There are ultimately a thousand and one reasons to blog. Why I blog fits a couple of those reasons and why you might want to blog might fit some very different reasons. Whatever the case, the primary reason to blog is so that the world can see & interact with “YOU”!
To start, blogging is free or very close to “free”. This is a self hosted wordpress site that I pay a monthly fee for. It is hosted on ipower.com. The reason I pay to have a self hosted site is because I plan on growing this blog to a large readership level in the future. There are many free options that you have to start blogging.
At wordpress.org or moveabletype.org you can download the blogging software each company uses and upload it to your website. This is also free although hosting may not be free. It is VERY nice to have your own hosted site for a few reasons:
1. It is highly customizable. Wow, that’s a big word! I can design and set my website up EXACTLY how I want it to look and feel.
2. Easy to remember website name AND type in. Insightwriter.com is pretty easy to remember right? Thats one reason why I picked it. I’ll have another post on picking a domain name soon…
3. Easy to find. Besides being easy to remember and type in, having your own is easy to find in search engines. I plan on having this site being the #1 listing for the words “insight writer” very soon.
Ok. Enough about self hosting. I know most of you won’t decide to go that route. In any case, why should you get a blog with one of the top three free blogging services?
1. Self Expression. Whether you are an artist, a business person, a professional, a sports fanactic, a hobbyist, or stay at home mom, you have something to say. And you know what else. People find VALUE in what you have to say. So say it with gusto!!!
2. Easy to make Photo Galleries. I know Blogger works seamlessly with Picasa Web Albums, which as of this posting, I think is better than Flickr. Not only can you easily upload photos you can also easily comment on them. Not only that but you can use a blog to tell a story using your photos and a couple paragraphs about the specific event. A simple example would be to post some pictures and a story for a relative or friend that lives far away. And the best thing about having a blog is that they don’t have to log in to see your website.
3. CMS. CMS stands for Content Management System. Although this doesn’t apply so much to your everyday blogger it does apply to those who have a business or organization that needs to share information over the internet. Many companies such as SUN Microsystems invest a lot of time, money, and manpower into building company blogs that help to spread and retain the knowledge found in the people of the organization. Blogs make it easy to publish this information to the web without having to create static html pages.
4. Creating a Community. Blogs create community by allowing readers to comment on the orginal article, with each other, and the author. This online discussion creates even more value for a blog and for it’s readers because it helps us all learn and grow by what each person knows individually.
5. Better Exposure. We all know such sites as Linkedin are great for networking, but there is no better way to network on the web than to have your own .com site. Even if you don’t plan on blogging prolifically you can add such things as your link to Linkedin (or other networking sites), your resume, some photos, and some other things to promote yourself and/or your business. Put your website on your business card and create an email for firstname.lastname@example.org We are now firmly in the world of personal branding and I can recommend no better way to do it than by having a professional looking blog and website.
So you can self host or you can create a blog with one of the free blog providers. But did you know, there is also a middle road! I have found a site called Weebly.com which allows you to create a website using their custom templates and they also host it for you. What you do is create a website that also has a page for blogging. The design is free, the hosting is free, you just pay for the domain name. Or get a site such as http://yourname.weebly.com for free. And domain names only cost $10/year. Its a great company with an unbelievable deal!
So what is your excuse now? Get out there and start blogging!!!