There is a lot of information out there about how to start a blog — but don’t click that link. The following instructions are a lot easier and you’ll get the same result:

1. Ignore buzzwords.
RSS, SEO, AdSense, Technorati, Digg. If you have a buzz word buzzing in your head and you’re not sure if it belongs on the ignore list, assume it does.

2. Pick a topic — you can change it when you know what you’re doing.
This is like dating. Pick something that seems good, and if it isn’t, try again. Don’t get hung up on topic. As in dating, you’ll know when you’ve found one that’s the right fit. There are some obvious things, like pick a topic you have a lot to say about, pick something that interests you, pick something that will help your career. This is great advice, but you already know that if you look for a perfect match you’ll never actually go on a date.

3. Spend two seconds choosing software.
Ignore the fact that there are lots of choices. I will give you two: Blogger and TypePad. Pick one. It doesn’t matter which one. Click on the home page where it says open an account. Don’t worry about what you click during setup. It’s very hard to do damage that you can’t fix later. Finding good software to host your own blog used to be really complicated. But sites like Hosting Facts have taken everything you need to know about hosting your blog and put it all in one place.

4. Post something right now.
Don’t tell yourself you’ll do it tomorrow. Blogging is about courage to say something. Don’t worry about being stupid because trust me, no one is reading your blog. Post anything. You can nix bad posts later. For now just start writing.

5. Practice, practice, practice.
Post, post, post. Soon you’ll find the link button and make a link. Maybe you’ll find a category button and make a category. Maybe you won’t find those buttons for weeks. Don’t worry. You’re practicing. And if you happen to write something really good you can feature it later, when people are reading.

6. Ignore your lack of readers.
The hardest part is sitting down to post on a regular basis. Don’t distract yourself with blog promotion until you’re sure you can actually do the writing. If you can blog regularly for a month, you can be a blogger.

When you get to number six, and you’ve made it through a month, go back over this post, and click all the stuff I told you to ignore.

140 replies
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  1. Nanny Hendy
    Nanny Hendy says:

    Thanks for the advice. You just yanked me up out of the deep end of the blog pool. I have read several different posts about starting blogs and was more intimidated about it than necessary. Now I know that it is okay to make a few mistakes. The most important thing is to just start. I think I’m ready now:)

  2. AliceXandria
    AliceXandria says:

    I am trying to figure out how to blog under categories or subjects. So on my blogging page there would be a tab for spirituality another tab for Caring for elders, etc. I would like to add things as I go. Thank you for any insight. My friend showed me your blog which has inspired me to start. Namaste

  3. Reecea
    Reecea says:

    Thanks so much for your advice. It helped me overcome my apprehension. Today I fulfilled my New Year’s Resolution and started to blog. Of course I included a link to your post!

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    treating head lice says:

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  5. Andreas Pazer
    Andreas Pazer says:

    Blogs and the people who write them are an important fixture of the Internet today, a blog can help anyone harness the vast potential audience available through the Internet and make their voice heard.

  6. Sophia Jackson
    Sophia Jackson says:

    Hi Penelope,

    My first time to your site, you got SPUNK. I loved the info on blogging, and other To-the-Point advice. My fear is laying it all on the table – at 49 I am still stuck in the Good Girl Sydrome . I have the potential to be a great blogger but my mind is on empty after work…dont want to seriously think. Time will tell, keep up the good work.

  7. Andy
    Andy says:

    Great information about blogging. One question though, can you use videos is place of blog posts as a means of connecting with an audience?

    • Alan
      Alan says:

      Permit me to vote against videos. Text, you can scan, study, repeat, contemplate. Video, the ring goes in your nose, you’re pulled along a track for however long your master wants to pull you. Then you have to break the message apart and re-assemble it to match your perceptual style all in your head after it’s over, with some parts missing.

  8. Alan
    Alan says:

    Is there a rule that says that a blog has to be ephemeral? I mean, Penelope does a fine job of preserving posts so that people can continue to discover and enjoy them, but I don’t think that that is normal behavior. I think that most blogs I see are just about today.

    My site is brief social rants and it’s just a stack of undated pages, like an encyclopedia or a directory. I seldom discuss issues of the moment. Any page is accessible with a couple of clicks.

    I don’t think that that’s a blog. I think that maybe that’s a book.

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  10. Karla
    Karla says:

    Thank you so much for your advice! You inspired me to start my own blog! I’m constantly referring to this post every time I’m at a loss as to what to do and when I’m disheartened by the lack of readers. I’m currently working on the posts and familiarizing with the buzzwords. :)

  11. Johnnie
    Johnnie says:

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  15. jocelyn
    jocelyn says:

    Penelope, this blog post truly gives encouragement to new bloggers like me. I particularly like the last point that you mentioned. I think writing a quality post that people will love is the sure way to make readers find your blog. Thank you so much for this article. God bless and more power!

  16. New Friend
    New Friend says:

    P – since this post was originally made in 2006, can you please advise what platform you would use today to start blogging? Thanks.

    NL

  17. Kalai
    Kalai says:

    I totally agree with you. I have been planning to write blog and haven’t started it yet. I was more focused on buzz and other stuffs. And today after going home gonna start it with whatever i have . Thank you so much. Gona read your other blogs.

    Keep writing.

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