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My Blogging Setup

Cover Image for My Blogging Setup

Blogs need a core concept that will engage your audience. Placing a post how to install Python on Windows, along with a picture of your favorite band and an assessment of Apple's business strategy all in the same place means you probably won't appeal to anyone in particular. However a blog called "Ant Farm" that has every post focused on raising healthy and happy ants - well that will build an audience for sure. So if you have, or want, separate audiences you will need separate blogs.

My Audiences

  1. Personal: personal thoughts, pictures, etc. (Is this even necessary in the Facebook era?)
  2. WanderingCIO: Blog about more strategic thoughts and ideas regarding managing technology
  3. Technical Stuff: "How to" type posts. Stuff I want to remember and I might as well share. How to install Ruby on Windows for example.

Linkage

  1. Personal Blog > Personal Twitter > Personal Facebook (somehow this should all reinforce)
  2. WanderingCIO > WanderingCIO Twitter (Engagement) Do I really want to maintain a seperate blog for this? My name should be my brand shouldn't it?
  3. Technical Blog (it's out there if anyone wants to search for it)
  4. Company site > Company blog > Company Twitter > Company Facebook (somehow this should all reinforce the brand and create engagement)

Weapons of Choice / Stakes in the ground

Markdown. Why? All the cool kids are using it. Markdown syntax is easy to read and learn. It's completely independent of what system you use because it's actually just a plain text file. This way all you need is an editor that can edit plain text. This means it's very portable. I also don't want my blog posts to become mired in someone else's blogging platform/system. I want to have the content easily and readily accessible anywhere, which leads me to my next choice.

Dropbox. This is where I will store my raw posts as well as my blog image files. This way they are accessible across all platforms and devices.

PROTIP: You can serve your blog images directly from Dropbox no matter where your posts actually end up being published (and the links don't change). The caveat is they must be in your Dropbox "public" folder somewhere.

I created a "blog-images" sub-folder and just drop the images there. Then you just right click the file on Dropbox and select "copy public link". Dropbox even has a URL shortening service so they can also give you a shortened link.

Blogging Engines

  1. Wordpress. The grandaddy. The OG. Tons of addins, plugins and whatnot.
  2. Tumblr. Can use markdown as a post format. Pretty much full control over your theme as long as you know HTML and CSS.
  3. Roll your own, use a static blog engine. Static blog engines turn markdown files into a useable blog. Jekyll might be the most widely used engine out there. Octopress is a framework based on Jekyll. Octopress comes with HTML templates, CSS, Javascript and a default configuration/theme that you can start to use right away.
  4. Scriptogr.am and Calepin.co/ are two online services using markdown and dropbox to host your blog. Neither is very polished yet. Scriptogr.am is far more developed but I can't seem to delete my test account.

Hosting

  1. Github (free)
  2. Heroku (free)
  3. Amazon S3 and optionally CloudFront (cheap)

More About Tumblr

Tumblr Themes

Github is great resource: https://github.com/search?q=tumblr&ref=cmdform&type=Repositories Docs:

Commercial:

More About Wordpress

Themes

Studiopress Genesis Framework is recommended by Yoast. I like these themes:

Engagement

  • Disqus - I am convinced that allowing/encouraging people to comment is a good thing. So then the question becomes what comment system and do you plan to moderate? I really like Disqus.
  • Mailchimp - specifically you want to a) allow people to sign up for blog posts by email. b) deliver new posts to the people who signed up! Steps go something like this: create list, create custom form so people can add themselves to the list, then use http://mailchimp.com/features/rss-to-email/ to create automatic emails.
  • Twitter - Do you want to Tweet every post?
  • Facebook - Do you want to post on Facebook also?

References

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