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Why Start a Blog?

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Why Start a Blog?

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So everyone says that as a programmer, you should start a blog.  And yet, so few of us do.  Why is that?

And so, I thought I’d spend time today giving you even more encouragement to start a blog, based on my own experience.

A Blog Gives Me a Place to File What I’ve Learned

Believe it or not, the best reason I can give you for starting a blog is so that you only have to learn something once.

Have you ever worked on something, finally got it all figured out, and then a couple of weeks, or months, later needed to do that same exact task?  I sure have.  Or maybe you didn’t need that information, but you needed to explain it to a co-worker.  Either way, can you remember stuff you did weeks or months ago?  If you can, you must be super human, because I sure can’t.

The best reason I have for maintaining this blog is that I can find information I’ve already learned because when I learn something new, I try to post it here.

A Blog Will Help You Learn About Programming

The more stuff I write about, the better I learn it.  So much of what I’ve written about in this blog is stuff I’ve learned along the way.  The act of writing it out for the world to see has clarified many of the ideas I thought I already knew.

Blogging Will Teach You About Yourself

But, blogging isn’t just about learning the topics you post about.  You learn something about yourself too.  How do you feel when someone leaves a critical comment?  Why?  What is your attitude toward all of the spam comments you get?  What if you end up just being flat out wrong about something you say?  How do you react then?

Nope.  There’s no place better than a blog to have to deal with people and all that means.

A Blog Will Also Teach You to Write

Let’s face it, as a group, programmers don’t have very good written language skills.  We have trouble spelling.  Our grammar is all messed up.  We’re a mess.

When I first started out, I had my daughter editing my blog.  That was helpful because she didn’t just edit my blog, but she told me what my most common problems are.  Hopefully, I’ve gotten better.

A Blog Gets You Exposure

Because of this blog.  I’ve had several occasions where it has worked as an extended resume.  Several years ago, a guy who was reading the blog asked me to work on his web site.  I had another occasion where someone wanted my resume and I just pointed them to this blog.  Recently I updated my resume to include a link to my blog.  On a recent interview, I found that the people interviewing me had been to this blog and read some of the articles I’ve written.

A Blog Can Make You Money

Ha!  Even the guys in this industry with really big blogs will tell you, that’s a joke.  At least if you measure the amount of money you can make from ad revenue on your blog.  The fact of the matter is, programmers are probably the least likely to click on ads of any group on the Internet.

And yet, I’m sure this blog has indirectly increased the amount of money I’ve been able to charge my clients.

Along the Way I’ve Also Learned

While not necessarily directly related to blogging, along the way I’ve learned about:

  • SEO
  • Ad Publishing
  • Traffic generating strategies
  • How to protect my site from being hacked.
  • Enough about PHP to modify  WordPress plugins

Getting Started

OK.  So maybe you’re thinking, “Dave, I’d love to start a blog, but I have no idea how to get started.”

Well, it just so happens that John Sonmez has a three week, “How to start blogging” email course you can sign up for.  6 short lessons.  While you’re at it, you should pick up his book, Soft Skills: The software developer’s life manual

Other places talking about starting a blog

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Published at DZone with permission of Dave Bush, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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