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Ask HN: Is having a personal blog/brand worth it for you?
324 points by zulrah 21 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 306 comments
I'm curious if people here find blogging as a valuable activity from the following perspectives: - Does the time spent writing feels worth it to you? - Did it help to get noticed/ find jobs or other opportunities? - Do you learn something new from it?

Personally, I tried writing in some blogging platforms (medium, dev.to etc), then moved to self hosted solution with Hugo but honestly it was too much maintenance. Writing up my thoughts in presentable state took too much time/effort. Right now, I simply save my notes to my personal Notion for future reference.




I've found it worth doing. My blog (xeiaso.net, formerly christine.website) is the main way that I get employed at this point. It also helps that people link it here a lot. After 100 articles or so writing got a lot easier and now people rely on my blog for a lot of things. I think it's worth it, but I've also been exclusively self-hosting it. I currently have the code (and writing) open source on GitHub (https://github.com/Xe/site) but I'm considering moving the writing to either a private repo or a SQLite database because people keep copying it, slathering it in ads and rehosting it.

EDIT: also because independent personal blogs are a rarity now, having a decent one means that you can really stand out from the crowd.


> people keep copying it, slathering it in ads and rehosting it

Didn't occur to me that could be a thing, but of course it is. People suck.


Ad income without putting the work in, it's a dream come true for some.


> My blog is the main way that I get employed at this point.

I don't use my blog (https://medium.com/@parttimeben) to get employed, but it has helped me organize and document my thoughts. For example, when setting up a new machine, I've always needed to keep track of what I installed before, what worked and how I got it to work, etc. Sure, I can google this stuff again, but just writing about my experience helps a lot.

I'm actually writing to my future self!


Me too, but somehow people really like that. I don't get it either!


Hey I read your blog a lot and it's definitely one of the more impressive I've seen, I don't write much (yet) but the structure and style of xeiaso.net is something I admire and would like to emulate


Thanks for your blog! I've learned a ton of great stuff (especially about Nix / NixOS) and it's always fun to read.


Your blog looks awesome!

a) People who copy blogs could copy anything public.. correct? That shouldn't stop you from blogging.

OR

b) By copying, did you mean they are forking your git repo & hosting it with a wrapper on top of your content?

I'm assuming it is (b) you are worried about.


Forking a repo is lot easier than scraping a blog and then re-hosting it. I think it's most probably (b) that OP is talking about.


I am talking about option B yeah. It's less frequent after I stopped using Dockerfiles to build the blog, but it happens sometimes. Sending a "can you don't" message to the person and their hosting provider usually gets them to stop though.


Thanks for writing these blogs! Always appreciated finding them here [1].

[1] https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que...


> because people keep copying it, slathering it in ads and rehosting it.

Never occurred to me that was a possibility, but wouldn't you know, my last two posts seem to have copies on other people's blog


Oh wow. This reply came at a great time as I've been at the beginning stages of grappling with the benefits of having a publicly available personal blog. I've always had starts and fits but never really gave it the time of day it deserved. I think I'll want to commit to it at this point. Best way I can think of achieving that (via Atomic Habits) is just to commit to writing the same time of day, everyday. Never even thought of the whole "It could help your employment prospects" angle.


I try to make something for my blog every week. This week is a dry week for the blog because I was working on my RustConf talk! I have an unused version of the talk that I'm probably gonna adapt into a blogpost. Keep an eye out :)


> private repo or a SQLite database because people keep copying it

Couldn't they just as easily scrape it from the site itself? Or is that too high a bar for type of scum we're talking about.


Any barrier makes them give up easier.


Nothing you do, aside maybe from putting it behind a login, will prevent your content from being ripped off. Its just a sad part of what we have to live with.


I was looking for inspo for my own blog the other day and saw yours as like the pinnacle of what a tech blog could look like.


Thanks for these blog posts! A couple of them are on the study guide we give to new hires who are new to Go.


read christine.website for a while! keep it up!


Your blog rocks!


My personal story:

I read patio11 over the years and was struck by his often mentioned "Write about what you know and it will surprise you the value it will add to people" (paraphrasing). In particular, in one of his posts about consulting he mentions: "Some of my consulting engagements were essentially me doing a dramatic reading of my blogs posts."

I realized that for the past couple years I had been coaching my friends through salary negotiations and general career advice as well. This led me to start a blog and write about some of the ideas and stories I used to help people get a better understanding of how to negotiate a compensation package, how to think about switching jobs etc.

I then posted it to Hacker News and didn't get any response at all for the first couple posts. Then one of them took off. I should mention that when that post did take off, I thought there was a bug in my metrics script but no, not a bug, it did indeed hit the front page of HN.

~30 people reached out and a couple turned into paying clients.

So answer to the question "was it worth it"?

- From a personal financial perspective, better than not doing it

- From a "wait! you can write things down, people read your words and then pay you money to hear more?!?!?" perspective, I can't think of a more worth it experience

PS There is this one distinct memory from when I did a free consult and the person said "I read your blog and thought to myself 'If I'm ever switching jobs, this guy is the first person I'm calling' ".


I don't have a blog, but your first paragraph resonated with my recent experience. I know some stuff and even though I often doubt my capabilities, I've been doing it long enough so you simply get to know some things that aren't in a book. Recently I got invited to an invite only event. Small online setting with people from some very interesting companies. It's summer,so fewer than expected showed up, but it was fine. So we start talking with the host expected to take a lead on the whole thing. Turns out that I knew way more than others. People started asking for contac details,tell stories how I did x,y,z. What I assume as basic knowledge is chargeable consulting hours to to others. Sharing that kind of knowledge in writing would only help my case.


> Turns out that I knew way more than others. People started asking for contac details,tell stories how I did x,y,z. What I assume as basic knowledge is chargeable consulting hours to to others. Sharing that kind of knowledge in writing would only help my case.

Your story is a good example of both impostor syndrome and also how what may seem blatantly obvious to us seems like a gold mine of hard earned information to others.

I've even seen incredibly prolific people on Twitter saying "The hardest part of this is saying things that I think are mind numbingly obvious but that so many people seem fascinated by".


Can you please share a link to your blog?


There is a blog linked in their HN bio (http://alexpotato.com/blog), but it's about paintball coaching. I'd be interested in checking out their other blog as well.


From the hiring side, I always spend time reading people's blogs, Github, or social media if they make an effort to include it on their resume.

9 out of 10 times, blogs are extremely stale content from 5+ years back. A lot of people start blogging at the beginning of their careers and then just stop. This creates a weird frozen-in-time effect where what's shown on their blog doesn't match their current skillset at all.

I've read enough personal blogs that I know to look for timestamps and put it in context. If I see a "Ruby on Rails TODO app MVP" blog post or Github repo dated 8 years ago, I'm not going to use that for consideration in hiring them.

However, not every resume reader is going to be that considerate. If your blog isn't up to date, you may want to omit it from applications to avoid giving someone the wrong impression that you're still a beginner.


The trend to remove dates from blog posts is problematic for just this reason (as well as being reader-hostile).


I feel like words have lost all meaning when we're calling removing a date from a blog article "hostile." It's only so for non-evergreen content, anyway. There's plenty of technical content that is just as relevant today even though it was written 2, 5, 10 years ago.

Edit for clarification: By no means am I saying that it's bad to have dates, or that we shouldn't have them. They make sense a lot of times, it's just kind of silly to call it hostile to the reader.


It's hostile because it removes context that can help understand the content better, and because it's typically done as an engagement trick to aid the author and their "brand".

Feel free to disagree, but I don't think I'm destroying language here.


Why would dates be removed from articles? (and why is this only a thing for 'news' articles and advertisements? I've never seen a personal blog without dates)

The only reason I can think of is to misrepresent the content as being more up-to-date and relevant than it actually is. Useful content that doesn't go out of date would never be harmed by including one.


> up-to-date and relevant

These don't have to be synonyms.


Of course not, I wouldn't have used both if they were synonymous, that would be redundant.


Not to mention you'd be repeating yourself!


That trend started the moment people started discarding content because of the date alone.


That is so last decade. What is hot now is to make the date recent.


Ugh, get off my lawn!

But yeah I've seen this too, this is where it turns from hostile to truly evil.


I usually put the date at the footer of the post so that people keep reading the damn post


The number of interviewers who even read resume, let alone a blog is very minimal. Even if they read it , i doubt people would be asked the same questions as one who has no blog.

So in my opinion the return of investment in terms of hiring is close to zero. However it can be a great tool to document your journey or learning and how much one has evolved.


This doesn't match my experience. If a candidate advances far enough that 3-4 of us are going to spend a couple hours of our day interviewing and deliberating, we each will at least scan resume linked blogs.


Of the companies that gave me offers in the last few months, none of them even knew I had github projects until I brought it up with them during the interview process. I mention these github projects on my resume in a separate section - its not even a throwaway line.

Personally, if someone has a blog or a Github and I'm conducting an onsite interview with them, I definitely spend an hour or so going over everything.


This is very generous of you and I would appreciate it as a candidate. In my experience, almost nobody does that. I even came across companies that never looked at the portfolios that they had requested in their job ads. One of these companies even hired me! Fun times.


Interestingly, at my company it's specifically _discouraged_ to look at people's resumes before the interview to avoid any potential bias.


The ones who you want it to matter to and to work with will read it though. Think of them mentioning it as a filter in your process.


Guilty! Well, not quite 5 years but my writing has slowed down a lot. As I get older, I have less time to write and spend a lot more time on other hobbies and obligations.


If you believe that your personal obligations take precedence over spending your free time on software relation extracurricular activities, are you really worthy of a job in this sector?


There are 2 reactions I have to your comment:

1. I agree with you. I like seeing people's blogs. It's great to see the way that they contribute back to the community.

2. I feel that your judgement is a little misaligned. I personally have had a blog (it's still there and I can still blog) However, to be able to get an audience who reads it, you can react to other blogs, and they can contribute to yours just isn't there. It feels like you have to be an influencer to get any kind of traction. I just want to have it so I can get feedback etc.

Also: I have a draft of a blog article about seperating out your content from the display and syndication. It's the tim berners lee before he published the solid web manifesto,however that draft has been unpublished for probably more than 10 years now.

