Technical blogging is something I’ve been doing for a long time. This blog, alone, goes back 7 years but I had a few other blogs on different platforms. In this post, I want to highlight a handful of things that have really worked for me and that I’ve learned over this past decade+. Technical blogging has accelerated learning, grown my network, and given me opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re planning on starting technical blogging!
📅 Be consistent
There are so many important tips here that it was hard to know which one I should put first. But this is the one that I think has earned the right to be the top one. Consistency is key. When you get into a good technical blogging routine you will find that, over time, your catalog of technical publications becomes quite large. Growing your network and audience is a result of consistency.
🐭 Less is more
There is a common misconception that a technical blog post has to be long. Not only is that not true, but that’s not my typical publication. Most of my blog posts take just a few minutes to read. It’s not uncommon to just have a few paragraphs in a post. Verbosity for the sake of length will drive your audience away. Say what you need to in a concise effective way, and then publish it.
Certain technical posts, such as break/fix (e.g. “if you get this error it’s because of this problem and this is how you fix it”), will attract people just looking to quickly skim your post and pull the relevant parts (like code).
💡 What’s obvious and basic to you, is not to everybody
This is a common one! It’s typical to think that you shouldn’t write about topicX because it seems simple. Yes, it is simple to you because you already know it. But it is surely less obvious to somebody that has intentionally clicked on your blog post to learn about it. People will read it because it is not obvious to them. Every single blog post does not have to be deeply complex. In fact, many of the more visited blog posts I’ve published could be considered level 100.
🖥 Choose a good hosting platform
One of the very important “day 1” decisions of technical blogging is determing where (and ultimately how) you publish your blogs. I’ve used all the common ones, including WordPress and Medium. I have settled on GitHub Pages for many years and it is the best (for me) by far. There are no paywalls, and no intricate tooling. It’s just a git repository of markdown files and a static site is generated from this and published on GitHub Pages. Feel free to refer to my blog’s GitHub repo!
📊 Diagrams and pictures are important
I’m a big fan of diagrams. You have a good visualization in your head, because you know the topic. But for readers it may be less obvious. If it’s appropriate for the topic, create a quick diagram. My favorite tool for this is Excalidraw.
🎤 Share your blog posts when they are released
People usually end up on your technical blog posts one of a few ways. Either they Google’d something and SEO brought them to your post, or they found your post through other interactions, like a friend sharing it with them. When I release my blog posts, I like to post them on LinkedIn, Reddit, and Twitter.
📰 Leverage formatting heavily
I use GitHub Pages + markdown, so I love the formatting that I get out of the box. For my code snippets, I use the appropriate code tags (and syntax definitions). The nicer the post is and easier it is to consume, the happier your audience will be. Also, readers oftentimes just quickly browse a technical blog post and look for the relevant parts, like code. Having them formatted well makes this a lot easier.
⏰ It takes long to grow a network
After writing for over a decade, I can say that growing an audience is typically a slow and steady process. The more consistent you are and the more your output, the more your network grows. But this takes years. Not months, and surely not days or weeks. Go into this understanding that for some time you won’t have many visitors to your blog. That’s ok and that’s normal. I average about 1,000 readers a day but when I first started out it was in the single and double digits for years. Technical blogging is about patience and consistency.
🧠 Go broad, but also go deep
This is something that I enjoy doing because it is my technical nature. I like to go broad over many topics (Linux, Kubernetes, the cloud, DevOps, etc.). I cover a lot of ground with my topics. But from time to time, I also like to dive really deep into something. Not only is this fun and interesting to write (and read), but it shows that you have the ability to understand and teach complex technical topics.
📈 Track blog usage
I do like to see how my audience grows over time. I use, and am a big fan of, Plausible. It’s easy and great to use, but most importantly Plausible cares about privacy. Tracking blog usage also let’s you know which posts people are mostly reading. For some of the more popular blog posts, it’s worth focusing some more on that topic in more posts.
⚡ Don’t clutter your blog
For technical blogs, I really like direct and uncluttered sites. I have worked really hard to keep visual distractions to an absolute minimum. At the end of the day, you’re on my technical blog to read about a topic. Not to see ads or anything else.
⏱ Set aside time
Technical blogging, even for shorter blog posts, can take a lot of time. Set aside time to learn, test, and write. With that being said, don’t put fake timelines on yourself. If creating a blog post is taking longer than expected, that’s fine.
Hopefully these tips can help you as you start (or continue) your technical blogging adventure!