Yet Another Blog Re-Launch

My thoughts on the conversion and re-launch of my blog from Wordpress to Octopress and how personal brands and identity affected that decision.


Today I’ve completed the conversion and re-launch of my blog. Previously I had been using Wordpress, but after having it hacked several times and loosing the customized template I made, I became rather disinterested in blogging. It has been converted to Octopress. My disinterest was because I didn’t want to deal with the platform (Wordpress). I hated the fact that it was database-driven and was prone to so many vulnerabilities and required more maintenance than I had time to deal with. I hated the way the default template looked, yet didn’t want to find another off-the-shelf template and be one of the many out there with the same template. I like to be unique. Ultimately, I hated writing blog posts in Wordpress. I’m a web developer, and I like writing documents that are going on the web in good ‘ole html.

Did I dislike writing content? Far from it. Inquire with my wife. She’ll tell you how much I like to write. The last year and a half, an internal debate was waging: am I missing the whole point of blogging (that is, the content), or am I really wanting to turn my website into a platform that helps market me as a person? The more I thought about it, the more I realized the latter was what I wanted, but the former is all I have time for. As a consultant and community advocate, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to market myself as an individual , much less the company I work for (Improving Enterprises). Ultimately, the name recognition within the community is what enables me to be invited to more speaking engagements, which in turn gets me into the larger, national conferences. Being recognized helps drive engagement, whether it’s helping to answer a community question, or whether it’s becoming engaged with a new project.

The first aspect of looking at my identity was a logo. Several of the best consultants and designers on the web have a logo that definitely is unique to them. Coming up with a logo for yourself is hard, especially when you’re not the most apt designer. I knew of several traits that I wanted to portray (without being too literal), yet I couldn’t get any good design to push from my brain through the pencil. Ultimately, I gave up with this approach and tried to focus on the blog. I figured that once I had the blog design out of the way, it would be easier to come up with the logo design. Sadly, I had been out of commission long enough to have lost my skills of drafting good designs. Combined with the fact that work was getting extremely busy, I had to abandon the approach of a new blog design altogether.

Thus, we’re back at square one - figuring out how whether to focus on identity or blogging. I opted to do a review of my blog, just to see how much identity I had really pushed into that. To my chagrin, there weren’t a lot of posts on what I feel defines me as an individual; it seemed very sporadic, and I actually have more posts on systems administration than I do on software development. That’s when I realized that I can be the most effective by focusing on my content now, and working on identity later.

In this blog revamp, I did a number of different things. First, all code samples are using the Octopress code blocks to have consitent syntax highlighting. Second, I have simplified the categories into the following:

These are the primary three types of individuals that I market to on my blog, so hopefully splitting up the blog into these separate sections will allow more RSS subscribers to the category they are most interested in. Ultimately, if you are using an RSS reader (yet another reason why the branding of the site doesn’t matter for identity), you can subscribe to any of the following RSS feeds:

Ultimately, I hope this gives me more motivation to blog more regularly. Can I promise a regular schedule? This time, don’t count on it. I’ve stated so many times in the past that “I will get better about posting” and it never comes to fruition. In reality, I’m a busy guy, and posting to my blog is not the first thing on my mind. So, I encourage everyone to encourage me to post so that I may actually do it.