In this section, we will cover the basics of starting your own blog. Before you begin writing your first post, you will have to decide on a few things: what platform you will use to blog, what you will blog about, and what your blog will be called.
Choosing a Platform
There are various platforms from which you can choose for your blog. Three of the most well-known platforms are Tumblr, Blogger, and WordPress.com, though other options are available. Aspects you should consider when choosing a platform are how easy it is to use, how much you can customize, and how much you are willing to pay.
Tumblr is known particularly for being a picture-heavy platform, where many users share content rather than create it. Tumblr could be a good choice for you if you do not imagine having a text-heavy blog. However, if you want to write longer blog posts, another platform might be more ideal.
Blogger is fairly easy for new bloggers to set up. It is a Google product and connected to your Google account. You can choose from a limited number of ready-made themes. To customize, you may need some coding knowledge. You can then customize further by adding gadgets. Blogger is free to use, though some worry that Google could choose to stop supporting it.
WordPress.com is free to use, with the option to pay more for additional features. The free version will give you access to a platform with a number of themes that you can customize, largely without needing to do more than click, though a knowledge of coding could be helpful. You can also add plugins or widgets for even greater customization. Don’t confuse WordPress.com with WordPress.org, which requires more coding knowledge and so may not be the best choice for new bloggers.
There are a number of excellent blogging platforms available. Which one you choose will be determined by what kind of blog you wish to have and how comfortable you are with coding and web design. Spend some time researching various possibilities, reading reviews, and making sure you understand each platform’s security features, privacy policies, and terms of service. You may also want to consider if you want to or will be able to use features such as setting your blog to private and inviting only readers you already know.
Choosing a Topic
The topic of your blog is limited only by your imagination. However, you will want to choose something about which you are passionate. Popular blog topics include cooking, fashion, makeup, travel, photography, writing, films, and books. Having a focus can make it easier for others with similar interests to find and follow your blog. However, some bloggers do combine different topics, perhaps writing about comics, gaming, and hiking. It’s your blog, so you can ultimately write about whatever you want. Combining unusual subjects may just be the thing that makes your blog stand out, and gains you followers who also happen to like those same things.
Choosing a Blog Name
Your blog name should reflect what your blog is about and it should reflect your personality. A baking blog, for example, should have a name that indicates your focus is on sweet treats. A book review blog should have a name that is about books, not about writing, lest people mistake it for a writing blog. If you intend to have a funny, personable style, your name can also reflect that. You might, in that case, try to work a pun into your name. Just be sure to do a quick search to check that the name you want has not already been taken. Using a name that is already in use, or that is close to a name someone else is using, could result in confusion for your followers.
Spend time familiarizing yourself with various blogging platforms before deciding on one, but also familiarize yourself with blogs that cover topics you may be interested in blogging about yourself. Doing so will give you a clearer idea about what platform and what type of content will work best for you, your unique situation, and your personal style.
The library has many sources to help you get started on your blogging journey. For digital resources, visit the Charles County Public Library website and search under “Read, Watch, & Listen” to find our digital media service Hoopla. Hoopla allows library patrons to check out e-books, audiobooks, and films with no wait list. Here are few titles on Hoopla that you may find useful: