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After three failed attempts over the course of a few years, at building the most awesome blogging site from scratch, I decided to say screw it! And I installed WordPress and started actually writing. I published my first blog post on the 20th of January 2019. Why you should place your code on an open source platform. A lot has happened since that first post. And in this blog post, we will take a look at what blogging brought me so far.
Since then I’ve published 47 blog posts. By far the most popular post is The 4 lessons I learned as a starting scrum master. Followed by one of the retrospectives from the retrospective challenge, the movie retrospective.
The blog has gotten 5891 views. The traffic is slowly increasing to about 200-300 visitors per month.
I cross-post my content on dev.to, where I got 8819 views on my content. Dev.to is a bit more focused on the hard skills of devs, and not all my articles are well read. The main benefit of sharing my content on Dev.to is that it has an already big userbase, where it is easier to distribute your content to new readers.
In total, my content has gotten 14.710 views. While I still feel these are “rookie numbers” it’s crazy to think I can fill the Pec Zwolle stadium with people that read my content. And still have a few people who have to wait outside.
I’ve started a newsletter with no real success. The number of subscribers increased 500% in the last year! But in absolute numbers, I went from 1 subscriber to 5.
Blogging has opened many doors to meeting amazing people. Blogging and building in public have put me in a corner on the internet with many like-minded individuals.
In my blogging journey I have:
- Gotten feedback from industry leaders I look up to
- Find inspirational bloggers who make me a better manager
- Meet people who are just a few steps ahead of me and who I can learn from
- Discover concepts that change my perspective, like pushing through friction
- Leading to interesting opportunities, like speaking on a podcast
Over the years I worked with several talented colleagues as a developer and scrum master. We build features together, and learned about the why’s, and gave me a great insight into their trade. Blogging allows me to put these things into practice myself.
Not only collaborating with an SEO specialist but actually having to do keyword research, optimize my blog, find out how hard it can be to rank, etc. Getting your hands dirty makes me a more rounded professional. I can recommend this to everyone.
Blogging learned me several skills I hardly used in the past. Content marketing, SEO, copywriting, planning content, building a second brain, and many other skills.
Besides all marketing and technical related skills, is one skill that is the most important one for me. Writing. While blogging I discovered that I enjoy the art of writing. To go from an idea to a blog post that people actually like reading is a fantastic feeling.
Writing is one of those skills that apply to anything you do in life. Emails, proposals, or any other form of written communication. It helps me to clearly express my thoughts. Which is a skill for life.
Luck is like a bus
A story from one of my favorite books the third door explains how blogging helped me:
Luck is like a bus. If you miss one, there’s always the next one. But if you’re not prepared, you won’t be able to jump on.Qi Lu
This quote by Qi Lu explains how he was able to study in America. Qi was originally from a poor region in China and wanted to study at one of the big universities in America. There was only one show-stopper: the entrance exam to see if he would qualify. Just the fee was several months’ worth of wages which prevented him from taking it.
On a random night, a friend convinced him to join a lecture from an American professor as a “seat filler”. Turns out this talk was on a subject he wrote several research papers about! Qi was able to ask some good questions. This intrigued the professor who came to talk after the lecture. They talked about several subjects and studying in America was one of those subjects. The professor was so impressed by Qi that he decided to sponsor his entrance fee. And the rest is history. Qi joined IBM, Microsoft, and was a driving force in launching Bing.
This story of Qi Lu brings me to my own Luck. I joined a Twitter community for Engineering managers. I saw that a manager named Nigel introduced himself, and I liked his tweet. It turns out Nigel was the host of the unfiltered build podcast, who happened to see my blog posts from my Twitter profile and liked them. He decided to ask me to speak on his podcast! Talking about ticking off bucket list items!
Listen to Episode 06: Motivation Porridge – Using Goldilocks to ignite employee motivation with Jelle Smeets.
Was liking a random tweet that led to speaking on a podcast luck? Absolutely. But writing several blog posts that the podcast host liked luck? No. Liking a tweet was like stepping on the bus, but my blogging habit made sure I was standing at the bus stop.
Where to go from here? I have discovered that I like creating content. I will definitely continue writing. But I am open to discovering other ways to create content. Maybe you will see some Youtube videos or podcasts.
In terms of goals, I would love to hit the 500 views per month mark. And I want to put serious effort into the newsletter.
That leaves me one question to you, reader! What is something you would like me to write about? Let me know.
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