Yesterday I wrote about Why every teacher should blog and almost instantly a friend who is also a teacher asked me about my blogging setup. So here goes:
The blog is part of my website. You’re visiting it now. A blog can be hosted on any blogging service like blogger.com, tumblr or even twitter (if 144 characters is sufficient to tell your story). I chose to get the Full Monty and incorporate my blog on a professionally looking website.
Every website lives on a server. Although I have a home server (for backups and media sharing), I would never rely on it to host my website on. So I picked a Dutch web hosting company called versio and subscribed for some space on their servers. They provide all the support I need and are very cheap. Your server space is only an IP address so you also need a …
I already own several domain names including this one (koenmarien.com). I registered it with the same company for a very very reasonable yearly price. Next step was to hook up the domain name to the webhosting. The instructions from versio are very straight forward and dummy proof.
Next you need to start building the website. I chose WordPress as a platform. The installation literally takes 4 minutes, choose a theme and tweak whatever you want.
Gradually I added more static pages to the site: a home page, contact page and other bla-bla-bla. Categories for blog posts came later.
Drafting the text
You can write your text straight into the WordPress admin pages, but I almost never complete a blog post in one session. That’s why I searched for an app or service to make drafts in. As you know, my device setup is a MacBook Pro, iPad and iPhone. At first, I just used the Notes app and copy-pasted the text in WordPress. I then did some layout in WordPress online.
Recently I heard about Markdown. In essence, Markdown is the most readable code on the planet. HTML (what is used on most web sites) is a language that you need to learn. It is also totally not dummy proof: making any small mistake can completely ruining your page.
In Markdown you can just type your text and use really simple syntax to outline your text.
I’ve said it before, but I write the text in an app called iWriter Pro because of its lack of distracting features, support for iCloud syncing and support for Markdown.
Be a good digital citizen so don’t steal. All images are either my own or licensed for non-commercial reuse. The latter are fairly easy to find: pexels.com is a great website with amazing images and Google Image Search lets you filter images on usage rights. Wikimedia is also a great resource for imagery. All assets on Wikimedia carry clear instructions on how to use them in your publications.
A lot of my work in iOS relies on one amazing app: WorkFlow. It was recently acquired by Apple and enables automation on iOS. For blogging I use a workflow that I created after getting inspired by Brian Foutty. The workflow accepts plain text (in this case with Markdown syntax) and publishes it to my blog. It’s magic.
Spread the word
Social media is your friend. People will not just find your blog so you have to spread word about it. Browse Twitter to find what hashtags are trending in your topic area. Tag people on social media that you know benefit from your opinions and ask for feedback. Ask the same people to retweet or share your post. Make your message go viral.
image credit: pexels.com – license: CC0