For years, you’ve been reading blogs — adding them to your RSS reader, bookmarking them, and even using Google to find them over and over. Now you’re ready to dive into blogging for yourself. Before you get caught up in and trying to emulate the glitz and glamor that some blogs portray, make sure you’re comfortable with the basics — and a few basic rules for beginning bloggers.

It’s Not About the Money
Sure, some bloggers make money. There are a handful of bloggers who make quite a living with their blogs, but this money is not just handed to them for putting up a few posts per day. These bloggers make revenue from ads, sponsors, and media appearances. Most of these opportunities exist because of the sheer amount of traffic their blog gets, which is in large part due to the age of the blog. if you’re new to blogging, don’t expect to blog to get rich — not yet, and not ever. The blogosphere is quickly becoming diluted with dozens of new blogs trying to be the next TechCrunch (or even LockerGnome). If you want to start blogging, write because you’re passionate about the topic. If you’re recognized for your talent, you might find yourself eventually being paid to produce the content — but that should not be your primary goal for beginning to blog.

Don’t Spend Any Money, Either
These days, setting up a blog is not only easy, but usually free. There’s no need to pay for hosting when you can use WordPress.com, nor a need to pay a designer (or for a designer theme) when you’re just beginning the blog. As long as your blog does not look like MySpace, your content will be king. Focus on writing, and the rest will evolve from there. (That said, whether or not you buy a domain name is up to you. Securing YOURNAME.com can be critical in others finding your blog and recognizing you as a personal brand.)

The Platform Really Doesn’t Matter
There are dozens of blog platforms these days — Tumblr, WordPress.com, Movable Type, self-hosted WordPress, and even older platforms like LiveJournal. You might even be considering using a social network like Google+ to blog. In the end, as long as people can easily find your blog, it doesn’t matter where you begin to blog. (Eventually, you may want to host your own blog to ensure complete control of your content, but if you’re just starting out, this isn’t critical.)

Write, Write, Write!
Blogging boils down to being all about the content you produce. Without solid content, you won’t drive traffic, keep readers, or develop a portfolio of your skills and knowledge to present to another blog or media outlets should you want to turn your hobby into a profession. If you’re beginning to blog, decide what you want to blog about — and then write, write, and write more! It helps if you stick to a schedule (such as after dinner every day) or keep a voice recorder with you should an idea strike when you’re not near a computer.

Are you a blogger? What is your advice for beginners? Let us know in the comments.