Hello World! My name is Anurag and today I have decided to relaunch my personal website. By relaunch I mean ditch completely what I had and write the code from scratch.
Getting started with blogging was not a smooth process for me. Initially I was not an avid writer. In fact I very much disliked it. However there are many reasons one should have their own website and blog even if they don't like it. Those reasons motivated me to overcome my dislike. The benefits outweighed the effort and discomfort. Through time I have even come to like it. Today is not the day I restart blogging. Over the past few years I have been blogging on Medium. Why medium over my own website? I'll explain that later. But first let me tell you why blogging is important to me.
Why do I blog and why should you too
There are many reasons to blog. And there are differents ways of blogging and writing. My take on blogging its like a public jounrnal. I tell my story through what I learn. Until now I have stuck to write about my learning in my profession. However today is the first day I open up to more my than just journaling my professional career. Hence why have I relaunched my blog. I am creating a space for me to blog on my interest outside my immediate profession.
But why blog in the first place? Here is why I blog and why you should too:
A blog strengthens your online presence. This should come to no suprise to you. However many of us don't think this will make an impact. How many people will visit my posts? What difference will it make? Those were questions running through my head before and during my blogging journey. It only takes one person to stumble upon your post and finding it useful to start spreading your content and thus your name through the internet. If your content is heavily searched for then many will find it through search engines.
Connecting with like minded people
Many times we find a topic interesting however we have no one as interested to talk to about. Blogging about a topic that interests you can help you connect with like minded people that might not be present in your physical community. Your blog can serve as an invitation to others to reach out and connect with you.
Writing is different way of expressing yourself than speaking. Writing has constraints which speaking does not. When you speak to someone you are able to gauge somewhat that the receipt of your message has understood it. They have a chance to interrupt you, ask questions and change the direction of the conversation.
However with writing there is no one there to tell you that they understand. No one to ask questions. And no one to interrupt and change the direction of the conversation. Writing is like a monologue. When you write you have to make sure the message is clear and writing cohesive. There is no one there to tell you that it is not. You have to challenge youself. Writing forces you to rethink and re-orgnise your thoughts so that your message is clear in writing. Clear thoughts will then lead you to become clearer when you commincate verbally.
To be more employable
This point is specifically if you are write about the topic which is your profession or the profession you'd like to be in. This is one of my main motivating reasons to blog.
When I was searching for my second job as a Software developer I found that many companies had unrealistic expectations of a junior dev. I also found that at junior and mid level developers the competition was high and most were looking for Senior devs even if it was unwritten. In light of that I needed a more compelling selling point and I realized that developers talk a lot about blog posts of how to organise people and code to achieve things. Naively I thought my first few posts would be easy. It was not. However today even though I am not looking for a job at the time of writing I do get contacted more and more by the day about jobs in the market and whether I would be interested.
Even if today you are not looking for a job I still think you should blog about your profession. You never know in the future when you might need to look for anther job. In that moment you'll be using your blog to stand out from the other applicants.
To learn things
Most of think that blogging means having the skills or the ideas and just getting them written down. However blogging can be a form of learning. If you'd like to understand a subject or topic the best way to know that you have acquired the new skills is by explaining it to others. You can talk to friends, family or colleagues about what skills you are learning and explaining it to them to the tiniest detail. However more likely than not your immediate circle will not be interested in everything that interest you–that is quite normal.
Writing and posting what you have learnt, and explaining this to others is an effective form of learning. Writing forces you to take a second thought to your thoughts–that is you challenge yourself to your own though that you have acquired a skill. You are forced not because you want to challenge yourself but by your inherent human nature to not shame youself. No one wants to look like a fool. If you write something to be publish it forces you to make sure that the information is as accurate as it can be. Not only accurate but also coherent.
As you write and read what you have written you question whether the information makes any sense. There could different reasons why a piece of written information doesn't make sense. However in my experience it boils to 3 reasons:
- Your thoughts need reorgnising
- You have gaps in your knowedge
- You lack writting skills
The first reason forces you to rethink your understading on the subject matter. The second reason forces you to research and read on the missing knowledge. And if your thoughts are coherent and you have no gaps in knowledge then its plainly your writting skills which needs work. Any way no one gets all three right on their first draft.
This reason is by far why I started writing. To really make sure I'm learning and not being dilusional about understanding things.
Why Medium over my own website?
Blogging is all about the content first. Building and maintaining your own website requires a lot effort. You can spend a lot of time just choosing the template or designing your website. Furthermore if you are not using a content management system then you can spend a good chuck of time building your website. Then you need to promote your website and generate traffic––i.e. Search Engine Optimisation, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc...
You can spend more time initially just getting those things right. And for what? For something that just holds text and images? Sounds like a lot of effort for such a simple feature.
When you are starting off I recommend starting with Medium. It is very easy to get started writing posts on Medium. It is simple and straight to the point. Medium also takes care of much of the heavy lifting of running your own blog. Here are reasons why Medium is great website to start your blogging journey:
- Simple design focused on writing and reading blog posts
- Automatic search engine optimisation (SEO)
- Curated post can easily promote your content
Why create a website at all then?
For the past 4 years I focused only on writing about software development for Apple's iPhones and iPads devices on Medium. This is what my career is based on. And my only focus was to further progress in my career. However today I want to start writing about other things and not just software. To truly learn I need to explain it. I want to learn about Music, Aviation, Cars, Dogs, Physcology, Culture, Books and more. The list could go on forever. As humans we are more than just one thing. We are more than our money making skills.
Why not post about all those things and more on Medium? I have decided to make my Medium posts paid content. Thus to maximise my Medium profile I want to keep only targeting that niche.
If you are feeling inspired about blogging then go over to Medium, create your profile and start writing your first draft. Don't worry to begin with about creating your own website. Let the content be your focus.
Let me know once you publish your first post over Twitter.