How To Start an Awesome Development Blog
Why do so many people have dreams but fail to get closer to them? Why do we spend time doing things of which we know they will never bring us to our goal?
And why do I ask all these questions?
Because I want you to think about your own future and how you want your life to be. And how a Software Development Blog might help you get closer to your personal and career goals.
I recently published a post about Why you should Blog as a Software Developer, and the feedback, mails and comments were astonishing.
So many people asked for more about Blogging, how to start, what to do and where to go.
It wasn’t clear to me that this topic was something so many of you already started to think about, but I was happily taking all the feedback and questions.
If you are still not sure if or why you definitely need a blog, check out my why you should start post again. If you already know you want this and just need to take action, let’s see what’s an easy way to start a software development blog!
Your Motivation is your Energy
Starting a side project like your own blog can and will be time-consuming. If you struggle to find motivation to do all this, you should not spend a minute more on reading this!
But if you really know that you want it and need to start doing something, take a moment to find out your own inner motivation.
There are many good reasons to start a blog, but everyone has different goals for his life. That’s why it’s important to have an ultimate vision for your life that you can hopefully work towards. Examples are:
- Being able to work from home all the time
- Traveling the world
- Making it to a higher paid position at your corporate job
- Finding jobs at all
- Helping other people
- Building a side business for passive income
These are just examples, so take a moment (or two) to find your own answer to this question.
So what you are looking for is not a little short-term goal, but the one thing that is your compass for life. You could name it your personal meaning of life, but term is so overused already so it’s more like your ultimate personal goal.
Why do I need this?
Having something you can always relate to make all actions more easy. You can always ask why you do this, and you know it’s for bringing you a step closer to your goal.
Also, having no clear vision or idea of how you want to live and be in 10+ years will give you the exact result you can expect: Anything, but not what you really want deep.
Sure this could still be a great life, but would you rather sail without a compass or have a clear target in your mind?
Something I have maybe already listened to 100 times is the famous commencement speech of Steve Jobs at Stanford. If you never heard it, do it now. It is deeply inspiring.
If you now feel powerful, motivated and engaged, make sure to post your motivation below this post.
I would love to hear your reasons and goals!
When you feel like you got it, let’s see how starting a software development can have a positive on your life goals.
What the Start of a Software Development Blog means to your life
You might think “starting a blog has no big impact on a life“. Nope, not true. It has.
Starting a blog means putting yourself out there. It’s like going through the jungle without any expectations. You might get killed by a snake, but you could also meet some indigenes who are more than happy to welcome you.
People can find you online, read your ideas, inspiration or knowledge.
People will connect with you, where before you never thought of getting in touch with.
People might want to give you money for doing thinks.
People might like (or dislike) what you do.
There are many things that could possible happen to your life, and you never know it if you never start.
I never expected what happened in only 1 year after I started this blog. I hoped for the best, but what happened was definitely more than I would ever have thought about.
You goals for life might vary, but blogging serves your life on so many levels, that it will definitely have an impact. These areas might be:
- You work more coordinated and productive
- Writing has a positive impact on your brain
- You get to know new people
- You increase your skills in different areas (like Marketing, Presenting…)
- You feel happier by helping others
It definitely can affect many areas, so don’t underestimate what your blog can mean to your life.
At this point you hopefully feel on fire and ready to start. Great, so now it’s finally time to really think about your future blog.
Find your own Idea
After creating some sort of personal motivation, purpose and general goal we start to plan out our blog. Because you might spend a lot of time doing things for your blog, you better pick a topic that you like and that you want to spend time with.
This is somehow tricky, because this doesn’t have to be something you already know. Sounds weird, right?
Starting a Blog with a topic I have no idea about?
Back when I started this blog I was just experimenting with different frameworks, while my core work was Objective-C.
Those were in no way related to my existing skills, but I felt like this AngularJS might be something of interest, and I kinda liked how fast you could get results. So I started blogging about the things I learned ion my way using AngularJS and the Ionic Framework.
And by the way, this is something very typical among bloggers:
Just share the journey you are on!
If you already have a different topic in your mind of which you might know a lot, you can obviously also take that one.
But make sure to blog not only about your existing skills — increasing your skills and tool set is a big advantage of having a software development blog.
So you could start with something new or your existing skills, but how do you know it will be successful?
Here’s a little trick to check if the topic might be of interest. Also this is for those of you that still have no idea what they could start.
Simple Idea finding Tactic
This is a step-by-step method to extract a good idea from your current situation. You can find more simple hacks inside my Developer Blogstar course!
Just take 5–10 minutes and a paper (so you have no distraction) and write down these points:
- 5 skills I have (or would like to acquire in the next time) and love to do
- 5 areas people ask me for help about
Give it a try!
What we are looking for is the often called personal Sweet Spot, the thing that keeps you up at night and others would pay you for.
Alright now that we got the list, we just need to look for the mighty intersection!
This might not work on your first try, so in case there is no real intersection, starting thinking in different ways. But I’m pretty sure you can and will find something that’s working for you!
