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Blogging 101

One of the most popular outlets for programmers is through blogging. In this episode, we discuss why each of us got into blogging, the pros and cons of starting your own blog, and tips on how to make your blog a success.


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Blogging 101

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Show Notes

0:34 - Emma’s reasoning for blogging

  • Creating a reference for herself
  • Teaching herself something new

1:33 - Lindsey’s reasoning for blogging

  • Establishing oneself as a Subject Matter Expert in accessibility
  • To empower developers to learn and care about accessibility

2:27 - Ali’s reasoning for blogging

  • Resources for her past self / resources she wish she’d had
  • Love to teach, and it’s a way to teach in a way that helps exponentially more people.

4:24 - Kelly’s reasoning for blogging

  • For her future self to remember what she will inevitably forget
  • Being a subject matter expert in her field for potential new clients

6:44 - Important of Structure for teaching purposes

8:44 - Monetizing Blogging?

12:22 - Gaining an Audience

13:43 - How we all got Started with Blogging

21:19 - Non tech blogs??

23:46 - Lindsey’s blogging workflows

28:50 - How long is the blogging process from start to finish?

30:35 - Kelly’s blogging workflows - writing them as newsletters

31:38 - Emma’s blogging workflow either:

  • Word Vomit into doc, press publish
  • Get an Idea, Outline Section Headers, Fill in the Content & Make Graphics

33:08 - Ali’s process

  • Batching Outlines, even if they’re messy
  • Fill in the blog post
  • Add in multimedia

36:38 - Gaining an audience

  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • Story Telling
  • Referrals

43:35 - The Negatives of Blogging

  • Anxiety about not being consistent
  • Imposter Syndrome
  • Dealing with Online Harassment

52:06 - Being A Casual Blogger

53:47 - Getting the Confidence to Press Submit

55:37 - Do you need to be an expert?

58:57 - What Platforms do we use?

59:46 - What are Canonical URLs?

01:02:13 - Wins!

  • Listener Win - Juneau: Congrats on submitting an application to your first hackathon
  • Kelly - 3 weeks ahead on her newsletter content for her business!
  • Emma - Designed a UI all on her own which had very positive reception!
  • Lindsey - Stress levels have been reduced since being more organized and time blocking/batching
  • Ali - Got was at the top of Reddit for DEV’s offline Screen, and for once it was positive and not a dumpster fire!

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Transcript

Lindsey [00:00] 2019 has been the year where developers blog, but why should you blog? How do you get started? What are our workflows? And do you even want to blog? Blogging has been pivotal in a lot of our careers, and we wanted to talk a bit more about our blogging mindset, why we blog, why you want to blog, and more. Let’s get started.

Kelly [00:20] Welcome to the Ladybug podcast. I’m Kelly.

Ali [0:23] I’m Ali.

Emma [00:24] I’m Emma.

Lindsey [00:26] And I’m Lindsey, and we’re debugging the tech industry.

Kelly [00:29] Let’s jump right in and discuss what each of us like to blog, Emma, you go first.

Emma [00:34] So I started blogging as a means to take notes on things that I was learning as I was learning them. And that way, I had a reference sheet that I could go back to and refer to things. Like for example, a regex cheat sheet. That was one of the things that I made that I could go back and refer to as time went on. And I also use that kind of as a way to teach myself because I’m a huge proponent of the fact that if you can relay your thoughts about a topic well enough to create a blog post or create an online video or whatnot, then you’ve sufficiently learned the base level knowledge for that skill. It’s a great way to reinforce what you’ve learned. So I started blogging as a resource for myself. But there are many reasons why you should blog. You can also start to blog, in order to build yourself a portfolio. This is a great resource for employers to look through if you’re applying for jobs and whatnot. So those are three big reasons why I started. But Lindsey, can you tell us a little more about why you got invested in blogging?

Lindsey [01:33] Yeah, sure. So my blog is very focused on accessibility. So the main two reasons why I decided to start blogging was first to establish myself as a subject matter expert in accessibility, I was already kind of known as that in my local community. But I wanted to expand that to the more global community. And I think it’s actually done a pretty good job doing that. The other part was to empower developers. Something I’ve learned a lot from working with developers about accessibility is a lot of them think of it more as a checklist and less about solutions and implementing solutions and just being inclusive. And I wanted to put that mindset more into developers heads. And so I wanted them to just feel empowered and to teach. So those are my main two reason, Ali, what about you?

Ali [02:27] Yeah, so for me, my biggest reason is for my past self. So when I was starting to code, as we talked about a little bit on episode one, I didn’t feel confident, and I didn’t feel like I belonged. And I didn’t feel like I understood the material. So I started writing resources that my past self would have found really helpful. Because it’s kind of like a form of rehashing that, I guess. So then other people started finding the helpful as well. And for me, teaching is a really big part of what I love doing. And so blogging is another form of that. So I blog for myself first and to write stuff that I would have benefited from in the past. But secondary, and a really great part of it now is that it’s helping other people learn how to code and making it easier for the people coming after me. So those are my big reasons.

Emma [03:24] I kind of forget that blogging is a form of asynchronous mentorship. In a sense, it’s kind of like mass mentorship, it’s not something I ever considered. Until I went on a podcast that someone’s guests they were like, so you’re kind of a mentor through your blogging, and I’m like, I guess it kind of is. We don’t really think about how many people it can reach.

Ali [03:42] Yeah in person, you can only teach a certain number of people at a time, even a big talk is a couple of thousand people, maybe. Whereas I have blog posts, that one blog post itself has 100,000 reads. And so that’s a huge amount of people compared to the people that you’ve teach in person. So that’s a really great part of it. I think that teaching in person has like a bigger impact on those people that are there. But this has a smaller impact on a huge amount of people, which is awesome, too

Lindsey [04:02] To piggyback off that, I noticed that my impact has been so much more with blogging. I spoke so much in 2017. And I still don’t feel like I was able to teach nearly as many people or I wasn’t as known to teach about accessibility as other people.

Kelly [04:24] Yeah. So on the opposite side of where Ali says that she blogs for her past self, I blog for my future self, for two reasons. First is because I forget everything that I did yesterday. So I find my own resources to be a resource for myself when I eventually will forget. And two, in my career, I need to be a subject matter expert. And I can use my own blog posts as resources to send to potential clients and to talk about in our newsletter that we send out for our for my agency. So my blog posts can serve not only purpose for potential clients and in the newsletter, but also by showing this, we’ve actually signed on new clients, because they read something in our blog that shows that we know what we’re talking about.

