I've been inundated with questions about blogging, so I'll be doing a short series of posts about where and when and how and all that jazz, with an emphasis on how best to use this to promote your writing career. This will be old hat for some of you who are experienced bloggers but I'm hoping you will jump in with your comments, opinions and tips.
Where to Blog:
If you have not yet started a blog, do a little research. Look at the blogs of people you know. Click on their blog roll (links to other bloggers) and notice what you like, what appeals to your eye.
There are several free or inexpensive blog hosting sites. The most popular are Blogger (this one; it's free), LiveJournal (free), Word Press (free and subscription versions) and Typepad (starts at $4.95/month). [If you know of others you'd recommend, please post the URL in the comments section.]
Each of these blog hosting platforms have their advantages and disadvantages. I chose Blogger because it was free and easy, and because several friends used it and were willing to help me get going. [Comments on which host you chose and why would be appreciated.]
Most blog hosts have a variety of templates you can use. Pick one that is clean and attractive. Stick with the basics while you're learning. You can always fancy it up later on.
There are many types of blogs, from a simple online diary to a full-fledged promotional focus. Here is a list of some blog types. Choose one that appeals to you or mix and match. It doesn't really matter what type of blog you choose, as long as you remember that people will be judging you and your writing abilities by your blog. If you want to promote your writing, I'd suggest a slice of life, general interest or a blog about writing and/or books, rather than the online diary or rant style. You might also consider doing book reviews.
Before clicking "Post," check spelling and grammar. Think about how your reading public and/or potential agents and publishers might react to what you're saying. Are you projecting the image you want to present to the world? Will a publisher reading your blog see you as professional and careful with your words? Easy to work with? Positive attitude? Interesting? Will your readers find you friendly? Fascinating?
Be very careful not to plagiarize. If you "steal" from someone else's blog, be sure to give them the credit and plenty of links back to their blog.
Be consistent. Post on a regular basis—daily or weekly. If you go too long between posting, readers will stop checking back.