These days, you need to have your information online, up-to-date and easy to find if you really want to get people involved and aware of an issue. It’s hard to ignore the potential of the internet to help you run an event, start a club, get your opinion out there or publicise a cause. Publishing your own website or blog gives you the ideal location to provide regular updates, collect feedback and bring people together.
What’s a blog?
A blog is an online diary of opinions and perspectives, presented through text, images, videos and/or audio. There is often a theme or topic for the blog, and often information is added daily. You can use the blog to get people excited about your cause or event, start a conversation and network with other young people who have similar ideas and values.
There are no limits when you’re writing a blog. They can be about politics, travel, news or simply your thoughts on the world. Just remember:
- You won’t always know who’ll be reading it, so be careful with your private detail
- Once something is on the net it’s archived and is hard to remove
Blogs can be delivered as RSS feeds, which means a user can download software so your blog arrives direct to their desktop every time you update it.
What’s a website?
A website is a group of linked pages on the internet, with a URL address that allows people to access the information. Each website has a home page which connects readers to other pages within your website and/or other, external websites. Websites are usually not updated as frequently as blogs, and may not be as personal.
Before you leap in
Ask yourself a few questions about why you want to create this blog or website.
- What content will you include?
- Do you want people to be able to contact you or do you want a sense of anonymity?
- Will the blog be publicly listed or do readers have to be invited to join?
- What do you want readers to get out of it?
- How long will the website/blog run for?
- Will it be a hobby or do you want to gain professional experience from it?
There are many ways to create a blog or website. Popular blogging platforms that are easy to use include:
If you want a separate and unique domain name, you need to pay for the web hosting and have some technological knowledge to set it all up.
Websites are slightly harder to create and are more likely to cost money. To create a website you need to:
- Register a domain name
- Choose a web hosting company
- Create a website
Look online and you’ll quickly find a range of guides to take you through these steps.
Keep it legal
When you publish online, you open up a window which anyone around the world can look into. Not all the attention will be welcome. Be careful with what you write and who you talk about. Everything published on the web must follow national and state legislation. You can be sued for defamation or copyright if you don’t keep on the right side of the law.
When writing for the web, remember not to slander people and to respect their privacy. Defamation happens when you defame a person by publishing material to a third person which harms their reputation. The material may be words, photographs, videos or illustrations.
Copyright is when you use more than 10 percent of someone’s work without permission; this can include using photos, music and images. But don’t worry, there are lots of copyright free resources on the net. Sometimes you just need to ask the owner in writing if you can use their work, and they’re often happy to give their permission.
Keep it fresh
The content (text, images and multimedia) on your blog or site is the most important part. Make sure content is updated regularly and addresses current issues.
- Write in a way that suits your audience.
- Check the links to make sure they’re still working.
- Ask other websites or blogs with a similar theme to link to yours.
- Use technology to your advantage - include videos, digital stories, interviews, images, articles and audio.
- Keep the blog or website structured in a simple way that makes it easy to find information.
- Always keep in mind your goals and remind yourself of what you want to achieve.