Emma [05:14] So really quickly, and this is a slight tangent, but I think it’s an important one. When I was starting out, I couldn’t find blogs that were useful for me as a beginner because they were maybe missing things. Like they may be skipped over topics that were relevant to the post, but they didn’t maybe define a term. So for example, if I was reading a blog about like, React for beginners, and they mentioned Redux… if they don’t link to Redux docs, or they don’t like define what it is, I’m kind of lost, right. So what makes a blog, a good blog, and I’ll kick this off really quickly. I find that if you’re going to mention tangential topics, I can’t even say that word, to link to the documentation and maybe give a high level definition of what something is, I think that makes it a good blog. [Also] having a good flow and hierarchy and maybe having some good graphics. But what are some things that you deem as good when you’re talking about what makes a good blog post.

Kelly [06:01] So I have a bit of a background in scientific writing, from my time in grad school. And a really important component to whatever you’re writing is having a section for operational definitions. And that’s exactly what you’re talking about, if you’re going to be discussing certain topics, have a section that defines, literally defines, what it is you will be talking about. So people can refer back to that one section, if they’re confused on a certain term that you’re using.

Lindsey [06:32] I think I may start doing that. I don’t do that.

Emma [06:36] I don’t either, but I think I will.

Kelly [06:39] You know, I never I don’t really see that much in blogs. And I think it’d be actually a really great thing to start doing.

Ali [06:44] Yeah, I think it’s similar to when you’re teaching. So the first thing that you always want to do is tell people what they’re going to learn in your posts. A) so that they know that they’re reading a blog post that’s going to help them. B) so that they already are paying attention and that they know what they’re going to get from it, so they’re prepped to learn that material. Then in the middle, I try to make it so that the content’s multimedia, so it appeals to all different types of learning styles. What that means is that I’ll integrate video content, if I have it. I’ll integrate, CodePens, infographics, all the types of media that I can not just words. In addition, try to make it as scalable as possible. So that people just looking at the post can gather something from it and know that it’s interesting. If it’s just a wall of text, like an essay, that’s probably not going to hook somebody’s attention at first glance. And at the end, I try to make it so that it sums up what they learned. And then it’s also a call to action so that they keep following my writing or keep following me online so that they know the next time that I post. So that’s kind of my formula.

Emma [07:51] That’s really cool because we forget that people learn differently. Like I like to read through… “I like to read through learning” [chuckles] I like to learn through reading. But that’s maybe not everyone’s medium. I think we’ve covered this in maybe the last two podcasts, if you want to maybe hear more about how we learn and whatnot, go listen to our first two. But yeah, that’s great. I take that for granted within my posts, I kind of just do like graphics and words and leave it at that but incorporating videos and maybe even audio, right, that might be very useful.

Ali [08:20] Totally. Okay, so back to the motivators topic. We talked a lot about writing for our former selves and our future selves and to establish ourselves as experts. But there are some motivators that we didn’t talk about, and two that stand out for me are money and gaining an audience. Do we want to talk a little bit more about those things? And why maybe we didn’t mention those?

Emma [08:44] Absolutely. I think a lot of people probably have questions about how much money can you make off of blogging. So when I started, I was on Medium primarily. And I was kind of trying to figure out their paywall system before they changed it all. And so at that time, you could really make certain posts for members only. Any claps you got from paying members were divvied up, dependent on a ratio. So I think my first check from Medium was maybe like $30 or $40, which is kind of a lot for your first paycheck, right? I would say that now on passive blog posts (because I don’t post much on medium anymore), I can maybe make like $50 a month just on posts that are just living there not doing much. But that being said, it does take time to make money. And as you snowball your content, as you post more often you might have more opportunities to work with other blogging sites, or companies or whatnot. So like I was contacted by Todd Motto from ultimate blogs, and he wanted to sign me on as someone to write for them. So posting your own content can definitely lead you to make money, it will take time. And there are many ways that you can do it, whether that’s through partnerships or monetizing your posts on a site. But you can’t right away expect to be making hundreds and hundreds or thousands of dollars, you’ll probably make, you know 30 at most.

Ali [09:51] Yeah, it’s definitely hard to make a lot of money off of blogging in itself, it’s a lot easier to make money off of doing partner posts or something along those lines. But I think especially ad money, it’s really really hard to make a lot of money off of that you can definitely make a couple dollars, but you have to get millions of views to make decent money off of that. But then again, you can use that blog to market other things. And that’s I think, where blogging becomes a lot more lucrative.

Lindsey [10:17] With that being said, the way I think of blogging isn’t so much as I directly monetize, but almost like a funnel. Like if you really like my content, you might eventually want to work with me, or you might eventually want me to teach. I personally haven’t monetized any of my content yet. Everything that I’ve monetized has been like through Egghead, and then other parts that came from people reading my stuff. So for me, it’s actually more of a marketing thing. Like, you know I’m a subject matter expert, and you read my stuff. And you’re like “I like the way she does things. So I’m going to talk to her about maybe potential opportunities.” And I’ve had opportunities that I’ve actually had to turn down, like teaching opportunities, just because I did not have the bandwidth. But as a long term strategy, I think it’s really cool that that could be an option for me.

Emma [11:08] I want to also make a note here that you don’t need to monetize your post just like you said, Lindsey. So what I do is I offer my post generally behind a paywall, but I also offer it for free. So like there’s no barring entry for people to pay for a subscription to read my stuff. But if they want to go and give me claps on medium or whatnot to additionally help me out…that’s super nice. But you know, maybe we can even do a whole episode on monetizing your work as a content creator. I think it’s a hot topic, but there’s no shame if you are putting your time and effort into something my opinion is like you should be able to monetize it right. I personally just like to offer those things for free as well.

Kelly [11:44] It also goes back to our side projects episode where one of us mentioned maybe it was me, I don’t remember.

Lindsey [11:50] I think it was you.

Kelly [11:52] Okay, it was me that as soon as you start attempting to turn a side project into a side job, it becomes much more stressful. And monetizing a blog is not necessarily like jumping into the deep end of monetizing something. But it can still be you know, once you start making money from something, you want to keep making money from it, and then it can become like, overwhelming to try to keep that up when you have other responsibilities you need to be focusing on.

