1. JHockey
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    JHockey Member

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    Setting Up a Blog

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by JHockey, Apr 26, 2012.

    I am interested in setting up a blog, but I get to my blog page and feel lost as to where to begin. What are people's experiences of setting up a blog? What kind of things can you put on it that would attract people to it? Your opinions on things, downloads, things you have wrote? And how do you increase traffic to your blog? Is it just like a simple version of a website. If so, how do you get your voice heard and your blog address known? Is it simply a case of getting out there and promoting it to people online whereever you can?
     
  2. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    For what purpose are you starting a blog?

    I started mine with the purpose of simply keeping people updated on how my ideas/projects were coming along and what I was getting up to in real life. My aim wasn't finding new readers but to keep the ones I currently have updated. This later expanded to providing useful links, advertising websites and projects I had become involved with, plus the occasional rant about how my genre is treated and the way the most well-known authors of it are only reinforcing the stereotypes that push the mainstream audience away. I didn't particularly advertise it outside of my signature/profile on forums but a number of amateur writers with big followings started linking to me on their websites and now my blog currently sees an average increase of 1,200 new visitors per year. :) I occasionally post short excerpts on it (only a couple of paragraphs) but nothing longer.
     
  3. Cristian
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    Cristian Member

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    1,200? That is quite something! How on earth have you managed to do such a difficult task?
     
  4. JHockey
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    JHockey Member

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    I was thinking of setting one up to share some of my views and ideas on things. And to put some of the things I have written on it. But it is not much good without attracting the right kind of people to it. I did a website in the past, but I thought it would be better to do something a bit simpler that it would be easier to keep updated. In setting it up though, it feels a bit like twitter. I would want people to come to my blog to have a good look at something they found interesting, not just for a quick peek before moving on. So is a blog only any good if you already have some dedicated fans? Is that the purpose it serves?
     
  5. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    I have a blog, but I'm utterly boring so I'm afraid I don't have much traffic... So my advice is don't be boring!
     
  6. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    In my experience, a blog is a very useful tool, but you have to be willing to put in the time and effort it takes to get it going. At the beginning, that will mean a certain degree of talking to an empty room.

    But if you keep using it, keep putting new posts up on it, and above all use social media like Tacebook, Twitter, Google+ (maybe) to promote it then you'll find your traffic starts to increase.

    It's easier if your blog has something of a theme, even if that's just your writing. When I started mine it was just a forum for me to rant about stuff and talk about my writing (and post occasional shorter pieces there directly). As I became interested in politics, I started to use it for that too, and now it serves a dual purpose as a way for me to talk about and promote my writing, and a campaign and political comment tool.

    But the key is to post frequently, and try and post interesting things. If you have a heavy back-catalogue of posts on your blog, then if someone is attracted by a particular post then they're more likely have a look through your archives.
     
  7. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I originally set up a sort of blog on Goodreads to talk about my writing and it seemed to work, but was very limited. Then that fell over for some technical reason I don't understand, and I was forced to set up an entire new blog. I used Blogspot, and found the entire task of transferring my old blogs across to it remarkably easy, as was designing the look and feel of it. They have templates that are extremely easy to use and you can modify them as you choose.

    The real problem is thinking of things to post, and while I aim to put something up every week, its usually every two to three weeks. But a few months ago, I hit on a theme, (which doesn't really have a lot to do with my writing) of time travel and the paradoxes it throws up, and have been posting away on that.

    As to traffic and numbers, mine malingers away with something over a hundred visitors a month, but I find I don't really care. I actually quite enjoy just writing it. If people read it that's just a bonus.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  8. CousinMerl
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    CousinMerl New Member

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    Hi JHockey, what is the aim or purpose of your blog?

    I have a blog set up which is aimed towards publishing stories, articles, interviews and match reports on my local football team. I made sure to promote it on facebook and twitter towards those interested, and after a little while the views flooded in. If you have an idea, make sure you make your blog known to a target audience.

    If it's a personal blog as such, it's harder to advertise as you don't really have a target audience for it.

    I hope this has been of some help to you.
     
  9. madeleinefarraday
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    madeleinefarraday Member

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    In some cases, yes, self-promotion (broadcasting your blog through your networking - posting the link on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, your forums, in your signature) - can really help. I would recommend that route. It's free publicity, after all.

    I think the formatting of a blog does attract me to it, sometimes. The subconscious aspect, you know? Whatever is attractive. Choose a nice template that will make people want to come back and read.

    It might depend on how many people you network with, in some cases. Some of my FB friends have done a lot of gaming, and they have a mind boggling thousand or two thousand friends in some cases. Way too many, really. Your real true-life friends get lost in that mix. BUT then again, when you want to advertise something, there you go. 2000 people automatically see what you're all about.
     
