Social Networks - MySpace

Social networks are not always great to blog on, but they are fabulous for networking. These sites allow you to network with other people with similar interests and plenty of other bloggers. Consider signing up for one or more of these popular sites to help get the word out about your blog and build relationships on the net.

One of the popular social network, MySpace is the social hub for anyone from 16 to 60. Everyone seems to use MySpace. Some MySpace users are very into it and forget there is a whole world of Internet beyond its domain. Many, especially blogging purists and business professionals, have the account as a supplement to their blog or business, not as their primary hangout.

While a lot of negative attention is paid to MySpace, especially when it comes to predators and scam artists, signing up for MySpace can definitely be fun, as long as you maintain the same level of discretion and privacy. It can be a great boon for your blog and a way to get those who rarely venture away from MySpace to explore life beyond their Top 8.

Blog Communities and Networks

These blog communities and social networks are much larger then the blogs they contain. Some offer huge resources of link lists and forums, as well as member features that allow you to connect with other people like yourself. Becoming a member of these sites can grant you access to all of their members and sometimes their advertisers, as well as any other tools, contest, or opportunities their may offer.

Of the many blog communities and networks, some are exclusive or topic-specific, and some are more general. Most require registration in order for you to become a member or be listed on their blogrolls. This helps communities keep their sites spam-free. Here are a few examples:

BlogHer was created as an opportunity for all kinds of women bloggers to gain greater exposure, education, and community within the blogosphere. In its own words, BlogHer 'evangelizes blogging by, for and to women'. BlogHer also hosts a conference every year for BlogHer members, and nonmembers who are interested in joining, to commune and share ideas on panels and through social events.

ClubMom community was created with moms in mind. It has more than 40 blogs written by seasoned mommybloggers. Plus, you can find on the site an ask-a-mom feature, message boards, sweepstakes, and a library of over 20,000 articles written by moms for moms.

Common Sense

If in doubt, use your common sense with regards to what you unleash on the Internet. If you are the type who are generally not concerned about your identity being out there, by all means. But if you are like the majority, you can find a balance between full-on disclosure and keeping yourself under lock and key. Consider being careful when posting personal identifying details and photos.

Personal details
It is wise to protect the identity of not only yourself, but your entire family. Give them nick names too. If they are involved in your blog, you can even let them choose their own.
Do not discuss where you live in great detail. Many websites and some blog platforms allow you to use maps to place your exact location at times of posting or where you were when a certain photo was taken. While these features are cool, think for a moment if you really want the entire world to know that. And do you want to make that information accessible.
It is generally best to protect yourself as much as possible.

Sharing photos
It is important to protect your name, but your face needs protecting too. Many people choose to share their faces but not their names, you may still be recognized. Posting photos of children is more commonplace online these days, but use caution when choosing where to post them and which photos to post. There are a lot of dodgy creeps out there, so it is best to keep your photos in the family, or at least protected.


You can strengthen the protection of your online presence by requiring your blog readers to sign in with passwords, adjusting your blog's privacy settings, using a screen name or pseudonym, establishing an email account for your blog only, and registering your domain privately.

Password protection
If you are hosting your own blog with a hosting provider, you may choose to require users to read your blog by logging in with a global login and password. Some content management systems and blog platforms offer members features that let them grant access with their own login and password. If you use a hosted blogging service, adjust your privacy settings for the appropriate level should work just fine.

Privacy settings
If you are using a hosted blogging service, you can choose to remove your site from the search engine indexes by setting the preferences on your account. You may want to check your particular blog service's documentation for more information.

Screen names
Unless you are a public presence, it is probably better to avoid using your last name on your blog. If it is necessary, skipping it can help protect your identity, especially if you have a very unusual name. If you would prefer to avoid using your real name, consider choosing an alter-ego.

Anonymous email
Having a blog can generate not only a lot of comments, but also a lot of spam in your inbox, so you may want to have an email address which you do not mind getting picked up by the spam bots when they crawl your site. You also want to avoid using email addresses that include your real name or place of business. Sign up for a Gmail account or other free email service and choose an email address that you will use. Some bloggers choose to use an email address that is the same or similar to their blog name.

Private domain registration
When registering your domain name, consider adding private registration to your site. Private registration masks your personal information, such as name, contact number, and registrant mailing address from those who search for your domain in the WHOIS domain lookup.

Google Basics

Google sends out what are called spiders, bots, or crawlers to follow links from page to page throughout the Internet. When it finds a new web page it has not indexed, it crawls the code on the page and sends the information gathered back to Google. Bots visit indexed websites again and again so the listing stays fresh, but how often they do may vary.

When Google bots crawl your blog's content and links, they pick up the content and send it back to Google to index in the search engine. Google indexes just about anything you published, you may still get hits for years by people searching Google for your content.

It is possible to block Google from indexing your website. Assorted scripts are available with the help of a web developer or a tech-savvy friend, you can implement into your own blog to block the spiders from crawling your code and content. Try the search engine. Some blog services, like Blogger,, and Vox offer to block them for you if you choose to do so in your settings.

There are reasons why people would want Google to index their sites and reasons why they would not want. Chew on some of these and decide if blocking Google and other search engines from crawling your site is your choice.

Business or pleasure
Do you have a personal or community blog for recreational fun or a blog to represent your business? A lot of bloggers have both, so it is important to consider what you are willing to share on your personal blog and if you mind your professional connections stumbling across it.
If you do wish to run a blog for your personal use and have a professional business presence online or off, you may want to make your personal blog private or take the steps to block Google from indexing your blog, even though it does not guarantee privacy. It is simply a small step. You may also choose to use a pseudonym for your personal thoughts.

Shameless self-promotion
If the purpose of your blog is to gain exposure, allowing Google to crawl your site and index your URLs is a great step. Make sure you also include plenty of appropriate keywords to help target user searches even further and allow you to climb in the Google ranks. You may still choose to use discretion when discussing your personal life, but given the nature of your career, it makes perfect sense to use your name or stage name.

Public Blogs

It is obvious that most blogs are public. It is a public blog if when is out there and anyone and everyone who stumbles across it can read it. Public blogs consist of a variety of topics, from personal to genre-specific, but the sole fact that anyone can look at them is what makes them public blogs.

Public blog does not mean that it belongs to the public at large, nor do the masses have any entitlement over one's blog, it simply because it is publicly viewable. Some bloggers feel pressure from their readers to provide. You do not have to provide anything other than what you have promised. If you have a business blog or a blog that advertises some specific service to its readers, then it is important to provide what you have touted. However, if you have a personal blog that you manage and update at your leisure, your only responsibility is to yourself, not the public.

A public blog may or may not have comments open. A public blog does not belong to the public; it is simply visible to the public. The choice of whether to allow readers to engage with your blog by opening comments or trackbacks is entirely up to you.

Semiprivate Blogs

Catharsis is great but sometimes you need someone to listen and perhaps offer some advice. Keeping your blog secret does not allow for that. It makes perfect sense to keep your blog private if you are blogging about something personal. But if you want to share with family and close friends, semiprivate blog would be more appropriate.

A semiprivate blog is one that allows you to set varying permissions based on membership groups. You can accomplish this with a blog platform such as ExpressionEngine or Movable Type, but the quick and easy way is an out-of-the-box solution. A handful of hosted blogging services allow this, such as Blogger or Vox.

Vox is extremely easy for you to have a public blog, private blog, and semiprivate blog all rolled into one. As a Vox member, you can set up various member groups in your Vox Neighborhood. From there, you have several options for who can view and comment on each individual entry or the blog as a whole.

You can see how this would provide the opportunity for you to share only what you want to share and give you some control over whom you share it. While you still have the freedom to set the permissions by individual entry.

Private Blogs

Some people want to blog for themselves as a catharsis, and a blog platform enables them to do so easily, while archiving their writing and providing a simple printable display. While you could do something similar with a word processing program, some people are techie types and prefer to use a blog platform to their advantage.

Blog platforms also allow you to categorize your entries, order them easily by date, and clearly chronicle whatever it is you are keeping track of, be it your daily life, food intake, or workout regimen. A blog is usually accessible anywhere that has an Internet connection.

Some hosted blogging services, such as Blogger, offer easy ways to make your blog private by just clicking a few settings. Your blog will be viewable to the public or open by default.


