Everyone — no matter who he or she is — has an expertise, passion or unique experiences to share. Maybe you’re great at simple home renovations, or can do awesome things with chocolate. Perhaps you’re really into knitting, collectible margarine containers or antique spittoons… it doesn’t matter. If you feel you’ve got something to share, the world of “blogging” is waiting for your contribution — and possibly fame and fortune as well… maybe.
But probably not.
A “blog” is a web log, an online journal of sorts where “bloggers” or the people who write blogs, share their thoughts on whatever they fancy. The blogs and their writers are known as the “blogosphere.” I think there’s also a Papa Blog and blonde-haired Blogette… and a wizard out to get them… but I could be confused with something else.
A blog can be a way to keep your family up to date on what’s happening in your life without running up a long-distance bill or writing 20 different emails, or to chronicle an extended trip, new baby, or latest recipes.
However, professional writers tend to look down on the casual, unedited style of most blogs out there, so if you are thinking about whipping up a little blog of your own, here’s some advice to start you off.
The first thing is to decide what your blog is about. Find some focus, and ask yourself “Who is going to be reading this and why?” Once you know what you will be writing about, and your target audience, it’s easier to hone in on your niche and not stray off topic. Try to write in your own voice, and be relatable, not negative.
Blogs aren’t just words either. Remember to post lots of photos with your updates. And speaking of updates: try to update your blog on a regular basis, if not daily. Once you have followers and regular readers, they will expect those updates frequently. One of my first editors — before allowing me to write my first column — told me that the difference between columnists and everyone else was that most people could write (in his opinion) three good articles on a subject before running out of material.
“A real columnist can pull a column out of their butt on short notice,” he stated simply. That newsroom wisdom is definitely something to consider if you do undertake the maintenance of a blog.
You’ll also have to deal with other people’s thoughts about your thoughts, as well, because successful blogs allow commenting, and the bloggers usually respond.
Also, if you want to appear professional and avoid comments of the snarky and know-it-all variety, check your spelling and grammar. Nobody will take your writing seriously if you can’t bother to run spell and grammar checks.
Most of all, be yourself and let readers get to know the person behind the blog who is sharing their expertise and passion. Best of all, some people have made comfortable livings as bloggers — not many, mind you — through advertising and other deals. The more people who read and follow your blog, the more advertisers and other companies are interested in what you have to say, too.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.
Start by deciding what you’d like to blog about — knitting, spittoons, Smurfs — and whether you have more than three updates in you, then visit blogspot.com, blogger.com, or any number of free sites that let you create your own little blogging place on the Web. You could be the next blogging sensation.