Emma [12:22] One other motivator I would like to just bring up is that you can gain an audience, which is really neat. It’s really cool. Um, when I started blogging, I didn’t have an audience at all. And one of the pieces of advice that I got from my friend Khalil, he said, if you consistently post you’ll eventually gain readership, and it will take a while, but at some point it’ll happen. And it’s true. Like over time you do gain an audience. And many things can come your way as a result of that. It’s also a negative that we’ll talk about a little bit later. But that’s one of the motivators behind it is seeing the impact of your words and how they can help people learn. I think it’s a great motivator.

Kelly [13:00] And it’s very much a slow and steady thing. You really can’t rush building an audience because and you need to build that organic audience that sees the value in what you’re creating.

Lindsey [13:09] The cool thing about it being slower to start is once you do get an audience, they are your ride or die. Anytime I have to take a break from social media for stress reasons or whatever, I have so many people DMing me being like, “We’re here for you! Don’t worry, take care of yourself!” It’s actually really heartwarming in a way there are going to be jerks, but the people who do truly follow you and like your content or your ride or dies. So I think it’s actually a good segue to talk about how to get started.

Emma [13:43] I actually started blogging a long time ago when I worked at IBM, but I did it like haphazardly. And so I was never consistent with it. Right? And they were mostly career oriented. So I think I wrote one internally about hot top 10 tips for being a standout new hire, how you can differentiate yourself but I posted that on the internal blogging site and whatnot. I honestly didn’t even really know much about the community at large. I didn’t know there were blogging platforms. I didn’t know there was Twitter, like I was totally disconnected. So it was was really only recently once I joined LogMeIn, like at the end of last year was last September, my coworker I mentioned earlier, Khalil. He’s like, hey, people are starting to share your your blog posts on Twitter. And then you know, then I got on Twitter, and that kind of like spiraled into it. But at that point, I was kind of just like haphazardly posting whenever I felt like. It was more just career based. And once I saw people were sharing, it was like, all right, maybe I need to be a little bit more consistent. So that’s when I started adding really cool graphics that I create in Sketch, I started adding those. And I think that having those kind of graphics and explaining things quite in depth and linking to these external resources, like we discussed earlier, I think that’s when I started gaining interest from the community, but Ali, so you’re obviously a big blogger. So how did you get started?

Ali [14:58] Totally. So I initially started almost two years ago, now a year and a half, two years. And I had absolutely no online following at that point, and didn’t really until the last year. So I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to learn new things. I saw Vaidehi Joshi’s baseCS series, which was incredible. And I learned so much from it. And I wanted to do something similar. So I started a challenge for myself, similar to that series, called “On Learning New Things” where I would teach myself a new thing every week. I would build an app with it, and then write a blog post. Completely unsustainable. That’s a huge amount of work and completely unrealistic to do. It would take me forever to write these blog posts. But it was pretty fun, I started getting like 30 views per post or something along those lines. So it started really, really small. And then occasionally one would take off a little bit and that that point taking off was getting maybe 1000 reads and seeing that build was really incredible. But it got to be way overwhelming, because I had taken on way too much. And also, because people were reading my blog post, I was getting invited to speak about my blog posts. So that started a-whole-nother side situation where that was taking more time than the blog itself. So that blog kind of died because it was too much work. And then I started a hybrid lifestyle-programming blog, because I moved to Connecticut and didn’t know anybody and had a lot of extra time on my hands. And so I was writing these posts that were targeted at the former version of myself. And it was very tailored to my interests. The whole blog was pink, and very my style. And so nobody really read the lifestyle posts. Some of the programming posts though, just really took off like they were getting to the front of Hacker News. They were getting on the front page of Reddit, and taking off on Twitter and stuff like that. And so since those posts are doing so well doubled down on those, and that’s kind of my blogging story, I guess. How about you, Lindsey? I think I know this story.

Lindsey [17:15] Yeah. So my original idea first started, even some sort of side project in accessibility came when I was a panelist last April, so April 2018. And I was a panelist for an accessibility front end event. And I kind of side joked about people hiring me to do things for accessibility. And then I had three or four people come up to me and be like, “No, you should actually write about this, I would totally share it.” I’m like, “Okay, cool. Let’s do this!” So I actually ended up hanging out with a fellow designer and having her create designs, accessible designs, and my logo and my color scheme. Her name is Raquel; I’ll actually put her information in the show notes, because you should totally work with her. She’s awesome. But when I joked about it, I had all these people coming around. And I was like, Okay, I’m going to do this. And so I started creating my blog in Drupal because at the time, that’s what I knew. And I ended up having it completely designed by like July. And then I pause, because I was thinking about costs. And Drupal hosting is pretty expensive. Like it’s at the minimum $50 a month and I was basically procrastinating because I didn’t want to spend that money yet. So pause. And then the month later, like Ali and I started talking and she’s like, “Have you ever thought about building your blog in Gatsby because you can host it for free on Netlify?” and I was like, “Oh my gosh, that is the only reason why I have not published this.” So I quickly rebuilt it. And it was actually pretty fun because I was still playing around with React. So I had some chances to play around with that instead of Drupal. [I was] learning something new, which made it way more fun. And when I started playing around with that, and then I published it, I ended up launching it on my birthday last year. So that way, I’ll always remember my blog’s birthday. And yeah, that was pretty much my story. So I let’s talk a little bit about Kelly’s story, which is a little more unconventional, unless anybody has questions for me.

Kelly [19:31] No I’ll just jump right in. So my blogging story started when I was about 10 years old, on a website called Live journal. I don’t know if any of you use live journal. Obviously, this is not at all career related. I was just like I blogging for a very long time about my life. You know, my my middle school life was a very emotional, traumatizing time…no it totally wasn’t, it was totally fine. But live journal was kind of like my first foray into just kind of like getting my thoughts out there. But I tried to run multiple blogs over the course of my life, both professionally and for fun. I had a food blog for a little while, I had a travel blog for a little while. I just had like a life in grad school blog for a while and I always gave up on them after like two posts, I could never keep up with it. So I just didn’t blog for a while. And now I kind of have to blog because running this agency, I have to put myself out there as a subject matter expert at this point. So I don’t blog regularly in the sense that everybody else does, which I will get a little bit more into later, I just find the entire process a little overwhelming. But because we need blog, I found that writing a newsletter instead is actually the easiest way for me to go about it. So I can write content, and then hand it over to our digital marketing strategist. She reformats it into a blog. And it’s literally the same exact content as what’s in the newsletter, maybe like an extra paragraph or something added. But for whatever reason, by calling it a newsletter, it makes it much easier for me to write and were able to put out content every other week that way. So that’s kind of how I got started back into blogging, I could say

Ali [21:05] That’s awesome.

