Five years ago, I wrote my first blog post18 Jul 2023 #career #writing
Some days ago I found out this Hacker News question about what blogging has done for blog writers. I realized that I published my first blog post five years ago. I’d like to share what blogging has done for me.
In a past post, I shared how I started blogging and the story behind my first post. Long story short: I didn’t want to throw away some hours of Googling.
1. What has my blog done for me?
I wish I could tell that I could live out of my blog. That’s not the case yet. But it had opened doors here and there.
After sharing some of my posts on my LinkedIn profile, I got an invitation to create text-based programming courses on a new teaching platform. I wrote a couple of C# courses there.
Again from LinkedIn, someone from the Marketing team of a software company reached out to me for a content collaboration. I wrote two sponsor posts here on my blog and others on its company blog.
On another occasion, an acquaintance set me up for an interview for a full-time opportunity as a software engineer. I declined it, but that interview ended up being another content collaboration. I helped that company to start a Medium publication.
2. Skills blogging has taught me
Apart from content collaborations, keeping a blog made learn two skills: online writing and SEO.
I haven’t updated my first post. It’s right there to remind me how I started. At the time, I had zero experience writing online. I only threw some words into an empty file and put it online.
I had to learn to use shorter sentences, descriptive subheadings, and clear structure.
I learned to target my posts to a user search query. Also I learned to distinguish between posts I want to rank and posts where I share some thoughts. This is one of them.
I stopped writing about whatever came to my mind to follow a topic over a series of posts regularly.
3. Sources of inspiration
In all these years, I have received inspiration from others in the process.
In 2020, I found the Guest Writer Program from exceptionnotfound.net and accepted the challenge. I wrote three guest posts there. That experience helped me to better structure and format a blog post. Thanks, Matthew, if you ever read this.
The book Show Your Work by Austin Kleon inspired me to keep writing. Not only do the end results matter, the process to get there, too. I learned that from the book.
I follow the mantra: “If something takes you more than 20 minutes to figure out, it should be a post.” I learned that from a YouTube video, I can’t find any more.
4. Some of my favorite and popular posts
In these five years, I’ve written 152 posts, to be precise. Some blog posts came from my frustrations, curiosity, and learning. Often, I like to think of my blog as my own time capsule and a tool to preserve my keystrokes.
These are some of my favorite posts:
- C# Definitive Guide: This is my roadmap for C# intermediate developers.
- Parsinator: A tale of a PDF parser: This is about Parsinator, a small project I wrote in record time to keep one of my previous employers onboarding new clients.
- A quick guide to LINQ with examples: I wrote this one to help a friend. She was preparing for a technical interview. This is an “all you need to know” post. I ended up expanding it into a full series of posts and a text-based course.
- Unit Testing 101: This is one of the guest posts I originally wrote on exceptionnotfound.net. I expanded it to a whole series of posts about unit testing.
These are some of the most popular ones:
- Two free tools to format SQL queries: I got tired of formatting queries manually, so…
- How to compare DateTime without the time part in SQL Server
- Four naming conventions for unit tests
- How to add a caching layer with ASP.NET Core
Voila! That’s my blogging journey over these five years. I hope you stick around for the “Ten years ago, I published my first post” reflection.
If you ask me where my blog will take me, I’d say: “dunno, let’s find out.”
Thanks to all the heroes who contacted me to point out typos or a wrong variable name in my posts.