How to Start Your Own Blogging Journey

Introduction

One year has passed since the publication of the first article in the .NET Nakama blog. Happy birthday .NET Nakama 😀.

Figure 1. – Happy birthday .NET Nakama.

This blog has started from my need to help other developers improve their .NET skills. So, I decided to share my learning journey, teaching materials, thoughts, ideas, and source code. Along the way, I am also improving my skills and meeting new people. It’s a great experience so far, and I hope to keep blogging about .NET and be a .NET Nakama for you.

You may be thinking about what Nakama means. Nakama (仲間) is a Japanese word that translates to a friend, buddy, circle of friends, etc. Under some context, such as in the One Piece manga and anime, it translates to crewmates. So, regarding .NET Nakama, I am thinking of it as a place where .NET developers can share ideas, learn and improve, as they would talk to a friend about .NET.

In this anniversary article, I will share my experiences as a blogger (so far) and what helped me when starting this blog. But, of course, I am still learning, and there is a large room for improvement.

How to Start

I was thinking of starting a blog about .NET for a long time but not actually starting it. I needed a small “push” and some help to get started. The next list shows what you could do to start your own blog.

Select a blog topic depending on what you would like to write about.
Do not overthink if a topic is too simple or not. Even simple articles (for you) would give value to someone.
Your first articles can be for “something” that you feel more comfortable with (easier to write about).
Improvements to your writing style or your blog, in general, can be made with time.
Before publishing an article, you can give it to someone close to you (a friend, partner, etc.) to proofread it. In this way, you will be more confident and with no spelling and punctuation mistakes, typos, formatting issues, and inconsistencies.
With time, you will improve your writing skills and feel more comfortable writing more complex articles.
You can get some help to start blogging and for your next steps. There are numerous articles on the web about this topic. For me, John Sonmez’s (Simple Programmer) email course and workbook were a big help to start blogging, especially because:

I found answers to all of my questions, e.g., how to select my blog topic (theme).
I learned about the basic way of thinking when building a blog (consistency, not good enough syndrome, etc.).
It provided me the impetus to take the first step.
From time to time, I am reading the email course again and always find something useful.

What It Requires

To maintain a blog requires several things. The main requirements are time, consistency, and patience.

Time and Effort

Depending on the number and size of the articles you will publish.
Depending on the time you can spend.
Do not underestimate the time and effort it takes for an article to be written.
You will have to decide how many articles you can publish per month.

Consistency

Be consistent with the blog topic.
Stick to the decided number of articles per month. For me, it’s one article per month.
Publish articles consistently.

Plan Ahead

Create a list of future articles.
Pre-write content and keep comments and ideas for your next articles.
Always have one article ahead ready. In this way, you will be more flexible when something unexpected happens.

Patience

Do not expect your blog to become popular (but it can happen).
You do not need to implement every cool feature from the beginning. You will have the time to introduce new features to your blog.

Prepare Yourself

You have to be prepared, understand why you want a blog, and set goals.

Think about why to bother sharing your ideas and work.
You will definitely receive negative reviews!

That’s good! Someone took the time to read your article and answer you.
If it is constructive criticism, it can help you to improve.
Try to see what you can learn from the review (regardless if it’s good or bad).

Do it for yourself, so you will feel better by offering and helping others.

Tools & Services

The most popular tool to create a blog is WordPress, which is scalable, newbie-friendly, and with many features.
For my needs (small number of articles and authors), I have selected Jekyll, a static website generator. Alternatively, you can investigate Hugo. Static website generators:

Are easier to be hosted (without the need for a database) in simple and cheaper hosting plans (sometimes provided for free).
Are easier to perform CI/CD.
Have Increased Performance (the HTML files are already rendered).

I have used the Long Haul template. I am sure that you will find a template that you would like.
For Domain Name System (DNS) and Content Delivery Network (CDN), I am using Cloudflare.
I am using the Visual Studio Code as a code editor for the blog, which is extensible, customizable, and cross-platform.
For the .NET Code examples, I am using the Visual Studio IDE (currently the 2019 Community).

Summary

Happy birthday .NET Nakama 😃. In this anniversary article, I shared my experiences as a blogger (so far), what helped me start this blog, and what tools I am using. Of course, I am still learning, and there is a large room for improvement.

If you are thinking of making the first step to start a blog, do not hesitate! Learn from others and accept help. For me, John Sonmez’s (Simple Programmer) email course and workbook were a big help to start blogging. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me 🙂.

Thank you for reading and sharing my articles, sending suggestions and feedback, and contributing to my open-source projects.

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