Things to consider before writing a technical blog post
Congratulations on taking the first step towards writing! You may have chosen to do this because you’re curious about trying something new, or maybe you feel relaxed when writing and you want to take up a new hobby. Maybe you noticed that it could be a good thing on your resume, or maybe it’s just a great opportunity for you to acquire new knowledge and skills for your professional career.
Whatever your reason for writing may be, I just want to let you know that you’re not alone. A lot of us have felt like writing, but were not sure where to start or what to do exactly.
For this post, I will give you some tips on how you can get started and get your first article out!
Choosing what to write about
Note: When I say “technology,” it can mean a programming language, a software development tool, a mobile application, a computer program, etc. Basically, it is anything related to Software.
(At least in ProstDev) you don’t need to be an absolute expert on a technical topic to be able to write about it. It would help if you had more information about it, in case you need to explain certain details for the article, but you can also write about your own personal experience with a technology.
Think about any technology that makes you happy, or that you really enjoy using. Maybe quite the opposite, think about a technology that was hard to use and understand and create a blog post about everything you learned through your experience to make someone else’s life easier.
You can start by asking yourself some questions to get ideas about a technology or an experience that you’d like to share with a wider audience:
Was there a technology in your professional career that you always wanted to learn more about, but you never did?
Was there a technology that was exceptionally fun to learn?
Was there a technology that you struggled a lot to learn, but in the end, it proved to be super useful?
Was there a technology that you truly didn’t want to learn, but then you kept seeing it as a requirement for other job positions?
Was there a technology that you were really terrible at, but you still thought it was interesting and wanted to learn more about it?
Is there a technology that you thought wasn’t going to be that important when you first heard about it, but now it’s imperative to know it for your current role?
Is there a technology that you want to keep using for your software development projects because it’s very useful?
Is there a technology that you thought was nearly perfect, but you stopped using it because of those small flaws?
Is there a technology that you thought would be revolutionary for the industry, but then everyone stopped using it, and it became “unimportant”?
Is there a technology that you keep suggesting to use in your project, but your company or the client won’t let you make this change?
Do you excel in a specific type of technology?
Was there a technology in your university/college days that you absolutely enjoyed and were good at, but then you never got to use it in the professional world?
Was there a technology you learned during your internship(s) or your first job(s)?
Is there a specific topic from any technology that you really struggled to understand and had to do a lot of research to master it?
Is there a specific problem you encountered using any technology, and you couldn’t find any documentation online to solve it, but in the end, you were able to troubleshoot it on your own?
I hope that you have a list of technologies or features in your mind now! If not, just keep asking yourself more questions and you’ll get to a technology or a topic that would make a great blog post.
If that doesn’t work, you can also just start by writing about the technology you’re currently using, whether for software development, architecture, design, management, or even some methodologies that you use for your team like Scrum, Kanban, or Waterfall.
Choose the first topic you want to write about, and let’s go to the next step!
Who to write to (a.k.a. your target audience)
Now you need to start thinking about who will be reading your article. It’s good to create a blog post just for the sake of writing, but it’s way better if it’s actually useful for other people. One way to create better content is to define the target audience; this way, you will have a specific group of people interested in reading your post.
Ask yourself, who will read this article? Try to be as specific as you can, so you can also write your content accordingly. Here are some more questions you can ask yourself to define your audience:
Is this for developers? What kind of developers? (Front-end, back-end, integration, data scientists, etc.)
Is this for architects?
Is this for business people? Are they project managers?
Are these people new to the technology? Are they just starting to learn it?
Do these people hold senior positions, or have a lot of years of experience in their position?
You’re not going to write complex code or technical details if your target audience is someone from the business side. You’re not going to give an introduction to a programming language if you’re writing for senior developers - they will be expecting lines of code to see the solution!
One trick that I do to stay focused on writing for my target audience is to actually imagine someone that I know from that area and write as if I was face to face with them explaining my article. This helps me add some definitions that they may not be familiar with, so they can follow the rest of the post (for basic posts). Or this keeps me focused on not explaining the basics and just get straight to the point (for advanced topics).
Now we know what to write about and who to write the blog post for. In my next post, I will give you more tips to actually start writing your article. So, stay tuned for things like picking a title, organizing the post’s format, or adding additional content.
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