Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I wonder...would you like to know how to create a blog?

A blog is a cyberspace web log or journal. Over time, the phrase "web log" morphed into "blog." Currently, there are millions of these Internet journals being written. Interest in creating them continues to rise. There are regular text blogs, audio blogs, video blogs, and pictorial blogs. I see now that it can be a very useful tool for communication, expression and creativity. It is not necessary to be a Hemingway to publish.

I ran into a friend of mine, Sally Birkawhite, at Costco. She had seen my blog and expressed interest in creating one but doesn't think she has anything to post. She felt all she has to share is her ever increasing collection of grandchildren. I see that Sally could share some of her fantastic recipes, entertaining tips, or crafty decoration projects. She could post pictures of her completed projects. She could inform us that she can provide meal assistance for us. And, of course, she could post pictures of her grand kids for friends and family to see. So could my sister, Tami. She has a new, first grandson. She's as proud as a Blue Ribbon Apple Pie winner at the county fair and loves her point and shoot camera. Jeanne could share tips on words, vocabulary, books, and launch the literacy campaign she dreams of mobilizing. Michele could establish a video and audio blog with her unique view and interpretation of the world. Nina could share her millions upon millions of ideas. This woman's well never dries up. She could probably post at least 10 ideas a day. She's not as crazy about implementation. But maybe by posting some of them, others who aren't as creative will help her implement her visions. Susan could use hers to serve as both a message board for friends and a testament to the last two years. She and her husband, Bill, lived on their sail boat in the bay area. They learned coastal navigation, downsizing and adaptability. Their blog could be a text and photo journal of their current sailing adventure from Half Moon Bay to Baja, Cabo, and beyond. Instead of having to e-mail all of their friends, their friends could check into their site. I would go to each one these women's sites!

My blog will cover many topics. I tried to pick one subject but every time I started to select a working title for my site, another subject would catch my interest. Then, I would try to make that idea work. That was partly why it took me so long to get this project going. Finally, I just had to step up to the plate and start batting the ol' blog ball around to see where it would roll.

Before you begin creating your blog, you will need to select a blog platform. This is a site where you will establish an account, log in to write your posts and upload your photos. There are many platforms available for you to choose from. Some are simple while others are more advanced. A number of sites are free and others have varied pricing.

I have chosen to start up on Blogger, which is a free service owned by Google. Just go to http://www.blogger.com/ to view a tutorial or establish an account so you can create your own blog. Other easy-to-use platforms are Typepad, owned by Six Apart and Livejournal, owned by SUP. As I get comfortable with the process of using blog software, I could upgrade to a more complex program which would allow me greater customization. One such platform is Wordpress, owned by Automatic. Wordpress is one of the largest providers of self-publishing technology. They offer software that is free to install and use.

If you take some time to consider some of the following, the creation process will go much quicker than it did for me:

Time: How much time do you have to spend on this project. Blogging is fun, but like all hobbies, you must set aside dedicated time to practice. Professional or celebrity bloggers post nearly every day. I know I can't do that. So I have decided to try to post two days a week--Tuesdays and Thursdays. This might be too often for me. I will just have to experiment. Try to be consistent so that your viewers know when to look for you. If you know you are going to be busy for two weeks at Christmas, say so.

Audience: Consider whom you want to reach with your work. Do you want to set up a site for your family and friends with photos and personal information? Do you want to share specific information such as recipes or book reviews?

Subject matter: What topics do you want to cover? What is your passion? Can you share your business expertise? Can you share your training or life experiences? This is your business. You're the BOSS! Your postings can be as specific or as general as you like. Just strive for balance in consistency in what and how you post.

Linking: Link to other bloggers to connect to a network. This is a great way to learn tips, tricks, and pick up useful how-to information. Reach out to other writers to gain interest in your own blog. Add them to your "Blogroll."

Content: Most platforms allow you to upload pictures of family, projects or other images you can use to punctuate your articles. Blogger makes it easy to add photos. Don't worry if it takes you a while to figure out the techie portion of the program, you can always let the strength of your writing and passion to draw readers to your posts.

AdSense: After your site is established you can choose to allow ads if you wish. The ads you're displaying on your site are a combination of cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-thousand-impression (CPM) ads. You'll get paid for each valid user click on a CPC ad and each time a user views a CPM ad. Keep in mind that you won't generate any earnings from clicking on your own ads. It could provide you with a little ancillary income. The process takes a couple of days.

So, get on out there and start your own mini publishing company today. You are all talented enough. If you need help, call me at (530) 241-7628 or e-mail randylaveen@charter.net. After all, I've been a blogger for almost a week now!


Reya Mellicker said...

i'm so happy more people our age are blogging! it's great to "meet" you.

Everyone has a unique story - i hope all your friends will give it a shot. Blogging isn't about being the most scintillating writer in the world - it's about swapping stories and making connections with people all over the world.

my birthday is the 13th. when is yours?

I used to be a left coaster - livec in tahoe, then in SF for 15 yrs.

Ronda Laveen said...

Mine is the 1st. Hmmm, SF? Tahoe? I live in Redding, CA about 3 1/2 hrs north of SF and an hour south of Mt. Shasts off I-5. I have been a bodyworker for 18 years. Nice to meet you too and I WILL follow your blog.

crone51 said...

Welcome! Nice to see someone near my own age- most of the blogs I follow I have met through my niece's blog and they tend to be blogs of young moms- fun, but I left that stage behind a while back. I am on the East Coast but lived for sixteen years in San Francisco ( 1974-1990) and miss California all of the time. I found you through the fabulous Golden Puppy blog which I just happened to click on because I too have a golden puppy. Say hi to CA. for me. Hope to get back there for a visit sometime this year. Peace.

Mrsupole said...

I really liked the info you posted here, I hope you convince all of your friends and family to blog, it is nice to have what Reya said, "people our age" starting to do blogs. Seems to be catching on with people our age for some reason, my grandkids think it is funny that their Grandma can now be "Googled". So if any of your friends and family start their blog sites please let me know, I think it is so nice to "visit" with others and really do love to learn things from others, we have so much to share. I now talk to people from all over our country and sometimes to people from other countries. Plus people from Alaska and Hawaii have great stories about life in their states that we rarely hear about. Anyway I guess I have been leaving you a lot of "presents" today, hope it is okay.