A great web community I hang around on quite a bit is Whirlpool, well mainly in the forums section – other people do a lot in the wikis there and so forth but so far that hasn’t had any appeal for me.
Scubaseven, who is about to go on a scuba trip, asked the question “How to start a blog?“:
Keen to do this.
I am travelling across the US at the moment after swimming with Great White Sharks last week.
Figured some people might find that interesting.
I would be ok with paying for anything that would be worthwhile.
ie hosting the blog myself.
Any tips on how to go about this?
What sites to use, etc?
– scubaseven, Whirlpool forums member.
While I answered the question directly on the forum I figure quite a bit of the answer could easily be interpreted as against the rules of the site, so I’m going to reiterate my response here. I used myself as a bit of a case study in how to start a blog, and then, how to promote it using readily available internet resources. I have refactored this a little bit, but it’s still pretty much a forum post rather than a blog. Sorry about that!
The suggestion of joining free blogging communities had already been made by several community members, referring to several websites including WordPress. However, none of them had really addressed this question:
Also, where do you “advertise” your blog? ie how do people find out about it?
My suggestions to this are:
1. Join readily searchable communities that don’t require registration to view or search:
My profiles on the following sites are readily viewable and searchable by anyone online:
This helps the issues I write about to be found by a large number of people looking for information regarding the issues I discuss.
2. Seek out and join niche communities that do require registration, but anyone who registers is quite likely to be interested in what you write:
3. Every time you blog, tweet about it. Have your tweets automatically find their way to your status feed on any site you are in that supports being fed via twitter.
If anyone tells me how to do that and have it linked to my real name plus.google.com account… equivalent to my facebook page linking to my facebook user account… I’d be very pleased!
4. By using a combination of “tags” or “categories” your blog will show up in google.
This search is just for my blog name. But by using that same blog name all over the place… well, you’ll end up in a circle of web links which is all me anyway which all refer you onto my blog
although, you will want to have the topic of your blog work not your blog name unless your blog name is some very generic term – in which case it’s probably already gone
I’m not particulalrly at the top… but you can see how it’s heading
Add “autism” to what might be a search for “does Collingwood run any programs for autistic people“… and you end up at my blog
5. Find people with facebook feeds like yours, link them to your facebook page. Some will link to you, if you’re producing something worth reading.
6. Create a box for your blog, to put on your facebook page.
Also, create a “like me” box for your facebook page, to put on your blog.
The same thing will happen if you start reading & commenting on blogs. You leave your comment as your blogging name, people back-link to you.
You refer to someone elses blog in your work. it creates a back-link. That blogger gets interested and reads your work. If it piques their interest they might link back to you.
If you get really lucky*, then something like this happens:
(that is the Disney Land blog back linking to a friend of mine)
and your readership goes through the roof.
Which makes you look hard at going from http://www.wordpress.com/blog_name to http://www.blog_name.com
* You “get really lucky” by working hard and writing really interesting blogs that lots of people enjoy reading. “The harder you work, the luckier you get”.