Why should a programmer has an own Blog

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I established this website in January of 2021. I’ve published more than 100 articles as of now and feel that it was a good decision to start this programming blog. Maybe, you have also been thinking of starting your own blog but have not started it yet? I will give you the pros and cons from my experience.

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Cons

Let’s take a look at the cons first. Maybe this is the reason why you haven’t started your own blog yet.

Writing an article eats up my private time

This is a big issue. I guess you are already busy and don’t have enough time to do something new in your spare time. To start new things, we need to find time for it.
It is not a small task to write an article. I do the following things for an article.

  1. Find a thema
  2. Write code and make sure that it works as expected
  3. Create videos to show the code behavior
  4. Create diagrams
  5. Start writing
  6. Create eye-catch image
  7. Review and publish

It takes me a while to complete an article. It depends on the article how many hours I need but I think I spend more than at least 2 hours. As you know, this blog is a programming blog that gives visitors “some” solutions for “a problem“.

A theme is one of the important things for a blog. That’s the first step that might be easy to find for a programmer because we, at least I, ask Mr. Google something every day. It can be a theme for an article.
Then, I write code to make sure that the code that I considered works as expected. I write another code for the second solution if I have the idea. Coding is not so straightforward. Sometimes it doesn’t work for some reason that I’ve not found for a while. It might be 10 minutes to find the root cause but sometimes days. Writing can’t be started until the code works as expected.

Once the code works well, I record some videos to show the behavior. If some diagrams can help visitors understand the concept, I create them. It might be already too much. After these steps, I start writing an article. I need more time on writing than natives because English is not my first language. I often need to look words up.

Apparently, these things eat up our private time. If we don’t have enough amount of time to do them without interruption, it takes more time. Some developers might not like programming and not want to write code in private time in the first place. It might be enough for them to write code only in working time. It might be the majority.

Criticism

I’ve never had any negative comments in my blog but might have them in the future. If there are some mistakes or incorrect explanations in an article, some people might leave such a negative comment but it is a good thing in this case because we can get a chance to understand it correctly. Even if we have some negative comments, it is less than 10% of visitors. Most visitors don’t leave a comment. The people who leave a negative comment are actually nice guys for us. What we need to do for it is just to fix the improper explanations.

If the comment is not related to the article, just remove it. Non-constructive comments are not useful for visitors.

Less time for learning new things

Writing an article requires enough time. If we don’t run our own blog, we can spend more time reading a book, writing code for our own application or family.

It’s true. We can learn more things in the same period but I think it’s not one of the cons in my opinion. If we learn many things in a short period, many of them can easily be gone from our memory, at least from my memory. I prefer learning at most 2 or 3 things at once and then, use those techniques in my work. In other words, I try to output soon what I just learned. Input and output are one set.

I’ve recently bought some technical books but I’ve spent less time reading those books than the last year. The themes of which books handle are not directly related to my work. I might not have a chance to apply those techniques in a year, therefore I will easily forget them. I will utilize my blog for learning them better.

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Pros

Keep an eye to a small thing

As I mentioned above, a theme is definitely necessary for a blogger. We, developers, write code every day and can easily find a theme at first. You already might have some themes but you need to find a new theme after a while. It means that we need to keep an eye to catch a small thing for a new article. This is I think important to get more familiar with the tool that we currently use. There are many ways to do the same thing but why did the developer choose this way? Ask the developer if possible, otherwise, compare the options and consider why it’s a better choice in that case. It takes more time than just implementing a feature without the comparison but we can add those options to our tools and can choose a proper one in a different case.

I believe this cumbersome step gives us additional consideration and we will be able to consider one thing from many perspectives. The more issues a developer can recognize and consider, the faster and deeper he/she can learn.

Learning new things with actual work

Once a theme is prepared, we need to write code. Not only coding stuff but also concepts, thoughts or other things can be written but I think we need code in many articles if the blog is for programming. We learn something new in working time but the code can’t directly be used for our website because the code is owned by the company where we work. To write an article, we need to write code again for what we learned in working time.