Additionally.. I have discovered with the industry is that it's better not to over stress yourself out with side projects and hustle attempts. You just aren't awarded better jobs because you blog or invest yourself like this. You tend to signal yourself better to managers who see "oh he codes after work.. that means he'll love to code my project for free after work".


Your comment just motivated me to write another blog article about something recent I've learned. Thanks ^_^ My last post had already been more than a year old :O


I feel like you're personally attacking me haha.

I don't really need it for getting jobs but I definitely moved on to other topics and just never kept up with the blogging.


As a side note, I miss reading blogs from people. I remember 12-14 years ago when google was still useful to find information, I would often stumble onto blogs that had a lot of relevant info. For example when looking for reviews about a private school, I'd see a blog with someone whose kids go to that school, when looking for reviews of a restaurant, I'd see someone with reviews on their blog, etc...

Now it seems that whenever I search for something, I only get content farm and search engine optimized garbage.

I do get that now a lot of this has migrated to instagram, tiktok and/or youtube but it's not searchable (and it's a lot less useful than it used to be)...


SEO is much like prioritizing lines of code developed. When you set an arbitrary measure and enforce upon that, you will find that the only thing achieved is that arbitrary measure.


For sure, it also seems to me that at one point Google was still engaged in a game of cat and mouse, trying to detect and block cheaters, changing the algorithm but nowadays it seems they've given up?


The old mantra - you can only improve what you measure

Measure the wrong thing, improve the wrong thing :|


YouTube took over that niche. What used to be a blog post is now a 10 minute video.


A ten minute video containing two minutes of useful information I could read in thirty seconds...


I despise this pattern SO MUCH.

No, I don't want to watch 30 seconds of ads, then five minutes of bullshit exposition, to get to the 30 seconds I care about.

At least with written material I can scan through it quickly to find what I want. With video? I'm fucked.


Hah. Now I know what I can plagiarize for writing blog posts...


This is surprising to me, I’d say YouTube videos are harder to produce (and arguably consume) than blog posts. Does anyone know why are we seeing this trend? Is it because of monetization / easier to reach audience / something else?


On monetization it's not even close afaik. Some YouTubers make seven figures, and I don't know that blogging can get there. Although if some bloggers are making seven figures I'd be intrigued. Several YouTubers voluntarily discuss their numbers.


Lots of people just don't like (or aren't that great at) reading, unfortunately.


Most people are functionally illiterate.


Keep in mind there are a lot of people who don't use a computer outside of work/school. For many people it might be a lot easier to lean their phone against something and hit record in the YouTube app than to type out a blog post


It didn't, because there is barely anything of any substance on YouTube. If there is, it's by someone with a production team - which is very far removed from the use-case of a blog.


I’m currently watching a 6-part series documentary on a group of people who spent years of their lives attempting to complete Mario 64 in as few presses of the A button (which is the jump button, probably the most important action in the game) as possible. It’s around 4 hours long (so far), made by a single person and goes extremely in-depth not only on the timeline that tricks were discovered, but also on the game’s mechanics and how the absurd glitches used by the runners work under the hood.

To say productions like these aren’t of substance is just ignorant at best.


I think that's a really dismissive claim. I'm literally browsing HN coming off of this video by toldinstone:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDeQkttORoc

Substantial, I think. I've been there and I learned stuff from this video. And he does not have "a production team".

I kinda find that YouTube feeds you what you want to find, once it knows a little about you. If you want insubstantial content, it's absolutely there, but you can tell it not to serve you slop in an instant.


Lot of mechanics, carpenters and other tradesmen showing you how to do a lot of practical stuff.

What are you missing there?

However with all such things, there is finite amount of knowledge. We are now getting to the end of one generations outpour of knowledge and the cycle is repeated with next-gen.


Highly recommend Thinking About Things (https://www.thinking-about-things.com), which sends me articles from blogs I've never heard of a few times a week. They also have a pull-version at https://readsomethinginteresting.com.


All of that stuff has been commodified and monetized. In a world where that wasn't happening, this sort of (for the lack of a better term) organic content would be on instagram etc.


I've been writing online for almost 10 years now https://podviaznikov.com/writings

The best part for me is receiving some random emails from time to time with people saying they liked my post or poem or something else.

I don't have expectations for those letters though. Intentionally I don't have google analytics on my site. When I did have it, it influenced how and what I was writing.

Now I just write for myself. And if my writing happens to be valuable to someone else - it's a bonus. Mostly I write when I want to offload some thoughts about some topic. When I finish thinking about something, I write it down and that topic is "closed" for a while.

Also, what helps me to write and publish is my setup. I changed setup many times. When there was friction to write and publish - I rarely did it.


How long have you used https://montaigne.io/? Never heard about it before; very interested.

Love the simplicity of your site, by the way.


https://montaigne.io/ is my small project!

It's a third iteration of it.

For a few years I had following setup: 1. keep files in dropbox 2. sync them and publish automatically using montaigne.io

Now I switched and instead of Dropbox I use Apple Notes. Because it's easier to write, and mobile UI is better and it supports tables and images out of the box.


Cool, I just signed up. Is there no way to change your site's URL once you've picked it in settings? Can you use a custom domain or will it always be x.montaigne.io? The help page is empty - this would be a good place to put FAQs. FYI I'd be willing to pay for something like this as it tears down all excuses for me not to have a blog, and I'm sure many Apple users would share that sentiment.


Yes, it's possible to set custom domain name (email me using at the email in my profile) - it's a manual process for now.

Not possible for now to change default name though! You can either create new site with new name and delete this one (or again, email me).

Agree about FAQ! I started making FAQ https://docs.montaigne.io/faq but didn't finish it yet.


I agree with what others have mentioned; Apple Notes -> website is a really good idea! +1 for custom domain support


thanks!

custom domain support is there. That is how I ran my own site anyway. It just that it's a bit manual process for now. But I'll improve it.


Very cool. How does it work? AFAIK there's no Apple API's for this(?)


good question. I think blog post is required. But basically all the shared notes are synced to the apple minis in the cloud. and each apple mini writes local apple script to export notes.

does it make sense? can provide more details.


Very nice!

Apple Notes is a gem.


This is awesome, I will give it a try


please try! I think there were several issues today - since new people started trying it, but they are fixed now.


Ah, I wrote almost exactly this! https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=32146815

Also, I love the simplicity of your site. Cheers!


this is so cool! I also love Clojure


Does it have an RSS feed?


Yes. I can't find a link to it, but it's in the <head>, so parsers and browser extensions can see it

https://podviaznikov.com/feed.xml


cool that you found it!

Only added it yesterday.


It's worth it for me in the sense that I blog to process my thoughts, learnings, projects, and experiences. Blogging helps me do that, and since that's the point, it's worth it.

In terms of getting noticed/finding jobs, my blog (https://liza.io) is not super high traffic or anything. I don't market it. I don't even usually tweet about my new posts, even though Twitter is my one active social media platform. But I have had recruiters mention checking out my blog posts and sometimes reference my blog content. I've also had interviewers mention my blog and ask about personal projects I've written about in the past. I also used some of my blog articles as supporting material when applying for a position that featured a lot of technical writing. So I think that even though improving job prospects is not the primary goal of my personal blog, it has been a bonus.

Another bonus has been getting occasional emails and comments from random readers to say a certain post has helped them. A while back I wrote a post about testing external API calls in Go, and have had a few people reach out to thank me. Though I write primarily for myself, it's always nice to see when someone stumbles across my content and appreciates it.

It's also always cool when a post ends up in newsletters I've never heard of. I don't have a consistent way to detect each time this happens, but can sometimes trace back traffic through a referrer or notice a backlink from a newsletter archive.


Keep it up, there is a nice quality about this blog. I think it is an example of the older blogging style that many are fond of. Sharing thoughts without being promotional.


Nice blog! Your simple layout coincidentally shares some resemblance to mine (https://leite.dev), and I thought that was neat.


I have been blogging for 15 years, and it has been worth it. Some years I only write a couple posts. Writing helps me clarify my thoughts, and while I publish just a fraction of what I write for myself the act of sharing it gives me a small thrill. A few times a year, someone will read and reach out and it is a much deeper form of connection than social media comments/likes.


For me the biggest thing that helped my "personal brand" wasn't so much the blog, but was taking some of the blog entries and submitting them as talks for programming conferences.

Being a speaker at a decent size programming conference, opens up a lot of networking opportunities.

The blog provided an outlet for me to make an idea into something more concrete, as well as allowed me get early feedback on the idea. I used this to refine the idea into something that would be of interest to a larger audience.


I'm highly self-critical so I'd go through phases where suddenly I'd decide I need to be on-brand and delete all my stories, musings, music, non-brand-related stuff. Only to get anxious later and think "now I just look like another self-promoting schmuck" and with my inner voice whispering "what worthy endeavour have you contributed to the industry to deserve the acclaim you're begging for", I'd delete and rewrite all that "narcissistic" brand stuff and post some quirky stuff for a while. Rinse and repeat.

Granted it's a very "me" problem but was worth it for me business-wise? Not really. I just found it made my anxiety worse. Maybe in the future I'll start up something small and low key and pseudonymous but I will definitely not be wanting to tie it in any way to my sense of self-worth, my work, or anything like that. I'm glad it works for many people but for me it's just not worth it on a personal level.

In terms of finding jobs etc, I just try and do a great job on my contracts, be honest and open with clients, be friendly and check in with people from time to time to see how business is doing. I get longer term and much more fulfilling work through the people I know and have worked with previously, granted it took years to establish a small network but none of the blogs or articles I wrote ever attracted any attention beyond my own obsessive self-doubts.


I've been blogging a while now (~18 years), I find it worth it from a couple of perspectives.

1) Writing forces me to think through things clearly and when doing things like walkthoughs I often find things where my understanding wasn't quite right, so it helps there.

2) I often return to things I wrote a while back where I can't remember the details of a specific topic.

3) I appreciate when other people take the time to explain things, nothing like finding a good blog post when you're researching a topic, so this is my part of helping out.

4) Getting the odd message from someone saying they appreciate something I've written about is nice :)

5) It's helped my career. I now work in a field where I'm paid at least partly to write (security advocacy), and I've had companies approach me to talk about jobs based on them having read something I wrote.

