Those who have met and interacted with me will rarely have a conversation without being exhorted to blog (if you dont already do). For those who have a weblog, I will try and persuade them to write daily. Should you decide that you want to join the growing community of bloggers, this column is for you.
It is easy to get started. There are various open-source blogging tools for those who have their own server to host on I would recommend Six Aparts MovableType. For others, I would recommend two web-based services: Googles Blogger (free service) or TypePad (from the creators of MovableType, for $5-15 per month). There is also Userlands Radio ($40 per annum, including web space) which has a client-side blogging and RSS aggregation software which you install on your computer. You can blog locally, and the software takes care of updating your public blog site on Userlands servers. Of course, there are plenty of options now. For example, in India, Rediff and Sify both offer free blogging platforms.
An RSS Aggregator would be a good tool we complement the blogging platform. Again, there are many options. BlogStreets Info Aggregator provides the RSS items in your email client via a separate IMAP account. Bloglines is a web-based aggregators. NewsGator is an Outlook-based aggregator (has a 14-day free trial).
There are plenty of services becoming available for bloggers and readers. Our BlogStreet has a ranking of the top blogs along with their neighbourhood (other related blogs), along with a set of useful RSS utilities. Three other RSS-based search and notification services that you may find useful are Feedster, Technorati and PubSub.
So, the tools for making blogging easy are there. What you need to do is to get started, and that can perhaps be the most difficult part. I am reproducing here some tips and suggestions from a post I wrote early last year entitled Why and How I Blog (So Much):
Determine to blog daily. Blogging has to become part of the day’s routine. In case I am travelling or know that I will not be able to update the blog on a specific day, I try and create posts in advance, thus ensuring that readers find plenty of new things daily. This is something I learnt from IndiaWorld – we updated every site of ours daily. Things have to become habits – for both readers and writers. Read widely. One may not understand everything, but over time, one gets the lay of the land. Maps start forming. Stories acquire a context. And over time, the linkages between developments start becoming apparent. They prevent us from tunnel-vision. In today’s world, it is very important to have a wide-angle view. Think aloud. The one thing I decided when I started blogging is that I would write what I thought. This means I don’t have to worry about whether I need to “protect” this idea or not. Write everything. And that makes life simpler! Meet people. I find some of my best ideas come when I am meeting people and talking. Something they say or how they react sparks off a new thread. This reinforces the underlying thinking or sets me off on a new path. Either way, more fodder for the blog! Start. Even when I feel I may not something to say, sitting in front of the computer changes everything. The words just come. I find this happening with uncanny regularity especially for the Tech Talks. Always keep a notebook (paper/pen) handy. Ideas come by anytime. So, I jot them down, and then build upon them for the blog later.
Hopefully, come next May, there will be many among you who will be celebrating their blogs First Birthday.
Tech Talk Two Blog Years+T