Human forgets new things soon as you might know about Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve. It’s necessary to review it periodically to remember it. Writing an article helps this because we need to write the code again in private time. In addition to that, we need to write the explanations for our visitors. If we don’t understand something, we search it more to know deeply. We can of course skip this step if we don’t want to do that. With this step, we can go one step further.

Re-learn the same thing easily

Lots of works have been done for an article. We can remember something better if we work hard for it. However, those things can be gone away from our memory after a while. In this case, we need to input them again from somewhere. If we don’t have our own blog, we need to read some articles that might not be the same blogs as the ones that we’ve read before because the Google search engine shows a different result. It might take a while to remember them.

We can write down some memos but if it is not published on the internet, it can’t be read from working place. But what if we have our own blog? In this case, we can read what we created. If the contents were created by us, it’s easy to remember. If the explanation is not enough, we can improve the article and it can be better at Google search engine.

Good routine

We need enough time to create our content. I work on my blog in the morning or after working time. I get up early for my blog. It depends on my condition but sometimes 4:30 am sometimes 6:00 am. It’s very good to start something new in the morning because we still have enough energy and motivation. They definitely decrease after working. If we still have enough energy and can work on the blog after working, we can stop some of our not good habits like drinking a lot, watching TV, smoking, and so on.

It’s hard to focus on the work in the evening if we have children. Since our brains are probably tired, it’s hard to make progress well. For that reason, I recommend working on the blog in the morning. Once you can stick to good habits, things can go well.

The skills are public

Output is the most important thing for everything. It doesn’t make any sense to learn new things without output. How much money do you pay for a guy who knows everything and can solve all problems that you have but doesn’t give you any solutions? I’m sure that you don’t pay for it. If we have a place to output it’s relatively easier to learn something new than having no place. It might not be the case for programming stuff because we can output them to code but I think it’s a good thing for output to have our own media.

We can learn many things through our work. If we regularly write to our own blog, we can input the new things on the assumption that we output them. It means that we can make a habit of considering a thing deeply in order not to leave unclear points.

Once we have a habit to output them to our own blog, it shows visitors which skills the author has and how he/she solves a problem. If you have two candidates who have similar skillset and levels, but one of them has its own blog, which one do you choose? There are many points to check but if there are no big differences for the other points, having a blog might be an advantage because it shows exactly what we did. A resume can be exaggerated but actual work can’t be.

Ability to write readable documentation

It’s not easy to write readable documentation. Not all developers can write readable documentation. By running a blog, we can improve the skill because non-readable articles aren’t read by visitors. If the articles are not readable, Google doesn’t show them on the first page of the result. To write good documentation, we need to decide/assume the readers. We need to consider to whom we are writing the documentation.

  • Administrators
  • Developers
  • Users who are familiar with the product
  • Users who firstly use the product with enough IT knowledge
  • Users who firstly use the product without IT knowledge

The contents of the documentation depend on it. The contents should differ for each. A blogger needs to check what information visitors want to know. To make the article readable, proper titles are definitely needed. I do the following to collect visitors.

  • Write an article
  • Analyse data
  • Improve the title or contents

If the website collects lots of visitors, it can prove the authors’ writing skills. If we have enough writing skills, I think it means that we can have a workshop for a certain theme to teach it to other developers. It means that we hopefully could be lead developers in a dev group.

Earn money

As you know, you can earn money from Google Adsense if you have your own blog. You deserve to earn because you spend lots of time on it to help visitors. Your work saves visitors time.

It’s very very hard to earn enough money with Google Adsense because many developers install an ad blocker and they rarely click an advertisement.

The best hosting service

There are many pros? Yes, because we need to spend a lot of time on our blog. If we spend a long time on it, we can definitely learn a bunch of things and open new doors.

Do you want to start your own blog? It’s a good decision. It’s the best time to start it now. It’s always the best time to start a new thing now because you are the youngest at the moment.

I highly recommend using WordPress for your blog. It is very common to use it because it’s easy to edit and you can easily find answers if you have any questions. You also need a server to host it. Dreamhost is one of the best choices. It is one of the officially recommended hosting services and you can establish a WordPress server with One-Click. You can also get a domain, an email address, and SSL security for free. It’s great. You will have fewer obstacles if you choose it.

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