Thinking about blogging?

Are you hesitant to start your own blog because you want to “do it right?”  Would you like to hear some step-by-step startup tips directly from an expert blogger?  If so, you are in luck!  No, I’m not talking about me, folks —  Brent Ozar, the SQL Server Expert who has been blogging for ages, just wrote a 5-part series on this very thing.

Here is a quick synopsis of the series:

How to Start a Technical Blog – Part 1

  • Why start a blog in the first place?
  • Set your expectations
  • Get a good name
  • Be yourself and blog regularly (but not on certain days; read to find out why)

Part 2: WordPress and How to Configure It

  • If you are serious, you want WordPress, period
  • Configure WordPress just right
  • Get yourself found by Google

Part 3: WordPress Plugins

  • Get Feedburner and other necessities up and running with little effort
  • Easy database backup solution — you need this

Part 4: WordPress Themes

  • There are tons of themes to control your look and feel
  • When you find one, customize the customizable but do not think about editing the code if you have a day job that doesn’t involve writing PHP and CSS

Part 5: Blog Etiquette

  • Give credit for content, but respect individual privacy
  • Don’t burn your bridges, your writing is somewhat permanent online
  • Allow visitors to comment

These are some of the highlights, not a table of contents for Brent’s fine series.  Even if you are a field-hardened and crusty old blogger, I bet you will find something useful there.  Check it out!

Here are a couple tips of my own that I would add:

  • Be prepared to deal with SPAM comments and trackbacks; as with email, it’s sort of an arms race
  • Use the “more tag” in longer posts so that only a portion shows up on the homepage, otherwise the homepage can become very, very long
  • Most plugins take computing resources: CPU, SQL queries; moderation is key
  • Set up a test blog to try out new plugins, themes, or ideas without disrupting your live site
    • I did this by setting up a subdomain with a second installation of WordPress — it doesn’t cost anything extra with the host I use
    • Be careful: recently I sent pingbacks to another blog from my development site by accident, doh!

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7 Responses to Thinking about blogging?

  1. Brent Ozar says:

    Thanks for the writeup, and your tips are great! I’m at fault for not using the “more tag” myself, and my home page looks like War and Peace. In fact, I think I’ll go read up on using that right now…

  2. Jason Boche says:

    I wrote up a “how to configure wordpress preqs” post a while back for getting php, mysql, iis, ntfs, etc. to all play nicely together.

    http://www.boche.net/blog/?p=31

  3. Duncan says:

    I was thinking of writing a blog like this today… too late. Although I think I can add a couple of things to that list.

  4. Eric Gray says:

    @Brent, thanks and I hope the more tag works well for you.

    @Jason, looks like a good recipe you have put together there. I don’t know if I should be embarrassed or not to admit that my webhost has a one-click script that automatically deploys a WordPress instance, including a MySQL DB. It worked perfectly, so I went with it. 🙂

    @Duncan, you’ve set the bar for virtualization blogs, let’s hear some of your tips. I’ll be taking notes!

  5. Pingback: Want to start blogging? » Yellow Bricks

  6. Jason Boche says:

    @Eric There is no shame in working smarter, and not harder.

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