Iâ€™m going to talk about a lot of things in this blog about blogging, but letâ€™s start with the basics – how I got started. I am a web developer and I build and maintain web sites by trade, and Iâ€™ve been doing that in the corporate environment since 1996â€²ish. 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 thatâ€™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 â€˜aggregator moduleâ€™ 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. Iâ€™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 couldnâ€™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 â€˜bookâ€™ 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 articlesâ€¦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)â€¦