The following article is a guest post from Matthew Polo (his details at the end of this article). To submit a guest post to Blogging Labs, hit us up and we’ll get the ball rolling.
If you are ready to launch a WordPress blog and join millions around the world, there are some things you should know while your getting started.
1. Your WordPress Blog Does Not Have To Be On Hosted WordPress
You can use WordPress anywhere. This means that you don’t have to have a .WordPress.com blog, ie your blog doesn’t have to be your-blog.WordPress.com but can be your-blog.com. WordPress can host your blog for you or you can get your own hosting at a different company. Another useful feature is the ability to import or export blog contents to and from WordPress. This will allow you to keep a personal archive off line.
2. There Are No Contracts
Because its free you don’t have to commit to anything. You can leave anytime and WordPress will give you a complete xml download of all your posts and comments, so you can pack up and move your blog if you want
3. You Need A Plan…. And A Name
It is always a good idea to plan something before you do it. Develop a blog plan about why you are creating a blog, including the purpose, the target audience and the level of commitment to maintenance you envision. Try to conduct some market research on blogs that are similar and not similar to your vision and don’t limit yourself to only looking at WordPress blogs. Research some names for your blog that are consistent with your vision. Investigate the “About” sections of other blogs to see why they started as well as how well they are going after how long. This research could tell you roughly how your blog is going to go, but in no way is it a guarantee that your blog will succeed.
You should also decide whether you want to use an existing email account or specifically create one for blogging. I like to create new emails for each site and manage them all through GMail rather than use my personal one. It helps to stop people spamming me personally as well as separates my work and personal life and if I ever want to sell the blog I can give away the email address and be sure that I don’t keep getting blog related emails after I sold it.
4. Knowledge is Key and Keep an Open Mind
It is always a good idea to keep an open mind when it comes to your blogs development. Try to explore each WordPress feature fully before initiating full scale blog development. Getting to know each of the features and how to use them effectively will help your blog run smoothly. For instance, you can blog through email and mobile texting, and allow people to subscribe to your blog with alerts for blog activity. You can also create a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed to allow subscribers to view a summary and updates of your blog content anywhere on the web. These are simple things to set up, but if you don’t get in there and learn how to set them up your blog won’t work as well as it could.
5. WordPress Is Free. But There Is Some Stuff You Have To Pay For
The great thing about WordPress is that it is absolutely free, which is great if you want to give blogging a go because it won’t cost you a penny. However, there are some features that WordPress offer that will cost you a bit of dough. You can check out the paid features at http://en.WordPress.com/products/ but before you go “gun ho” on all the paid features I suggest giving the free version a good thorough go. There are plenty of plugins that you can download that will let your WordPress blog do anything, so I suggest giving them a go first.
6. One Account..More Than One Blog
Another good feature of WordPress is that you can manage more than one blog from the one account. This means that you won’t have to login to each one as you work on them.
7. You Should Subscribe To Other Blogs
You can subscribe to other blogs on WordPress easily. Reviewing other blogs to discover what others are blogging about, how they blog, blog layout, naming, content categories and tags not only will help you get a sense of what you can do with WordPress but will also get you out into the blogging community. Some good places to check out other blogs, topics and titles is through Technorati, Mashable and blog directories as well as check out other blogs blog rolls. You should activate social media buttons on your blog as well as follow other blogs through social media sites. This will keep you in the loop as well as help you get followers on your own social media pages.
8. Pingbacks Are Helpful
Pingbacks will alert others if you link to their website or blog, and will in turn alert you if another blog has linked to you. You can also allow their citations to show on your blog. An easy way to get back-links to your blog is to post articles with links to your blog in one of the free article directories, like top ranked ones Articlesbase and Ezinearticles. Although it won’t impact your blog massively. It is still a good idea to do it as it will start getting your blog out there as well as let the search engines see your blog.
9. Check Your Default Settings
WordPress has default settings that although help you avoid a long and boring set up process isn’t always what you want. For example comments are allowed for each post without prior approval by default, this means that people can write anything they want. You can pre screen all blog post comments before they post or you can turn off comments but I wouldn’t suggest it. The default for blog postings is public viewing. You can create a top level private view or create private viewing by post, allowing just yourself, friends or people with a code that you create. You can also create viewership ratings for content per each blog.
10. Submitting Your Blog To Directories Will Help Get Your Blog Out There
Although blog directories like Blogexplosion, Technorati, OnTopList, Blogdirectory, Blog Web Directory, and others found via Wikipedia and Alexa.com won’t make a massive impact on how many people will see your blog it will still help it get out there, which isn’t a bad thing.
Maintaining your own blog can be a very rewarding thing, so get in there and have a go. After all its free, whats the worst that could happen?
Matthew writes about personal finances for an impartial Australian credit card comparison website where people can find balance transfer credit card offers that reduce interest payments and help them get out of debt faster.