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Page last updated at 15:55 GMT, Friday, 29 January 2010

Click Essentials: Blogging

Here is our essential guide to help you start and maintain your own blog easily.

This can be done as simply as writing an e-mail, and you can start off by just committing small amounts of time to it.

The basics

Blogger Judith Lewis
Blogger Judith Lewis advises bloggers to write about a topic of their interest

Start by choosing the topic you would like to write about - pick something that you are passionate about such as chocolate, recommends blogger Judith Lewis.

"This way your enthusiasm for the subject is more likely to come through and your readers are more likely to engage with your content and come back and visit your site," adds blogger Mike Robinson.

Once you have picked chosen your favourite subject, you can then pick a blogging platform to host your blog.

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Blogger and WordPress are two of the most popular websites, but there are many others out there - and these tend to be free unless you want to upgrade to a paid-for premium version.

First, name your blog. It does not have to be short, but exercise that creative muscle and come up with something easy to spell and easy to remember.

After signing up, you will receive an activation e-mail - click on the link and you are ready to go.

You can also fill in your profile details, if you want to tell anyone who drops by a little about yourself.

The community

Adding an image to a Wordpress blog page
Adding images or other media can create a more dynamic blog

The blog is now set up and you are presented with a blank page. But just remember, you are not alone, and everyone must start off with a "hello world" post.

"Stop thinking about it and start writing it. Start writing your blog. Showcase your best abilities. Showcase your experience... and your skills," recommends blogger Marko Saric.

When you first start writing, you do not have to aim for anything too ambitious, just a paragraph or two and hit "publish".

If you want to be a bit more dynamic, you can insert pictures or other media by clicking on "add image" in Blogger or "upload/insert" in WordPress.

"Try to incorporate a range of different types of content such as text, image, video and sound, all of which will make for a really rich blogging experience for your readers," says blogger Andy Bargery.

Also, link to other websites by selecting text, pressing the chain-link button, then typing the address into the pop up box.

The community

Blogger Andy Bargery
Blogger Andy Bargery says bloggers should aim to write regularly

Now it is time to make friends in the blogging community. Leave comments on other people's blogs, and they might pop over to check you out.

You can allow people to add comments on your work, and moderate or "pass or fail" them. Do not feel bad about blocking something inappropriate.

When you next visit, just log in and hit "new post" or "add post". You will see the dashboard, recent comments and stats will show you your visitors.

"Don't be disappointed if people don't come in their droves to read your blog straight away," says blogger Clare English.

"There's so much information online about everything that you really need to make an effort to find your audience and pull them in. The best way to do this is to connect with people who are online already."

Another piece of advice is to write consistently.

"Try to post fairly consistently and fairly regularly, so once a day or once a week or even once a month. Just try to set the standard so your blog readers will know when to come back and enjoy your content," says Andy Bargery.

Do not forget that anything you blog will be on the net forever, so be wary of angry messages, or typing with caps lock on, which just looks angry, or making dodgy comments that someone's lawyer might not be too happy about.

Remember, there is a whole community to help you find your feet in the blogosphere, so link your profiles on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter for maximum exposure.



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