Friday, 15 January 2016

Blogs and Bloggers

(w3tech, 2015)
As you will all know, I signed up to a site called, which encourages you to write each and every day.

There is power in this, in that it allows you to brain dump whatever you have going on, clearing crap which is preventing you from getting to more important things.

You emptying your mental rubbish, organise the recycling, wipe your "to do list" whiteboard, ponder the "why did I do that?" and the "I wonder if I should..."s, and wash out the compost container. Mental housework.

But this writing can be recycled into blog posts. All of us have hobbies, and, for those of us who sort out our thoughts through writing, we can repurpose our writing into blog posts.

In general, the more we do something, the better we get at it. That too is true of blogging - as long as we are open to self-reflection and have a growth mindset - the more we write, the easier and more polished the practice of writing becomes.

Because your writing improves, your ability to develop coherent thought and convey it simply, clearly and elegantly will also improve. You can use the process of writing to tease out more complex and reflective ideas that helps you to make better sense of the world around you.

Through regular blogging, you will document your thoughts and practices over time, creating a record of your own development. This gives you an interesting overview of what interested you, where your focus lay and where your future interests might lie. Fascinating to take a big picture view of that over a few years!

You will also learn a lot about the platform you chose to use: and there are many of them, in addition to many reasons for chosing whatever is chosen.
I use Blogspot - Blogger - because I created a blogger blog well before WordPress, or the more recent platforms such as Tumblr, had been thought of. I carried on with this site because I completed a Udemy course which enabled me to turn my blogger blog into a website, so dumping my old FrontPage website.

Blogger forms both my blog and my content management system (CMS). Google, as the owner and creator of Blogspot, hosts my website for free. I was able to point my domain name at my blogger site so that it shows up as a website, not a blog (ie, no 'blogspot' in the domain name), and to have additional static webpages. Blogger's number five on the graphic above.

There are lots of people who have created freeware apps and tools to make the websites work seamlessly with mobile, to add sales functionality, shop-fronts, payment options, and graphics management... and usually with creative commons licencing.

However, out in the lead by far, the number one blog/CMS platform is WordPress, which forms the backbone of 25% of all websites (w3techs, 2015), so having a CMS market share of 59%.

WordPress also has a reasonable amount of freeware apps and tools. WordPress site design is generally of a higher quality than Blogger, but Blogger has the advantage of being picked up better in Google searches (SEO). However, WordPress users can bolt-on the Yoast app to improve site SEO.

Overall, in order for me to use WordPress in the same way as I have used Blogger, I think I would have to use the paid version. There are two systems which operate side by side: which is the free, hosted version, and, which is the commercial version.

Then you only need images to illustrate when you push your post out (read here), and a method for sharing your news. But that latter is a story for another day.


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