If you’re going to be a professional writer, then you’d better have a blog. Or so I get told. A lot.
But though I am hardly the be-all and end-all of what constitutes a professional writer, I can see the wisdom of creating some kind of newsletter. Unlike other kinds of celebrities, writers can’t just go on a talk show, or create their own line of fraudulent New Age feminine hygiene products, or make a sex tape.
No, writers have to settle for the humdrum alternative of blogging their lives, using their one talent to make their bland day-to-day existence seem interesting. That’s how we connect with fans.
But nothing’s stopping us from making that one avenue the best it can possibly be. And there are some pretty killer blogs out there. Some of those have even launched careers.
And though I am obviously biased, I do have a recommendation that will help you easily get your start in blogging.
To Host or Not to Host?
The prospect of hosting your own blog on your own personal website is much more important than it first appears.
Yes, it is possible to run your blog out of a large communal site, such as WordPress or Blogger. And yes, this is the quickest way to start a blog (you can make your first post in less than 10 minutes).
But you will notice that the biggest and most important blogs are hosted on their own website. And this is not an accident. Having your own site gives you greater control of the blog. You have considerably more responsibility to keep it up and running, but you also can set your own rules, as far as content and presentation are concerned.
You also have your own domain name. And having your own domain gives you more than just prestige. It also prevents other people from seizing that domain name, which will be important if you ever hit the big time (believe me, you don’t want to have to buy your name from some punk who stole it once the name became valuable).
But whether or not you host your own blog or have one of the big boys host it for you, you’re going to want the best blog-building options available.
You’re going to want WordPress.
WordPress has All the Options
To put things in perspective, there is an entire field of computer programming dedicated to WordPress.
All those themes, plugins, and add-ons are not going to write themselves after all. And WordPress is up to its armpits in all of those goodies.
And while WordPress can’t do everything you could imagine, it is customizable enough to build at least an approximation of whatever you want your website to look like.
WordPress has extensions for every purpose under the sun, such as an add-on for controlling author permissions, allowing you to fine tune the rights and responsibilities of all contributors to your blog.
Or Shopping Cart and payment/donation options, for a blog that has a storefront inside it.
Or various plugins to increase site visibility and make you more appealing to search engines like Google.
The clever blogger can also find ways to compound these features, and multiply their returns with a synergy that makes their website thrive. Though that blogger would certainly be more clever than me.
But What About That Format Change?
Not too long ago, WordPress updated the way its posts were built.
Before, creating a post was similar to creating a document in Microsoft Word. Now, it’s more like creating a project in Microsoft Publisher.
A lot of people were unhappy with the change, and even demanded that WordPress reverse its decision. But to someone who has an appreciation for all the nuance that goes into organizing and typesetting a published work, the improvements WordPress made are obviously advantages.
Organizing each post into modular sections is closer to how professional publishing software does it, and allows everyday bloggers to make their posts look polished and presentable.
I must say this is another marked advantage over other blogging software.
Give it a Spin
If you don’t have the money or technical knowledge to set up your own website, you can always create a member blog on wordpress.com. If you’re at all on the fence about taking up blogging, then I encourage you to try it out.
It just might change your life.
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