In terms of the tech. I use, I keep it super simple. Jekyll and GitHub pages, so there's no server maintenance, just write markdown and publish.


> - Does the time spent writing feels worth it to you?

100%. I've been blogging since 2003. It helps clarify my thoughts. It helps me learn things. It helps me see how much I've learned and changed.

I wrote a bit more about blogging for myself here: https://www.mooreds.com/wordpress/archives/2188

> - Did it help to get noticed/ find jobs or other opportunities?

Umm, a bit. I've gotten a bit of contract work from it. I've published a book from my blog (yet to earn out my advance). I've been in job interviews where people mentioned my blog. I was asked to be on a podcast because of something I'd written (but only because it trended on HN).

But no "Dan is making $Xk/month from his blog and only works 10 hours/week."

> - Do you learn something new from it?

Yes! I have found that I've never learned something so much as when I tried to explain it. And explaining something using words is so much harder than interactively; you have to be clearer and you have to be more rigorous.

Examples:

https://www.mooreds.com/wordpress/archives/3244

https://www.mooreds.com/wordpress/archives/2832


I don't blog much. Maybe 1-2 articles a year if I'm lucky. A lot of my attempts end up half-finished, and never published. (I just have too many other interests and get tired in the evening.)

BUT: What really made a personal blog worth it for me was writing my own blog engine as a learning project. I hadn't done much in the Node.js stack, so I wrote my own blog engine to run in Heroku. Maybe if I have some downtime between jobs I'll do it again, too.

My blog engine isn't anything special; but it achieved my goals: To get a feel for Node.js and the general state of web development in April-May 2020: https://github.com/GWBasic/z3


It's been worth it for me, though not yet in the way I had expected. I write novels when I'm not coding, and I maintain a self-hosted blog about reading and writing mysteries and thrillers. I had hoped to draw a loyal audience of readers who would buy my books, though I never actually implemented a coherent readership-building strategy. I just wrote about whatever I felt like.

Turns out, a handful of like-minded readers, authors, and editors have gotten in touch through my contact page. Those contacts have opened up a number of opportunities and helped me develop a network.

I had a larger following on my Facebook author page years ago, but I didn't like the platform or the company. I stayed on solely for the author page. Judging by the number of followers and post engagements, I seemed to have a broader reach there. But I can say the actual engagement of those followers was much shallower.

People have contacted me through my blog for film rights and European publishing rights (neither of which panned out). They've given me free copies of books by other authors to review. They've invited me to write articles for their sites, and more.

I wouldn't say my blog has helped develop a brand, but it has definitely been useful. And it's never a chore if you just write when you please about what you please.


Are you willing to share your blog? I'm genuinely interested.


Thanks. My author site is https://adiamond.me


Yes definitely, but my situation is unusual. I use my blog primarily to publish research results. A typical post is halfway between a typical blog post and a peer-reviewed paper in an academic journal or conference. I've been dipping my toes into the latter and have not been having as good results. Basically, a blog is more efficient in use of time, and I also like the voice where I'm trying to explain things to a broad audience.

I really don't like Medium - I did a few things there before switching to GitHub Pages. The point of writing is to reach an audience. Why accept friction to juice their monetization?

And yes, there's no question my blog opens doors for me. For example, I recently got invited to give a keynote at RustLab this fall, and I'm sure that was on the strength of a blog post I had done on Rust UI architecture.


I found I only have something really worth saying every few years which isn't often enough to make my blog be content marketing for my personal brand. I do like my blog, I can read things I wrote a decade ago and still believe in them. Any sort of artificial cadence would undermine this.

Also as I get older I find the hot takes I used to write down are not interesting enough to share in article form. They live better as comments or tweets. I'm more aware of nuance in everything, and caveating my claims out the wazoo to appropriately constrain my claims is not worth it.

I see a lot of this hot take style writing from other young devs making it to HN front page. So that's not to say this style of writing isn't popular. But it isn't popular with me, and first and foremost I'm writing for myself.


I often feel this. Generally I come up with content worth spending writing, only so often. But then don't end up doing it because the idea loses its sexiness after a few days.

But more recently, I am worried that my ability to think coherently for more than 140 characters is gone. Whenever I think of something, I keep falling back to a tweet length content. My twitter is dead, so the concern is amplified.


While this certainly gets into semantics, I don't think you need a "blog" but a website can help a lot.

I wrote about why most smaller companies don't need a blog here: https://kolemcrae.com/notebook/humblesuggestion.html

You may say: isn't that a blog post? I would disagree. You can read how my website isn't really a blot here: https://kolemcrae.com/notebook/notablog.html

I'd say a website is fantastic for your brand, and combining that with a fantastic LinkedIn profile can take you far. Needing to blog constantly on the other hand isn't as important.


I will try to keep this short. I have a history.

My Website wasn't the best or the top but was right up there amongst many popular ones. Once upon a time, I believe it was within the Alexa top 1,000 or something like that. If I can recollect right, it has even seen its millionth visitor in a month. There was also a popular term called Google PR (I need to double-check this term); mine had "8" out of 10 for a long time.

To this day, I get occasional emails from people thanking me for kickstarting their careers because they read and followed my writings.

I will not dwell on those, but here are a few more interesting personal anecdotes.

I got one of my girlfriends because she doesn't trust the visitor counter on my Website. She contacted me via the contact form, "It must be a script. How can your visitor counter jump so fast every second?" "Meet me for coffee, and I will show you the real-time Website Analytics."

I was on a business trip. One fateful winter rainy night, I introduced myself to some new friends at HackerDojo, Mountain View (halfway around the world). Someone on the side overheard and approached me, "Are you brajeshwar.com?" "Yes." "Wow! I followed your blog, and thanks for your articles." That made my night.

My Website's revenue had bank-rolled me for many years while I kept failing with my Startups while continuing to stay in an upscale part of Mumbai.

My Website, indirectly, got me my USA Visa pretty easy and smooth.

I had brought down a business/Startup because the founder was cheating. But later, I regretted that and deleted every article related to that business. I should have never written something like that, and I will never forgive myself for it.

These are the quickies I remember without probing into my mind and notes. Now, I keep it as my Time Capsule. I don't have analytics either (I'm married).

Suggestion: Have a personal website/blog; don't rush. Start today, and have fun in 25+ years.


I don't have a brand, but having a personal website is worth it to me, on a personal level, it shows the stuff I've done through the years, some people might find it useful, but the primary thing for me, is to have it so that I can look back at what I've done, and serve as a practical way to show stuff to people who are interested.


I maintain a "personal brand," and a lot of that, has to do with trying to remain positive, honest, reliable, and friendly, as much as with my technical acumen.

I do blog, in sporadic bursts[0]. I haven't written much, lately. I tend to write (both code and prose) for myself, as opposed to any particular audience.

I feel as if it is "worth" it, but I don't bother trying to have a high "social media" score. That takes way too much time and effort.

[0] https://littlegreenviper.com/miscellany


I get a kick out of the occasional "hey, thanks!" from some internet stranger who struggled with some problem that I happened to have solved and written about. We've all been in the stranger's situation at some point, probably more than once, so it's sort of a way to pay it forward.

Other than that, I did get a few positive remarks and interested questions during job interviews. I've even had a home assignment waived after they checked out my blog[1] and concluded that I "seem to know what I'm talking about," so that was a welcome surprise.

Inspiration waxes and wanes, and I make no promises about publishing regular content. But occasionally I solve an interesting problem with an elegant (IMO) solution and get the urge to tell the world about it.

[1] https://badgateway.qc.to


Can I just say I'm so envious of all of you who are able to write publicly without worries?

I did try to start a blog many, many years ago, but I can never get over my fears that whatever I put out publicly will inevitably be used against me, by someone with power, in one way or another. (Yes, including this comment.)


I feel the same way. In the end, privacy concerns won over public recognition for me.

CTRL F for privacy in this thread shows way too few results imo.


Do people journal a lot less these days - I feel writing diaries used to be more prevalent in previous generations. Diaries are offline and private, so lot less likely to be used against the writer.

Let's say no publishing for the privacy concern. There are a lot of claims that writing is helping the writers think thru things clearly or understand better. I want to explore writing for decision making. What is a decision I should "think thru by writing"? Maybe writing lets the writer weigh pros and cons and be more at peace (for a longer time) with a decision.

Anyway, I have a dozen more open tabs now to check out the the blogs people shared in this thread. Also, recently there are lots of blog posts telling others to write more.

Speaking of open tabs, I have started to think that writing down things is like closing those open tabs of thoughts in the head.


Can I just say I'm so envious of all of you who are able to write publicly without worries?

Writers aren't necessarily writing without worries. Some are merely more afraid of the consequences of not writing.


One of my favourite ways to "blog" is to first write a long email and send it to a friend or three. Sending an email gives a sense of "done", and gives pause to consider one's thoughts. Then it usually becomes easy to decide whether I'm cool putting it up on the ol' blog too.


Writing under a pseudo-name probably helps a lot of people.


I've had https://www.swiftjectivec.com for several years.

Benefits:

  - I don't do much front end, so I enjoy learning new stuff to maintain it like Tailwind, Jekyll, etc.
  - I learn new things all the time since I typically write technical posts.
  - I Google something, and stumble upon my *own* posts sometimes!
  - I look at it as a career benefit as well, something employers could look at.
  - It does help with other things, for example, when I created a book series over iOS - people were aware of my work, writing style and more from years of my previous posts: (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=31534988)
Cons:

  - It does feel that if you don't keep it up to date you become a bit skittish, so in that sense - having one means you kinda feel like "there is always something to work on." I am still trying to make peace with this.
  - I ran sponsorships (they are still live right now) but wow did I not expect how much I don't enjoy them. Even though they were good money for, basically, doing something I already do - they are very mentally taxing for me.
  - It also becomes your online identity, for better or worse.
Overall: I love writing, so having a personal blog has been a no brainer for me. However, we are quick to say that this should be the default for everyone, and I don't think that's the case.


> However, we are quick to say that this should be the default for everyone, and I don't think that's the case.

Would you mind elaborating on why you think that's the case? I find this take very interesting.


