RE: practicalities of blogging

Subject: RE: practicalities of blogging
From: "Nicholas Russon" <nrusson -at- bluecatnetworks -dot- com>
To: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2008 15:11:35 -0500

Kevin McLauchlan wrote:

> Let's say that I wanted to finally start a blog

And about time, too. ;-)

> 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?

There's a variety of options. My main blog is hosted at an ISP, where I
have the necessary software installed (MovableType) and support for the
required underpinnings (I didn't do the original setup: a co-worker set
things up for himself, then invited me to set up a blog at his site).
Because his ISP isn't 100% reliable, I also have a backup site set up at, which has been valuable a few times when my main blog has
been offline for extended periods.

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

Low cost, high degree of control, ease of maintenance. Thus far, my
bandwidth hasn't tipped him over to a higher bracket for his own site,
but that may eventually happen (traffic is up over 100% compared to this
time last year).

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

Install some sort of Turing test to deter spam comments and trackbacks.
I've had to turn off commenting due to the increasing volume of spam
comments. The version of MT I'm using is at least one major release out
of date, but I've been holding off on upgrading as my "virtual landlord"
has been talking about switching to a new ISP anyway.

> Do you hide your real identity on the fun one, so as
> not to poison any Googling by future prospective
> employers/customers?

Not especially. I use my first name and other bloggers have identified
me by my full name on occasion when linking to things I've posted. It
would not be a particularly challenging technical feat to link me to the
blog. I'm very careful not to blog about my employer, their customers,
or my co-workers (except with their consent). If a prospective future
employer has concerns about the other things I blog about, then I
probably wouldn't be a good hire for that job anyway.

> 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?

I used to allow comments, but recently had to stop doing so, as the
spam-to-human posting ratio regularly went over 100. I still post any
responses I get, but I have to do that from the admin UI, not through
the normal comment posting mechanism.

> Do you compose via the service's web interface, or do you
> compose off-line and upload?

Yes and yes. Both, depending on circumstances.

> 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?

MovableType allows you to download all your posts and their associated
comments from the admin UI. You can, in theory, import that file into MT
at the new site. Not actually having done this, I'm hoping it works as
advertised. ;-)

(Clearly not writing on behalf of BlueCat Networks right now)

Nicholas Russon
Manager, Technical Writing
BlueCat Networks


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practicalities of blogging: From: McLauchlan, Kevin

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