1. Find your purpose
What is your reason to start a blog?
Did you read on Reddit, Hackernews or another site that you need one as developer in order to be relevant? Are blogging developers getting paid better?
Or do you want to showcase your latest work somwhere? Another thing you can do on a personal blog is to build an audience and get into selling courses or guides.
Whatever it is - be aware of it and act accordingly.
You want to build tutorials? Cool - write good ones and publish them.
You want to build a portfolio of things you have done so far in your career? Alright, write about your latest experience.
Easy as that.
2. Nobody will read your content (at first)!
Truth be told, at the beginning this can be really frustrating.
I personally tried to do a bit of shilling on Reddit and Hackernews, pretty quickly I learned that this is not how you can grow a blog. I guess in the long-term most of your traffic will be coming from organic traffic anyway. The search engines - mostly google - will guide people to your page.
All this needs time to build up, don’t expect extraordinary results within the first three months.
3. Content first
No matter what you do, all people care about is content. You might be really thorn between two themes - your readers probably don’t care. Invest the time better, invest it in extra-ordinary content. Focus on the content!
4. KISS - Keep it simple (,stupid)!
Like already mentioned in the previous point. Content is king!
Therefore whatever your platform is - make sure that adding and publishing content is easy for you. I started out with this whole blog being a Wordpress Installation.
To be more specific: In the beginning I hosted it as a Wordpress Blog running on an EC2 t2.micro AMI and an Amazon RDS database. After fiddling for too long with all the webhosting related things, I got it set up and working. Creating content was a breeze.
Still I had to manage the server/installation: Updating Plugins, updating PHP, installing Let’s Encrypt. In the back of my head there was always this scenario “What if I get hacked?”.
If I could start again, I would try to choose a platform where maintenance effort is lower. Currently my blog is hosted on GitHub pages, still using the domain I aquired on Amazon.
Writing articles now is a simple git commit. Updating the pages is just a
No need to maintain a server. No fear about getting hacked. Due to the the content being static, the page is by definition unhackable. Still my credentials could get leaked and people taking it over, but this is nothing compared to Wordpress / Wordpress Plugin exploits.
I couldn’t be happier.
5. Make it your own!
In the past, I published a few posts which now have around 50k views on medium. What I don’t like about it is that I am not really benefiting from it.
In retrospective, I really like my move to something done by myself. I learned a lot and also it is much easier to modify things the way you want.
If you ever plan to do something more with your visitors, e.g. selling an e-book, it is really beneficial to own your content. Having your content somewhere else could bite you way down the road.
6. Find topics to write about
This is the hardest part for me. Personally I try to alternate a bit between tutorials, stories and guide lines since all of them have their own charms.
After all you REALLY don’t need to be an expert in the topics you write about - as long as you make it obvious. I see myself often reading articles about people showcasing what they figured out when they started learning a new technology.
This is something I really enjoy to read while learning something from scratch, it often shows you things from a perspective of a beginner which more experience people lack.
Don’t let your lack of experience get in the way. In my latest post I did something similar and I learned a lot with the feedback I got from the readers.
7. Make it a habbit
Beginning something is hard, sticking to it even harder.
After you start blogging, I think it is really necessary to make it a habbit. There will be times when you don’t want to write or just have no idea about what to write. What ever it is, don’t let this hold you back from publishing something.
The longer you wait between posts, the harder it will be for you to come back to it.
8. Enjoy and share
This is something I really enjoy. After writing articles, I see myself often talking to people about it. Not in a way that I tell them that I have written an article but more checking if their views align with mine on this particular topic. This is something you even could do before actually publishing it.
Another thing I like is getting in contact with people having the same interests. Make sure to be reachable via social media or by having a comment function in your blog.
Also make sure to enjoy the journey :)
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and could take away something with you.
Did you already start a blog? Is it still alive? I would love to hear from you about your experience so far.
Did you not yet start a blog? Also let me know why!
Feel free to share your thoughts and experience on Twitter or any other social media channel.