Whichever way you’ve decided to create your home base, the most critical thing is to make it worthwhile. Easy to say, right? Actually, it’s not so hard to do.
What should go into your own home base? Many things, but a few are key. I advise including an About page, a blog and links to everything else you’re doing on the Web (or as many as you can link to). How the page looks matters, but the content is the most critical element. And, of course, you want to be found.
My home page has a “static” blog post at the top—a post that holds its position no matter what new blog postings I may write. There, I briefly introduce myself and what I do, and I point to other relevant pages on the site, including a more detailed About page as well as my speaking calendar, contact information and, of course, the Mediactive site. I specifically ask readers to think of the site as “a portal to (almost) everything I’m doing, online and offline.”
My blogging at dangillmor.com consists mostly of personal material, with some political, tech-related and other items as well that don’t fit neatly into my professional blogging.
Surrounding my personal blog are links to, or full posts from, many of the places where I post things elsewhere on the Net. They include Twitter tweets, product and business reviews I’ve posted at Amazon and Yelp, my Dopplr travel calendar, Flickr photos and more. And, of course, there’s a link to the Amazon sales page for my last book. How can all this appear so neatly on my page? Because of RSS, which I described in Chapter 3; those sites let me create RSS feeds of the material I create on them, which I can then easily import into my site.
How often should you update your home base? That’s entirely up to you. If you’re doing great stuff on Twitter or other sites that pour information into your home base, you may not need to do constant updates on your blog, but if this is the single place where you blog the most, I recommend updating it at least twice a week. Those updates may take the form of text postings, embedded videos, podcasts or just about anything else. Some of the best blogs, moreover, have lots of short posts with many links; remember that linking is one of the basic values of the Web. Whatever you create, you want it first of all to be worth your effort; even if you have only a few readers or viewers, you are the person whose critiques matter most in the end.
None of what I’ve described is complicated, though I keep wishing for a service that would make it even easier to aggregate this “daily me” onto my page more easily. New services are springing up to help you do it on their sites—we’ll list them on the Mediactive site—and you can get most of this done if you use iGoogle, MyYahoo, NetVibes and several other big-name services.
However you do this, you should remember that you’re never finished. For better or worse, your home base will always be a work in progress, because you are a work in progress.