Now I’ve not really been blogging long enough to write a guide to blogging. But what I will do is write some advice that I wish I’d had when I started. Specifically, about how to get started.
I’m going to assume one thing here. That you want people to read your blog. Thats not true of everyone I know. For some people blogging is a personal exercise. But for me – if I didn’t want people to read my blogs I wouldn’t be here in a public arena. That being said, I’m also going to assume that high reader numbers are not your only goal. Theres a balance to be had between writing for your own enjoyment and writing for a readership. The best blogs have both in mind.
Choosing a host
There’s lots of site out there that will host your blog for free. Theres others that will charge you. And yet a third group that offer both. You could analyse the features they give you. You could consider your long term plans for your blog. Want to know how I picked WordPress?
Well all my favourite blogs (aesthetically and organisationally) used it. Plus I knew it had both a free option and a self-hosting option. I figured I’d start free and see where things went.
There’s no right or wrong answer here – as long as you have a reason for the software you choose, then its fine. My only recommendation is that you start with a free, largely premade blog. Firstly, it won’t tie you in to a lot of money if you decide you don’t want to keep it up. Secondly, you can always move it later! When you know what features you want.
Coming up with a name
This is the hardest part I think. It may be your far better at naming things than me.
Again, I drew inspiration from the blogs I liked reading. There seem to be three types of name.
- Something surrounding a character name. I went for this option. On the plus side: name recognition. On the down side: if you think you might change your main, you’re in trouble. Other examples are World of Matticus, Lenaile’s Voice, Lady Jess, Honors Code.
- A clever play on words that relate to the subject you want to write about. In the first instance you need to stick quite heavily to this or it just confuses people. Examples might be Paladin Schamaldin, Big Hit Box, The Stoppable Force
- For the really imaginative, there are other names out there. Some are WoW related. Some aren’t. I’m thinking about blogs like Big Bear Butt, Cold Comfort.
Don’t get hung up on naming it. If you can’t think of anything at all, just call it Morrighan’s Blog (with your name instead of mine). Once you start writing, you’ll find it easier to come up with a name. This is something you’ll want to do early though, to establish name recognition.
I thought I was going to write more about women playing WoW to start with. When I realised my blog was going in more of a ret pala direction, I changed the name. My character is called Morrighan, who is the Celtic goddess of battle and death. So I chose to name the blog Caer Morrighan. Caer means citadel or castle in Celtic languages. This seemed to tie in nicely with the Morrighan and with the idea of this being my home on the internet.
Writing a tag line
This was an exercise in the ‘28 days to a better blog’ challenge that was going on about the time I was starting. I found it helped me. Basically – try to write what your blog is about in just one or two sentences. Some premade blogs even have a place for you to put it. This will be something that constantly evolves, so go back and reconsider if you feel you’ve made a change in direction. But at first it will help give you some direction.
Appearance, layout, etc.
I would leave this quite simple to start with. Once you get going you will have a better understanding of what you might want to have on your site. I just picked a template I liked and added a header image.
I prefer simple colour schemes and a white background on which to read. Choose something you like but remember a few things. Red/green and blue/blue colour blindness are common enough you should avoid them. Don’t choose a font that is decorative and therefore hard to read – stick with simple fonts. These things increase the readability of your blog. Remember this is about what you write, not your colour scheme.
Writing the first post
This is very difficult. Again, try not to get too hung up over it. It might be an idea to just make it a basic introduction. Who are you? Why are you blogging? What are you going to blog about? What inspired you to start a blog? As a reader I prefer these to people who jump right in. Avoid your first post being a QQ post or a negative post, unless you have a fairly distinctive voice. You want to encourage readers, not whine. I remember reading one first post on a blog where the writer said his class couldn’t dps very well. This, from my point of view, was both negative (he’s not going to tell me anything useful since he’s starting from a point of failure) and untrue (I think the class can dps very well and I’ve seen the raid parses to prove it).
In the second part I’ll tell you how to develop your blogging so that your blog has a voice, a pattern and continuous flow of posts