Videocasting, also known as video podcasting or vlogging, is a podcast done with video rather than MP3 audio. Just as podcasting gained popularity with the increasing trend of portable devices, videocasting is yet another phenomenon that is on the rise. Portable devices are now supporting video, and more websites are popping up that can handle and store video, making publishing video a normal occurrence.

As the Internet evolves, the possibilities of what you can do with all these resources become ridiculously abundant. Videocasting can open an entirely new arena of ideas.

Making the video:
You do not need a big studio, camera operators, sound technicians and producers to create your own show. All you need is a camera. A quality webcam or even a vdeo camera will do, and with a little help from some software. It may not be professional studio-quality video, but you can get by with a few staples and produce an entertaining video suitable for publishing.

Video file formats:
MP4 is the file format for storing digital audio and video and is one of the most common formats used for videocasting. You handle publishing MP4 files for aggregation in feeds the same way that you handle publishing MP3 files for podcasting. By publishing a link to your video in your feed-enclosure-enabled blog will do.

Private Hosted Blogs and Podcast Feeds

If you have decided to run your own blog on a platform such as Movable Type, WordPress, or ExpressionEngine, you need to fine-tune your RSS files to accept enclosures so that when you publish your show, the masses can actually pick it up with their aggregators. Every blog platform has its own protocol for feed enclosures, but generally the steps you need to take are fairly simple:
  • Movable Type requires you to install a plugin called Feed Manager, which you can download from Movable Type's site. Feed Manager aids you and Movable Type in generating content and enclosures in your feeds so that people can download your podcasts from your site or from podcast directories.

  • WordPress eliminates the step of having to add plugins. The latest release of WordPress has enclosure support built in, so publishing your podcast is quite simple. You create and upload your MP3 and publish a link to it in your blog post, and WordPress handles the rest. Your RSS feed automatically adds the required enclosure tag to your RSS/Atom feed.

  • ExpressionEngine, like Movable Type, requires a plugin for your feeds to accept enclosures. A quick search of ExpressionEngine's site turns up its Feed Enclosures plugin and some short instructions. Install the plugin, or it is more like just upload it to a specified folder on your site. Make a couple of minor adjustments to your feed file, and you are in the podcasting business.

Hosted Blogs and Podcast Feeds

Many times, you would not have to worry too much about the details involving things like enclosures and tags if you are using a hosted service. Some hosted services provide RSS creation and feed enclosures for you, and you do not have to do anything but publish a link to your MP3 file in a blog post. However, if your hosted service is of the free variety, such as or Blogger, it is best to check the service's site for details on whether it is a supported service. You might have to upgrade to a paid account to gain the ability to upload and store MP3s.

Blogger or may not be the best choices in terms of free tools to use in podcasting, but they can be a good place to start as a beginner. You can technically create a podcast feed with any blog. The issue lies mainly in whether you can store the file with your hosted service or whether you need to find web space to store your files. If you have access to a site online where you can store and link to files, podcasting with a free blog tool such as Blogger or can work.

One drawback of podcasting with Blogger is that Blogger creates an Atom feed by default. It is not considered the standard of feeds for podcasting at the moment, but you can use it. You can use the free service at a site such as FeedBurner to translate your Atom feed to an RSS 2.0 feed in a matter of minutes.

If you are using a hosted blog service such as TypePad, you need not worry about enclosures or such technicalities because TypePad handles all of that for you. As long as you publish a link to your MP3 in the body of your blog post, TypePad takes it from there.

Syndicating a Feed for Your Podcast

Whether you have a hosted blog or are running one on your own, you need to know a few things before you jump in. When you have your podcast ready to go - it is recorded, edited and converted to MP3, you are almost there. Your feed syndicates your show. People arrive at your site and look for your feed, or they find you in iTunes and start downloading. That all rides in your building an RSS feed that provides a means to distribute your show.

An RSS enclosure is a way for an RSS feed to attach saome kind of media like a sound file, a photo, or a video. It is most commonly used for incorporating MP3s into an RSS feed for podcasting. You should make sure that by posting your MP3 file, your RSS feed is picking it up. If not, aggregators or other feed readers would not know it is there. This can also affect your listing in iTunes, so it is worth investigating completely.

Tools of the Trade

If you decide to podcast, here is a handy list of the tools you will need to help you get it going.
  • Microphone: Some computers and laptops have built-in mics. These mics will work for your purposes, but if you are going to put gusto into your podcast, you might consider investing in a good microphone that creates clear audio. Or consider a portable MP3 player with a built-in microphone, which is ideal for on-location podcasting.

  • Recording application: You need some type of program that records your audio and saves and exports your audio files in MP3 formats. Most software gives you the option to edit your audio, which could really come in handy. PodProducer and Audacity are free sound editors. And for the serious podcasters, give ePodcast Producer a shot. It charges but can do just about everything.
    Doing an Internet search for podcast recording application turns up a handful of options. Make sure the software you choose can create MP3 files and not just edit audio. Audacity requires that you download an add-on to convert your audio file to MP3 format. It is also totally free.

  • Headphones: Though they are not necessary, you can actually increase the quality of your podcast by having headphones. Having more serious headphones can aid in creating better audio. Available now are headphones with built-in microphones equipped with noise reduction, so your podcast comes in nice and clear.

  • Extra file space and bandwidth: You will inevitably upload these audio files. Having a fast Internet connection aids in the transfer time of these large files. Additionally, you will want to save a backup of your podcasts, which can get large and add up quickly. Having some additional file storage is not necessary but nice to have. Space is cheap these days, so it is not a hassle to find and afford.

The Key Ingredients to a Successful Podcast

Keep these few points in mind before you pull out the microphone:
  • Know your topic. When you start thinking about your podcast, make sure you know enough about the subject you choose to make the podcast meaningful and informative so that people will want to listen again and again.
  • Prepare enough content. Just like your blog, your podcasts need to have fresh content. Be prepare with enough material to make more than one show. Think in broader terms.
  • Express enthusiasm. Passion is the key to success in anything. If you are excited about your topics, it will shine through, and your listeners or viewers will appreciate it and become loyal fans.

What People are Podcasting About

The opportunity to reach millions with the swift click of the Publish button is thrilling. Podcasting has opened people up to endless possibilities for exploring creativity. New podcasts pop up every day, and there is one for almost every topic.

Podcasting began mostly out of people's desire to broadcast their own radio shows. This is what a lot of people use it for. But as people always do, they pushed the boundaries, and now, podcasting is a useful tool in communicating with the masses. People use podcasting for broadcasting educational classes, updating long-distance family members, or recording step-by-step instructions and tutorials. No matter what you choose to podcast about, no doubt the Internet has a place for it. Take a look at some unconventional uses of podcasting:
  • Group podcasts - get your friends to join in and start a virtual brunch with your long-distance buddies. You can make group podcasts private if you do not want everyone knowing your secrets, or make them public to share your conversation with others.
  • If you are a teacher, podcast extra credit projects and have your students join in on the fun.
  • Crafty types can videocast a demonstration of knitting in the round or spinning yarn.

Just as there are politicians, musicians, artists, mothers, fathers, economists, and footwear fetishists, there is a podcast or many podcasts to match. The sky is basically the limit.

How a Podcast Differs from a Blog

Most would agree that blogging typically entails a written entry. Podcasts, they can also include written commentary, include audio and/or video on a regular basis. Posting your favourite song on your blog does not necessarily make it a podcast. Podcasts are recognized as regular broadcast that usually cover a certain topic or range of topics. What you choose to broadcast is up to you, but frequency or regularity is a key component in calling yourself a podcaster. Think of how radio shows air on a regular schedule, and listeners know to tune in at the allotted time. Podcasts do not necessarily need to adhere to a strict schedule, but having some regularity will keep your listeners coming back.

What can be confusing is how podcast and blog are different, and in reality, they are not entirely different in how they are published. It is more about what is published, and how often, that clearly defines podcasting and blogging. The nice thing is that while there is a method to the madness, there is also great flexibility. If you have the creativity, you can probably figure out how to combine blogging, podcasting, and video blogging all in one neat little package.

What is a Podcast

A podcast, in simplest terms, is a media file that is broadcast over the Internet by the use of syndication feeds. Podcasters record something, whether it is music or talking, into an audio file, usually in the MP3 format. The podcaster posts a link to this media file on a blog. The blogging software, in turn, compiles a list of the entries with the linked media files into a list file called an RSS feed. Subscribers can use these feeds to download those media files and listen to at their leisure via a mobile device or web browser.

