Most, if not all, blog providers/hosts have tutorials. So, you can muddle through with more or less ease without additional training.

However, I lucked out with free training from Andy Wibbels, who was developing a pilot program for an ecourse/telecourse on web logging (blogging) and wanted students for the course-in-development. I signed up, and have built several blogs using his excellent instruction and resources. I’ll be adding an affiliate link here soon to Andy’s course site, but for now you can simply go to http://easybakeweblogs.com to check out what he offers. It’s well worth the cost, I can assure you.

He based his instruction on the http://www.typepad.com hosting company’s blogs, because he thinks Typepad has the best looking blogs he’s seen, and it’s pretty easy to use. TypePad has three levels of membership/subscription. Andy asked us to get the middle level for our class, which provides most of the features one would want, and you get to build three web logs there for the same price, if you want to. The top level, which I shifted to when I decided it was the place I wanted to build my blogs, provides unlimited blogs. That’s right, I can build as many as I want, for one price for all. So, blogs can be much, much less expensive than websites. And, there are many blog hosts that provide free blog building and hosting service.

Here’s what I use to build my blogs: Hosting and online building templates at http://www.typepad.com and the software Fireworks to create and optimize the banners and graphics, which were mostly from Hemera’s Photo Objects http://www.hemera.com  And, I also did do some work in Photoshop software on a couple of the images.

Thinking of all the things one could do with blogs bloggles the mind 🙂

Rediscoverblogginggroove1Darren Rowse over on ProBlogger has just completed a seven day series of posts on the basic post styles. I highly recommend you go there and study them all.

He’s calling the series “Rediscover Your Blogging Groove.” If you’ve sort of drifted out of your blogging groove, it will help you get back on track.

And, if you’re a beginning blogger, it will be terrific asset toward learning what to post about and how to do it.

Each of the seven days of the series carries an assignment.

They are:

  • Day 1 Write A List Post
  • Day 2 Answer A Question
  • Day 3  Write A Review
  • Day 4 Write A Link Post
  • Day 5. Write A Tip Post
  • Day 6 Ask A Question
  • Day 7 Tell A Story

BloggoalsI learned a great way to set and achieve goals years ago from reading a book titled Choose Success, by Billy B. Sharp with Claire Cox. Since then I’ve applied and innovated with the basic tools in that book to set and achieve goals for myself, and also shared them with readers and clients. Using these methods I’ve, among other accomplishments, published five books with major publishers, set up my own small publishing house to reprint my books, become a life/success coach and changemaking specialist, and a prolific blogger. I think you will find the following goal setting and achievement methods will work for you too as you apply them to blogging.

Setting The Goal

1. Is it believable?
I’ve taken Darren Rowse and Andy Wibbels’ Six Figure Blogging course. I believe it is possible to earn six figures. But, is it believable for me, now? The answer may have little to do with whether it is possible. So pick a goal that you believe, right now, that you can do. After all, one figure blogging income is believable for anyone. After one figure, or two figure, or three figure, one can set higher goal that is then believable to the one setting it.

2. Is it achievable?
Select a goal you can actually reach from where you are now. Make it small enough to be done without stress or an uncomfortable stretch.

3. Make it flexible.
Can you find more than one way to do it, if you need to? The more flexible the goal, the easier it is to get it.

4. Does it fit you?
Not every goal, no matter how shiny, fits every person. Make sure you want this goal, that it feels right in your gut.

5. One at a time.
You climb stairs one step at a time, but they still go to the top. Avoid overwhelm and overload by setting and achieving your goals one at a time.

6. Is it adjustable?
Can you drop it entirely and go for another goal if you need or want to? Your goal setting needs to be able to respond to new opportunities, new insights, go around roadblocks, and be droppable for a better goal choice.

7. State it specifically.
If you don’t know where you are going, you have no way to get there. Be as specific as you possibly can be. Write the goal if that works for you, and place it where you can see it often.

8. State it positively.
If you’ve stated your goal in a negative form, restate it in a positive form, what you want instead of what you don’t want. You want to go toward a goal, not away from something.

9. Build in rewards.
Add a reward to be enjoyed when you reach it. You may also want to build in rewards for each step you take on the path to the goal. As you reach each step toward your goal, be sure to pause and enjoy the feeling of success. It will also help you reach your goal if you add a pleasurable experience both before and after attempting each step on the way.

9. Make it measurable.
How will you know when you’ve achieved the goal? What will you see, hear, feel? How many, how much, when? I recommend that you also write this down, and look at it frequently as you move toward your goal.

Achieving The Goal

1. Make sure it is well set, that it’s an achievable goal that can be specifically stated.

2. Set a time framework for achieving it. This is not a pass/fail time deadline, but a means to place the goal in a more achievable framework by allowing the element of time to automatically help you move toward the goal at a reasonable pace.

3. Determine the first step, and only the first step, toward the goal.

4. Take that step.

5. Evaluate.
Did you succeed in your efforts? If so, determine the next step and take it. If not, can you think of another way to reach that step? Do you still want the same goal? If not, proceed to a new goal and take the first step toward it.

Evaluate both method and goal after each step, but take only one step at a time.

