Q: Should I start my blog now while I’m still learning how to build my "flagship" site? I intend for the blog to be a supplement to the site, which will provide lots more info than a blog could provide. And, can I name my blog the same as my eventual website?
A: Hi Ana!
A blog is a very quick and easy way to get started online without a website. Blogger, owned by Google, is a free service that will enable you to get up and running right away. I started my blogging with Blogger but soon got frustrated when trying to customize my blog. I now use www.Typepad.com , a fee-based service, that offers a great deal more flexibility to customize the look and feel of the blog. WordPress is an increasingly popular choice for bloggers, and you can access that either from your webhost if it comes a feature of your hosting package, or you can use their online version at no cost.
Many people are using a blog exclusively, without a web site, as the search engines love blogs because they are updated frequently. However, that is a downfall of blogs–they are attention hogs, so you need to be committed to making new posts at least 3 times a week to your blog to be effective.
A service I’ve just discovered that you might want to check out is Terapad, which offers the ability to have a website, blog, calendar, etc. for a small monthly fee of $18. It’s very easy to set up, and offers a free 30-day trial, no credit card required, to check it out. I’m not sure at this point how easy it will be to customize the templates offered, but it would get you started blogging very quickly, as well.
Depending on which service you choose for your blog, you may be able to make the blog a subdomain of your main website, i.e., blog.anasdomain.com. However, I decided to simply add the word "blog" to a unique URL, GetMoreClientsOnlineBlog.com and forward that URL to my "real" blog URL. I’m able to do this by using the forwarding and masking feature of my domain hosting service, UltranetDomains.
Two great resources to check out about creating blogs:
Andy Wibbel’s book, BlogWild. Andy’s book is a general primer to introduce you to the world of blogging. He talks generally about the 3 blogging services I noted above and how to set up a blog on all three.
John Jantch’s ebook, Blog Lightning. This is best is you’re planning on using Typepad to create your blog, as he goes into great detail about how to set up a customized blog using the Typepad service.
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