Building your online profile – Blogging

Blogging is a great way of expressing an opinion about something. It can be absolutely anything! Assuming you are familiar with the concept of writing a blog, the process of setting one up can be a little bit daunting.

First of all it is worth it considering what you want your posts to be generally about. If it’s just general ramblings from yourself that is a perfectly valid basis for a blog, or you might want to consider a blog about current affairs, or whatever topic you might come up with. The possibilities are endless!

Don’t rush this decision. If you’re not sure set up the blog generically speaking, write a few posts and then look to pull a theme out of them. Most platforms allow you to make changes to your blog details so don’t feel under pressure to decide firmly.

If however you are writing a business/organisational blog, then be sure to keep posts focused on that. As you can imagine there are many advantages to blogging from the point of view of a business or organization. It gives the ability to report information in a “storytelling” manner that press releases realistically can’t achieve. It enables you to write in a more personal tone which is more likely to engage the customer. Obviously you would not “wryt lyk dis” but you can make it a lot less formal, and include relevant links, tweets, infographics and photos. All this makes it far more interactive and therefore engaging.

So the question is, which platform should you use?

In the interests of impartiality I am going to point you in the direction of two of the more popular platforms that are available: WordPress and Blogger (which is run by Google).

Blogger requires users to sign up to Google. Some may be slightly daunted by this, but the beauty of Google is that it is a completely integrated service. You get a number of free functions and facilities from just one sign-up. If you already have a Google account, then I’d suggest this is the one for you as it saves signing up to a different website.

Another thing to note is that it does give you the option to blog under a different name (i.e. anonymously).

I can personally vouch for anonymous blogging. I use WordPress for my anonymous blog and thoroughly enjoy that process. The beauty of it is that unless you share it with people, nobody needs to know about it. You can write for hours and nobody will know!

WordPress allows you to create more than one blog under the same username. You could potentially have several different blogs for different things. Especially in business that could be useful if you have several different departments, each wanting to write different blogs, but with each under the same umbrella organisation.

Links to each of these blogging platforms are at the bottom of this post.

I hope it goes without saying but if you are blogging on behalf of a business/organisation then please make sure to obtain guidance from their marketing team on what is and what is not appropriate to write about. If writing for yourself then please make sure that you are aware of basic copyright laws and don’t write hateful/racist/discriminatory posts.

I also want to touch on the subject of categories and tags. Categories are umbrellas that you place each blog under. In theory you could put each post in more than one category, but for example, on the WSI blog we have several categories such as “Open Data” and “MOOCs”. With tags however, the possibilities are endless. It’s a similar concept to using hashtags on Twitter. That blog post is then searchable under those tags, and it is advisable to have more than one tag per post. For example, the tags on this particular post are: “blogging”, “wordpress”, “blogger”, “business” and “online profile”. Tags don’t have to be just one word, and if you were that way inclined you could put # before each or some of them.

You can obtain further guidance on blogging via a simple Google search. There is an abundance of information available freely on the web. This document was intended as a starting point and should be followed up by further reading if you are a first-time blogger.

Otherwise, have fun!

Happy Blogging!

Alex Hovden
Web Science Institute, Digital Literacy Student Champion
University of Southampton
LinkedIn account
Twitter: @WheelsOnFire92

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