It struck me as I’ve mentioned to friends and family that now I’m using my blog more, just how unusual the concept is it so many people. Why would anyone want to write on the web something that (potentially) no-one would ever read?
First of all, I’m a believer in the fact that everyone knows something the next person doesn’t or their lives or life choices might be of interest to someone else. In a professional or niche field especially.
I started writing on this blog a couple of years ago after finishing my degree. I’d finished my major project and my head was still full of the research I’d done and it started as a way for me to structure my thoughts. After that, I got more into thinking about developing a project I’ve always wanted to work on, and following reading up about how to turn that into a reality, I occasionally posted some of the things I’d leaned. Now it’s more a demonstration of where I’m at in a professional sense; to get down some thoughts on the areas I’m interested in and use it as a point of reference should I ever want to take on more freelance work, etc. Now I’m writing more, I’m also looking at promoting myself more as a developer and therefore promoting the blog.
For many industries blogging could really help. A client I often do freelance work for deals in teas from around the world and natural bodycare products; they’re a perfect candidate for a blog. It’s a small team with specialist knowledge and I think that having a blog to run alongside their ‘official’ or product based news could both allow them to show more character and the depth of their knowledge about their subject. Likewise for another client that deals in brewing your own beers and wines. I always feel that the people at Howies (a clothing company) have it pitched about right, balancing their ethical beliefs as a company with the day to day running and even personal anecdotes to round out their ethos and brand.
Above all, as a web developer you need to use the technologies you offer to clients. I use Google Apps, Microsoft products such as Outlook with Exchange and the Office suite, browsers from IE6 and Firefox to Safari on the Mac, social networks, RSS feed readers, Google Analytics and now I also use Basecamp for managing projects too. You have to understand what’s on offer and try it for yourself so you can make sound choices for your clients.
I guess my thinking is that if I understand how I can get the most out of tools like blogs, maybe the people I work with can too.