Weblog is what a blog stands for. I know the term “weblog” sounds quite unfamiliar, but this is what it originally meant, and over the period of time blog has completely obliterated the term weblog. A blog has started its life as a personal online journal that evolved over the period of time to become quite many things. I have put the amount of time required to finish each task against the headings, and if you follow along, your blog will be up and running in 30 minutes flat.
Minutes 1-3: Know what is a blog
A blog is the daily news paper, a magazine, a teacher that teaches something, a guide that tells you where to go for the vacation, a mentor that grooms you, an entertainer that entertains you by sharing best of the web entertainment, an e-commerce website, etc., in short, a blog is everything that the Internet could ever be. Many people will argue this, but I will strongly advocate that the blog has turned up to become the Internet for many people.
Facebooks, MySpaces, Twitters, Diggs, Googles, Bings and Reddits of the world are there, but it is the blog that give the Internet a character that it possesses. It’s the blog that has given a real power to each one of us.
“A blog (a contraction of the term “weblog”) is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.”
— Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog)
Minutes 3-6: Where to Blog?
Well, the dumb answer to this question would be, “on the Internet,” but I should not act dumb and pretend to be wise, therefore, I assume that you are interested in knowing the blogging platforms to use.
If you are a new to blogging, or you have just come to search for a blogging platform then either of the two holds true for you:
1. You think blogger (the website that gives you yourname.blogspot.com for free) is the default platform for blogging,
2. You already have a yourname.blogspot.com and want to know where to go from here.
In either case, you are not well aware of the range of choices you have. Hence; I am going to list names of the blogging platforms that are available for you to choose from.
Apache Roller, b2evolution, BlogEngine.NET, Blogger, http://blogge.rs, blosxom, dasBlog, Dotclear, DotNetNuke, Drupal, Frog CMS , Elgg , Gandi, Gawker Media platform, Habari, Jaws, Joomla, Livejournal, LifeType, LiveJournal, Movable Type, Moxietype, MySpace, Open Diary, Nucleus CMS, PivotX, Posterous, PyBlosxom, Serendipity, Skyrock, Slash, Subtext , Textpattern , Tumblr, TypePad, Typo, Vox, Windows Live Spaces, WordPress , Xanga, Zine, etc.
Phew! It’s too many. Let’s go home and grab some beer. There is no point in wasting time even thinking to blog.
Not all the platforms mentioned above are created equal, nor are they regarded equal. Some like WordPress, blogger, typepad, Movable Type, b2evolution, Gawker Media platform, Joomla etc., are more in demand than their counterparts, which forces us to ask what makes them so popular?
Minutes 6-16: Apply the usability and Popularity filter
I strongly recommend people to choose WordPress for blogging because of the following reasons:
- WordPress is free
- It has tens of thousands of free themes to use
- Thousands of plug-ins to extend the capability of your blog
- Short learning curve
- Easy to install and use
- Free forum support
- Highly customizable widgets, and
- WordPress is the best
At the same time, I feel not everyone should go by my word, but instead he should pose some questions, answers to which will take him to the right blogging platform.
Why do you want to blog?
- If you want to remain in the blogging business for long then consider using a platform that is more popular because a less popular blog platform may stop providing any support or update anytime.
- Choose a platform that has more features and which is extensible.
How much are you willing to spend?
- Does your budget allow spending on a blogging platform? Do not reach for your wallet just yet; you must know all the expenses you will incur before paying for the licensing fee.
- If you go for a self-hosted blog then you will at least have to pay for domain name and hosting services.
- Depending upon your goal and preferences, you may have to pay for blog theme and plug-ins.
- Buying an offline blog writing and posting tool can be an optional expense as well; optional because you can use a freeware alternative.
How much technology do you know?
Hosted or stand-alone blog
- You also need to decide if you want to get a domain of your own and web hosting space, or you want to go for hosted domain? WordPress.com, blogger, and Typepad are most notable among hosted blog providers. More often than not, hosted blogs are free.
- A stand-alone blog gives you more control, but it is complicated to set-up, and it involves some cost.
- A hosted blog is often free, but such blogs are not very flexible, and is less configurable, and comes with its own set of drawbacks.
Which blog platform is widely used?
- For untrained eyes, this does not matter, but for professionals, power of community matters. The blog platform that has most support will tend to last long, stay fit, and will remain more extensible.
- You can reap the reward of wisdom of crowd, if you go with the most popular blog platform.
Minutes 17-29: Themes and Plug-ins Selection
This is the most crucial part, and this will determine how your blog will look and how it will feel. To control how your blog looks, you will have to work on the theme part, and to control how your blog functions (feels), you will have to install plug-ins.
The web is full of various plug-ins and professional-looking themes that will change your blogging experience, if you use WordPress as a blogging platform. Due to its open-source nature, WordPress attracts thousands of developers that develop free themes as well as free plug-ins for the platform. Just search the Internet, and you will be spoiled by the choices served to you.
There are various professional themes and plug-ins as well. The professionally designed themes can only be chosen, if you do not like any free theme, or if you are unable to edit an available theme. A customized theme can also be a good bet, if the budget is not a problem for you.
Themes may be used interchangeably, but when it comes to plug-ins, the story changes. There are quite a few useful paid plug-ins which cannot be replaced by their “free” counterparts. If need arises, you will have to purchase them, but in my experience, not everyone needs them.
Minutes 30: Search for an alternative
After reading the above list, if you felt that setting up a blog on your own is too complicated for you, and that you do not want to waste your time by trying the improbable, if not impossible, then here is a piece of good news for you. Instead of sweating over the blog setup on your own, you can hire a professional who does these kinds of works by taking a small fee. There are some benefits of having a professional as well.
Benefits of hiring a professional to setup your blog:
- You will not have to lose your sleep over lines of codes and quality of the end product.
- You will get a professionally optimized blog, devoid of excess lines of codes.
- You will get a good looking blog that will have all the necessary functionality built-in, and for that you will not have to go through hundreds if not thousands of themes and plug-ins.
- You will get ready-to-use blog in no time.
- You can save time to create content and marketing plan, which is the backbone of a blog.