Why Do This?
Is there an Idea?
Why Do This?
There are a number of questions to ask when deciding to set up and write a blog. One of them is are you going to do an obligatory “How did I get to here?” post. This is that obligatory post, with my twist. I am not talking about, “How did I get to this point in my life to start writing on a blogging website.” I am talking about the decisions made in this specific website setup (thoughts & software). Which is why this is posted in the Technology section. So to go along with the 10’s of thousands, no 100’s of, no MILLIONS of other blog posts of why pick a specific software or why do this or that when setting up a site continue reading.
Note: I do not get into intricate technical issues in this post. So don’t worry if you were thinking it is going to get into micro details on the decision-making. I am shooting for big picture here.
Is there an Idea?
Yeah, there is an idea. First, I decided to create this site, not because I thought there was a need out there for something new, but because I wanted to express my opinion on things (I also wanted to let my friends contribute). Do I think I have a unique perspective on setting up and doing what I have done. Yes, we all have unique perspectives. Is mine so unique that it will stand out as a quintessential talking point that everyone will want to read before starting their own? HELL NO. So I am going to go through some of the questions I had before starting and let you know how I came down to where you are sitting and reading today.
Second, I am a technology guy and I know that there is a huge number of blogging websites out there and I didn’t know the details of the software like I should. I have pigeon-holed myself in the past only focusing on the tech that I needed for work. So I know a lot of general concepts on things, and would form opinions from gathering opinions from my co-workers or clients or competitors, but I had not done hands on work myself on blogging software. So knowing that blogging and open source software is the current wave of website development for many, many sites I figured I would jump on and work it myself for myself. Learning as I went… Does that mean I am coming in blind and having never touched this type of software? No, I have worked with computers/software/technology since 1979 so I have a background in a lot of things. I have used some CMS software in the past and developed many data driven applications, including websites.
When you look around the “How to start a Blog?” websites they will tell you a lot of things about choosing the name. This question is not really that technical so why put it in this post? Well the reason I have this name is because this domain was not supposed to be used for blog. I purchased the domain to compliment the development of a mobile application (app). Do you think it would have been a beer app? Do I still have that thought in mind? Yes & Yes. I may eventually post my idea/thoughts on the app in this blog. Probably doing a call to action to help select the software for creating the app. Or I will hit Freelancer and create a contest for it. That is besides the point, the point is I already had the domain so I used it. FYI, doing a mobile application is another item I need to play with to get out of the pigeon-hole mentioned earlier. So I plan on exploring the mobile app more and still using this domain as it’s hosting.
I didn’t originally think I would choose WordPress. I figured I would look for the “best” open-source software for creating the blog site. There are a lot of people out there who are haters of software companies just because they are the big guys. I could have jumped on that wagon. I looked at a few and did go through a number of comparison websites/posts. I was pretty torn on which to choose. I almost went with another because of the programming purity and a few native options that are added by plugins here, but then it dawned on me (also with a little help from friends and reading suggestions, BlogTyrant), WORDPRESS is the BIG DOG in the fight. I am looking to learn blogging software and providing support to others on blogging software. So what would be best for me to learn? WordPress. It has the tools, it has the following, it is where the money is (FYI: I am not looking to commercialize this blogging effort). So yeah here is “another” WordPress blog. So know that I am digging into a number of add-ons/plugins and that is evolving as I learn and play with the tools.
So far most of the plugins I have reviewed/installed are not about changes to the front end. They are not things that the user will even see installed. They are support and tracking tools. The current list includes:
Currently Installed and Active
- Akismet – Spam blocker
- Google Analytics Dashboard for WP – Google Analytics, duh.
- HYPE Social – Buffer – Site sharing tool. Still working on configure
- Jetpack by WordPress.com – Integrate blog into WP cloud, lots of stuff
- Loginizer – Login Security Tool
- TinyMCE Advanced – Editor Software, Working Spell check
- XML Sitemap & Google News feeds – Automatic Sitemap for bots
Gardenia – Not actually a plugin but current Theme
Tested, Currently Removed
- PrePost SEO – Could not get free trial to provide feedback
- RichTextEditor For WordPress – liked the user interface and HTML edit options but had an issue getting spell-check to work and had performance issue
I am positive that I will add more and probably change out some that I have already installed. This is a learning process and involves things that work for me. Please if you have some essential plugins that are a requirement for your site and are not listed leave a comment. If you know a better one than what I have chosen, offer me some feedback. I would love to get opinions and test the better tools.
Okay, as I said above, I do not want to commercialize this site. This is true. Would it be nice if the site did make money enough to support a beer habit? Yes, but I am not even sure I will attempt to do that. That does not mean I don’t want to get the site’s opinions and posts presented to the public and have a following. To help do that, and to better support any future efforts of others joining me, I need to have an idea of how the information disseminates to the public. Where traffic comes from and where it is going. To that end installing tools such as Buffer, Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, etc. are necessary to understand the interactions with the page. More tools will be added I am sure. A full integration with multiple social media pages will be ongoing. Currently ABigBeer has these social media outlets (please visit):
Final Thoughts Today…
Now that I have caught you up to this point realize that this is still very much a moving target and in its infancy. I am still evaluating and figuring out the software. There will be more add-ons, more plugins, I expect to test new themes, etc. This will be an evolving site for its life. I do expect it to settle down a little eventually and get more into the business of the blog posts themselves. So sit-back, enjoy the read, relax and have ABigBeer.
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