The Benefits of Owning a Personal Blog
As developers, We always tend to look up solutions to a bug or an error on Google and half the time we do this we are redirected to a blog written by another developer or even yourself in some cases. This is one of the ultimate reasons for owning a personal blog - teaching other developers. In this post, I'll outline the benefits of blogging and why it's important to start a blog as a developer and also share several ways you can get your blog up and running.
I became aware of the benefit of personal blogging in February 2018. This was when I started my own blog. I initially took a course on Pluralsight about personal branding and it was a goal to complete at least one of the steps outlined in the course. I went ahead to start with blogging by purchasing my domain name even though I had no clue what content I will write about.
Let's start with the good stuff I'll share the benefits of starting a personal blog and further explain how to get a blog up and running. Because I think it's important I share, I'll also write about my process and share resources needed to move forward.
Benefits of Blogging
These are some of the reasons I feel it's really important to start your blog.
- Sharing Knowledge: Most times you find yourself trapped trying to solve a specific problem and with all of Google's help you still can't find a solution. You are finally able to fix the bug and instead of hoarding that knowledge you decide to write an article on how you fixed the problem helping thousands of other developers. This is by far one of the importance of blogging you teach others and this is a very fulfilling experience especially when you get sent messages of how your article helped other developers.
- Develop your Brand: Blogging helps boost your brand. You become known for your work and this will improve your reputation in the community.I have met a lot of people because I started blogging consistently and also gotten opportunities to grow my network.
- Learning New Tech: Blogging is a good way to learn about new technologies and concepts. As developers, learning never stops for us it's a continuous journey so how do you keep up and still stay sane? I've discovered one way to make the best out of this is to learn a new concept and teach it that way you end up teaching other people and also solidifying those concepts.
- Introduce yourself to the Community: When you consistently create helpful content and share it with the community. You become known as a teacher in your field. An example is if you create content on web development you become known in the web development community and that's a great way to make friends and connect with people in the community. Some platforms that will enable this happen are Twitter and Dev.to.
How do you start?
Now that you know the benefits of blogging how do you start your blog? I always get asked how I created mine and where I host my blog. I'll share all the details here. Now there are several ways to go about this and I'll recommend creating a blog and having a domain name that is closely related to your name. That way it is easy to find you on the internet. But feel free to disregard my recommendation and do what fits your needs.
- Pick a Domain or Field: This should always be your first thought before going on to publish your first post. Think about what you want to specialize in. Are you more interested in web, mobile, security, or career guides? This is the best time to pick a domain you can as well do as much as you want but make sure you are specific to get a target audience that will always return to your blog.
Create a Platform: This is the interesting part that I love. You get to choose a platform that best suits your needs. I'm going to outline some platforms that I think is great and you make the choice.
- Build your blog! You can either decide to use Wordpress which is a pre-generated CMS or pick a static site generator like Gatsby and Hugo and create a custom made blog for yourself.
- Medium: You can create an account and post directly to medium the downside to this is you don't own your content.
- Dev.to: This platform allows you to post your content and has a huge developer community and also allows you to cross-post your content more on that later.
- Hashnode: Hashnode is also a great platform for blogging with a huge number of developer centered content.
- Syndicate your content: I recently learned a concept called POSSE - Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere. This means you get to keep your content on your site and share on other platforms like Medium, Dev.to, and Hashnode and you keep ownership of your content.
- Post on Social Media: Social media is a tool you can use to gain more readership. When you publish a new post remember to share across all your social media platforms to gain more audience.
- Stay Consistent: Remember to stay consistent when you start your blog. That way you can always learn, teach and connect with the community and you can measure your success over time.
I follow the same process I've outlined above but I'll go ahead and share in detail how I create my content.
- My blog is built using Gridsome static site generator hosted on Netlify and I write my content in Markdown.
- I have a Notion Page dedicated to collecting blog post ideas when I think of an idea I add it on there.
- I start an article by researching on the topic if it's new to me and coming up with an outline. After I complete the article I syndicate to Dev.to and share it on social media(Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin).
- I also do this thing where I share after about 3 weeks on social media to gain more audience.
Thanks for reading! I hope you find this post helpful and if after reading this you decide to start blogging please share with me here or on Twitter.