Get on the blog!, say Marcus and Hilda

17 May
Marcus Moore

Marcus Moore

There’s no doubt that blogging has democratised publishing. Writers – including authors and poets – have been freed from the financial shackles of publishing their material in print, or establishing an expensive website.

During Blog Standard, writer Marcus Moore and poet Hilda Sheehan were on hand to show the audience just how easy it is to start a blog. In fact, within a few minutes of the event starting, the fledgling blog was already taking shape.

“It’s easier to start a blog than open a bank account – all they want is an email address,” insisted Marcus, who is blogging 2012 characters (about 240 words) every day for a year as part of a writing experiment and brain-training, skills-honing exercise called Journal of a Journeyman Writer.

“It’s easier to start a blog than open a bank account – all they want is an email address”

In demonstrating how easy it was to publish a post, Marcus and Hilda also demonstrated the ease in which new pages or categories could be created to host different kinds of work (your novel, your poetry, your short stories…) and how the hundreds of free themes available to bloggers could allow them to easily produce a unique-looking platform.

Hilda Sheehan

Hilda Sheehan

Once we’d established the basics, Hilda and Marcus went into some depth, looking a monetising blogs by selling advertising (not as arduous as it sounds – a ‘widget’ will automate pay-per-click ads for you) and selling products like copies of your book (made easy with the Paypal widget).

The duo also explored the ways in which blogs can help a writer connect with their audience. The blogger can choose to (or not to) accept comments, which are displayed at the bottom of the original text – a great way to gauge feedback to a piece of writing.

Meanwhile, the blog mechanics are smart enough to recognise when someone is posting spam as a comment, and will filter this out for you. And tags will help people find your blog through search engines like Google.

The audience was a mix of bloggers, keen to share their own experiences, and non-bloggers, many of whom were determined to start their own blog after the event.

Anyone who wants to launch a blog could do worse than to start at WordPress (http://wordpress.com/) or Blogger (www.blogger.com), which is part of the Google empire. Pick a name, choose a theme, and get blogging!

For inspiration, look at Hilda’s blog at www.hildasheehanpoetry.blogspot.com or www.marcusmoore.wordpress.com  The blog created at the event is at http://swindonblogstandard.blogspot.co.uk

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