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More complicated than you’d think…

Well, I am a few days into my blog now and have  spent a great deal of time setting the site up; certainly more than I imagined I would.  Despite WordPress’s famed “5 minute install,” I have found myself spending my spare time over the last few days adding tweaks, plugins, themes and debugging the same to try and get the blog nearer to where I would like it to be.

I’ve read multiple websites and other blogs which contain advice for new bloggers and (see interesting links) and most of the advice seems pretty sensible.  In the hope it might help other new bloggers, here’s what I have added to the base WordPress 2.9.2 installation so far, and why.

  • Awsom News Announcement.  My theme doesn’t allow for a static message on the home page, and I wanted a little introduction.  Having used this plugin before elsewhere, it was a must.
  • Contact Form 7.  Not wanting to fill my inbox with spam by putting my email address on the internet, I wanted a contact form, and this was highly recommended.  I did have some problems with using it and permalinks on my server (I use an IIS server and a 404 error handler to handle permalinks) – but found a solution on the WordPress forums.
  • Postalicious.  This required me to sign up for a account too, but came highly recommended as a good way of automatically posting the links which interest me on a daily basis.
  • WP-Cumulus.  Rather than a normal tag  cloud which just lists your tags as plain text, this takes them and turns them into a small flash “movie” which is more interactive, and I think better looking.
  • WP to Twitter. Pretty much as the name suggests, this plug in tweets an announcement of new blog posts on my twitter account.

And there is still more to do!  I need to improve the prominence of my RSS feeds, put more useful information in the right hand column, improve the SEO, and do some layout tweaks at the least…  but this could just be my being a perfectionist.  All / any suggestions greatly appreciated – leave a comment!

Hello world!

Well, it seems appropriate to leave the title of the first entry on my blog as “Hello World!” partly because its nearly always the first example in any computing book and partly because this is my first foray into the world of blogging.

I’ve been inspired to start blogging as a result of a couple of blogs which I read regularly, some are Helicopter related exclusively but some have mixed content which reflects the authors life (although I probably started reading them because of the flying content).

I hope my blog proves to be interesting to people, but my motivation is a little selfish too.  I often have thoughts about subjects which I think if I wrote about them it would help me think about the topic in greater depth, rather than being naturally dismissive; a tendency of mine.

I’m now faced with the dilemma’s of coming up with good tags & categories to help with the SEO of the site, tweaking the theme, finding the right widgets and all the other stuff which makes for a good usable blog which (hopefully) generates repeat visitors.  So, be prepared for the site to evolve over time… and thanks for visiting!