Having a tech blog will make you better at writing code. That is a fact. I have seen the benefits of this throughout my career as a software developer. You might wonder how this can be true. Well you see, blogging about certain concepts awakens a certain curiosity within you. It is that curiosity that inspires you to learn more, tinker more and be more. You evolve as a programmer into something more than just a 9-to-5 kind of guy or girl.
Improve Code Skills
If you are considering starting a blog, then I bet that there are several questions that pop into your head right about now. These might be some of those questions on your mind:
1. Why would anyone want to read what I write?
In the blogging universe, content is king. Give your honest and unbiased opinion on a subject. People will appreciate that honesty and share the article. Sharing an article means that people care what you have to say.
You should never sell yourself short. Everyone has something to offer. Remember, somewhere out there is someone that is looking for exactly what you have to offer.
2. I wouldn’t know what to write about
First off, write about what you enjoy. If you do that, then you will enjoy writing. This is essential in continuing your blog. Personally I can’t read through an article if it does not contain at least a single image. It makes it more rounded off. Embellish your articles with appropriate images and you will make the reader experience more pleasurable.
Think about your every day tasks. Is there something that you do that can benefit someone? Take the following example: You set up a Family Library on Amazon for Audible audio books. The process might be easy to accomplish to you, but it might not be as obvious to someone else. Consider writing an article on solving this, including detailed step-by-step images of what you did.
Readers really love this. Having to read through something to figure out what the author intends to say is tiresome. A picture is a thousand words, and that is still very true in today’s society especially when it comes to writing how-to articles.
3. Ok, I’m going to start a blog. What do I do?
You need to decide what platform you will be using to blog with. If you had to ask me, I would go with WordPress. It is by far the easiest blogging platform to start off with. You can get up and running within 5 minutes. You can definitely start off with a free WordPress account. This will give you time to start finding your feet and testing the water so to speak.
If you want to start off with a self hosted option, you will need to do a few things first. You will need a place to host your blog. There are many hosting options out there to choose from. Have a look at Bluehost (note that this is an affiliate link). At the moment they offer a free domain, 1-click WordPress installation (trust me, you want this) and great 24/7 support.
Lastly, there are many crazy and weird domain names out there. Choose something that is easy and simple to remember. Not everyone visiting your site will remember a complex domain name. Therefore avoid hyphens and complex wording for example dayanadan-monks-succinct-tech-blog.com. John Sonmez from Simple Programmer has a great video on choosing a name for your blog.
4. How do I get people to see what I write?
Sharing your content is really very easy. WordPress has a huge plugin directory that extends the functionality of your blog. You can add plugins to automatically share the content that you write to your social media accounts. You can also allow visitors to your site to share the content on their social media channels.
Talking about plugins, consider Yoast SEO plugin. It has a free version and this allows you to create SEO friendly content on your site which will generate organic traffic to your site. You want this. You want keywords to rank high enough so that your site is listed at the top of search results. This will mean a steady stream of organic search traffic to your site.
Another great way to share your content is to exchange links with other likeminded blogs out there. Obviously you will need to have a few articles published on the blog first for anyone to consider a link exchange. This is a nice way to create reciprocal links, but don’t overdo it. You need to maintain a healthy balance. Nothing trumps content. If you create great content, the traffic will follow.
5. I haven’t been writing code long enough
So what! If you think that you can’t start a blog because you have not been writing code for long enough, then you are mistaken. Standing back from a world of blogging because you are a ‘newbie’ is a mistake. Instead, consider using the fact that you are new to programming as a good footing for a blog. Create content from that perspective. Share things you learn with others. Start this path you are on by sharing your adventures in coding with a community of developers that have just as much to learn as you do.
In case you were wondering, newbieprogrammer.com might not be the best URL for your blog. You’re not going to be a newbie forever right? Instead consider adventuresincoding.com. Now that’s a catchy domain name.
How does a blog improve code skills?
The more you blog, the more your mind will be focused on ideas to blog about. That means you will start to tinker with new code concepts This will improve code skills of any developer . Do you know LINQ? If not, why not start to learn LINQ (It works wonders on collections you know) and share your discoveries with the world.
When I started learning LINQ, I really found the following book, LINQ Pocket Reference: Learn and Implement LINQ for .NET Applications essential. It is a small book that you can easily slip into your laptop bag or keep neatly on your desk for quick reference. Consider checking it out.
If you want to check out a few other books on LINQ, consider these titles:
If you set up your own self-hosted WordPress blog, why not share that experience with readers on your blog? Your daily life will become a platform to improve what you know. Try to optimize a loop in an application. If you do that, share the code. All this discovery and thirst for knowledge is what makes you better at what you do. Blogging about it, cements it in your mind forever.