In this video I want to talk about blogging to be heard.
Now what is a blog? Well Wikipedia defines it like this—a blog (a truncation of the expression weblog) is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first).
Many blogs provide commentary on a particular subject, others function as more personal online diaries; others function more as online brand advertising of a particular individual or company. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic.
So why do you need a blog to be heard? Quite frankly it’s the easiest way of getting your message out there. When indexed in the search engines anyone can find it. Your blog needs to be structured properly though and it needs to be keyword optimized.
When it comes to blogging you’ve got two options. You can have your blog self-hosted and that means that you have your own domain and your own hosting and you install the software on it and then you drive traffic to it just as if it was a sales type website.
Or you can host it on third party sites like WordPress.com, and WordPress.com is probably the most popular one.
There are pros and cons to each approach. Let’s talk about self-hosted. The pros, well first of all it’s yours. It’s your blog and it’s on your domain and you can do whatever your hosting company would allow you to do with it. You can have your own domain which means that it’s much easier for people to remember it, and you can personalize it with plug-ins so you can have things like your latest tweets showing in a sidebar and that sort of thing.
Now the cons are first of all you have to pay for domain and hosting and depending on your hosting company that can be quite expensive and also blogs, and particularly WordPress blogs can be vulnerable to hackers, particularly if you’re using shared hosting. You might find that a hacker gets into another blog that’s hosted on the same server and then is able to attack yours almost via a backdoor, so that is a problem that a lot of people who have self-hosted blog have to face.
What if you’re going to host it on sites like WordPress.com? Well the pros, first of all it’s free, you might have to pay extra for a domain name if you want a domain name just like you would if it was your own self-hosted blog. You can actually have your own domain name but they do charge extra for that and quite substantially more than you would pay to have your own domain name if it was on your own hosting. But they do have bulletproof security, I mean the good people at WordPress are very good at making sure that the bad guys don’t get in, so your chances of being hacked on WordPress.com are much lower than they would be if you have it on your own hosting. And blogs on WordPress.com get indexed very quickly, the spiders from Google and other search engines visit the site several times a day and you can find that your blog itself and the posts that you put on your blog do get indexed very quickly indeed.
The cons, well first of all it’s not yours, so it can be pulled without notice. If it’s on a subject that WordPress don’t like or if you do something that they don’t like that maybe violates one of their terms and conditions. Some of the terms and conditions in terms of service can be quite erroneous. They can pull it without notice and without recourse and that’s it, your blog is gone. That’s a big downside to doing it this way.
There are some restrictions, some restrictions on the sort of subject matter that you can have, there are some restrictions on the type of uses that you can put it to, some blog hosts don’t allow you to do any sales from it that sort of thing. Some blog hosts not necessarily WordPress.com but some blog hosts will also put AdSense advertising on your blog that they get all the proceeds from. There are pros and cons to having it hosted on a third party site.
Now how do you set up a blog? Well, let me show you, it is actually very simple.
I’m going to use WordPress.com for this demonstration, be sure to come to WordPress.com not WordPress.org. WordPress.org is where you can download the software and install it on your own website.
You come to WordPress.com and you click here where it says “Create Website”. It takes you through to this page and as you can see there are four steps to getting your WordPress blog set up. The first one is to choose a theme, this is a premade design for your WordPress blog and you can change it later if you wish. There’s a whole lot of different ones available and not just the ones that are on WordPress.com, you can get some readymade, you can get people to custom design you a WordPress theme. There are websites online where you can develop your own WordPress themes, so it is very flexible in that respect.
Let’s see, let’s have this one here—coals, I’m going to click on that. Then you want to find the domain, now when you have WordPress.com you can have your own domain redirect to it, it costs extra to map it to this particular site or you can buy a domain from them, though quite frankly you can probably get it cheaper somewhere else. Otherwise your domain is going to be your keywords followed by a dot and WordPress.com. Let’s enter a domain, let’s call this NewVideoToGo.
I can have it NewVideoToGo.WordPress.com for free, or I can have all these other versions for an extra cost. Now I’m in the UK so it’s giving the prices in pounds sterling, if you’re in another country it will show it in your local currency.
I’m just going to stick with the free version for this demonstration, so we’ll click on select.
Then you pick the hosting plan, the free one is as you can see just the very basic one, it’s a WordPress site loaded with powerful features, 3GB of storage space and support from the WordPress community. For £85 a year you’ve got all these extra ones and for £250 you’ve got all these extra add-ons as well.
I’m just going to stick with the free version for this demonstration, so select free plan. Then you need to add your email address, username and password. Let me just pause the video while I do that.
Okay, I’ve done that, and now what I have to do is agree to the terms of service and click here to create my account.
It says it’s creating the account, adding the theme, free plan selected. And there we go, and I don’t want chrome to save this password, so now this takes you into the WordPress dashboard. You’ve got the stats, the plan, you can add your blog posts or pages, you can change the theme. You can change the menu, you can configure it all sorts of different ways.
What I’ll just show you here is how you can add a new blog post which is to click here on add, now it’s also asking me to verify my email address. What you’ll have to do when you sign up is they will send you an activation email and then you click on the link it in to validate your email address. Your blog site won’t actually show until you do that, but you can still get everything set up ahead of time.
Okay, let’s type in a title for our first post; let’s call it My First Post. Then you can just simply type away, and you can preview it by clicking on this button here. You can see this is what it would look like, and then you can publish it and have it up online right away. You can see what it’s going to look like on a PC, you can see what it’s going to look like on a tablet, you can see what it’s going to look like on a Smartphone.
Of course one thing about having your blog hosted on WordPress.com is it does get indexed very quickly, so you can get your site out there and get heard much more quickly than by other means, so there’s pros and cons to both like I was saying earlier on.
There you go, that’s why you need a blog in order to be heard and how you can set one up.