I think some of the benefits that come from having your own space on the internet can also be achieved other ways. For example, maybe you've got a Github profile with some fun projects or forks. Maybe you just like hawking neat code snippets on Twitter or elsewhere.

So, I don't think writing is required - but I also think it can be very beneficial and we can't deny that.


Ah that makes sense. When I read blog my mind goes immediately to personal blogs which to me it means a space where you write about everything that interests you, not some some specific topic. But you're right, if one doesn't care about that they can achieve the same with some more specific and more focused platform (for example GitHub as you mentioned)


Absolutely, yes.

My blog ( https://blog.isquaredsoftware.com ) is primarily a way for me to share teaching material around React, Redux, JS, and TS. Most of my blog posts have been written in response to questions other folks have asked that I've answered repeatedly. It gives me a way to write a longer answer _once_, and share it going forward.

A few top examples:

- "A (Mostly)" Complete Guide to React Rendering Behavior": https://blog.isquaredsoftware.com/2020/05/blogged-answers-a-...

- "Why Context Is Not A 'State Management' Tool (and Why it Doesn't Replace Redux": https://blog.isquaredsoftware.com/2021/01/context-redux-diff...

- "The History and Implementation of React-Redux": https://blog.isquaredsoftware.com/2018/11/react-redux-histor...

- The slides and videos for my various conference talks: https://blog.isquaredsoftware.com/series/presentations

I've never had a specific goal of "trying to get noticed" per se, but I've certainly done a lot of "hey, here's this post I wrote that answers your question". And yes, in addition to brain-dumping my existing knowledge, I often end up doing additional research while writing posts.

As a result, I've had numerous folks tell me that my posts were helpful and that they learned something, which is really all I wanted out of this.

(side note: my blog is still using an ancient version of Hugo, 0.17, because that's what was out when I started. It's simple, it works, and I have no reason to change it :) )


I can confirm that your posts, tweets and replies in reddit/hn are helpful to people like myself


I recognise your handle, yes :-)


It's definitely worth it for me as my blog doubles as a repository or personal notes, projects, and ideas I reference often. And sometimes I get noticed, so far without further opportunities.

What made me blog way more, from once per month to nearly daily, was to switch to a lightweight, low-friction hosted blogging platform. Now the tool fades away and blogging feels fun.


> a lightweight, low-friction hosted blogging platform

Which platform have you swictched to?


I switched to https://write.as that supports Markdown, MathJax, and is well suited to the kind of technical writing I do.


I write at www.somehowmanage.com (have made the HN front page at least 3 times that I can remember), and I'd say the biggest benefits are:

- It really clarifies my thinking.

- If I'm going to work with someone (someone I hire or who wants to hire me), I can share my blog posts as a way of showing how I think (outside the interview context).

- With my team, I can share posts that reflect an opinion and they are way more coherent than me doing it in audio.

- It's also really rewarding to occasionally get a note from someone about how they learned something from something I wrote (or just to see it organically mentioned on Twitter and such).

Honestly one main roadblock for me (as someone with no social media following) is that when I try to share to HackerNews, I've gotten flagged as promotional. But really when I share I'm kind of in the mode of "I think this would be interesting for the HN crowd, let me share it and if they agree they will up vote it". And when I'm writing, it's mostly for the HN type of audience (I used to write on Medium but found that I ended up being pulled to write more click-baity, mass-consumption pieces that were less rewarding to me).


Yes, I've been blogging for over 11 years.

No one has ever wanted to hire me because of it.

Yes, I have learned things from it. Sometimes I like to experiment with web features that I don't or can't at work. Over the past 5 years, I've been carefully considering what I write in blog posts, and it has forced me to research and reflect more on what I write. Even though it's mostly notes and thoughts on whatever videogame I've just finished playing, I think that blogging has improved my writing overall, from work emails to HN comments.

https://theandrewbailey.com/


I do not have a personal brand online, but I wish I already had it and I will hopefully put more effort towards attaining one in the future. I am determined to do this because it feels like the best way to protect myself from ageism in the future.

To get known within a niche I am interested in would mean I would have a wider array of opportunities to choose from and would give me a leg up towards other candidates or among fellow contractors as I get older and face the possibility of ageism. That's what I tell myself anyway.

It seems to me that in our industry eventually older developers who won't go into management are forced to go solo or to settle at a job they don't like or that doesn't utilize their full potential just because of its security. This seems like a trap that I am looking to proactively avoid and having a personal brand seems like a great tool to achieve that.


Self hosted, hands down. The big tech lost all credibility in being a medium for your voice. They can't help it, they want control over it.

Said that, is worth for self-referece as the very least. You'll see the evolution of your subjects of interest, styles and voice.

For example, some post might be useful for referencing in a future interview.


Definitely! I think it comes down to a few things:

1. You need the same username/handle on all platforms (e.g., your domain name, your twitter name, your github name, etc...). This is easier if you have a weird name.

2. You need to consistently update your content on these platforms (e.g., no one will care if you have a blog with a single post from 10 years ago)

3. You need to identify a reason for the blog (e.g., is it for work, or is it for fun?) and know your audience.

4. Your "brand" lets you control what people see when they Google you. However, if you're trying for a more professional appearance, don't blog about politics, religion, etc... because you'll be bound to upset someone at some point. Also, don't write controversial Twitter posts.

I've been blogging for almost 10 years now [1]. I only write a few articles per year, but they're always about things I'm working on. I work in IT and try to apply things I learn at work to my "homelab", and then write about it. This actually landed me a DevOps job because they saw that I used Ansible, Terraform, Docker, etc... and was proficient enough to write about those tools. When I asked in the interview, they mentioned my blog and github content as reasons why I was chosen over other candidates.

I personally use Jeff Geerling [2] as my inspiration. His "brand" has blown up recently, and while I'm not trying to get YouTube famous, I think he has great posts, creates great public code (ansible playbooks and docker containers), etc...

PS - I also blog using Hugo on a VPS. I run Debian server and let unattended-upgrades do my maintenance. I use a GitHub action to publish my code to the VPS, so once I commit, I'm done.

-------

[1] - https://loganmarchione.com/

[2] - https://www.jeffgeerling.com/


It‘s definitely worth it!

I share a database tip on https://sqlfordevs.io every two weeks and get a lot of feedback. I started on Twitter almost a year ago sharing weekly tips but I always felt the 280 characters to be limiting. You simply can‘t explain a complex topic by being such constrained. So I share a full article every two weeks and the other one a simple one with Twitter‘s constraint.

And the feedback is really great. People tell me they had been able to solve a performance problem, do something more efficient or simply got a new idea on how to do something relevant. Seeing the content you write influencing someone is totally valueable and a good reason to start blogging.


It does depend why you want to do it and what you are posting.

If it is just opinions about stuff, probably not worth the effort unless you are the top of your field and your opinions are worth something (mine aren't!)

If you want to get noticed, it might help but in general I think that only happens if you have a niche. I got invited to speak at two dev conferences and part of that was because of my blog.

If you are blogging things that took you time to find out then that probably means other people will also struggle so your blog post can save them lots of time. In these types of posts, I try to copy error messages exactly so people find articles through Google.

I think it is also useful to practice writing generally, a blog is as good as medium as any.


Care to share a link to your blog?


I mostly blog for myself (https://blog.notmyhostna.me) as a way to summarize something I learned. It's a low effort way of sharing something and link to it on Slack / Twitter.

My thinking is if I spend the time to figure something out I might as well post it public and not in some silo where I won't find it again.


Your blog's subtitle made me chuckle. Thanks for a bit of added daily humor.


I have been blogging since before it was called that. I wrote a post about using the A* algorithm for path finding in games. The included code was used by quite a few game companies, some of whom I ended up working for. Recently I expanded the blog to include video which has been a learning experience for me. Mostly I do this stuff for my own entertainment but it has had a pronounced effect on my career. People don’t ask me basic questions about functional programming and category theory when they can see what I do online. http://justinhj.github.io/


Aha! A fellow org-mode-rooted blogger. I see your "How to blog with Org-mode" post and raise you mine: https://www.evalapply.org/posts/why-and-how-i-use-org-mode/

:D


Nice! It really is a convenient tool for this kind of thing


I used to feel like I "had to blog" and sort of forced myself to come up with topics and thoughts on those topics. I didn't enjoy the exercise. Lately though, I've used my blog to publish essays describing a view of the world that I'm trying to make happen through a personal project, as well as updates on how that project is going. It's been really useful to be able to share a link explaining my thoughts with new people, and it's always exciting when someone, unprompted, shares a link to one of my posts, or starts a conversation with me because of them.


I wrote one blog post that accidentally landed me in a newsletter.

I thought I'd want to try and do it on purpose, and that attempt landed two requests to interview.

My reason to write anything was always a need to express myself rather than seeking a goal.

Peaceful ranting.

I had a similar path:

  - started with personal notes (hackmd.io)
  - when something seemed publishable, started a dev.to blog
  - eventually moved to a self-hosted platform (getzola.org)
  - due to overwork stopped publishing, but still keep personal notes
The self-hosted platform did become a maintenance burden.


I have been writing for my personal blog now for a year. The time spend writing and editing does feel worth it. My writing is a lot better than it was a year ago.

It helped me to get noticed at my work and to make new connections.

You will always learn something about the stuff you write. To write better, some new way of doing something, or something from the comments.

I run my blog through cloudflare pages. I only have to push a new markdown file to github and the Hugo template and cloudflare do the rest. Took only a few hours to setup correctly.


> You will always learn something about the stuff you write. To write better, some new way of doing something, or something from the comments.

This. While you try to explain something to the potential reader, you will notice some holes in your own understanding. Teaching/explaining helps you become better at something.


Writing and communication is an engineering superpower. Writing critically about anything is still a good exercise.


Yes (my blog is on my profile).

People email me about things I’m interested in, and I’ve made new friends through it too.

It's nice to look back and see my progress — taking on harder projects, and writing more clearly.

> Does the time spent writing feels worth it to you?

Yes but I've always enjoyed writing.

> Did it help to get noticed/ find jobs or other opportunities?

Yes.

> Do you learn something new from it?

Yes, by writing for it. And, I suppose, by "running it" I learned more about the frameworks I've used.


