Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. In today's episode let's talk about starting your own blog. Later this week I'll be appearing at the blog world and new media expo. So I though this would be a good opportunity to talk about blogging. As you probably already know a blog is a website where you make regular posts about yourself or about a topic you are interested in. If you've ever thought about starting a blog, here are some tips to get you going. If you don't have your own website, you can use a free blogging service to get started. One example is blogger.com, which is run by Google, which makes it easy to login and get going; you can also go to wordpress.com which uses the traditional wordpress software for blogging but its a free service at wordpress.com you don't have to create your own website. Another is livejournal.com where you can also go ahead and make your free blog. Some higher-end solutions include typepad.com and moveabletype.com which offer software but also blogging websites that you can use and you can also of course use MobileMe in conjunction with iWeb that comes with iLife to create a blog right on your mac and publish to your MobileMe website. Now you're going to want to pick a topic to write about. Now don't pick a topic because you think it will make a good blog or because nobody else is writing about it. Pick something that you're passionate about. If you really like the topic its going to show through in your writing and its going to be easier for you to keep the blog going. Now once you have a topic make sure you read other blogs that cover the same topic so you know what's going on in the industry and you know what others are writing about. And also you want to stick to the topic. If you go ahead and get off topic and write about other things you're going to lose your audience who is really there to read about what you have to say about that particular topic. Now another thing you want to do to start your blog is to establish your goal. Now your goal can simply be to have the blog as a hobby. Or at the other end of the spectrum it could be to make a profit off of advertising or selling products. In between there's all sorts of things for instance you could be using to establish credibility in your field, you could be using it to practice your writing so that you can then write a book about the subject, you can be using it to basically boost your resume and help you find a job later on. So there are a lot of different reasons and its important to figure out what your goal is and work toward it and think about that with every post you make. Now blogging is really about writing so make sure that you write well. I recommend you write in your own voice just write as you would naturally think about the subject. But of course make sure that you write in complete sentences using good grammar and spelling. With the tools available to you on your mac there's really no excuse for any grammar or spelling mistakes. Also, I would recommend writing in short posts. It's great every once in awhile to write a really long article but most people reading blogs want you to get right to the point and express what it is you have to say. Now its very important that you connect with your audience. There's blogs out there that don't even have a way for you to contact the blogger. Make sure that it's easy for people to be able to email you if they have a question or want to make a comment. Also allow comments on your blogs. When you have comments make sure that you go through them. Make sure that you kill any spam comments, make sure you answer any questions that people ask in comments. There's nothing worse than going to a blog and seeing comments that are just unanswered or that are spam after an article. It shows that the person who is blogging isn't really there. Another thing you want to do is if there's an about or profile page on your blog and there should be, that you fill it out with information about yourself; why you're qualified to talk about the topic what you like about the topic, things like that. There's tons of blogs out there with no information about the blogger and unless your audience can connect with you chances are they aren't going to stick around. Another important thing about blogging is consistency. Make sure that if you have a daily blog you post daily. If its weekly you post weekly. If you skip some days its a sure way to lose some audience. So one of the things you can do is write some posts in advance or if you're going on vacation you can always write posts and schedule them to go out on the days you won't be around. So one of the biggest mistakes people make is they never start. For every blog out there there is two or three people that say they want to start a blog someday but haven't gotten around to it. People let things like the perfect design or figure out which service is right for them get in their way. Don't worry about that stuff, pick a topic, pick a service, and start blogging now. Now once you've been going awhile you can always tweak your design, you can always export your posts and move to another service or better yet have your own domain name and move your blog there. Its just important to get things going now if blogging is something you think you might like to do. So, get started. Til next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.