I got the following email this week from a visitor to my site:
“I work as a writer-editor for the Dept. of Defense and serve as a Navy Reserve journalist. I desperately want to blog and start making a living at it. Can you spare some advice on the best place for me to start? I have never blogged, so this is completely new to me. Thanks in advance for the advice.”
First, I have to say that it’s wonderfully refreshing to get this kind of question in late 2008. It’s easy to think that everybody is steeped in the use of social media, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or blogging. They’re not.
Being as it’s almost 5 PM on Friday of Labor Day weekend I’ve just got a few minutes. Here’s the 30-second stripped-down answer. You might also find useful this updated Blogging 101.
Where to Start
Start your blog on TypePad (US $5 a month) or WordPress (free). Use one of their nifty templates. The only thing you have to make a final decison on is the URL of your blog. Not the “name” but the URL people will type in to get to your blog.
So if you’re on TypePad, it’s best to choose http://yourname.typepad.com On Wo.rdPress, it will be http://yourname.wordpress.com That .way your blog will come up first in search engine results when someone types in your name.
What to Read
You’ll want to read other blogs in the area you’re interested in. Start with Alltop or the new Blogs.com. Here’s a list of Milblogs on Alltop. And an index of Milblogs. (Although I don’t know if that’s what you want to blog about.)
How to Write Your Blog
One of my favorite resources is Copyblogger. Great tips on how to write compelling blog titles, etc. Another is ProBlogger. The free report I offer on my home page also has some good writing tips.
Will I Make Money?
Honestly, unless you’re a really really good writer, devote inordinate amounts of time and fill a unique small niche that inspires a passionate following… likely you won’t make more than spare change.
The bible of how to make money blogging is written by ProBlogger founder Darren Rowse: Secrets of Blogging Your Way to a Six-figure Income.
Good luck. And if you’re in the U.S., have a great holiday weekend – the last gasp of summer!