Whether to drive business, expose your expertise or keep an ongoing personal narrative, blogs have become the de facto publishing method for much of the content we consume on the web. Here are the key steps to building your own blog - from concept to reality:
Start with one deceptively simple question... “What’s the purpose of your blog?” For some, its personal - an outlet for sharing your thoughts and experiences. For others, it can be topic specific to their business or a passion. Some company blogs are a marketing effort to drive more business. For the skillful and fortunate, a good blog can be all of the above. Before you embark on your own blog creation, decide on its desired purpose. While it will undoubtedly evolve over time, a clear purpose will guide content creation, help with SEO (search engine optimization), and make it easier to link your content in to the appropriate sphere of existing online content.
The Easy Way
If you need full control over your site, want to integrate it into your existing hosted site, or are concerned about migrating your content in/out of a third-party database, then running your own WordPress installation might be for you.
WordPress.org is one of the most popular blog platforms and job skills on oDesk--see WordPress trend data here. You may want to check out an earlier article, WordPress for Everyone, which offers a basic primer on how to get your own WordPress installation up and running.
Not covered in that article is quite possibly the easiest path to installing any of the above, which would be to pick a host--such as BlueHost.com, DreamHost.com, or MediaTemple.com--that offer “one-click” installations of the WordPress back end.
If your not a fan of WordPress, or are seeking a CMS (Content Management System) to handle more than just a blog, Drupal and Joomla, are very popular, and well supported CMSs--both in the oDesk marketplace and their respective development communities.
Form vs. Function
Any of the above tools can help provide a solid back end to support your blogging efforts. Regardless of the platform that you choose, creating strong, relevant content should be your top priority. Read others' blogs in your field. Think about the articles you would want to read, or what original perspective you can bring to the table. Set yourself a schedule of posts, commit to writing on a regular basis, promote your blog to friends, engage with your readers, and reassess your efforts often to make sure your blogging efforts are in line with your original purpose.