On this day, last year, I’ve published my first blog post. In one year, I’ve published (including this one) 23 posts, which is around one post in more than two weeks. The content is mostly about iOS development, as you can see by the keywords extracted from my blog posts in the Natural Language Processing tutorial. It’s been quite an interesting year and I’m positively surprised by the benefits that tech blogging brings to my engineering career. Here are some insights of the first year.
One of the greatest benefits of the internet era is that people from anywhere in the world can reach your content. Here’s a colored map of the world (extracted from WordPress analytics) of all the visits of my blog during its first year (going from yellow being the lowest, to dark orange being the highest):
It’s great pleasure to see that most of the world is conquered, though I have to get some readers in Greenland and Africa. People from the USA have accessed the blog the most, more than double to second placed India and my country Macedonia. It’s cool to see that someone from Maldives has opened my blog. I hope to join her/him in this accomplishment soon.
The two most popular posts are Natural Language Processing in iOS and Swift Class Diagrams and more. One interesting thing to note here is that the time spent on a blog post and the complexity of its content doesn’t always correlate with the number of visits. For example, the one on Sentiment Analysis with Core ML took me (by far) the most time to write, though it’s not getting the traction it probably deserves, by being at the modest sixth place on the most popular posts standings.
Generally speaking, posts about conversational interfaces and speech analysis are more popular than the other stuff, probably because there are already a lot of blogs that write about new programming paradigms like functional reactive programming. Swift considerations and decisions is the least popular post on the blog, congratulations!
Social media knowledge
One of the biggest challenges while running a blog is reaching more people. No one will assume that you have great content, especially if your blog’s url is namesurname.com. Another challenge with niche blogs like this one is getting the right people, since you don’t want to bother people who are not, in this case, iOS developers.
Going back to the WordPress stats, let’s see who brought the most visitors to my blog. First place goes to search engines, with Google Search occupying 98% of the visits. Small portion goes to Bing, live.com, yahoo and duckduckgo.com.
Facebook is the second best referrer. It did great job in promoting the blog, especially in its early stages. I usually don’t share the posts to my personal profile, since they are not relevant to most of my friends, but via my Facebook group iOS Development and other groups like iOS Developers.
GitHub is also great place for attracting visits to the blog. Most of the posts are accompanied by open source projects shared on my GitHub profile. This is one example of the power of open source – if you give something to the community, the community will give back, in this case by generating more visits.
LinkedIn and Twitter are also referrers, but not as much as I want to, so this is something that needs to be improved in the future. From the interesting stats, there’s one visit from yellowstonesafaritours– don’t know how this happened, probably from an ad.
In any case, another benefit of running (and promoting) a blog is that it’s great learning experience to see which medium works best for getting the most traction to your content.
People accessed the blog the most on Mondays (21% of the views), at 1:00 pm (6% of the views).
Staying up-to-date with latest technologies
As you blog and more people follow you, you strive to create better content. In order to do that, you have to follow the latest technologies, try them out and experiment. Along the way, you are improving as an engineer and coder, since people give you feedback about the work you’ve done.
Providing quality and correct content
When you share posts, you feel the obligation of providing technically correct content. This means spending more time researching and challenging the written content. It also improves your writing skills, since the content should be semantically and syntactically correct. This skill is applicable to all aspects of your life.
The blog is also good for self-promotion in the tech community. More people will get to know you, which means more opportunities for you. You will also start to get invitations to speak at conferences.
That’s one year in blogging in a nutshell for me. Hope I can continue with this pace of posting, while further improving the quality of the posts. And hopefully, this post will also inspire you to start a blog, if you haven’t already.