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Give yourself a voice

Throughout college, one thing I have come across constantly are professors insisting that we students create blogs.

They try, with usually minimal effort and success, to guide us through the how-to on creating one… But, inevitably, there are those of us that have never encountered blog-building and struggle to create the required medium.

This article will attempt to make that whole process just a bit easier.

What you need:

  • A computer (duh.)
  • Internet access – preferably something reliable, so Western internet is out.
  • Some free time.
  • A plan.
  • At least two functional brain cells and synapsis that fire at least at half-speed.
  • Something to say.

Steps:

  1. Join a blog site like WordPress – sites like these take care of most of the heavy lifting for you. You don’t need a degree in coding or web design to use them. They provide you with things like themes that will help you to layout the “feel” of your site using the ever-enjoyable drag and drop method.

(Note: Although sites like WordPress are by and large free, they do offer upgrades and “oooh, shinys” that do require some payment, but are not mandatory to create the site and take it live.)

  1. I suggest hosting your new site with something other than WordPress. This is cheaper if you need to upgrade your upload capacity to directly host things like videos. Although, you can just link videos and things like that by copying the code provided by sites like YouTube directly into the post without boosting anything. I suggest using a hosting company such as Blue Host. This also allows the use of plugins so you can directly link your Facebook to your blog or track visitors using Analytics.
  2. After registering your blog, the next step is to select a theme. WordPress offers a variety of free themes that you can then tinker with to make your own. They also offer premium themes for a fee, although I have yet to really see a good reason to purchase one.
  3. Decide on your brand or voice. Above all, just be honest and true to your personality. Future readers are going to pick up on faking it. Whether you have a dry sense of humor, you’re overly cynical or you have blue and purple dreads and a nervous tick in your left hand that causes you to randomly slap yourself in the face in public, somebody somewhere will dig it. Your audience will appreciate you putting yourself out there.
  4. One of the most important things to remember are Search Engine Optimization Tags, or SEOs. In WordPress, these can be entered in the right-hand column of the page about halfway down. To use these, just enter words or short phrases that will make your article more searchable. Separate each word with a comma. This is the way that traffic will be driven to your posts through search engines like Google.
  5. Make categories for your blog. This will help to organize your posts and make your blog more navigable for readers.
  6. When you mention anything that can be found or clarified through another webpage (preferably not Wikipedia, however, even Wikipedia has its place,) make sure to hyperlink the word. Don’t put a full on www. address in, just click on the “infinity” symbol at the top of the post and enter the address there. Linking the word itself instead of putting the address in makes the site cleaner and doesn’t interrupt the flow of your writing for the reader.
  7. Always link back to other posts on your site when referenced. You want to keep the readers on your site, not wandering off somewhere to get information that you have already created, for as long as you can.
  8. Always add creative and well-thought out graphics to your post. It makes the post more composed and gives it a sense of professionalism. Simply create whatever image you want and then click on the media button and add media to the post following the links provided.

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