When Is It Time to Start Blogging?



  • I'm thinking of starting a blog. This would not be a personal blog but one suited to my professional endeavors. Since I am a sysadmin, I could share solutions to technical problems, results of testing software / hardware, etc. in a variety of areas that I hope would be helpful to others. I really enjoyed the couple of times I wrote Spotlight on IT articles for Spiceworks, and I like creating documentation of system implementations for things done at work (as crazy as that sounds). But I'd like to see if I can give these subjects that are seemingly dry a little bit of flavor.

    For those who started blogging, what prompted you to do it? Was it a personal outlet, a way to grow professionally in technological exposure, or was it to promote yourself?
    What do you do to keep things fresh and not talk about the same topic too often?
    Is it best to blog about a variety of things or center in on one specific area?
    How often do you have to post content to be relevant?
    Would you read a blog that had good content but maybe not the best site design? I'm not a web designer by any means.

    Keep in mind I still have not decided to start. I'm open to suggestions or recommendations regarding anything mentioned in this post. All criticism is appreciated. And if this belongs in a different forum, feel free to move it.



  • While the idea is nice, I find myself sticking more to places like ML and SW.

    Good luck.



  • I started because I was inspired by what a blogger called Justin Paul wrote about why he blogs. He nails it for me:
    http://www.jpaul.me/2010/11/why-do-i-blog/

    But I lack the dedication to persevere with it. Also, I think to be a successful and committed blogger you have to a reasonably sized ego, which I don't have.



  • Great idea, but why not utilize the built-in audience of ML and just post those articles here? That's a large portion of what this community is all about. Asking questions and posting silly crap is all good, but posting helpful articles is great. Not to mention, it would be nice to see someone (other than @scottalanmiller ) posting new topics all day long.



  • I started to write to document my mountain climbing, running and oh i posted some random stuff there.



  • @Dashrender said:

    While the idea is nice, I find myself sticking more to places like ML and SW.

    This is what happened to me. I started off with several professional blogs but it takes a lot of time to write long form blog posts, remember then, promote them, deal with the blog, etc. Over time I realized that posting on ML was more effective and easier and got easily 100x the audience. The blog was more or less lost because SEO just doesn't favour blogs and the discussion aspects of the forums mean that people tend to get more engaged.

    I keep my personal blog, that's very different. But my professional blogging has come here instead.



  • @Carnival-Boy said:

    But I lack the dedication to persevere with it. Also, I think to be a successful and committed blogger you have to a reasonably sized ego, which I don't have.

    That's another thing about forum "blogging" instead of having your own blog, you have no need to do it regularly and have people subscribe to you or check back regularly or even promote yourself. If you don't have a regular stream of posts, blogs are tough.



  • @art_of_shred said:

    Great idea, but why not utilize the built-in audience of ML and just post those articles here? That's a large portion of what this community is all about. Asking questions and posting silly crap is all good, but posting helpful articles is great. Not to mention, it would be nice to see someone (other than @scottalanmiller ) posting new topics all day long.

    If you want to keep a catalog of your work, consider just grabbing a Twitter account, hooking it up to the browser that you use for ML, and whenever you post a new "blog post" here, Tweet it. That way it is nearly zero effort on your part but people who want to subscribe can do so with minimal effort. And you can promote your own stuff independently of ML for those who only want to see your stuff. So you don't lose the ability to self organize and self promote, but the effort is lower.

    Plus things like the official MangoLassi Twitter feed will be out there promoting you as well without you needing to do anything.



  • Why not post everywhere you can when you blog? That includes SW, ML, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Google +

    Wordpress via Jetpack gives you the ability to post on multiple places at once. When you create a new post on your wodrpess site, you can set it up to automatically post on Facebook, Twitter, Google + , and Linked In. I use that feature all the time on my website. It works great!



  • @IRJ said:

    Why not post everywhere you can when you blog? That includes SW, ML, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Google +

    I would assume that you want the actual text in only one place so that future search engine results would return your site not some other site with the text.



  • About 5pm



  • @JaredBusch said:

    @IRJ said:

    Why not post everywhere you can when you blog? That includes SW, ML, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Google +

    I would assume that you want the actual text in only one place so that future search engine results would return your site not some other site with the text.

    I would think the same thing. Don't drive people to all kinds of random places, use those places to drive them to one.



  • @Nic said:

    About 5pm

    And I hear that it is five o'clock somewhere right now.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Nic said:

    About 5pm

    And I hear that it is five o'clock somewhere right now.

    That may be, but I want it to be 5 PM here now. 🙂



  • @JaredBusch said:

    @IRJ said:

    Why not post everywhere you can when you blog? That includes SW, ML, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Google +

    I would assume that you want the actual text in only one place so that future search engine results would return your site not some other site with the text.

