Why I’ve Started Blogging (And Why This Could Be My Last Post Here)
It’s been almost two years since John Sonmez of SimpleProgrammer.com started his free blogging course for software developers and since I signed up to receive the emails. I read each one, had a plan in place, but ultimately never executed.
I wasn’t fully convinced of the benefits and didn’t have the time needed to get a blog off the ground. Certainly, I knew readers wouldn’t come overnight, and just didn’t see myself bouncing around from blog to blog trying to gain publicity.
My reasons for blogging were all wrong. Namely, I was looking to monetize something that didn’t even exist yet. Fast forward two years and here I am, with different motives in mind. I have since graduated from California State University of Sacramento and gotten married, all while being the lead developer of our growing software team.
I now realize the goal to make decent money off of a blog directly is kind of like winning the lottery, yet there are so many better motivations to do it.
So what motivates me? This blog is all about efficience. Not just efficience in code but efficience in life. Making the most of your time. Why would I spend my valuable time blogging? Indeed, this is the question that has kept me away all these years. Ultimately, my motivations are as follows:
- Learning – I love to learn, and I learn much better by teaching (most of us do).
- Communication – We can all learn to communicate better, and I need to improve this as I continue to grow.
- Credibility – The ability to put a blog on a resumé or land consulting gigs.
- Audience – I don’t currently have anything to sell, but an audience would sure be nice once I do have products (which are coming soon).
- Long Term Goals – Blogging is simply a stepping stone to achieve my long term goals (which I’ll write about eventually).
No doubt I am convinced of the need to write. So I went out and purchased a domain, setup this site and began brainstorming ideas. I jotted down close to 50 ideas, a year’s worth of content. Just as I was ready to go, however, I stumbled upon yet another post on the Medium platform. If it wasn’t the 20th post I read on Medium it was the 30th, so I decided to look into Medium as a potential blogging platform.
Blogging Or Medium?
Medium calls itself “a place to read, write, and interact with the stories that matter most to you”. Created by co-founders of Twitter, Medium has become an extremely popular destination to read content. They have an average of 30 million users per month which continues to grow.
There are numerous opinions out there about the pros and cons of blogging and Medium. The main gist of it, though, is that while Medium makes it a lot easier to attract readers (and many more as long as you are posting useful content), you’re essentially building your house on someone else’s land.
Your blog is your own. You can customize it as you want, you can monetize it, and you can guarantee it will always be there for you. Medium could potentially make drastic changes to their business model one day, rendering you and the content you’ve been working so hard to create useless.
On the other hand, by posting on Medium you bring your content to thousands of people that not only have interest in your topic, but have interest in reading something about it.
Just like blogging, you have to work to get noticed. Medium is all about getting people to “recommend” your article. On this random Thursday morning, there have been 21 posts with the Web Development tag in the last 4 hours. Only 4 of those articles have more than one recommendation. In fact, in the last 24 hours, very few of the posts have recommendations at all.
Yet this post by Bill Sourour a couple weeks ago really struck a nerve in the programming community. It has over 4000 recommendations and has landed him a story in Business Insider. He doesn’t even have a blog yet, but I wonder what would have happened had he posted this on his own personal blog. Would it have been able to gain the traction that it did in such a short time?
But then I look at someone like the aforementioned John Sonmez, who turned “Simple Programmer from a brand new blog to a 6-figure business”(Source). There’s no way he could have done that on Medium alone. I do wonder, though, if he could have done it quicker than the 7-8 years it took had he been posting on Medium, and directing people back to his business.
A Happy “Medium”
I see advantages in both, and have decided (at least for now) to maintain both. I could avoid Medium, but looking at my personal motivations to blog, Medium is a good place for me. Learning and improving communication happen no matter where I post. As I’ve mentioned, Medium is an even better place to reach an audience than a personal blog.
Medium is not as good of a place, though, for credibility. Medium is all about the content, not necessarily the authors behind it. And while the audience may be better on Medium, without something of my own to direct people back to, the audience does not help me sell products, nor help achieve my long term goals that are so important.
I see the need for Medium and I see the need to have your own “home base”. Somewhere to sell your product, something to share with potential clients and employers. However, if I’m going to spend the time to write articles, I want people to see them. I want them to be useful. Could I get there by blogging alone? Yes, but I believe it can happen much quicker on a platform built for getting your content seen.
Call it lazy. Call it impatient. I call it efficient. That’s what this blog is about. That’s what I’m about. And it’s what I want to help others improve.