Blogging and analytics tools

I’m surprised no one has asked this until now – but I’ve had a couple people ask about the mechanics of blogging.

1: It’s a bigger time commitment that you could possibly imagine (ok, it’s really not that much time in aggregate, but forcing yourself to do it is harder than it sounds).

2: Free tools usually suck: If you’re going to blog, expect to pay for things that make your life easier, make your blog prettier, etc. But, you don’t always have to pay a lot!

3: Writing is easier than cat-herding: Even though I just told you how hard it is to commit to your own blog, you have no idea how difficult things can get until you try coordinating multiple creatives… Unless you write their paychecks, your volunteer blog contributors will inevitably have writer’s block, lack of inspiration or competing priorities that prevent them from writing to a set schedule.

 

For those of you out there like me – straight out of grad school, two startups, one Kickstarter campaign and a blog – analytics are crucial to learn where to spend your time. But, if you’re in the same boat as me, you also know that Cash is King (see, I was listening Prof. Ilya)!

Occasionally, you run into great tools that are not expensive! Sure, Google Analytics are available too (and free), but have you ever tried to use it? It isn’t very user friendly and I can’t figure out if the functionality is limited or maybe I just don’t know how to use their tools…

Hosted WordPress

This website, DecadentMinimalist.com and blog.hinted.com are all run on different flavors of hosted WordPress… Why different flavors? WordPress.com takes the open-source wordpress.org blogging platform and turns it into an easy-to-use and nearly bullet-proof hosted platform – that ease of use and security also come with some restrictions. You can’t install most WordPress plugins and many of the nice looking templates are fee-based add-ons. So what starts cheap can get quite pricey… WordPress hosted at external vendors (like GoDaddy or any number of other hosting companies) have the advantage of using unaltered wordpress.org tools – so the full suite of plug-ins and 3rd party tools are at your disposal. But now you are partially responsible for keeping your stuff up-to-date and running smoothly. You need to decide which is more important…

S3Stat – tastes great & less filling!

But, if you host any static content on Amazon S3, there is a great, easy to use tool that gives you detailed analytics – easy to use, easy to decipher and a pretty dashboard to boot. No software installation required either – just tell S3Stat where to find your S3 logs and it starts digesting that data into useful views. Easy as pie. By hosting pictures, documents, media – any static downloadables – on S3, you can easily get around space limitations that you face on hosted blogging platforms – and at the same time, get much better logging visibility by using S3Stat!

Hope this helps!

-E

 

 

ePaperwork Arrived

Wow. It feels so much more real now…

I received my acceptance letter on school letterhead – it’s in electronic form, but that is good enough for me. They want confirmation of my intent to attend within two weeks – I don’t even need 2 seconds to think about it!! They want a $10k down-payment with my confirmation. I’ve been told to expect a “New Admit” kit in about a month. Orientation will be on campus in mid-April. Now I’m really excited!!

About the same time I got my official acceptance email, I got a call from UVA Darden – I have also been accepted into the Darden GEMBA program. I’d MUCH prefer to go to Stanford, so I don’t even really need to think about the choice – but it’s nice to be wanted!

I’ve decided to visit campus prior to orientation. I’d like to visit campus and give my wife a chance to get familiar with the area. I’ve lived in the Bay Area before, but she hasn’t – so it will be a new adventure for her. I hope to sit in on a current class and get a feel for the pace.