name is decided, getting the domain name, setting up hosting, and installing your preferred blog software is normally accomplished within an hour or two.

Once that is complete, you will need to select a theme (free or paid) and install it. Selection can take anywhere from ten minutes to ten hours depending on how much research you do. Installation of the theme is a simple process and only takes a few minutes.

The tough part is editing your theme to make the site precisely the way you want it. This includes adding “plugins” to add the cool features you want on your blog. You’ll also add pages as needed (like about, contact, etc.) Expect this editing/adjusting part to take a solid twelve or more hours… if you’re doing it right.

Now comes the easy(ish) part. Posting your first article. I like to do a “Hello, world!” post to get things kicked off.

Once you have that first article published, consider writing other ones in advance and scheduling them. Most blog environments offer the ability to postpone publishing until a future date. Doing this ensures that you’ll have fresh content going up on a regular basis.

I like to plan on an ENTIRE weekend to fully create a blog site and get the first article published.

How to Attract Readers to Your New Blog
Once you have the blog in place and have done a post or two, start by bouncing it off your friends with emails and status post on your favorite social media site(s). With a little bit of feedback, you should be able to adjust and work up to a mighty masterpiece.

When you feel that your blog is ready for the general population, you can freely advertise it by going to other (similar) blogs and replying to blog articles as comments. You will notice that most blog comments allow you to put your website URL in there… Insert your blog URL. Before you know it, you will start to have a following and it will grow by word of mouth.

Deeper marketing and publicity ideas are easily found on blogs around the web.

Most of all; make sure that you are having fun with your blog.

Now… Start writing!

Your friend and fellow blogger,
Vaughn

p.s. In future posts, I will tackle deeper blog subjects like: plugins, themes, getting readers, advertisements, and even make some side-money posting. Until then, I hope this was useful.

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About Vaughn Ripley

Vaughn is a happily married daddy, author, and CIO. He is an HIV+ hemophiliac, and is one of the longest surviving HIV+ people in the universe.
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Follow Vaughn on Twitter: @vripley
Like Vaughn's page on the Facebook: www.facebook.com/VaughnFRipley
Read his personal blog: HIVLongevity.com
Visit his web page: www.VaughnRipley.com

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