COBOL Blogging

Several readers have sent me comments asking me how to blog. I’m sure there are as many ways to blog as there are bloggers, but I do have a specific method that I follow and wanted to share that here. It’s not really anything unexpected.

Platform

First of all, the host I chose for my demystifyingCOBOL domain is SiteGround, which provides WordPress as my site manager. I maintain my blog through the WordPress dashboard. It’s not free: I pay a yearly fee to keep and manage my domain. I wouldn’t say it’s cheap either, but it is secure, and the WordPress interface is very user friendly and efficient. It beats web page development from the early 1990’s, when you had to add all your HTML tags yourself, and it sometimes took an hour to load your changes back up to the server. You can really see the difference when you “lived the dream”. With WordPress, I just basically add my post content and hit “publish”.

Ideas

I get my inspirations for each blog post from a variety of sources. Sometimes it’s something that I remember from my many years experience as a COBOL Programmer, or it might be something new to me that I came across in my related readings. For example, I enjoy reading about COBOL history, as well as modern innovations such as Digital Transformation. I’m also intrigued by women in technology and would love to write more in that area.

Template

In terms of format, I try to keep the length to around 500 words. Also, as a rule, I include the following in each of my blogs:

  1. An appropriate title that is descriptive of the topic discussed. The title should try to catch the reader’s attention with key words.
  2. At least 3 paragraphs of text. Add headings to break up the blocks of writing.
  3. Links to supporting articles or facts presented as hyperlinks. Don’t add the whole link in the text. Put a shorter description instead.
  4. Multimedia such as images or videos, if appropriate.

The Ending

The last sentence or two in a blog may be the most important, because it’s what the reader is left with and should be strong. It should call the reader to action, to somehow ask them to relate the blog content to their own experience.

The following are some examples of types of endings, specifically applicable to this COBOL blog, but they can be used in other contexts as well.

  1. Ask a question such as “what would you do differently if you were an aspiring COBOL blogger?”
  2. Suggest a challenge like the following: “try to come up with your own COBOL related blog topic and see where it takes you.”
  3. Ask the reader to help by sharing this blog post in a COBOL related forum that they belong to.
  4. Offer help with any COBOL-related questions that the audience may have or ask what content they would like to see in future blogs.

 

The most important thing about blogging is to pick a topic that you enjoy writing about. The rest should fall together naturally.

 

Author: Donna Jennings

I have a BA and a BComm, as well as a Diploma in Programming. I have been a COBOL system designer and coder for over 25 years, and I am still trying to demystify the language for myself...I Love the culture of COBOL and how it has provided so many people, including myself, with a lifelong livelihood. The opinions in my posts are completely my own, based on my many years of experience working in a COBOL development environment.

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