Protecting your Copyrights

If you post photos you have taken, you need not worry about infringing on someone else's rights. However, you do need to keep in the back of your mind that you have rights to protect too. Copyright laws are there to protect you. Be sure to place a visible copyright notice on your blog or website, and if necessary, watermark your image. Watermarking, or placing an opaque mark over your photo can deter photo swiping, but also lessens the overall impact of your image, so keep that in mind.

To create a watermark on a photo, you will need some type of photo editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop. Or plug watermarking into a Google search to find out about watermarking software and tutorials.

Setting up Moblogging with Flickr

  1. Log in to your Flickr account.
  2. Click your screen name, located in the upper-right corner. This takes you to your account settings.
  3. On the Email tab, click the Create an Upload-to-Flickr Email Address link. Flickr assigns you a special email address that you can use to send photos and text with your mobile phone or PDA.
  4. From your mobile phone or PDA, enter this special email address and send your photos. They are automatically posted to your Flickr account.
  5. Click the Your Account link on the top left to get back to the Email Tab.

Setting up Moblogging with Vox

  1. From your Vox account online, click Account.
  2. Click the Mobile Settings link from the left navigation link list. Vox displays your mobile posting options along with a mobile email address to send your text and photos to.
  3. Select your privacy options from the Share With drop-down list and then click Save below the drop-down list to save the settings. You can choose to have Vox automatically set a default privacy level. Share your moblogging posts with anyone, your Vox neighborhood, or friends and family.
  4. (Optional) Set default moblog tags for your entries from the Tag With drop-down menu. You can tag your entries with identifying keywords.
  5. Choose when to post from the Create Post drop-down menu and then click Save below the drop-down menu. Choose Yes to create a new post in the blog with your moblogged photo or text, or No so you can handle it later when you have time.
  6. (Optional) If you have created multiple contact groups, choose to which group these photos should be visible. Click the link next to Post to Group, and in the small window that appears, select the applicable contact groups. Click Save.

Setting up Moblogging with TypePad

  1. From your TypePad account online, click Control Panel.
  2. Click the Profile tab.
  3. Click the Mobile Settings link. The Mobile Settings page opens.
  4. From the When I Send Text Messages by Email, Post Them to This Weblog drop-down menu, select which blog to post text messages to.
  5. From the When I Send Photos by Email, Post Them to My drop-down menu, select which blog to post photos to.
  6. Fill in any email addresses you will be sending your content from. For example, if you use a free email account when travelling, a work email, and a mobile or PDA email address, provide those to TypePad in the five available fields.
  7. Copy and save the secret email address provided by TypePad. This is the email address where you will send your text and/or photos from your phone or PDA. Program it into your phone's address book feature for easy access. Anything you send to this secret address will automatically get published to the blog you specified in Steps 4 and 5.
  8. Click Save.

What You Get with Flickr

Flickr is an extremely popular online photo management and photo sharing website that has transformed into a massive photo community. If you procrastinate, this is the best way to spend your procrastinating time.

Flickr houses the portfolios of thousands of talented photographers ranging from professional to amateur, in addition to a vast collection of photos from people with point-and-shoot cameras. Flickr allows you to upload and share your photos in a gallery format and provides a comment/blog-type of atmosphere. You can have your very own Flickr account to share photos for free of charge.

Signing up for a Flickr account is quite easy. Flickr, in its growth, joined forces with Yahoo!, and you are required to have a Yahoo! account to sign up. If you do not already have one, you can sign up for one in a few minutes.

All basic Flickr accounts are free and allow you to post, rotate, tag, and share your photos with the world. You are also granted the ability to sort your photos into sets and collections. Basic free accounts give you three to start off with. You can accept comments, set privacy levels for friends and family-viewing only, and the best part, you can post your photos from Flickr right into your blog. Flickr supports blogging your photos with LiveJournal, Blogger, Movable Type, and TypePad, to name a few.

Another charming feature is the note system. You can draw small squares on points of interest in your photos and label them, and you can give your Flickr friends permission to note your photos too. You can also tag your photos and search all of Flickr using them.

Adding Photos to Your Blog Entries

Adding imagery or photos to your posts can have a really positive effect on your entries. People are very visual, and considering that your readers are staring at a computer screen, keeping them entertained can make an impact. Impressions are made quickly with a point of interest to catch the eyes of readers, bringing them in to stay.

Of course, all of this is subjective and depends on the content of your site, your audience, and your goal. If you are blogging for fun, you will have a totally different set of guidelines than if you are blogging for profit.

Personal bloggers might want to share photos of themselves, their family, friends, or pets to illustrate the point of a post. A blogger looking to build a following might consider posting images or photos to back up a story or show details to drive home a point.

Gossip blogs are the perfect example of blogs with photos. Gossip bloggers spend their days uploading coordinating shots of celebrities to go with the gossip du jour. Of course, with publishing anything, particularly photographs, there are copyright issues to consider. If the photos you choose to post are yours from your very own camera, no problem. But posting photos taken by anyone else can pose a problem. The rule is: Get permission.

Creating Live Bookmarks

With so many different types of computers, operating systems, and browsers out there, you have a cornucopia of options on how you subscribe to feeds.

Newer browsers such as Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox allow you to subscribe to feeds with a built-in feed reader. This is called live bookmarking. If a site is publishing, or syndicating a feed, the option to subscribe via live bookmark will be apparent by the orange feed icon appearing somewhere near the top of the browser window. In Firefox, the orange feed icon is located in the address bar. In Internet Explorer 7, it is in the top right-hand side of the browser window.

Just find your preferred browser, fire it up, and get ready to start subscribing to feeds.

Choosing a Feed Reader

The best way to organize your feeds is with a feed reader, which syndicates website and blog feeds so that you can subscribe to them and read them all in one place. You can choose from three types of feed readers. How you choose a reader depends on the web browser you most commonly use and how much flexibility you desire. Here are some quick guidelines:
  • Browser-based: If you are kind of a homebody and do not plan on reading your feeds anywhere else, browser-based feed reader might suit you just fine. These are generally built right into your web browser and allow you to subscribe to a feed with one click. This is sometimes referred to as live bookmarking.

  • Web-based: If you are on the go and want to be able to check your feeds from any web browser or mobile device, such as a PDA or a cellphone with Internet access, the web-based option is recommended, as it is the most flexible and most popular of choices. You will find several web-based feed reader services in the market. The majority of them are free and easy to use.

  • The Combo: Most of the newer browsers incorporate, or give you the option to incorporate a web-based reader, such as Bloglines, which is available in the Firefox browser, with their built-in reader, so you have the best of both. The one-click ease of live bookmarking with the go-anywhere convenience of a web-based reader. Reading feeds using Firefox and Bloglines. You can do The Combo with Internet Explorer 7 by installing an add-on to make it work.

Feeds vs Favourites

For years, people have used bookmarks (or favourites) to save and organize sites they have discovered online and want to visit again. To bookmark a website, you simply click the Bookmark (or Favourite) button on your browser when you run across something that interests you. It is still a perfectly valid and reasonable way to keep an eye on sites that do not provide frequently updated content, or that do not offer feeds, such as many shopping and business sites. However, more and more sites are offered with RSS.

What is the point of feeds if people still use bookmarks? Feeds make it easier to read and manage dynamic content, content that is regularly and frequently updated, like blogs and news. Whenever the blog which you have subscribed to feeds posted a new entry, you will be notified via your feed reader. Clicking a certain blog in your list makes the entry display in your reader.

What if you want to go from your feed reader back to the original website? Simply click the link in your feed reader, and you are directed away from your reader and sent to the actual blog entry on the site.

Bookmarks have their place, especially when you just want to flag something for later, but if you want to see the latest headlines from Google... etc, feeds and you will be tighter.

Feeding the Masses

The act of publishing those links and feeds is called syndication. Anyone who posts on the internet can syndicate a feed. Gathering all the feeds in one place is called aggregation, although most of us just called it subscribing.

Suppose you have a list of 20 blogs you like to read, and visiting each blog daily takes an hour or more. It would be fantastic to be able to check those all at once, saving time.

