What is the best forum for blogging?

Here’s an excerpt from an email I received today:

I’m thinking about trying a blog – to be able to post and share comments I have collected but I still struggle with what’s the best forum, a traditional blog, twitter, etc.

A number of colleagues suggested WordPress. Including me. Here is my reply:

I’ll also add my 2c support for WordPress, but you might want to start with a “dummy” account to start with to lay with layouts and see how the site works. At the same time, use LinkedIn and Twitter (and if you feel the need – FaceBook too).

Here are some of the benefits of WordPress:

  1. Your posts get good results in Google Searches. Eg do a google search for “vmware interfaces tutorial” – a wordpress blogpost comes up first hit (shameless plug)
  2. You can automatically have a tweet sent and connect to LinkedIn, tumblr, Yahoo and Facebook.
  3. Site management is pretty easy, but if you want to get fancy you can.

And a couple of tips:

  1. Don’t write articles on your blog. Write blogposts. Stuff written in articles is not as easy to find again later. If you want to write an article, just write it up as a big blogpost. It will be much easier to find later.
  2. Categorise. Build yourself a category cloud and make sure you tick anything relevant to your post.
  3. Allow comments. You will be surprised at how much good information people will be willing to feed back to you. And you will come in for some criticism too, but that’s life.
  4. Its free – but you will see some ads on your blogs. If you get popular enough you can even make money out of the adds. But you have absolutely NO control over what gets advertised on your site.
  5. If you want your own domain, you can link your blog to your domain name – it costs a few bucks a year. However, any graphics you put up will always linked to http://wordpress.com/yourblog/xxxx. This has implications (see below)
  6. Some web filters block access to wordpress.com by default, and many organisations just accept the default levels of protection they get with filters. One day I’ll have a rant at the stupidity of a) people who promote web filters and b) the stupidity of the people who implement them without realising that they are denying themselves most of the best technical information they probably need access to by doing so. The upshot of this is that although Google might find a fantastic article that gives a great tutorial on vmware interfaces, when you click on the link, you may not get the article, or you may get the text without the pictures (because the pictures ALWAYS have a wordpress.com url)

Finally, just be aware that there are two WordPresses. WordPress.com and wordpress.org. All of my comments above relate to wordpress.com. WordPress.org is where you go if you want to build your entire site on your own hardware and do your own ads (or none). However, you will also have to do your own promoting, own linking to Twitter etc – all of that tedious back-end stuff that just “happens” for you on wordpress.com. On the up side, your blog will probably NOT be blocked by web-filters, but people are probably much less likely to find you in the first place, unless you do lots of self promotion.

About RedNectar Chris Welsh

Professional IT Instructor. All things TCP/IP, Cisco or Data Centre
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