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So You Want to Blog

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So You Want to Blog: 03/24/15

cover art

1: Pick your platform

It doesn't matter which one. There are plenty to chose from. Do your homework and find one that you will feel comfortable using. There is no right one to use. If you're not comfortable with it you won't be able to troubleshoot problems — and trust me, problems will crop up from time to time.

2: Pick your topic

It can be very specific: a certain genre of books, a cooking recipes from one place in the world, a web comic you've been itching to draw. Or it can be broader: book reviews, food blog, funny stuff you like to draw. Or it can have no topic whatsoever save for being written by you. If you decide to use a narrow topic, know your topic. If you goof up, someone out there will call you on it. You don't have to be perfect or all knowing, but people will notice if you just make shit up (unless that's the point of your blog)

3. Where you get your content

If you talk about stuff that other people make (say books, or clothing, or computer games, etc) eventually the people who make those things will take notice. Publicists might even offer samples for you to review. While it's certainly exciting to get access to the latest and greatest new thing before the rest of the world, these sort of offers often have strings attached that aren't there for traditional review outlets (magazines, television shows, newspapers). For whatever reason, publicists (etc) seem to think it's acceptable to make blogs jump through hoops to stay on their good side.

Here's the thing: you don't have to. More importantly: you can say no and still have an excellent blog.

4. Don't plagiarize

Sure, computers make copy and paste super easy. That doesn't mean you should do it. If you want to quote something, cite your source and if it's online, link to it. Sure, blogs look better with artwork: photos or illustrations. Sure, Google has an image search. That doesn't mean those images are free for you to use willy-nilly.

If you need an image, the easiest way to do it, take your own. Cell phone cameras are pretty good and you can upload them directly to your blog. Or invest in a nice point and shoot camera. Or if neither of those are an option, make use of the Creative Commons licensed material available on sites like Flickr. For instance, here's the search for books you can use on your blog.

5. Fair use

Learn how and when fair use comes into play. A classic example is book cover art. If you're reviewing a book, you can include the book cover.

6. Have fun

If you're doing this for fun, keep it fun. Remember that is a hobby. You're blog will still be there when you get back from vacation.

Comments (4)

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Comment #1: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 20:55:12

Laurie C

Excellent advice! Especially #6 for me!

Comment #2: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 18:05:05


Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Having fun is paramount to any creative endeavor, I think.

Comment #3: Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 22:48:09


I love the reminder to have fun! I've had two kids since I started blogging and I've taken extended breaks both times so it wouldn't feel like a chore. And my blog has always been there whenever I was ready to pick it back up again :)

Comment #4: Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 20:10:24


Thank you for the comment. I have two kids as well and they keep me busy.

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