Fortunately, content distributors, known as newsreaders or feed readers, have got you back. These handy services syndicate the content, allowing you to subscribe to it. Think of it like you are customizing your own newspaper, gathering all the headlines and snippets of your favorite websites in one central location to read at your leisure.

The Scoop on Feeds

A feed is the data format used to deliver frequently updated content, such as your blog entries. You may have seen websites with links or references to labels such as RSS, Atom, or XML. These are essentially assorted flavors of the same thing, a way you can get site updates without having to actually visit the site.
  • RSS stands for a few different things, different people has different definitions. Recent definitions claim that it stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS is the most commonly used term you will find for feeds, as its primary job is to deliver regularly updated content such as blogs and podcasts.
  • Atom is just another type of feed, for all intents and purposes. Atom has some technical goodies that make it slightly different to those who program such things, but for your purpose, it is just a matter of preference and what the site you are reading chooses to publish.
  • XML is not, technically a feed at all, but the technology used to create the feeds. However, due to some misconceptions, it is most often used to reference a feed, just like RSS and Atom. You may sometimes see icons or links for XML along with RSS or Atom.


Technorati is a site that indexes, or crawls your site to read and collect all your content. It is like a newsreader but a very large public one. By registering your site with Technorati, you are essentially giving them the go-ahead to index your website for relevant links and information.

Claiming your blog with Technorati also lets them confirm that you are the author or co-author of the site. You are then free to use all of Technorati's services to promote or increase the visibility of your blog. People perusing Technorati can click your links or profile and learn more about you and the blogs you author. You can also use Technorati to surf for anything you may be looking for.

Searching the tag system on Technorati is extensive and impressive. After you claim your blog, you will end up in their search results, and your post will also end up in the Technorati tag pages. The best part is that you do not necessarily have to tag your entries to get in there. Contributing requires that you have a blog that supports categories and an RSS/Atom feed. If they are both operating, it does this automatically.


Tags are useful, categories are useful too. Whether you are writing a personal journal-style blog or a business blog, keeping things tidy is a good idea. But if you want to have every post you ever do totally uncategorized, by all means do that. However, do not forget about the benefits of keeping things in order. For one, your readers can look through your entries according to what interest them.

Most blogging software platforms and hosted blogs give you the ability to categorize your blog entries. When you write and publish a blog entry, you can file it into a specified category that you can create. Typically, a list of your categories is displayed in the sidebar of your blog or website. A reader can then select the category from either a link list or a drop-down box and see all the entries you filed in that category. You can cross-categorize entries in as many categories as you like.

Categories are typically standard in most blogging tools. A little poking and prodding will produce a spot in your blog's control panel where you can add your categories ahead of time as a timesaver. When you get around to posting an entry, you can quickly assign it to your preset categories.

Benefits of Tags

You do not necessarily need to choose between tags and categories. Both have their benefits, and many website owners and bloggers utilize both. The pros of using categories are just simple organization of your blog entries, and if people who read your site like a particular post in a certain category, they know just where to find others like it. Tags present a better method of finding specific information. You can choose to use one or the other. Or combine them and give your readers the option to usse whichever method they prefer.

Tagging is wildly popular and will continue to become the standard over categories. Tagging can actually make your site much more usable and feature-rich. Tags are more detail oriented than simple categories. Over time, the tags you accumulate on your site will make finding content much easier, allowing readers to search more efficiently and more specifically.

For personal blogs, tagging can be more of a frivolous effort, but if your blog is information specific, or if your site is a community atmosphere where many people congregate, tagging can become really useful for your readers.

Finding the Interesting Stuff with Tags

As people continue to tag items on websites, it starts to create something similar to categories only much more specific in manner. Before tags, bloggers and website developers lumped content into categories. Readers would then be able to sift through that category to find what they were looking for.

Tags allow much more specific categorization and thus allow people to search more effectively. When a substential base of tags is created on a site, people can zero in more closely on the content of their choice. A good tag base saves people time by pinpointing what they are loking for.

Sites using tags often provide a tag cloud, or a group of tags that are popular on that site. The tags in the tag cloud are usually varied in font size. The larger, more prominent words are tags that have the most content entries associated with that tag word, within the site.

The nature of tags and the dynamic content they describe means that they are flexible and user oriented, and therefore associated with sites boasting Web 2.0, which is the new generation of internet, relying more on user-friendly, dynamic methods of presenting information.

For many sites using tags as a method of categorization, the site's users are not limited to one person's point of view regarding a particular subject. Some websites allow their visitors to assign their own tags to materials within the site. The more often people tag a particular item, the more diverse the tags become, and discovering that item becomes more likely when someone does a search. Not every website allows users to tag items. In the case of blogs, the tagging is up to the blog owner.

Tagging your Content

A tag is a simple keyword that is used to associate or describe the content of something, such as a blog entry, a video, or an image. Generally, people use various tags to describe items they have published on the web. You are putting a label on something, be it a blog entry or a photograph. You are identifying the item with relevant keywords to describe it in simple terms.

Choosing a handful of keywords helps readers find exactly what they are looking for in your blog. Regardless of what you are tagging, there is at least one word to describe what it is. Making your content easily searchable is the objective here. The more detailed your list of tags, the more ways your blog post is accessible.

The bottom line is, be descriptive and choose thoughtfully.


The term trackback refers to a relatively simple process. A trackback itself is an acknowledgement, a way for blog authors to be alerted when another blog is discussing or linking to a particular entry. Trackbacks originated as a way for bloggers to acknowledge one another through pinging, which is the term used to describe the act of sending a trackback alert. In order for this to work, both sites need to have the trackback features enabled.

You may wonder why tracking back to someone's entry is useful. Bloggers like to know when someone is talking about their entries, especially when that talk is positive. A blogger's readers might want to see what other readers are saying about a particular blog entry, and with trackbacks, they can easily find a list of the sites that reference it. People may find these stuff interesting, and it helps to keep things flowing in a serendipitous manner.


A ping is your blog's way of signaling other blogs or websites that you have written a blog entry directly referencing or relevant to one of their entries. Your blog can send out a ping to the other blog to notify it that you wrote a pertinent entry, but provided the blog you pinged has trackbacks enabled, your ping will display itself in the form of a trackback on the correlating blog entry.

Some sites collect pings as a way for people to see what has been updated in the blogosphere. You can visit sites like Technorati, Weblogs, or NewsGator for extensive lists of fresh content from blogs everywhere. You can ping one or all of them when you update your blog.

You can ping a site like this in one of these two ways:
  • Your blog software or hosted service may have a place to enter a list of sites you want to ping every time you update. This varies with each type of blog solution, but most have the option.
  • You can ping each site manually or take advantage of a pinging service, and do it all in one shot. Pinging services save you time to put on that fresh top coat before you head out.

Setup Gravatar

  1. Go to

  2. Choose Signup from the navigation on the top right of the screen. The signup page appears.

  3. Enter the email address you wish to use in the field and click Signup. You are taken to a confirmation page instructing you to check your email account for an email containing a link to activate your registration.

  4. Click the link as instructed in the email. You are redirected through your web browser to an account activation confirmation page.

  5. Enter your chosen password twice and click Set Password. Next, you are taken to a page offering you an opportunity to opt-in to the email newsletter.

  6. If you wish to opt-in to the newsletter, click that option and follow the instructions. You are now redirected to a page displaying your email address and an icon that states No Gravatar.

  7. To add a gravatar to this email address, click the blue Add a New One link. You are then taken to a page that offers the option to upload your image from your computer or to use an image located online.

  8. Click the Browse button, and then from the File Upload dialog box choose the image from your hard drive you would like to use as your gravatar. You will have the opportunity to crop this image once you have uploaded it.

  9. Click Next. You are taken to a page that gives you a little tool to crop your image.

  10. Use the slide tool to position your gravatar image without the square to your liking. Then click Crop. You are then redirected to a page for you to set your gravatar rating.

  11. Gravatar-enabled sites have the option of setting the rating level of gravatars they want displayed on their site. Choose the rating level you feel is appropriate. You are finally taken to a page congratulating you for creating a gravatar.

  12. Click the Back to My Gravatars link to see your email, and this time your uploaded gravatar appears beneath it. Click the gravatar to associate it with your email address. A pop-up window asks you to confirm this association before redirecting you back to your gravatars page.

