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May 09, 2007

Blogging Tools & Essentials

Blogging Tools & Essentials

This entry is for Sara from Manchester, UK and the countless others who ask me the "tools" I use to blog. I know this entry is wayyyy overdue so hopefully, the hounding will stop after this entry. *wink*

Click click click!

1. Get a domain name

This is your "home" on the internet, y'all!  Domain names are soo cheap these days there's really no excuse for you not to get one. You can get a domain name for the price of what, a couple of Starbucks lattes? A meal at McD's? Maybe it's the inner geek in me but to be honest with you, I cannot help but cringe whenever people give me ultra long, ultra ridiculous website addresses for their home on teh interweb. If you think http://myblog-is-lovely-dash-so-lets-put-so-many-dashes-whatever.blogspot.com is cute, you're wrong. It annoys the HELL out of me and I'm sure it will annoy the hell out of others. How am I supposed to remember a long domain name?

For the past few years, I get my domain names with GoDaddy . Don't let the company name fool you. They've been around for years and they're one of the most reliable and top-notch web providers today. Their dot-com domain names cost $8.95 a year (and if you purchase some of their services, you can get a domain name as low as $1.99!). There are companies out there who offer cheaper domain names but most of those companies are unreliable and they fold after a few years. Case in point: Registerfly. Why take the risk?

When you think about it, the cost of a domain name is peanuts... and you can do all sorts of things with it. You can even have it forwarded to any existing website you like. For instance, you may buy myblogislovely.com and have it redirected to your existing website, let's say, myblogislovely.blogspot.com or myblogislovely.multiply.com or myspace.com/welovebaldpussies.

I like to think of domain names as an investment. Thousands of people made serious money online on buying and selling domain names. God knows how many hundreds of domain names I have on my portfolio. Think of supply and demand. If you're smart, like me, you'd want to buy domain names that nobody have bought yet and sell them in the future to anyone who might be interested. Imagine the millions I'd be making had I bought style.com a decade ago?

050907_godaddyJust a bit of advice -- back in the dark ages, I bought the domain evianboy.com (yes, I know. don't laugh) and had it forwarded to my geocities page. Fast forward a few months later, furious lawyers from Evian sent me a letter telling me I broke trademark rules yaddi yaddi yadda. In the end, I had no choice but to give my domain name to them. The moral of the story is this: as much as we love Balenciaga, don't go around ifuckinglovebalenciaga.com or balenciagarocks.com unless you want to hear from them. If I were you, pick something unique yet generic. You may check the availability real-time on Godaddy's website.

BTW, domain names aren't just for bloggers. It's for everybody. I was bloghopping the other day and I found all these cool independent designers/stores in the third world prostituting their fabulous wares on websites like multiply or livejournal. I'm all for ecommerce and entrepreneurship but if these kids are trying to attract a global audience, they might want to think professional and go professional -- and it starts with getting a domain name.

It really is soo simple no? God. I remember the old days when people come up to me and say "oh my god you even have your own dot com" as if I invented vanilla yogurt. Yep. People did say that. It's crazy!! I honestly don't know what the big deal was so I just laugh deep down inside.

2. Get a blog

You know, I don't need to elaborate on this further. It's amazing, this whole blogging revolution buggery. Two years ago, half of the people I know had no clue what a blog was. Perhaps that was the reason why I was so thin back then and no, it wasn't the coke. It was pure bulimia fest galore -- I really wanted to vomit every time I got asked what a blog was. I know people are just curious blah blah blah bollocks. We all know I always have difficulty expressing myself eloquently and I truly despise explaining banal and mundane things so when people ask me what a blog was, my god, I just babble with bullshit for a few seconds and pull random shit out of my fat ass. It was soo annoying!

Thank god blogging has grown and gone mainstream. It used to be limited to a certain crowd and these days, everyone including their dog, maid and whatnot have their own blogs. If, to this date, you still don't know what a blog is then I have nothing to say except that you put on your best Alaia and jump off a bridge, head first.

Now.

I know you can get a free blog from, say, Livejournal or Blogger but our focus is *MY* own personal blogging tools and essentials and I have my main blog, Bryanboy.com, hosted with Typepad.

I love Typepad. I really do. Words cannot express how I love them. I love Typepad. I fucking love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love Typepad. Heck, if Typepad was a guy, I'd be sucking his cock day in, day out before I let it invade my ass. I just love Typepad. I love Typepad! I fucking love Typepad!

Need I say more?

I love Typepad!

God I love Typepad. I do. I really do. I just loooooooooovvvvvvvvvve Typepad!

Typepad is fabulous, hands-down. You don't need to be whiz-kid to learn how to operate Typepad -- blogging is truly a breeze. You get the whole blogging she-bang plus a shitload of bells and whistles.

Here's a sample screenshot of the blogging page. Even a 12 year old kid can do it -- all you need to do is type and/or upload pictures then click a button. It's THAT simple. It's like using MS Word for god's sake. The only time you'll be needing help is whenever you use some of the special features but really, if you're a novice blogger and don't want to deal with crap, Typepad is the way to go.

