Blogging 201: From Blank Slate to Blog in Under an Hour

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So you\'ve decided to start a blog, but aren\'t sure where to begin (or even what platform to use)? This session will start with a comparison of some of the most popular blogging platforms and then …

So you\'ve decided to start a blog, but aren\'t sure where to begin (or even what platform to use)? This session will start with a comparison of some of the most popular blogging platforms and then walk through step-by-step instructions to get you set up in no time!

(I am also holding Blogging 101 and Blogging 301 sessions if you\'re not sure if blogging is right for you, or if you already have a blog and are looking for more advanced advice.)

This will be presented live on 12/12 - http://anyvite.com/events/home/6omohiadjn

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  • 1. Blogging 201: From Blank Slate to Blog in Under an Hour Adam Gartenberg Team Lead, Social Marketing IBM Data Management Software www.adamgartenberg.com 12/12/2008
  • 2. About me
  • 3. About you
  • 4. About this presentation
    • A few reminders from Blogging 101
    • Overview: Choosing a blog platform
    • Setting up a blog on:
      • developerWorks
      • IT Toolbox
      • Wordpress.com (free) – including FeedBurner instructions
      • Wordpress.org (self-hosted)
      • Blogger
    • Google Analytics, Technorati, Blog Search
    • Advice and Tips
    • Backup
  • 5. Before we begin, a few reminders from last time
    • There is no shortage of things to write about (see p. 88 for some ideas)
    • There are, however, some things you should not write about (see p. 89 for examples).
    • Make sure you’ve reviewed your company’s blogging guidelines before getting started (e.g. IBM's Social Computing Guidelines and Business Conduct Guidelines )
    • Above all else, be authentic. And have fun.
    © Hugh Macloud – www.gapingvoid.com
  • 6. Let’s get started!
    • Decide whether you’re going to do an individual or team blog
    • Choose a blogging platform
    • Let people in the community (like me) know about it so we can help promote your blog
    • Start writing
    • Repeat step 4!
  • 7. Team blog vs. individual blog
    • My recommendation would be to do an individual blog as the default option
      • Lets people get to know you as a person and broaden posts beyond purely being about work or your focus area
      • You will be more likely to keep up with it if you’re the only one writing
      • You can always have “guest authors”
      • If you want to test the waters, set up an internal blog; you can always copy content over to an external blog down the road (it’ll still be new to everyone else!)
    • If you don’t think you can devote time to running a personal blog, or you have a group of people that all want to blog but can’t each make a full commitment to blogging, you can do a team blog
      • Beware the “Tragedy of the Commons;” it still really helps to have a lead person that’s planning on “owning” the blog
  • 8. Choosing a blog platform
  • 9. Where should you host your blog? Less setup/maint More setup/maint. Standardized Personalized
  • 10. Blog platform options (p. 1 of 2) Peter O’Kelly’s Reality Check Alex Kassabov Mix and Mash DB2 on Rails
    • Con:
    • It’s not a personal domain (although you can redirect to it)
    • Not as customizable as free WordPress blog or your own blog.
    • Free service hosted in the cloud – no/limited guarantees
    • Con:
    • It’s not a personal domain (although you can redirect to it)
    • Not as fully customizable as if you run your own blog.
    • Free service hosted in the cloud – no/limited guarantees
    • Con:
    • You need to find someone to host it (we might be able to help a few of you)
    • Fewer template choices (or more work to move to move to a new template)
    • Con:
    • You need to pay for hosting (~$10-12/mo.)
    • You need to do the up-front setup work and maintenance
    • Pro:
    • Very easy to set up
    • Free
    • Pro:
    • Very easy to set up
    • A fair amount of customizability
    • Free (with upgrades available for $)
    • Pro:
    • You own the domain, look and feel
    • Customizability (but more programming involved than WordPress)
    • You can create and review posts right in Lotus Notes
    • Pro:
    • You own the domain, look and feel
    • Full customizability
    • Platform support from WordPress/TypePad, lots of widgets, help available
    Blogger Wordpress.com Lotus Notes Custom blog
  • 11. Blog platform options (p. 2 of 2) Vijay An Expert's Guide to DB2 Technology Inside the data studio
    • Con:
    • No customizability in look and feel
    • Limited editing tools
    • Harder to find, link to
    • Pro:
    • Easy to set up
    • Free
    ChannelDB2
    • Con:
    • Very limited customizability in look and feel
    • IT Toolbox design/layout may not be for everyone
    • URL harder to share (although can do redirect)
    • Con:
    • Very limited customizability in look and feel
    • Can take ~2 weeks to get a new blog set up
    • developerWorks design/layout may not be for everyone
    • URL harder to share (although can do redirect)
    • Pro:
    • Easy to set up
    • Free
    • Network effect of being included on IT Toolbox
    • Pro:
    • Very easy to set up
    • Network effect of being included on DeveloperWorks
    • Makes it seem more like an “official” IBM blog
    • Technical support
    IT Toolbox DeveloperWorks
  • 12. Setting up a blog on IT Toolbox
  • 13. Setting up a blog on IT Toolbox Go to www.ittoolbox.com and create an ID (or sign in)
  • 14. Setting up a blog on IT Toolbox After you’ve created an ID (several steps included), click on the Blogs link to request a blog.