Lindsey [21:06] Yeah, I kind of love that too, because it’s like, newsletter is super helpful for your business. So it’s… you could probably see the value of doing that a lot easier, which probably helps a lot with motivation.

Kelly [21:17] It really does.

Emma [21:19] What I find really interesting is that we all wanted to have blogs for different topics like lifestyle, food, whatnot. But it’s really hard to run multiple blogs with multiple subject matters, because the people who are there for your tech blogs, for example, they don’t care about food necessarily, or what outfit you’re wearing today. And I struggle with this, because I love to blog about career things. But I do notice that they don’t get as much traction. So I’ve kind of been struggling myself with, okay, I want to post these career blogs. But where do I post them because I I post primarily on the DEV community now, but those things aren’t necessarily Dev focus. And so I kind of have a little bit of an identity crisis. So I’m not sure how to handle these kind of things. Do you do have any tips for that?

Ali [22:06] I would pitch them to stuff like the women and career sites, something like refinery29, or something like that.

Kelly [22:16] I mean, there are other sources online that lets you contribute to their blog, instead of trying to maintain your own you can just write one article or two of a subject of interest.

Ali [22:26] Yeah, I was laughing when you said that you had other blogs before Kelly. I started with a fashion blog in high school, then definitely fizzled after a little bit,

Kelly [22:35] You would not have wanted me to run a fashion blog in High School.

Ali [22:38] Probably me neither.

Kelly [22:40] I kind of wish I had just so I can look back on it and be like, wow, Kelly. This is really good

Lindsey [22:45][loud laugh]

Ali [22:45] I had one…the only one that I can find this one about fake fur and how you should wear that instead of real fur and then what fake fur you should wear so

Emma [22:54] if you do find it, please post it. Because when you read it

Ali [22:56] Oh, I have it. I’ll definitely post it again. Yeah,

Kelly [22:59] I had my livejournal account dedicated to how much I love the Jonas Brothers.

Lindsey [23:03][loud laugh]

Ali [23:05] Love it.

Lindsey [23:06] I don’t even remember my live journal name. So I don’t even remember [what I posted]… I think I just posted my feelings. So you’ll probably just, if you find it, you’ll just see super emotional high school Lindsey.

Emma [23:18] I don’t even know what live journal is to be honest. But I was that weird kid that like took notes on it. Like I found this, what I would call a blog post. But really, it’s just me writing on a piece of paper. It was like 100 things I think are hot. And it was basically just like Aaron Carter, the Jonas Brothers like, it was like a list of celebrities at a time. But anyway, tangent. So we all write blogs for the most part. And what’s our general workflow look like? I’m gonna let Lindsey kick this one off.

Lindsey [23:46] Sure. I talk about this pretty openly - I have ADHD. So refining my blog post workflow was a bit of a work in progress. I finally got this and actually wrote about it. And I’ll link the blog post, the blog posts about blogging, in the show notes. But I basically start out by writing in a markdown file. I create headers of what my general sections will be. And then I just start typing. It’s a little bit chaotic. It’ll go… I’ll generally write my intro first. But all the middle is kind of all over the place. And then once I’m finished with writing that and writing the conclusion as well, I will run it through the Hemingway app. The Hemingway app makes your writing a lot more concise. It tells you how many words you have…what the reading level is. It’s really helpful for me because a lot of times to avoid writer’s block, I just literally brain vomit on to my markdown file. And it’s all over the place. So this will help me get my ideas to be a lot more concise. And then once I’m done with that and putting everything into my markdown file, then I will copy and paste it into Grammarly. As a disclaimer, I actually use the premium version of Grammarly. I love it because it has more granularity it’ll learn a little bit more about what your tone is. I learned about this through Ali, actually. So they have both an extension on Chrome, which I don’t like as much. And they also have an app that you can use. So I paste it into this… basically just this blank text editor, and then it’ll assess your content. So it’ll catch things just like small grammar issues like spelling, missing commas, and stuff like that. That’s more of the free version. But then they’ll also go and they’ll assess… Is your content technical? What’s the tone of your content? And it’ll like find things like passive voice. And so that’s always like a really good second step for me. It doesn’t do what Hemingway does. And like assess what the reading level is? Like, is it a fourth grade reading level? Like, which is another different reason why I use Hemingway. Grammarly is a lot more about checking, like the style of your writing. Is it consistent? Making sure that you have commas in the right places. I actually love Grammarly for that reason, so. Do you have any follow up questions about that?

Emma [26:33] I just want to say this is really cool, especially for those who want to get into blogging, but English is not their first language. And potentially they’re nervous about that. So I think that’s great. I’ve used it in the past, but I’m going to definitely look into another premium account because it sounds really cool.

Kelly [26:48] Also, just a side note, when we talk about like these paid accounts and paid services, these are not sponsors. We just we all personally use these services and we love them.

Lindsey [26:58] The last thing I do, which I actually got as a suggestion from somebody on Twitter, and I think I was complaining about how it takes me so long to edit blog posts, like way longer to edit them then to write them. And they’re like, “Why don’t you run it through a screen reader?” And my mind was blown, because first of all, that’s very on-brand for me. But also, it’s super [helpful for me with my] ADHD. Something that happens to me very frequently is I’ll start reading something, and then I’ll lose my place because I get distracted by something, and then I have to start over. And it just like continues happening. So with a screen reader, what I’ll do is I’ll put on my headphones to not to not have external noise to my partner. So I’ll put on my headphones. And I’ll turn on my screen reader on a Mac, which use Command f5, and then just start reading my content. It’s really helpful because you will be like, “Oh, that did not sound right” when it says something wrong, because it will read everything with the grammar that you’re supposed to have. Sometimes it’s a little irritating to read code. So something sometimes that I’ll do is I’ll comment out the code part, if I have code samples in the blog post, and then have it read after that. But that’s pretty much my strategy now. And it’s made my editing process so much quicker. I cannot recommend trying a screen reader enough. That’s like my favorite addition to my workflow. Also just very on brand for me, because I’m an accessibility blogger. But my blogging process is super specific. If anybody has follow up questions, feel free to tweet me…When I say you, I don’t mean you [three], [I mean] the people who are [listening]