  10. aimeekath
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    aimeekath Senior Member

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    Its pretty easy to set up a blog, as there are loads of platforms already out there (I use blogger). I didn't really establish a niche or a target audience, but a lot of people do. There are ready made templates you can use on the website, but if you want something more origninal then you can go to other websites (like shabbyblogs) or make your own. There's a blogger forum you can go to for advice and feedback on google groups.

    I'd also suggest looking at other blogs for some inspiration.

    You can improve blog traffic by getting yourself out there and promote. If you go on the blogger forum then your traffic tends to increase, also commenting on other blogs leads to people too look and maybe comment on your blog in return. Umm... there's quite a lot of stuff, but you learn as you go really.

    I hope that there was something to help you there whilst I was waffling.
     
  11. MeganHeld
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    MeganHeld Senior Member

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    I use blogger as well. I find that it is easier to manage and there are many sites out there that offer help and ways to make your blog look unique. I have been slowing gaining views. it will take time.

    I would suggest trying one of the larger blog platforms because they offer more tips and help. After that, make sure you include things such as "tags" and that will help increase traffic.

    Also, seeing as people as later, my blog is all about my writing as a hobby. The ups, downs, inspiration and comments. It is personal at times, but people have enjoyed reading the posts.
     
  12. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    My very first blog entry, in February of 2006. As it says, I got an account simply to be allowed to post a comment on another blog, then decided that, if I had a blogger account anyway, I may as well start blogging. I started off posting my opinions (especially on disability rights), that's the most common style of post though I also post ideas on creative writing and stuff I figured out about psychology.

    I don't have a wide readership, but I do have some. Many of my entries have around 2-5 comments on them, so clearly some people are reading my blog. I think part of it is that I tend to post a lot of comments on other blogs and include a link back to my blog, so people who like what I said elsewhere check out my blog. But I update it infrequently (when a bloggable idea hits) so that probably discourages some readers.
     
  13. Ali
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    Ali Member

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    Hi, I started one as a focal point for the new writing I'm doing. I post my writers diary, technical comments and my work. I suppose it's like my office. I've had one visitor in 2 months but that's fine as at the moment. Hopefully mine will grow over the years like Yoshiko's.
    ps. It was really easy to set up.
     
  14. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've had a blog (on Blogger; nothing high-tech) for about two years now. It started out with general babbling about whatever I felt like, moved on to be mostly about perfume, then expanded talk about whatever I felt like again. Looking at the last couple of months' posts, I see two posts about perfume, one about sewing, several personal posts, several short stories, one post about a film festival... in other words, I babble.

    I'm not quite sure what my readership is - my stats claim about four hundred "unique visitors" per month, plus about a hundred feed readers, but I've never been clear on how they track that uniqueness thing and I have trouble believing that that actually represents four hundred people. The number of people that comment is much, much smaller - maybe a dozen, but that's enough to make me happy.

    I think that a majority of my regular readers are other bloggers, mostly perfume bloggers. I commented on my favorite established blogs, a few of them wandered over to read and comment on mine, I add some of them to my blogroll, some of them add me to theirs. This is, IMO, a natural and appropriate way to find readers; there are also all sorts of less natural and dangerously spammy ways that I won't recommend or even mention. :)

    I seem to remember someone advising that you blog regularly for six weeks to find out what you want to blog about. It worked for me, though the answer was, "Whatever I feel like."

    ChickenFreak
     
  15. Houda
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    Houda Member

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    Well the unique visits are tracked using a cookie that your computer downloads when you visit the blog (don't worry this is very standard and harms your computer in no way). If someone who visits your blog does not have the cookie they are regarded as a unique visitor because if they have already seen your blog before they would have the cookie already. However if someone is constantly deleting their cookies/history this could lead to them being counted as a unique visitor again. So yes when it says you have four hundred "unique visitors" the number would be lower as a certain number of people would have cleared their cookies (but then if they did that it would still mean they visit your blog often so it ain't so bad?).
    I hope what i said actually made sense because i know sometimes it just doesn't haha.
     
  16. Blue Stasz
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    Blue Stasz Member

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    I set up my blog a few months ago - not aiming for a lot of visitors. It's a mixture of my writing exercises (short stories I don't intend to publish) and posts on some subjects - book reviews, movie reviews, my opinion I have on subjects and don't want to rant on in other forums. Eventually I'll try to get some freelance assignments for writing articles and I'd like to use my blog as a portfolio. I'm not actively marketing my blog at this time - this might change in the future, although I despise social media. I host my own account and use WordPress, and I also maintain my husband's blog. He's a watercolor artist and uses this as portfolio. If you would ever find a written word there it would be from me ;) I've my own account with the Web hosting company and use WordPress.
     
  17. randi.lee
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    randi.lee New Member

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    Formatting helps, as well. When you set it up don't place yellow text on an orange background. Don't use size 10 font. Make sure your blog is easy to read and is not[I/] overloaded with bright neon pictures that are overwhelming to the eye. I don't mean to say you should make everything bland and manila. Add your own flavor to it, but keep it reasonably simple at the same time.
     

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