Before we go ahead I should first explain why a Blog is so useful. A Blog provides a number of benefits to you and your site and all for very little effort.
1. A Blog will add valuable content to your site. This in turn increases repeat visitors and increases the frequency the Google Page Bot (and therefore how often your site listings are updated) will visit.
2. A Blog can be updated very quickly (especially using the technique I show you below). It's much faster to update than editing your Web Page or sending out an e-mail.
3. Blogs can be delivered as RSS Feeds and this means a user can download software to have your Blog delivered direct to their desktop as and when it's updated. You DO NOT have to pay for sites such as Quikonnex or the new Cory Rudl software. RSS Feeds are NOT new and you shouldn't have to pay for what is essentially a fr'ee technology!
Do you now believe you should publish a Blog? If you do, just read on, and see how easy it is!
First join Blogger.Com - this is a popular Blog service (there are others) that makes the whole process as simple as possible. You just register your details and a title for your Blog.
Why choose Blogger? First, the Google Toolbar has a "Blog This" button that makes updating your Blog childs play. Click the button, and you can publish direct into your Blog immediately - including a link to the web-site you're currently on!
Second, Blogger will add you to it's directory and to a notification service AND they will let you publish to their site, though you can set FTP settings to publish to a page at your own domain. For now we'll publish to Bloggers host service "BlogSpot" since they are fast and the only thing they add is one banner at the top. You may also get featured as one of Bloggers daily blogs and gain massive traffic.
Blogger also has a range of templates and you can even edit these directly to personalize your Blog, right down to adding ads or links to your own site (Tip: include a navigation bar). Blogger will also archive your Blog and insert links to your archived months.
Blogger will create a Blog for you in a few steps. At the Blogger.Com main page click on "Start Now" at the top. Enter your Username, Password and Name and away you go.
Once you have your account validated, log in and create a new Blog. This is just as simple as creating a user account. Enter a Title and Description, and leave it as a "Public" Blog. Then select host at BlogSpot. Create a subdomain for your BlogSpot then select a template. You can create your own templates but that requires extensive HTML knowledge.
That's it! You have an account and a Blog setup. There are other settings to explore. You can set "Ping Weblogs" to YES in the Settings/Publishing option to notify Weblogs whenever you publish. You can also set "Show Title Field" and "Email" options to provide Titles to your Blog Entries and email a copy of your entries to you. Everything else is OK as it is.
With your Blog at BlogSpot and your Google Toolbar http://toolbar.google.com installed, set the Blogger function in the Toolbar Options and then click the `B` button in the toolbar. There you have it - one instant Blog entry.
How To Use Your RSS Feed
If you left the Blog settings as standard, your RSS feed is at your BlogSpot Address as atom.xml - the number of entries depends on your settings in Blogger, but it's usually a weeks worth. Although the Atom feed doesn't hold *every* entry, the end user's client software stores all entries as they come in. Your website Blog has complete on-line archives.
Instruct your readers to download an RSS Reader and to use that address to receive your Blog updates. Below I've included a quick tutorial that you can cut-out and send to your own Blog readers, just change the Blog Address.
How To Get Updates From This Blog... To Your Desktop!
First you need to download a "Feed Reader." This Blog uses an Atom Feed. Atom Readers can be downloaded from the following webpage:
The above link contains a "big list" of resources, so you may want to use the program below if you want to get started with a quick and easy client right away:
Tristana Reader http://www.charlwood.com/tristana
The Tristana Reader is a small and quick reader. This "big list" contains this reader and others, including those for Mac OS and web-based services. There's also certain readers that integrate into your browser. Use the link to the "big list" to find one you like. Don't worry, they're nearly all fr'ee!
In Tristana, you simply click the large "+" sign and enter the address of the Blog Atom feed. The feed to this Blog is: http://blogerjob.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Once the feed is added, just double click it to get a list of headlines and click each headline to get the entry. You can add as many blogs as you want and Tristana will happily keep them all for you.
Blogger itself has a lot of help if you need it, so it's time for me to sign off.