There’s no denying that blogging is among the most effective ways to add keyword-rich content to your website, get your message noticed by search engines, and increase traffic.

But, when it comes to blogging, where do you start?

There are several choices available to you when it comes to starting a blog. Using an online “standalone” service like WordPress or Google’s Blogger is a perfect way to get started blogging easily (and for free).

These really are open-source, customizable tools that can help both new and seasoned bloggers.

You won’t be allowed to use the website’s domain name, which is a drawback. If you use Blogger, for example, your blog address will be something like “yourblog.blogspot.com.” Although you can connect to this from your current website, since it is on a different domain, search engines will not give you credit for the additional content. However, you can also benefit from the enhanced visibility that a blog can provide if you use innovative cross-linking.

These free services provide powerful software tools that strike a balance between value, quality, and usability. Although some people tend to use more simple blog services, they, too, will benefit from WordPress or Blogger’s “built-in” features as well as its broad user base.

As opposed to other blog software applications, one of the most noticeable advantages of these platforms is their ease of use and advanced features. Blogger and WordPress do not require any coding knowledge and allow you to create and post to your blog using simple icons similar to those used in a word processing program. Having access to software like this helps people to create blogs that are as sophisticated and comprehensive as full-fledged websites.

You can use WordPress’s ability to import posts if you are occasionally “offline.” This means you can build your blog when disconnected from the internet and then download it later. You can also import your posts directly into Blogger or WordPress if you already use another blogging service.

Another advantage of these services is their extensive widget, element, and theme libraries, which enable you to add useful features and professional-looking styles to your blog in seconds. With a few taps, you can add features like an RSS feed using a simple drag-and-drop GUI.

Another alternative is to use blogging tools that can be integrated directly into your website. Some hosting companies, such as GoDaddy, will let you use your current domain name for your blog. The advantage is that your blog’s content becomes part of what search engines see as they look up your domain. In these situations, you’re more likely to pay the hosting company a recurring add-on fee. Google’s Blogger, on the other hand, allows you to post to an FTP site, allowing you to blog from your own domain. You lose some of the simplicity of the ‘out of the box service, but with a little work, you can provide a custom prototype and fairly simple posting functionality that is hosted on your own domain.

You may want to consider blogging tools that can be directly incorporated into your website as your needs evolve or if you’re a more technical blogger. bBlog is one to think about. bBlog is a PHP/MySQL open-source program. This isn’t for you if you don’t understand what the last sentence says. If you do, you could benefit from the increased versatility that an integrated application can provide.

Finally, you have a plethora of low-cost (or no-cost) choices to choose from to get started.