To blog or to write code?
Four years ago when I started writing first posts on Arkency blog, I didn’t have many expectations. I knew I wanted to share my knowledge and thoughts. Not much beyond that.
My 1st blog post took me 8 hours to write. I was excited but at the same time, I felt incredibly ineffective. Like any other skill (testing, programming), writing takes the time to get better. And to be able to harvest the benefits from invested time.
I wish more people blog. Even in our company, not everyone is writing regularly. Why would I love to see more bloggers? There are hundreds, thousands of developers working every day on solving unique problems. Finding interesting solutions. And they are never shared. The world does not know.
I am inspired by the collaboration spirit of open source apps and libraries. So much time and effort saved because we can re-use existing solutions and we don’t need to re-implement databases for every new project. Blogging is for me part of the same movement but on a different level. On the level of knowledge. Having the tools is one thing. Knowing how to use them properly is another.
But when I was starting I didn’t know all those things. I just wanted to be like the best programmers that I know about. Fowler, Feathers, Martin, Katz and many others. They inspired me hundreds of times and challenged me to be a professional. So I started to blog. And then many things happened.
Other developers started to read us. There were CTOs of bigger and smaller startups among them. They respected our technical skills and wanted to hire us. Right now most leads who contact us regarding collaboration are technical. They are developers, engineers who already know what we do, how we do it and how we work. We don’t need to sell our expertise. This is a very comfortable situation to be in. We are vouched by people who are already in the client’s organization. We start our collaboration from an entirely different level of trust.
It’s easier for us to charge higher rates. Our expertise is provided for free to others (as blog posts and books). It can be verified. If potential customers don’t agree with some techniques, we can explain them. It doesn’t work so good with existing clients (rising rates in such situation is a hard process) but with new leads it does. The more knowledge we have written down, the easier we can present the broad range of problems that we already dealt with.
Recruitment got easier. People want to work with good developers. So when they perceive you as experts, they are more likely to apply to you. Blog posts are like a magnet. You can present yourself to the world.
We speak more at conferences. Who do you think is more likely to be invited as a speaker at a conference? An unknown person or a developer with 100 blog posts. Who do you think is more trustworthy to deliver valuable knowledge, in the eyes of conference organizers? And conferences give you exposure which gives you leads, candidates and more.
We got workshop materials :) Right now we are preparing ourselves for our second Rails DDD workshop. I’ve been reviewing what I would like to discuss as part of every module. Many of these topics we’ve already written about on our blog. I could re-use those materials as a starting point and save time. Many of our posts were starting points for our books. In other words, it’s easier to sell knowledge that you already have written down.
We have an excellent way to share knowledge between our whole team. We have our internal saying “there is Arkency blog post for that”. We use it when someone asks a question, and the answer is a link to our post about this topic. Or when you google something and find our post as a first result :)
So far I wrote 70 blog posts. My boss is already at 150. But it started with the first one. Blogging for busy programmers, which is part of our bundle will help you start with it. It doesn’t matter if you want to charge more, sell products, recruit more people or find more clients. Your blog can be a potent tool for achieving those goals. But…
- You don’t have time…
- You think everything you would like to say is obvious
- You believe no one will read you
- You procrastinate
- You don’t believe your blog post will be good enough
We admire blogging programmers for their knowledge, for how they share it. We would like to work with them and achieve same things they achieved. But all those limitations… Can we handle them somehow?
It is easier to blog once you realize you are playing a long-term game. One, two or five blog posts are valuable but they won’t change your life. Let me show you a few examples from own blog posts
- When I started it took my eight hours to write blog post like this Web is no longer request-reply . A post that almost no one read in the end and it wasn’t very valuable
- Only one year later I started writing posts like 3 ways to do eager loading in Rails that people actually started to care about.
- Another year to be able to share a personal, interesting story without a code.
- And recently (another year later) I wrote something that I consider to meaningfully and shortly convey the message I wanted to say and I finished it in two or three hours instead of whole day.
We all want the benefits of blogging, but we don’t know how to overcome our limitations. And this is where “Blogging for busy programmers” will help you. To cut the scope, to promote, to worry less about haters, to ship it and to finally become a proud blogger helping people every day (even when you are not writing).
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