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Are We Blogging Yet?

By Virginia Lawrence

We’re all hearing about blogs, and wondering. In fact, the last time I asked a group to tell me which Internet topic I should discuss at my next talk, the consensus was "blogs." So read on for a quick overview.

Blog sounds odd, but it’s just a contraction of Web log, a type of online diary. We build a blog by using specialized software, which makes it very easy to just enter the day’s musings without becoming a programmer or Web designer.

Blog Service: Building a Blog on the Blog Service Site

We can use a blog service like Blogger, a free service from Google. To join, just go to http://www.blogger.com and sign up. You’ll receive your personal ID and password so that you’re ready to start blogging. Using Blogger or another service is the easiest way to get started.

Blog Software: Building a Blog on Our Own Web Site

We have many choices of free software and inexpensive software to install on an existing Web site. Someone familiar with Web installations and databases must install this software. After installation, the software provides the usual easy way to get your opinions online quickly. To see the extent of the choices, look at a comparison of 15 blog software programs at:
http://startbloggingonline.com/blog-platform-comparison-chart/

What to Write in a Blog?

After the 9-11 disaster, people in New York City wrote the first blogs I ever saw. Those blogs were amazing diaries talking about everyday life in the damaged city. They discussed the difficulties of cleaning an apartment covered in gray dust, searching for missing friends, figuring out how to cope with a job on hiatus, searching for a lost cat, etc. Those blogs were immediate and true. They were gutsy, and they helped the rest of the country begin to understand the devastation on a personal level.

Large companies are using blogs to respond immediately to negative publicity. Rock bands are using blogs to give fans information on appearances. For writers and publishers, a blog can be great for:

  • Telling a serialized story
  • Putting out a list of scheduled author signings
  • Publishing a series of articles
  • Placing frequent publicity releases

Why Write a Blog?

Writing a blog is a way of telling the world who you are and what’s going on. Writing a blog is a type of publishing, and it can be extremely helpful in disseminating important information. We write a blog stating exactly what we want people to know. Then we tell people about the blog by submitting the URL (Web address) to blog directories such as http://www.blogsearchengine.com, http://www.daypop.com, http://www.blogcatalog.com, and http://www.feedster.com.

After we submit a blog to a batch of the specialized blog directories, the traffic to the blog starts to grow. And the traffic will continue to grow if visitors find the blog to be interesting or important. A blog is a wonderful way to get your name and your information out to the public.

–© 2005 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D. is a professional Web Developer and Online Marketing Consultant. She routinely places client sites on the first page of a Google search. Contact her at virginia@spawn.org or visit her Web site at http://www.cognitext.com.

 

 

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