So you want to blog? Blogger is by far the fastest and cheapest way to go. Here’s how to set up a full-fledged new blog in 10 steps (for a step-by-step tutorial with screenshots on how to do the basics, i.e. step 1 and 2, check out preetamrai.com or casweb.ou.edu):
- Pick a good blog name
make sure the name is distinctive and/or representative. If you want to make a blog about football, you could call it ‘Football News’, but there are more than 80 million Google hits on ‘football’, and 1,4 million for ‘football-news’. Chances you ever end up in the first page is zero. If you choose ‘Funky Football’, there are only 550 hits in Google now. Watch out for words that are difficult to spell (‘phootbal’ has only 7 hits, but chances someone gets it right the first time he hears it are nil).
- Pick a good blogspot domain-name
If you have some webspace with FTP access and flexible domainname management to your disposal, go ahead and publish on ‘whatever.mydomain.com’. But if you prefer a no-brainer, go for the ‘[whatever].blogspot.com’ hosting. Make sure the domain-name is also distinctive and/or representative. ‘football.blogspot.com’ might be free (it’s not, actually) but way too popular in Google. If you choose ‘funkyfootball.blogspot.com’ (still free, go for it!) – there are only 103 hits for ‘funkyfootball’ in Google now. There are actually no hits for ‘cxqqyh885pk’ in Google, but honestly, who would remember a blog URL like ‘cxqqyh885pk.blogspot.com’?
- Make an RSS feed
Google does not have an RSS feed, only Atom (not compatible). Your Atom feed will be published on [whatever].blogspot.com/atom.xml. So you will want to convert this Atom feed with Feedburner and its ‘SmartFeed’ option (free). Choose the feed name as http://feeds.feedburner.com/[blogname] or something close (if the name you like is already taken). If you want to make a Podcast, use the Smartcast option.
- Get a page counter
Get it from a service like NedStatBasic or BelStat (free). To be sure, take both (they each have their own PROs and CONs). Copy/paste the HTML for each counter into a text document you save on your PC, so you have it handy when you start editing your HTML template (see 9.).
- Updating content: music
- Updating content: photos
if you are serious about using nice, fast picture albums in your blog, use Flickr (free), Smugmug ($30/year) or Pixagogo ($50/year). If you have a .blogspot.com domain, you cannot host your pictures on blogspot.com, you need an external service. They’re all different, pick the one you like most. You want:
a) a URL to each of your albums (to be used in a <a href=…> tag),
b) a URL for an individual picture (to be used in a <img src=…> tag)
(disclaimer: I am one of the founders of HyperTrust, that runs Pixagogo).
- Updating content: links
- Decide on your copyright license
if the stuff you will publish might at some point be somewhat creative (you post the storyline for a new movie, a recipe for duck-a-la-banana, a new name for a egg-shaped chair, …) decide on the license you want to apply on the content of the blog. Check Creative Commons for more details on the options you have.
- Edit the blog HTML template
- Get a publishing client
for most platforms, you can get a Blogger client that allows you to create your post locally on your PC, and then publish it when it’s ready. Advantages: you do not need to be on-line to write your blog posts, only to publish them, and you do not lose your article if your network or the Blogger server crashes. On Windows, use w.bloggar.