This week marks the completion of three years of writing down my technical thoughts and posting random pictures of Spongebob on Wahl Network. To all who have subscribed, commented, tweeted, visited, and snagged a button at a VMUG or VMworld – thank you! 😀
To celebrate, I figured it might be fun to chat a bit about the beginnings of the blog, offer some friendly guidance to others looking to start or grow a blog, and post a graphic that has never quite fit in any other post.
The Image I’ve Never Used … Until Today
Let’s start with the fun part: Batman riding a magical robot unicorn along side dolphins. Enjoy!
Wahl Network Beginnings
At the time, I had no idea what I was doing. I just wanted to write down my thoughts on various technical projects at work. Because I was constantly being pulled in different directions I’d often forget those helpful little tips and tricks that one acquires on a project and wished I had written them down. Thus, Wahl Network was born. The first ever article posted is entitled Rules for Creating Group Policy Objects (GPOs) back in Nov of 2010. I used to do a lot more work with Microsoft AD, SQL, and Exchange than I do these days. 🙂
Wahl Network has been through three different logos. A simple text field, the WahlCube, and the current WahlGlobe.
So what sort of lessons does one learn in three years of blogging?
- Have a unique style – no one is going to be able to tell you how to blog, because there is no right answer. Follow your moral and ethical compass, blog what you find interesting, and write what you feel like writing. Over time, your style and rhythm will emerge. Being unique is a good thing.
- It’s OK to talk about something that another has talked about – do you want to make a post about some new technology or a trick you like? Go for it. It doesn’t matter if 99 other people have posted something similar. Maybe your reader doesn’t visit those places, or maybe they want to hear about what YOU have to say. This is different from just copying their post; you should be able to add value.
- Ignore counters – success is not measured in hits or views unless that is specifically what you’re looking for (if so, you may want to just blog for an established tech site). It’s OK to keep an eye on how many people are visiting your site because it’s fun to watch it go up! But don’t take it too seriously, and some days it will go down.
- Set goals – have an idea of what you want to accomplish, and then set goals to meet them. Worry about the finish line first, then figure out how to get there. Example goals: “I want to post at least 2 times a month” or “I want to write an entire series about Batman riding a magical robot unicorn along side dolphins.” Then, figure out how to meet the goals. You may set aside time specifically to write those 2 posts, or start collecting a ton of information on Batman and queue up a series of posts that are due on a certain date.
- Link to your peers – some blogging circles seem to disagree with this. In fact, some of the vendor “marketing” folks only link to one another and not the greater community. It’s silly. I think it’s always a fantastic idea to provide links to others in the community if they can add value to your post. Google search agrees with me. It’s not a competition unless you make it one. 🙂
- Have fun – there’s no point in blogging if you don’t enjoy it. If you find yourself not having fun there are many things you can try adjusting. Try finding another topic to write about, or shift your focus within your current topic to something similar. I even took a break from blogging back in 2011 for a month because I was just too busy with a new job and didn’t have the energy, then came back refreshed and wrote a lot of posts. Sometimes you just need to recharge your batteries.
I look forward to another three years of posting Spongebob pictures. Oh, and technical stuff, too.