This post is blogging motivation for anyone who likes a good deal.
Many things about blogging are free – as in $0.00, plus or minus $0.
Let’s start from the beginning:
- Learning the basics of blogging can be done by reading various “how-to” posts on the Internet, for the low price of… free.
- You can sign up and create a blog on Blogger, LiveJournal, or WordPress.com, all of which are… free.
- If you have your own domain name and hosting company, you can set up a blog using WordPress which runs on PHP and MySQL, all of which are… free.
- You can pretty up your blog with various themes which are mostly… free.
- You can enhance your blog’s functionality with tons of plugins which are mostly… free.
- Blogs automatically broadcast their posts through RSS feeds which are generated by your blogging software… for free.
- You can read RSS feeds from other blogs with a feed reader like Google Reader for… free.
- If you want a unified feed and the ability to track feed subscribers and other stats, you can sign up for Feedburner, which is… free [and in fact, since it was acquired by Google, has made even more services free]
- Once your blog is set up, Google searches your blog and indexes all your posts, adding them to Google Blog Search and the Google search engine, bringing you traffic… all for free.
- You can analyze your blog’s traffic using Google Analytics, which is… free.
- You can display advertising on your blog by signing up with Google Adsense or affiliate programs like Amazon for… free.
- What about the software needed to write articles? You can write blog posts with nothing more than a text editor like TextEdit, Notepad, or Google Docs (all free), or use the built in editor that comes with your blogging software that lets you write within your web browser (free). You may need an FTP client and a simple graphics editor to create and upload images (both free).
- Now that you’re set up with all this free stuff, it’s time to come up with some post ideas. You’re only limited by your imagination, which charges a consulting fee of… free.
- After you’ve written a few posts, you’ll want to market your blog, through links and trackbacks to other blogs (free). You can comment on other blogs and leave behind your blog’s URL (free). You can submit your blog’s feed to Technorati, a blog aggregator (free), and submit your posts to social news sites like Shoutwire, Digg, Reddit, or StumbleUpon, for free. Yes, free!
- You may find a small community forming around your blog, where trade of good will is done through the currency of links. You link to posts written by other bloggers, and they link back to you. You have valuable links to offer in a near infinite supply for the high, high, price of… free.
- Lastly, if you find things aren’t working – maybe the subject of your blog isn’t quite right – you can start all over again, pretty much for free.
It’s actually quite amazing how much a blogger can accomplish without shelling out a single dime. Yes, there’s a base cost for a computer, Internet access, hosting fees, domain registration, and the time investment. But I still feel that through blogging, the average person can become their own publishing outfit with a huge potential audience for a relatively low price. I’m glad I decided to take the plunge.
So write a cool post today… and think about what a great deal you’re getting!