Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Starting Your Blog, Part 1

Ever since the Alliance went inactive, I've not done much in the way of Blog Tips. Of course, I hadn't done much lately before that. Just lazy, I guess.

But, I've still encountered things that have made me think, "I ought to do a blog tips post on that..." before remembering there was no active Alliance where I'd post it.

Well, I'm going to post them anyway. Here.

So, let's start at the beginning. That is, starting up your blog.

Okay, we won't start there. We'll start with why I think I'm qualified to write such a thing.

Well, I'm a blogger. I started a blog.

I can hear some of you now: "I started a blog, too! Why does Basil think he's so special?"

Well, I don't. You're perfectly welcome to post your own tips, too.

On your own darn blog.

But ... you can certainly link to it here.

Provided proper blogging etiquette is followed. And we'll cover that, soon. Or, you can comment about what I write, of course. Just stay on topic. Oh, wait. I said I'd cover etiquette later.

So, no, I don't think I'm someone special who knows everything about blogging. But I'm going to blog about blogging today. Cause it's my blog, you know.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's talk about starting up your own blog.

Starting Your Blog, Step 1

Why do you want to blog? What do you plan to do with it?

You may wonder just how important this step is. I think most people think it's most important of all. Me? Not so sure.

Let me explain.When you get right down to it, here's why you're blogging: Because you want to.

Seriously, I really think that's why you're blogging. Or are about to start blogging.

Okay, sure. You might have that one thing. That gimmick. That difference. That ... special something ... that no one else has.

There are a ton of Instapunit-wannabes out there. Heck, this little blog has regular posts that link to other posts. So count me into the Instapundit-wannabes.

Maybe you want to be funny. But do we need another Frank J.? Or another Scott Ott? Or Iowahawk? Odds are, you won't be as funny. Count me in this group, too. As another wannabe.

There are lots of blogs that do news. Or humor. Or satire. Or vitriol. Or celebrity watching. Or ... well, you get the point. It's probably already being done. And much better.

So, why should you blog?

We're back to my answer: Because you want to.

And, to me, that's most important.

If you are as good as those others, you'll have to want to blog for it to show. If you're as good as the others, and you don't really want to blog ... it'll never come out.

If you're not as good as those others ... so what? If you're blogging because you want to, you're doing what you want ... and that's got to be satisfying.

So, why are you blogging? Or why are you about to start blogging?

Whatever your reasons are ... if "because I want to" isn't part of it, you won't be successful.

Wanting to does not guarantee success. But not wanting to guarantees failure.

Coming up in Part 2

Picking a platform.


  1. Yay! Bring back the blogging tips, Bazil. I learned a lot from them and have missed 'em. Blog ON, Sir!

  2. Amen!

    Of course, once you've got this one down, Part II should be "Platform: Whatever you want it to be."

  3. GTL: Thank you sir.

    Ezzie: Well, yeah, that pretty much sums it up. But we'll, of course, say more. And talk about a couple of platforms, free and paid.

    Jo: Thanks

  4. Recently a colleague at another newspaper solicited my advice for starting a blog. I suppose he asked many of us.
    My miserable advice:
    1. Have fun
    2. Don't shit where you eat (do it off hours; while at work -- work)
    3. Get advice from everyone -- but take very little of it
    4. Use your real name. They'll find out anyway.
    5. is the easiest way to go -- no purchase of bandwidth, etc. (you even get the skins -- templates -- what it looks like -- free)
    6. Learn a little HTML so you can jazz the thing up
    7. Freebies worth having:
    A. Blogroll. Go to Try to add people who add you. Try to get Glenn Reynolds or Michelle Malkin to add you to theirs. I never have asked them. Sought links, not blogroll. I don't even seek their links anymore
    B. Sitemeter. Go to I post my numbers high. They are low but, eh
    C. Sign up for
    8. Spellcheck, spellcheck, spellcheck
    9. Take ads
    10. I never bought an ad. Some people do this to boost their numbers early
    11. See if [His newspaper] will link you
    12. Network
    There are courtesies. Someone links you, you link
    them. I don't care if the guy gets 5 hits a day and the link is weak.
    Do comments. I use for comments because it makes it easier for people to trackback links to me.
    Above all HAVE FUN

    If it ain't fun, screw it

  5. Not to try to poke holes in your theory, but I blog because an invisible dog named "Roger" tells me to.

    Wait, I read further and you qualified the word "successful."


  6. And the words "it with" should go between the words "qualified" and "the" in my previous comment.

  7. Don, I'm sure those are great "rules of thumb" for you; but, you're missing Basil's point.

    First and foremost, having fun is why I blog. I started blogging to amuse myself, and, if anyone happened by and was amused, BONUS. (You're one for one.)

    I know a lot of people who blog from work because that's the only place they can. They've been doing it for years, yet, they know their limitations.

    Advice is advice, I think people who blog know what advice to take.

    If I didn't want anyone to know my real name, they wouldn't. Trust me on this one. is the worst blogging platform I've ever used. Their servers are down more than any blogging host, and, half the time you can't even friggin' post a comment on blogspot blogs.
    Wordpress is 100 times better, and just as free. is fine, but I find wordpress easier, because I can just log into my own admin panel and add a link. I don't have to go to some website that, coincidentally, is "down" a lot too.

    Sitemeter and TTLB are ok if your main goal is to be a link whore.

    Spellchecking is fine if you plan on becoming a professional blogger. By professional I mean "paid." Some of my favorite blogs (like Catfish) don't spell worth a shit...but they're still my favorites. It adds to his charm.

    I'm not saying that your list of blog items are stupid, I'm just saying that not everyone out there wants to be a little green football.

  8. I wish Linda had a blog. It's fun!

  9. Careful what you wish for Tony!

  10. BTW, that funny thing on the end should've been a smiley!


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