Thursday, June 21

Ask the panties blogger?

Someone wrote me tonight asking how much they should pay to start blogging, including domain name, set up, etc. Here is my reply; I would appreciate hearing from anyone else with perspective on this. Thanks. --BG

I'm delighted you asked and happy to help.

Let me ask you this. Why spend anything?

Blogs are free, if you've got the computer equipment and time. People have preferences between Blogger and Wordpress, and many more have switched from blogger TO wordpress if that's any indication, but if I were you I would (A) see if I like blogging and (B) see what kind of an audience I had after six months to a year, before I invested even a nickel of real cash.

I know there's some sort of testosterone element with "owning" your
own domain. But Jesus General doesn't do it and he's one of the most popular bloggers on the planet. Ditto Digby, Driftglass, and yours truly. My experience is that readers don't care that you've got "wordpress" or "blogspot" on your url.

Maybe you think you'd blog more if you paid something up front. I think you'll find if you have good writing you'll double your audience every three months. That's the statistic I see most quoted. You have to find your voice, which took me almost a year, and then eventually it will own you. I can't imagine waking up one day and not feeding the blog. It chose me. And the people I hang around with in the blogosphere, well, you mentioned faith and serendipity? My blogosphere friends make me believe in a divine source who loves me.

I can still remember the day I looked at my stats and there were more subscribers to Blue Gal who DIDN'T know me personally than those who did. That was a pretty amazing moment.

Anyway you can spend as little or as much as you like on your blog. Setting up a new blog on blogger is really easy. I can't speak for wordpress but if you need help with that I can point you to some wordpress bloggers who are kind and helpful peeps. Let me know.

I'm gonna post this reply and see what others think. I've got good readers and they will also leave some feedback for you. DO keep in touch and let me know what you decide to do. I'll be happy to link to you and let others know about your blog.




  1. I agree on starting out slow with something free (I'm a Blogger blogger too). I was pretty sure I'd like blogging and keep up with it when I began, but you never know what will happen, and why spend money when you don't have to?

    That said, I've been thinking about getting my own domain lately because I'd like to expand the site a bit, make it more than just a blog--if Blogger made it easier to do that, I'd just stay with them. As it is, though, I don't think I really have a choice anymore.

    I'm interested to read other comments on this too.

  2. i stated on blogger and i've stayed. i can pretty much do what i need to do and i don't feel the need to get too fancy.

    people will read what interests them or gets them po'd.

    have fun. : )

  3. Anonymous9:13 AM

    The main reason I bought my domain and pay for a server is that I wanted complete control over my presentation -- I didn't want MPS to look like anyone else's blog.

    But I'm a geek and like to dabble in code.

    Oh, that and some of the blogging services seemed (at that time) to go offline about 40% of the time.



  4. Tengrain, you're an expert graphic designer fo' sho.

    And yeah before the upgrade Blogger was crashing a LOT. I haven't noticed that so much these days, nor have there been nearly the "down for maintenance" times there were before they switched.

  5. As the adage goes, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?". I started my blogger blog after the upgrade, and I have experienced no problems whatsoever - of course, I only get about 12 hits a day. I was also a total neophyte and had no probs setting the site up (and have even played with the HTML a bit). Enjoy!

  6. Anonymous9:49 AM

    Let me get in a quick plug for TypePad since I was one of the original 300 beta testers. It's not free, but it is pretty reasonable and it has some internal linking/tags/socware stuff built in that can help you grow an audience. It also has a few options where - if used - you can learn just enough about web page design to be dangerous.Also they bill month to month.

    Doing your own thing is an up and down proposition. Yesterday I upgraded to the new version of Wordpress in about two minutes. My host is a joy to work. My wife uses a different site host and I spent an hour on the phone with them yesterday with nothing getting resolved. Today I will have to call again a couple of times since the problem on her page is getting worse.

  7. I just started blogging like a week ago after becoming addicted to reading others blogs. I went with Blogger and I want to agree with everyone else that the easiest thing to do is pay nothing and see how it goes.

  8. Blogger is the easiest, and it also lets you do cooler stuff with our sidebar. I still haven't figured out how to change my header, though, other that doing what blogger lets me do w/in the "template." I have also noticed that it's been running much more smoothly the last few months, with fewer breakdowns and a lot fewer lost pages.

    Like anything else, good backup procedures are a must.

    Daily Darfur is a wordpress blog. I like that as well, but, again, there's a limit on how many bells and whistles you can have on the sidebar.

    But free would be the way to go for a beginner, for sure.

  9. I think you lay it out very nicely in your post, and the comment thread hits most of the other angles. I'm fairly comfortable with both Blogger and WordPress. If I were a hardcore coding whiz, full-timer or much trafficked, I might reconsider the URL, but hell, Atrios, you and others do fine as is...

  10. Anonymous7:31 PM

    I blogged free...("free as the wind to follow my blooooooog") until recently. I switched to my own domain because I wanted a little more freedom of design and a little more reliability than I sometimes got with Blogger.

    There have been times recently when I wondered if that was a good idea, but there ya go.

    My only advice is that if you do decide to have a domain at some point. Don't pay outrageous charges for it. A few bucks a month is plnety (mine was $6.95 including the domain registration and lifetime renewals).

    I'm leaving to blog free again...(imagine naked Poobah frolicking in a meadow here).

  11. I don't believe anyone starting out should pay to do it. If you find you're not enjoying it, or you don't have the time, the investment is limited to the time to conduct the experiment.

    I have stayed with blogger and am reasonably happy with its performance. The big thing is, I am not feeling compelled to advertise to recover any cost. If blogger gives me a bit of grief, I can live with it. It's free.

    Readers don't care about the lodgment of your blog. Content is what it's all about. Finding the formula for that can be more daunting then worrying about which format to use.

    Quantity is one thing, but quality is critical. I started writing years ago, before blogs actually existed, for smaller newspapers. I became a somewhat popular columnist in regional papers... once a week. And a regular contributor to an industry periodical... once per month.

    Blogging is a great deal more challenging if you want to develop a readership. When I started The Galloping Beaver postings were three times per week, deep research and long formed. That acquired a good following, but it also stalled. In time, short form, quick commentary was added and the long form was reduced in frequency... just slightly.

    You have to have a passion for the pastime. Paying for space is no measure of the passion, does not make you more "professional" and won't pull in readers.

    For what it's worth, the blogs I read regularly attracted me because of the writing, the ideas and the diversity. Attractive formating is nice, but a standard layout works well enough.

    It's the content... just the content.

  12. What people dont mention is how much time they travel around sprinkling comments and how much is reciprocity.

    I know a blogger who says she leaves about a hundred comments a day, hoping to get twenty a day on her own. Is that readership? Or cultivated reciprocity?


I really look forward to hearing what you have to say. I do moderate comments, but non-spam comments will take less than 24 hours to appear... Thanks!