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How To Start A Blog

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Kimberly Clay

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It is assumed here that anybody wanting to know how to start a blog does not already have one, and has only a slight idea about what a blog really is. The first couple of paragraphs will tell what a blog actually is, and then we will get down to explaining to you how to start a blog using the two main free blogging services: Blogger and Wordpress.

The term ‘blog’ is short for ‘weblog’, the word ‘log’ being used as a diary, such as a ship’s log, in which the captain would record the daily events on board. A web log is a diary of a website, and the main events happening on the site, including any changes made to any of the web pages. Each change would be recorded on the blog, and a link provided to the web page referred to.

Although some blogs are still being used in this way, the majority are now being used without a website. You can start a blog without having a website, and use it as a personal diary of your thoughts or actions just like a normal diary, or even as a mini-website, where you sell your products and place adverts.

So that’s enough about what blogs are. Now to the main question: how to start a blog? There are two main types of free blogging software – Blogger and Wordpress, so let’s find out how to register and get your blog going with each of these. After that we will discuss which is the better: that will depend on the use to which you put your blog. First Blogger.


BLOGGER

Blogger is owned by Google, and there is some speculation that Blogger blogs get preference in the Google search engine listings, all other aspects of each blog being equal. To register for a Blogger blog go to the Blogger website at www.Blogger.com and look for a link that says ‘Create Your Blog Now’.

 

Click on 'Create Your Blog Now' to create a Google account if you don't already have one. Follow these instructions:

 

 

1. You will first be asked for an email address, password and user name. You then have to enter the captcha code that prevents autobots from creating a blog, and accept the terms of service.

2. Next you will be required to name your blog. It will be easiest for interested readers searching the Internet to find your blog if you give it a title relevant to what the blog is about. If it is a personal blog call it ‘Dave’s blog’, or ‘My Family Diary’ or anything you want.

 

 

You will be asked for a URL. That is the web address on which your blog can be found if anybody wants to access it. It is the address you send to others in emails or online, that they click on to get to your blog. The default you will be shown is http://(BOX).blogspot.com – you fill in (BOX) with the name you want to give to your blog. Not the title as above, but the name for it, such as ‘familydiary’, so that your blog can be found on http://familydiary.blogspot.com

 

3. Finally, you will be asked to select a template that will be the design for your blog page. You will then be taken to a page where you will compose your blog post, first entering a title for your post and then writing the post itself - it is as simple as that.

4. Custom Domain Name

You will also see that Blogger offers the option of hosting your blog elsewhere – such as your own website. If you take this option you will be asked for the ftp server, and your user name and password. You can then put the blog on your own website. That allows you to use your own custom domain name for your blog. To this you first need to have a domain, which is another topic, but if you already have a website then that can be used as the name for your blog.

This is particularly useful if you have the option of subdomains on your website. You can park the subdomain on your site and use that as a virtual website. Use the name of the subdomain as the name of your blog and you are all set: this is as true with Blogger as it is with Wordpress. If you have a subdomain, then you will know enough about using such names as the URL of your blog not to need further help with this.

It is only by doing that, however, that Blogger can begin to approach the possibilities of Wordpress, although you still don’t have the functionality or are able to use your own templates with Blogger as you can with Wordpress. You are therefore likely better to use Wordpress for custom blog domain names than Blogger because you can also use custom templates and sidebars.

Also a Blogger blog doesn’t belong to you but to Google – don’t forget that. All Blogger blogs are the property of Google. Do not take this option of using your blog on your own website if you are not sure of how ftp and blog hosting works: this can come later once you are more familiar with blogging.

Now for Wordpress. This is one alternative to Blogger that some prefer, although others prefer Blogger. It’s much like tea or coffee – each has its own advantages and adherents.


WORDPRESS

To start a Wordpress blog, go to the wordpress.com website. Then:

1. Click to start a new blog, and fill in the details requested. You will be asked for a user name, password and email address just as with Blogger. Your user name in this case will be the URL address of your blog. If your user name is myblog, then your blog URL will be http://myblog.wordpress.com – the blog title will also initially be myname, but you can change that later.

2. You will be sent an email and unlike Blogger will have to activate your account.

3. Choose a template and off you go, just like Blogger.

With Wordpress, you own your blog, not a search engine, and if you want to operate your blog from your own website you do so from http://www.wordpress.org – you will then be provided with instructions on how to do it, but unless you are familiar with ftp and how to set up and work with mysql databases, you are best to get help.

So what’s the difference between them?


BLOGGER Vs WORDPRESS

They are both just as easy to get started with for the beginner, but Wordpress has more going for it if you want functionality, especially if you upload the software to your website. Blogger is not so easy to customize as Wordpress, but some find Wordpress harder to set up, although if you have a modicum of intelligence it is not difficult.

Wordpress is a full content management system, made to look like a blog, and as such has far much more functionality. If you know anything about HTML you can design your own blog pages, although there are thousands of Wordpress themes online, both free and professionally designed for a fee. You don’t get that with Blogger.

You can design Wordpress just like a website, with all the functionality and plugins that go with it, something not possible with Blogger. Nor can Google pull the carpet from beneath you as they can with Blogger that they own.

So, to put it in a nutshell, Blogger is best for newbies to blogging since it is easier to start blogging and you don’t need any special knowledge, while Wordpress is better for the more advanced that are able to use HTML to customize their blog pages, sidebars and headings. If you want to add your own custom graphics to your heading, Wordpress is perfect, but if you simply want to pass on information using a simple blogging system, then Blogger is perfect for you.

It is Blogger that we recommend for those starting their first blog, and once you understand how blogging works, then you might want to consider either checking out Wordpress, or first trying Blogger from your website.

However, the choice is yours, and if you need any further help on installation then we will be delighted to help you. Try it yourself first though, since neither Blogger nor Wordpress are difficult to get started with, and the way to learn is to try it yourself. You will be surprised at how easy it is to start a blog.

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