Starting a Blog? Here Are 5 Platforms You Should Consider

There are a lot of benefits to having and writing on your own blog as a self-publisher or author. Even when you’re not trying to promote yourself, blogging can be great just as an outlet for ANY writing. Sure, when you’re writing a book conventional wisdom dictates that you should only focus on that, but since when have writers’ brains been good at following conventional wisdom? Having a blog might be a great way to work out the kinks of your writing ability when you feel them cropping up.

But where do you start? First, you have to choose which blogging platform you want to use. Here are the most popular — and the most up-and-coming — blog hosting websites for you to choose from.

WordPress

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WordPress is used as the back-end engine for a lot of websites and blogs. We use it for our blog, as you can see! On WordPress it’s easy to create new posts and pages, as well as engage with social media seamlessly.

However, when we talk about WordPress, we’re actually talking about two different websites. There’s WordPress.com, which is what we use and which is free to use; your blog will also be hosted on their servers. And then there’s WordPress.org, which you’ll have to buy a separate domain and web hosting service in order to use. The latter is used primarily for creating a business or brand, so if you’re just starting out with a personal blog then you might want to stick to the former.

If you want to get started with this platform, then we already have a tutorial that teaches you how to create your very first post.

Blogger

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Blogger (also called Blogspot) was one of the very first blogging platforms to hit the Internet. Now it’s owned by Google and is incredibly popular among casual bloggers. Like WordPress, it’s also free, fast, and easy to use. Also, because it’s Google, monetizing your blog is incredibly simple. However, you should watch out — Google can be pretty strict with the rules of their hosted blogs, as a writer over at Faithful Blogger pointed out. The choice is up to you.

Tumblr

While Tumblr is primarily better suited to photographers, visual artists, and other creators who deal with picture posts over long blocks of text, it also has an extremely active community of users who engage with one another. In fact, several authors use it as a platform to connect to their readers, particularly comic book writers like Gail Simone or Kelly Sue DeConnick. Companies like Newsweek and GQ also have their own professional Tumblr as well. You can create one personal blog and then add on several more to keep each of your interests and brands separate from one another. Best of all, it’s completely free to use.

Squarespace

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We’ve talked about Squarespace in the past as a platform to host your personal website for only $10 a month — but did you know that in addition to getting a great site with a built-in domain, you also get your own customizable blog? Their easy-to-use LayoutEngine allows you to click, drag, re-size, and place text and image blocks quickly and smoothly, so your blog will always look exactly the way you want it to.

Squarespace just recently put together its own built-in store function as well, so it’s perfect for the budding self-publisher who wants to be able to sell books or other merchandise directly on their website or blog.

SETT

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While WordPress, Blogger, and Squarespace have all been around for a few years and Tumblr is now on the rise, SETT is completely brand new. The popular tech blog Techcrunch just did a piece on this new site on Saturday, calling it a “blogging platform that’s looking to emphasize community.” You have to subscribe to an account, which can cost anything between $12 to $99 per month, but SETT promises that it will refer readers to your site using a program that shows

Of course, the guys over at SETT can probably explain it better than I can in this video below:

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Some Simple Ways to Monetize Your Online Presence

images-1When you’re a self-publisher, every penny of added income helps — especially when you’re just starting out and can’t immediately rely on a strong personal brand or passionate base of fans. If you can, though, even better: there are more and more ways to monetize your online presence so that your fans will be able to help you offset some of your costs without even trying. Third party ads, affiliate programs, and reward tools are all great ways to make your personal website work for you!

Remember, the internet user is a fickle beast, and too much advertising might lead them to believe that you’re some kind of sell-out. Be careful about the number of ads you allow on your page, or you might not get any page views at all!

Let’s look at some of the ways you can subtly and easily add revenue to your site:

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Great Website Building Tools for your Author Website

website-hostingA professional public image is everything when it comes to self-publishing, and these days, nothing can make or break your image like the internet. Social media makes creating a personal brand cheaper and easier than it’s ever been, but sometimes it helps to invest in a more professional looking website or blog that you can use to direct your audience towards new projects.

If you’re looking to put together a website and don’t know where to start, here are some tips and tools you can use to make your site as professional as possible.

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