Blogging 101: Finding a Home

I’ve been meaning to start this series for some time now. So, instead of posting ST 8 (which I have watched by the way), I’m posting this instead.

As I have said, I never came into the blogging world of my own volition. I first started blogging my FINAL year of college (2006-7) and that’s because it was an assignment for my Digital Culture class. My professor scored us a free Typepad account back then (for the duration of the class at least) and I actually updated my blog pretty frequently. I don’t remember the name or anything, but I do know that I went above and beyond the call of duty for blogging assignments. In fact, I was one of the few students who actually blogged regularly.

Blogging back then for me was more like a personal diary. I vented, raged, shared things I liked…or didn’t like. After school, I really didn’t update that blog too often and now not at all. There was no set purpose for me to actually blog at the time, but there are a lot of blogs out there like that. More like personal journals…that the whole world can see. Which…may or may not be a good thing. For nostalgia purposes, you can view my old Typepad posts on my free Blogspot account: CNS Speak. That blog title is total homage to my two besties in college and our nicknames (Chani, NeeNee, and Sassy).

My next foray into blogging, again, wasn’t voluntary. We were thinking of moving our website to a CMS system (for acronym noobs that stands for Content Management System) and my boss was thinking of going to WordPress. Thus Asian Addicts Annonymous was born (yes, I totally spelled it wrong in the beginning). I did decide when faced with the challenge that I was going to learn WordPress by blogging about something I  was interested in. And since 2007/8 I was pretty heavy into Asian dramas, manga, and anime. Well, my Asian entertainment obsession started with anime (elementary school) moved to manga (high school), and then to dramas (post-college). That’s neither here nor there. You can’t visit the original site anymore since I deleted the original blog. The old url was asianaddictsannon.wordpress.com.

If we’re honest, I think a lot of people start blogging without really knowing just what they plan on doing and that is totally fine. You know that you want to blog or were inspired by another blogger you follow to try your own hand or maybe you actually do have a plan of just what you want to blog about. No matter if you’re currently plan-less or you know what your doing (sort of), when thinking of starting a blog, it’s always good to look at what’s out there. The two main contenders for free blogging options are WordPress.com and Blogger. MySpace used to be big back in the day, but definitely not so much any more and I’m not really sure you can even do anything with that site today. I never liked MySpace…not really. I personally never had a MySpace account. Ever. I also didn’t have internet at home until 2007. Seriously. LiveJournal is still put to good use today as well. I’ve seen more and more Weebly sites cropping up over the years as well. They have purportedly free options, but I don’t know anything about Weebly having never used it myself. But it’s there and boasts free and simple awesome websites and blogs in mere minutes. Also jumping in popularity are Wix and Tumblr. Freewebs is still out there, too, with a new name Webs. I did have one of those accounts long ago when I tried creating a site for my campus writing club. It’s been several years now, and I haven’t used it since the name change, so I don’t know how it works anymore, but it was relatively simple back then.

There are many more options out there that boast quick and easy and free. The thing is to look at what each offers and choose what you think would suit you best. If you don’t want to put in the effort…WordPress does remain my favorite free blogging tool. I have personally tried out TypePad (paid), Blogger, Tumblr, and LiveJournal on top of WordPress. I can’t remember TypePad at all anymore, and I haven’t used Blogger in so long (4 years), that I can’t comment on them too much. I worked with them. I don’t think they are hard to use at all, but they just weren’t my cup of tea I guess. LiveJournal probably ranks under WordPress, but before Blogger for me for whatever reason. I don’t update my LiveJournal account anymore either. Tumblr…I kind of hate it for blogging, but this platform is EXPLODING! There are so many websites being built with Tumblr it’s crazy. Just like there’s still tons of people using WordPress and Blogger (for more “professional” websites and not just blogs).

WordPress has definitely gone through many changes behind the scenes over the years, but I still find it very easy to use and I like the options available. The media manager, posting, pages, categories and tags, everything is relatively simple and you can find tons of free help for total newbies if you get stuck. Blogger…wasn’t hard, but I really fell out of love with it after using WordPress. It’s not all that difficult and is still quite popular. Finding out about certain settings might be kind of hard, but once you’ve got it set up, it’s not all that bad and it offers less bells and whistles and is relatively straightforward. LiveJournal is definitely a journaling tool in which you can even set what music you were listening to and your mood on each new post. You can also use it more like a traditional blog which people do. Tumblr…I really don’t like it. It’s not like it took me long to learn the basics, but it’s not intuitive and I think it’s missing some great features that can be found on other platforms, mainly it’s commenting and replying to comments that I find annoying as there is no nice way to do that.