  • 15. Setting up a blog on IT Toolbox Select the “Get your own blog” link in the right-hand column to request a blog
  • 16. Setting up a blog on IT Toolbox Fill in the requested information, and you should be up and running!
  • 17. Setting up a blog on Wordpress.com (free) (and FeedBurner instructions)
  • 18. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com Go to http://www.wordpress.com and click “Sign Up Now!”
  • 19. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com Create a user account
  • 20. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com Pick a blog name and title
  • 21. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com Congratulations – you’ve got a blog! (Well, we do need to do a little more work. Click the Login link to start customizing it.)
  • 22. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com This is your admin site (where you’ll go to customize things and write posts)
  • 23. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com First, click Design and Themes to pick a theme. Once you find a theme you like, click “Apply to my blog” from the preview page.
  • 24. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com You can now go to your blog and check out your spiffy new design! … but let’s customize it just a little more.
  • 25. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com First, you want to make sure the title, tagline, contact information is accurate (it’ll help Google find you, too.) Click Settings and General to update this information
  • 26. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com You also want to be sure that the About page is all about you! (Click Manage and Pages to get there.)
  • 27. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com Now, let’s customize the sidebar by adding some “widgets.” Go back to the admin page and select Design and Widets.
  • 28. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com Click Design and Widgets to add widgets. I’m showing the key ones I’d recommend
  • 29. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com We need to customize some of these further. For example: A custom FeedBurner RSS feed
  • 30. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com In a new browser window/tab, go to http://www.feedburner.com
  • 31. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com Create a new account (if you don’t have one already)
  • 32. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com Creating a new feed is as easy as pasting your blog URL into the input field.
  • 33. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com Give the feed a name (e.g., your blog name) and customize the URL if you want to
  • 34. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com That’s it! Well, we want to customize it a bit futher
  • 35. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com I recommend selecting the clickthroughs and having FeedBurner tracking individual items and reach
  • 36. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com To add the FeedBurner feed to your blog, you need to grab the code. Click Publicize
  • 37. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com … Choose a chicklet style…
  • 38. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com … and scroll down and copy the code at the bottom. We’re going to paste this into one of the text fields in the blog sidebar.
  • 39. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com Switch back to your blog design panel, and click Edit on one of the text boxes you added to the sidebar. Change the title and paste in the FeedBurner code.
  • 40. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com To add some links to your blogroll/resource list… Click Write and Links to add some links – to other blogs, to online resources, etc.
  • 41. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com Click Manage and Categories to add categories to organize your posts. (You can also use tags instead of categories.)
  • 42. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com Now you’re ready to write your first post!
  • 43. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com Adding links is easy… just highlight your text and click the little “chain” icon and enter the URL. Adding images is just as easy – just click the media icons.
  • 44. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com Click on “View Site” to go see your post live on the Web!
  • 45. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com To view statistics (visitors, traffic sources, etc.) select My Account and Stats .
  • 46. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com Hmmm… I meet need a few more viewers. Better tell my friends about my new blog!
  • 47. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com You can purchase Upgrades from Wordpress. Notably, the ability to further customize the template or redirect to a non-wordpress.com url…
  • 48. Setting up a free blog on Wordpress.com If I wanted the site URL to be db2isgreat.com instead of db2isgreat.wordpress.com, I could do so for ~$15 a year.
  • 49. Congratulations, your WordPress.com blog is done!
    • It took me 20 minutes to go through all the steps you just saw, from registering an ID, though choosing a template, customizing the sidebar, signing up for Feedburner, and writing my first post.
      • Granted, I was going quickly and had done this before. I’d allow 3-4 hours for setup.
