Writers can start out using a free blogging platform like Google’s Blogger or WordPress. Using the free platforms are the easiest way for beginners to learn self publication as they require practically no set-up, just choose a template and enter your blog title and contact info, but they are also less flexible than a self-hosted blog in many ways and more difficult to publicize.
Using WordPress on a hosted account requires some technical knowledge; how much depends on your host. A good hosting service will offer an installation script, such as Fantastico, that will create your blog folders, MySQL database and install all the base files needed. From there you can use stock theme templates and plug-ins to customize the blog with little or no techie expertise. If you have the knowledge, you can customize almost all of the blog through modifications to the CSS and template files.
The down side of hosting your own blog is that there is some expense involved in the form of domain name and hosting fees. But, if you shop around, these can be had quite inexpensively. Domains typically run $10.00 a year or less and hosting can be had for around $5.00 a month. Seventy dollars a year is a minimal expense to acquire a powerful and flexible platform for publishing yourself, and there are ways to generate income to offset these costs and even produce profits without having to become an MMO mogul. (Make Money Online, or MMO is the viral movement promising vast riches to those to are willing to buy a program or book from some self-professed self-made millionaire.)
Many businesses are now getting on board by adding a blog to their business web site as a way of discussing their product or service. This provides in depth information to customers and keeps fresh content on their web site – which makes the search engines happy to rank them well.
Some people prefer to use Twitter or Facebook to put their thoughts before the public, but these social media platforms are vastly more limiting in what they will display and how. It is better to use these as promotional tools and keep your content on your own blog.
My book gives much more discussion about blogging, how to get started, and what to look for. This is just one of the many publishing options covered in the book.