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Dear Savvy Senior,
I recently read an article about seniors who share their talents, experiences and thoughts with others through their own personal Internet blog. I have always been pretty good in the kitchen and think it would be fun to start a cooking and recipe blog but don’t know where to start. What can you tell me?
Starting a blog is a fun and stimulating pastime for seniors, not to mention a great way to share wisdoms and make new friends. Here’s what you should know.
A Growing Trend
Blogging has never been so popular among boomers and seniors! Today there are literally thousands of bloggers over age 55. In fact, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 5 percent of online U.S. seniors have created a blog, and 20 percent have read someone else’s blog.
But before I go any further, a blog (short for Web log) is a personal online journal where you can write about anything or everything that interests you, and you can post pictures, too. (The newest blog entry is always at the top of the page.) Readers can comment on each post, often creating a rich and enlightening conversation.
How to Start
Fortunately, you don’t need to know much about technology to get started. If you have a home computer and Internet access you can start your own blog in a matter of minutes and in many cases it’s free. Here are some tips to help you get started.
• Pick a theme: If you already know you want to blog about cooking you’re ahead of the game. Topic driven blogs (writing on something specific) attract more readers than personal blogs -- which are online diaries for people who want to write about whatever interests them at the time. Personal blogs are fun outlets for seniors who want to keep family and friends informed of what’s going on in their lives.
• Choose a name: Pick a short name for your blog that encompasses your theme or identifies with you.
• Select a blog hosting service: While there are lots of options to choose from, two good ones are Blogger.com (which is free) and Typepad.com (which charges a minimal fee). Both of these sites are incredibly easy to use, and offer a variety of pre-made templates, color schemes and more that allow you to personalize your blog. If you want more hosting options check out Livejournal.com, JournalHome.com, 360.yahoo.com, WordPress.com, TheDiary.org, Mindsay.com, Blog.com, Blogagotchi.com, Blogdrive.com, Blogidentity.com, Weebly.com and Xanga.com.
• Test it out: After you’ve set up your blog, write a few posts to test it out, and make any adjustments to the layout or style that you see fit.
• Promote your blog: After you get up and running, send your friends and family your blogging address so they can visit. And when you visit other blogs of similar interest, build a blogging circle by leaving comments along with your blog address so they can visit you too.
Savvy Tips: When you blog, avoid giving out too much personal information such as your last name, address, phone number, etc. While the Internet can be a wonderful window to the world, it can also be a dangerous place. Also, don’t feel bad or rejected if no one visits your blog for the first few months. As with anything new on the Internet, it will take some time for your blog to get noticed. But keep in mind that frequent blogging (several times a week) helps attract visitors. And to find other blogs you may be interested in, go to blog search sites like www.blogsearch.google.com or www.technorati.com and click on “Blogs.”
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit www.savvysenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.
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