I've had a personal blog for 20 years (at https://b3n.org/).

1. I have met a lot of people who reached out to me by email; sometimes it's fun to find other people with similar interests, it's resulted in many good discussions (even with people with differing viewpoints).

2. I have not landed any jobs from it (but I have been offered a lot of contract work--I have turned every opportunity down because I don't want to take time from my family).

3. Writing helps clarify thought. I often correct my own thinking through the process of writing. I'm not a great writer, but I'm a better writer because of blogging.

4. I also enjoy it, I wouldn't do it otherwise. I don't do it for others, I don't try to optimize for SEO or pick popular topics or grow a large audience. If I see another blog has written a similar post I usually don't see the need to write my own. I write what (a) what I enjoy writing or (b) what must be written even if it isn't popular or (c) what I think will be useful to others.

5. I'm often terrified at how bad my early posts were. At least I can see the growth!

6. Even though it's not the most efficient way to host, there is something special about hosting a blog from a server in your own garage.

7. I have more control on a blog (both in terms of freedom and expression) than I would writing on social media.

8. It's a way to leverage your knowledge. If I figure something out, I'll post it. It might cost me a few hours to write, but then for the next few years thousands of other people may benefit saving hours of time, research or money.


> United States of America reject a Holy God, as long as sexual immorality and idolatry are rampant, the people of America will vote for an evil President who will appoint judges that bend the knee to Moloch. Leftism is a religion, and Abortion is the sacrament of that religion. The left will not give up child sacrifice easily.

From a recent blog post here.

Reading this next to a treatise comparing a new iPhone to a Google Pixel is one of the funniest things I’ve seen on the internet lately. Thank you sincerely for that.


I blog about electronics at tomverbeure.github.io. I find it incredibly useful, not for others but primarily for myself.

I see 2 major benefits:

- I blog about things that I didn't really know about in-depth earlier. Just writing down the words to explain things to others often makes me realize that there were aspects that I didn't quite understand. I learned a ton of stuff that I wouldn't have without blogging, and it's surprising how some things turn out to be useful at my job.

- I try to maintain a 2-month cadence of blogging about something. (It doesn't always work.) This artificial requirement is a great motivator to force me to finish a project. My blog has 67 git branches. That's 67 topics which are at some stage of completion (often just in the information gathering phase, with a list of web links.) Most will never materialize in a completely blog post, but sometimes I go through them and pick up a topic that I had left behind a long time ago and just finish it.

I use github.io with Jekyll as blogging platform. It's essentially effortless...


I found that a "blog" added too much of a notion that there needed to be regular updates added every day/week/month/whatever. It felt like I /had/ to add something frequently and regularly otherwise I was failing. This was too much pressure and so things were right abandoned.

Instead of a blog, consider just a well put together site about things that interest you. There is no pressure to keep adding and updating, just a site where you can add a new page as often or infrequently as you like without any guilt. For added bonus points host it on GitHub pages so you can use their web based editor to make updates with near-zero friction.

I deliberately keep all of my online activity anonymous and firewalled for obvious reasons (so it is not a personal marketing outlet) but the learning opportunity is great. If I need to go learn something then for me that is often a good thing to write a page about.

Good luck.


Good question! Yes for me it was worth, I also switched from Medium to personal VPS (on DigitalOcean) + Jekyll (https://giuliomagnifico.blog), I spent lots of time to configure all the things but now it’s worth, I learned lots of things and I’m really the owner of my posts for few $/months (5$). I’m also using, for the analytics, Umami on a free Heroku instance and it’s very useful to ditch Google analytics, since now it’s also illegal in EU.

What I think is missing online, is a minimal blog service that is also fast to use and not expensive, something like a minimal Ghost or Squarespace for 5-6$/month. I’m using it for my portfolio (https://giuliomagnifico.it) and its a great service but it’s also way too expensive (20$/month) unfortunately!


I view my two main blogs (https://finl.xyz for the finl project and https://dahosek.com for my writing) to largely be an investment in the future. I occasionally get people visiting the former who have interesting suggestions (it was actually someone from HN who got me to consider rust as the dev language and that was definitely worth it alone). The writing site, in some ways is most useful to me so that I know where I can go to get to links to my published writing, but I’ve had occasional others visit and comment (in one case, a question that I had about an author that I posted in one blog post, the author himself answered).

I keep no analytics on either site. I assume no one reads them and leave it at that. It makes me much happier that way.


It is valuable activity if you like doing it. I think just forcing yourself to do it for the sake of it is a mistake.


The question which always comes to mind is this: Is it actually needed in this market where there is a huge demand for IT-staff and you can basically choose from many future employers if you put some effort in it? First of all, kudos for those who are blogging and created some sort of brand out of it, but the reason for me dshould be about sharing knowledge and experiences. Documenting mistakes so you don't make them etc. etc. But in the end it's the actual work you do which is the best brand. No blog/insta/twitterfeed can replace that.. Unpopular opinion and probably culturally influenced but I always find it amusing that my fellow IT crowd in the US (disclaimer: I am Dutch) seem to be focussed on "branding" as if everything needs to be "sold". Everything seems to be a sale to some of them.


A few of my articles got posted on HN or in technical circles, but other than that the only rewards was to write the material in the first place - it helps organize thoughts.


I do believe blogging is valuable

  -Is the time spent writing worth to me? Yes - I find it's helpful to jot information down so that I can refer to it later. It's a bonus point to get known within a topic or when others come and say that my material is helpful

  -Did it help me find opportunities? I've been approached once for an opportunity to work based on my work online

  -Did I learn something new from it? Yes. Writing down my work is a great way for me to learn as it tells me if I have holes in my knowledge when I go to explain my thoughts.
I write mostly about Electron [with Ghost]: https://www.debugandrelease.com/


It worked in 2016. While interviewing for a startup, the CTO asked the Lead Frontend Engineer if they had any questions for me. The Lead replied: "Are you serious? I literally learned Bootstrap from his blog!"

Never worked again since (Yes, I stopped writing about Bootstrap in 2014).


I have one very loyal and prolific visitor to my page - me.

It's become a catch all reference page for all my work, and that's extremely handy and also happens to help solidify some credibility when I need it. I can just send canonical links to anyone interested in what I've worked on.


Absolutely. Have been writing on my blog (https://lbrito1.github.io/blog/) for 8 years.

>Does the time spent writing feels worth it to you?

Yes but YMMV. I enjoy writing. I was the kid at school that teachers hated grading because I filled the full space for answers in exams.

>Did it help to get noticed/ find jobs or other opportunities?

Hard to prove if it made an objective difference in hiring, but in all jobs I've had since blogging my bosses/hiring-committee coworkers mentioned that they enjoyed something I wrote in the blog. Also quite a few interviewers have mentioned it in the final rounds.

>Do you learn something new from it?

For sure. I learned that my phone-server survived HN frontpage. :)


I think these answers are going to suffer a lot from survivorship bias.


I abandoned my blog. I recommend people make Github open source contributions instead.


Blogging can be a contribution. So many projects lack tutorials or intros that could be served in the blogosphere.


I have a technical blog where I post detailed instructions for anything I had to figure out on my own due to lack of helpful documentation.

Every few months someone will leave a comment saying thank you - and I love that I was able to help someone avoid the hassle that I went through!


Having run blogs for brands and now running blogs of my own personal brands I can say that it was/is valuable.

There was another post on HN a few days ago which likened publishing blogposts to increasing your luck surface area and I very much relate.

When I get hit with writer’s block and can’t seem to come up with my own work - which can be months at a time - I end up reverting to something like email interviews to highlight other peoples’ work and still have content for my blog.[0] Similarly, guest posts (that you seek out, don’t let random writers write guest posts aka insert links on your blog) can keep your blog “alive” through periods where it otherwise would have died.

[0] www.thehighestcritic.com


I write about my learnings at https://erikmartinjordan.com. Financially it's not worth it. However, as a non-native English speaker, it's a great exercise to practice a second language. Plus, those days when I get positive feedback feel better than any regular day at my job.

Most writers are huge introverts. Blogs are great to know people that you probably would never meet in real life. It feels like magic that you can connect with someone from a different culture, that is interested in the same things that you do, and with whom you share a similar sense of humour.


Wasn't worth it for me. A lot of time chasing imaginary internet points. No one gives a shit what you or I have to say or think. Why waste time on shadow activities like that?

I quit my blog and focused on my projects in the dark.


I've been writing on Substack this year and it's been nice to have the blog/newsletter option for people who want to follow either one.

https://stevenfoster.substack.com/

Writing and Publishing or maybe now Creating and Sharing have been incredible for my mental health. I can refine and bring clarity to my thoughts. Then sharing those thoughts I more often then not find at least one person who finds value in them or perhaps is moved by my words/photos/video, to share something of value with me.


I've been blogging, albeit not consistently, for 25 years or so. I don't even know how many readers I have, because I don't do any analytics.

When I write, it's for me, for the pleasure (and sometimes pain) of ushering thoughts out from the unstable flickering of my consciousness and into the realm of the fixed and concrete word. Well, as "fixed" as these kinds of digital artifacts ever are, I guess.

Sometimes people write to me to share their thoughts about something I wrote, and that's cool,but it's not the reason I'm doing the writing.


Tangential, but where/how do you promote your posts? It's rather demotivating to spend hours on a subject and see that only a handful of people seen the post for a couple of seconds on average.


Turn off analytics and learn to enjoy the process.


I'll leave it on to answer the questions OP asked and to track progress, but I wish I could just ignore it. There's a difference between knowing your efforts are rounding errors vs. assuming that :)


I started my substack in Sept 2021 and I did it mostly for myself - to have a reason to follow latest news and trends in fintech x crypto space and write about them* - this intersection interests me the most.

I’m publishing it regularly, although not on a weekly cadence anymore.

It was totally worth it - I got several amazing contacts out of it and one job offer. Plus I’m learning a lot.

PS * https://fintechmeetscrypto.substack.com if anyone is interested.


I do and I even wrote a blog post about it[1] along with some pros and cons. I’ve been blogging for more than 20 years when I was just adding “updates” to a project I was working on: the dashpc. I find it therapeutic and on a few occasions I’ve referred back to my own blog for info.

https://chrisbergeron.com/2022/05/29/own-yourself-you-are-yo...


