I would like to share my experience of how I stared blogging. If you are not a blogger and feel a little left out from the elite blogging community, this might help you get started.
4 years back, while I was still at ThoughtWorks, there was a growing blogging community inside ThoughtWorks. There was a general feeling that you are not “kewl” if you don’t have a blog. I had ideas about software development and adventure sports that I wanted to share with others. So I wanted to blog and belong to the growing blogging community inside ThoughtWorks. But I was not motivated enough to blog regularly and I was probably not too disciplined to blog as well. I also had (and still have) a very big complex that my written communication sucks. This actually turned out to be a good motivation to start blogging. As a way to improve my written communication skills. Also I’m not good at reading, so I thought if I start a blog, at least that will force me to read other people’s blogs and write my own views.
So I found some motivations to blog. But what I was looking for, was a good topic that I could blog on. Esp. something that had continuity. That would make it easy for me to blog regularly. Finding new, different topics to blog about could be difficult to start off with. Luckily for me, we had just started an internal object boot camp at ThoughtWorks Bangalore office. There were lots of interesting things I was learning during the boot camp. Things like Getters and Setters break encapsulation. Such powerful thoughts! I wanted a way to capture this learning and share this with others. Also I want to record them to retrospect at the end of boot camp what I learned. So I found a topic to start blogging about.
Once I was motivated enough to blog and I had a topic that had a continuity, I wanted to figure out a place to blog. Most people don’t have their personal servers. At least, I did not have one then. So I asked a few people which is the simplest, free blogging site. JRoller and Blogspot were the famous free blogging sites then. I choose to go with JRoller. Was very happy with its services for a while.
After about 3 years I had got very regular blogging. I was surprised people actually read my blogs. Some people I met at conferences, knew me coz of my blog. I even got offers to advertise on my blog. By now there were so many blogs on JRoller, that it had become very slow. At that point I decided to get my own server and host my own blog. WordPress seems to be the favorite tool and I went with it. Very happy with the performance so far.
In retrospect I think there are 3 main ingredients to starting blogging:
- Motivation: Strong enough reasons to start blogging
- Topic: A topic that is modular and has continuity. A topic that matters to you. If you are learning a new technology or you are starting on a new project, it would be easy to blog about that.
- Tools: Some free blog hosting sites and easy tools to manage your blogs
Hope this helps!