G’day! Sit back and relax…

29/12/2009

“You should have a Blog!”

Yeah, right… What for?

“It’s sooo much better for the SEO of your web site.”

Uhhm, and…? What would I write there? I have nothing to talk about which anybody would wanna read! So who would ever visit my blog?

Yep, all this was basically true until a few days ago.  So what changed?

I started a paid contract for a friend, who runs a small web hosting company. Actually, it’s not a web host as such, but a platform to publish your own web site using a template based content management system he developed. Right now he’s moving everything from an old server onto a bank of brand-spanking-new rack servers which he will keep in an air-conditioned cubby-hole in his garage. At the same time he upgraded to the latest PHP and SQL server, which is causing some problems with his code, so the move is taking much longer than expected.

He also needs help files for the entire system; you might know what programmers are like with writing help files! Most steps seem to be obvious to them, the rest of the steps they cannot describe without using some sort of jargon.

That’s where my new job comes in: I’m supposed to go through every function on his system, take screen captures where needed, and write a short and comprehensive help file. By doing this I’m also bug testing every aspect of his software (so we both hope!) so that he can iron out the PHP errors.

So here I’m waffling on, and you still don’t know why all this is a reason to start a blog.

You see, the system of burgundysky is meant to give novices an easy platform to publish their own web site. So we can’t assume that these clients know much, but on the other hand we don’t want to make the help file too long – ’cause if the instructions are too long it might look frightening to somebody who’s new to publishing their own web site.

The aim is to keep the help as short and simple as possible. Yet I discover so many topics where I believe I should insert some “hints” to make the process even smoother. Let’s say somebody wants to insert a photo. We all have seen pages where photos

  • are way too large and take ages to load;
  • or are too compressed and look un-attractive;
  • or worst: are resized to fit the website, but in actually fact the original file is over 3000 pixels, and only the width/height has been adjusted to fit the page.

To cover a topic like “Editing of Photos” would be well beyond the scope of an ordinary help file. Initially I had thought I could insert topics like this in a small box alongside the general step-by-step instructions, but it soon became obvious that some boxes would be too big and distract from the core topic on the screen. So now I think I will post these “hints” on my new blog and link to them from the help file.

There you have it: the reason for being – at least as far as this blog is concerned.

Oh, actually, there’s a second reason: I finally wanted to use WordPress. I know about it since 2003 or 2004, but never saw any real reason to explore it. If I create a web site I usually like to do it from scratch; I hate to be confined by someone else’s ideas of how my site should look, and which format it should take… All this is still true for “normal sites”, but I can see as well the use for a blogging software. In hindsight I might even have considered WordPress for our travelblog dare2go.com – but at the time I didn’t have the spare time to learn about some new software…

So now I hope that I have something to say that’s interesting and informative = a reason for you to come back (or even bookmark and share this blog – ghee – now I’m getting ahead of myself). ENJOY!

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