Monday, February 17, 2014

Become a Blogger in 4 Hours. Class Starts Now.

I just received an email, subject line "Become a Blogger in 4 Weeks. Class Starts 2/27." It's from one of those online "universities," sponsored by a popular magazine. The cost: $199.99.

Naturally, the fine print promises something more than just "become a blogger." You'll learn how to set up your blog "the right way." How to write "for the web." How to "drive traffic" to your content. And so on, and so forth.

If you think you need to spend $200 to "become a blogger," don't let me stop you. But I'll show you how to "become a blogger" in four hours (tops!), for free, and explain why you're better off learning that other stuff via on-the-job training.

How to Become a Blogger in 4 Hours, Ultra-Short Version:


How to Become a Blogger in 4 Hours, Long Version:

  • Pick a "platform" -- a place to blog and/or the software to install on your own site if you already have one. Free all-inclusive platforms include the one you're reading this post at (Blogger) as well as There are others, but these are the big two. All you have to do is sign up for an account, make a few choices (like your blog's "visual" theme), and go to town. If you have your own site and want to install blog software on it, your best bet is Same software as the .com version, but you have complete control and responsibility.
  • Write what you want to write in the handy-dandy form and hit "publish" or "post."
Congratulations. You're a blogger. And you probably got there in well under four hours unless you went with the self-installed Wordpress option and decided to do a lot of theming work and so forth before actually, um, blogging.

Is there more to it than that if you want to be a good blogger and/or a successful blogger? Absolutely. BUT!

  • Becoming a good blogger is just one variation on becoming a good writer. That's not a blog-specific topic, it takes work, and if you're not already there it will probably take a damn sight longer than four weeks to get there.
  • Becoming a successful blogger is just one variation on becoming a successful marketer. That's not a blog-specific topic either.
If you want to become a good writer, the most important thing to do is read good writing. I'm not saying you shouldn't take a class or two if you think you need that, but you're probably not going to learn to write well in a four-week class on blogging. If you already have a reasonably good handle on spelling and grammar, your time is better spent looking at the blogs you enjoy and trying to puzzle out just why it is that you enjoy reading them so you can bring those elements to your own blogging.

If you want to become a successful marketer in your niche, the most important thing you can do is figure out how you found the blogs you enjoy reading, then reverse-engineer the process of getting your own blog mentioned/linked in those places. Comment on your favorite blogs -- with back links, if they are permitted, to your own relevant blog posts. If you see ads for your favorite blogs, advertise in the same places they do ... or advertise ON your favorite blogs. Their audience is probably the audience you want, right?

So, there you have it. No charge. Unless you want to send me something for saving you $200. In which case, see the Bitcoin widget in the right sidebar or PayPal

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