22 July 2009 by Published in: Blogging 6 comments

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


  1. Andrew
    Thu 23rd Jul 2009 at 10:07 am


    Sorry this is off the subject but do you have an updated email address that you don’t mind sharing? I tried to email you using eric@ericwittenberg.com but my message came back to me as undeliverable.

    Thank you for your time,
    (A “Rantings” follower…)

  2. Robert Alton
    Fri 24th Jul 2009 at 8:32 am

    Mr. Wittenberg, sincere thanks for this information. I have made the first step and created my blog: http://www.civilwarhunter.blogspot.com. I made a link to your blog from mine as I believe your’s has a wealth of insightful information. My endeavor is to bridge a gap, or at least create an opportunity to learn more about Civil War History through the hands on approach of the relic hunting hobby. VR/Robert

  3. Ed Isaacs
    Fri 24th Jul 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Mr. Wittenberg, I have a diary that belonged to my great, great grandfather George E. Dixon. When he enlisted in the Civil War he was in The Sixth New York Heavy Artillary. By 1865, he was tranfered into the VRC and was transfered to the Capital Hill barracks in Washington DC. He ended up being a guard at the penitentiary where the conspirators were held. He was also on guard in the court room. Hi diary say’s: 6th May 1865, on guard at the old penitentiary at Washington over the Booth party conspirators.
    16th May 1865, On guard at the same place. I was in the court room during the day while the witnesses were being examined & saw the bullet that killed the President, also the pistol and two carbines, Boothes photograph & the boot that was cut open to take it from his broken leg by Dr. Mudd.
    I need help. I am looking for someone who might take interest in writing a book about George E. Dixon, his part in the Civil War and his eyewitness account of what he saw. I am looking for nothing, other then to honor my ancestor. I have been contacted by at least one prominent author, but they don’t have the time. Any help would be appreciated.

  4. James A. Rosebrock
    Sat 25th Jul 2009 at 8:00 am

    Thanks for the information about blogging. I blog at South from the North Woods and agree totally with your points about staying disciplined and blogging more or less regularly. At what point did you decide that Word Press was the way to go and are the advantages mainly in that you can categorize your blogs? I volunteer at Antietam and look forward to meeting you sometime.
    Regards Jim Rosebrock

  5. Sat 25th Jul 2009 at 10:08 am


    I decided to use Word Press for two reasons. I knew that I had my own domain and that Blogspot would not work for me at my own domain. I also like the idea of the categories.


  6. dan
    Sun 26th Jul 2009 at 12:31 am

    WordPress is an excellent platform. They constantly update; there are thousands of themes and plugins (all at no cost); the platform is stable; developers are security conscious; it is easy to use and easy to look at.
    Blogging is great fun and is particularly enjoyable to host discussions, and start them, too. The only downside is that folks want constant updating, new and interesting content. Monetizing blogs is totally oversold. The great mystery of blogging is how to get folks to know that you exist. The way to do this is with posting interesting material often which allows you to build a following. With each post, make sure you link to other sites, this helps get you noticed in the world of search engine ranking. Enjoy it. Most bloggers burn out. Eric has an amazing capacity for posting often and substantively. This is a rarity. Oh, by the way, there is an interesting debate going on about General Hood and the Battle of Franklin. I’ve chimed in on the matter and welcome comments. (See, shameless plugs can help, too.)

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