So you are ready to jump in and blog? Great! While I will be going on here to explore other aspects of blogging, there are some great how-to sites out there that introduce you to the major blog platforms and show you, step-by-step, how to physically get started. And they do it a lot better than I can!
So if you’re ready to take the leap and start blogging today, here are my recommendations for how-to information. There are links to sites for you to read, sites with lots of illustrations, videos to watch, and even links to good books, if that is your preference.
Get started – but keep coming back here for more advice on how to improve and build your blog.
The major blog platforms:
http://www.blogger.com is one of the most well-known blogging platforms. Owned by google.com, it’s a good site for folks who want to keep their blog simple, and/or want really easy connection from their blog to google’s other services. On the other hand, blogger.com is quite limited in a number of ways, and if you have big blogging plans, you might want to consider WordPress or TypePad or some other platform with more options. There’s a good basic tour of blogger here.
Blogger has pretty good instructions on their site, but if you’re still a bit confused, you can check out this site. I should mention that blogger.com has come out recently with a new draft interface (which I actually really like). You can find out more about it here.
WordPress.org is the self-hosted version of the WordPress blog platform. WordPress is an Open Source project, with hundreds of people all over the world working on it and constantly improving it. It is free and completely customizable and can be used for almost any blog or website purpose. You’ll need to find a web host, but in the long run self-hosting will give you a lot more flexibility.
WordPress.org has its own Codex (online manual). It’s very complete, but sometimes a bit confusing for beginning bloggers. Fortunately, there are a great many other WordPress how-to sites out there, some of which are listed below. You can find WordPress’s Codex here.
If you are planning to blog for the long-term, and especially if you are going to be marketing from your blog, you should check out this very popular platform. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something a little simpler (though a little less flexible)…
WordPress.com is a hosted service of wordpress.org that allows you to get started with a new, free WordPress-based blog quickly and easily. And if you later decide to upgrade to a self-hosted blog with all the bells and whistles and the latest options and technology, it’s really easy to move to wordpress.org … You can sign-up for WordPress.com here.
And yes, wordpress.com is my personal favorite for beginning bloggers. Give it a try. It’s free, it’s easy, and if you don’t like it you’ll still learn a lot about blogging basics, with very little effort 🙂
Another popular blog platform, one that has been around for a long time, and is well respected and trusted. Some of the world’s top probloggers, like Seth Godin, started with TypePad when the other options were not available or just beginning. And even though some folks have switched to other platforms, Seth and others have been very happy to stick with typepad.com. TypePad does charge a low annual fee, but they have a free trial to start.
Moveabletype.com is an “All-in-One Social Publishing Platform” on which to create websites and blogs. I haven’t had personal experience with MoveableType, but have seen a number of great sites built on this platform. My impression is that it is particularly useful for people and companies wanting to create especially professional sites, and for those who are (or becoming) software developers – for which they have a special site.
An alternative to consider: blog community sites
Afraid to start a blog of your own? You might want to experiment first by joining a blog community. blog.com has more than 2 million members, and blogging there is free and easy. Blog.com is a good place to start if you are really nervous, or if you just want to play around with blogging.
Another blog community type platform. Check it out.
Note: There are all kinds of blog communities out there. Some are general (like the above), while others specialize in particular niches. Do some exploring!
Some really good how-to sites:
A useful site with a good variety of free and low-cost training materials of various kinds.
Join WordPress Academy and receive a free e-book “WordPress 101 Quick Start – Your first site in 2 hours.” There is also a WordPress in one hour webinar and be sure to check out their training packages.
Tentblogger (John Saddington)
My favorite site for learning to use WordPress and also for information on internet marketing. Very well illustrated! Check out the Blogging Foundations Starter Kit and the Ultimate Guide to Launching a WordPress-Powered Blog. There are also WordPress themes and Plug-ins John has created himself and you can download and use.
Very simple, clear, step-by-step walk-through on all the basics. A great site to start.
Problogger (Darren Rowse)
While not overall a site for prebloggers (total beginners), if your aim is to become a “problogger” (make good money from your blog/ become an online marketer) this is my #1 choice.
Check out: The home page…. ProBlogger’s Guide to Your First Week of Blogging (a great, clear guide for new bloggers aiming to one day become probloggers)…. How to Blog: Blogging Tips for Beginners Guide: links to posts on the ProBlogger site with beginner tips…
Ebook “31 days to build a better blog” (for folks with some blogging experience who want to go to the next level. If you would like to work through the 31 days with other folks, rather than on your own, join “the SITS girls.” They work through the 31 day program periodically. They have already done it in June 2011, and are doing it again September 2011 and February 2012.
Book: If you’re nervous about online learning, I recommend this book: “ProBlogger: Secrets For Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income” (2nd edition; by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett). While the emphasis is on problogging, it also has good introductory information on starting a blog.
Bloggingteacher.com has a very basic, simple, clear introduction to using wordpress.org.
Post: “Beginning to Blog: Part 1 – What blog package should I use?”
This is a great little introduction to the main blog platforms: Blogger, WordPress, LiveJournal, TypePad, MoveableType, Drupal, and some others. A tad out-dated perhaps (2007) but still a useful overview.
bloggingbasics101 (Melanie Nelson)
If you are particularly interested in the connection between blogging and social networking (like Facebook) you might want to take a look at this site. Melanie goes over these platforms: Blogger, TypePad, WordPress, MoveableType. She also provides some video tutorials on how to set up a blog with Blogger, and has a variety of posts on different aspects of setting up a blog.
Basics of Blogging Toolkit (Beth Hayden)
If you want to spend a bit of money, you can check out this “toolkit“. Beth also offers personal help (for a price, of course). She specializes in TypePad and WordPress.
Videos on creating a simple blog:
If you prefer watching videos to reading directions, there are lots of choices out there. For example:
– How to Create A Simple Blog – WordPress Basics Part 1. And – How to Set up a Blog For Beginners – includes videos on using various major blog platforms (Blogger, WordPress, TypePad, Vox) as well as lots of info on blogging basics.
Don’t see what you’re looking for here? You might want to check out the BookMarketingMaven post, “Create, Maintain, and Promote Your Author Blog.” It lists site and posts with How-to guides, classes and articles; free podcasts; blogging platforms; hosting sites; free tutorials; and more.
Question of the Day: Is there anything else about the mechanics of blogging that you need information on? List it in the comments below and we’ll try to find a site that answers your question.
Tip of the Day: Start really simply. You have lots of time down the road to build, improve, and expand your blog. But DO GET STARTED!
Put it into Action: Start your new blog TODAY! Then put a link to it in the comments below, so we can check it out and encourage you. Tell us the name of the blog, its purpose, its niche, and your future hopes and plans.