There is no question that blogging is one of the best ways to get keyword rich content on your site, get your message on the search engines and get traffic to your website. But how do you get started blogging?
When you consider starting a blog there are many options. A great way to get started blogging quickly (and for free) is to use an online ‘standalone’ service like WordPress or Google’s Blogger. These are free, highly customizable tools that support both new and more advanced bloggers. The negative is that you can’t use your website’s domain name. For instance, if using Blogger, you blog address would be something like ‘yourblog.blogspot.com.’ While you can link to this from your current website, search engines won’t know give you ‘credit’ for the extra content since it is a different domain. With creative cross linking however, you can still benefit from the increased exposure you can get from a blog.
These free services provide powerful software tool that balance value, quality, and ease of use. While some people prefer to use more basic blog services, they too can truly benefit from the ‘built-in’ benefits of WordPress or Blogger along with its existing large community of users.
One of the most notable benefits of these services is the ease of use, and advanced functionality of the service compared to some blog software applications. Neither Blogger nor WordPress require you to know any ‘coding’ and allow you to built and post to your blog with easy to use icons similar to what one would see in a word processing program. Having the ability to utilize a program like this allows people to create blogs that are as high tech, and complete as full blown websites.
If you are occasionally ‘offline’ you can benefit from WordPress’s ability to import posts. This means you can put your blog together while you are not connected to the internet and then import it later. If you already use another blogging service such you can also import your posts directly into Blogger or WordPress.
Another benefit of these services is their large widget or element and theme libraries that allow you to instantly add useful features, and professional looking styles to your blog. A very simple drag and drop interface allows you to add features such as an RSS feed with a few clicks.
Another option to consider would be blogging software that you can directly integrate into your website. Some hosting provides such as GoDaddy allow you to use your existing domain name for you blog. The benefit is that the content of your blog becomes part of what search engines see for your domain. In these cases you are more likely to pay a monthly add-on fee to your hosting provider. As an alternative, Google’s Blogger allows you to publish to a FTP site, which means you can blog from your own domain. You lose some of the flexibility of the ‘out of the box’ service, but with a little effort you can have a customized template and pretty easy posting capability that resides within your domain.
As your needs become more advanced or if you are a more technical blogger you may also consider blogging software that can be directly integrated into your website. One to consider is bBlog. bBlog is an open source, PHP/MySQL application. If you don’t know what the last sentence means, then this isn’t for you. If you do know, then you may benefit from the expanded flexibility an integrated application could provide.
In the end, you have a wide, wide range of very inexpensive (or free) options to get started.