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Dennis Whalen for Leading EDJE

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Why I Blog

I've been blogging off-and-on for over 4 years. It's really helped me grow, and I usually recommend it to others as great way to keep growing skills.

Recently I was giving peer review feedback to a fellow employee. As I was describing all of the reasons THEY might want to consider blogging, I realized I should create my own blog post that talks about the value of blogging.

Focused learning, for me!

It probably sounds weird, but a lot of the things I blog about are things I don't know much about when I start the blog.

When I identify a skill or technology that's new to me and I want to learn more, many times I will write a blog as I work through my learning.

For example, let's say I want to get some expertise on using Postman for API testing, and I also want to demonstrate how to include those Postman tests in a CI pipeline.

For something like that, I will want to build a working prototype that demonstrates the key pieces of the tech I'm learning. As I build that prototype, I will also write a blog post that describes what I'm doing and why.

Writing the blog as I work through the prototype reinforces my learning, and it forces me to feel sure I understand how things work. I don't want to share info with others that is incomplete or wrong.

I'll also have screenshots and a repo I can share in the blog.

Feel free to look at the blog I wrote for Postman. The blog actually started as a single post, but turned into a 2-part series. Once I got into it, I realized it was probably too big for one post, so I split it up.

Introducing myself to a future client

I'm an IT consultant. That means I may be interviewing with new clients relatively frequently. I've found that making my blog posts available to potential clients is an AWESOME marketing tool!

If you have good content, and the person interviewing you has looked at it, that will get you a long way towards securing that next project or client or job.

For future reference

Like many of us, I work with a lot of different technologies over time, and I need to be constantly growing my skills.

Along with all this learning comes a LOT of forgetting. The stuff that I was working with last year? That stuff that I knew like the back of my hand?? Well, it might be a distant memory to me now.

If I create a clear and concise blog about a topic as I work with it, I will have a future reference point that I can go back to as needed. Even if no one else reads my blog post, I can reference it.

Since it's written in my voice, about a topic that I've struggled through, my memory will get refreshed a lot quicker than googling "help me with postman".

Helping others

I guess this is an obvious benefit to blogging, and a bit less selfish than the previous ones I mentioned.

We've all been helped by so many nameless and faceless folks on our journey to improve our skills and marketability. Paying that back is a good thing and will make you feel good.

Some suggestions

These are just some random blogging suggestions that I thought of as I composed this.

Don't compose in the blog provider's editor

Avoid composing your blog directly in the blog platform's editor. Instead, consider composing your blog locally and pushing it to a repo. If you have a POC to support the blog, keep the blog with that code. From there you can just copy/paste it to the blog platform editor.

In the past I have run into issues where I've lost work with the blog platform editor, so I do everything locally. I just use VS Code for authoring markdown files and store them in GitHub.

Don't get too hung up on visit and like counts

I have yet to break the internet with any of my posts. I've had 1 or 2 that have done ok, but most have 10 likes or less. That's ok. Remember, blogging is for the benefit of the author also!

I just remember that I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!
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Keep your post to a 5-minute read, or less

Like everything in this post, this is just my opinion. I prefer shorter blog posts when reading them, so I try to do the same when writing them. If I find I have too much content, i can just split it into multiple posts.

Reference your repo and use screen shots

This is pretty self-explanatory. If you are building something as you write you blog, include a link to your repo and don't forget to add some screen shots in the blog. Pictures are good!

Hmm, that Visual Basic 6 post may be too old...

Blogs get stale, and they need to be updated or pruned. I have not done a good job with that, and I need to do better.

(No, I don't really have a VB 6 post.)

Blogging will give you more ideas

Blogging will give you new ideas for more blogs, write that sh*t down so you don't forget!


So, there you go. That's a decent overview of why I blog. What do you think? Does this give you any ideas or motivation for blogging?

What are some other good reasons to blog?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

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Top comments (3)

cmgustin profile image
Chris Gustin

Great post! I finally started blogging this year after thinking about doing it for ~5 years now. To that end, I would say start before you feel ready (because you’ll never feel ready). Sharing your experiences and knowledge with others can be valuable, even if you’re just starting out.

Posts don’t have to be super technical or earth shattering to be helpful, some of my most popular posts have been “here’s a thing I didn’t understand and here’s what helped me understand it better.”

No matter where you are in your dev journey, there’s likely someone else at that level or trying to get to that level who will find your posts helpful.

dwwhalen profile image
Dennis Whalen

Thanks Chris.

Agreed! It's hard to tell what will helpful to others. I actually think my non-technical posts are usually more popular.

Also, some of my posts are super UN-popular initially, but then I check back on them a few months later and they have some decent activity.

I put off blogging for a long time...thinking I didn't have anything of value and/or it would be a lot of work. I was "encouraged" to blog as part of my work, so that got me started.

For me, most of the work I do for the blog is all the related tech stuff I need to do to learn some new tech. But I'd be doing that work anyway! I basically treat the blog as a fancy README, which again is part of my normal work.

coreyhurst profile image
Corey Hurst

Great blog about blogs, @dwwhalen!  As someone who is trying to get into it more, I appreciate the tips and pros of blogging. I really like the idea of using it as a learning tool. I also think it is very smart to keep the blog with the readme, wiki, and code to manage. This way you can also potentially solve the issue of keeping them up to date as you would need to update the code as well to stay with new practices and versions.