I would agree that the "ROI" of hosting your own blog is super high. Writing for other sites or working with a marketing agency that specializes in tech content like Fixate.io, is a great way to get your content on existing commercial and non-commercial blogs. And sometimes get paid. This often is even better for your resume because it is higher visibility.

You can publish your Notion pages to the internet for free BTW :)

I think you should always own your own content. For example iff you review a movie on letterboxd or IMDB or a book on Goodreads or maybe do a longer review of a product on Amazon - duplicate the same content on your own blog. Or just a markdown file on your own drive.

That way you can copy the same content to as many platforms as you want, but you still own the original if the service goes down or decides your contribution isn't worthy.


Was thinking about this from a way to back link to your own site like "for more info visit..."


This is Raganwald, (http://raganwald.com).

I'm glad you mentioned both a blog AND a brand. They can go together (as they have done for me), but I honestly get different things out of them. Blogging helped me work out my thoughts on many subjects, not all of which were useful for "building my brand."

The brand, on the other hand, helped me build enough personal security to feel safe taking chances like quitting my job long enough to write a book or three (e.g. https://leanpub.com/javascriptallongesix/read).

So, each one contributed to the other, but I feel they delivered different benefits to me personally.

Now as to whether the blog or the brand have been worth it to me... I'd say blogging was worth it to me independently of the brand, and I'd do it again exactly the same even if I knew I wouldn't build a brand again.

In fact, if I started today under an alias, I probably wouldn't build the same brand. I think a lot of my minor, b-list success was my work, but a lot of it was timing as well, my first modern blog-post was published in 2004, and that was a time when it was much easier to stand out.


Thank you! I've got a lot out of your writing over the years, especially when I was very new to functional programming. (Though I still can't write Javascript to save my life :)


Good to see you still check out HN :) What happened to the old username?


I've retired it for a while, I kind of enjoy posting without anyone attaching greater—or lesser!—weight to my words because someone recognizes who is saying them.


This was answered for me a few weeks ago at work. I have a lightweight blog where I post things to show that I know about xyz. Nobody reads it and I don't expect anyone to read it in the near future. I'm not a particularly good writer (much to my shame).

I have also given 2 presentations in my company about an Agile practice I am passionate about. Just 2 presentations - nothing more. In my follow up to the presentations I sent an email mentioning a particular post I wrote that people could read.

A couple of weeks after giving these presentations, I was talking to a couple of new-joiners and introduced myself by my first name. "Hi my name is John, when did you join?"

To my surprise, the new joiner replied "Wait - you're not John Doe are you? I've heard some people talk about you". Apparently, I had started to become known for this niche area of knowledge. My presentations, together with my blog, showed people I was serious about what I said and - most importantly - I cared.

Your brand shows that you take yourself seriously and, as a result, other people take you seriously. Writing is difficult because it requires you to think deeply. It takes time and mental effort. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't write. It means you should write more.


What practice is it?


I forked the blog example in the Next.js repo (hosting is free on Cloudflare Pages, and Vercel) and just started regularly writing about React.

I spend maybe a couple of hours on each article. I learned to be a better writer, and its helped me professionally.

My favourite part is googling common problems I wrote about, and finding my own articles still there, like past me helping current me.

Site is https://maxrozen.com if you're curious.


I used to spend quite a bit of time blogging on Medium and it did actually help push me over the edge for a job at a small consulting firm since they felt I could help do with the marketing side of the business by being able to write successful posts. In my new job at a larger company though no one really cares about my writing.

In general, my opinion on blogging is it's a powerful tool allowing you to get better at writing which I think lends into lots of aspects of most jobs. At this point, I'm better at writing design docs or explaining complex topics to folks through writing.

One interesting aspect of writing on Medium is it showed me how writing about topics people are interested in can lead to lots of search volume and the ability to connect with people who you wouldn't normally talk to. I wanted to delve into that more and decided to start writing a new blog about credit cards and travel, Turn On Course - https://www.turnoncourse.com/, which I set up using an SEO driven template hosted on Vercel. It's fun to watch it grow through consistent effort and it's a topic I love to talk about in general.


Has anyone incurred any negative effects due to blogging?

Here is a hypothetical scenario, you and your co-workers are working long hours on solving a bug; and during that weekend you publish a blog entry you have been working for a long time, and the blog entry becomes some what popular. Now your manager and co-workers think your mindshare is not focused on work and you are not dedicated to work as others.

Is it better to maintain the blog anonymously?


Doesn’t sound like a healthy environment if doing things besides working is ever something to be feared. If that’s the case, blogging specifically doesn’t have anything to do with it.


The more likely speed bump you might face is if you post something and it rubs your co-workers the wrong way or in some way makes your employer think there is a conflict of interest. It really depends on what the content of the blog is.


> Does the time spent writing feels worth it to you?

Yes, for the most part. I write things out to clarify them for myself, but imagining an audience of readers helps me do that. Communication is the hardest skill for me, and I don't always succeed, but I've definitely gotten better at it as a result of consistent practice.

> Did it help to get noticed/ find jobs or other opportunities?

No. It never occurred to me to do that. In fact, I take reasonable steps to keep my professional life and my personal life separate on the internet. If I wanted to write about topics related to my profession, I think having a blog could be a good way to do that, but that sounds really, really boring to me. In my off hours, I want to do other things. Obviously, other people think differently, and that's completely fine.

My unsolicited advice would be that if you don't like doing something, you should try not to do it. At the same time, if you are drawn to writing, but don't like some aspect of it, try to remove that aspect and see if it's better for you.

> Do you learn something new from it?

I'm sure. I've been running the blog, with a 3-4 year intermission, since 2000. It was one of my first web projects, and I went on to become a web developer and designer. It was the first place I published fiction, and I went on to write a couple books, or book-like artifacts. I met a lot of people, and got exposed to a lot of interesting ideas. I learned a lot about things I don't like on the web, like advertising, and SEO, and certain tendencies in online communities. I learned how much you can get done by doing a small bit of work every couple days, consistently, for a long time.


Like so many others here, I keep a personal blog.

https://biotinker.dev/

I like to write up neat projects that I do. The first post on the site actually helped me get my current job. Occasionally I'll also write up other things that cross my mind that I find interesting, such as the most recent climate post.

Working on another one describing the process of automating a greenhouse.


Yes. It does take a lot of time! But it's worth the time to do a good job, because the returns are nonlinear with the quality IMO.

You want something good enough to make it on social news sites, not just for the traffic spike but because it will make search engines notice you. I have some posts that are just "here's how I solved this error message" or similar and I'm not posting those on HN but I want people searching that message to find my blog so I can help them. When I get a post on HN then over time those other posts get more search traffic.

I got my most interesting and fun job through my blog, when the CTO of a startup read a post on HN and reached out to hire me. And at that time my blog only had two posts, so it wasn't like I was a prolific regular blogger. I just had one thing interesting enough to make it on HN.

I just moved to self hosting my blog at https://james.darpinian.com and trying to post a little more often. Honestly self hosting is probably not worth the trouble. A hosted platform with a custom domain is probably the sweet spot.


I have a blog that doesn’t get that much traffic but is easy to find on Google (and I use the same pseudonym on GitHub which is work visible). I’d say it’s “off brand” (I’m supposed to be a business consultant on data wadda wadda wacca) but it’s kind of a negative I think.

I might as well spam it. asemic-horizon.com would you trust a digital transformation / AI project to the man in that blog.


I'm new to blogging (shameless plug https://raskie.com), so keenly feel the pain of writing content. But it's a satisfying experience, even if it can be a bit frustrating. If it's a tech blog, sometimes, the feeling of completion is at least as satisfying as solving a particularly difficult programming problem, or writing a small program. All the more satisfyingly when people read the content, and appreciate it in some small way.

So yeah. I find it valuable, even if I do sometimes feel like 'I could be writing some code / designing something right now'.

A problem I think I have is knowing when to stop writing... I look around at other people's blogs, and see all these succinct, perfectly targeted paragraphs, all the while considering my work to be bloated and overly long. But I do try to reread and rewrite stuff. I think it's a skill worth working on, so that's another reason why I spend the time doing it.


I mostly agree with a recent Big Think article [0] (HN discussion [1])

I also tell people "don't blog" [2] ...for the wrong reasons

Do blog for the right reasons [3] - if you find it too tedious to write-up your notes into a format you and others can reference later with all the "whys" and not merely the "whats", then don't do it ... but I'd wager you'd benefit from doing it :)

As I commented here [4] recently, "I presume no one reads what I write - but attempt to write as if it's being read by millions"

I can not tell you how many times I've been able to refer to something I wrote (technical or otherwise) that's helped at least myself again, if not myriad others

Also - your public-facing blog may easily be accessible even if your "notes" aren't :)

-----------

[0] https://bigthink.com/the-learning-curve/personal-brand-trap/

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=32138311

[2] https://antipaucity.com/2014/04/11/dont-blog/

[3] https://antipaucity.com/2012/11/05/why-blog/

[4] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=31947806


Just a heads-up: the fonts and the general layout (spacing between paragraphs etc.) of your CV are painful to read IMO.


I have a personal blog on Blogger. It's zero work to maintain but I mostly publish on a platform where I have an editor who also handles promotion etc. I have more flexibility on my own platform but honestly I have more demand to write professionally in places that will handle editing/promotion/etc. than I have time for and I have more reach there.


I've blogged in fits and starts, but it always seemed to fall out of favour because I wasn't too happy with the platform (speed, aesthetics, etc.)

What seemed to work for me was realizing that I am not blogging for others, for meaningless internet points, etc. I blog for myself, and I blog publicly on the off chance it helps someone.

That's all. No pressure, no commitments.


well, when some companies started to place Google ads on my name I realized there might be some value in my personal brand.

did not get it via blogging but via conference speaking and a book. blog is just a channel.


I have a website [1] where I post technical articles and – although there are not that many articles – I have been approached for opportunities, including a current client. I recommend it, even if it seems like there is never time.

[1] https://mejuto.co/articles/


Absolutely.

I started with a blog about technical topics:

https://www.jon-douglas.com/

This page somewhat acts like docs/reference for some obscure topics in mobile development and has quite a bit of views.

