Blogging for Fun and Profit - Part 1

  • Posted on: 2 June 2014
  • By: Shawn DeWolfe
I started publishing online in 1996. I wrote all of these nifty pages. More than once, my site has been nuked through various cataclysms-- more often than not, the old content got buried under sedimentary layers of newer content. I love information architecture and good site structures. When I looked at the older incarnations of my site and the jumble of buried stuff, I winced.

The current incarnation of my blog has been clean, clear and concise. Here are some tips for how to get your site into good shape. In the first of three parts, here are some of the basics about my take on blogging. After this intro, I will do a follow-up piece of the technicalities of blogging; and then a piece about publicizing your blog.

Choose a decent platform. I do a lot of development with Wordpress. I also do a lot with Drupal. Drupal is flexible and extensible. I like that I can build report like structures called, “Views.” I can make elaborate content types. I can organize and display it in cool ways. The best part of Drupal: “Meta Tags.” The module will let you make your site ideal for uptake by search engines and sharing via social media. I selected a responsive theme that made the site look good on all devices. There are some other add-ons that lean on, but you can have a successful blog with a handful of strong modules.

Choose a decent host. Speed matters. Choose a host that can deliver your site at a good speed. This blog’s hosting speed is a little sluggish. I souped it up using the CloudFlare service to improve its delivery. CloudFlare is a "CDN" or a "Content delivery network" - it sits between your website and your users to change the delivery of content (pages, images, style sheets) to make them come from a speedier and often closer resource. Blogs are less interactive than e-commerce sites, so you can get away with a CDN with little jeopardy.

Choose a vibe. Because of my schedule, I am round robining through a number of topics. The sampler method isn’t ideal (yet, here we are… here. we. are.). Pick a range of topics that fit you and your interests. Make sure that your range of topics has legs. Make sure your range of topics can connect with an audience. Positivity rules, so if you cannot write 50 positive pieces on a theme, that topic doesn’t have legs. You don’t have to write them all at once-- just have the capacity to write them eventually.

Scribble. I use and abuse Google Docs. Whenever you have a blog idea, slam it into Google Docs. Fish one of those out and turn it into a full piece when you need new material. Unlike Drupal and WordPress, you can post an article, share it for comments, fleshing out and editing. When you have a good final version, cut it from Google Docs and paste it into your blog to take it the last coupe miles.

Blog on a schedule. I am in the middle of a 90-day challenge. It’s a little grueling. Find a schedule that fits with your lifestyles. Ideally: blog weekly or semi-weekly. Blogging on a monthly basis is too infrequent. You can put out a whole newsletter monthly, but people are not going to tune back into the planetary alignment of your blogging event.

Tune next Monday for the next installment.
Image compliments of Pixabay

Last updated date

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 10:08