Avatars and Gravatars

Avatars are little digital pieces of you. A lot of blogs and forum-esque sites allow you to represent yourself with a small picture or symbol. Whatever you choose, it typically appears next to every comment you make on that particular site. Avatars are usually square and range in size. Blogs sometimes provide a present list of avatars you can pick from, or you can upload one you made yourself. Choose wisely, and you can always change it when you get bored with it.

Gravatars, or globally recognized avatars, are in use on some blogs and forums. A gravatar is a small, square image that pops up when you comment on bogs enabled for gravatars. This means you sign up for an account on the gravatar website, enter your email address, and then upload an avatar you would like to associate with that email address. Once you have done that, when you comment using that email address on any site that is gravatar-enabled, your gravatar will appear next to your comment. You can even assign a different avatar to different email addresses in your gravatar account. It is a completely free service and much less of a hassle than changing your avatar on each and every site you visit. Keep in mind that it is seen wherever you comment that has gravatar enabled. If you are big on privacy, you can choose to use something other than a photo to represent who you are.

Setting Comments in WordPress

Here is how to set your comments to moderated and closed by default. You may override them individually per blog post.
  1. Log in to your account.
  2. Choose My Dashboard from the top navigation.
  3. Choose Options from the light blue navigation bar along the top. Next, you will see further options in a dark blue navigation bar.
  4. Choose Discussion. The Discussion Options page appears.
  5. You will see Before a Comment Appears with a list of three choices. Select the appropriate check boxes to change your default comment settings.
    • An Administrator Must Always Approve the Comment.
    • Comment Author Must Fill Out Name and E-Mail.
    • Comment Author Must Have a Previously Approved Comment.
    If you truly want to let any visitors comment, without entering their name or their email address, completely free to leave anonymous links or hideous comments, by all means leave all the boxes unchecked. However, it is not recommended.

Some software has antispam measures built in but you will need to do a little housekeeping, at least a quick scan of your moderated comments before deleting the spam. A spam comment will occasionally present itself as legitimate and make its way past your antispam filter. These filters are not 100% foolproof, but they are definitely better.

Settings for Blog Comments

There are three main status settings for blog comments:
  • Open comments are open and available for anyone to comment at will.
  • Closed comments are comments on a blog entry that are no longer open or available for commenting. There may already be comments on the entry, as the author may have had comments open in the past but later decided not to offer new comments.
  • Moderated comments appear on blog entries where the author has set the comments to go through an approval phase before the comment appears publicly to the blog. The comment has been received, but will not be posted until the author makes it public.

A blog's popularity can garner tons of comment traffic, which may or may not include trolls. So occasionally people need to put a choke hold on how comments are posted to their site. Instead of allowing anyone to post immediately to the site, bloggers can choose to set moderation on their comments and approval them before they are fully viewable to the public. This reduces the nasties and can help weed out any various spam comments that might leak in. If controlling the words used on your site is important, this is a definite option.

With the increasing popularity of blogs, there is an increase in business trying to hammer in advertising, which means spam. Spammers have found a way to spam blog comments in order to get people to click through to various websites. They created spam bots that crawl around in the belly of the blogsphere and attack blogs where they can, such as in comments and trackbacks by submitting fake ones to your site.

When spammers find your site, you can do little to keep them out. But you can cut them off where they feed. Moderating comments helps keep the spam at bay, but you can try other measures, such as closing comments after a set amount of days. Some blog software, such as Movable Type, ExpressionEngine, and Wordpress allow you to automatically close comments to an individual entry or all blog entries after a set period of time. This prevents spammers from attacking older entries and clogging up the works.


Comments are the best place to start getting the word out about you and your blog. Surely, you have read someone else's blog. Maybe you have read a hundred blogs. That is great, but no one knows you read them unless you post a comment. Reading and not commenting is often referred to as lurking. Lurking is fine, as long as you don't expect to get anything in return. You get back what you put in. That said, commenting for the sheer benefit of just having something to say is great too. Peoplw love comments.

In order for others to find your blog, they need to know where it is. Participating on someone's blog indicates to the blog author that you have read his or her post and have something to add to the conversation. Bloggers typically provide a link that directs you to a page with a small comment form where you can enter your comment. They generally ask for some kind of name or handle, an email address, and your website address or URL.

When your comment publishes to the site, most blogs display your name and URL along with your charming contribution. Other people reading that same blog may see your comment and follow the link back to your site. There they will discover your latest anecdote and may even comment on your blog and come back the next time you post. It is not recommended to comment just for the sake of getting your link published. This would be the same as spamming someone and would not earn you any friends.

The more you comment, the more places a link to your blog can be found. This betters your chances that people will come to your site to see what is new. You still have to post regularly to keep them interested, but getting them there is half the battle. Commenting does not mean instant traffic to your site, and it will take some time to develop a readership. But this is a great place to start.

Protect yourself with Copyrights

In a way, you are protected by interllectual property copyright laws. Unless someone stolen copy from your blog and used it to make profit, there is nothing you can do. The good news is that your blog is copyrighted the moment you post it by default. You may post somewhere on your site, usually the footer, a copyright notice stating that you reserve all rights to the work you publish. You can copyright your words, but you cannot copyright ideas.

There is the possibility that it will happen, but in most cases, a nice cease-and-desist letter clears up any misconception that your blog posts are for the taking. Of course, unless what you post is for the public to take.

Creative property, such as a photograph, has varying levels of copyright protection. There is something called Creative Commons that allows people to use or copy your work for varying levels of uses, provided they give credit to the creator of the work.

A trademark is the legal registration of a service mark or a mark that identifies you or your business. Through a lawyer or trademark service, you can obtain a mark to protect your name, logo, tagline, or other identifying images in legal form.

When you have a trade mark, it prevents people from using your mark in any way, and you then have a legal leg to stand on with regard to your brand. However, this is not really a solution to the protection of your blog entries and materials. This, more or less protects you if your blog's popularity warrants your becoming a business or your branding is something you want to protect.

Stating Your Bio

Who you are as a person should shine through on your blog.

If blog readers are going to continue to visit your blog or subscribe to your posts, they need a reason to connect with you in some way, even if they lurk and never make themselves known. Having something common with your readers is what gives them something to identify with. Someone, somewhere out there may have similar tastes.

Including a bio or an 'About Me' section with your blog can deliver this information of who you are as a blogger to your readers. Write a paragraph or two about yourself, your interests, or perhaps why you start your blog. A little bit of background information can go a long way in connecting with your readers.

If you are not comfortable divulging much personal information, then you do not have to share it. You can still give people a feel for who you are and what you are about without providing identifying details about your personal life.

Most bloggers opt to provide readers a method to contact them, apart from leaving comments on their site for everyone to see. Sometimes people just want to say hi and not make a federal case out of it.

You can provide your email address in your 'About Me' information with a simple link. Of course this leave it open for anyone and anything to come your way. Some bloggers opt to create a contact form so that anyone sending you email has to provide a valid name and email address to contact you. Either way will do.

Gain Popularity

You may not care who reads what you have to say and just want a place to vent, express yourself, or keep a running record of specific events in your life. In this case, it is not so important what goes where and how you set things up.

But if your objective is to gain popularity and may be at some point make some extra cash, the following tips should be kept in mind:
  • Consider placement of your different blog materials. Keep content in an easy to find area. Your post should be a prominent feature, and readers should be able to easily find archives and other related information.

  • Write carefully and frequently. Take time to check spelling and grammer before yoou hit the publish button. If you are interested in building considerable traffic, post as often as possible. Fresh content is key, but keep it meaningful. Target to post at least three to five times a week or more if the topic warrants it.

  • Leave room for expansion, either with content or advertising. Do not limit yourself to your chosen topic. Keep your options open and consider leveraging your blog to build new blogs about related topics that your audience will be interested in. Whether you create your blog yourself or use a hosted service, think ahead about what you want to achieve. If your goal is to include advertising or sponsor logos as a means of income, be sure to allow space to accommodate banner ads and sponsor graphics.

