Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Ultimate Beginner’s Blogging Tutorial

6:53 PM

I regularly get asked questions about how to start and maintain a successful blog. Here is my beginner’s blogging tutorial - How to Blog 101.
I recommend self-hosting your blog and using WordPress. It the most popular platform among Technorati’s top 100 blogs and among Church Relevance’s top church blogs.

Self-Hosted Blogging Software:

Blogging Services (hosting provided):
#2 :: CHOOSE A DOMAIN (if allowed)
As long as it is relevant, the shorter the domain is the better. A short domain is quick and easy to type, which will save you time in the long run and reduce the probability of you and your visitors mistyping it.
  • Domize - immediately checks a domain’s availability as you type it into the query box
  • DomainsBot - suggests domains based on your search keywords
  • Domain Pigeon - lists available domain names which you can use for your websites
  • MakeWords - generates domain ideas based on your suggestions, linguistics, and semantic databases
Being a web designer or hiring one is not necessary for having a good looking blog, but it definitely helps. WordPress has thousands of template designs for sale and for free that are not too complicated to implement.
For Inspiration:
For Templates:
WordPress is a great platform, but there are tools and plugins that can make it even better. I recommend at least using the following tools:
Other Tools:
Tool Lists:
An aesthetically well-designed blog may entice visitors to linger for the first visit, but quality content is what will get those visitors to keep coming back. If you need topics, visit these resources:
  • Alltop - an “online magazine rack” of popular topics
  • Delicious - the tastiest bookmarks on the web
  • Digg - discover and share content from anywhere on the web
  • Reddit - users decide the top stories
  • StumbleUpon - discovers web sites based on your interests
If you want people to read your quality content, study the science of successful blogging and copywriting. Writing for a blog is different than writing for a book or magazine. My advice:
Unless you are blogging for personal reasons, focus on optimizing the reader experience. Offer only quality content. And make it scannable by using short paragraphs, bold text, and bullet points. Use as few words as possible without compromising quality (needless words wasted readers’ time). And if possible, post consistently often.
Blogging Tips:
With blogging, two of your most powerful marketing opportunities are Search Engine Optimization and leveraging social media. Last year, 48% of ChurchRelevance.com’s traffic came from search engines. You should be using these resources:
Remember this is just the beginner’s blogging tutorial. But if you read all of these links, you will be on your way to becoming a blogging expert.
If you are already blogging, what would you add to this list?
What are your favorite tools?
What is your best advice?


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