If you think I got it, let’s take a look at 2 more points before going ahead.
First of all, if you want to be your blog not only a success for your career but also a financial benefit for your life, you have to mind a simple phrase:
The Riches are in the Niches.
This is a very classic line, but still true.
What this means for your idea?
Well think about this: If you think “I want to learn Android Development, I will create a Java Android Development Blog.” you will very unlikely be the first with that idea.
Having a broad topic like this brings tons of competitors who are doing exactly the same thing like you. That’s why it will be a lot harder to get recognised and grow.
This doesn’t mean it’s not possible, but it will be a lot harder.
Your topic should be a smaller niche when you start out, where you can stand out as an expert. This will help you a lot to grow and get traction!
Following this point comes the second additional thought. You don’t want your topic and niche be too small!
Not too big, not too small.. yeah it’s a hard life, get over it.
What you can do to make sure your topic is big enough is to craft a list of 10–15 ideas for blogposts.
This is anyway a good idea at this point, just to make sure you have ideas for the topic you want to write about. You don’t have to have the post already completed in your head, but having some topics helps you in the beginning to get started so your blog is not an empty space!
Create Your Goals
You got your idea and motivation together, now let’s take one more look at the specific goals of your blog.
As said before, a blog can have very different effects on your life. And you can control to a little degree in how far something will happen.
Having a clear goal (even if it’s only a future dream) helps you to stay on your path and make decisions for your blog. It’s better to define it now than when times are hard, so take a moment to think about this:
What is your primary goal you pursue with starting a software development blog?
There are so many good reasons, but everyone should have his one. This is related to your vision, but more concrete in terms of your desired outcome.
You invest your time and energy into this, so you want to chase a goal. Otherwise I can promise you, your blog will go down into the archives of the internet like unbelievable others before.
Write your statement sentence
The best way to frame your goal is to create a statement sentence that describes your blog. This should be one short sentence and can later be the subtitle of your blog.
And with short I mean really short, not more than 3–5 words!
But before you work out that, first of all create a general sentence which describes why and what your blog is about. Starting with that bigger sentence you can reduce it to concentrate version which has everything but more precise.
For me this was “I want to build a software development blog to learn how to build great apps and code and become successful as a software developer.”
Well it’s kinda broad, but it helped me to get a picture of what I want to do.
Now I went on to reduce this and in my case, it came down to “Code to success” because this combines coding tutorials with becoming successful.
As you can see, this is still the tagline of this blog!
Go ahead and write down your bigger and concentrated sentence now. This might take some time, especially the reduced version. If you can’t find that one now, that’s fine. Just work on it in the next days and you will find your statement!
Now that you have a clear picture of your motivation and your goals, it’s a lot easier to create your simple starting plan, because you know where you are now, what you want and just need a clear path from A to B!
Plan according to your Goals
If you are still with me, you already deserve a big round of applause. All this might look very unfamiliar to you, but you will be very happy to have a decent strategy and plan behind your actions once it’s time to start.
As far as planning is possible, we want to be prepared for the future. But it’s kinda hard to plan with a high amount of uncertainty.
Anyway, what you already have is your passion and possible topic for your blog, now you need to define what your goals or your success for your blog will look like.
Would you like to earn money with your Blog?
If your main goal is to make money on the side, your general strategy and approach will be a bit different then if you just do this as a hobby.
I will cover how to start monetizing your blog in a future post, but for now let’s keep it simple and assume you will have some kind of product (digital!) you will sell on your blog at a future point.
Don’t frame this product now, and do not have any fear of creating it! But having created a product is in general a good way, like I did with my online courses.
To get the most attention to your product, is to have targeted content. This means your content should be related to the topic of your product or guide the reader before he purchases your product.
This all might sound a bit weird at first, but once you get into blogging and product creation, all of this will be totally clear to you!
If your future blog is not for selling products, a second option might be to have it as a portfolio and showing your work if you are a freelancer or just want to climb up the career ladder.
In that case, your general approach would be a bit different. You should focus on showing your valuable work and that you are a trusted person top work with. This will not only attract new companies and their headhunters to you, but you can also use it as some sort of extended CV when approaching a new company.
Showing of what you have already build and your software development skills in action is unbelievable valuable to a company, and therefore you have increased chances of finding new job gigs or freelance work.
There might be other goals you want to achieve, so for now just write down what you plan to achieve your goal. Your plan might be wrong, but we can adjust over time and for now we got something we can hold on to!
All theory is gray!
I have shown you simple steps you can take to start building a software development blog. And many of them would also count as general blogging tips as well.
Just starting at some point is crucial for getting things done. If you always wait for the perfect time, you will at some point haven’t got anything finished. And then you are sad.
So give yourself a little kick and just start today with the foundation for your successful software development blog.
Because one thing is essential and decides whether someone will or will not achieve success:
I hope you will take action.
Originally published at devdactic.com on January 26, 2016.