Sometimes we write for ourselves, as an outlet; sometimes we write to serve others; sometimes we write to communicate a thought or idea. No matter what the reason is that you’re writing, a blog is a great avenue with which you can do it. Blogs are easily accessible all over the world (wherever there’s wifi), and many are free. You can keep them private, you can limit their exposure, or you can post for the world to see. If you’re planning on starting your own military or veteran blog, there are a few things you’ll want to consider.

Who and What Are You Doing This For?

As we mentioned already, there are a number of ways that you could set up a blog; in order to determine the logistics, you’ll need to pinpoint the why and the who behind your blogging efforts. If you’re a military spouse who’s just wanting to keep people in your hometown informed on your family’s life, you may want to consider a blog where you need an invitation to view. If you’re writing to let off steam while you or your spouse is deployed, try creating a private blog. If you’re trying to generate a following to inform and empower those who wish to follow in your footsteps, say, from participating in ROTC in college to ranking as a high commanding officer, make the blog public. You must think through your motive in order to determine how you should proceed.

What, Primarily, Will You Be Writing About?

Family matters? Your day to day duties or training regimen? Tips and tricks about military life? Emotional distress? There are so many things that you might write about. Truth be told, the smaller your audience and the more private your blog, the more it doesn’t matter. The general idea is that you write to suit your audience. If you know you’re mom, dad, brother and best friends are the only ones that read your blog, and they only read it to keep up with your life from on the other side of the country, than you can really right whatever you feel you want to. When you write to gain a following, though, you need to think things through a little more.

Really, what is your intention? If you’re hoping a 15 year old boy or girl will stumble on your blog in an effort to figure out what they’re to do with their life, how can you contribute constructively and what do you need to write that will get your point across? Chances are, you should be personal, yet practical, with your information. You’ll want to relate to people, but set yourself apart in your subject-matter expertise; by the same token, don’t talk over your audience. Do more to instruct than spew knowledge. No matter what, think through every post, knowing that it’ll be out there for the world to see, and with an agenda.

Be Respectful and Smart with What You Post

This should go without saying, but unfortunately many overlook the common sense, logical, thought that you should be respectful and smart when you post. Don’t be fooled into thinking your private posts are restricted from all other eyes. While the everyday civilian may not have access, there are certainly higher powers and agencies that do. The blogs that are less private are even easier to access. Most importantly, bear in mind that military matters are sensitive these days. People walk away from active duty with scars to bear, mentally and physically.

There’s a raging debate that continues to happen over military presence and law enforcement in other countries, whether or not it’s necessary, whether or not it’s moral. You are entitled to your opinion, but there are others out there entitled to their own. While you have every right to post on controversial matters, do it respectfully, bearing in mind that you never know who will come across your blog. Do you want to be known for being disruptive, rude, insensitive, or single minded? Then keep your posts free of emotionally charged information and claims that don’t do anything other than harm others in favor of promoting your own agenda. Bottom line: use common sense and respect all people, not just those who follow your own views, in your posts.

As we mentioned, starting a blog is really easy. Think it through before you do it, and bear in mind that you never know who’s watching.