Defining your Blog Type

There are millions of blogs out there on the internet, possibly at least one for every topic that you can think of. That does not make your decision on what what your blog should be any simpler. If you have decided what your blog to focus on, good. But if you know you want a blog and just not too sure what direction to head to, here are a few broad suggestions:
  • Personal: Personal blogs are the basic and most common of the blogsphere. They are what the phenomenon of blogging grew from. Personal blogs are basically just online diaries that are open to comments from readers. They express the personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences of everyday people. Entries may range from personal updates to anecdotes from people's daily lives.
  • Group: Sometimes, people who share a certain interest come together and share a blog, called a group blog. A handful of people post to the same blog and welcome commentary from their readers.
  • Topic-oriented: Some people blog for the sole reason of exploring, reporting, and discussing a particular topic or realm of subjects. Politics, design, news, fashion, or gossip, etc, the blogger posts entries that keep within a specific subject.
  • Photo: Bloggers commonly post photos or use their blog as a sort of portfolio.

Of course, your blog need not fit in any one particular category. No one ever said blogs has boundaries. Just be certain that what you create will satisfy your objective.

Targeting an Audience

There are literally millions of blogs on the internet today, and the number is continuing growing. They cover just about every topic, and a vast number of them are dedicated to personal journaling. When deciding what you will blog about, you need to decide who your target is. Here is a short list of the type of blog you might want that have a specific target audience:
  • A blog about the country's current administration and aimed at provoking other politically minded readers to participate in the topics you propose.
  • A group blog for knitters that you want to expand into a full-blown community some day.
  • A blog where you post your thoughts and feelings, intended as an outlet for you to express your emotions, and audience be damned.
  • A fashion blog that you hope will gain mass popularity and make you a bundle of extra cash.

The audience you are aiming to please, whether it is yourself, your family and friends, the general public, or all of the above, is what should drive your content and your blog format. Cater to your audience.

Expectations from Hot Designers

Just like anything else in demand, others are trying to get in line for the same thing. Depending on the size of the shop and how popular the firm is, you might do a bit of waiting before you can wiggle in line. Be sure to allow plenty of lead time if you are seeking a truely custom design, especially if you want more than a simple blog. Elements that are beyond simple include an additional photo gallery, contact forms, etc.

Designers should
  • make you feel at ease and welcomed.
  • instill confidence, and you should feel as though you are in capable hands.
  • be talented, but they should also fit you, as well as your design.
  • be friendly.
  • match personality with your style.
  • make you feel like you are valued.

Even if your desired designer might be in high demand, it does not mean you should be ignored.

Most designers like to work via email and usually respond in a timely manner, but your designer should be willing to chat with you over the phone or meet in person if you are local before any contracts are signed or work commences.

A common practice among designers is to offer design questionnaire either through download or online form. This form usually includes questions on the kind of style you are seeking, the sort of functionality you desired for your blog, how fast you want the design, and how much money you have to spend. This form may be filled at your own pace and allows you to expound as much as you like. While this allows the busy designer to review your request in a straightforward format. The designer will then research on your needs, put up a thorough estimate, then send it to you and await your respond. If the designer is unable to take up your project, you should receive a response indicating so and thanking you for your interest. If you receive no response, do not want them anyway.

Hunt for Templates

A cool thing about templates is their simplicity to change. The fact that they are ready to go and often free makes them ideal for swapping them out on a whim. And the cool thing about blog community is its willingness to share. Many wonderful novice designers out there offer free or reasonable priced templates for download. A template generally includes all the HTML pages, images, and style sheets required for your blog and can be changed as often as you like.

The key to find the perfect blog template is to wade through all of the slightly-irregulars and get to the real, quality pieces.
  • Ask around. One of the best way to find quality designs is to ask. If you come across a blog that has a design you admire, as the blogger who did the design work. You can also look for links to templates or designers that may appear on the site credits, usually at the sidebar or the footer.
  • Google it! As with every questions in the universal, consulting the Oracle of Google, or another search engine of your choice delivers a bounty of resources.
  • Check with your blog software website. Most blog software websites include links to resources for blog templates, or even offer some themselves. You may also check discussion forums for your chosen blog software for links and recommendations.

Templates from off the rack
Each template site or designer has their own set of terms and conditions. Look for verbiage such as terms and conditions, policies, or usage rights and be sure to read them thoroughly. These designers offer templates for your download, so it is fair that you comply with their rules, especially if you are getting the templates for free. Some designers do offer limited support for paid templates, most free templates come with little to no support.

Blog Design Concept

The first thing you should consider when deciding on a new look for your blog is the name.

Domain name
A good rule of thumb is to consider what your domain name implies and then decide if that is the look you want your blog to have.

Blog title
For starters, it is best to keep your blog title and domain name the same or similar, just to avoid confusion and it makes the most sense. Titling your blog something that coincides with the domain name can also help influence your blog design concept. Occasionally, the domain name is just a shorter variation of the title.

Accessorizing with taglines can showcase a blog owner's sense of humor. Some taglines are clever nods to pop culture or self-deprecating one-liners. Others are more direct, simply telling you exactly what the blog is about. Taglines, if chosen carefully, can be a sparkling accessory.

Setting up a Database

General steps to set up a basic MySQL database through your web host:
  1. In your web host's control panel, find the place where you can manage your MySQL databases.
  2. Create a database, create a user, and then add the user to the database. Make sure to jot down the database name, username, and password; you will need these information when installing your blogging software.
  3. Install your chosen software. Each blogging platform comes with explicit step-by-step installation instructions and troubleshooting tips, both with the downloaded software and online.

The exact steps you take to install the software depend on which software you are installing.

Uploading files with FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

FTP is a method used to move material from one computer to another over the internet. In order to install any blogging software, you need to use FTP to upload your software files to your web host in order to complete the installation.

There are two formats to upload files in FTP:
  • ASCII is a character encoding based on the English alphabet and is used to represent text in computers. Most files are moved in this format to ensure they are preserved in an FTP transfer.
  • Binary is a file that typically contains bits of data that are meant to represent something other than textual data. In FTP terms, this usually means images and photos.

Be attentive to your blog software's installation instructions, as they will usually tell you which files need to be moved via FTP in what format, ASCII or Binary.

Pointing Domain to Web Host

A web host provides server space for your website to live. In order for someone to find where your website lives, they need the address, and you need to associate your address with its new dwelling. In technical terms, point your domain name to your web host.

Every registrar is different, but most let you edit the DNS (domain name system), which is a service that translates your domain name into an IP address. When you register a domain name, the registrar holds your domain name in place for you until you tell it which IP address it should point to. IP addresses are held by DNS servers, and the web host you choose has its own set to identify its location. To point your domain name from your registrar to your web host, you have to change the DNS for your domain name to the DNS specified by your web host.

When you sign up for hosting, your web host should provide you with information on what you need to do to point your domain name to their services. If not, they likely have it in the help section of their website.


WordPress is one of the pioneer in the blogging world. WordPress quickly gained popularity and was installed on hundreds of thousands of sites in the blink of an eye. WordPress is an open source project, which means it is freely available for you or anyone who can write code to use and modify. Due to its open source nature, it is always being improved by programmers everywhere, and a handful of web hosts provide installation of WordPress right on your site with the click of a button. Ask your web host or dig around in your hosting control panel for something like Fantastico, which is a program that installs software automatically on your hosting space without making you jump through all the hoops.

Even though it is a free open source project, WordPress is a pretty powerful tool for blogging and managing content. It is customizable, lightweight, and speedy. One of the coolest features in WordPress is the availability of multiple themes that you can change at the click of a button. The Themes Available number dips into thousands, so you can easily find a look that fits you.


ExpressionEngine, which is an extremely flexible and powerfully slick content management tool and blogging platform. It is a publishing system for the simple reason that it is much more than just a blog tool. Its flexibility makes it useful in just about every website situation or project, and it packs a powerful punch as a blogging platform too.

A slimmed down version of ExpressionEngine, ExpressionEngine Core is more of a basic blogging tool. ExpressionEngine Core is a free version for personal use without any technical suppport. It gives you the basic functions of the software, which includes these main components:
  • The weblog module
  • Commenting and trackbacks
  • Search and archiving
  • Spam control
  • RSS

You can purchase the complete version of ExpressionEngine. The full version includes unlimited technical support and provides some highly useful goodies on top of the core program, including:
  • Membership capabilities: Gives your readers the opportunity to register for an account on your site. You can save their profile information, give them insider access to private blog posts, and give them the chance to skip over the comment form on return site visits.
  • A photo gallery.
  • A wiki module: A wiki is an application that lets multiple users post and update information to keep it current, like a reference that is always being updated.
  • A mailing list: You can notify site members or subscribers of new content or make special announcements.
  • A really cool Simple Commence module: This allows you to integrate shopping with your site if you need it.

