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Case-study: blog-baby

Goose Creche in 'progress'No project is complete with a report on how things happened, how the project progressed and what went wrong, what went well. In this case: a case-study on my 'dream-project'
(plus the project has taken a turn a very unexpected way: it will be used for our trial blog-workshop next month, we might create a whole crèche or kindergarten of blogs - our, that is together with friend Lesley from ACT - and having notes on how to start will be very handy).

When you start web-publishing the first weeks/months are mostly trial and error, learning and implementing as you go. I've done that - intensive - for almost 10 months now myself. And somehow you get a feeling for it, you start to find what works, what doesn't, what helps the conversation, what frustrates the conversation, which widget are an asset and which are only a hype and a bother. You learn, you gain, you grow. But turning everything you've learned into a project is something completely different I discovered (again by trial and error!).

What went well (and why)

  • use a program (tool) that you are familiar with, or one that is very straightforward to start with - without having to have extensive knowledge of coding.
    • In this case: Typepad, because it ticks both 'boxes'.
      For the non-coder it has various 'pretty' design templates where the specific column lay-out can be varied too - at a 'mouse-click'.
      I used my own (Pro) account to create three different designs for Richard - the Pro account gives you an unlimited number of blogs, handy - all with a different lay-out. He could mix and match his decision from a multiple range (3 x 3 = 9, not?). He 'settled' for my own favourite: Curved Green with 3 columns.
  • know the goal - aim of the blog (even if it's not your own blog) and add approriate 'widgets' for it.
    • the one widget every blog should have is a feedburner. And it comes - of course - with its own webmarketing widgets to make it very easy for readers/visitors to add your blog to their 'feed-reader'. It also assists with various other widgets - like MyBlogLog.
      (Our own Wood You Like FAQ blog is dedicated to inform our prospects/clients on wooden flooring products, installation methods and services we provide. Widgets like MyBlogLog - showing your face around the blogosphere - or TheGoodBlogs don't add to this so I left them out, but both definitely show on my other two 'conversational' blogs)
      Widgets added on Richard's blog are: various feed-subscribers (including a new one I found: add to BlogLines) and a 'subscribe by email' option, the MyBlogLog 'latest guest list' and the TheGoodBlogs: Bloggers promoting Bloggers. Typepad 'widgets' include recent comments (bit of love-link) and a 'make yourself widget' The Wheelbarrow awards
  • Deciding the first posts.
    • Typepad's new feature Pages works (IMHO) as an alternative 'static website'. A static website normally contains an 'about us' page, a portfolio page and a contact page - with the fixed pages of Typepad you can do the same but then integrated into the blog itself.
      I saw another advantage in this for Richard - brand new to the blogging, sorry web-publishing, world. His first posts could be roughly the same as the three fixed pages he would have had if this was a new static website for him:
      The Introduction of the Blogger/web-publisher himself - About Page
      The Introduction of the 'business' - Our Services
      The Introduction of a speciality - Our Specials
      In fact 3 pages and 3 posts in one go. The posts will 'fade away' in the 'Archives' over time, but all the important information about the blogger and his 'business' will stay 'upfront'. And it saves time for a first time blogger.

What didn't go well (and why)

  • The why is simple in this case: due to my own experience I tend to 'forget' that road of gaining specific knowledge myself, the aforementioned trial and error path of gaining insight. I skipped whole processes - and am back-tracking because of that now.
    Lesson learned - and it will be the starting point of our workshop!
    • Not explaining the various webmarketing widgets better.
    • Not showing how to reply to comments or how to leave a comment on someone else's post.
    • Both errors combined with under-estimating my own 'promotion' power left various commentors of the first posts 'in the dark'.
      Richard is catching up on this, so bear with him ;-)

A big thank you to Kent Blumberg is in order too. His presentation on Blogging is going to be a great help for our try-out workshop.

Comments

Stuart Baker

Karin, there is lots of wisdom and specific help here. I see your wings expanding. That is a good thing!

I find it so interesting how many of my favorite bloggers are expanding and shifting what they are doing since blogging. Hmmm, I suspect a connection....

Great stuff, my friend.

All the best,

Stuart Baker
www.consciouscooperation.com

Karin H.

Hi Stuart

Wings expanding, I like that phrase. It's exactly as I feel, thank you my friend.

BTW, does this count as (part) contribution to the tag you gave me on my 'learning edge'? ;-)

Karin H.

Stuart Baker

Karin, I don't know what BTW means, and I am not sure I get the connection you are making. Would you please explain?

Thanks,

Stuart

Karin H.

Hi Stuart

Sorry for the confusion.
By The Way, I was wondering if you would approve of this post being part of my 'learning edge' tag.
This project was a steep 'learning curve' for me and it occupied my mind/hours/feelings a lot - still does to be honest ;-)

You let me know, yeah?

Karin H.

Stuart Baker

Karin, you can use any of this in any way you wish. I am a big supporter of yours.

Be well.

Stuart

Kent Blumberg

Karin,

Great post and great story. Nicely put. And thanks for the mention.

As you continue building this new part of your life, you might enjoy getting in touch with Mike Sansone, of Converstations blog . He has grown an entire flock of blog babies in his hometown - a journey you seem to be embarking upon.

Karin H.

Hi Kent

Yes, I know Mike and his blog very well.
As for blog-babies, blog-workshop they seem to grow on me somehow ;-)
For instance, this afternoon I'm asked to participate in a blog workshop in South Africa (very handy, Skype!) how having a blog can accelerate your business organised by the WorldWideCreatvie team.
Should be fun!

Karin H.

Steve Roesler

Should be required reading for someone starting out, Karin.

And let's face it: there's no better way to learn than from having a look at what went wrong and why. That's something that I actually have programmed into my schedule!

You're a terrific helper!

Karin H.

Well thank you Steve!

Karin H.

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