    • WordPress has a lot of online resources for tips and tricks and help: Start here: http://faq.wordpress.com/
  • 50. Setting up a blog on Wordpress.org (self-hosted)
  • 51. Setting up your self-hosted blog using WordPress.org If you want more control of your blog, you can host your own WordPress blog. First, buy a domain. I recommend www.1and1.com ...
  • 52. Setting up your self-hosted blog using WordPress Or you can also use GoDaddy or another domain purchasing company. Domains should be $6.99 or so.
  • 53. Setting up your self-hosted blog using WordPress Next, you need to find a host. You can use just about any, but there are several that WordPress recommend (and that make setup easy).
  • 54. Setting up your self-hosted blog using WordPress I’ve used BlueHost, but find one you like best. (If you pay up front, you can get rates as low as $6.95/mo – they should be in $7-10/mo range)
  • 55. Setting up your self-hosted blog using WordPress Depending on the host, they may be able to load the WordPress software to the site themselves, otherwise download and follow the directions.
  • 56. Setting up your self-hosted blog using WordPress Running your own blog gives you more control on things like plugins and template customization
  • 57. Setting up a blog on Blogger
  • 58. Setting up a free blog on Blogger To set up a blog on Blogger, head over to www.blogger.com to get started.
  • 59. Setting up a free blog on Blogger Create an account (or sign in with an existing Google account)
  • 60. Setting up a free blog on Blogger Give your blog a name and choose a URL
  • 61. Setting up a free blog on Blogger Pick a template for your blog.
  • 62. Setting up a free blog on Blogger Congratulations! You have a blog!
  • 63. Setting up a free blog on Blogger You can now go write your first post. (We will want to customize some things further, though.)
  • 64. Setting up a free blog on Blogger Your post is live on the web! (Hmmm – might need to revisit that template.)
  • 65. Setting up a free blog on Blogger Select Settings and Basic to make sure the title and description are accurate.
  • 66. Setting up a free blog on Blogger You can update the blog feed to be a FeedBurner feed (see WordPress section for full instructions.)
  • 67. Setting up a free blog on Blogger You can also select which elements/widgets to include in the blog sidebar
  • 68. Setting up a free blog on Blogger Once you’ve picked the elements, you can drag/drop them onto the layout for your blog.
  • 69. Setting up a free blog on Blogger Congratulations! Your blog is all ready to go!
  • 70. Setting up a free blog on Blogger Like WordPress, blogger lets you publish on a custom domain name.
  • 71. Google Analytics, Technorati, Blog Search
  • 72. Setting up and using Google Analytics If you’re hosting your own blog, you’re going to want to use Google Analytics. Setting it up is pretty easy. Start at www.google.com/analytics
  • 73. Setting up and using Google Analytics Paste in your blog URL…
  • 74. Setting up and using Google Analytics This is the slightly tricky part: You need to paste in the code Google provides into the footer or sidebar of your blog.
  • 75. Setting up and using Google Analytics Once updated, you can see information on visitors, where they are, where they found you, what search terms landed on your blog, and more
  • 76. Who’s linking to me? Technorati and Google Blog Search Visit www.technorati.com and search for your blog URL to find people linking to you.
  • 77. Who’s linking to me? Technorati and Google Blog Search Click Blogger Central/Widgets to find widgets you can embed in your blog An example from my blog
  • 78. Who’s linking to me? Technorati and Google Blog Search Google Blog Search also lets you find who’s linking to your site.
  • 79. Who’s linking to me? Technorati and Google Blog Search You can also subscribe via RSS to get updates of people linking to your site.
  • 80. Advice and Tips
  • 81. Advice and next steps
    • Decide if blogging is right for you.
    • Come to me for additional help or advice at any stage in the process.
    • Read other blogs (if you’re not doing so already)
      • See backup for suggested reading
    • If you’re not ready to blog externally, do at least try blogging internally.
    • And don’t forget…
    © Hugh Macloud – www.gapingvoid.com
  • 82. Tips for blogging
    • Length
      • Don’t worry about length – write to fit the post
    • Images
      • Adding images always helps
      • Google Image Search ( http://images.google.com )
      • Flickr ( http://flickr.com ) – pay attention to reuse rights
      • iStockPhoto – Many images are $1-2
    • Links, links, links
      • Link to others. The more you link to others, the more others will link to you
  • 83. Regardless of platform, elements to include
    • RSS feeds
      • Recommend Feedburner for tracking
    • About page
    • Statistics
      • Google Analytics
      • WordPress.com stats
    • Blogroll and/or related links
    • Tags
    • “ Meta” information for search optimization (title, keywords, etc.)