You will have to judge whether your blog needs ExpressionEngine or ExpressionEngine Core. Either choice provides you a fully functional blog, ready to use after you install it.

Movable Type

Movable Type has garnered widespread use and praise for its contributions to the growth of blogging, as a tool and resource to the blogging community. Started out as a simple blogging tool has grown into a rich and dynamic content management product. However, it still manages to keep the blogging simplicity intact.

Movable Type has a what-you-see-is-what-you-get, point-and-click approach for its setup. Depending on what licensing option you choose, you can run multiple blogs off the same installation. You can customize your blog with a templating system that is very accessible, right in the control panel of the program.

Movable Type has a handful of basic features:
  • Comments and trackbacks
  • Search feature
  • Archiving system
  • RSS
  • Email notification and subscribers
  • A bevy of widgets and plugins

Movable Type has several licensing options for download and purchase directly from their website. You can get a free personal license which limits you to one user with no support. You may purchase a personal one-user license which includes one year of support services. Although you can find your way without the company's support, purchasing the support license gives you peace of mind. You know that the company is available to resolve installation or performance kinks you may encounter. Movable Type also offers a couple of multiuser licenses, educational and nonprofit licensing. And the Movable Type Enterprise edition, caters to larger commercial needs.

With Movable Type, you can easily add nonblog pages to your site, although you may need to know a bit of HTML to get the full potential of those features. However, as soon as the program is installed and running, you can begin blogging right away.

Choosing a Blogging Platform

Choosing a blogging platform, also referred to as blogging software, is an important step, so consider it carefully. You have quite a few platforms to select from, and each has its own set of benefits that can influence your choice, given what you want to accomplish. If you plan on building a straight-up simple blog, almost any platform will suffice.

Now that blogging is somewhat mainstream, a handful of blogging platforms double as a method of managing other content, referred to as a CMS (content management system). Consider choosing a CMS for its ability to help you produce a full-blown website, complete with a blog. A CMS is a software package that allows you to edit and manage website content easily, such as basic site text and images, without fiddling with HTML code. If you plan on having more than a blog with the need to display extra pages of content, you may consider using a CMS to manage your whole website.

There are many blogging platforms out there, and a quick comparison o features can help you decide which platform will suit you best.

Ensure the Right Amenities

Most blog programs require a few things in order to run properly and at their full potential:
  • MySQL: Almost every platform requires you to run one database, which is a system that enables you to store data in an organized manner that can be accessed by a program, in this case a blogging tool. Most blogging software packages run well using MySQL, a type of database management software, and your web host should provide the ability to add a MySQL database to your account. The larger the package you purchase, usually the more databases the web host allows you to add. If you will be running multiple instances of software requiring more databases, you will need a more upscale package to accommodate it. However, for running a blog, you usually just need one single database.

    Installing a MySQL database can typically be done through your web host's control panel, an area of your hosting account where you administer items like setting up email addresses. Most web hosts provide an easy step-by-step section for creating and setting up a database. Setting one up is as far into databases as you will need to get to set up and run your own blog. Once you have it created, the hard part is done.

  • Perl and PHP: Many blogging software programs use Perl and PHP for their basic functions, so your web host will need these programming language packages installed on their servers. Most web host do; just make sure that the package you obtain includes them. You are not required t know how to use Perl and PHP, you just need to ensure your web host has and supports them in order o run most blogging software tools.

  • Some type of image-resizing module such as ImageMagick: A lot of blog platforms can automatically resize photos that you use in your blog entries, thumbnails included. This depends on whether your blog platform has an image-resizing module installed. In addition to ImageMagick, other popular image-resizing modules are Gif Draw and Graphics Draw. Whether your web has and supports this feature is something to investigate before you buy any web hosting packages, but if the host you choose does not have it, it is not the end of the world. It is just a nice perk that will make your blogging software run at its full potential.

  • A control panel user interface such as cPanel: Inquire with web hosts whether they have cPanel or some other type of control panel user interface. This interface enables you to manage your site, email, and databases yourself, rather than rely on someone in technical support to do it for you.

Choosing a Web Hosting Provider

Your domain name is like your personal mailing address, and the internet needs to know where to go to find your house. Now, you just need to rent a house for the masses to visit.

Think of your new website as a person or a friend who needs a place to live. Web hosting is like a virtual apartment building where your domain name can rent a place to stay and keep all its stuff. You have to choose the size of the apartment and length of the lease, and you need to make sure it has the proper amenities to run a blog. In technical speaking, you lease space on the web hosting provider's server, which is a computer that stores all the files associated with your blog.

Quite a number of web hosting providers are available for hire. The question is which one to choose. You can do a search for web hosts and compare the ones you find that have the criteria you require at your price range. Or you can ask around. Usually, other people with blogs that are not on free hosted services use a hosting provider, and they can give you recommendations.

Selecting a Registrar

You will find quite a few on the internet to choose from, so keep your budget considerations and hosting needs in mind when choosing a registrar:
  • Price: Pricing can vary widely. Make sure you shop around. Some companies offer a highly discounted price on domain names, but there are sometimes strings attached, such as requiring you to sign up for a specific length of contract or purchase other services from that vendor.
  • Flexibility: Do a bit of comparison to make sure the company you use meets your needs. Both registrar companies and web hosts offer a variety of services that can add on to your bill. If all you want is a domain name, then working with a registrar might be for you. But if you want the whole enchilada and need everything from a domain name to hosting and email, then getting your domain name through a hosting company might be smarter and more economical. Just be sure the company you pick fits the plan you have for your site.
When you find a domain name that suits you is available, and makes sense, you should secure it for the minimum of one year. Some companies offer a discount for prepaying for more than one year of service. If you plan on keeping the domain name for a while, you might as well go for the savings.

Considering a Suffix

One additional decision you will need to make concerning your domain name is what suffix to go with. People tend to gravitate toward domain names ending with .com because it is the most recognized suffix around. Most people hear 'dot com' and know what it means and where to go.

Other suffixes available, such as
.org (which is typically used for nonprofit organizations),
.gov (for government websites), and
.net (for network organizations), are not as widely recognized.

You should choose your domain name's suffix based on what suits your taste and budget. Some registration companies promote .biz or other domains with alternate endings as a way to offer the domain you want, at a cheaper price. Reason being .biz or .info domains are not as common and are therefore less desirable.

Registering your Domain Name

Decided and settled on a domain name? But before you get too excited, remember that you do not own it yet. You must register the domain name in order to use it for your blog. To do so, you need to buy the domain from a registrar (a company that sells and administers domain names). There are hundreds of web hosts and websites that perform registrar duties as well, so if you are more of a one-stop kind, you can sometimes handle this with your web host. But if you need more control over your domain registration, you can purchase it from any registrar.

Checking availability
Before you can buy a domain name, you are required to check it to ensure it is not already registered by someone else. If you have come up with something unique, you have a good shot at getting the domain name, or something close to it. But if your desired domain name is along the lines of something commonly used, you might have a bit of challenge on your hands. Typical registrars offer a multitude of suggested alternatives if your precious domain name is taken.

Choosing a Domain Name

Choosing a domain name, a simple but memorable name used as an address, is a rather simple task. However, choosing the right domain name is entirely different. And you want to get it right the first time because domain names, though not permanent, can be a hassle to change. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before deciding a domain name:
  • Is it readable? It is fine to choose a domain name that represents you, but if the letter arrangement when squashed together looks like something else then it might not be the best choice.
  • Does it make sense? Matching your domain name with your content is a perfect way to establish branding (if that is important to you). Of course, if the point is for it to be total nonsense, then be it.
  • Does it fit you? This domain name should represent who you are, or at least have some significance to you. You will be with a domain name for at least a year or so, so make it count.
  • Is it catchy or memorable? You want to increase your traffic. If people can remember your domain name easily, chances are they will come back again and again, even if they have forgotten to bookmark or subscribe to your blog.
Finally, choosing a domain name that matches the title of your site (or that you use in your logo if you have one) is good blogging business. Of course, if the domain name is for personal use and you do not care so much, then it is okay. But consider matching your domain name matching with your title or logo.

Setup Vox Blog

Visit Vox and click the Join Now icon.

