This is an exciting time of year. Not only are we in the thick of our summer experiences—enjoying all of the fun activities this warm weather affords—but, most importantly, we are gearing up for the 2019 IT Blog Awards. Yes, you read that right. It’s almost that time again. And what better way to prepare for this year’s awards, then to look back and gain more insight into what it takes to be a winner in this competition.
We’ve given you insights into what makes a great blog with a short interview of Daniel Dib and Giuliano Barros. Now, it’s our pleasure to introduce Chris Bradshaw, blogging veteran and Best Analysis winner of the 2018 IT Blog Awards. Read on to gain insights into how he started, his advice to anyone thinking about starting their own blog and how he analyzes technology.
How did you start your career in tech? What has been your journey?
I’m one of those techies that started out as a kid with 80’s home computing. I still have my first computer, a Sinclair ZX81. After school and uni I started in a developer role at a small business which led into sysadmin tasks. My journey continued from there, keeping up as each new generation of technology built on the last.
How did you get into blogging?
Sometime around 2008 I started writing down and publishing funny things that happened at the office – very much micro-blogging before I’d discovered twitter for that purpose. I kept the site going and kept adding content and it grew from there.
What motivates you as a blogger?
There are two big motivations- when someone in the tech community contacts me (either in person, or through the blog/ social media) and says that they found something I wrote interesting or useful it really makes my day and encourages me to write more. Secondly, it still astounds me the number of times I’m googling a problem I’m experiencing and find the solution on my own site – your blog can be like a personal knowledge-base.
What advice can you give to anyone interested in starting their own blog?
Find a free blogging platform and put your thoughts down. You don’t have to plan or focus too much to start with – if you’ve got something to share that might help or interest just one person (even if that’s you), put it down. Blog posts can be short or long – you can write a detailed product analysis, a quick article on a solution to a problem you faced, a reaction to some tech news – pretty much anything. Start getting words on a page and you’ll eventually see what works for you.
Oh, and no matter how tempting it is as a techie, don’t spend all your time “fiddling with the knobs” on your blogging platform. The content is what really matters.
You won in the Best Analysis category. How do you typically formulate your analysis?
For the analytical pieces in the blog I always try and write about technology that interests me- maybe something I haven’t seen in the marketplace before or a new way of doing things that makes sense. And I always try to write a positive analysis- I won’t ignore the failings of a product but I won’t dwell on them. If I think something is garbage and doesn’t have any positive points I’m just not going to put time and effort into writing about it.
When I’m doing an analysis I spend quite a bit of time learning about and researching the technology in question and if I feel I don’t have enough understanding then I don’t hit publish. This means there’s a big pile of unpublished, unfinished work in my drafts folder which will never see the light of day, but I’m happy with that as there’s a learning experience for me in getting that far with a piece. Sometimes this also means I end up focusing on a particular feature of a product rather than the entire thing, making sure I provide a comprehensive analysis of that individual part rather than incorrect coverage of the whole.
If you were a networking product or solution, what would it be and why?
If I were a networking product I’d have to carry on being some kind of Level 8 transceiver, listening and sharing information across my network.
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