Emma [28:49] I actually have a quick question, how long would you say it takes you from the idea to publishing it? How long would you say that workflow takes you

Lindsey [28:50] strongly depends. So [posts] that don’t have code samples, take me a lot less time. So I could have a blog written to completely edited and ready to publish within five hours. But one of my favorite posts that I’ve written was my d3 bar charts and accessibility blog post. And that post probably took me 20 hours from start to end. And the reasons for that was 1) it was very code heavy, 2) I was still relatively new to d3, like I’ve only been doing d3 for six months. So that was also like very tricky for me. I had to double check things, it wasn’t like things that I knew in the back of my head. It was still stuff that I was relatively new to so I was second checking all of my code samples. So that that one took me probably about 20 hours from start to finish. And also like my most recent post, about labeling, that one actually didn’t take me that long. I wrote that post when I was on a plane, and then edited and refined it later. Because that’s all because I know that stuff so second nature. So it really depends on the content. If you’re challenging yourself to learn something new, it’s going to take a lot longer. If you are doing something without code samples, it’s going to take a lot less or if it’s code samples, but it’s stuff that you know so well, like you don’t even need to research for a code interview type things… those things are, are lot shorter.

Emma [30:24] Wonderful. And Kelly, what is your workflow look like? Since you don’t post regularly and you’re focused more on kind of blogging for your job to be a subject matter expert, what is your workflow look like?

Kelly [30:35] Yeah, so when it’s something that’s not related to my business, if I have an idea, I write it down. And then I post it. I don’t do any editing. I’m kind of really lazy when it comes [to it]. Like all my posts on Dev I’ve never actually proofread. So just a little side note there. But for the business, most of my content and topic ideas come from questions I received from clients or issues that we may encounter in a project. And I’ll spend maybe 20 to 30 minutes writing an email for our weekly newsletter. And once that’s been sent out, I pass that over to our digital marketing strategist, who shall henceforth be named Shannon because that’s her name. And Shannon turns it into a blog post. And I’ll proofread that. It’s usually Shannon sending me a message being like Kelly, you need to write a blog post. Here’s an idea, fill in the outline, and I’ll write it. And that’s my other favorite workflow, because it doesn’t require much work on my end. All right, Emma, what do you do?

Emma [31:38] It’s one of two situations. So the most frequent situation is that I get an idea. And I sit down and I kind of just like word vomit into a document, and I hit Publish. And I don’t think too much about it. And this gets me in a lot of trouble sometimes. And sometimes it turns out really well. And sometimes I’ll post things without really like, I should really let it seep in a little bit more and digest it and reread and whatnot. But I’m the kind of person that like I have a very low attention span for things. And once I like get all my thoughts in a page, it’s very rare for me to really go back and rework things. So some of my biggest ones have just kind of been word vomit. The other, the other way that I work sometimes is I’ll come up with a topic idea, I’ll outline like the section headers, and I’ll fill in the content. And this is probably how I should be doing them. But realistically, that’s kind of not how it goes. So it’s hit or miss. I feel like the career or the topic based posts are a lot easier for me to come up with. I really enjoy coming up with the graphics for those in Sketch. Those just jive with me really well, the technical ones, where I have to actually go create gists for everything. I do use gist… I was previously using the carbon screenshots, sometimes I still use those, but they’re not accessible. So I’ve been switching over to gist. And managing those can take a lot longer and be very frustrating. Those technical posts take me a lot longer to write. And that’s why generally you’ll see more like theoretical posts for me, they’re just a little easier. So Ali, what about you?

Ali [33:08] So I also start with a really, really messy outline. And I actually will normally batch my writing. So before even the process [starts], I’ll have similar types of activities all together. For example, I have a bunch of topics that I want to write about in a list. And I’ll keep track of that, so that if I have an idea, I have it written down so that when I actually have time to write it’s there, I don’t have to come up with something on the spot. So I’ll come up with topics at one point, I’ll do a bunch of outlines for multiple posts at once, all at once. So I’ll have a bunch of outlines written. And then when I want to publish something, I just have to fill it in that outline. So similar to you, all those outlines will be super messy at first not complete thoughts in any way, shape, or form. And then I’ll go back and fill in those thoughts. Make sure that it flows properly, that headers are in correct orders that it makes the most sense in its most engaging. And then it’s the cleanup process of making sure that the text is broken up, that I have lists in there if that’s appropriate, just ways to break up the content so that it’s not just an essay or something along those lines. Then I edit again with Grammarly similar to Lindsey. Our processes look really similar. So Lindsey did my blogging workshop way back in the day before she launched. So a lot of our stuff will look really, really similar. It definitely sounds familiar

Lindsey [34:55] It’s very inspo-ed by Ali.

Ali [34:59] Super funny! Then I am huge on making content with images, especially for social media sharing, but then also just for the post themselves. So I’ll add those. And I also usually if I’m doing something front end related, I’ll have a bunch of code pens for every step of the process. And so I’ll make sure that those all work and have the code that I want in them. If it’s in a different language that it’s usually just copied and pasted code. And I’ll make sure that each step works there as well. I totally agree with you all that usually non technical writing that doesn’t have a ton of code on it is quicker to write, though I do have some really skyscraper long posts in that fashion. And those definitely take a lot more time as well. My favorite thing to write is like complete beginners guides to stuff that are really comprehensive and have a ton of different topics in one.

Emma [35:41] I think I read somewhere that the most active blog posts, the ones that get the most traction, are between like three to five minute read times. So if you’re interested in data and statistics and things like that, I do find that my posts that are shorter and that use graphics, specifically to explain these convoluted topics, they definitely get the most traction.

Kelly [35:58] people have a very short attention span.

Ali [36:00] yeah, I think that it really depends. So I think that if you’re making it multimedia, it’ll feel like it’s quicker anyways. But for search engines, technically longer content is usually better in that case so you can get traction that way.

Kelly: [36:20] More keywords!

