OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
I get a lot of questions about blogs and RSS feeds, websites and getting traffic, so I decided to interview Joel, who is my BlogTechGuy! If you want to start a blog, but are unsure how to get started, this podcast is for you. There are also tips for people who have just started with blogging.
Joel Williams is known as the Blog Tech Guy and is an expert on implementing and improving WordPress blogs.
In this podcast, you will learn:
- How Joel's business works, helping people with setup and improvement of their blogs after 10 years of being in the blogging game
- Back to basics – what is a blog anyway? It is just a website that is easy to update and allows a conversation. The software means you don't need a webmaster or expensive setup
- Why should authors have one? Authors have an advantage because they already write, they may already have an audience. Allows interaction with the audience, for example, authors posting chapters for feedback. It will allow you to stand out in the market. Here's an article on 3 ways to start building your author platform that includes blogging.
- Why static websites are not great anymore, the old fashioned sites with no regular updates. They have a higher cost of setup and maintenance because you may need a webmaster as well as lesser search engine love. Google loves regular and new content.
- Ease and low cost of entry for blogging. Zero cost for WordPress software, simple to get started and use, no need for knowledge of HTML coding or programming. You can do most things yourself and maybe get more help if you need to change the whole theme.
- Search Engines are moving to real-time and video search. It changes every day but static websites are harder to update with real time information. WordPress has these features built in for Search Engine Optimisation.
- You can get a free blog from WordPress.com or Blogger.com. It is hosted by that service and has everything done for you. You can get started in 2 minutes and it is a great way to get started! (I had 2 free blogs before I moved to self-hosting)
- You can get the software from WordPress.org and have a self-hosted blog which is entirely in your control. You can get hosting at Hostgator and this allows you to completely customise your site and use Plugins as well as the commercial aspects of sales.
If you don't want to do it yourself, Joel can set you up a site for under US$300 – contact him here
- Themes are preconfigured designs for your blog. They sit on top of the posts so you can change them without impacting your content. There are thousands of free ones to pick from. You can have a surf at WordPress.org/Extend.
- Blogging is basically free plus services. You pay for what you want to improve. It's still cheaper than old school web design.
- What is RSS? It's like a “What's New” feed on your site. Your new posts are put into this file and people can Subscribe to it. As a reader, you just need to go to one site to read multiple blogs. Joel and I both use Google Reader which is great! You can subscribe to this blog with the button on the top right or click here to Subscribe. Then you get updates whenever something new is posted instead of having to remember to go to that site regularly. As a blog owner, you can see how many people are subscribed to your site.
- Top Tips for Blogging from Joel. There are hundreds online but here are some basics.
- Great headlines are necessary so people will actually read the article in this world of competing information.
- Use pictures on your post. This makes the site look better and you can get free pictures at Flickr.com (Advanced Search Creative Commons) or Stock Exchange . Remember to check the Licensing.
- Make it easy for people to promote you e.g. Retweet buttons, Share on Facebook, or post to Digg/Delicious etc. Also, remember to add your social networking links as well.
You can find Joel at BlogTechGuy.com or on Twitter @blogtechguy . Just give him a shout if you need a hand!