Again, I recommend playing around or just checking out various sites on the platforms to see if its something you think you’ll be comfortable with and will be able to use without a whole lot of effort. You can also start multiple accounts (maybe set your blog to private) and just work with each one and choose what you like. Since these are free platforms, you don’t have to worry about spending money and finding out you don’t like something and suffer from buyer’s remorse.

So once you choose whatever platform you want, you also have to decide on something very important—your blog name. I thought I was being clever choosing Asian Addicts Annonymous (now thankfully spelled correctly as Asian Addicts Anonymous), but let me tell you, that invited tons of SPAM…related to porn…Go figure. That’s let up over the years thankfully. But that’s neither here nor there. It’s good to have several ideas to choose from in that respect. And when you go to set up your site, you are going to want to choose a domain name with your site title in it, preferably. So that is why my original site was asianaddictsannon.wordpress.com and then when I chose to have a non-WordPress domain, asianaddictsanonymous.com. It’s hard to find URLs that match what you want that haven’t been taken yet. I really wanted my second WordPress blog to be koizora.wordpress.com. Totally taken. Nuts.

If you don’t end up liking your domain name, you can later change it…at least WordPress lets you migrate to a different site (I moved asianaddictsannon to nicileighyukari). None of the options I wanted for the second site were available, so I eventually made the URL a mutation of names I liked, which isn’t very helpful in saying what the blog is supposed to be about. It’s something to consider. And if you decide not to bother about the domain and just change your site title, that’s fine, too. Tons of people out in the blogosphere do that as well.

Once you have chosen your platform, name, and URL. It’s time to start blogging which usually means getting rid of that initial “Hello World” and jumping in. Whether it’s an introduction to yourself or your new blog or just the first thing you really wanted to blog about. Have fun and don’t be disappointed with little traffic or no comments when starting out. It can definitely be a slow go and all of us long established bloggers know a bit about low stats and silent lurkers.

Got any questions? Feel free to ask. I may have an answer.

7 comments

  • NeeNee,
    I really enjoyed reading this post. Not only does it give us your readers and fans some insight into how you started blogging and the various stages that you have gone through. It also interesting to see all the options available. I had no idea there were so many options out there. Although I don’t see myself blogging since I’m low tech, I def see all the effort, time skill that it takes to keep a blog running. One of the things I enjoy most about your blog is also its variety 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed it! It amazes me just how many platforms are available. I listed the top ones that I see all the time thanks to work and ones that I have also personally worked with. Nothing wrong with being low tech at all. Not everyone needs to jump on the blog bandwagon.

      Ah, I’m happy you like the variety on AAA. I haven’t been doing too much this year, lol.

  • This is a really interesting post. I am going to be taking students on a trip to London this winter, and I am requiring them to do a blog as part of their assignment (the trip is connected to courses they are taking now). I am going to have them read this post as a way to get ideas, but also to understand the real work that goes into making a blog. Some of them think that they can just “throw something together”; however, those students have not seen my grading standards before and do not know how many blogs I actually read. 🙂

    • Have fun in London! I’ve only ever been to Germany in winter which was a lot like where I live anyways, and I was stuck on base the entire time, so I never got out to explore.

      I feel that I did not do a good enough job in actually covering what each platform is like, but feel free to send your students this way. I only covered the options that I actually know of and are quite popular. I work in the literary world and see websites and blogs on those platforms all of the time. For non techy people looking for decent looking websites with no skills required, they are highly popular.

      Having students blog is becoming increasingly popular as assignments. That is how I started and it was fun in a way. I kept up with my regular assignments along with blogging on my own as I enjoyed it. Of course I did let that blog die four years ago, but still. It had a good run when I was a newbie.

  • Yaaay I’m glad you’ve started on your Blogging 101 series!!

  • I started with Blogger and then opened a Word Press account when I started reading blogs that were operated in WordPress, but i couldn’t figure out how to get the page looking like i wanted it to look like without paying for it. Blogger lets me do whatever i want without paying, so I ended up just sticking with that. I think there’s a good chance WordPress provides better options for photos and stuff (i still struggle with the layout of photos on my blog, although if I knew how to code, I could probably fix that) but I think Blogger is good for those of us who just want a basic blog and don’t know how to do anything difficult, lol

    I wanted my domain to just be ‘asiwatch’ but that was already taken, except what is really frustrating is that that blog hasn’t been updated since 2006, and I don’t even know if it’s a proper blog or just somewhere for advertisements. Delete that domain name and give it to me! lol

    • It really has been so long since I used Blogger, I can’t give a fair assessment anymore. There are some great free themes with WordPress that can let you get the mostly desired look you want. If you want to make radical changes that would require a paid upgrade, premium theme, or moving to a self-hosted site. So I can understand that.

      Bummer about your domain name. It’s amazing how many domains you might think of using are already in use. I thankfully had no problems when I switched to my custom domain.

Wanna share your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s