How I Write My Blog Posts
I'm often asked how I write my blog posts and in this article, I want to describe my process from start to finish. In this blog post I will cover these topics:
- Topic Selection
- Planning & Preparation
- Prepare a talk
In Notion I manage a backlog of blog post ideas that I collect from different sources. I try to pick each month the topic on top of my backlog and start the planning phase. But let me first tell you how I find possible topics for my blog.
Write about things you know
Most of my blog post ideas came up during my daily development work. If I think the topic could be also interesting for other developers I write an article about it. An example of such a blog post would be NestJS - The missing piece to easily develop full-stack TypeScript web applications.
Sometimes I also want to share some of my career experiences with other developers, for example, what my definition of a senior developer is.
I am also not afraid if my topic was already covered by dozens of other blog posts. I try to put my perspective and touch to the article so that is not just a copy but a unique content
Write about uncovered topics
Writing about topics that were not (or only partly) covered is the hardest but most valuable content you can create. For example, I wrote about How I Built A Custom Stepper/Wizard Component Using The Angular Material CDK as I did not find good documentation and helped a lot of other developers with this article.
My whole blog post planning is also done in Notion. I create a new page for the new blog article where I start collecting relevant articles, ideas, code snippets and more.
During the preparation phase, I research for similar articles which I think are very good. I read through them, note interesting aspects and start writing a rough structure for my article. Like in this article, I first created the chapters defined in the introduction.
Additionally, I also analyze the top-ranked Google articles for their headlines and create my own based on this inspiration. Most of the time this is just a working title, which I update after I have finished writing and reviewing the article.
The first step of the writing phase is to create a new branch in my website repository for the new blog article. Then I start writing the headlines and fill them with content in Visual Studio Code. I am also using the spell checker plugin Spell Right to prevent typos. Typically, the writing itself takes 1-4 hours depending on the content and if demo code is involved. A big focus is on the outline of the post where I try to list the main points I want to teach with the article and keep the reader motivated to continue reading.
My basic article structure is:
The next step is to add a nice cover image where I first look at unsplash.com which provides nice, free stock photos. If I do not find a good image there (or I want to modify it), I use Vectr which is a free online vector graphics software:
To make the article more attractive for readers I also add some images in between the text to have not only large text blocks but also some visual parts. Quotes, videos or charts are also a good way to add more appeal to the post.
At this phase, I read again through the article in my editor and I also run my website locally to see if the article looks good "in action". After that, I paste the article text in Grammarly to find grammar errors which happen quite often as I am no native English speaker but write my articles in English.
I will sleep one night and read again through the article. If I have someone special in mind, I also ping that person to review the article.
If I am happy with the article I will merge my branch to master, push the changes and a new website deployment will automatically be triggered. Check The Engineering Behind My Portfolio Website if you want to learn more about how I deploy my blog.
After this step, I will post the link to my new blog post on social channels like Twitter and LinkedIn (Instagram is coming soon). The latest blog post will also be mentioned in my newsletter.
The last step is to publish the article on dev.to which already fetched the blog content via my RSS feed so that I just need to review the prepared post there and publish it.
If I have the feeling that a blog post could be an interesting topic for a talk, e.g. at a Meetup meeting I will propose it to a Meetup organizer.
Most of the time, the preparation and talks are quite easy as I already invested enough time for the topic research during writing the article.
Writing a blog post is a time investment but you can benefit a lot from it.
A good blog is a perfect self-marketing tool. It is a showcase for my experience, expertise, and passion for coding and blogging. Additionally, it demonstrates possible clients my communication and teaching skills which are important in the tech industry.
A lot of people think that it takes guts to put yourself out there but I think differently. I want to share my knowledge and I feel proud if only 10 people read the article if I could provide them any kind of value. Of course, I also sometimes struggle to publish certain articles like The Mistakes I Made In My First Software Project where I take about mistakes I made in my career. In general, it is also not easy to publish articles in English as I am not a native speaker but it helps me to improve my written English.
But until now I only gain from my blog and will continue it for sure.