In mid April 2020, almost a year ago, I decided to start my programming blog mainly to expand my knowledge in some areas I felt I was lacking.
The journey started with a little introduction of myself and the reasoning behind kicking off.
After finishing the first post, I realized that writing is much easier than I initially thought.
The hardest part was forcing myself to sacrifice some activities to find a few hours of free time and devote them to blogging, especially knowing that blogging is a long-term game and you would be making any significant returns in the near future.
After the first post, there was the second, third and so on in just a few days.
I was so excited about the possibility of sharing my knowledge with other programmers that I just couldn't stop writing and thinking a few articles ahead.
That was exactly when I was confronted with mistake number one.
"Well, in our country," said Alice, still panting a little, "you'd generally get to somewhere else - if you run very fast for a long time, as we've been doing."
"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"
In the world of programming, everything changes so fast that in order to stay on the same page, you have to constantly improve and learn as much as possible.
Staying on top requires even more energy, time, and a willingness to dedicate the majority of your time not only to learning, but also creating.
It sounds a bit strange, but constant self-development is a huge source of stress and it doesn't just apply to beginners, but to professionals as well.
Many people, in order to keep up their pace, create unhealthy routines that negatively impact different areas of their lives.
They don't balance work with a good rest and put work first, which leads to quick emotional burnout and loss of control over your professional and personal life.
This is what I came to understand a few weeks after starting the blog - writing a good article on my blog is nowhere near as important as regularly switching to various other activities that may have nothing to do with programming to maintain physical and mental health
The second mistake was waiting for a certain number of articles before publishing the blog live and promoting on social media.
I thought if I didn't have at least 20-30 good quality articles, no one would ever visit my blog because you have to provide a lot of good content to keep your readers interested.
I also knew that I would have to work a lot on SEO after publishing the blog, but I had no idea how to do it properly.
It was always like - okay, I'll add another article and then maybe explore this topic.
That led to me buying the domain and setting up a website while I had 20 articles under my belt.
Only the 21st was properly promoted and gained some traffic, both from Google and social media (I post mostly on LinkedIn).
If I had to give you one piece of advice - go live with the very first article, gather feedback from your readers and learn from your mistakes.
This isn't a mistake, but something I want to do more of, because from the beginning my blog has been all about expanding my knowledge and learning new skills.
I've always written about the topics that interest me, almost without thinking about the preferences of my audience.
That was fine until the point when the audience started to grow and my responsibilities expanded.
Now the goal is to meet an audience's needs rather than my own.
In this section I would like to give you some insights into the blog analytics.
Not all posts attracted many visitors, but still there are some clear winners among all 99 articles:
The following posts were unsuccessful in terms of gaining traffic, although I am fully satisfied with each of them:
The reason they haven't become popular is probably because I didn't promote them at all.
The top 3 articles I'm most satisfied with are some of the most recent ones:
Lack of time to write a quality post, but the need to publish an article to not give up consistency leads to publishing articles I am not satisfied with:
For those of you who are new to my blog, you may want to check out the table of contents on the main page to see what you might have missed:
If you're new to my blog and wondering who the author is - my name is Volodymyr Hudyma and I've ben a software developer for more than 6 years.
Here's a small post if you want to get to know me better.
It also describes a few reasons why I started this blog and why I chose React as my main tool for web application development.
A lot of time has passed since I started my blog, so I've been collecting some feedback from people who have subscribed to my newsletter, and here's what they're saying:
Very useful and well explained (and sometime researched) programming skills, that often fit my current needs.
Because you write quality blog articles! You explain things well, and have a nice and exhaustive approach on many different subjects.
Yes, even if you describe things I already know it sometime gives me some deeper look into it, but I also learned new things.
If it is only useful to me a few times, it's a lot useful to my team-mates and students!
Well, what I wrote in the first two textareas :D I also took the chance to write it to you in person, but again: well done, keep up the good work. something you maybe don't like to hear: It's not that I don't like the new design/layout, but the very simple initial theme already did a great job imho.
I think that your articles are well written and interesting.
This blog rocks!
There is a lot of positive feedback, but also some suggestions for improvement/hints on things that could have been done better.
I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who participated in my survey.
Your feedback is greatly appreciated and helps to make this blog better.
P.S. If you would like to leave your feedback, please click on this link.
Now is a good time to make some plans for the future of my blog.
The most important thing I want to do - is to focus more on what is interesting to my audience.
I'll do this by sending out surveys to my subscribers with a list of topics they can choose from (or enter their own topic) and through various social media polls.
This is something I've wanted to do for so long, but haven't had (and still don't have) enough time to start.
I think this would open the doors to a wider audience and provide more opportunities to promote and develop programming skills, as well as the blog.
Certainly YouTube is a long term play, so hopefully I would be able to at least maintain the same consistency in posting good quality videos as I do now with the blog.
In order to not be limited to just Youtube with my videos, I would duplicate their content on my blog so that everyone is able to follow along by reading articles.
Learning a lot of new stuff just in theory without applying it to real projects is a waste of time, so building a few good products is a must.
The plan is to create at least 3 small useful products using the tools and skills we have developed together over the last year.
Deciding to start blogging was one of the best decisions quarantine has brought me.
It's been an amazing journey for almost a year and I hope it will last at least a thousand times longer.
You never know how much knowledge you lack until you start explaining even the simplest things to other people.
This experience is incredible and I recommend everyone to start sharing the knowledge as soon as possible.
P.S. Read one of my previous articles "6 reasons why every programmer should start a blog".