Writing a blog used to be something only nerds did.
But today's blog publishing tools mean it's never been easier to create a professional, stylish website where you can unleash your creativity, and make friends with like-minded people from all over the world.
No matter what you're passionate about, there are blogs to satisfy your interests – and people who want to read them. There are thousands of British parents blogging about every possible aspect of family life, and thousands more writing about everything from crafting to politics, baking and photography.
So how do you get started?
Step 1: Choose your blogging platform
There are lots of blogging providers who will let you create a free blog using their software – the most popular include Blogger, Wordpress.com, Tumblr and Posterous. Have a look around their websites and see which you like the look of.
Once you've chosen a provider and registered, choose a name for your blog. Try to choose a name that won't pigeonhole you too much – 'mummy on a diet' might not suit in a year when you're back in your skinny jeans!
It's a good idea to Google your suggested name first to check nobody else is using anything too similar. Take a look at the Tots100 and Foodies100 if you'd like some inspiration.
Step 2: Customise your blog
Once you have chosen a name for your blog, it's time to get busy choosing how you want your blog to look.
Your blog provider will have a gallery of themes and designs that you can choose from, and you'll usually be able to add different colours and images to personalise your blog. Feel free to experiment to your heart's content – you can always change back if you don't like what's happening.
You can add buttons and links and "widgets" to your blog for decoration, and to link to your Twitter and Facebook accounts (if you want to!)
Step 3: Start writing!
It can be daunting to start writing in public, without knowing who might be reading. It's a good idea to keep your blog 'secret' for a week or so, and practice writing your first few posts. If you like, you can password protect your blog, so that nobody else is able to access it until you're ready.
At this stage, think about what subjects you're most interested in writing about, but also think about what information you want to share, and what you want to keep private. Spend a few days learning the ropes on your new blog – practice writing posts, adding images and publishing them – until you're happy with the results!
Step 4: The big, bad world
Now you're a fully-fledged blogger, it's time to put yourself out there! Depending on how private your blog is, you might want to add your new posts to your Facebook pages or other social media accounts. You could send the blog link to your friends, or share it on Internet forums you might use.
Now is also the time to go and visit other blogs that write about the things you're interested in, and start leaving comments on their articles. When you comment on a blog, you'll be invited to leave a link to your own blog – which will encourage people to come and visit your blog. If you find a blog you like, consider 'liking' the blog on Facebook or following the blog on Twitter – it's a great way to start to build relationships and grow an audience.
Step 5: Hitting the wall
At some point, often after a week or two of blogging, you'll find yourself staring at the computer screen with no idea of what to write about. Don't panic – and don't give up!
In the early days, it can be great to get involved with weekly workshops, blog hops, carnivals and "memes". These are all types of blog post that basically involve a blogger publishing a prompt and other bloggers writing about the subject. Memes and blog hops often run weekly, and hundreds of bloggers take part in the most popular blogging memes.
There is a great list of blogging memes, workshops and other regular blogging prompts on Notes from Home, which are mostly family or craft related.
More blogging advice on Parentdish:
The Dos and Don'ts of Blogging
Have Fun Blogging
Make Money Blogging