February 1, 2008
So You Want to Blog?
You’ve finally made up your mind to do it. You’re ready to share your knowledge, expertise, and experience with the world. You have a unique voice, with unique thoughts that will entice people to listen to you … eventually. Yup, you’re ready to join me and the other 100+ million bloggers sharing opinions in the blogosphere. Here are a few tools you should check out to get you off the ground.
It takes all of five minutes to get a blog set up, and Blogger is a free tool from Google that you can use to get started. It has everything a beginning blogger needs to get started. However, if you don’t mind kicking out a few bucks for a more professional looking blog, you may want to consider Six Apart’s TypePad service, used by many popular bloggers. There are other great blogging platforms out there, such as WordPress and MovableType, but they require you to have a little more tech savvy to really get the most out of them. Blogger and TypePad are the choices for those who just want to create content without getting into some technology nuts and bolts.
The platforms listed above have their own online editors that allow you to type in your blog posts. Many of these editors are pretty good, but it’s not like using Microsoft Word. So if you’re like me, you’ll want to use a nice full-featured tool for creating your posts. And while Office 2007 allows you to write and publish your entries right from within Word, writing documents is not the same as writing blogs. Luckily for us, there are some great free blog editors you can download and use to write your entries. I have been using Zoundry’s blog editor for more than a year, which has worked well for me. But recently I switched over to Microsoft Live Writer, a free download with some great functionality that makes it a pleasure to write, add images, and create interesting posts.
Pictures and Voice
You need pretty strong writing skills to really rise above the noise and create a strong following as a blogger. But you’ll want to have more than just the written word to capture the imagination of people on the Web. You’ll need images, and that’s why free image editing tools such as Gimp and Paint.net allow you to touch up images so they’ll look great on your blog’s pages. Additionally, you’ll also want to mix in the spoken word with your written words to give your blog another dimension. Free audio recording software Audacity, along with a USB microphone, can quickly turn you into an industry commentator, and beef up your blog.
No, I’m not suggesting that you need a stiff drink in order to blog. COLT is an acronym you should keep in mind while you’re blogging away. Because your goal as a blogger is to create content that people will want to Comment On and Link To. And when you’re first starting out, you’ll