Articles

Using Blogs to Your Advantage

by . February 18th, 2008

Blogs are solidifying their spot on the internet very quickly due to the many advantages they provide. You can easily start a blog with very little money, and you can publish content easily to your audience. WordPress is arguably the best blog engine out there and it comes with tons of great and easy to install plugins that you can add to your site.

Below I will go over the basics of how to start your own blog and in the following weeks we will cover more advanced topics. For now lets just get your blog up and running so you can start making posts!

Benefits of Blogs

– Providing useful content on your blog will generate traffic which you can direct towards your portfolio or other websites

– Its usually easier to get traffic to your blog then it is to get traffic to a normal website because of all the resource available to bloggers and because search engines reward sites that post quality content on a regular basis

– Using the WordPress blog engine will grant you access to many great free plugins, which will help enhance your website and improve your readers’ experience

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– You can even use WordPress as a content management system for your portfolio site instead of as a normal blog. This means you would use the WordPress system to make posts that would add work to your portfolio instead of having to open up files in Dreamweaver to hand code new pieces into your website.

How to Start Your Own Blog

1. I would highly recommend getting your own web hosting and domain name from the start and not using any free services or free web hosting.

2. Once you get your web hosting and domain name set up, you will need to install WordPress on your server. It can be a little tricky to do if you don’t have experience with websites and servers so you may want to find a freelance coder or see if your web host can install it for you.

3. Following the WordPress install instructions should get you to the point where your blog is live and using the default theme.

4. Now you can either design your own custom theme if you know how to code or you can download a free theme from one of the many WordPress theme sites and modify the graphics.

5. Install some useful plugins to enhance your website.

6. Get situated with your new blog and learn your way around WordPress so you can start making posts!

7. Write up about 10 posts before you launch your blog, and try to keep on a regular posting schedule. I would start with one post a week and then increase the amount as you get bigger and more comfortable with running your blog.

8. Make sure you have lots of bookmarks of related sites and tons of ideas for posts and content to include on your blog. It can be difficult at times to think of posts, so you really need to always be actively seeking new content ideas.

9. Give your blog a once over and if your theme is looking good, your plugins are installed, and you have content ready then you should be ready to publish your first post!

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Other Useful tips

1. As mentioned I would highly recommend getting your own domain name and web hosting, I can’t stress this point enough!

3. You can create your blog as a sub domain, for example: blog.yourwebsiteurl.com or you can give it it’s own domain such as www.yourwebsiteurl.com. Both options are fine, but if you are using the blog to promote your main site that you may want to create it as a sub domain and if you want to keep them as two as separate entities you should register a new separate domain for your blog. This way you could sell off your blog in the future if you needed or something to that nature.

4. Figure out the purpose of your blog and establish goals. Is your main purpose just to drive traffic to your portfolio or do you want to have sponsors and generate revenue from the blog as well? Maybe you just want to share your thoughts with the world or help other!

5. Make sure you deactivate and delete old plugins you don’t use, they can slow down your blog.

6. Comb through your blog for dead links once in a while.

7. Be careful who you link with, try to only exchange links with other quality websites.

8. Invest in this search engine optimization book it will help you drive a lot of natural traffic to your blog and it’s well worth the price.

Great Blogging resources

WPCandy

WpCandy has tips, tricks, tutorials, resources and much more, all related to the great blog engine WordPress!

ProBlogger

ProBlogger is probably the best blog about blogging out there, with tons of great tips for new and pro bloggers alike.

Search Engine Land

Search Engine Land’s name speaks for itself. It covers all the major search engines and provides great info on the topic of search engine optimization.

More to Come!

I will discuss more about blogging in future articles and cover more advanced topics in detail such as WordPress plugins, marketing strategies, search engine optimization and much more! I will also show you examples of graphic design portfolio sites that use WordPress as a content management system.

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments and share your blogs with us once they are done or if you have a live blog already!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

YouTheDesigner is a graphic design blog under the UCreative Network. We do features; give away brushes, icons, wallpapers, and other freebies; and bring you the latest news in the world of graphic design.

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