Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: The Guy's Guide To Blogging: Leaving The Seat Up - Part 1

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Guy's Guide To Blogging: Leaving The Seat Up - Part 1

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Leyla A – Me the Blogger...a Short History

Growing up, I wanted to be a writer. I kept a journal from the time I was probably 8 or 9 years old through my 20s. I would not say my writing skills are A+ but I have always been able to express myself in written form better than verbal. Though I love to write, I have the attention span of a fly, and I often speak and write in tangents. These days, I prefer to do most things in 140 characters or less.

In addition to my love for self expression, I was an early adopter to many things web related. My first email address was in college, some weird intranet type address, it was my social security number. My hotmail email followed, I opened that account in 1994. My friends in college were geeks and gamers so they pretty much helped me pave my way. My brother owns a tech company and used to host my sites. I started purchasing cool sounding domains for fun in the mid to late 90s. When I finally got serious, I moved to a Blue Host to host my sites for the convenience and security. I get reliable, affordable business hosting from

When I first learned of The Web Log, I felt as if the technology had caught up with ME and I finally had the vehicle of self expression for which I had longed. My first failed blog attempt, many years ago, I purchased a domain and didn't have a platform (like Wordpress or Blogger), I quickly became frustrated and quit. I tried again through Blogspot (now Blogger) in the late 90s or early 00s. My snarky commentary and my willingness to divulge way too much information scared my friends, this coupled with not having audience, or any knowledge of how to drive traffic, resulted in my second failed blog attempt. Years later, I signed up for MySpace. It was on MySpace that I decided to start a blog. My MySpace blog was strictly satirical and often offensive. Through almost no effort, I had dozens of followers and received about 500+ hits per week. I realized that people liked what I was saying. The pleasure of having my voice heard was a tremendous feeling of satisfaction - I could only liken it to warm feelings of love.

The Purpose of This Entry

This is a short, concise, starter place for Male Bloggers. I always insist that people comment and correct me when I am wrong OR add information I may have missed. Though I have no evidence, I believe women have a tendency to blog more than men do because we like to share our thoughts – all the time. We like to talk about our feelings, our jobs, our families, etc. That is why there are so many women in PR, Advertising and Marketing, we like to communicate. Men, on the other hand, they like to do other things. I decided to write this because I've been approached by more than one male in the past six months who is finally starting to see the value of the B-L-O-G. They are realizing that blogging is not just about talking about your personal life but a great way to promote yourself, your talents (if you're a writer, designer, etc.), to promote your product or business, or to find a job. It is another way to gain exposure.

Getting Over Your Misconceptions

Dudes, I think this is a good place to start. Just because you are blogging doesn't make you a wimp or a slacker. There are plenty of really cool, tough guys that blog. There are many very serious and highly successful business professionals (males) who use this medium to convey a message. One quick note, many popular blogs are written by multiple people who share an opinion and each post their own articles. Here are some examples: The Daily Dish, Ben Smith's Blog. Here is an example of professional "bloggers" blog which will help you further. Of course I have to add Seth Godin's blog.

It Is Not As Hard As It Appears...Well, It Kinda Is
There are a few steps to take to get yourself set up and you're ready to roll!
  • A difficult decision will be which platform to use. I use both Blogger (for this blog) and The Thesis Theme for WordPress a client -- you can see that HERE. I like both. Both have advantages. Wordpress has far more advantages when it comes to themes and the "look" of your blog and the functionality. 8 of 10 people who blog will likely prefer Wordpress to Blogger. BUT Blogger is completely idiot proof. If this is your first blog, you may want to opt for the idiot proof method to get your feet wet. With Blogger you can be set up and ready to go in 10 minutes. Blogger is also owned by Google, so basically you're automatically ranked and you will get traffic driven to your site from the Blogger network. This blog receives about 15% of its traffic as referrals through Blogger and 93% of those visits are from new readers. Here is one person's opinion on the differences between Blogger & Wordpress.
  • Besides Blogger & Wordpress, there are many other platforms, I just don't know much about them. Moveable Type, TypePad,
  • You need to decide whether or not to "host" your blog yourself or have it hosted by a free site. In my opinion, you should always have your own domain and host it yourself. You can buy a domain from places like Yahoo or Google for about $10. You can even host it with Yahoo! I bought mine from Google and I host it privately.

  • Here are some web hosting sites to consider if you intend on having a lot of traffic or for some reason foresee needing a lot of space.

    Small Dotster Logo

    FatCow $88 Plan for $66 only

  • Once you're set up with your domain and your host set up, you need to focus on LOOK.

How To Get a Cool Looking Blog Blogger is pretty limited in their templates, they are customizable, but that is also limited. I prefer very minimal looking sites with lots of white space (or negative space). This blog is not a template, it was generated in HTML and each edit requires me to go in and change the HTML. It is annoying but I like the way it looks, and by now, I can do it. Wordpress has thousands of "themes" that you can purchase. If you decide to go the Wordpress route, make sure to host your own Wordpress site so you can use whichever theme you like. Then you can search "Wordpress Themes" and you will find hundreds of sites that have pre-fab blog themes that you can customize. Here are a few themes If you want to take that extra step in your "cool" looking blog, you can hire a designer to create a logo for you. You can even take it one step further and hire a designer to create the whole theme for you. In my opinion, unless you need to keep your blog in line with your brand identity, having someone create a theme from scratch is completely unnecessary and you are likely wasting your money. Next entry will have some information about gadgets, photos, widgets. I will also share my thoughts on how to find your audience, how to promote yourself and setting yourself apart.

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