Recently, a number of my friends have decided to join me in being a blogger.
Most of them have asked me for tips on how to begin. I am certainly not at all an expert and I can only speak from my own experience. But here is the email I sent out to a girl named Amy this morning. I hope it's helpful to you also! If you decide to write, definitely let me know. I love reading others' blogs as much as I love writing my own!
Wow, I'm honored that you thought to ask ME this! I blog on Blogger.com or Blogspot.com. They are the same company, so typing both addresses will lead you to the same place. You can have your settings where the blog is completely private to you only, where it is viewable only to those people you approve, or where it is public.
You can also make your settings in such a way that your blogs will automatically replicate into Facebook. That is what I do. It is automated and can usually take about 15 minutes to do so.
I love the layout options you have with Blogger/Blogspot. Inserting and moving pictures around in the text is kind of archaic, but you'll get the hang of it.
Then, every few months, you should print out all your blogs and put them in a binder or something. That is what I do. Then I know I have a permanent record of them. When you're at the point where you're ready to print, contact me. Printing was tricky for me at first until I learned that (if I remember correctly), you can't print it from Firefox and you need a very specific, very long URL in order to few all your blogs at once.
This allows you to print only ONCE and get onto paper all of your blogs. When I tried to print before knowing all this, I had a hard time because I think Firefox would only print the first half of whatever blog was located at the top of my page. So weird!
Anyway, I fully support your decision to blog, and I will read you!! Your kids will appreciate the chance to look back and read the words of their mother. Intersperse pictures in your text, and you'll have an awesome blog.
As I've told others who entered the blogosphere, DON'T have high standards initially. If you tell yourself that your entries have to be amazing writing works with perfect grammar and punctuation, you'll be too afraid to write frequently. And unless you post FREQUENTLY and REGULARLY, you'll lose readers.
So my advice is to you is that, when you start out and are trying to obtain a loyal base of readers, post every 1 - 2 days so that people know they can rely on you!
Make them short so that your readers (who are also new to your blogging experience) will not be overwhelmed. In time, once you've hooked your readers like that, you can post longer entries or wait more time between posts and not have to worry about losing their loyalty and interest in you.
Since we are a very visual society, I think that every blog should have a picture. Search Google or any stock image site (like Corbis.com) until you find the perfect image that conveys all or part of your feelings.
Create a folder on your computer where you'll save "inspirational photos," that you randomly encountered and think you might like to use on a future blog. Currently, I have a folder that's holding 200 photographs that I love and hope to use in current writings.
Leave lots of blank "space" in your blog to make things eye-appealing and not overwhelming to your readers. This means you should have short paragraphs and that you should leave a free, empty line between them.
Be honest and candid with your readers, meaning that you should not be afraid to reveal when you are sad. Talk to your readers directly sometimes. For, even if you don't know who's reading you, you are developing a unique relationship with them. To complete this blogging experience, you need them as much as they need you.
Decide what "feeling" people will generally walk away with after they read your blog. Do you want to be viewed as a sensitive, thoughtful person or one who is confident and makes declarations about the world in which we live?
Don't reveal where you live. Don't mention yours or your friends' last names.
Inform your friends that you are starting to blog, and ask permission if you talk about any one person in particular and at length. Generally, you'll get a sense of who is comfortable being mentioned and who would rather that you not mention them at all. Remember, you can always use a fake name to protect a person's identity. But also remember that this blog is meant to be about YOU and your experience, not someone else's.
What you say is permanent. Somebody somewhere in the blogosphere probably keeps an archive of everything. Don't say something you will regret. And if you do, delete the posting.
Keep your posting as drafts until you're certain you want to publish. Many times, I sit down and write but then never post it because I haven't yet felt comfortable with the writing or the content. Sometimes that posting will sit as a draft for weeks before I finally find the right words or the perfect picture to bring it to publishing.
When beginning, choose carefully to whom you give your blog address. Is it something you only want your friends and family to see? If one colleague views it, are you OK with the whole office seeing it?
Lastly, expect that your blog will take on a life of its own (which is mostly good) -- but be prepared to reign it in if it gets too far away from your intended goals and themes.
When I first started blogging (on a different location), I decided I was going to write humorously only about ideas and thoughts and never about the details of my life. While it was fun blogging like that for about a year and a half, I ended up stopping that site abruptly because I noticed I was becoming sarcastic in my blogs (and I am never sarcastic). The blog had taken on a life of its own and had somewhat disconnected itself from me. So I stopped and restarted altogether, here on Blogger/Blogspot.
Good luck! And tell me your URL when you have it!