The key pieces are:

1. Proper selection of the goal
2. Taking only the first step/next step.
3. Evaluating after each attempt or step taken.

Field Evaluation

This isn’t goal setting or achieving, but is an important addition to individual goal setting, so I’m including it. You need to periodically look at the big picture, the whole area of your niche in blogging, and blogging itself to evaluate your part in it, think about opportunities at the present and possible upcoming trends and opportunities in the future. You can add these big picture evaluation sessions to your calendar at whatever frequency that seems appropriate.

Are there areas you would like to improve, little things you would like to change, or big things you would like to do and need to give special thought to or talk about with mentors and/or peers?

Evaluate the changes you have made already and decide what you would like to do next. What are your strengths? What is working for you already? Can you do more of that and less of what’s not working? Scan the field. What is developing in it, or may in the next six to twelve months? How can you make good use of what you see, of what may happen?

Above all, make sure you create an environment for your blogging that is satisfying and enjoyable. That means physical environment, care and feeding of the blogger, and the way you set and achieve your goals.

Bloggoals_1
For more on goals by other bloggers go to Darren Rowse’s series of reader contributions on the subject at ProBlogger.net.

A few of the best looking blog providers:
http://www.typepad.com  (My top recommendation, the one I use.)
http://www.livejournal.com
http://www.journalspace.com
http://www.blogdrive.com
http://www.modblog.com
http://www.aiyo.com/app/blogs.jsp?aff_id=10002

This one is a website/blog builder/host:
http://squarespace.com

List of links to recently updated blogs: (Takes awhile to load. First thing you’ll see is a guy standing up, sideways, looking like Bill Clinton with a drink in his hand. Just be patient, some bloggers have a quirky sense of humor.)
http://www.weblogs.com/

More sample blogs to visit:
http://radio.weblogs.com/0131035/  (religion in the news)
http://www.thiswomanswork.com/  (writer weblog)
http://boingboing.net/ (very popular info blog)
http://radio.weblogs.com/ (most popular feeds for radio.weblogs)

Blog resources, etc.:

http://www.blogshares.com
http://www.blogphiles.com  (blog webring)
http://www.fairvue.com/?feature=awards2003 (weblog awards)

Everybody needs a website. Well, almost everybody. Certainly every author, coach, service provider, and publisher needs one. But, websites can be very difficult and expensive to plan, design, and get up and running. Mine aren’t, but that’s because I use an online site builder program my web host http://www.bigstep.com provides, and it works well for me. But, even at that, I need to be able to tweak my graphics, and had to buy and learn software for that (Fireworks).

But, a web log, or blog as they are called by bloggers, is easy, and free or cheap to operate. It’s fast to set up, and fast to add to or change. You can have a simple blog or an elaborate and complicated blog. And, blogs will do what a website will do, to some extent, and do some things even better than a regular website.

If you already have a website, a blog can add a personal and immediate functionality to the website. You can link your externally hosted blog to your website, or you can use free standing blogging software you buy and install on your own computer to add the blog feature to your website.

If you do not have a website, you can easily and quickly build a blog that will substitute for a website. For some people, businesses, and organizations a blog will be all you will need.

Specific uses for blogs:

1. Authors: A blog is a great way for authors to keep in touch with their readers and gain an online following for their work. The first link below is an author/book reviewer blog that not only promotes the author’s book but is a source of affiliate and ad income as well.
http://book-blog.blogspot.com
http://davidakin.blogware.com/blog

2. Publishers: The immediacy of a blog makes it possible for a publisher to communicate with their community of writers and service providers quickly and easily, share tips, requirements, news, and recommendations, and create an atmosphere that reflects their business’ personality.
http://www.globalbookpublisher.com/102002/102002ezine.php
http://pneumabooks.blogspot.com

3. Service Providers: A blog provides the personal touch, gives the customer more of the flavor of the  provider, and a chance to have ongoing interaction with the provider, make suggestions, see examples of work, etc., all at low cost and with low maintainence effort.
http://blogs.msdn.com/Andrew_May
http://www.debbieweil.com
http://www.digitaldeliverance.com

4. Organizations: Blogs are the ideal medium for organizational communication and presence, either in addition to a website or instead of one.
http://www.editorsweblog.org
http://homepage.mac.com/nrdtsjcpl/B1732759005/

Here are some blogging info sites for you to surf:
http://ezine-tips.com/list-tips/list-resources/20001206.shtml
http://www.writtenroad.com/archives/000209.shtml

Web logs, or blogs, are simple add-to websites, either with their own domain name, or a subdomain from a blog service provider.

Simple blogs consist of a single front page, with chronological or reverse chronological entries by the blogger, in sequence, usually with an archive of past postings. Links and photos can be added to the text entries. Sidebars contain categories of links and can often also contain photos and graphics. Readers of the blog can add comments to the postings, which will be linked to the message they refer to, or listed on a sidebar.

Blogs also link to other blogs: favorites of the blogger, linked from the sidebar, and blogs that have been recently updated from fellow bloggers using the same host. There are blog directories that will list updated blogs too. One can begin at one blogsite and surf here and there around the web visiting recommended and favorites of the site owners and random ones that have have just been updated.

Blogs range from the simple and banal to classy and complex. A good blogging trek is very satisfying. It’s also quite satisfying to publish a blog. They range from personal to completely business.