Pick a goal for your blog

This is an abstract from my book How to Start a Blog

You can start a blog for multiple reasons. No one has the same ambitions, the same drive, or the same starting point.

You want to get a job

One goal for a blog might be to help to get your first job.

Suppose you are getting ready for your first rounds of interviews as a Junior Frontend Developer. As you are learning the technology and experimenting, maybe following an online course, you document everything you are learning.

I think this is great for 3 reasons:

you reinforce your learning you build up an online presence you get better at documenting and explaining technology As you approach the interview and send out applications, companies will see that you have a website. They’ll find that you are great at explaining technology, you know how to communicate, and you definitely know your stuff.

And this is a great advantage over any other job applicant that does not have a website.

You want to get a raise or a better job

If you already have a job, you might want to step up your career and get better pay, or switch to another niche in the field you are interested in.

Having a blog that positions you as an expert in the thing you want to work on is definitely a big plus.

You can leverage your blog at your current company to reposition yourself as a senior developer.

Your colleagues will look up to you and your writing and will perceive you as an authority in the field.

You want to get better/more clients

If you are not interested in getting a job and prefer being the independent freelancer with a queue of prospect clients lined up, blogging can be a game-changer for you.

I experienced this first-hand when I started my career in tech.

I started my career by finding work on freelancing sites. It was hard to compete with freelancers all around the world who were much more experienced than I was in many cases. And sometimes they were located in a lower cost of living area, which allowed them to provide the same service at a fraction of my rates.

I started a blog about the subject I was specializing on, an open-source CMS, written in Italian, my own language, and people from Italy slowly started to perceive me as an expert. They were more than willing to pay a premium to work with a person that spoke their language, worked in their timezone, and was one of the few experts in the field in the country.

My blog was key to this because people searched for topics they knew they needed help with – and they found me.

At some point, I was even able to turn down client proposals because I had too many requests. I could choose the ones that I believed were better for my business and more interesting to me.

You want to demonstrate your expertise

A common benefit to either getting a job or freelancing clients is this: a blog helps you demonstrate your expertise and expose what you know to other people.

Some people are more naturally inclined to show off their abilities.

Sometimes, depending on culture and perception, we can even think of them as more capable than what they really are.

Some other people are less inclined, perhaps because of introversion or shyness.

Blogging is a great way to demonstrate your expertise even if you’re not naturally inclined to raise your hand in public. This is because it’s a medium that has very low friction compared to, for example, creating videos that show your face on YouTube.

You want to document your learning

A great goal for your blog could be to document your learning. Perhaps being more competitive in the job market is not something you are interested in right now, or you just want to write about your hobby.

A blog is a great track record for everything you learn.

I have a terrible memory, for example, and sometimes I just create a blog post to remember how I made something work.

I used to write notes on an app on my computer, but now I default to blog posts because I realized I can help other people by publishing my notes on the Internet.

You want to structure your thoughts and learn more

The way I used to learn best back in school was by creating very detailed notes about a subject.

However I only made them for subjects I was interested in, which in retrospect explains why I was good in some classes and bad in others.

You can use your blog as a way to learn better.

I am a huge proponent of learning through blogging because it works.

I use blogging as a way to learn a subject and at the same time help other people.

When I write a new blog post I am forced to create a mind map of the subject and I try to frame it, before writing about it.

In this way I learn much more than I do when I read a book or watch a course without taking organized notes about it. And as a side benefit, I end up with a new blog post I can publish.

You want to become better at explaining things

A great benefit of blogging is that over time you’ll become better at explaining things.

You will take fewer things for granted, and you’ll think more from the point of view of the person who is listening to you, rather than just writing a bunch of words to be perceived as an expert.

This will help you tremendously in your career and as a person.

You want to grow your audience

A great benefit of having your own blog is that over time you’ll start to build an audience.

As with many things, the more time you dedicate to it, the more your audience will likely grow.

People might get to know you. Recognize your name. You will not become famous (except in rare cases), but this might not be what you want, either.

That’s not what an audience is for. And honestly, I see many developers raise an eyebrow when marketing subjects come into play.

An audience is a great place to test your ideas. An audience can help you figure out something. An audience is your group of people, the people that trust you and that can help you move to the next level.

You want to express yourself

A blog does not need to be a means to an end.

My favorite blogs are the ones that are playgrounds for creativity and expression. Especially when applied to programming and computers in general.

A blog is a great way to have a track record of all your past creative projects.

Your own centralized creative hub.

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