How to start your own aquarium blog (instead of a build thread on a forum)
Awhile back (ok, a very long time ago!) I posted (er, ranted) about the online state of our hobby, since then I’ve received numerous requests about how one actually goes about setting up their own reef aquarium blog. This post has been sitting dormant for sometime but I feel it’s time to share it with you. Hopefully this post will give you a head start into rolling out your very own blog about your tank.
Why your own blog and not a thread on a forum?
Two main reasons, ownership and freedom.
If you post on your blog as often as you might do in a standard build thread, you blog will grow fairly quickly, and you will own all the data. Simply put, it’s your content on your own website. You are building up a personal tank diary that you own. You can say what you want and not have to worry about sticking to some rules. Not only will you own the content but you can be safe in the knowledge that you can run it for as long as you want and have no fear that your online diary will disappear because a moderater doesn’t like your ‘style’.
I mentioned freedom, it’s your tank right, so you should be able to say what you want and how you want. You want to mention what ever company you want, link to whatever website you feel that adds value to your aquarium diary. Just think if every hobbyist set up a blog detailing their build and their tank, the aquarium blogosphere would be a very interesting and vibrant community without being under a set of certain rules and guidelines.
Where do you start?
Starting a blog is the easy part, keeping it ticking over is the hard part but is no more difficult than maintaining a standard forum build thread. If you find it difficult or just plain painful to keep a build thread updated on your local forum, then I can assure you, blogging isn’t for you. That being said, and you still want to get your blog up, then please continue reading.
Most likely your main focus of your blog is going to be your very own reef aquarium system – why not, it’s the one thing you’re working with on a daily basis, and the best source of reef related information. The trick to any good blog is to make sure you find yourself a niche and stick to it. For example, here on nanoreefblog.com – our niche is nano reef aquariums. This is the core of the site. Sure at times the content might venture off topic, but regardless material posted here is still related to the reef aquarium hobby in general. If you don’t think you can only blog about your tank, consider setting up a general personal blog, but ensure you post all your aquarium related bits in the tank category.
There is no need to get fancy or over the top, just treat your reef blog like you would a build thread on your favourite forum. As for the name of your blog – try to ensure you name it the same as a title of your build thread – that way others can identify you when they out surfing the blogosphere away from the confines of the forum based communities. Feel free to make yourself a fancy logo and what not. Something that reflects your style and your tank will go a long way into making your blog one of those that users will remember.
What are your options?
Right now there are numerous platforms and ways to get blogging online. You can use a hosted blog service, go the self hosted route or even try one of the many newer hobby specific blog services.
Hosted blog services
If you want to get something up and running in 2 minutes then going with a hosted solution is a something that would probably suit you. All you need is a little understanding of how each system works, and you can get yourself blogging. Downsides is that if that service happens to close, your blog will disappear too. Your layout options are somewhat limited and your site will never really be your own. I would say check out each option and see what they offer before making a choice.
Reef Aquarium specific blog services
Much like the above mentioned services, there are a few aquarium sites now that offer you an opportunity to run a blog within their site as part of their broader community. Be sure to check out the following two hobby specific blogging platforms:
Self-hosted blog services
If you really want a new adventure and the ultimate blogging freedom, self-hosting is the way to go. You will need to purchase a domain name through a domain registra, rent some server space from a hosting company (get in touch with us if you want some further advice on this), install a blogging platform of your choice (wordpress.org is a great option), style and design as required and start blogging! Yes, it’s very simplified approach, but the details of setting up a whole website are a little out of the scope of this article and niche of nanoreefblog.com
You’re blogging, now what?
Make sure you get yourself onto twitter or google+ and engage with fellow reefkeeping bloggers, comment on their posts, open a dialogue, create a discussion. Just think how much more diverse and varied the online reefkeeping community will become, no longer will aquarium builds and experiences be confined to forums, no more will great tank threads become photoless and least of all, the information will be presented in a much easier to digest format.
The internet is there for us all, lets make the most of it. Why not consider only posting excerpts in your build threads and put the full details on your blog and bring the conversation to your comments section. Just think of the structured format the discussion will take…
Have you got a reef aquarium blog up and running already? Post your links in the comments below, would be great to hear from you. If you have any questions about setting up a blog or would like more information, please get in touch.