Thursday, March 11, 2010

Setting up a blog

I have had quiet a few friends ask me about setting up a blog. While I am more then happy to answer individual questions I thought I would do a brief overview here.

Anyone can blog and blogs can be anything from a hodgepodge like mine, to themed ones covering all sorts of topics from homemaking, crafting, and cooking to politics.

I started my blog originally as a travel journal. Once I moved to Germany it kept my family and friends stateside up to date with what was going on with me. But as I started reading more and more other blogs I realized there was so many thing I too wanted to talk about. I had played with the idea of create multiple blogs, but I realized this hodgepodge, that is me. Mine is a mix, my struggles an an expat, my daily life, photos, my struggles as an unexpected housewife, to cooking. Someday I hope to even include crafts. This blog is me inside and out. And you know what my friends and family love the cooking and homemaking posts just as much as the photos and updates. Woo hoo.

When reading other blogs I learned about various ways of networking and exposing your blog. Today I have over 40 subscribers plus my good old family who has not yet figured out that feature. Sure there are mega bloggers with thousands of followers, but I am stocked about my 43 and I notice every time I get a new follower.

So onto the good stuff setting up and networking your blog.

1. you need to choose your blog platform. I blog with I have also heard great things about wordpress. You do have the ability to change at a later date and there is some fancy way of importing all your previous posts.

2. Decide if you are going to go with a standard blog, or perhaps use your own hosting site, then you get a fancy url such as You can also do this step later. Many bloggers make this jump after they have set up a significant following.

3. When you set up your blog you are given the option to customize it with templates and designs. Just like you can on myspace you can add html coding to get fancy backgrounds. Or even custom make your own headers. One great source for blog backgrounds is the cutest blog on the block That is the one I am using at the moment. Many people use programs such as Picasa or photoshop to edit their headers. YOu can also use free sites, I did mine with the Picnik app on facebook. Now of course you later have the option to have someone or company make you a custom background if you wish. Or convince your it hubby like I am trying to do ha. Once you find someone who is computer friendly or if you yourself are there are tons of ways to modify your blog, make it 3 column, or add tabs.

4. On great starting point is to link up your blog through the facebok app networked blogs. You get exposure to tons of potential readers and even have options such as having your blog feed post live to your facebook wall. People do not have to be your friends to follow your blog. There are other similar services such as blogfrog, and google reader. You can always add these little apps to your blog under the customize tag. And I am so technologically inept so I can tell you it is super user friendly.

5. Expose your blog through meme activities, join others and create your own. What the heck is a meme Rena? Well think kind of like those face book surveys that run around to everyone. Except this is a blog activity. So what happens is once you find a blog with an activity you want to do, you create your post. You then include your link on the original blog, and create a link back in your post. This creates a huge network of exposure. Not just from the readers of the original hosting blog, but also the readers of every other blog who participates. Now do note their are thousand of these, most are every week. You do not have to do it every time. Many people become weighted down trying to keep up with all meme's, only do those that make you happy ad skipping them is perfectly ok too.

6. Avoid Spam. I have my comments all set up for moderation. And I have never had issues with spam.

7. Make sure you reach out to other bloggers. Leave them comments and they are sure to return the favor.

8. Never, Never post to much info on your blog. I know I risked that a bit with my all you article. Which I should go back and photoshop out some info. Actually will do that today. Many people use nicknames online. You should never include your kids names, or information that identifies where you live or work.

9. The main thing abut blogging is to have fun. You do not have to post everyday, you can do it 1 a week, once a month or 5 times in a day. One cool feature is that you can set up blogs to publish at various dates. I love this. Often times I will write 5-10 posts on the weekend and assign them publishing dates. Ok, ok I know I bombed you guys this week, but I was sick and lazy. ha

10. Do not try to be like other bloggers. Do what makes you happy. It is that individuality that attracts people to read your blog.

11. And one last tip, put a tracker on your blog. I use site meter you not only see how many people come to your blog. But what articles they read, how they find your blog. I love seeing what google search terms pull up my blog. This is a great way to see which forms of networking are benefiting your blog most.

I hope that some of these tips helped. Feel free to leave me questions in the comment section

Hugs not drugs



Lori Anderson said...

Hey Rena,
I found your blog through BlogFrog. What a super cute blog and I love the name Lost in Translation. Thanks for the recommendation and making the steps to blogging so simple. I look forward to seeing you around.
Hugs from Boulder CO,
Lori Anderson (BlogFrog)

ElizOF said...

Hi Rena,
Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. Now that we are part of the sits girls family, I am glad we will all get to meet new bloggers. I enjoyed your piece on your apartment and wondered where you are in Germany? I have quite a number of friends there and have visited many times. Have a great week ahead and keep blogging.


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