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You May Have Heard of the Book, "Your Best Life Now."  Well, This Page Will Help You Get Your Best Blogging Site Now!

If you elect to go the solo blog route instead of creating a total website, be sure to soak up the information on this page.  It will help you understand more about blogs and help you develop the best blogging site possible for your chosen niche. 

Best Blogging Site Tips: It's a New World Out There     Best Blogging Site New

As I mentioned when I discussed the Small Business Website Creation Options, blogs are changing the world.  Individual experts in virtually every field or niche imaginable are entering the blogging world.  This migration of information to the internet has given the masses access to information.  Previously a lot of the information was screened out by the information gatekeepers.

No more.  Political blogs and instant news sources are pushing the dead-tree press onto the endangered species list.  Who wants to read yesterday's news anyway?  Blogs can be updated with breaking news almost instantly.  Something can make waves through the "blogosphere" in minutes.  Blogging is powerful stuff.  Even Aunt Sally and Uncle Moe have a blog these days. 

So should you.  Blogging is cheap.  Blogging makes search engines happy because of the frequency with which they are usually updated.  I think it is best if you develop a blog as part of a complete website that offers valuable content to your website's visitors.  But, even if you don't want to start a complete website, you should still start a blog.  If you just lack confidence, you can even start one anonymously.

Best Blogging Site Tips: Blogging's Benefits     Best Blogging Site Benefits

Having a blog will serve any online venture well.  There are many positive things that blogging will do for you.  Here are just a few of the potential benefits of blogging:

Blogging forces you to pick a niche.  Trying to have a blog about everything is just like asking to have a blog about nothing.  Blogs have furthered the division of labor in the provision of information.  There are no blogging Wal-Marts.  The world of blogs is ruled by specialty boutiques.  Starting a blog will make you Find a Niche Idea.  This is good.  You need to specialize for your blog to be successful.

Blogging allows you to establish yourself as an expert in a niche.  If you supply valuable content, the people will find you.  If you do it over and over again, you'll earn a reputation as an expert in whatever niche you choose.  The barriers to entry for blogging are low, indeed.  This lets real experts show their stuff without having to ask permission from any gatekeeper who may have ulterior motives.  Have you spent years learning about something you love, but weren't formally trained in that field?  Start a blog.  Show what you know.  Credentials often matter less than knowledge and supplied real value on the internet.  If you attain "expert" status, other avenues of income generation often appear.  You may be able to be paid for speaking at events or meetings, endorsements, or even consulting.

Blogging gives you credibility.  Even if you never are recognized as a world-famous expert, having a good blog gives you instant credibility.  It tells the world that you are knowledgeable and confident enough to put your stuff out there for all to see.  Many people either can't or won't start a blog, so your doing it sets you apart.

Blogging reinforces your business.  This is especially true of online businesses.  As you post more content-filled blog posts, you generate more traffic to your blog.  If you also have a website, the traffic spills over.  If you have a retail or other business, customers find you through the internet.  Many of these customers would have never found you without the blog.  Whether your business is online or offline, it is benefitted from the extra exposure and from your development as an expert.  All of this ends up improving your profitability.

Blogging now can allow you to start a membership website later.  As I talked about on the Small Business Website Creation Options page, membership sites can be tremendously lucrative.  However, you need to get people to sign up.  By developing your reputation and following through a blog, you build trust.  You build a following that is much more likely to follow you over to a paid subscription-style website.  The quantity of traffic that visits your blog can be a good indicator of your ability to maintain a subscription website.

Blogging keeps you motivated.  It is easy to lose motivation.  Blogging helps overcome inertia by giving you self-imposed deadlines.  It forces the undisciplined to keep working.  And, it benefits you by giving you incentives to stay abreast of the changing environment within your field or chosen niche.

Blogging helps you develop skills you may not develop without it.  Blogging teaches you the basics of publishing.  It teaches you to write clearly and frequently on a frequent basis.  You learn how say what is worth saying.  Then you learn how to communicate it.

Best Blogging Site Tips: A Few Ideas     Best Blogging Site Ideas

If you know you want to start a blog and haven't picked a niche yet, you may need help to Find a Niche Idea.  Start there if you are clueless.  It is almost always best to write your blog on a relatively narrow topic.  Here are a few ideas:

- Link Clearinghouse Blog: create a blog by searching the internet and using the blog to link to other leading stories or sites on a topic.  Become a one-stop-link-shop for all the news that is fit to link within a specific category/niche.


- Summary Blog: write a blog summarizing or reporting on what the experts are saying about any given topic.  Save people time by cutting out the extraneous and getting right to the point.


-  Review Blog: pick something you like and then review all the options.  If you love movies, start reviewing them.  If you are a park afficionado, write about your experiences as you visit the various municipal, state, or national parks in your area/region.  Are you a Chinese food junkie?  Systematically review all the restaurants in your city.  Use your blog to review whatever you enjoy and do/experience on a regular basis.