I then pivoted to be a more personal blog/brand:

https://jondouglas.dev/

It absolutely has helped me get noticed and people regularly use it to find me to pitch me something.

I learned plenty from creating it and posting regular content. I think nowadays everybody needs a personal blog or site of some kind to separate yourself from the masses.

I think the biggest mistake you can make is giving the power to other platforms like medium/dev.to/etc. It's not to say you shouldn't post to those places, but you should always own your own image and content and then syndicate to the appropriate places.


If you have something concrete and unique to offer people in a blog, then yes. Otherwise generally no, unless you're perhaps trying to give people a library of your technical work that they can refer to when you're applying for a job.

For someone who's unknown or just another face in the crowd, a successful blog should have some unique information, analysis, or authority on something specific.

If you're someone famous, then your take on things you've seen and observed and lessons that others can benefit from, which they don't get to experience / glimpse in their daily life.

If you're just someone with an opinion, all you're doing is working out your need to publish your thoughts to randos. Unless your writing is super insightful, the only person it benefits is you (pretty much). (Again, unless your blog serves to collect your work for applying to a job.)


I found blogging to be too open-ended. I need some prompting, and I found that by participating in topical forums related to my interests and expertise. When someone would pose a problem or ask a question, I would dig into the threads that interested me a lot and found great satisfaction in working with anyone to solve an interesting problem.

After a few years of this I have become known in some of these communities as an expert, have received requests for paid work, have been referred for paid work, and have absolutely learned a lot.

My only tip if you take this direction is to find community forums that are specific -- not Reddit. Reddit has too many casual browsers and commenters and is not well-regulated. Participate in forums that are more professionally oriented or have a professional feel. If you see a lot of troll posts, don't waste your time.


How do you find forums like these?


> Does the time spent writing feels worth it to you?

Yes. I write for myself (and reference some of my posts years later) but unexpectedly some of my posts have helped other people and that's a great feeling.

> Did it help to get noticed/ find jobs or other opportunities?

Not yet! Although I think it has encouraged a lot of other behaviors that might have helped to get noticed or find other opportunities.

> Do you learn something new from it?

That's generally the reason I do it – to document things I've learned.

> Writing up my thoughts in presentable state took too much time/effort. Right now, I simply save my notes to my personal Notion for future reference.

IMO that's good enough. If you want to make your writing public don't waste time trying to make it "presentable" - just get it "good enough" and publish. Or slap a giant "DRAFT" label at the top.


I created a hugo blog as well (https://erock.io). It's been a great outlet for me to express myself. It has been on the FP of HN before which was a ton of fun to see the metrics.

However, I totally agree that maintaining the blog has been a bit of a chore and since I wanted to write more I feel like it is actually hindering me.

I'm slowly transitioning to use https://prose.sh (disclaimer, I helped build it) exclusively which should make writing a blog post as easy as creating a markdown file locally and calling `scp post.md prose.sh:/`

As far as it opening doors for me, not really. I sit at around 10-20k unique users a month but who knows how many people are actually engaged in the content.


I started a blog to improve my writing and keep notes. Most of my posts are private. However, I liked sharing my notes and often it made my knowledge set better.

https://austingwalters.com/

It has been wildly successful and useful to me. Many of my consulting gigs have been found through my blog. I’ve been featured by a few people and get somewhere between 200k - 1m unique visitors a year. It’s been really fun and when I have time I really enjoy diving deep into topics (say firearms https://austingwalters.com/firearms-by-the-numbers/).

The past couple years, I have had far less time: but definitely plan on getting back to more regular posts.


> Does the time spent writing feels worth it to you?

Absolutely. For me it's mostly a tool to get thoughts out of my head and also to "think in public" in a way. It's useful to put thought out there because people can pick them up and help you move your thinking forward by interacting with what you published.

> Did it help to get noticed/ find jobs or other opportunities?

A few but I don't write about my job for the most part because it a personal blog and not a work blog.

> Do you learn something new from it?

That internet strangers are—for the most part—a lot kinder that we might think. I've been blogging on my manuelmoreale.com for more than 5 years and I only had very pleasurable exchanges via email with people around the world. Not one that I regret and I got to learn from other people's experiences. Which is awesome.


I don't write when I feel it's worth it to me, I write when I feel it's worth it to the reader.


I have a personal site https://daniel.do that I don’t write on frequently.

It’s mostly because when I am motivated to write a post it’s about something that’s a really big deal in my life or something that took a long time.

Like I wrote a post about being a software engineer at the CDC when COVID hit and more recently about becoming a digital nomad.

My blog is not for job opportunities/professional purpose. My resume and LinkedIn gets me through any of those doors. It’s my representation of myself online I guess. The same way someone might curate their instagram feed, if someone wanted to do a deeper dive into who I am they could use my website.

But I do have opinions about technology and have considered writing polemic style articles. I’m just not sure anybody would read them or care.


I don't have a blog per se, it is mostly social networking, first Livejournal, then Facebook. I think my writing is decent or my thoughts are resonating with certain people, because I used to have some discussion in comment section here and there.

I am writing about everything I am interested in and about things in my life. Work is a big part of my life, so I write about work quite a bit.

I don't know if it really helped me somehow or it is just a network effect or otherwise, people getting to know me IRL and then found me on social networks. I never thought about "building a personal brand", it happens naturally.


Back in 2010 I started a blog and my first post was how to use some auth plugin for Ruby on Rails (quite popular at the time). The article ranked number one on "how to use that thing", and I have to say, it was cool seeing my blog at the top of the google news results, and seeing actual traffic from users that I (hope) were getting some benefit from the writing.

That said, it was indeed a PITA to keep up and I eventually just let it die. That one article had taken almost 2 weeks to write and I didn't have that sort of time or interest to devote to other topics, which undoubtably would have been less interesting.

The point is though, for those that find early success, it can be quite pleasurable and addicting. For those that don't, it might be an exercise in pure personal growth.


I have had a blog for many years now but I rarely treat it as a way to market myself or gain anything from it except the fact that I can go back and look at something I was working on.

At some point, I started writing more about keyboards, nothing crazy, just some I was interested in or when I built my own keyboard and I decided to track all the expenses related to it. It also helped me quickly go back to it and share the build process with friends whenever they asked about it.

My blog: https://blog.usmanity.com

The biggest struggle for me has been to write consistently, I will have a few days in a row when I write and then I go silent. Looking for any input/feedback on how people maintain cadence on writing.


Absolutely. My very modest blog (manypossibilities.net) has helped me maintain an independent perspective and brand. The real value of the blog is the opportunity to reflect and synthesize ideas that have been percolating in your brain. I find writing very hard but every piece I have written has brought me satisfaction in having distilled something, if only for myself. It is also true that giving away real value to others in any small way through your blog/website is something that will come back to you a thousand times.


I'm starting to realize that I never loved writing, but that the more I do it, the clearer my mind feels. It's something to do with getting ideas out of my mind so they stop bouncing around. Ironically, I find I like writing more now that I only write about things that interest me. I think school f*cked me up there.

So, I'm writing loosely and when I remember too. Eventually I will have enough to piece together a few blog posts and imagine more momentum will build from there. So I guess the key is patience.

It's really hard to understand how much work goes into blogs when you just see a bunch of finished products that people have poured into. But I think it's worth it for the cathartic, mind-clearing effects I have described.


During pandemic I started up a YouTube channel (I'm sure I'm not alone...) just to document my side projects (https://www.youtube.com/c/atomic14) - for some reason I've found it much easier to publish videos than write blog posts.

The YouTube channel has done fairly well with around 24,000 subs and has led to a lot of interesting conversations and consulting work.

My original intention was to do blog posts in conjunction with the videos, but it's proved very hard.

I do occasionally make an effort and get something out the door, but soon slip behind: https://www.atomic14.com


The actual blog is a Jekyll site hosted on S3 and CloudFront - it's due a bit of a redesign and refresh, but does the job.


Yes.

I've been blogging in some form for ~18 years - https://caseysoftware.com/ - and use it to put out ideas that are fueled by my day job or just generally document things that I've thought through and made sense of.

At least 3-4 times/month, when someone asks me something, I have a blog post written in that area and I send it to them. The credibility shift between "here's my email answer" and "here's a blog post" is HUGE and people take it much more seriously.

The vast majority of developers out there don't write at all, let alone regularly. Even writing a handful of times per year will make your writing better and put you in a higher tier of devs.

And finally, our very own Patio11 talks about this (and me) in this post: https://training.kalzumeus.com/newsletters/archive/do-not-en...

> I have a few friends who are developer evangelists, which is a funny job created at API companies where your brief is basically "Go demo our product to a group of developers. Now, do that again, every day, for the next several years." Sentiment on the actual job is decidedly mixed. Keith Casey gives a pretty good account here.

> (Side note: I'd be remiss if I didn't note that Keith just got his work shared with 10,000 people because Keith did the work and made it easily shareable, and also because Keith knew me, through his previous job at Twilio. I'm a customer there. Everyone can play six degrees to Kevin Bacon in our industry, but actually putting in the work makes it much more likely that other people will play six degrees on your behalf.)

This is the post he links to: https://caseysoftware.com/blog/developer-evangelism-the-whol...


A lot of people saying their blog helped them get jobs.

I have a blog [1], with over 200 posts. I went for interviews at three companies in Austria in 2015, was surprised not one company mentioned my blog. Turned out the recruiter had removed the link from my CV. Presumably because it had my email address on it and they were worried the company would contact me directly. Great "value" the recruiter provided to the company there.

So no, my experience is if recruiters are going to remove the link to your blog, having a blog makes absolutely no difference to the job-seeking process whatsoever...

[1] https://www.databasesandlife.com/


It was not! If you look in my history you'll see I talk about my experience starting a consulting company. I had a personal website and brand at the same time, and it was probably a huge waste of time. I never appreciated the engagement I got on comments on blog posts, wouldn't say it brought any new clients, and don't really have anything positive to say other than it was nice owning a domain with my full name.

