A reader left me a comment today, and I figured I would answer his question. Reader Robert Alton left this comment:
Mr. Wittenberg, you have a very nice blog site. I like the template & graphics layout you are using. Very well done. I am interested in starting my own and was wondering if you could give me a synopsis/101 on how you got started, cost, etc… VR/Robert
First, thank you for the kind words, Robert. I just changed the template last week. I do so periodically when I get bored with the existing one, and after about a year, it was time for a change.
Now, to the substance of your question.
The answer is that it’s possible to blog without paying a dime. Now, I have my own domain for this blog, so I pay for web hosting for it, at the tune of $9.95 per month because of the volume of traffic that this site receives. I also pay about $10 per year for the domain registration. Those are the costs. The Word Press blogging software that I use is free. It’s also relatively user friendly, although I still have not figured out how to insert images. My wife usually does it for me.
I also maintain a Philadelphia sports blog on Blog Spot. Blog Spot is completely free, so it costs you nothing to maintain a blog there. It’s also very easy to use–even I know how to insert images there. There are also a couple of other similar options out there, and I suggest that you check them out and see which one you like. Pick a name for you blog, and off you go.
On Word Press, you can categorize your posts. I chose categories that seemed most logical to the topc that I blog about, but I have added new ones from time to time over the years. I have yet to figure out how to do the same thing on the Blogger software, and frankly, that’s the thing that I like the least about the Blogger platform.
The challenge, quite candidly, is in (a) finding the self-discipline and time to make regular posts, and (b) finding things to post about. Fortunately, there is enough going on in my world that I rarely find myself without something interesting to write about. Tons of people start blogging and do well for a while, but quickly run out of gas. This blog has been around since September 2005, and I am closing in on 1000 posts. It you had asked me whether I would still be doing this nearly four years and nearly 1000 posts later, I would have told you that you were insane, but blogging–and maintaining the realtionships with my readers–has become an important part of my daily routine. Those relationships–many of them purely virtual–mean a great deal to me.
All I can say is that if you think you will enjoy blogging, then by all means, dip your toe in the water and see if you like it. If you don’t, then nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you do like it, hopefully, you will take the pleasure from it that I take.
Good luck, and happy blogging.Scridb filter
I hereby nominate this new blog for the 2009 Most Irritating Civil War Blogger Award. This guy insists on wasting other people’s bandwidth to announce his every blog post, and then he does so by referring to himself in the third person. Here’s a prime example of what I’m talking about here. Now, I’m all for shameless self-promotion, and I’ve certainly done more than my fair share of it. However, I have never once referred to myself in the third person in doing so.
The blog’s content is okay but pretty pedestrian. Although there’s nothing outstanding there, but he nevertheless feels compelled to tell the world whenever he posts, as if it’s announcing the publication of a new book. I can’t even begin to describe how annoying that is. Consequently, I have made a policy decision that including him in my blogroll would only encourage the behavior. Therefore, as long as he persists in such boorish behavior, I will never, ever include him in this blog’s blogroll.Scridb filter
As some of you may know, my 2003 book The Union Cavalry Comes of Age: Hartwood Church to Brandy Station, 1863 contains the most detailed account of the March 17, 1863 Battle of Kelly’s Ford ever published. Consequently, I have accumulated quite a bit of primary source material that will be a perfect addition to the project.
I’m looking forward to participating and I’m looking forward to seeing just how much information we can compile. Please check the site regularly.Scridb filter
I own this web site. I pay for it. That means I get to make the rules.
My rules are really pretty simple. No anonymous comments are allowed. Be civil. Stay on topic. Be polite. Insulting me on my own web site is guaranteed to get you permanently banned. Spamming is never, ever allowed. When I say “enough is enough”, I mean it. Obey the rules at all times.
There’s nothing terribly difficult or complicated about those rules. Either obey them, or you’re gone for good. They are not negotiable, and my decisions about enforcing them are not subject to any right of appeal. And if you don’t like the rules, then hit the road and don’t come back, now, or ever, because they’re not going to change. Now, or ever.
