December 10, 2018

Why you should start blogging

There are plenty of good reasons why you should start blogging right now or at least consider doing it. I’ve blogged previously about a decade ago and started doing it again since last year. I’ve seen plenty of benefits from this blog (and the previous one) and will talk about them in this blog post. In the end, I will propose a few modern solutions needed for starting your own blog.

I’ve wanted to start this blog much earlier than I actually did, but I procrastinated until last year. Previously I had a blog named IntTips, a blog about Internet/Computer Tips and Tricks from which I learned many things (not including the ones I’ll list below):

  • SEO
  • Analytics
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Adsense, Google Keyword Tooling

After getting seriously committed to programming, I decided not to continue writing on this blog, as the main topic was about other software/themes.

Once I felt comfortable sharing my programming knowledge with others, I started this blog that talks mainly about programming and personal technology.

In a year, I’ve gained many benefits from writing here. Some of them, in no particular order:

Developing technical skills

Once I start writing a post about a thing I’m working on or have dealt with previously, I try to learn more about it in order to present it in the best possible way. Researching about a topic leads to me getting a better understanding of it.

Alternatively, I may sometimes want to write a post about something I have not even worked on but would like to, which forces me to learn it.

An example of it is the most popular post on my blog about integrating Swagger with Go. Once I’ve written it, I didn’t like the part that it only generates JSON and you have to host the SwaggerUI yourself.

It let me to further investigate the topic, try the solution myself and write a post about it.

Self-promotion and new opportunities

Whether you are an individual or a business, blogs are great for promotion. Just recently I got a good gig from the blog, where I was contacted by the client to be a technical writer for their product.

Writing about a topic, makes you look like a domain expert, even if you are (most probably) not. I’ve worked very shortly with Go and Elastic, and couldn’t find solutions for the problems I encountered, thus, deciding to write a guide on basic queries. This led to me receiving four queries via email asking about some advanced ElasticSearch stuff I never dealt with.

If you want to get good at something and market yourself as a domain expert so you can find gigs easier and charge more, write about it.

Becoming more confident

I’m unaware whether others feel the same as me, but I never consider myself good in something. At most, I feel like I’m an average. Sharing knowledge with others makes me more confident, as I can see that others appreciate what I share and can learn from it.

Blogging, and other things I may talk about sometimes, helped me become less introvert.

I know some great software developers that dislike their current job and lack the confidence for finding a better job either locally or remotely.

As of lately, I started looking for a (good) remote job, which I wouldn’t have the confidence to do a year ago. My resume, if anyone’s interested.

Improving writing and English skills

As a non-native English speaker, I always feel my blog is subpar compared to the ones written by native speakers. The main reason for this is that I feel my vocabulary is weak.

While blogging, I try to find catchy synonyms for my words, reduce unneeded words (like basically), and make the post more readable.

Giving back to the community

As a programmer, I’m very reliant on non-commercial things from others. Either in a form of open source software as libraries, code editors and programming languages like Go, or blogs and technical answers that solve a particular problem.

Arguably, not everyone is capable of writing open source software that would help others with a problem they have. You can still give back to the community by blogging - it helps other persons resolve their issues or learn something in dept. If I had the problem, others did too.

Most often, I try to write about the issues I encountered and resolved. My most visited article on this blog explains in details how to get Swagger documentation in Golang, a problem I had to deal with for a noticeable period of time.

Getting started

Nowadays it’s easier and cheaper than ever to start your own blog. There are plenty of static site generators out there you can choose from Hugo, Jekyll, Gatsby and others. You don’t need WordPress or similar CMS for running your personal blog.

Hosting statis sites is easy and free. You can host it on GitHub, GitLab or even Amazon’s S3 and publish via GitHub Pages, GitLab Pages or Netlify, which I highly recommend.

2018 © Emir Ribic - Some rights reserved; please attribute properly and link back. Code snippets are MIT Licensed

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