Day 2: Developer Blogging & Online Presence

Yes, you should write that blog post.

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Huge credits to Ali Spittel for the motivational and informational talk on the 7th of April! Check out her website and her Twitter. This article will cover most of the points mentioned in this session! I hope that it benefits those that did not have the chance to join Hashnode Bootcamp Batch lll.

Ali Spittel is a Software Developer Advocate from AWS amplify. She started blogging and had 0 to million readers in 1.5 years. Starting with 36 readers on her first post to tens of thousands of readers for one post.

Article Outline

  • How to Start with Blogging
  • Content-wise
  • Building an audience
  • Conclusion

How to Start with Blogging

  1. Find out what works

    • Write articles that would have helped the past you.
    • For the present you to learn new things.
    • And on a less selfish note, to make new friends and teach others.
  2. Naming things Naming things is hard, both in programming and outside of it. Especially your blog name. Options:

    • Use your name (If you don't plan on getting another writer to write on your blog)
    • Come up with something funny
    • Use a tech-related name (Flexible for growth for another writer to write on your blog)
  3. Target audience

    • How do you want to read the writing?
    • How do you write in a way that will appeal to them?
    • Have one person in mind you're writing to.
  4. How to pitch yourself to your audience.

    • You don't have to be a 10x expert.
    • Explain why you are writing about it
    • Who are you? What makes you passionate?
    • People like stories, integrate them even into technical content.
  5. Coming up with a topic

    • Think of three problems your audience has.
    • Write articles to solve those three problems.
  6. Have a concrete topic at first

    • Become the go-to person on a very narrow topic
    • Have a challenge for yourself. (How many articles per week/month)
    • Research what works, look at your content, what does well, and other people's content too.
    • Think about a year from now. Will you still have enough to write? Are you talking too much too soon?
    • Create a Content calendar. when are you releasing them for different articles?
    • Tool: Trello
  7. Content types

    • blogs
      • Your site
      • Hashnode
      • DEV
      • Medium
    • Another type of content
      • Videos
      • Podcasts
  8. Blogging platform

    • Don't build a site until you know you like blogging as it is a huge time sink.
    • Once you do, use technologies like Next, Gatsby, Nuxt & Gridsome for your platform
    • Think about hosting prices! Static sites are much cheaper
  9. Making time for content

    • Everyone's life looks very different, there isn't one way to manage your time for content creation.
    • Batching (write tons of content first and post them over time)

      Content-wise

  10. What to write?

    • Get started guides
    • Demo projects
    • Common stumbling points
    • Things you struggle with
    • Your story
    • Something you googled a bunch and couldn't find an answer
    • A stack overflow answer that is outdated
    • Ask your audience!

      Don't worry about being 100% unique and revolutionary! Your reader might like your writing style compared to another writer!

  11. Write down topics as you think of them, not when you are trying to write.

  12. Are you experienced enough to write about X topic? Yes! Even if you are a beginner, write about your experience learning it!

  13. Tips for titles

    • Be catchy but honest. Make sure you're giving a good representation of what's in the post. Strictly no clickbait.🤡
    • People like numbers in titles (lists works well too)
    • Talk about the problem you solved
    • Don't be too boring
    • Jokes are good (moderate amount)
  14. Writing process:

    • Topic brainstorming
    • Keyword research
    • Write demos
    • Super rough outline
    • Fill in headers
    • Revise, revise, revise
    • Grammarly
    • Hemingway Editor
    • Add in multimedia (Canva, Codepen, embed youtube videos)
  15. Advice for content

    • Break up walls of text. People don't want to read an essay.
    • Add multimedia to appeal to different learners (code snippets, images, lists, visualizations)
    • Break into sections
    • Write to your audience
    • Add in the why and where to learn more
    • Cite your sources
    • Do not plagiarise
    • Run your code samples!

      What if you mess up? It happens to everyone! Fix it and move on!


Building an audience

Don't rely on just one source of viewership(for example, Twitter). Diversify!

  1. Social media:

    • Pinterest
    • Instagram
    • Twitter
    • Quora (answer people questions)
    • Reddit
    • Hacker News
  2. Grow on Twitter:

    • Twitter chats(#DevDiscuss on Tuesday, #CodeNewbie on Wednesday)
    • Make tweets skimmable, add emojis and spacing.
    • Hashtags can kind of work at first, but most viral tweets don't have them.
    • Be a minimalist if you use them outside of events.
    • Engage! Don't go in one direction! Respond to people that responded to you.

      Ali's goals for herself at first:

      • 2 top-level non-promotional tweets (tips/funny stuff)
      • 1 promotional tweet
      • 1 promoting someone else's content
  3. SEO Keywords

  4. Domain authority

    • Backlinks through social media
    • Quality content that answers multiple questions
    • Don't give medical advice😂
  5. Site quality

    • Time on site (how much time people spend)
    • Site speed
    • Accessibility
    • Lighthouse testing!
  6. Email List!

    • Only thing you own and that does not have algorithm changes
    • Have a lead magnet/newsletter/some offer for subscribers
    • Tools: Tinyletteris free, Mailchimp under a certain number, Buttondown allows Markdown, Convertkit has a tons of built-in functions for bloggers if you want to get fancy.
  7. Cross-Post!

    • Use a canonical URL. Google will know it is not duplicated content and devalue it. Some blog sites like Hashnode, Medium, and DEV have a built-in function that allows you to add the canonical URL before posting.
    • Post elsewhere! It'll get more eyes on your post.
  8. Build Hype!

    • Tease that something's coming.
    • Share sneak peeks.
    • Have personal branding.
  9. Consistency

    • Make sure your audience knows what they're going to get and when.
    • Consistency looks different for everyone! One article per quarter of a year is still consistent.
  10. Dealing with haters

    • It is rough! Don't be too hard on yourself if you have a difficult time navigating it.
    • Find a support system who understands it.
    • Screenshot and delete.
  11. Monetization

    • Patreon
    • Ads
    • Sponsorships
    • Product
    • Affiliate (Make sure to mention at the start of the post)

Conclusion

Overall, it was an informational session and gave me the motivation to continue writing articles! Please take the tips that will benefit you as everyone has a different method to write articles! I hope that you have learned a thing or two from this article!

Thank you for reading!

Don't forget to leave a reaction to boost this article! Do note that this article is in my series for Hashnode Bootcamp batch lll! Subscribe to my newsletter or follow me to get notified when I post new articles.🥳Share this with your friends that are creating content or thinking to start blogging too!

Do leave a comment below if I missed out on anything or some feedbacks!

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