What in the world is a blog and why would I want one? This is the burning question millions of people are asking themselves everyday. Sometimes three and four times a day. If you're one of those people, relief is on the way.
To start, a blog is nothing more than a website on steroids. It looks like a website, it acts like a website but it is so much more. The two biggest differences between a blog and a web site are the blogs capacity to allow people to communicate with the author easily and the cost. Web sites cost money and blogs are free. You've got to like that.
In the past, blogs had a reputation for being nothing more than on-line journals. People wrote their thoughts to a blog and posted them on the Internet using a very simple text application. Since that time humans have become much more creative with how they use their blog. And with a little help from technology companies like Google, blogs can do so much more than just text.
How are people using blogs today?
There are currently tens of millions of blogs on the Internet today with thousands more going up every hour. People are using blogs to:
Journal their thoughts and ideas
Record their dreams
Post their photography
Create an interactive community where people can collaborate on their projects
Promote family reunions
Position themselves as experts in their field
Write books and have their material critiqued by interested readers
Sell their products and services
Promote themselves and their projects
Survey their readers
As a substitute for newsletters and bulletins
Sell sex. You knew that was coming
And a million other things.
With a blog you can do virtually everything you can do with a website. The difference is you can do it by yourself and you can do it for free. It's that easy, thanks to tools like Blogger from Google.
The most amazing aspect of a blog is that you can create a web presence that would have cost you thousands of dollars just a few years ago. And I'm talking about a web presence that is loaded with technology. Here are just a few of the things you can do to jazz up your blog.
When you're ready to create your blog, the first thing you must do is set up an account with a blog hosting company. The two biggest blog platforms are Wordpress and Google Blogger. I use them both. But when it comes to ease of use and cost, nothing comes close to Blogger. Blogger is completely free and it does not require a technician to set it up. Once you get your free Blogger account you have a blog on the Internet in less than four minutes.
With your blog you can do amazing things. For example, Google makes it easy for you to add video to your Google Blogger blog. If you have a digital camera, all you have to do is upload your video to your computer, edit it using the free Movie Maker software on your Windows operating system and upload it to Google Video. You can even upload it right from your blog.
This is my mom's favorite thing to do. She uses slide shows on her blog and sends them to her children and friends. The new slide show software is fantastic and it's free. Your photos look more like a slide video than they do a slide show. They include music, voice over and more.
In the past it was a hassle to accept credit cards on your website. Today, thanks to Paypal, you can accept credit cards on your blog with no start-up cost, no merchant cost and no monthly fee. All you pay is 30 cents per transaction and 3% of the sale. It's so simple you can do it yourself.
Maps and Directions
Do you want to create a map to direct people to your business? If so, Google Maps is the answer. With Google Maps you can create both a map and written directions to your business from anywhere in the world. Once you create your map it's just a matter of adding it to your blog.
After cartoons, games are the second most common reasons people visit blogs and websites. Google offers another service know as Google Gadgets and it is loaded with games like Tetris, Chess, Sudoko, Frogger and many others that you can add to your blog to encourage visitors. It's addictive.
I've only scratched the surface with what you can do with a blog. If you have a computer with an Internet connection and the ability to read and type, you can create a web presence that will make you proud. Give it a try.