I’ve noticed that many people say they want to start a blog, but then never “get around to it.” The reasons people avoid setting up a blog stem from two primary fears. The first is worrying what to write about. Fortunately, authors often have fewer problems with writing than other people. However, writers often do fear technology.
Many writers don’t understand “how” a blog can be incorporated into a Web site, so this issue becomes a hurdle that keeps them from moving forward. Having a blog can help you market a book, so don’t let this mental stumbling block stop you. It’s not difficult to understand.
You often can tell how a blog is set up by looking at the address bar in your browser. A blog address (URL) might appear in three basic ways. The differences also indicate three possible ways of setting up a blog.
1. Hosted. Sometimes you’ll see a blog that start with the blog name right after the http://MyBlog followed by a dot, then typepad.com, wordpress.com or blogspot.com. Because of the structure of the address, you can tell it’s a “hosted” blog. The blog is stored (or “hosted”) on the blog company servers (such as Typepad), not on your own site. In that case, you’d go to Typepad.com and sign up.
2. As a part of another site. At one point, our blog was http://blog.logicalexpressions.com. My main Web site is www.LogicalExpressions.com. The blog is simply a folder where the blog software has been installed (the blog.logicalexpressions.com subdomain is pointed to the folder). On my Susan Daffron site, the blog is located at https://www.susandaffron.com/blog (the /blog part indicates that the blog is just a folder that’s part of a larger site).
3. The entire site. In this case, the blog IS the site. For example, http://www.copyblogger.com is a blog and makes up the entire site. The blog software is installed on his server in the main (“root”) folder, instead of a subfolder and the domain points to it. You also can point a domain to a hosted blog, such as one hosted by Blogger.com, but it’s more difficult to tell it’s hosted if you point a domain to it.
Each option has pros and cons. The choice you make depends on your marketing goals for your blog and how much control you want over the design. Understanding the technology is actually less important than figuring out the goals for your Web site.
When you want your blog to be part of another site or if you want complete control of the customization, you need to load the blog software onto your Web server where your Web site is hosted. This option is more complicated than simply signing up for a hosted blog. Although many hosting companies offer “1-click WordPress” installations, if you hate technology, setting up blog software is not a trivial exercise.
Customizing the design of a non-hosted blog is even less trivial. Even though countless low or no-cost templates exist for blogs, they almost never are exactly what you want. If you want your blog to match an existing Web site, you will have to hire a designer to customize a template for you.
Don’t let technology hold you back. If you would like to use a blog to help you market your book, find out the basics. Once a blog is set up, it’s extremely easy to use, and a great way to showcase your writing!