Blog Tips (1)

Updated 6/02/11

Please take into consideration that these are only my suggestions. You can agree or disagree with them. I’m not saying you have to follow them, and I’m not saying I’m a blogging expert!

Today’s topic is Getting Started.

You’ve decided that you’d like to try out this whole blog thing. Great! But the most important question once you’ve decided to go through with it is, where? So, where can I blog?

Here are a few sites that you might want to check out. It’s always good to get information about each place, their benefits and disadvantages before you start.

Blogger
WordPress
Livejournal
Typepad

These are just a few service providers. Check out the sites, see which ones you like. My site is hosted by Blogger, so it’s all a matter of preference. I know some bloggers that swear by WordPress. Do the research! Each host had different incentives, I don’t think there is one that’s perfect, but find one that fits what you are trying to. Most of them have the option to export your posts to one host from another, so you can always change your mind. Once you figure out where, it’s on to step two.

Design!

You want to pick a color scheme and design that fits your voice! Make sure that your color scheme is easy to read and easy on the eyes. Remember this is the first impression of your blog! Some color don’ts:

  • Dark post background with dark font.
  • Really bright colors that hurt your eyes. Like a neon green post background with neon pink font! 
  • Busy backgrounds… noone is going to read your reviews if your site makes them queasy.

Don’t make your font too small either. People won’t bother reading your reviews if they can’t see them! I think I’d rather it be too big, than too small. And remember different internet hosts show pages differently. So just because it looks fine when you are looking at it using Internet Explorer, doesn’t mean those using Firefox see the same thing. It’s always better to ask readers, if you aren’t sure. Don’t be afraid to do something different. I know some blogs that really pull off having a dark background, but I know for me personally I’m a light background person.

Maybe you’d like to do a custom design. Just type blog templates into your google search and I’m sure a dozen host sites will pop up! A really good site I’ve found is called Tips For New Bloggers, they explain pretty much how to do everything, from a three column layout to adding a custom background. It’s a great resource! I use it all the time! There are several blog designers with a wide range of prices that do great blog designs! Also if you have a blogger/blogspot hosted blog, they have a fancy new template designer that easy to use and you can make a customizable site that suits you!

Once you’ve gotten the design part figured out, maybe some widgets and elements would be a good idea. I try to stick the bare minimum when it comes to this, personally. I don’t want too many gadgets on the sidebar taking away from what I’ve got going on, on my main blog post. You also want to be aware of how widgets can slow your load time. People don’t want to wait a minute for your page to load.

And remember, a big part of your design is how you are planning on utilizing your blog. If you hope to one day be contacting authors and publishers, remember that and try to make your site look somewhat “professional.” But most importantly your blog should reflect you!

Just have fun with it. You don’t even have to listen to me! These are just suggestions, not rules! Ultimately, do what you like.