I was asked earlier today by a friend how he could go about starting a blog. Although I’ve been doing this off and on for a while, I haven’t been great at the blogging thing. I don’t have a ton of people who follow the blog, but I do get a few positive comments that keep me coming back. In fact, I made a commitment to do 4-5 blogs each month (approximately one per week).
Having given the whole starting a blog question some thought, I figured it might be good to put my thoughts “out there” in case others were considering doing a blog of their own. So, here goes…
There are a few decisions you’ll want to make as you get started. The first is the kind of blog you want to post. If you look around the internet, you’ll find an abundance of variety. Some people even have multiple blogs because they want more than one platform to discuss or display various topics. I even know one person who has a private blog. It provides a journal-like outlet for her emotions, struggles, and ideas, but the privacy setting means that nobody else is insider her head. Honestly, I’m a little too paranoid for that approach figuring I’d somehow get hacked and end up being totally embarrassed.
Okay, so what kind of blog do you want to create. The possibilities are nearly endless. If you’re into creative writing, you could post your poems or maybe even a short story that you publish chapter by chapter. If you’re a photographer, a blog can be a good place to put your favorite photos. If you travel a lot, then a blog chronicling your adventures might be fun. An artist could use a blog to post pictures of his or her artwork. Have opinions? You find tons of blogs with the express purpose of expressing opinions. Do you love movies or read a lot of books? You can write reviews. So, what’s your idea? I’m now thinking of a blog that does doughnut reviews…
You’ll also need to determine where you’ll host your posts. Some people stick with putting their creative work on something like Facebook. That could work. If you already have “friends” there, then you already have an audience. Facebook is, however, a limited format. I chose WordPress as my platform, but you can do a quick Google search to find many other options. If you use the WordPress.com subdomain, it’s free. If you want your own domain name, you’ll need to secure that separately. It is not too hard – I was able to do it!
Oh… you’ll have a lot of options to format your page no matter which platform you choose. Look through the free options first. You can tell which are graphics-driven and which are text-driven. Pick the one that fits what you’re trying to create. Most of the time you can change fonts and colors to suit your taste.
Alright… you’ve got an idea for a blog. You’ve settled on a platform and determined who will host the repository of your creative genius. What’s next? You need a name. I know you already have a name, but your blog needs one. Think about this. You want something that reflects who you are and what you want to produce. I chose “Transforming Grace” because I am the pastor of Grace Fellowship. I had a ready-made tie-in for that name. I also want my blogs always to be seasoned by grace. Finally, I believe in the transforming power of God’s grace, and I’d love for everyone to experience it, too.
One word of caution — Don’t get overly creative with the name. Seriously, you can really overthink this one. If your name is Bob, you could very easily name it “Bob’s Blog.” The name should match the content.
Your next step could be to accumulate material or ideas. I keep a list of ideas in Evernote. If my well runs dry, I can always go to my list and find something good. I also clip articles from the internet and save those in Evernote. You can use any “container” to save your stuff. The key is to be able to access it when you need it.
Let me mention a word about proofreading. Find someone who can look through your work – before posting preferably! If you wrote it, you’re more apt to overlook errors because you know what you intended to type. By the way, I’m TERRIBLE at this. Once I get something typed up, I want to hit the “publish” button immediately. My wife often corrects me after she’s read it. I think she enjoys that. My sister even got into the act with my last post. You can save your draft and have someone look it over… if you can wait that long!
I’m sure I forgot something important, but I’ll add what I assume is my final point – Get started. It’s the whole “journey of a thousand miles” thing. God is a creative God, and we are made in His image. The internet gives us an opportunity to express that creativity and for others to be blessed by it. I’ll look forward to seeing your creative work out there on the interwebs!