I’m going to talk about a lot of things in this blog about blogging, but let’s start with the basics – how I got started. I am a web developer and I build and maintain web sites by trade, and I’ve been doing that in the corporate environment since 1996′ish. I stopped building web sites (on the side) for the public Internet probably in 2002, but kept a domain out there for myself (www.smorgasbord.net) in various states of disrepair.

About two years ago I was introduced to drupal, which is a content management system or CMS for web sites. Before Drupal my site was a mixture of hand coded PHP and html. When I deleted the last hand coded version of my site almost 2 years ago and installed drupal I thought it was going to be much easier to maintain my web site. I was tired of hand coding html, and I was tired of programming custom PHP. I thought it was a good choice at the time, but drupal was as mature as I thought it was. Drupal has a learning curve that’s a bit steep – as far as figuring out how to customize it to your liking and how to present it the same way a static site would be.

At the time I first started using it – an ‘aggregator module’ hand been added and for the first time you could give it rss feeds and it would grab headlines for you and publish them in your site. I’ve been using bloglines for years to read feeds, and the thought of being able to add my favorite feeds into my own web site, and comment on them was appealing. I added in a few to test it out. All you could really do was add the latest 10 to the sidebar or view the aggregator page itself to view them. You couldn’t really comment on them like I wanted to either. At the time I also started using Ubuntu Linux, so I started writing a few articles about that and also started a ‘book’ in my site about things newbies to Ubuntu should learn.

So basically now I had switched from a traditional web site – and I was blogging. Quickly posting information, some short funny videos, informative articles…whatever came to mind. About six months went by, and I wrote an article about a new cell phone I got. It was a very long post, and I kept adding to it all the new features I was learning about the phone, and all kinds of tips and tricks. About this time I read a post by Jason Kottke about how he had unexpected earned some money with his blog by using the Amazon Associates program. I think he had some links to books, and someone did some shopping for a very expensive printer after clicking on the link to amazon from his site – which earned him a nice little commission. This got me thinking about my site in a whole different way (to be continued in part 2)…