The Next Step: robf.com.au
Taking steps into the unknown is a little scary, even when it's something as simple as setting up a web log. How soon do you tell folks where to find it? If you want to use it as a tool to market yourself, when do you know that it adequately represents those aspects of yourself that you want to advertise?
While I've been a bit occupied with the ongoing Geek on Three Bucks a Week project on Punch On Australia, setting up the new web log under my new top-level domain name is the main reason why I've been quiet lately. I wanted to keep it under wraps a bit longer but Salidar managed to track it down and leave a comment! If he can find it, it's likely others have too!
As it looks like the cat's out of the bag, I'd say it's time I announced that you can find my new web log at:
Nerves aside, I've taken a lot of interesting steps with it so far. Registering the domain name was an adventure in and of itself – probably the easiest bit was getting an Australian Business Number so that I could legally register a .com.au domain name.
Then there was setting the WordPress engine up. Thanks to our host's Installatron system, the basic setup was quick and simple, but I still had to experiment with a few things before getting the blog up and running. Marcus suggested the Suffusion theme which I struggled with initially, but now I'm getting a grip on its features and the basic structure of the blog is looking the way I want it. Having the menu of static pages appear below the blog title took the most digging, but I'm glad it's there.
Another handy addition is the Sociable plugin, which allows people to share interesting posts on their favourite social networks.
Virtually all its current content is imported from the Movable Type blog, although I cut out most of my diary-esque entries and kept it to longer articles, announcements and reviews. Some articles don't seem to have survived the import process, though, and I need (read: want) to go through my back-catalogue and tag my posts just so my tag cloud looks nice and populated.
I still need to some work on it, but if I ever get frustrated, I know I can look back on what I've done so far and see how many steps I've taken already.
But what further steps do I need to take?
Probably the biggest and most influential one is to decide what the main thrust of the site is. Its main purpose is to market me as a writer, but can I blend my efforts to find freelance writing work with my development and marketing of my fiction writing? Do I have to choose one over the other and maybe set another blog up somewhere?
Whichever direction I take, how do I get the site looking appropriate? How do I find out what an appropriate look is?
How do I set up a notification system like Movable Type's, where I can e-mail any mailing lists (and very selected individuals) I set up when a new post goes live?
Then there's the actual writing. There's a general consensus that any blogger who wants their blog to gain readers needs to get a reputation for posting new content on a regular basis. At the moment I'd like to try for one new post with some honest meat to it per week, but then, what do I write about?
If I'm freelancing, do I add a “Hire Me” page?
If I'm working on fiction, do I take on some crazy creative blogging endavour along the lines of Jonathan Coulton's Thing a Week challenge from a few years back (the one which resulted in tunes like the awesome “Re. Your Brains”)?
And what do I do with IMAGinES once robf.com.au is on its feet? For the time being I see it as the developer diary for robf.com.au where I put up posts like this, about what I've done and what I think I need to do next. At some point, though, I imagine phasing it out entirely (IMAGinES seemed like a bright idea for a name ten years ago but now it seems a bit silly).
No matter what, though I want to keep taking steps toward my chosen destination, because when all else fails, success by any measure goes to those who just keep walking forward.