    The social media posts are links to your website. They display the header, a graphic, and a sentence or two at most in the preview (which is non searchable)



  • @IRJ said:

    @JaredBusch said:

    @IRJ said:

    Why not post everywhere you can when you blog? That includes SW, ML, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Google +

    I would assume that you want the actual text in only one place so that future search engine results would return your site not some other site with the text.

    The social media posts are links to your website. They display the header, a graphic, and a sentence or two at most in the preview (which is non searchable)

    That's what I had described, ML has that built in.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @IRJ said:

    @JaredBusch said:

    @IRJ said:

    Why not post everywhere you can when you blog? That includes SW, ML, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Google +

    I would assume that you want the actual text in only one place so that future search engine results would return your site not some other site with the text.

    The social media posts are links to your website. They display the header, a graphic, and a sentence or two at most in the preview (which is non searchable)

    That's what I had described, ML has that built in.

    He could have the links automatically shared via social media and then share them here as well.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @JaredBusch said:

    @IRJ said:

    Why not post everywhere you can when you blog? That includes SW, ML, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Google +

    I would assume that you want the actual text in only one place so that future search engine results would return your site not some other site with the text.

    I would think the same thing. Don't drive people to all kinds of random places, use those places to drive them to one.

    Every social media post links back to the website.



  • Just get out there and get started. The hardest part is getting the ball rolling.



  • Blogging as a form of self-promotion requires more ongoing effort than most people realize at first. With that said, depending on how much time and effort you're willing to put into it, you can use a blog as part of a content marketing strategy to establish yourself as an authority within your realm of expertise.

    Ideally you can launch your blog with at least 2-3 pages of posts already written up - about 10-15 posts overall. This gives the people discovering your blog when it first launches plenty of material to dive into and decide if they want to subscribe to updates. It also gives you a taste of writing more than one blog post on a single topic, so you can find out if it's something you want to do before you start doing it publically.

    Email marketing and blogging go hand in hand in content marketing strategy - you start building a list of people that like what you have to say, and let them know when you've posted something new so they don't forget about you forever. This is a major part of converting readers to leads - If you're careful and do it responsibly, you can send the occasional promotion and/or notice of new services offered to this list. Everyone that gets the message appreciates your expertise enough to get updates on what you say, so they are some of the people most likely to act when you say you can take care of a problem they have.

    The trick is writing about your realm of expertise in a way that your target market is likely to come across and appreciate it. I've found some really great configuration tips and nuggets of wisdom on tiny blogs over the years through Google - but if I'm looking up tutorials on how to configure something myself, I'm not super likely to convert into a client.

    Yoast is a great resource on some basic SEO and content marketing stuff... and if you end up blogging on WordPress, Yoast SEO is the gold standard for SEO optimization plugins. On a relevant sidenote, the previous sentence is exactly what effective content marketing can do for you!



  • For those who do blog, what blogging platform do you like? I have used Blogger for personal blogs in the past. Some folks go the extra mile and purchase their own domain and design the site / use some kind of template.



  • WordPress.

    Ghost is really the only competitor.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    WordPress.

    Ghost is really the only competitor.

    Nice - it looks like the free plan would work great. And you can even map it to a domain you own. I like it. Is that what you did with scottalanmiller.com?



  • I use Wordpress the software, not WordPress the host.



  • I specialize in WordPress development as part of my side business because it is a pretty good mix of usability and flexibility for most people's needs. The community is also extremely prolific in terms of themes, plugins, and tutorials... It's a safe bet that someone already had whatever issues you might end up having, and wrote about how they fixed it.

    The only caveat is that, since it's so popular, there are a TON of automated attacks out there that will try to target your site. Luckily, 99.9% of the attacks are extremely low effort, to the point where installing a free security plugin will cause most of these bots to give up and move on to easier targets... or just get automatically permabanned. But you don't want your admin account to be named "admin" either way. I once had this plugin, which shows a live log of failed login attempts, on one of my sites and it was actually pretty fun to watch.

    You don't want to have your blog at WordPress.com - go self-hosted if you want to use WordPress. WordPress.com runs a feature-locked version of WordPress that feels like playing a Free to Play videogame or something - I think you can "unlock" custom CSS for $30 or something ludicrous like that. That alone would be unfortunate but understandable... sadly, many popular and useful plugins simply won't work on WordPress.com either. I once had to work with it for a client and it was just infuriating.

    Regarding Ghost, it's the up-and-comer that was released in late 2013 or so. I believe it runs on Node.js, whereas WordPress is built with PHP. It seems like it would be a good fit for those that only need a CMS-style interface for their blog pages, or for those where the blog itself is the most complex part of their site. I don't know too much about it, but I do know the people that use it seem to really like it!



  • And a year later, we have our first blog post from him 🙂




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