In general, if you are going to attempt to monetize your blog, it can be about almost anything.  However, unless you have thousands of close relatives or a cult following for some reason, don't make the blog solely about yourself.  You can and should let your personality and creativity shine through when you write.  Personal anecdotes and examples are often very appropriate.  Just don't constantly focus on yourself (unless, of course, you are a celebrity of some sort).

Best Blogging Site Tips: More Guidance     Best Blogging Site Guidance

There are plenty of options when it comes to picking a blogging software or platform.  If you plan on monetizing your blog, you'll likely end up using WordPress.  It is the blogging platform of choice for most successful business bloggers, and for good reason.


WordPress can be integrated into a full website later if you start with a blog only.  It is not difficult to build an entire website around a WordPress blog.  It also has a good interface and offers lots of business-friendly themes, including magazine templates. 


Magazine templates are often (but not necessarily) the best option for a business or monetized blog.  They are designed to display information in a visually appealing way on-screen.  The next section on this page deals with how to find a good WordPress template for your needs.


One of the easiest ways to get started is with Blogger.  If using Blogger gets you started, great.  You need to get started!  But, I generally don't recommend using it.  You don't get enough control to monetize your blog effectively.  And, you don't get your own individualized domain name.  Without your own domain name, all the effort you put into Getting Website Traffic is ultimately done for someone else (Blogger).  


Choose Your Own Domain Name, Choose a Hosting Service, and use WordPress.  That is the best way to start a blog.  If you don't register your own domain name and host it yourself, you aren't in control.  You are limited by the whims of the hosting service.  If it goes under, your blog disappears.  You want to have the control and final say over your design plans, monetization strategy, and creative ideas.


It is fairly inexpensive to register a domain and host it yourself.  It may be slightly more work to get it set up, but it reduces your overall risk and gives you the tools you need for success.

Best Blogging Site Tips: Template Selection Guide     Best Blogging Site Guide

By now, you know I think WordPress is the way to go for the serious blogger.  Many people prefer the magazine-style templates.  When looking for your perfect theme, be sure to check out a few magazine templates and a few of the others that are non-magazine styles.  Find which one works best for you.


If you are having trouble finding some, just Google it.  Go to Google and search for "free WordPress magazine templates" or whatever theme genre caught your fancy.  This will cut out a lot of the junk and get you looking at possibilities quickly.


There are a lot of good free templates, and even more are for sale.  How do you pick the one that is right for you and your goals?  Only you can answer that, but here are some guidelines to apply as you search for the right template.  Pick a template that fulfills your objectives in each of these ways:


Compatibility: you should already know what you want to accomplish with your blog.  Make sure that the template you select is compatible with your main purpose for having a blog in the first place.  Are you going to monetize it?  Make sure the template is conducive to those ends.  If you sell physical products, information products, or just use ads, make sure the template works well with what you want to do.


Color: it is usually best to stick with black text on a white background.  Unless your niche demands it for some reason, stay away from crazy colors and headache-generating pattern schemes.  Some strategic use of color is, of course, fine.  Just keep it professional.


Layout: pick a layout that gives a good first impression.  You want one that is intuitive.  Don't choose a template that looks jumbled or disjointed.  Your readers should be able to quickly find what they want and navigate easily through the blog.  Plus, you need to consider spaces for ads or other revenue-generating devices.  The three-column style is usually one of the best options for professional-looking blogs.  They give space and clarity.  Four-column or five-column blog templates may be the next thing, but that time is still a long way off.


Width: the wider the template, the more information you can fit onto the page.  The drawback, however, is that wide templates can't be viewed correctly by some older computers/monitors.  This is an ever diminishing problem since more and more internet users are upgrading.  I personally prefer the wider templates.  But, know your niche.  In some cases it will be better to go with a narrow template.


Posting Style: the traditional style of posting entries to a blog is vertically sequential.  The newest post is at the top and the oldest is at the bottom, straight down the page.  This can work.  A lot of people use it.  However, there are a lot of more functional options available.  The cluster/categorical posting format will be much more profitable for most people who want to generate revenue from a blog.  This format allows more information to be displayed in a smaller space, is intuitive if you write on different categories in your niche (and don't intend the posts to all be read sequentially), and helps visitors to your site quickly find what interests them.


Specific Features: many templates come with features specific to the template.  The number of these will increase as technology develops and is put to use by creative people.  One example is a Rotator feature.  This feature rotates "featured posts" at the top of your blog (or some other designated place).  This feature, and others also, are more difficult to find since they require additional coding skills.  But, if you find a template that has this or another beneficial feature, they can generate more interest and traffic and clicks on your site.

Best Blogging Site Tips: Conclusion     Best Blogging Site Conclusion

You need a blog.  More specifically, you need a WordPress blog.  Even more specifically, you need a WordPress blog that fits your vision and that you have analyzed for functionality according to the guide above.  You should start it as soon as possible with an eye to incorporating an entire website around it (or vise versa).  If you have no idea where to start, check out the Atahualpa theme.  Many more can be viewed at WordPress.


With all that soaking in, it is time to move on to creation of your Content Development Plan.  For a few more comments about why you should have a blog, see Adding a Blog to a Website.



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