Emma [36:21] Oh! Interesting! So once you actually post these things, and you’re kind of waiting around, how do you actually get people to read it? How do you gain an audience? And why is consistency really important when you’re trying to build up your readership? Let’s just jump right back to you, Ali, how did you get your audience?

Ali [36:38] So I think that it’s important, before we talk about anything else, to say that you want to diversify your audience. So if all of your traffic is coming from Twitter, or all of your traffic is coming from Instagram, or SEO, that’s really hard to rely on, all these algorithms are constantly changing. Like, recently, Google just had a really big update to their algorithm, and a lot of sites dropped 50% in traffic overnight, which is awful, if that is your primary income and you’re relying on that, then that’s really scary. So make sure that you’re getting your traffic from different sources, so that if that algorithm changes, you’re not super dependent on it. So I think the first thing that we’ve all thought about is consistency. When I was writing really seriously, it was every single Monday morning, you knew to look for a new blog post for me. It was first thing in the morning, and usually the beginnings of the week have higher traffic. So that’s why Monday/Tuesday posting is usually the way to go unless you’re brand new. And then weekends are a great time to post because there’s lower competition. And then making sure that you’re writing content that people want to read. Good content’s important. The search engines really value if people are spending a lot of time reading your article, that means that they’re going to make it so that your post is featured. So having longer content is important for that. And also just making it good content that people actually enjoy reading. That’s important. And so then on top of that, the search engine optimization, making sure that you’re adding keywords, all that that’s really important. So that you have that audience that you’re building. Most really big bloggers rely mostly on SEO. So definitely important to focus on that to some extent. And then social media, I think that all of us definitely rely a lot on social media…for all of us, it’s Twitter, mostly. But I try to try different stuff as well. And Reddit and Hacker News are great too.

Kelly [38:40] One thing to note on the SEO side of things. When it comes to keywords, when you’re writing blog posts really writing any content for a website. It’s not about just plugging in keywords and random spots, it has to be more organic, the way that you would read it on, you know, like a long form sentence or something like that, or a phrase, Google was very aware of just trying to plug a keywords and you can be penalized for that.

Ali [38:58] 100 percent!

Emma [39:00] I also think it’s important to discuss the fact that you want engaged readers and engaged audience members, right. So this goes for anything that you’re trying to build up audience wise, social media, blogging, etc. You can hack this system if that’s something that you’re interested in doing, if you care mostly about numbers. But I often see people who grow their audiences to a large scale, and there’s no engagement, they don’t get likes on their tweets, they don’t get comments on their blogs, or likes on their blogs. So be clear about whether you care more about numbers, or you care more about quality of the interactions. And I think when you start to care more about what you’re writing, the quality of readership and interaction on there by default is much higher than if you’re just pushing out content that you think is hot.

Ali [39:46] I think going on top of that, if you have storytelling and tell your authentic story that’s unique to you. And you’re somewhat vulnerable in that I think that people are going to relate to that and relate to you and want to keep reading your content. So I think that that’s something that’s really helped me as well, both on social media, but also in blog post is telling my story and being really honest. So definitely, even like a technical post, you can interweave stories in there too.

Lindsey [40:15] something I think is super, super interesting about storytelling, and even just authenticity. I found that now my traffic is super high when it comes to referrals. And I think when you’re when you’re just relying on SEO and keywords, it’s a lot harder to get like referrals. My last month, June was unreal with the amount of referral traffic I got. I think a lot of times people really just jump into SEO strategy. And SEO strategy is quite important. But it’s something that has worked super well for me is just really developing my… I don’t like to say my online persona, because my online persona is very much who I am, in real life, just a little bit more technical side of me. But I find that building up that persona and like people will eventually learn about you. And when people learn about you, then they’ll they’ll refer to your content. And when you refer to your content, then SEO starts building up because when people refer to your content in their content, that’s called back linking, which I’m not super advanced in, but I know it’s good. I know it’s good for SEO. So once you have backlinks that also improves SEO. That’s more of my strategy, because quite frankly, my space, I’m competing with huge organizations. Like while I can start looking into keyword research and all that stuff, I think it’s just going to be very difficult for me to compete with those keywords right now until I get my referral traffic up. And it ties back in, too. Like my strategy is just be exactly who I am and storytelling and adding code along with that. And I think my SEO has improved a lot last month because of referral traffic. So I can be a little bit more of a human, touchy-feely, like I’m being myself strategy to build up something that’s kind of technical, like SEO.

Emma [42:29] One point I want to make to the storytelling thing is that everyone has a unique story often get the question of like, well, it’s already been done before, right? Like, should I still do it? And yeah, absolutely. Because your story is different than everyone else’s. And I always post these, like Twitter polls of like, do you guys want to blog post about x topic? And, and I always giggle when I get like “no” responses because it’s like a) it’s free content. Like if you don’t like it, then just don’t read it like it’s fine. And then the people that comments like, Oh, it’s been done 1000 times before? And it’s like, yeah, maybe but maybe the content that’s currently out there today has not resonated with someone and potentially mine will. so if it’s been done before, nothing’s unique these days, right? Almost nothing is unique. Go for it, you’ve got a unique story. Seguing into… we’ve talked a lot about the positives of blogging and the benefits that can come out of it. But there are also negatives that I think we should discuss, because it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. So Kelly, why don’t you kick off this section? Are there any new negatives, in your opinion of blogging?

Kelly [43:35] For me, as I’ve talked about previously, the idea of blogging regularly can be very, very daunting. So it becomes almost a source of anxiety for myself. And it can definitely be that case, if you’re not naturally a writer. I can write tweets all day because they’re short and sweet. But forming the full idea around a blog post, especially when it gets technical… imposter syndrome kicks in and you start questioning your own abilities. Like do I have enough experience to be talking about this. So on that side of things, like it becomes more like a personal battle as to whether or not blogging is actually going to be right for me. I’m almost almost overly concerned about what others are going to be thinking about the content I put out.

Emma [44:25] Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And I personally, I think we all struggle with imposter syndrome. I think this is something that we will cover very soon. But one of the byproducts of feeling imposter syndrome is that inevitably, at some point, you will receive negative hate comments, harassment, etc. At some point you will receive some and how do we deal with that? Right. So Ali, how do you deal with these negative comments on your blogs or just rude comments?

