December 26, 2016

Build a Site from the Ground Up

Recently I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a new blog, just for fun. The area of focus will be on craft beer brewing and reviews. Knowing what I now know about content, content planning, and management, I started to think about how to build a site from the ground up with entertaining but valuable content.

Of course, this means I need to spend time thinking about how to organize my content and what CMS will I use? If you read my last post, you’ll see that I’m back to WordPress but also evaluating Expression Engine. The reality is that WordPress is way easier when it comes to templates and since this blog will be casual, I’m not going waste time and effort with a big powerful CMS system only to have to hack together a bad looking web template.

That said, it doesn’t negate the fact for having relevant and well organized content on the site. I sat down last night and jotted down a few notes and ideas on my handy Moleskine.

This is where you and I begin.

Mind Mapping

First think about what you want to do with the blog. In my case, I want to write about great craft beers I’ve recently tasted, give them a personal rating, and also post my latest brew logs. I’d like to build a community that will share info, so I’ll need to create a Twitter and/or Facebook presence, and I might create brew day videos too.

So the main mind mapped chunks are:

  • Beer Reviews
  • Brew Logs
  • Videos
  • Social Interaction
  • Exercise

Beer Reviews

Beer reviews will be about just that, beers that I’ve tried and logged. The posts should have a photo of the beer I tried, maybe poured in a glass and a discussion about its characteristics. A final 5 or 10 star rating will be provided at the end. Organizing this content will be straight forward. Categories will break the beer into lagers or ales and tags will provide a deeper description of color and body.

Brew Logs

Brew logs will be a bit tricky as I share my brews recipes and experiments. The key thing is to be able to allow my readers to download the recipes easily and to do that I will generate them in the beer.xml format.  Readers can then quickly import them into BrewTarget or some other tool to get all the particulars of mashing, ingredients, etc.

Videos

Videos will probably come later and be posted to a new YouTube channel. Why? So I can monitor the analytics separately. The intent for these videos is to share what happens during a brew day. I believe (and this remains to be measured) that a video, coupled with a brew log, will be a powerful and useful bit of content for my readers.

Social Interaction

Any videos that will be posted to the YouTube channel will also be published to a new Facebook page. I’ve come to find that connecting on Facebook has a better signal to noise ratio that Twitter. Twitter will always remain as the modern version of email marketing!

Exercise

WTF is exercise doing on here? Well the reality is that beer makes me fat because of my generally sedentary lifestyle. So my goal is that before each beer review or brew day that I spend some yet to be determined time at the Dojo or on the Elliptical burning off extra calories for my tasting. If I meet my exercise goals, then I’m allowed to have a beer or brew beer!

Now I just have to figure out my inaugural home brew batch!

Posted by Thomas Ott


Beer Blogging Content Creation blogging CMS


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