Typepad is not free, of course, but it's pretty cheap. I'm not sure what their current rates are but as far as I know, you can start with $4.95 a month. Obviously I pay them more than that because my blog is insane but really, $4.95 is NOTHING. NOTHING, I tell you.

Yes, you can a blog for free elsewhere but when you think about it, going with a paid service provider is good for many reasons -- lots of features **AND** technical support. When you go with a free blogging service provider, you really are on your own. When I first started blogging, I know NOTHING and the people at Typepad answered each and every single one of my questions. In fact, they still do now.

Because my blog had grown so big, I thought of moving away from Typepad and I just couldn't do it. I don't want to deal with the whole "migration" blah blah blah and I also don't know how to transfer all my entries to a different platform so sod it. I'm here to stay for now. Why reinvent the wheel if you know what I mean?

3. Other Tip Top Tools

Here are some of my other blogging essentials:

* Sitemeter
Sitemeter is awesome if you would like to keep track of the visitors who go to your site -- where they're coming from, their ip addresses (fantastic if you have pests who stalk you on a regular basis), people who link to your website, so on and so forth. The service is free but the data is limited to the last 50 visitors. I upgraded to the pro version (for a small fee) and I can see data on the last 4,000 visitors on my site. I'm telling you, sitemeter is HIGHLY addictive! There are times when I just sit in front of the computer for hours just to see who's on my site. You know, all my lovely readers from Conde Nast, Hearst (Bazaaaaaaaaar is that you???), Hachette Filipacchi (ELLE?), LVMH, MGM Studios, Viacom, blah blah blah etc. I have absolutely no idea why they visit my blog on a regular basis but hell I'm not gonna complain. Hahaha :P

* Bluehost
Bluehost is a webhost provider that I use to host all my images and files. My Typepad account could only handle a certain amount of traffic so I use them in hosting my blog. All the pictures, graphics, images, files, etc etc etc goes to Bluehost.

I'm not really a big fan of photobucket and flickr because they have soo many restrictions, not to mention it takes too much time and effort to maintain an account there. I have this program called WS_FTP that I use where I just drag and drop files from my computer to go to my Bluehost account. It's soo simple! I don't have to log on to any website (unlike photobucker or flickr) and I don't have to enter all these unnecessary file bullshit, tags, names, etc.

Bluehost costs $6.95 a month (for starters) and you get storage space MUCH, MUCH, MUCH, MUCH larger than flickr and photobucket. I think you can also get a domain name there for FREE -- when I signed up for a bluehost account, I got the domain name "ihatebryanboy.com" for free so go figure. Unlike photobucket/flickr, you can upload all sorts of files like mp3s, word documents, PDF files, web/html pages... they can even "act" as your website or you can install your own blog there! Bluehost is amazing!

* Professional Cart Solutions
OMG OMG OMG OMG! Professional Cart Solutions is the best eCommerce provider ever! I've been using them for years for all my other online ventures. A lot of you often ask me which shopping cart provider I use for my sticker website, well, it's PCS! It's a all-in-one automated package where you can use it as a shopping cart where people could buy your wares online, real-time... and you can also use it for your mailing lists/newsletters/email subscriptions.

To see the shopping cart in action, go to: http://ilovebryanboy.blogspot.com.

To see the mailing list feature in function, go to: http://www.bryanboy.com/podcast

Everything is automated and I don't have to do ANYTHING! For instance, if you subscribe to my podcast, you'll automatically get a welcome email, blah blah blah etc. Everything is done by the shopping cart on its own! If I want to send a broadcast message to my 11,000 subscribers, all I need to do is draft an email and copy/paste it on a special website (like Typepad) and click one button. It's soo simple!

Half of you probably won't know what I'm talking about (welcome to the geek cruiseliner) but I use PCS for everything "eCommerce".

Click here to sign up for a free trial and see whether or not PCS is for you.

* 2Checkout
If you would like to accept payments online, I suggest that you visit the folks at 2Checkout. They are soo much better than Paypal. I know people from the third world could only send money with Paypal but not the other way around. I use them for my sticker website (amongst other things.... AND...you can integrate it with PCS). Super fantastic! You have the option to get paid in US dollars or third world mickey mouse money via direct deposit to your bank account or by check, once a week. I love it!

A lot of people in the Philippines have soo many wonderful and gorgeous products to sell to a global audience but the lack of education and awareness hinders them doing so. In all seriousness, there's a lot of resources out there... all they need to do is tap into it and get things booming!

Blah. I should be some sort of consultant to startups and get paid for this shit, no?

Yet here I am, giving all this advice for free. Haha!

----

And there you have it.

Now you know all of my blogging tools and essentials. These service providers are fundamental to my sheer existence online -- think of them as Bryanboy's personal "dream team".

Email me if you have any questions. Tell me you love me! My email address is bryanboy@gmail.com or SMS +63.915.785.1492.

I love you all!

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