Tips for Starting a Blog

I’ve had a few people ask for tips on blogging, and thought I’d put it all in one place. I also put down a few reasons why you should create your own home on the web here.

  • Set a schedule. I post here on Sundays, at the end of every month, and at the end of every year. At least that’s the goal.
    On ThinkDFIR, I aim to post once a month…when you think about that, that’s only 12 posts a year. Some people are crazy and post every day, and that’s a daunting and difficult task that many people have tried. Limiting to 12 posts + when inspiration strikes means that you can write out a few draft posts in advance and then you’re already ahead!
  • Not everything has to be groundbreaking. You can test your understanding of an artefact, you can test someone else’s understanding and replicate their findings. You can share your learning. You can use your posts as a reference for things that you’ve done, processes that you’ve followed. Ultimately the page should be for you, and if it helps other people then that’s an added bonus.
  • Imposter syndrome is a thing. That’s ok, you can caveat your knowledge or understanding. You can post that you’re still learning about a thing. You can also update your post as you test more and learn more. But at the end of the day you will have a list of topics that you can say you’ve written about. You may not know everything, that’s ok, no one does.
  • Tweet streams, listserv questions, forum posts are all great for identifying a problem, or sharing that you’re going to be looking into something. Don’t let it stop there! You can post up what you found. It makes my life as a curator a lot easier, but the main reason I prefer it is because I’ll remember you wrote something, but then have to spend hours trying to figure out where.
  • Spellcheck is good. It’s good to run over posts just to make sure that I didn’t make any glaringly obvious spelling or grammar errors. I usually pick up a few
  • Put a date on your posts; shouldn’t be hard if you use the blogging feature of various CMS’s but if you’re using pages, please please please put a date somewhere.
  • Hosting! Lots of places you can host, I like WordPress (referral link), but there’s also Github Pages, Blogger, Medium, or reaching out to Devon for hosting on AboutDFIR. Generally, you should be looking for something with an editor that lets you put your content up quickly and easily, and let someone else worry about the backend stuff. It’s slightly more expensive, but it’s significantly easier when ‘content is king’. That and most of the CMSs allow for easy migration if you decide it’s not for you.
    1. WordPress has free hosting with a few restrictions.
    2. You can pay a bit for a domain, and/or e-mail. You don’t need to. (You can also find a discount code online somewhere, I think ‘PODCAST’ worked last time).
    3. You can pay a lot for adding premium styles, CSS, custom plugins.
    4. The editor is ok; you can’t use CSS, and tables require you to go into the manual HTML, but support told me they’re updating the editor so that should help.
    5. The themes are all fine; you can very easily change themes. I can’t even remember the one that I started with, but it’s super easy to hit a button and change the style into something you like.
    6. Basically, start the page and fiddle around with it until you find something you can put up with. It doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’; as long as it’s easy to get your point across, and represents you in some way (ie put your resume, social media, projects, content, anything).
  • General posting style tips:
    1. Explain your scenario and what you found. I like when people start their posts with what they’re going to cover, rather than jumping straight in.
    2. Focus on readability.
    3. Add pictures to get your point across, and highlight the bits that are important – showing a stream of hex and saying “you can clearly see this and that” doesn’t really help those of us that aren’t intimately aware with the hex as you are.
    4.  Tell us why you think this is useful if you can.
    5. Summarise what you found – showing your work is great, but actually illustrating what you’ve found in a few sentences will help solidify your understanding and articulate your points.

I’ll update this further if I think of other things to put here.