You Tech Blog Is Not Your Personal Notebook
About 6 months ago, as a developer, I don't like writing stuff on my tech blog, because I assume I am not a good writer and all the things on my blog can't be seen by someone else even if I spent hours to write an article talking about how to solve a specific programming problem.
In most cases, my tech blog is my online notebook, I'd like to paste large code block with fewer words on my blog.
Later, to marketing a side project, I happened to learned something about content marketing on HubSpot. It changed my thought about blogging, I started to review my blog and did some work to change it. The rest of this post would talk about what I learned during this process and I hope it can help guide developer who still does not realize the value of their blog.
What Is The Key Value Of Blog
Before reading, please think about this single question: What is the key value of your blog?
A blog (a truncation of the expression "weblog") is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries ("posts") - wikipedia
So how about writing some informal text entries to build a place where people can discuss and share information ? Yes, that is exactly we need to do.
After you learn some tech skill, you think you have learned that and understood the point. You do not realize that there is still much work to do until you try to share it with someone else. Blogging can make you have deeper understanding of the tech skill you are interested
In addition, total strangers can read something valuable on your blog and comments. You blog can help you build relationship with your readers, prove your profession.
How To Get Started?
Most programmers know more about programming but have no idea how to use their blogs to build relationships with other people. Here I will try to give you some super actionable advice.
Make sure the content of your blog posts has valuable content. It is waste of time to share shit with people. For example. if you are writing an article on how to do a specific job using programming language, you can upload the source file or whole project to GitHub for people to run. I am sure this would save many people a lot of time and they will appreciate that.
Try to share your blog posts in the relevant community to help people. At first, search engine would not know if your content is good or bad. But readers can tell, just share your blog posts when you have time. Many developers skipped this step and I must say this step is very important.
Be consistent. You can not get visitors overnight, so you have to be consistent and slowly the traffic would grow.
True Story From Me
Next, I will share a story of mine, I really hope this can help you understand deeper about what I mean.
After learning something about content marketing on Hubspot. I decided to change my blog framework from Pelican(Static site generator written in Python) to something else because I want a dynamic site which can bring some useful functions to my blog.
Since Python is my working language so I did some research at that time, selected WagtailCMS (An open source CMS framework written in Python developed by Torchbox) as my blog framework and moved my blog to that awesome CMS framework.
During the process, I found out that there are no good resources for people to learn WagtailCMS, so I think maybe I can try to write blog about this single problem of myself.
So I start to write Wagtail Tutorial Series (It has 10 blog posts so far) on my tech blog, at the same time, to make people easy to learn WagtailCMS, I created a new project on Github, all the source code of my tutorial can be found here. People can checkout the specific version to get started, which is convenient.
After I wrote about 2-3 blog posts about WagtailCMS, I started to try to share my blog posts in relevant communities. I did some research on Google and found out there are mainly three places for me to share.
Github. Some people already shared a simple gist telling people how to get started with Wagtail, I just left the titles and links to my blog posts in the comment. If somebody read that gist, he can also find my tutorial. On the other hand, there is a project called
awesome-Wagtail, which is a list of awesome Wagtail resources. I sent a PR to let my posts displayed in the readme file. Because my tutorial can really help people, the maintainer is happy to merge the PR.
Quora. I answered single one question on Quora, telling people the pros and cons of some Django CMS and which they should choose for their project.
I left comments on about 3-5 blog posts talking about Wagtail.
That is it! As you can see, the sharing process is not that difficult, just did some research and get it done in spare time.
Your blog posts can't be on front page of Google overnight, neither do mine. After about 3 months, my blog posts about Wagtail start to show up on the front page of Google. People start to visit my tutorial and some even sent me email asking question! I feel so great because in this niche market, I am a professor and my skill can really help people.
What I Spent And What I Got
The only thing I spent is time, I spent about 30 - 40 hours to write the Wagtail Tutorial Series and do some share job.
I have got so many things in this process. Let me list them here so you can better understand why your tech blog is a goldmine!
During the process, I got a deeper understanding of the Wagtail framework, because I want to teach people so I must be sure all the things in my blog posts have been fully understood by me already.
My blog brings me many people who are also interested in Wagtail. Their feedback helps me improve my blog posts better.
The most important is that I learned how to use my tech blog to build relationships with my visitors, Learning Wagtail might be a niche market but next time I will find a bigger market and eventually I can get more visitors and more relationships.
What Funny Things Would I Do After I Got Readers?
After my blog posts bring me so many valuable visitors, I started to think about what I can do to maximize the value of my blog posts. At that time I found out that jumping from blog posts to learn Wagtail is time-consuming, maybe I can give people a PDF version of my tutorial?
After researching, I decided to select Leanpub as my publication platform, it supports markdown syntax and can generate PDF, EPUB, Mobi from files located on Github, Bitbucket or Dropbox. It can save me a lot of time when I want to convert the content of my blog to ebook.
After some revised, I published the ebook named Build Blog With Wagtail CMS on Leanpub, and then I put the cover of the book and link in all Wagtail tutorial of blog posts. I did not do any marketing job because I want to see if someone reading my tutorial want to buy it.
Up until today, 6 people have become my reader within a month, I am stoked, it is the first time someone paid me for something I wrote on my blog.
Are There Any Other Interesting Options?
Considering my blog posts can bring me, people who are interested Wagtail, Django CMS or Python CMS, there might be people who have a CMS project to be developed so I can be hired to help them get it done efficiently. Because my blog posts help proven me as a professor in this niche market.
Or Maybe, someday I can convert my Wagtail tutorial to a Udemy online course just like many other Wordpress courses. I have done some brainstorming and here is a simple table which can inspire you.
|Video||Online Course like Udemy, Youtube|
What I want to tell you is that your tech blog is a goldmine, try to learn writing, try to improve it, you will find out that it is worthwhile if you do it the right way. Do not treat it as your personal notebook, try to use it build relationships with visitors.
I hope this post can help guide developers who are confused about what their tech blog can do, if you have any question, just send me messages, I will respond ASAP.