Everyone should have a blog, as I have stated many times in webinars or in conference presentations. Everyone has unique experiences that could probably benefit the community as a whole, should you choose to.
How I got started
Way back when, in 1995, I had to learn C#, .NET, and SharePoint in about a three-week timeframe. I learned a tremendous amount by reading other people’s blogs. I can safely state for the record that I would not have been able to accomplish my goals without the generosity of others sharing their experiences.
When I started working with Dynamics CRM 3.0, I wanted my own blog on which I would share my experiences so that other people could learn from what I was doing – hopefully saving them some time and effort. It was a way to return the favor that others had given me.
In fact, one of my first blog posts was the result of opening a support case to learn how to hide a tab on a Dynamics CRM form.
I have a couple of very simple rules for writing articles:
1. Does it take me more than 30 minutes to either find the answer, or create the answer?
2. Is the answer of strategic value to either my company or my customers?
If #1 is yes and #2, is no, then I write the article.
WordPress is the way to go when establishing your online presence. All of my web sites run WordPress, whether or not they are used as blogs or as company web sites. You can host a free blog at wordpress.com, which will give you a site called: mysite.wordpress.com, or you can create your own domain hosted at a hosting provider that supports WordPress. I use WP Engine [affiliate link] for all of my sites because of their customer service and administration facilities, not to mention the automated backups.
Windows Live Writer (part of the Windows Essentials package) is what I use to author every article I write and it totally changed the way in which I write and post.
1. WordPress allows you to schedule the publication of posts. This is extremely handy should you write a bunch of articles in one sitting and want to spread them out over a period of time.
2. Don’t publish more than one major article on your blog per day. The idea is you want to have people continually visiting your blog so if you publish everything in one day, you may have only one visit. Publishing five articles in five days is five visits.
3. Articles do not have to be novels. Sometimes just a quick tip or trick is all you need – but don’t shy away from the novels. People enjoy those too.
4. Be thorough . Nothing drives me crazy like an article that mentions a great topic and just barely covers it. I am sure that you have read articles that at the end you ask yourself, “what was the point.”
5. Don’t be afraid to make updates should new information come along related to the topic you covered. Either create a new article (my preference) or just update the original article in a manner that makes it obvious that you’ve added or changed the content.
6. Screen shots. A screen shot is worth a thousand words; seriously. I use SnagIt for all of my screen shots.`
7. Recommended WordPress plugins. Here are just a few of the plugins that I recommend.
- JetPack is probably the ultimate WordPress plugin and is written by the same people who created WordPress. Lots and lots of features here.
- Download Counter allows you to count people who are downloading files from your site.
- Contact Form 7 is a great contact form tool.
- WP-Polls is a great plugin for polling your audience.
- WP to Twitter is what I used to automatically tweet my posts before I started using CoSchedule (mentioned below).
- WPTouch create a mobile-friendly version of your site.
8. Pay attention to when people visit your site. From my experience, people do not visit my site much on the weekends. This means I should not post things on weekends.
9. Use social media to your advantage. I use a service call CoSchedule [affiliate link] to schedule my posts to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.
10. Read this article about when to post on social media: What 10 Studies Say About The Best Times To Post On Social Media
So enough about me, my process, and getting things set up.
I want you to start writing, whether or not you have a blog already.
If you have article ideas but do not have a blog or are not in a position to create one at the moment, would you like to author a guest-post on this site?
If you are interested
Write up a short description of your article idea and send it to me via the contact form on my About Me page. I’ll review it and get back with you on any feedback and next steps.