BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Just jump right in.
181 Create an Account at Blogger.com
The key to blogging is not the setup or anything that you can learn herethe key is making it a part of your day and adding content as regularly as you can. If you want your blog to be successful, you need to be prepared to work on it on a schedule and to look at the comments as they come back so you can use the input in your work.
To get an idea of what a good blog can do, you are going to look at a couple before you create one of your own.
Let's review http://cookingwithamy. blogspot .com. Cooking with Amy is a blog that is operated by Amy Sherman of San Francisco. Her blog on various cooking, eating , and living topics was rated by Forbes.com as one of the best blogs on the Net. If you take a look, it is a perfect example of a blog. There are postings on a regular basis that detail recipes, vacation spots, and restaurants . On the left side, there are links to other sites that Amy thinks are worth visiting along with an About blurb that gives you an idea of what the site is about. Farther down the page are archives so that you can go to all the postings since the inception of the site in 2003.
There is a Search function so that you can find subjects you want in the archives easily.
At the bottom of every entry is a link to comments . There aren't comments on every posting, but look through some. As I write this, Amy is somewhere in Mexico enjoying the sun and food and, as she posts from Mexico, her readers are giving her feedback and telling her where to go and what to try.
Amy's blog is more than a simple static website.
Electablog is a very different sort of blog than Cooking with Amy. Electablog is a political blog and showcases the views of the author Dave Pell . If you explore this blog, you'll find that there is not a way to add comments to the posts (which sort of makes sense on a political site, where most posts would degenerate into name calling). The owner of the site is not interested in becoming a forum to express other viewpoints in an unregulated sort of way.
The links on Electablog are interesting. Each is an email link you can use to notify friends who you think might be interested in a particular posting. The Link button also provides a page with each article on its own page so that you can link to it directly. This is very handy because linking to a blog directly gets you to the latest posting and not necessarily the posting you wanted.
Last, open and review http://www.markme.com/mesh/.
This is a Flash developer's blog by Mike Chambers from Macromedia , the software company that makes Flash (and a lot of other professional web development software). This blog tends to be very technical and deals almost exclusively with Flash , but it shows the blog as a way for a company to get information out and get comments back.
On the day I am writing this, Mike has mentioned that several people have emailed him for new features they would like to see added to Macromedia's Flash product. Mike notes that these things are already possible to do by changing some of the preferences in the product, so he is using the blog as a tech support tool. This allows him to answer a question for one or two people, but in such a way that will help many people who might read the post on his blog todayor anytime in the future because the answer is archived.
Businesses can very effectively use blogs to get information to and from their users in an easily searchable format without having to wait for the mail or conferences or the next release of a product.
Planning out your blog on paper and setting goals will help you create a blog that will bring people back. With planning, you are going to be able to keep up to date and have the best features to help you and your viewers get the most out of it. Here are some questions to ask yourself to get you started:
What is the subject of your blog ? Any reason is fine, but knowing what that is before you start is a good way to make sure you don't get off track.
Do you want to have your viewers comment back ? Are you expecting to respond to your viewers, and do you want their feedback?
Do you want people to link to your individual pages or just your overall blog ? If you want people to use pieces of your blog and be able to access them from other sites without going to your current page, you should think about that early on.
Are you going to be able to keep your blog up to date ? As someone who kept up a blog daily for some time, I can tell you this is not trivial. If you can't do it daily, set the expectation of your viewers so that they aren't coming back more often than you are posting. If you disappoint people, they will find other places on the Web in which to go.