post 200Well loyal readers, that's the first 200 posts published on theOnlyCog!

 

It's been exactly 20 months since the inaugural post, 23 March 2011.  I didn't actually plan the 200/20 event but I knew the 200th was coming up and when I checked today it made me smile.

It's been an interesting journey for me.  I honestly had no idea where the blog would take me when I first started and it's not always been easy.  There are millions of blogs out there, and who knows what percentage are Technology related.

For me, the easy part was selecting a topic to blog on -- technology is my passion.  However trying to be unique is not simple and attempting to avoid churning out the same stories as everyone else is a challenge.  There are two streams to the blog -- news reporting and reviews/opinions.

The news element is the toughest as everyone tends to report the same topic at the same time.  Rather than churn out every event as it happens I have attempted to select stories that are interesting and not day-to-day chatter.  As an example, I never blog on rumour; I prefer facts.

I try to take a different angle or report on a small detail that might have been over-looked.  A recently example, the launch of Google Music in the UK....this was tagged onto the end of a press release from Google concerning the Nexus 4, 7 and 10 release dates.  Many people initially missed the Music announcement so I chose to go with that.  Of course it really didn't take long for others to report on it too.  I did receive one or two comments to the effect "wow, I missed that in the announcement".

Posts containing reviews and opinions appear to get the greatest number of reads, and feature highest up the search rankings.  I enjoy reviews but I always attempt to depersonalize as much as possible and be fair.  I'm not here to comment on one product and slate another simply because I prefer something.  I want to consider the bigger picture.  Go on to any social network site and within minutes you will discover whole themes dedicated to Apple or Android bashing, for example.  I am so not interested in these antics.  Each has a place and a role to play.  I recently converted from an iPhone to Android mobile however I don't see the need to slap the competition, and I believe the iPhone still has a huge part to play in choice and freedom of expression.

So what of my next two hundred posts, and beyond?

I wold like to engage more with my audience.  At the moment I publish articles on the blog then posts links on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. I like getting feedback and comments however they come from all over giving a disjointed view.  I've toyed with the idea of blocking comments on the various networks so that people only respond on the blog but I'm not sure this is a good approach.  At one point I also considered only running the blog on one social network and dropping the website, but it limits the audience.

I'm keen to attract quality guest posts.  Everyone has something to say and it would be awesome if people wanted to post an article on theOnlyCog.  Interestingly I have been open to guest blog posts since the start but so far nothing.  Don't get me wrong, I get about 10 offers every week but I can honestly say none of them are genuine (to me).   For example today I received a 'Dear Webmaster' -- well there is the first mistake!  If the person had taken a second to read my Guest Post rules they would see my name is David.  The email then continued 'I loved you post on PC optimisation'.  Fail!  I have never blogged on such a topic.  Bin!

I do however have my first guest blog post ready to publish -- I solicited the person and asked him to write a small article.  In honor of my first guest poster it shall be blog post number 201.  Hopefully more will follow.

I should also comment on how the site runs.  The blog is produced using Wordpress, a free blogging tool.  I bought the domain name and pay for web site hosting on an on-going basis.  Since the costs are so low I do not run any adverts on the site and obviously I don't make anything from blogging -- I do it simply as a hobby!   Initially I self-hosted on my own kit, but as the blog became more popular I needed something faster.  I dabbled with a few hosting companies but I finally settled on one after reading good things about them.  Although I pay for my hosting and they do not sponsor me in any way I just wanted to offer a small thanks to South West Broadband for their excellent, cost-effective hosting.  It is very reliable, fast and the support guys are great.

So there you have it, this is blog post number 200 and a little insight into the journey so far.  As always I would welcome feedback.

....and finally, because I like to add a little something different to each post, the number 200 represents the HTTP status code for success!  A webserver returns a 200 code when a request is received, understood, accepted and processed successfully  :-)

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