  • 84. Tips for blogging
    • 10 Secrets To Better Blogging (From Chris Brogan)
    • 10 Blogging Tips - So tiny, you can fit it on a 3×5 card, and yet, I think it’s useful.
    • Growing Your Audience - Some Basics - Here’s a question I get often. “How do I attract more readers?”
    • Basic Business Blogging Suggestions - Blogging for work? Here’s a place to look for topics and starting points.
    • Make Your Blog Design Work for You - Layout and design are important. I’d like to think that looks don’t count, but we both know better.
    • Conquering Fear of Blogging - Sometimes, we’re just not ready to make the next step. Some advice.
    • Writing Effective Blog Posts - It’s not that I have a formula, but I do have ideas on what works.
    • Seven Blog Improvements You Can Make Today - There are lots of ways that blogs thwart your audience. Here are some remedies.
    • Keeping the Blogging Fires Burning - Sometimes, we run out of motivation. Here’s some ways to fix that issue.
    • 20 Blogging Projects for You - More ideas for WHAT to write, if necessary.
    • Performance And Your Audience - Blogging Tips - Shakespeare said all the world’s a stage. I believe it.
    http://www.chrisbrogan.com/ten-secrets-to-better-blogging/
  • 85. Thank you Adam Gartenberg www.adamgartenberg.com twitter.com/agberg
  • 86. Additional Resources
  • 87. Example blogs
    • Ed Brill – Sales BUE for Lotus Notes
    • http://www.edbrill.com (Notes/Domino)
    • Center of community – will often get 60-100 comments on a single post
    • Almost takes on moderated discussion forum feel
    • Mary Beth Raven – Design lead for Lotus Notes
    • http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/marybeth
    • Collaboratively designed Lotus Notes 8 with the community by asking for feedback on design and potential features
    • Chris Eaton – DB2 Product Manager
    • http://blogs.ittoolbox.com/database/technology
    • One of the most widely-read blogs on IT Toolbox
    • Mix and Mash blog
    • http://www.mix-and-mash.com
    • Team blog for enterprise mashups
    • “ Turbo” Todd Watson
    • http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/Turbo
    • Good mix of personal and work topics (focused on social networking)
    • Sam Lawrence – Chief Marketing Officer, Jive Software
    • http://gobigalways.com/ (WordPress)
    • Lots of thought leadership pieces, first person thoughts, and interesting blog design
  • 88. What should you write about?
    • Product announcements
    • Product feature previews
    • A press release we just issued
    • An analyst report that ranks us highly
    • An analyst report that ranks us low
    • Your thoughts on an interesting article about database compression you just read
    • Dropping your kids off at summer camp
    • The customer visit you’re flying back from
    • A debate the product team is having on whether to include feature A or feature B
    • The 100,000 download milestone you just reached on your product trial
    • The planning for the upcoming conference
  • 89. What should you not write about?
    • Anything that can only be shared under NDA
    • Revenue or sales figures other than what is officially reported by IBM
    • Disclosing customer information if they have not agreed to be a reference
    • Making commitments about product futures
    • Anything that goes against IBM’s social computing guidelines or business conduct guidelines
    • Anything that you would not want to see reprinted on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.
    http://geekandpoke.typepad.com/geekandpoke/2007/12/how-to-use-web.html
    • RECOMMENDED READING
    • IBM's Social Computing Guidelines
    • Business Conduct Guidelines
  • 90. Above all else: Be Authentic. Be Authentic. Be Authentic. Blogging is a double-edged sword; if not written with an authentic voice or if only focused on one-way content (e.g., "check out our latest product and attend our upcoming conference, but no, I’m not interested in your feedback"), those benefits can be lost.
  • 91. What kind of commitment is involved?
    • How often do I need to post?
      • I would recommend posting at least once a week. While more is usually better, posting less frequently is not always a problem. As long as you’re establishing and maintaining the connection to your readers, a specific schedule isn’t as important.
      • Personally, I find that my posts come in spurts. I may go a week between posting, and then publish 5 posts over the course of 2 days.
    • How long do posts have to be?
      • Not long at all - the post length should fit the content. Sometimes it will be 2 sentences, sometimes 2 paragraphs, and sometimes (OK, rarely) 2 pages.
    • How long does it take to create a post?
      • It probably takes anywhere from 1 - 2 hours, depending on the topic, how long the post, how much you need to look around for links. If you're just commenting on an interesting article or pointing out a new video, it may take 10 min to create a post. If you're working on a thought piece about the business, it could take even longer than 2 hours.