Blogging 101 — Setting Up Your Blog
Blog-hosted solutions, such as Blogger, TypePad and WordPress, need little explanation as they walk you through creating a blog online. This article concentrates on installed blogging applications, such as WordPress (installed version), Movable Type and b2evolution, which offer more control, better flexibility and the ability to integrate your blog with an existing website. If you need a website, consider a blog friendly hosting service, such as 1and1, Go Daddy, Fat Cow, or iPage. These services are optimized for popular blogging tools like WordPress.
Consider the following features when choosing blogging software.
- Pricing — Many companies offer free, low-level solutions. Prices increase as you add features or number of users.
- Mobile features — Turn your smart phone into a portable blogging machine and never miss the chance to post, edit pages and manage comments.
- Comments — Blogs are interactive and posted comments are expected. Make sure your software allows you to easily manage comments, especially those that are inappropriate.
Selecting a design
Unless you have access to a web designer, skins or themes — page designs you can easily apply to your blog — can help you achieve a custom look and feel. Many skins or themes are available for free or for a nominal charge. Explore WordPress themes and b2evolution skins.
Plugins are scripts and programs that give your blogging tools enhanced functionality and features, such as adding social networking capabilities, adding a contact form so people can email you or even adding the local weather report to your blog. Some specific plugins to consider include forum software such as bbPress, which allows you to create a discussion forum, and Slimstat, which provides detailed statistics and graphs on who's visiting your site.
Prior to any blogging publication, seek the legal advice of your brokerage to be certain you're compliant with federal and state regulations.