1. Fill in the information on the setup page to create your account. Start by filling in your email address and choosing a password. Then provide the rest of the following information.

  • Choose a member name. This is public, so choose wisely if it matters. You may use an anonymous name or your regular name.

  • Enter your gender. Everyone likes to know who they are dealing with, but you can decline to state it.

  • Enter your birthday. It is a requirement for legal reasons, so be truthful.

  • Type in the characters for standard anti-spam measures.

  • Agree to the terms of service. Read the terms of service and select the check box.

2. Click Sign Up.

3. Confirm your email address. Vox will send you a confirmation email with a link that verifies your address. While you are waiting for your confirmation email, move on to Step 4, but don't forget to check your email because you will need that confirmation code for Step 7.

4. Enter other identifying information. Enter your first and last name, gender, birthday, country, and postal code. This all remains private unless you opt to reveal it to certain member groups, such as friends, family, or neighbors.

5. Choose a personal icon. You can always go back and select something different later or upload one of your own.

6. Select your Vox address. Choose something that is easy to remember and spell.

7. Enter your confirmation code. At the top of the page, enter the confirmation code you should have received by then in your email into the field and click Confirm Account.

8. Name your poison. At this point, you are offered options. You can choose to fill out your profile, set up your Vox, or write your first post.


Vox is one of the easy and fun free blog service out there. Vox is fun and casual, and it makes adding content simple and easy. You can add video, audio, photos, in one or two easy steps without touching one single bit of code. Integrate videos or photos from your Flickr account seamlessly and effortlessly. The whole thing is totally automated and super slick. It is completely free.

Vox is great for any type of blogger, experienced or not. And it is really ideal for people who are more interested in a point-and-click type setting, very user-friendly. Those who may be interested in a more exclusive, private setting for their blog or those who enjoy a community vibe might enjoy Vox as well.

One of Vox's fabulous key features is its supreme privacy controls. These controls are far more robust, and they offer more flexibility. While privacy is not the sole reason to join, Vox allow people to share video and photos without exposing them to the entire internet. Since then, it is grown into a much larger blogging tool with many benefits.

Setup Blogger Blog

Setting up a new blog using Blogger is simple. You must have a Google account.

Visit the Blogger website and follow these steps to set up your own blog on Blogger.

1. Set up your Blogger account. The nice part about Blogger being associated with Google is that signing up is a breeze. If you already have a Google account, your information may already be plugged in on the Sign Up page. If it is not and you have a Google account that you wish to associate with this blog, go ahead and fill in your email address and password to login.

If you do not have a Google account, click the link that reads Create Your Blog Now. This will take you to a page where you can set up a Google account and your blog at the same time.

  • Enter an existing email address.

  • Choose a secure password. Blogger will tell you how safe your password is as you enter it. You have the option of changing it at any time in your Blogger Dashboard settings.

  • Re-enter your chosen password for confirmation.

  • Enter the word that is displayed in the box for verification.

  • Accept the terms of agreement and click Continue. Ensure that you read the terms and agree to it before accepting.
2. Fill in the rest of the info on the next page.

  • Choose a title for your blog. Again, some of these details can be changed later, but it is wise to choose carefully from the start.

  • Choose a blog address (URL). As with any free blogging service, you are bound to their limitations. All Blogger blogs have the domain name required unless you pay for the upgraded service.

  • Click Continue. Blogger will offer you the option of selecting advanced features in order to host the blog on your own website.
3. Choose your template. Blogger provides about a dozen different template designs to choose from. Just choose one of them and you are ready to start blogging.


Blogger is a very popular free blogging platform available to anyone with a Google account. Upstart web developers started Blogger as a pet project and later sold it to Google. Eventually, Blogger developed into the vastly popular service today.

Using Blogger is beyond easy and requires almost no technical knowledge to get your blog running. While it is not that feature-rich, with a decent amount of pre-made templates to choose from, all you need is a Google account. You may sign up for a Google account at It is free, so it is great for bloggers on a budget or inexperienced bloggers looking for a way to get started without too much commitments.

Setup Blog

Setup could be done in a couple of minutes. Before you realise, you are completed with the easy setup and blogging with WordPress.

1. Visit Click on the link Sign Up Now.

2. Fill up the signup form to set up your account.
  • Choose a username. This will be your login id, so choose something meaningful to you.

  • Enter a valid email address. registration emails are sent to this address, so use a real one.

  • Choose Gimme a Blog! You have the option to create just a account, but choose Gimme a Blog to set up a blog as well.

  • Select the I Have Read and Agree to the Fasinating Terms of Service check box. Make sure you read and agree o the terms and conditions before continuing.
3. On the next page, complete the signup process. Take care of these last few simple steps and you are done.

  • Choose your blog domain. This will be your actual URL, so be sure to choose wisely. By default, populates the field with your username, but you are free to choose whatever blog domain you prefer.

  • Choose your blog title. Again, you are free to give your blog whatever title you like. Although commonly, people choose a title similar to or the same as their blog domain.

  • Choose your language. This is fairly self-explanatory. Feel free to choose the language most appropriate for your needs.

  • Choose your level of privacy. You can decide to list or not list your blog publicly. Consider whether you want your blog known or you would prefer to stay of the radar. You can always change this setting later if you want.
4. Click Sign-Up. At this point, you are directed to a confirmation page requesting that you check your email account.

5. Locate your activation email from and click the included activation link. And you are done with the setup. is a hosted blogging service that runs the software. allows users to start their own blog in seconds without having to know squat about technical stuff like FTP, database, hosting accounts... This is great for a newbie with basic internet savvy who is trying to get a feel for blogging without any real commitment. wanted to make it easy and fast to sign up and get started, and they did.

This service is free. However you may upgrade your blog with enhanced functionality with a reasonable amount. Extra goodies include more server space to hold photos and customizable CSS (Cascading Style Sheet), which is one of the methods used to give your site design, for those who are a little more advanced. Check out the website to get a full list of their features.


Start spreading the news. If you want to get the ball rolling on your blog business, you can take a few extra steps to help give your site that extra boost. Go the distance by trying some of the techniques:

Buy some ad space on other popular blogs. There are some great programs that allow you to purchase prominent ad space on blogs that cater to your target market. It could be a wise investment if the traffic pours in.

Offer a newsletter. Enticing readers who have visited your site to come back, as a gentle reminder could get those old site stalkers back in the palm of your hand.

Send email blasts. Although unsolicited email is not the group favourite, some people have much success using this tactic. If you collect a list of business contacts, it might behoove you to email them when you launch a new product or service.

Distribute press releases. If you get a point with your blog business where you warrant a press release, by all means do so. Any way you can get the word out is worth doing.

Show off your links. You never know where you can get a potential reader or customer. Put your blog URL in the signature of your emails, put it on your business cards, heck, have it written on your car's rear windshield. Get your URL out there where people can see it.

Turning your Blog into Business

Things to consider when turning your blog into a money maker mover and shaker:

Keeping your options open: Be careful not to corner yourself into one particular topic. Think expansion. If you drill too specifically into one particular topic, you leave no room for inspiration and growth. Make sure you leave yourself some options with regard to business direction.

Accepting advertising: Determine whether a driving force of your revenue will eventually be advertising. If so, you will need to design your site accordingly to accommodate it without being totally overwhelming. Too many ads can be a deterrent, and poor ad locations can stifle advertisers, or you may even have trouble finding some.

Staying true to your content: Do not get derailed too quickly. If you run a blog about cooking and your biggest traffic bait is low-fat recipes, be sure to keep those readers swimming in them. Keep it real.

Cross-promoting: If you notice a spike in popularity in a certain area of your blog that could potentially take off in a big way, consider splitting your blog into different areas to draw your readers into different parts of your site. Divide things up but keep your readers drilling into other areas. Get the readership moving between the two blogs. You double your target audience and potentially double your advertising opportunities.

Getting help: You can do it all, and do it all in style, but everyone should know their limit. Recognize that people are out there with similar interests that can potentially make wonderful contributions to your endeavor. Bring on guest bloggers, rope industry professionals into your discussions, or have a cross-blog promotion. When you can afford to expand, do so. Finally, invest in some professional design if you cannot do it yourself the way you think it should be done.

Picking up some literature: There are lots of books about marketing and books about blogs available online or at your local bookstores.