IHOWTO #2: Start your own Blog

Now that you know how to follow other people’s blogs, why not start one yourself?

I guarantee it’s easier than you think! I’m going to show you how, and it will take you less than 5 minutes to set up. That’s right – just 5 minutes!

Now some of you may be trying to decide if this is really for you. Let me convince you. We all have something to blog about. The first thing about blogging is to start one out for yourself, and not for an expected audience. Writing for an audience can come later. You can write about events in your life, you can write about your memories, you can focus on a topic that you are passionate about, or one that you know well/have expertise in. Or, you can create podcasts and use your blog to distribute them. Let’s just say that there is a reason out there for everyone to blog, so pick one and let’s get started. Even if you only write one entry and then retire – you’ll have tried something new and added a new skill. But… taking that chance could lead to something you never expected… writing can be very therapeutic!

First, if you hadn’t already guessed from my previous post, I’m going to be steering you towards WordPress. WordPress is the best blogging software out there, with a great balance of features, and ease of use. The price is right, (Free) and there are two great options when starting your own blog using WordPress. One, is the original WordPress.org, where you can get a free download that contains all you need to start blogging. The catch is that you need to find a webhost and someone that can set it all up for you. DecaTech offers free setup and upgrades of WordPress to anyone hosting with a Gold Plan or higher. The benefit with this approach is that you have maximum flexbility – you can control the look and feel and features of your blog down to the finest level, but you pay a little for this flexibility. Two, the new option is WordPress.com where you can literally have your own blog in less than a minute, but you give up the customization and features for this high level of convenience.

If you are reading this and don’t yet have a blog, then option 2 is for you, and what I will be walking you thru. Go directly to the WordPress signup screen.

WordPress Registration Screen

As you can hopefully see, the signup process is extremely easy – pick a username, enter your email address, agree to it all, and click Next.

ihowto2-2

You Blog URL that you will share with others will be based on what you choose here. I typically just go with the same name as the account I created, but its up to you. The Blog Title can be changed later so just enter anything for now. Choose a language and whether or not your would like WordPress to broadcast and share you blog with search engines. You’re done – click Signup, and your blog is instantly created. Activate it by checking the email account you registered with. You should receive an email from WordPress within minutes. Click on the first link you see (i.e. http://wordpress.com/activate/235482d9a6d08f5a)

A new browser window will pop up, and you should see something like this:

ihowto2-3

You will also receive an email with your username and temporary password, but I would write down what you see on the screen just to be safe. If you choose to visit your blog, you would see that it looks pretty blah and has a “Hello world!” entry auto-created for you. Let’s go ahead and spruce things up a little before I turn you loose on your first blogging adventure.

  1. First, login to your blog. Don’t let the next page concern you with the “Hot Posts Today” and WordPress.com News.
  2. Go straight to the “My Dashboard” link near the top of the page in the blue navigation line.
  3. Click on Presentation. You’ll be presented with several nice themes that are much more fun than the “default” theme. I happen to like “Neat! 0.01” the best, but pick one that you like by simply clicking on its picture. Remember, as with everything in the Dashboard, you can change it again later.
  4. There is more you can do, but you can always explore later. For now, click on “Write”.
  5. Add a title like “I’m Blogging”, then enter a few lines in the area below Post. Don’t worry about the icons above it – they are just for fancy formatting.
  6. When you are done, click Publish and Ta-Da – you have created your very own blog, and blog entry!
  7. Pat yourself on the back – and email me to let me know the address (URL) of your new blog. I’ll add it to my Bloglines account so I can follow your blog!

I hope this helps get you started – there are many, many features and cool things you can now do to personalize your blog, but I simply don’t have time to cover them all. There is great documentation about WordPress available online.

Happy Blogging!

Leave a Thought