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Thread: Any bloggers out there? Advice needed...

  1. #1
    keb
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    Any bloggers out there? Advice needed...

    I've been thinking of starting a blog, but I'm a little unsure how I should do it. I've read some of the wikis and how-tos but random reviews and anonymous hosting advice are sort of hard to sift through. It's not really necessarily an expert-type blog but more of a general observational one. Sports events, politics, news items, medical stuff, cooking, parenting, Tom Bihn bags, anything on which I can convince myself I have a coherent opinion. I know this is exactly what most blog advice says not to do, but I've just found that I would like to write more as an outlet. I figure I'll just post stuff in case anyone out there is looking to read opinions that agree with theirs. Kind of like talk radio used to be before the days of agendas. That's better than me wasting my partners' time listening to me rant and rave about the strike zone in the playoffs or how disappointed a Democrat I am.

    Anyway. I feel like this is a community I can rely on for good advice on stuff like this without getting totally flamed (some is always welcome and entertaining!), so please fire away if you have a free minute...

    Thanks.
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  2. #2
    Registered User dorayme's Avatar
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    Keb, there are more professional bloggers out there than I. But for me and my musings blog, blogger was simple and easy. I have been blogging for years, my blog has changed manes and functions with time. Recently I even merged two blogs I was managing together into one. I am not super savvy with coding, blogger has taken that aspect out when I don't want it, but allowed me to use it if I want to. GrowingRays is my wee blog.
    I really, really like TB Bags!

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    If your goal is to write as an outlet (and make it available for others to see), I say just choose a site (Blogger, WordPress, etc.) and go for it. I maintained a blog specifically for a big road trip, and also have one for my 2011 goals, but they're only for friends and family. If you just dive in and start, it'll be easier to see how you want to tweak things later. I didn't predict how time consuming blogging can be, but that won't be the same challenge for others - YMMV.

    If your goal is to hopefully get advertising from PR firms and all that sort of thing, I don't know anything about that!
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  4. #4
    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    keb, my blogging experience has more to do with my teaching than with my personal life, so my subject matter was already defined for me. One thing to keep in mind is that as you gain readership, your blog's topics and themes will take shape and narrow somewhat. A number of bloggers I have read have actively polled their readers: should I post more of my recipes? More photo essays? Are my posts on X interesting, boring, annoying? Give it time, and your blog will take on an identity.

    Another hint I have is that if you read eclectically, post your whole blog roll on your blog, and comment regularly on those other blogs. If you say good things on others' blogs, the readers of those blogs may start to visit yours (or I guess you could be deliberately provocative, and inspire morbid curiosity about your blog that way). Another way to get more traffic is to make friends with another blogger and offer to do a guest post if they allow that sort of thing. This strategy tends to work better if you can identify a niche, though, since the other blogger's readers are likely to want to read blogs with similar concerns.

    I know you didn't say anything about advertising, but I'd suggest not having ads until you are established. These days, I've come across way too many websites that look like they were set up with the sole purpose of making a profit, and it's kind of a turn off. (Once again, you didn't say anything about money; however, I think we've all read sites that say, "Hi! I registered my domain yesterday! Here's my paypal, and won't you buy one of my stunning T-shirts?")

    If you set up a blog, link to it here every time you post about TB! I hope you do it!
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  5. #5
    I work at TOM BIHN Katy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tCook View Post
    If your goal is to write as an outlet (and make it available for others to see), I say just choose a site (Blogger, WordPress, etc.) and go for it. I maintained a blog specifically for a big road trip, and also have one for my 2011 goals, but they're only for friends and family. If you just dive in and start, it'll be easier to see how you want to tweak things later. I didn't predict how time consuming blogging can be, but that won't be the same challenge for others - YMMV.

    If your goal is to hopefully get advertising from PR firms and all that sort of thing, I don't know anything about that!
    Oh! I remember that! You had those cool little cards with the web address!
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  6. #6
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    I did! If you want to hand out information about your blog (or website, or business, or *anything*), consider MiniCards at us.moo.com (unless you're not in the US, but you can start there). I really liked their product and hope to have an excuse to order from them again!
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  7. #7
    keb
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    Thanks so far guys. (I mean that in the general sense!) Seems like a free wordpress.com blog is a good place to start and gives room to grow in case anyone actually gives a crap what I write and I decide to get my own domain name down the road. Hadn't really thought about advertising or anything like that yet. I'm not really sure I understand how that works to be honest. I imagine I'll just wait and see what happens.
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  8. #8
    I work at TOM BIHN Katy's Avatar
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    SquareSpace is another good option. I loved how easy to use their system was! They also had amazing templates.

