Software Architect / Developer / Microsoft MVP (AI)

Blogging, C#, General Development, Tooling

Should You Start a Blog?

A few days ago, a developer and reader of the blog contacted me, the reader was keen to start their own blog.  They wondered if setting one up was worth the time and if Google AdSense revenue would generate enough revenue to pay for the server costs.

There were more questions and as we swapped a few messages, I shared some tips with the reader.  This is a question I’ve been asked a few times in the past so make’s sense to write it down for others get some benefit.

AdSense

You need hundreds of thousands of website visits and click-throughs to generate revenue. If revenue is the objective, consider other approaches such as creating your own digital products or offering services.  These could be information products or software applications that make readers’ lives easier.

Content

You don’t need to run your life like a media company, but it helps to have a plan centered around the content you want to create. Here were the tips I shared around content creation and ideation.

  1. Create batches of content – This will make it easy to be consistent.
  2. Only write about stuff you’re interested in – Otherwise, readers can tell.
  3. Be consistent – Readers might not come back if you’re inconsistent
  4. Cross share content – this will amplify your reach
  5. Repurpose content – a blog can be carved up into a demo, YouTube tutorial, etc.
  6. Use analytics – to help track which content is resonating with your readers
  7. Build an email list from day one (Tools like Sumo or AWeber can help with this)
  8. Consider guest posting – again, to widen your reach
  9. Think about a series of tutorials you could do – to keep readers engaged
  10. Use a tool or app like OneNote – helps to jot down ideas when out and about
  11. In day to day job, think about the tools you’ve written or processes you’ve implemented – these can form tutorials.
  12. Check out authors like James Altucher, Seth Godin – for inspiration or ideas around putting your work out there.
  13. Get code on GitHub – these can help readers further understand code your writing about and gives them something to play with

Motivation

What your motivations are for the blog? I write to help firm up my understanding of things, tighten up ideas and experiment with stuff that I’m interested in.  Luckily, some of this resonates with the community.

Website Traffic and Writing

The reader had over 10 years’ experience with JS so they had plenty of experience. I suggested writing a set of tutorials around JS, architecting JS apps and processes around JS frameworks that have helped the reader in the past.

Traffic

You must be prolific with content to get organic traffic. Every single week for at least 12-24 months. You can use Google Analytics to identify which content is popular.

Writing Skills

Practice. Practice. Practice.

Start with basic tutorials. Think about the audience. Do you want to target purely techies? Or blend in content for business users? This will affect the tone of your content.

Think personas. You’re trying to tell a story. Each story has a “beginning” (challenge) an uphill “struggle” (the new concept), then a “victory” (landing the story and the reader is now informed).

RPM (Rate Per Thousand) and CPC (Cost Per Click)

I rarely check CPC. I don’t have Google Ads on my site. I do have some smaller affiliate links in certain articles however.

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The reader hadn’t yet registered a domain name so that will be their first port of call, then to get their local content up on the web.

Are you considering setting up a blog?

Are there any tips you would add?

Do you agree/disagree?

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