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 comments

  1. Brent Ozar’s avatar

    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’s avatar

    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’s avatar

    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’s avatar

    @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. Jason Boche’s avatar

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

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