There’s been a pretty lively discussion on The Krewe Facebook group on getting started with blogging. So, here’s my $.02:
You’re an IT Pro? You want to start blogging? Awesome! Starting your blog is a lot like running any other IT project: do some up front work now so you’re not cleaning up the mess for months or years down the road. We’ve all had that project where someone (possibly in one of those C-level or senior management positions) got infatuated with some product that they saw at a trade show or that one of their old college friends showed them that will revolutionize the way you do business. Requirements? Pffft… we already have exactly what we need here. Have you seen what [insert product name] can do for our business? Go forth IT person… Implement it!
What happens once that product gets put into production use? Excluding that random ~5% of the time it actually works out perfectly, that product that was going to “revolutionize your business” runs into issues. It isn’t compatible with some other system, doesn’t meet the requirements of the end users, or requires a substantial time/money investment to get it actually working in your environment. I’m sure you spend enough time putting out fires at work… you don’t want to be doing the same thing with your blog.
Get a Domain Name
You’re an IT Pro… buy a domain name already. When I look at resumes, applicants that have their own domain name get extra attention. If they have actual content on their site that shows me what they’re capable of, they’ll probably get a phone call too.
As a side benefit, this keeps you from being stuck with something like http://trekkernet.someoneelsesdomain.com as your blog URL. What happens if you decide to set up a web hosting account? You’re going to lose a substantial amount of traffic getting people to go from your old http://trekkernet.someoneelsesdomain.com to something like http://trekker.net. If you’re going to use one of the hosted blog platforms, both Blogger and WordPress.com will let you use your own domain. (Note: WordPress.com charges for this; Blogger does not.)
Your Posts are YOUR Posts
You may think one particular blogging platform is the greatest product in the world… today. However, your needs may change one day and you may decide to move to another product. Make sure that you’re going to be able to easily move not only your content (both text and formatting), but also any images, video, etc. that you upload. It does no good to be able to pull the text if you’re going to lose formatting or the media you upload.
Picking the Platform
Asking about the best blogging platform when starting a blog is akin to asking an IT Pro about which antivirus vendor they like or the pros and cons of VMware vs. Hyper-V. Your needs are your needs; they aren’t the same as my needs or someone else’s needs. What works for me may not work for you.
The blogging platform you blog on really isn’t that important to your readers. They aren’t going to care what’s displaying the content as long as they can read it. I’ve used Blogger, WordPress.com, WordPress (self hosted), Moveable Type, Drupal, and several different commercial content management systems. Whatever you end up using, make sure it is something that is easy for you to use and easy to maintain. Most of those products have places you can go set up an account and play around. Try each one and decide which one works best for you. Then, go point your domain name to it and start writing!
Kyle is also the Vice President of the Atlanta Windows Infrastructure and Virtualization User Group (WINVUG).You can find additional articles he's written on 4sysops.com.
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