    Website Builder - Build a Website, Create a Blog - Squarespace
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  9. #9
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    Blogger is owned by Google and there has been instances where blogs "disappeared" for being too edgy, maybe; or even being in the wrong directory or server.

    Wordpress is free until the blogger reaches a certain number of reader and then the blogger has to pay a fee.

    Although they are the most populars, those two services have one major drawback, since they host the blog, they control its availably to readers.


    A more independent approach is to buy you own domain name just stay away from the expensive .com, .edu, .org. Then host it on your own server, a regular desktop machine (Mac, Linux or windows) along with a reliable Internet provider, should be fine.
    If you become the next Huffington post, a dedicated hosting service, which you will have to pay for, will be the next step.


    Didn't know about Squarespace, very interesting. Thanks Kathy you are a wellspring of cyber-info.


    Dorayme, loooove your blog!
    Last edited by backpack; 10-14-2011 at 07:10 PM.
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  10. #10
    keb
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    I would love to do the independent home approach and just host it on a mac mini but I'm on Comcast for internet and I think it's a big no-no with them, so I'll have to do the outside route. Katy's SquareSpace recommendation seems interesting. A little more expensive but completely independent and user controlled just in case, like backpack says, I become the next Huffington Post (and it's hard to do that if I have a reader limit imposed from the get-go). If I'm going to do this for real, may as well do it for real! Besides, I've come to understand two sides of the same coin-- nothing free is really free, and you get what you pay for. Thanks for the advice and encouragement.


    Update: re: Wordpress.com. Not sure that the number of readers is limited unless I am making the blog private and limited only to users. It does seem like they throw their own advertising on my blog unless I pay to stop it and that if I get my own advertising I have to upgrade and split with them.
    Last edited by keb; 10-14-2011 at 12:49 PM. Reason: Update
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by keb View Post
    I would love to do the independent home approach and just host it on a mac mini but I'm on Comcast for internet and I think it's a big no-no with them, so I'll have to do the outside route. Katy's SquareSpace recommendation seems interesting. A little more expensive but completely independent and user controlled just in case, like backpack says, I become the next Huffington Post (and it's hard to do that if I have a reader limit imposed from the get-go). If I'm going to do this for real, may as well do it for real! Besides, I've come to understand two sides of the same coin-- nothing free is really free, and you get what you pay for. Thanks for the advice and encouragement.


    Update: re: Wordpress.com. Not sure that the number of readers is limited unless I am making the blog private and limited only to users. It does seem like they throw their own advertising on my blog unless I pay to stop it and that if I get my own advertising I have to upgrade and split with them.
    Keb, self-hosting doesn't really mean having your own server, but more having access to all the Wordpress tools. I have a self-hosted Wordpress blog that is served by Hostgator. The big benefit is that you get to it by having your own URL rather than a sub-page on somebody else's site.

    So if you register a domain name ($5-15 a year), pay for hosting (Web Hosting - Shared cPanel Web Hosting you can really go on the $3.96 a month plan for a long time) set up Wordpress (Hostgator has a one button install) than you start picking themes and start writing stuff.

    if your long term goal is to build traffic and sell advertising or the site, this gives you the most flexibility...

  12. #12
    keb
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    Well...... 3 1/2 years later I finally did it. I wrote some stuff, put it on a squarespace template, and made it available for people to rip to shreds. Tom Bihn is on the Links page, with a shout out to these terrific forums. I'm still working on the presentation side and links to Twitter, etc, so be gentle! It's not fiction but not so much of a traditional blog either. More of a "personal observation website" - POW! - like the old Batman series.
    Anyway.

    MinivanDad.net

    Rip away...
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    Keb--that is cool! will check it out today!
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  14. #14
    keb
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    Quote Originally Posted by luvdabags View Post
    Keb--that is cool! will check it out today!
    My first official comment! (Other than "Holy crap Dad are you serious?" but that's not on the site). Thanks ldb!
    Western Flyer (Crimson); 4Z Brain Cell; Swift (wife); Empire Builder (Black/Steel/Wasabi); Aeronaut (Black/Steel); Side Effect (Black), 3D Cube (Olive); lots of cubes/pouches/kit; Synapse (Navy/Solar); Smart Alec (Cardinal/Steel)

  15. #15
    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keb View Post
    Well...... 3 1/2 years later I finally did it. I wrote some stuff, put it on a squarespace template, and made it available for people to rip to shreds. Tom Bihn is on the Links page, with a shout out to these terrific forums. I'm still working on the presentation side and links to Twitter, etc, so be gentle! It's not fiction but not so much of a traditional blog either. More of a "personal observation website" - POW! - like the old Batman series.
    Anyway.

    MinivanDad.net

    Rip away...
    Love your humor and your thinking!
    Darcy likes this.
    The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.

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