Ali [44:54] Yeah, so I will say before starting off that I didn’t deal with a lot of it until I was getting a lot of views. I think that at least when I was getting a couple thousand reads a month or whatever, I would get one off stuff. But the one off stuff is, in my opinion, not the worst to deal with. It’s when it’s like an onslaught of stuff at once. It’s like one paper cut is a paper cut. But if it’s a lot, then it’s a lot worse. But I think last summer when I started getting my posts featured on Reddit and Hacker News, that’s when the the rough side of it started building as well. So I think my favorite strategy that I have come up with is to write out my responses to things but then screenshot them and delete them. So that I don’t have to deal with the fallout from calling somebody out or responding or any of that, because that can be a lot of work both because the person probably won’t respond super well. And then the audience is always telling you that you know, ignore the trolls and stuff like that. But sometimes I do respond. And when that happens, I try to educate, not for the person who’s trolling because they’re probably going to get defensive and shut down but for the audience, so they are reading it and know now that that’s not an appropriate way that act or that if they try to do something similar in the future, then they’re probably not going to get a great response from it, then that does help in some ways. Like I had one person who was following me from website to website kind of harassing me. And I eventually wrote him an email because he kept emailing me and took a screenshot of it and a couple hundred thousand people read that response. And maybe those couple hundred thousand people got something from that. And he probably didn’t, but all those people probably did. So it does happen less than I thought it would, as an onlooker before starting out, but it is pretty common. Another thing is, and we do this within the four of us is we all have this common experience of dealing with it a lot. And so we’ll take screenshots of stuff and just laugh at it internally and vent about it within us four instead of doing it publicly. So that’s been really helpful as well.

Lindsey [47:10] Yeah, having a support system, I think is probably the best thing. Because, while yeah, it kind of sucks. It’s one of those things, too, when you can like just like laugh with each other how ridiculous that is. Because then you don’t feel so attacked. You’re like, Well, yeah, it sucks that person’s a jerk. But look how ridiculous this comment is. I can’t believe somebody wouldn’t even bother saying this.

Emma [47:35] I think it’s important to know, we don’t make fun of the people, right? We’re not sitting here like making fun of people. But we’re trying to shrug off the fact that like, we all go through these things. And as opposed to just berating these people online as a snap judgment, or a snap reaction to something, just kind of giggling about the fact that someone took time out of their day to like, call you, you know, a name that isn’t so nice or whatnot. But I do think educating is a great way to handle it. You will always get the comments like ignore the trolls. But at some point, I think we need to be role models for things right when we’re given this platform I think we’ve got that comes with an air of responsibility for certain things. So finding that line of like, should I educate or should I ignore is hard. Because at some point, you know, this can also be misconstrued. Like if we if we try to respond or try to educate It can also be taken as you inadvertent bullying. So I think I think we need to be careful how we educate. But I do think that we’re given this platform and we need to kind of set the tone of like, “Hey, if you’re gonna leave a nasty comment on my blog, it’s not going to be tolerated here.” Right? there’s no place for that. happy to talk to you one on one if you have questions or concerns, but maybe don’t, you know, call me every name on my blog post, not acceptable. But also, one thing we can do is mute, we can block people. And I’ve been doing this a lot more liberally for my mental health. I don’t generally like to block people. But if it’s really that bad, I will do it. Because at the end of the day, you’re probably never going to see these people in real life. And if it saves you a burnout or a depression spiral, I think it’s worth it.

Lindsey [49:07] Just following up with that, with educating people. I want people to know that whenever somebody does take a very advertent in step to educate, don’t tell them to ignore the trolls, because there is a very strategic reason why they decided to speak out. And that’s something that personally gets under my skin. I think actually probably gets out under all of our skins. It’s when people say ignore the trolls. And it’s like, we already do, we put a lot of effort into, like muting and blocking people who are trolls who are not productive. But every once in a while, like all of us have an audience to some degree, like, I know I have the smallest audience, but I still have, like 7000 followers at this time. And so that’s a decent amount. And a lot of times we do put a lot of stress on ignoring the trolls. So when we decide to speak out, and people are like, ignore the trolls, and you only have like eight followers, it’s like, you really have no idea what those people are going through. We are ignoring the trolls. But whenever we take a very purposeful step to educate, don’t tell us to not do it, because we’re not, like Ali said, we’re not responding to the troll. we’re responding to educate to the larger audience who we know is going to see it.

Emma [50:26] And I think, just quickly to that point, is the fact that we’ve all made mistakes, or trial and error, right? We’ve all been at a point where we respond in a nasty way, or we tried to like educate and maybe didn’t come across well, and we fail. But I think all of us are very good at admitting that. And so when we do respond to these things, it’s carefully curated for the most part, and we know through trial and error that this is going to probably be the most effective way to do that. So yeah, so that was a, that was a lot about online harassment, I would say there are a few other negatives of blogging. Me personally, I feel like I always have to be creating something, this goes back to this consistency idea, right? posting consistently is good, especially if you want to be considered a serious blogger. But you don’t have to do that each week, right? You can batch create, we talked about this in Episode Two, about managing our side projects. You can batch create all of these blog posts and schedule them consistently, right. So you don’t need to set aside time every week. It could be once a month, you just batch like four blog posts, and you post one every week, right? That’s kind of how you can get around that one. But going back to this imposter syndrome idea that Kelly mentioned earlier, anxiety over maybe not making the top posts or getting readership or whatnot. I cannot stress enough, don’t focus on the numbers, right? This is going to be really hard on you, if you’re focused on how many reads or likes or or thumbs up you get. Figure out why you want to blog, if you’re blogging for yourself, great focus on that, are you blogging to help people? If one person walks away with something new, perfect, you’ve achieved your goal. Right? So those are a couple of things that you can do. Really quickly, I want to switch gears. Kelly is more of a casual blogger. And as such, maybe she has a little bit different perspective on on things. So do you have any last words that you want to you know, contribute about being a casual blogger?

Kelly [52:06] Yeah, so blogging, unless you’re literally going into a career in blogging, blogging is not a requirement to have a successful career. So if it’s something you’re not interested in doing, if it’s something that you start doing, you find out that you don’t like doing it, then don’t do it, it’s not going to prevent you from moving forward with your career. And if all you’re wanting to do is, you know, share your own ideas and perspectives, and, you know, just walk through unique solutions to issues you’ve encountered, great, if you’re not trying to monetize this, just write at your own pace. Write whenever you want. It’s your own project, it’s your own little side project. There are no real rules around it, if it’s just something for fun.

