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Getting Started with Blogging

Not too long ago, a mere two years, I decided to “start” blogging. About VMware, an information technology infrastructure platform. On Tumblr. Want to read my first blog post ever? Go right ahead, it was called From ESX to ESXi, or Where’s My Service Console?. I wrote about two posts, and didn’t do anything else until February of 2014, when I really decided to give it a go and make myself a shiny new website, since some of my partners in #VirtualDesignMaster crime already had sites of their own.

Why did I start blogging? I was a huge consumer of blogs, and had gained a lot from them. I wanted to try to catalog my thoughts, mainly for myself, but also in the even that something I had did or learned could benefit someone else. I didn’t do it for page views, I didn’t do it for popularity. I did it because I was looking for a hobby, and technology, more specifically, Virtualization, was something I was really interested in, plus I really loved to write. It also became a great coping mechanism when I was was having some health issues, and allowed me to stay connected to the world when I wasn’t really in a state to do much of anything. I’ve found it to be a relaxing hobby I really enjoy.

I attempted to submit a session for VMworld 2015 called “The Secret Diary of a VMware Blogger” as a short talk in order to help others who were looking to get started blogging about VMware. While it was clearly rejected, I think I may have so good ideas for those getting started in blogging – whatever the topic may be. Here is a more generalized form of advice I have for new bloggers, which I think can apply to anyone who wants to get blogging about something. I hope you find it helpful!

Pick a Passion
Pick something you love or are interested in to start blogging about. For example, if I would have decided to start a peanut butter review blog, I wouldn’t have gotten very far because I don’t eat peanut butter! I would have just gotten frustrated and canned the whole idea. I started with technology because I love it! I have other passions too, and may even take my own advice on exploring them further (hint: this is a spoiler alert!).

Do Your Homework
You may need to do some homework before you get blogging! Perhaps you want to use a free platform, or you want your very own shiny URL. Figure out what medium you want to use for blogging. Platforms like Medium or WordPress are great places to start. There are a ton of neat things you can do to customize the look and feel of your blog, so make sure to check out all the great theming available on your platform of choice. Also, read some blogs. Lots and lots of blogs! Everyone has their own style and own ideas. You may start to figure out what works for you just by reading what others have done in the past. The more you read other’s voices, the more you will start to develop your own.

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(Oh, WordPress.  Sometimes I love you, sometimes I hate you.)

Just Do It
Starting to blog is hard. Very hard. Start by setting small goals for yourself. Maybe you’ll start with a blog a month, or a blog a week. Whatever you decide, try to stick too it! If life happens, that’s okay too, the world won’t stop spinning if you miss a blog! One good way to get yourself writing is to start with a series. You can come up with an idea that you will break into say 5 posts, that will give you material to keep yourself going! I also like to keep a running list of ideas as they pop into your head.

Ask For Feedback
Ask friends, family, and fellow bloggers to review your posts. Feedback is a great tool to help you learn and grow. That being said, know when to stop asking someone. If you aren’t getting anything constructive back from them, and just lots of negativity, it is time to move along. This can get tricky, especially when people don’t agree with things like the color scheme of your blog. Remember, this is your blog! Make sure you do what you like!

Don’t Get Discouraged
If you’re using social media in conjunction with your blog, or you allow comments on your blog, don’t be discouraged if you get negative feedback. You have a couple of choices when you do, mainly ignore them or ask for some constructive feedback. Also, don’t become obsessed with checking the hits on your blog and article, that will all come in time as you create more content, I promise! You’ll also spend hours on a post that seems like a total flop, and minutes on one that takes off. You can’t predict this, and try not to stress out too much about it. The key here is for you to take something away from each and every post you make.

Challenge Yourself
I’ve found my blog has become my very own reference tool at time. As I challenge myself to learn new things, I find myself looking back on content I have already created. This goes for technology and almost every other topic you could cover! Maybe you’ve posted a lasagna recipe in the past, and want to send it to a friend. Sending a link to your blog is a great way! Perhaps you just can’t remember how you made lasagna that time, you can use your blog as a personal recipe tool and get cooking! Blogging is a great way to master a new skill, or to learn about something new.

Share the Love
If you’re interested in people benefiting from your blogging, make sure to share the love! Twitter and Pinterest are great ways to get your content out there. Make sure to use relevant hashtags on Twitter, these have the potential to reach audiences you’ve never even considered. Just like you don’t want to go crazy with blog stats, try not to go too crazy with Twitter analytics at the beginning of your journey.

I hope you found this advice useful, whatever blogging path you may be on! Remember, writing is like a muscle, the more you do it, the easier it will come to you and the better you’ll get at it. Even if you only wrote 30 articles at 300 words each, that’s 9,000 words you haven’t written before! One of the most important parts of blogging is the enjoyment YOU get out of it. If you aren’t enjoying it, it may be time to try something new, whether it be shifting gears on topics or lengths of posts. Good luck and happy blogging!


Song of the Day – Taylor Swift – Shake it Off