The Way We Work
August 10, 2010 by Alex Hornbake

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:

Purpose

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

easy_streetCreating a blog is relatively easy. Three services that can have you up in running in no time are:

WordPress.com offers free accounts/hosting at a YourBlog.Wordpress.com address. WordPress is arguably the most customizable of these three options, sporting a huge library of third party plug-ins and widgets.

I also highly recommend WordPress.com’s 10-step walk-through guide, regardless of your blog’s final home it’s a great start for any new blogger, and offers some great tips that can help your blog get off to a good start.

Blogger is a platform that Google acquired back in 2003, and has been partially credited with the tremendous growth of the blog format. Multiple Blogger.com blogs can be created though a single Google account, and - while hosting through Blogger is free - you have the option of purchasing a custom domain name for a more professional touch.

Tumblr makes the claim of being the easiest way to start blogging, and I can’t really argue with them. I counted three pages with very minimal form-filling before I was the proud owner of alexhornbake.tumblr.com. It’s quick, it's pretty and it works.

The Moderately Hard 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 LogoWordPress.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.

 

Alex Hornbake

Freelance Tech Writer

Alex Hornbake is one of several freelance writers on the oDesk Blog team. He joined the oDesk marketplace in 2009, and brings more than a decade of technical expertise to his clients. Alex shares his point of view to help you make informed decisions for your personal and business technology choices.

  • David S

    hello buddies,
    i found i web hosting provider which is cheapest host so please can anybody tell that will i be able to install wordpress easily with this host : http://www.varyhost.com

    Regards,
    David