RAQ: Tips for Starting a Personal Blog?

Today I had the opportunity to do a presentation for a group in St. Cloud, Minn., and afterward Misty Sweeter (@MistyS01), a recent PR graduate, tweeted a question:

Hi Lee, good job presenting at Creative Memories today! Got me thinking about starting my own personal blog, any tips?

A. First, I think it’s great you’re considering starting your own blog. As you’re looking for ways to distinguish yourself, starting a blog is a great way to do it. It lets you show you can write, and to expand on your ideas.

I would recommend using WordPress.com as your platform, because it’s easy, fast and free, but yet gives you a lot of power to develop your own customized look. Blogger.com is likewise free, and some say it’s simpler, but unlike WordPress.com it doesn’t give you the opportunity to move to a self-hosted solution as you grow.

Even though the basic WordPress.com service is free, I would recommend that you spend about $20 for one upgrade.

When you set up your WordPress.com account, your blog’s URL would be something like mistysweeter.wordpress.com. That’s fine unless you decide later that you want to move to a self-hosted version of WordPress. So you want to take “wordpress.com” out of your URL. You can accomplish this by purchasing a URL (like mistysweeter.com, if it’s available) and using domain mapping to have that be your blog’s URL, even though it would be hosted on WordPress.com.

The whole thing will probably cost you about $20 a year, but the value is that it helps you build your personal brand, and one that can have some staying power. The last thing you want to do is write some good posts, have others link to them, and then move your blog to a new domain, which would mean those external links would be broken.

So buying the domain name will probably cost you about $10 a year, and the domain mapping on WordPress.com also will cost $10 per year.

This course, Blogging 305: Domain Mapping, give details on how you do this.

Beyond that, just think about what you want to write, and whether you want to include video posts as well. I think having some video will show you as a more well-rounded communicator, and having some text-based posts will enable you to showcase your writing and thinking processes.

I’ll look forward to seeing what you do with this.

One thought on “RAQ: Tips for Starting a Personal Blog?”

  1. On buying a URL: it’s a good idea to do this ASAP if there is even the remotest chance that you might want your own URL one day. My chosen URL is already gone, and its owner wants $27oo for it. $10 spent a little earlier could have prevented this.

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