Have you got an interesting story to tell? Starting a new project and want others to join the fun as well? Fancy yourself a bit of a journalist? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these, setting up a blog could be the perfect opportunity to get your work out of your bedroom, and into the world.
Blogging is like creating a diary for the web. It can be about anything from craft to cooking, from sport to scrapbooking. You could even make a blog about blogging! The possibilities are endless, and the best part is, it’s free!
Before you jump aboard the blogging craze, you must first choose a topic. Pick something that interests you, that you won’t get bored with and that can be updated regularly. Also make sure that you are blogging about things that you are happy for the whole world, including parents, teachers, friends and enemies, to be reading. Try to avoid topics that are too personal, because once you put something out into the World Wide Web, it’s stuck there forever.
Once you have that perfect topic sorted out, you next have to find the right website to host it. A host site is a website that helps with the creation and maintenance of blogs. They provide templates for starting up a blog and give you a URL. While a lot of blogging hosts charge a weekly fee, there are some out there that are completely free. Blogger (www.blogger.com) and Wordpress (wordpress.com)are two very well-known and trusted blogging platforms that won’t cost you a cent to use.
There are also some more child-friendly blogging platforms that cater to children and classes. Edmodo (www.edmodo.com)and Kid Blog (kidblog.org) are blogs especially designed for use in the classroom. They are monitored and completely safe for children to use.
Once you have chosen the right platform, just follow the steps to make an account with the website. They will ask you for your name, age and email address, and also get you to agree with their terms and conditions. If you have an account with the Google email service ‘Gmail’, you can sign up to Blogger using that same account.
Because I already have a Gmail account, I decided to test out the Blogger service. After making an account or signing in with an existing Google account, you will be asked to pick a title and web address for your blog. Choose your web address carefully, as this is quite often what will draw people towards reading your blog. It can also be quite tough to find an available web address, so be clever with the name.
Lastly, you will have to pick from the gallery of different templates to use as the basis of your blog. This is not so critical to get right the first time, as you can change this through the blog settings at any time. Try to find something that looks cool, but doesn’t draw too much attention away from your content.
After that, you are good to go! You can further customise your blog’s look through the design tab, and change your privacy and other setting through the settings tab at the top of your screen.
Once you have some posts on your blog, and you’re happy for the world to see them, you have to put your name out there. Tell your friends, family, neighbours and teachers to tell their friends, family, neighbours and teachers to visit your blog. Post comments using your account on similar blogs with your blog’s web address and tell their readers to visit it. Run competitions to help promote your blog. The more creative you are, the more likely your blog will stand out amongst the millions of others on the web.
Blogs are great for teaching virtues like commitment, and help encourage subjects such as writing, but the most important thing to do with a blog is to have fun! If you use Blogger or Wordpress, you’re not spending any money, and if you want you can write under a pen name and stay anonymous. So what have you really got to lose?
Blogging has the potential to easily turn from a fun hobby into the beginnings of a wonderful career in the writing industry.