Learning how to create a blog is a great way to promote your home business, boost interest in the products or services you have to offer and build traffic to your website. Learning how to create a blog can also allow you to create a home business in and of itself, using your blog to generate income.
When handled properly, blog marketing can generate more traffic for your home business website by improving your site’s search rankings as a search engine optimization (SEO) technique and can generate traffic through links from other popular sites and blogs. Getting started, however, is often the biggest stumbling block many home-based business owners face, some of whom may still be asking, "What is a blog?"
While it might sound like a daunting task, the simple reality is that blogging is one of the most cost-effective and even enjoyable marketing tools home-based business owners have at their disposal. Most who are not yet familiar with how to create a blog don’t realize how easy and cost-effective it is. And, learning how to create a blog doesn't have to take a lot of time or effort.
How to Create a Blog - Getting Started
Getting started involves nothing more than following a simple step-by-step process.
- Decide what you want to do about blog hosting
- Decide which blogging platform you want to use
- Register with the blogging service if you are not hosting the blog yourself
- Set up your blog layout with blog templates, which you can customize
- Start posting your content
The best place to start is deciding whether your home business blog should have its own URL or web address or if one provided by a service at no charge will do. For example, an owner who wants to start blogging for home business can choose to purchase their own website domain name and have a blog assigned to it or they can have their blog hosted by one of several blog hosting providers for free on the blog hosting service’s own servers. If you already have a website, you just need to consider if you want the blog to become an integral part of your website or if it will exist on its own, hosted by the blog hosting provider. If you don’t have a home business website or a domain name, your blog can actually serve as a free online presence for your home business.
A free address hosted by a blog hosting service provider might read something like this: www.myblogname.blogcompany.com.
Either method will serve the purpose of getting your message out and can increase traffic to your website, but for search engine optimization reasons, it’s generally recommended that your blog be hosted on your website, if you have one, or hosted on a domain that you can control. The reason for that is that any incoming links to your blog or to any of its individual posts will link to your website’s domain instead of the blog provider’s domain and incoming links are important for “organic” or natural search engine rankings. Additionally, some see a branding benefit to having their blog hosted on their domain with an address like blog.mybusinessname.com or www.mybusinessname.com/blog. Either way, if you have a website you want to link to your blog and link your blog to your site.
Selecting a Blogging Platform
Once the decision on where your blog will be hosted is made, the next step is to actually get a blog. There are a number of really good services out there that make blogging a snap to set up. Two of the most popular choices include Google's own Blogger and WordPress. Both offer free blog hosting on their domain as well as a number of blog templates you can use to quickly set up your blog. If you want to host the blog on your site, these platforms offer wizards that help you do that. WordPress offers a lot of advanced options that come with monthly hosting fees. Blogger, too, has a number of plug ins and tweaks that can make it function better for businesses and now includes drag and drop functionality for creating your page layout. If you're really not sure how to create a blog, these services make doing so very easy.
Because both are popular blogging platforms, additional templates are available on the web and you can customize a template to match your home business branding by using logos and color schemes that tie into your website. This is a good thing to do for your business identity regardless of whether you host your blog on a free service or you host it on your own home business website. WordPress also offers inexpensive domain hosting through a number of service providers.
Registering with the Blog Hosting Service
Most blogging services are fairly easy to sign up for and start using. Just complete an online form, verify your account and you’re ready to create your blog.
Both WordPress and Blogger offer a user interface that allows you to switch between code view and WYSIWYG – What You See is What You Get. The WYSIWYG view generally has the look and functionality of Microsoft Word, with buttons you can use for underlining, changing type fonts and inserting links. In essence, you don’t need to know anything about HTML in order to use a blog, but it can be helpful in order to better optimize your posts for search and for correcting formatting problems that just don’t seem to want to get corrected in WYSIWYG view.
You might consider registering for an account with both WordPress and Blogger and see which platform you find more to your liking. If you’re planning to use a pre-built blog template, you might also want to base your decision on which provider offers the templates you like most that fit with your home business.
Don’t set up your permanent blog name while you’re testing. You can always handle that later and delete your test blog. Whether you host the blog on your website, with its own standalone domain, or on the blogging service’s platform, you’ll use the blogging service’s interface to create and manage your posts.
Next in How to Create a Blog:Blog Templates and Blog Post Writing