So you want to join in on the blogging phenomenon? Before you get started, there are a few things you should know about blogging. Blogging is a lot like an online journal. There are thousands of bloggers online posting each day. It is a trend that started in 1997 and has continued to grow steadily. If you are interesting in blogging, but have not yet began, read over these five things you should know before you begin. You Can Be Personal Many times new bloggers are really not sure what to post. They know that their blog is a personal space, but they are afraid to make their posts personal in any way. The best bloggers do put themselves out there via their posts. They will post what’s on their mind and their views or opinions on pressing issues. They may do so in a humorous manner or be quite serious. Sometimes new bloggers are afraid to post their true thoughts because their blog can be commented upon. The fact is however that not everyone will agree with your thoughts and posts, but you should not let that hold you back. These are people who don’t personally know you, so their comments really don’t matter much anyway. Don’t be afraid to let your true feelings show on your blog, after all, that it what an online journal is all about. Don’t Be Too Personal Although it is fine to be personal in your posts, you might not want to be too personal in how much you disclose about yourself. For example, including your phone number or address in a post or on your profile is probably not a good idea. You should think smart and only allow people to know things that you want them to know. For your own safety, you might not want to post your last name either. When someone has a lot of information about you, it is easier for them to victimize you through identity theft, harassment, or other crimes. So, stay safe and never post really private information. Never Use Real Names When you are posting, and keeping it personal and real, there can be times in which other people in your life come up in topic. Be very careful including other people in your posts. First, never use their real names. This is a huge mistake. Unless the person gives you permission to write about them, you should never do so. It will only lead to trouble. If the person you mention reads your blog, they could get offended that you are writing about them. Even if the post is positive, it can be seen much like talking behind their back. Try to keep the posts about you or celebrities or other public figures. Let everyone else’s business remain their own. Keep It Fresh One of the best things you can do as a blogger is to keep your blog fresh. This means that you should be posting often and changing things around when doing so. Post on different topics so your audience can stay interested. Also, post at least twice a week. People who will become fans of your site will want to read as much as possible on your blog. Updating your blog regularly will allow them to be entertained. If you only post once a month, chances are no one will remember to keep checking your blog and your traffic will not be impressive. You Can Blog For Free Before you pay an arm and a leg for a blogging space, you should know that there are sites where you can blog for free. Yes, for no charge at all you can set up your own blog. These sites are great for the new blogger. If you want something a little more sophisticated, you might have to pay for it. The free sites are very well maintained however. They are easy to use and offer several different templates for you to use when designing your blog. They automatically update your posts for you, which make them a breeze! Remember, you should not pay a large fee for your blog, especially if you are new to blogging. Do your research and find the free sites!