How to Have a Professional Blog on the Cheap and Easy

I’m paying for the privilege of keeping up this blog along with others. I don’t even want to talk about what I’m paying. I started out on Blogger in the ancient days of 2005. I flitted around from there mainly because I wanted to make my blogs look and feel like professional sites. I envied people who had unique designs and custom domains. Blogger was somewhat primitive then, just an entry-level approach.

My desire to move beyond entry-level brought me here, to a self-hosted WordPress site, and I love it. If you want to put a little extra time into your blog setup without having to be too terribly tech-proficient, WordPress might also be for you.

If you want something easier, cheaper, and still customizable, take another look at Blogger. It’s come a long way. To set up your own custom site on Blogger, just follow these steps:

(1) Go to www.blogger.com and set up an account.
(2) Follow Blogger’s prompts to create your blog.
(3) Go to a site like Blogger Templates to search for and download a template that appeals to you. This will provide far more template choices than the automatic Blogger setup, and your blog will look more unique than 90% of the Blogger blogs because most people just use the built in options.
(4) You’ve probably just downloaded something that comes in zip form. You’ll want to unzip it and find the xml file inside.
(5) Go to Layout and Edit HTML in your blog’s settings. At the upload template prompt, upload the xml file for the template you’ve selected.
(6) Go to Publishing under your blog’s settings. Click on Custom Domain. For $10 a year, you can purchase a unique domain name from Google.
(7) Go to Layout and Page Elements. If you click on Add a Gadget, you’ll see lots of options for sidebar widgets that can be added to your site. You might want to look at some other blogs to decide which ones you want.
(8) Start adding posts. You’re done.

This is very easy and very customizable. You can appear to have installed your own custom site without spending much money at all. If only I’d known before…

Remember, though, it’s about the content in the end. People will come to your blog no matter how it looks if they like what you have to say. Appearances help, but they don’t make up for nothing worth reading.

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