Thursday, September 22, 2005

Notes from MSFT WebCast

I mentioned in my last blog post that I had seen a fantastic WebCast from Microsoft that indroduced Blogging and RSS Syndication.

This webcast was recorded, and is now available for download at the following link: TechNet Webcast: Introduction to Blogging for the IT Professional (Level 100). I watched the recording and took some notes this time, which I sharewith you here. This is my own interpretation, so anyone who wants to correct me, please do.

Don't forget the next live webcast coming up: MSDN Webcast: Blogging from the Developer's Perspective (Level 100). And this link is at the bottom, but it's a good one - check out this Microsoft blogger site: TechNet Webcasts & Events Bloggers

Intro to Blogging

Some points on blogging:
  • Newest posts are listed first
  • Most blogs are written by a single person
5 things that make blogging hot:
  • It is very easy to publish to - free web interfaces
  • Discoverability - it's very easy to find your blog post/article on blog search engines
  • Most blog tools will show who's linking to your blog and how much traffic they have sent to your blog
  • Many blogs will have what is known as a permalink - you can get a url for just that entry. Users, therefore don't have to navigate to a page and then scroll down to find the particular posting.
  • Syndication (RSS, ATOM) and news aggregators
Locate blogs using a Blog search engine such as the following: What makes a good blog
  • Be Passionate - talk about what you love to do. Don't make it boring: keep your personality in it.
  • Be Authoritative - Do you talk about the entire industry? Are you well rounded? Do you know what you're talking about?
  • Be Credible - Don't lie, let people know your background and biases
  • When posting about an event or news story, post quickly after the story breaks. If you don't post within the first few hours you won't really be "part" of the conversation (especially technology).
Some blogging tips:
  • A great way for a techie to get started on a blog is to post questions and answers - problems they've run across and how to solve them. Similar to articles on CodeProject, but more informal and much shorter. That will help get links to your blog.
  • Pick a niche. People don't like when you talk about mixed topics in the same blog, or about personal events. If you want to post personal events, post in another blog.
  • Put what you're talking about in your title tag so it's easy to see that searching. Don't just write "My Blog", write "My Racquetball Blog" for example.
Why Blog? or What's the use for blogging?
  • Good bloggers have more following than some good authors
  • Practice your Tech writing skills
  • Interviews - many employers search on prospective employees by seeing if they are respected in the blogging communities
  • Word-of-mouth for your product. For example, If you write a software application and someone blogs about your software (i.e. reviews it), it helps to get the word out about that application.
  • You can very quickly check out lots and lots of news and info using blogs and aggregators.
How do you become known?
  • The more others link to your blogs, the more the search engines will find you, and the more of a following you will develop.
  • Do a podcast, videocast, or screencast in addition to your blog. (Be careful with the amount of bandwidth that your ISP's will limit you on). Check out this site for some good screencasts (or blogcasts)
  • Go register on technet at - if you have good content in your blog, it will be posted to the community. This is a good way to get discovered if you are a small blogger.
Some places to host your blog:

Intro to Aggregation

  • An aggregator is what Outlook is to Email - it's the client for effective blogging. Most are free or very cheap. Some aggregators are web-based, so the status of your items are carried with you.
  • It draws readers that want to stay with you and your posts.
  • Aggregation makes blogging more powerful. Think of how you would typically read someone's blog every day: you would create an internet favorite to their blog, go back there manually every day, and then have to examine the site to see what you have read and what you have not read.
  • RSS - Really Simple Syndication - is an XML document that aggregators use to read content from weblogs.
How do I subscribe to a feed?

Usually you will see RSS or XML on a web site. This is a link to the XML document used to subscribe to the blog.

Some aggregators will let you simply right-click on that link to subscribe, or else just use the subscribe feature in your aggregator by typing in the URL directly.

Some aggregators: Why use an aggregator?

Q: "Do I have to go to your web site every day to check to see if you have new blog posts?"
A: "No, you only have to go once to my blog, and subscribe to it via RSS; then my blog comes to you."
  • Distinguishes between read and unread posts like email clients
  • You can subscribe to different sites and topics
  • Automatically updates the information for you. You don't waste time browsing to a web site that has no new posts.
  • Very powerful for getting through lots of news fast
What is a podcast? (Portable Device + Broadcast)

Blogging Communities

  • Each individual blogger has their own blog feed and the community also has a cumulative main feed.
  • The more people that subscribe to these community sites, the better thechances are that you'll get higher readership, than if you just had your own blog site.
  • You need to fit into the group - don't post cat photos or off-topic articles, as youmay have your posts removed by the administrator(s)
  • Community blogs may have ads on them
  • Visitors are looking for specific topics so may find your blog easier than on your own blog site
Some community blogs you can get started on:

Corporate Blogging

Be careful what you say, if your company can in any way be linked (i.e. using their name, or having pictures with their logo).
  • Assume your company or boss will eventually read your blog - especially ones referencing your company's name or your full name
  • ell your company or boss about your blog beforehand
  • Find out what your company's guidelines or policies

Technet Blogging Resources


At 2:01 PM, Blogger vitalfinds said...

Thanks Sue for permission to use your very detailed and informative Blog & RSS Feed Article. It is posted here:

I hope to be able to republish more of your articles in the future!


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