practicalities of blogging

Subject: practicalities of blogging
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2008 13:12:43 -0500

Hey all.

Time marches on, and it's been a while since this subject was discussed
to death...things might have evolved... besides, this time I'm taking an
interest :-)

Let's say that I wanted to finally start a blog (it seems de rigeur for
techwriters (and many others) to have a website and at least one blog
indicated on their business cards, resumes, etc.)... yes, let's say.
Never mind the content (we can start a separate thread if you must), I
want to know about the practical exigencies of getting it done and out
there. Some people use major blogging sites, and are just another number
among tens of thousands. Some people use basic blog service provided by
their local ISPs. Some people are almost their own ISPs and use their
own blog server software on their own (or ISP co-located) servers.

What's the "usual" approach (as of this year), if you want to have more
than a handful of posts per month about your vacation trips, or a
memorial to your favorite pet?. Let's further say that it's not intended
as a professional tool, but still semi-seriously as an adjunct to a
hobby or a cause, or a passionate interest.

Who is using what, among all ye pros, and:

- what do you especially like about the method or service that
you use?

- what would you change next time (or would have done
differently if you'd known before you started)?

If you have a work/professional blog and a fun blog, how do you
differentiate them? Do you hide your real identity on the fun one, so as
not to poison any Googling by future prospective employers/customers?
Do you go so far as to have your work and play blogs hosted on
completely separate sites and services?

How do you like to handle audience participation? Don't allow it? Have
the responses on the same "physical"/visual page as your posts? Have
off-page links to responses to your blog posts? Forums? Do you
moderate? Of course, I'd like your reasons for each of the choices you
express. Do you just use the method that your host service provides?
Did you choose your host service because of the way they facilitate
responses and discussions?

As a reader of other people's blogs, do you even care what anybody
(other than the blog author) has to say? Is a response function a
necessary component? Why? Why not?

Do you compose via the service's web interface, or do you compose
off-line and upload? Any problems with that? Any difference between
blogging from your own desktop versus blogging from the veranda of your
Costa Rican beach house? (I mean, as far as the mechanics go - I know
it's much nicer from the beach.)

Is there a good reason to have your own branded website, as opposed to
just a blog somewhere, if you aren't using it as a professional
marketing tool?

What about visibility? Are the techniques similar to those for
websites, when it comes to getting noticed by search engines and
serendipity? Does that concern weigh heavily on the hosting method that
you chose? How-so?

What happens when you want to move? Do you own your content (and any
responses you've received)? Is there an easy, practical way to port
them to a new provider and keep going? Do you rely on the provider for
backups, or do you keep your own?

Any other gotchas and tips?

Is there a newer approach than blogs, that I should be considering
instead of this old, over-flogged workhorse? Don't say vlogs - ain't
gonna happen.

Kevin (who as you know, hasn't got much to say, but doesn't usually let
that stop him)

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