The AGLCA membership is a niche group with a passion about cruising the Great Loop and that’s exactly what blogging is—sharing your passion with a niche audience! If you have not considered blogging, you should because you have something to offer fellow Great Loop enthusiasts. The one thing we all have in common no matter what category we fall into—dreaming, planning, in progress or completed—is our hunger for more information about our passion. Blogging allows you to share your experiences and what you are learning along the way. It may inspire someone and it’s a great way to chronicle your own journey. Starting a blog is not hard but you need to keep a few things in mind when creating one.
Choose a platform for your blog
WordPress is the most popular blogging platform in the world and it is a free publishing tool. There are many other platforms (Facebook, Blogger, etc.) but WordPress comes highly recommended by novice and expert bloggers as well as techie gurus. It’s a great place to start if you don’t want to invest any money but there are some limitations to free services.
Decide whether to self-host your blog or use a free provider
Self-hosting allows you to have your own website for your blog and you own your content. With a free alternative, they basically own your content and can delete it at anytime since they own the site. There are space limitations with what you can upload in regards to videos, photos and content. You may also be limited on features like themes, templates and widgets. With a self-hosted site, you own your content, have unlimited bandwidth for uploads and more options for themes, widgets and plug-ins for optimal customization and audience engagement. You can’t get your own domain name with a free service. Your blog name would reflect the service provider in the domain name such as yourblogname.serviceprovidername.com. If you have your own domain, you can name it whatever you would like. Self-hosting is relatively inexpensive, around $5-10 per month, depending on the provider.
Design your blog
Both paid and free blogging services have theme templates but a paid service has more options as mentioned above. You can also purchase templates elsewhere to use on your blog if your provider doesn’t offer anything to your liking. The important thing is to pick a design that reflects you, your personality and your content. One important element to consider when picking a theme is ease of use. Make sure it has simple functionality. If you pick something that has difficult navigation, it will turn people away from your blog. Visit other blogs and find out what you like and don’t like about them and then keep those things in mind when designing your own blog.
When designing your blog, think about your audience and your content. Stick to your passion and it will dictate your content. When you express your enthusiasm in your content, it will come through and engage your audience. Use your own writing style because the blog is a reflection of you and your experiences. Be consistent with your blogging because inconsistency and stale content will turn readers away. You want your blog to be fresh and relevant when it comes to your content.
Gather more information
If you want additional help in getting a blog started, here are a few websites to check out.
With a little effort, you can begin blogging in no time. But, if it still seems a little daunting, you can take an even simpler route and start a blog on the AGLCA website. Just email Kim Russo and she will get it set up and let you know when you are ready for your first post! There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to the Great Loop and blogging is a tool to open dialogue with other Loopers who share your passion so give it a try.