Blogging Howto- Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Blog?

Blog means a “Web Log.” A Blog is really on online journal. They are fairly similar to web forums except that a blog is an individual journal and a web forum is more of an interaction between many like minded individuals.

Is it hard to start a blog? Do you have to be a bit of a Geek to maintain a Blog?

Not at all, it’s very simple. The software can be pre-installed by us and the popular blogging tools are very user friendly. Every day, there are lots of new bloggers. Indeed once your favourite blog is installed, the main task is to create content for your blog. Standard hosting usually requires some HTML skills in putting together a website. With blogging you are freed from that.

Can I use my normal webspace in conjunction with Google’s Blogger?

Absolutely. Signup for Google Blogger here. Choose “Advanced Blog Setup” and give Google your FTP username and password, Blog URL and FTP path, all of which are provided in your  hosting setup email. Blogger is a good introduction to the world of blogging but lacks some of the advanced features of the more popular blog tools. You may want to install Google Blogger in a sub directory or create a subdomain (ie: myblog.yourdomain.com) if you already have a website installed in your hosting space (or at least in a seperate directory).

How much does it cost money to start a blog?

It depends. There are several established sites that can set you up a free blog. These are blogeasy.com, weblogs.us, blogsource.com, blogstream.com, bloxter.net, blogsky.com, blogger.com, amongst others. The problem with free blog host space is that they have no contractual obligation to you and they can remove your blog at any time.

Can I install blog software in existing hosting space?

Of course if you already have hosting and a domain name, this might be the cheapest and most reliable way of starting a blog. Most blog scripts require PHP and often a MySQL database. Some blog software such as MT (moveable type) require additional perl modules.

Can I make money out of my blog?

Yes. Though this isn’t the main motivation of many personal bloggers it is possible to monetize your blog. This can be achieved by incorporating a google adsense campaign into your blog (easily done – just cut and paste the javascript code provided by Google into your site) or by writing about a service or product and including affiliate text links in your writing.  Embedded text links can produce the most response. With these methods its relatively easy to recoup your hosting costs.

How do I promote my blog? Whats all this “pinging” business?

There are a number of services you can ping when you update your blog though trackback posting is more productive. More frequent posting will increase traffic as the search engine spiders will crawl and index your blog more often.

Additional promotion and syndication methods include RSS feeds and submitting to Blog Directories and by exchanging links with other bloggers. Google’s Blogger only produces and atom feed, but this can be processed at feedburner.com (which is a free service) to produce a valid RSS 2.0 feed. This is also the RSS standard for podcasting. Your RSS feed can then be validated at feedvalidator.org.