I would like to know how much time, money, and expertise is involved in starting a serious blog. I tried one once before, on one of the paid services in 2003, and found it sort of weak. So I would like to ask those people on DKos on a Saturday night -- i.e. the kind of people who would know how to set up a blog -- for some advice.
I make this a diary rather than an Open Thread comment because I am hoping for enough commentary to make it worthwhile.
This is not only prompted by my interest in starting one up again, but also in seeing what a horrible job Time has done with Swampland.
Questions I'd like to see addressed are:
- Registering a URL. Should one go with the cheapest? If not, why not? What are the ramifications, legal dangers of censorship, does it matter if you want to be private, etc.? Where or how can one get the name of the blog as the URL itself as opposed to, say, having an ugly (IMHO) "blogspot" address?
- Where to host a blog. Plenty of places offer space, often for free. What features are worth paying for? What added control does one get for not starting one at, say, Salon.com or through blogger or blogspot? How does expected bandwidth figure into the equation?
- How to structure a blog. Most every good blog will have comments, but what is the current thinking about moderation? Registered accounts? How much does it cost to just have Scoop, like Eschaton? (Feh!) How much for comments to cascade without threads, like FireDogLake? (Hmm.) How much for something allowing threaded comments, like DKos? (Wow!) How does one set up a group blog? What in effect does "giving someone the keys" mean in practice, and what limits exist on the changes one's partners in a blog can make? How much bandwidth is good for starters? How easy and expensive is it to upgrade features?
- What skills one needs to run different kinds of blogs. I can do basic HTML -- is that enough to run something like Hullaballo? How much more would I need to create something more graphically interesting or with more features?
- Your own success and horror stories. Please feel free to share them.