Category Archives: mentee

Getting started on your web presence

One of my mentees asked: in terms of public web presence, should you have a website, a blog, both of the above, or one site that serves both purposes?

These are some things Iíve learned after eight years of having a public web presence:

Have one site. Itís less confusing and it makes it easier for people to get to know you. Work-life separation or anonymous blogging may sound appealing. If thatís what it takes for you to get started, go for it (knowing that anonymity is very hard to keep). But itís easier to have one persona and one site.

I find that itís too much work to keep track of multiple personas and multiple sites. My internal/external split is hard enough for me to remember to update. ;)

Yes, there are lots of wildly popular niche bloggers with tightly-focused sites and tens of thousands of subscribers. Youíre not there yet. When you get to the point of having tons of great material you can share, you can syndicate or revise things for a separate focused blog or site.

Get your own domain name. It means never having to change URLs or e-mail addresses again, and you donít have to rely on a third-party blog/web host to stay free or to be in business.

If your name is hard to spell (like mine is), get another domain name and point it to the same content, configuring your web server so that search engines donít punish you for duplicate sites. For example, I use , but is easier for people to remember.

It doesnít matter if your domain name goes to your blog or to an overview. I prefer that shows people my blog because I have many frequent visitors, so itís easier to go directly to what people are interested in. Fresh content is good. Other people start with an overview that links to their blog. Either way works.

Try starting with a blog or microblog. Set up your site so that you think about updating it. Yes, itís easy to just put up an ďAbout MeĒ page. Static pages are useful. But static pages tend to stay static. Start a blog and use it as a staging area where you can write about what youíre thinking. Set up your blog editor so that you can publish to your blog easily. Add blogging to your task list as a recurring task. Use it to cc: world. As you write, youíll find things that youíll want to ďpromoteĒ to regular pages on your website. Treat your blog as your working area, and then use that to think about and create your static content.

Donít worry about getting started. Just start. Youíll tweak your web presence over time as you find inspiration and you figure out what fits. Get something out there. Itís easy to revise something that exists than to stare at a blank page.

Thanks to Brian OíDonovan for the question!