As I've gotten older, i've come to terms with the fact that's there is really 2 solid ways of earning great money - leet code (yuck but it does the trick) or start a consulting business and build out referrals, most startups aren't worth the time


Yes, it makes me feel more like a person, even if nobody reads it. It turns my personal investigations into random things into permanent writing, which makes me feel like I'm building something instead of fruitlessly spinning my wheels in solitude.


I'm not sure if it was via my personal website or just my GitHub profile, but I got my current job at Canonical due to the CTO there reaching out about my GoAWK project (https://github.com/benhoyt/goawk). I get regular recruitment emails because I have my CV/resume online: most of them are very low-effort, but 1 in 20 or something are interesting emails where the recruiter has actually looked at my website and will tailor it personally. I also just enjoy technical writing, and get joy out of sharing it on HN. So it's "worth it" for me.


I’m taking a nap from blogging. I ran a high traffic blog about 5 years ago using Ghost and proxied through a CDN for super fast loading times for my visitors. For the brief window that blog existed, I learned a lot. I setup Ghost manually on a VPS and learned how to configure a server manually. One notable thing was getting cold called by a journalist asking if they could link to one of my posts and they asked me for a few other thoughts on the matter. That was the high point and I tore the whole thing down because the blog was expensive to run. I paid for analytics, bare metal VPS, CDN, and domain renewals. I plan to jump back into blogging though.


I write "technical" blogs, lately I don't do tutorials/guides. Those take a while to write since they need nice pictures/have to be reproducible... also when people hit you up like "this library has been deprecated" and the post is 3 years old.

I do it for the points/views ego boost but also part of me wishes it lives on when I'm gone (ha). I write about whatever I'm building (project).

I have not gotten anything out of the writing though, other than pushing out content/getting followers. I used to think I'd run a high-traffic blog and live off that but it's hard since I think most people use centralized stuff like Reddit.


Have it, yes. Is it actively maintained? No Would I like to get back to it: Yes

http://mrmonksy.com/blog

Why don't I blog? Well I don't feel like I should be running marketing for it and have to sydicate it everytime I write an article. It's exhausting to build your brand not get rewarded for it. I wouldn't mind if it built a community that would contribute back to me based on the article and I could contribute to them. I.e. We could do code golf challenges have blog replies etc.

Nope.. the audience is just not there. Our tools were crippled and abandoned (ping backs for blogs) etc.


I started my blog after procrastinating for 5 years. I was in the perfection loop of how I will host it using SSR and Github Actions and all those things that will lure any developer. One day I just hosted Ghost on Digital Ocean Droplet and started publishing things from my emails and notebook.

Writing is a way for me to clear out my head, I usually scribble a lot in my notepad and recently in Obsidian. From past one year, I also share the things out in public on my blog - https://binaryho.me/

The traffic is < 5 daily users but that's not discouraging as I find peace in writing.


I bitch about stuff that resonates with most HN'ers and the comments here release pent up frustrations in engineering/design. Both the writing part and the reaction on HN is a fun activity. My favorite aspect is getting emails from people and making random friends on the interwebs. So it is worth it for me. My blog here if you want to check it out: https://neil.computer/. Through HN and the blog, I've made a couple of good friends that I talk to on almost daily basis.

It brings 2k unique visitors per day according to Cloudflare analytics.


I don't really keep a blog, but I do have a website where I post my thoughts and findings that I find interesting. I post something maybe twice a year--though sometimes more. I find it personally gratifying, it's mostly just a way to organize my thoughts on a more interesting/complex topic.

A lot of people feel that writing a blog is a thing that has to be done a certain way, that is you have to update it regularly, with interesting content. I think more people would have interesting sites if they looked at it as just that: A personal site that gets updated as you want, rather than a blog that has to be kept fresh and relevant.


I've had my personal site for about two years now and I've found it quite valuable to maintain. (I started out with one or two articles on dev.to before moving to my own self-hosted site at https://chidiwilliams.com.)

While I haven't gotten any jobs or major opportunities from it, someone once emailed me saying one of my posts helped them prepare for (and ace) an interview at Google. Plus, I've randomly run into people who, after hearing my name, tell me they've read and liked some of my posts.


Completely. Every single progression in my job over 24 years (I started blogging in 1998) has come through my blog. Some of those were huge.

Self-hosted is the way to go. Start small; post on a regular schedule; comment on other peoples' blogs.


What sorts of blog posts led to those progressions? Or was there no common theme?


The common theme was revealing more about how I thought about tech and my work in general: not so much technical solutions but my mindset and how I thought about the future. The more detailed I was with my opinions, the more people were able to resonate with them.

I’m still writing mine (taoofmac.com), for nearly 20 years now. Tone and content changed (following my hobbies now, mostly), pace changed (from daily to once a week), but it’s still there.

I think the main issue these days is that people have either become more focused on short form content or on relentless promotion of fluff. Once blogs became a corporate thing, a lot of objectivity (and usefulness) was lost.

On the other hand, there are still plenty of people out there writing about niche technology topics with a lot of quality.

They’re just not on Medium or any of the usual content mills.


> Writing up my thoughts in presentable state took too much time/effort.

What you may not realize is how crucial writing is to thinking. You won't really know what you think about a topic until you try to put those thoughts into a persuasive or informative essay. The "time/effort" is an investment in your brain.

This is something I've personally experienced hundreds of times.

It's possible to do as you are doing and not publish written thoughts. However, doing so motivates thinking about the topic from many different perspectives as you try to anticipate objections/questions.


For me, very much so. My site (in profile) is not exactly a blog, but it lets me say things that might otherwise bore people in personal conversation, and then I can just refer to it briefly if a longer topic comes up, and they can read later or ignore if not interested. That has saved my wife from having to listen to yet another repeat of me going on about a favorite topic.

Plus, there are just things I want to say that are important to me. It is an outlet. I use my personal organizer software to make the writing easier, then export it in an outline form.


My blog (jlelse.blog) is absolutely worth it for me for the following reasons:

1. I enjoy sharing things with the world. 2. I got to know a lot of people who wrote me mails because I posted something. Some really nice connections with people from all over the world. 3. I learned a new programming language by developing my own blog software. 4. In job interviews I can tell about developing my own blog software with new technologies.

But I just post when I want to and what I want to. That can range from tutorials to just a casual images I took when walking through my neighborhood.


I used to until I just consolidated the advice into a single pagehttp://jeffrey.io/ -> http://jeffrey.io/consolidated-writings.html

I found it hard to maintain content around myself, but for my new company I find it easy to pump out content since there is a topic: https://www.adama-platform.com


My personal website/blog is my digital outlet as a coder. I love working on it and have had some kind of website since I was 9 years old (which was 27 years ago). When I travelled I blogged a lot but haven't written a new post in years. Instead my site has evolved into my side project where I get to play with the front-end. I plan to keep working on it and doing blog posts for the rest of my life (or the life of the internet).

https://dustinbrett.com/


It strongly depends if what you write provides value to the readers.

I started blogging 15 years ago and probably what I wrote made some sense because at some point the blog had up to 10K visitors every month and I had many interesting conversations with readers. Also, since then I never looked for a job.

The blog audience also became the initial audience for my 1st commercial software product. The product itself became a stepping stone to another, much more successful software product, but that's another story.

If not the blog, things could've been very much different.


My blog is probably the single best thing I’ve ever done for my career.

It hasn’t gotten me a single job. I’ve only changed jobs once in the past 12 years and my blog had no impact on that. My blog helped me learn out to right. How to formalize my thoughts. How to effectively express ideas to peers.

IMHO everyone would be very well served if they improved their writing. A personal brand on that blog may or may not help.

https://www.forrestthewoods.com/blog/


>Does the time spent writing feels worth it to you?

Writing is an additional form of learning for me. Just the thought of sharing with someone makes me to do my research better, verify my assumptions, etc. I look up my posts first over docs/online-search if I've written about a topic before (and often, I'd have added related links which would be easier to follow compared to fresh research).

>Did it help to get noticed/ find jobs or other opportunities?

I sell programming ebooks, so having a blog helps in marketing.


I think it's worth it if you calibrate your goals correctly.

Personally I have a github.io that I tried to make presentable. I have it on my CV, but actually my main goal is to do little projects I like, not necessarily things I think will impress employers.

Writing things in a blog as opposed to just having personal notes I think brings more discipline and helps you improve presentation/writing skills. You'll always take something more seriously if you do it as if somebody else has to understand it and maybe use it.


I find it valuable. My blog (sledgeworx.io) started in part as a place for me to add documentation for technical solutions where the answer wasn't already available on stack overflow. It's very handy when somebody on the team asks "How do I do x" and I can send them a link to my blog with exactly how I want them to do x.

I also use it as a bit of a release valve for frustrations I have with the way things often times work poorly in the software world.

Has it produced money, or other opportunities, not yet.


while I don't have a blog, I have a tiktok (@zevulous) that has garnered over 240k followers and has led to a few interesting opportunities such as speaking at a few online events and the occasional sponsorship. It's also given me a fair amount of social interaction. It functions somewhat as a blog for me, although I also do a newsletter (https://thisiscool.beehiiv.com/) that is more for me as a personal project, even though it doesn't give me much in terms of opportunities.


For me, it's worth it, but only because it's really low effort.

I don't "write" for an audience, it's just about non-controversial technical topics that I write for myself. If it's already in an org-mode format, why wouldn't I publish it then?

Some people find it useful, I also find it useful when I need to refer to my notes in the future, to know where to look at.

That being said, I never had an intention to have a big audience, or expect any business related gain.


I have been writing on my personal website for a few years, and more consistently in the last year. I started by writing about more technical topics and then moved on to writing essays. My audience is small and participation nonexistent. But I always dreamed of being a writer and needed to put my stuff out there. I got no recognition, for now, but I got new ways of expressing myself, a renewed interest in literature, the arts and other writers.


Don't blog myself (mostly due to imposter syndrome), but I'd imagine the biggest plus would be the ability to connect with like-minded individuals without the noise / constraints / biases imposed by bigger platforms.

On that note, what would be a recommended approach to connecting with individuals? Just throw in a contact email? I hate the idea of a Disqus or other commenting system forcing you to throw away ownership of the user interaction.


The simple (hosted) WordPress site that I occasionally push write-ups/notes/opinions to has landed me more than one job, along with other opportunities.

Its well worth it tbh.


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