Blogging Tips for the Tridion Professional

I've been hearing this a lot lately: "I've been meaning to start a blog."
To my surprise, these are not empty promises. We saw three new blogs including one by Ferdinand Lugo (aka the Tridion Nut). I wish I could say I inspired him, but a blog is something that really comes from within. I do credit him for helping me find source material and inspire my recent Tridion Jokes post
So again with the unsolicited advice, here are three things to think about for the would-be Tridion-or-otherwise blogger. Enjoy this blog post about blogging--meta-blogging if you prefer. 

Why? Because.

Start with a reason. This is the most important part. Long after your first post when it's tough to write, it'll help to remember why you started. It's okay if this reason changes. It's okay if it's a lame reason. I admit blogging at times because no one listened/listens to me in real life. ;-)

Good Primary Reasons:

  • To contribute to a community
  • To complain about problems
  • To offer solutions for problems
  • To improve your writing skills
  • To sell your business, organization, or mission
  • To further your career or create intellectual property (whatever that means, I hear it's a good thing)
  • To leave a legacy; record moments in your life; share with friends, family, or your future self
  • To achieve other passion you deem worthy

Bad Primary Reasons:

  • To make money (maybe okay as a secondary reason, but know that users don't like being tricked and are pretty savvy and adamant about "schemes" -- don't be a shill or sock puppet)
I'd accept "become the number one expert in my field" as an okay primary reason to blog over "to make money," although there's a paradox. Genuine and authentic content may likely earn you opportunities, a change of scene, and possibly career satisfaction. But you probably shouldn't start with material gain as your only reason to blog.
I've blogged to remember what it was like to change from a couple to a family. I've blogged to share cool things with my coworkers. I currently blog to help contribute and build a technical community surrounding Web Content Management, specifically SDL Tridion (yup, I'm biased).
I'll likely continue to blog on technology, systems, business analysis, and other software as well as projects and maybe the wonderful World of RFPs (see? I too have a neglected blog). I hope to demonstrate that I'm "socially aware" enough to share honestly, contribute to my field, and communicate clearly. I hope to "improve the client's condition" and demonstrate an understanding of (hopefully good) content's ability to affect authors, others, or brands as small as "just me." But enough about me, let's talk about your new (or unloved) blog.

How to Start

Pick a platform

You can pick from Wordpress, Google, another platform, or might be tempted to build one yourself. I'd only recommend doing so if building blogs or programming is the focus of your blog. Remember it's all about core competencies.

Although I'm a software consultant by day, the blog is my platform to get out content to you quickly, easily, with minimal barriers. I still need to check HTML and do clean up here and there, but my blog should "just work." Under the covers, this is all Blogger (aka Blogspot). You can Google Google Blogger to get started, or consider WordPress, Joomla, or any of the other open source blog platforms provided by domain hosts, typically free-of-charge with paid subscription (ummm... yeah).

Pick a Name

You get to choose what the blog name is and its URL to an extent. If using Google Blogger, your blog URL will be http://{your unique name}.blogspot.com. You also get a title that shows in the browser title and/or at the top of the blog depending on the template you use.

Need Ideas? 

Go back to reason #1 and try to connect what you want to write about with who you are, who you would like to be, or who you need to be. Yes, consultants get to make cryptic statements like that.

Are you a tridionfanboy? Is there hidden meaning in your blog like UrbanCherry (no, it's not a bad thing). Are you a geek that writes poetry? My non-Tridion buddy goes by his initials and calls himself "JTWebMan" (and even does videos, darn I need to catch up).

Can you identify with a role related to your software-or-industry-of-choice? Walter suits the role of Tridion Architect and it's not hard to find a TridionDeveloper. TridionUser is likely more than just a user.

If you're good/busy/confident enough, the URL and title don't matter. No need to be fancier than needed since your name with some tag line is always a classic choice. For example, one Tridion-blogging Albert has WCM in his subtitle, the other Albert shares "Information About Tridion," Nuno describes various names he's been called, and it helps when your name is already cool, like Asier Fernandez. Peter hints that he's the Peter Kjaer that works for a certain company (which makes sense considering the architect, footballer, and CEO with the same name).

And the semi-or pro bloggers have their name along with a clever and catchy subtitle like Irina's "Random Thoughts on CMS, WCM, ECM, and Other Acronyms." Oh, and did you know Julian is an Autodidact (yeah, I had to look it up). You can even imply what part of the World you hail from, as seen with Dominic's country-specific URL. Maybe you could register something clever from the list of country codes.
In the end, don't read too much into the URL, your blog title, or even the theme. I've changed my blog title a few times and even registered the domain. Your content is the most important part. The details, template, and any code can be changed later. Your ability to make change your industry, help others, or improve your career starts with your first post.

What's Next?

That's up to you. Sell, share, inspire, or explain. Gripe, enjoy yourself, or enjoy yourself while griping. Go ahead and (try) to make money off of it. The most important things about your blog is:
  1. starting
  2. anything you want it to be
And that's the beauty of it. Happy blogging.

Update: I forgot to explain why technical bloggers don't have to use their own products to manage their blog. There's a difference between the software or technology you're using/selling and the ease and convenience of a platform that let's an individual quickly share content.

Even if you want to explain your software using your software, it's still a good idea to separate the "demo" or showcased website from your CMS; in this case Blogger or Wordpress may be a good fit for the individual blogger. Your mileage may vary but remember content first, then technology (even if the technology is about content).

2 comments :

  1. Yeah, I have also been meaning to start a blog... since too long. I´ll put it on my new year resolution list :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'll remind you of that resolution after the PowerTools release. :-)

    ReplyDelete

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