Mr. Warren chose to break about five of those rules in the two comments that he left yesterday, so I have not only deleted his comments, I have permanently banned his IP address. We won’t see him here again.Scridb filter
Earlier today, someone felt compelled to leave me a comment about my anti-neo-Confederate predilection on last night’s post, which was about my second blog, which is about my life-long addiction to Philadelphia’s professional sports teams. What in the world did that have to do with the fact that I feel compelled to fight against neo-Confederate hooey? I simply don’t understand.
Because the comment wasn’t even remotely close to being appropriate to the post, I deleted it. Had it been placed in an appropriate place, I would have permitted it to stand, but it was not even close to being on point to the post where it was left, so I saw no reason to leave it stand.
I have to say that I just don’t understand the motivation of some people and why they feel compelled to do what they do…..Scridb filter
Tonight, I started a second blog, just for fun. Fear not, it will not detract from this blog, nor will it compete with it.
Those of you who are long-time readers know that I am a Philadelphian by birth, and that I was cursed by being born into a family of Philadelphia sports fans. As I’ve said here more than once, I know pain, and I know suffering. We know all about living with disappointment, and we know to expect to be disappointed. It’s just a fact of life, and it’s an integral part of being a Philadelphia sports fan.
I’ve started a blog called A Philadelphia Phanatic. It can be found here, and will focus upon my addiction to the Phillies, Eagles, and Flyers, and the trials of rooting for those teams from 450 miles away. Check it often. The first post went up tonight.
I’ve added a link to the blog roll.Scridb filter
Today is a milestone for the blog for a couple of reasons. First, the proprietor is celebrating (if that’s the correct word) his 48th birthday today. There was a time, seemingly not all that long ago, that the thought of being 48 years old was the same as being as old as the hills but only slightly younger than the dirt. Fortunately, I don’t feel quite that old, but I do have my days…..
Second, and much more important than the 19th anniversary of my 29th birthday, is that this marks the 900th post on this blog. When I started this blog on a whim in September 2005, I never in a million years figured I would still be at this 900 posts later. This blog has become an important part of my daily routine, and I greatly value the interactions with those of you who give your valuable time to indulge what I have to say here. I’ve made new friends, re-connected with old friends, and have been rewarded immensely by doing what I do here.
Thank you to each and every one of you who give your time to indulge my rantings, and I hope you will continue to do so. I deeply appreciate the fact that you do so.Scridb filter
I’ve added Corey Meyer’s interesting blog, The Blood of My Kindred, to the blogroll. Corey’s got some interesting insights, and is a fellow fighter in the neo-Confederate wars. Check it out.Scridb filter
I re-aggravated the pinched nerve in my neck again last week. It’s now been a week, and it’s finally beginning to settle down. I’ve been completely miserable and in a lot of intense pain, so I’ve been limiting my time on the computer to work, which is stuff I absolutely have to do. That’s why I haven’t posted anything since last week.
As it’s finally getting better (a number of Vicodin and three visits to the chiropractor later), I expect to resume regular posting tomorrow or Thursday at the latest.
Thanks for your patience.Scridb filter
Kevin Levin has a really good post on his blog today that I commend to you. Be sure to read the comments, as they are critical to understanding Kevin’s point.
Kevin’s had one particular anti-Semitic neo-Confederate nut job–my first nominee for 2009’s grand champion, by the way–who calls herself “JosephineSouthern”, and who cannot resist any opportunity to (a) be insulting and condescending, (b) loudly bang the neo-Confederate drum, and (c) ignore Kevin’s rules for civility as a condition to being permitted to leave comments on his blog. Given that the primary focus of Kevin’s blog is Civil War Memory, his blog is a prime focus for all of these neo-Confederate jerks who so seem to enjoy tormenting him.
It’s a great case study in how blogging brings out both the best and the worst in people. Kevin, while you and I may not always agree on everything, I very much appreciate your willingness to serve as a lightning rod for those loons.
By the way, the 2008 neo-Confederate grand champion, Olaf Childress, paid my site a visit not too long ago and left me a rude and condescending comment. I guess he must have googled himself and found me that way. Thanks for your warm wishes, Olaf. Sorry I deleted your comment and blacklisted your IP address. You will find that you will be unable to post further comments here as a consequence.Scridb filter