Lindsey [52:48] Yeah, I think it’s really important to mention that because I blog consistently, but that’s because of my own personal goals. And if I didn’t have those personal goals, I probably would not have any motivation to consistently put out content. Having your why behind it, we’ve talked about this so many times during all of our first two episodes, but having your why of why you want to do it is super important. Because if it’s not something that you have a direct goal on, you’re not going to keep it up. And that’s also okay. Just, you know, just to kind of say it’s also okay, and you still can have a successful career. I mean, I started blogging last year. And since I started blogging, as far as I know, my career is still been pretty good. Like, it’s definitely took a turn for the better with blogging, but I still was having a lot of success before I started. So it doesn’t mean you have to everybody has a different path of what they want to take in their career.

Emma [53:47] And how do you actually get the confidence to press publish? Like, do you think about it a lot? Do you kind of just hit the button and like walk away? And you know, ignore the fact that you just like have put your content into the world? Ali, how do you gain the confidence?

Ali [54:00] Yeah, so I think going back to earlier, I think a lot of people are like “This blog posts have been written before. And my voice isn’t needed. Maybe I’m not enough of an expert on something.” My whole entire original blog that got decent readership, and it was really incredible for my career was about learning new things. So it was all these topics that I was not an expert on, was just things that I was learning and writing about my perspectives, learning it and how difficult or easy it was. And then also, pretty much everything has been written to some extent, that’s totally fine. I talked about my React tutorial. So I wrote a React tutorial last summer, which is way after a lot of people already had written react tutorials. And there were great ones already out there. But that one is one of my most read blog posts of all time. People still resonated with it, I wrote it differently than other people. And that still helped a lot of people. So even though some topic has already been covered, you still have a unique spin. And you can add your unique voice to the to the topic. So I don’t always have the confidence to press Submit. So I always have a bunch of drafts on my computer at any time, it’ll be up to like 20 blog posts that I’ve not press Submit on. And it’s tough. I deal with this all the time. But at some point, you just got to feel confident enough in it and just just go for it.

Emma [55:29] And do you need to be an expert? I mean, like you said you had this react tutorial. Were you an expert in react before you publish this?

Ali [55:37] Yeah, I mean, I’ve been reading react for like four years before that. So that one’s probably not a great topic there. But Elm, for example, is this functional programming language for the front end. And that was something that I tried to learn over and over and over again, and just couldn’t figure it out. And I wrote a blog post about that. And that was my first blog post that ever got attention, it got featured in a bunch of newsletters and stuff like that. So it was all about writing how something was hard for me to learn. And that was still something that people resonated [with].

Kelly [56:07] The best 101 posts, actually, you know, come from your own unique experiences on how you learned how to how to do something. Because this is literally walking through your process, even if you’ve made mistakes along the way, others are probably going to encounter those same mistakes and knowing like, “Oh, that’s not what I need to do. Okay, that’s great.” So even if you’re not an expert, by any means, if you’re just learning something, please write about it.

Emma [56:31] Well, let me just say my most read blog post was like my Regex code cheat sheet. And let me tell you, when Kelly asked me for, or asked us, if we could help with regex, I immediately was like, sorry, I’m busy. I don’t know anything about regex. So like, No, you don’t need to be an expert, right? Absolutely not. Like we said, a lot of us refer back to these things as a reference sheet. So no, you don’t need to be an expert by any means.

Kelly [56:54] Also that cheat sheet did actually help me,

Emma [56:57] I’m glad [chuckles]!

Lindsey [56:58] Something I wanted to point out just like a literal anecdote. So one of my favorite posts that I’ve ever written was a pure CSS post, about keyboard accessible and checkboxes. And I had finished writing it and editing it and it was Sunday, I was going to post it that Monday and I was scrolling through Twitter and I literally saw an accessibility account, tweet another tweet a blog post that was almost identical, like literally the same exact content. And I was just like, “Oh, my God, I cannot believe that I just spent so much time [on this post]” and I posted on Twitter. And I’m like, I just put this all this effort into this blog post. Should I still post it and I got an overwhelming “Yes!” people want to hear your perspective. And to this day, this is still one of my most popular blog posts. What I did to like make myself feel better is actually actually linked to that. And I’m [wrote on the post] “Hey, I actually almost didn’t post this because I saw this article on Twitter the day before I was going to post it. So go and give it a read, it might help you too.” And I think also that helps as well, because I wrote this without looking at any documentation, anybody else’s blog posts. So it was all from my own memory. But I don’t want to be like, considered plagiarizing. So I wanted to make sure that people got that perspective, as well. So I was super scared about that, to be honest.

Ali [58:19] I think related to this whole conversation is that if you’re learning something, and you’re struggling to find a blog post on something, so you’re googling it over and over and over again, and you can’t find the answer, or you can’t find one that makes sense, or one that works. When you finally do get it…that’s the perfect blog post! Because it’s something that you were struggling to learn. So probably somebody else was struggling to learn it as well. And so you’ve got this built in thing that you already know that there’s an audience. So go write it.

Emma [58:48] Yeah. So when you’re blogging, like, or you want to start a blog, where do you go? Like, how do you know what platforms to blog on? Kelly, where do you write your blog posts.

Kelly [58:57] So I write some of my posts on Dev. And the rest of them, I would consider to be like our personal blog. So on our website. So one of the main things to think about when you’re thinking about writing your content and where to publish, if you’re going through a certain platform, know that you might not have ownership of the content. Because if their platform went down for some reason, it just went away one day, you may not have a backup of your entire history of everything that you’ve written in the past. So just something to think about when you’re choosing where to write or you know, have it on your personal blog and have it on another platform just learn about canonical URLs

Emma [59:43] What are canonical URLs?

Ali [59:46] Yeah, so canonical URLs are a setting that you’ll use if you cross posts that make it so that all the search engine juice still goes to your original blog instead of to the place that you’re cross posting to. So this actually makes it so that cross posting can be really beneficial for your SEO instead of negative for it. Google penalizes duplicate content if you don’t have it set. So if you have this posted in 8 different places, Google’s going to say, Oh, this content is plagiarized. I don’t know which one’s the actual real version, but somebody’s copying it. So I’m just going to penalize all of it. So you really need to set that canonical URL to all the places that you’re cross posting. It’s also important if people are plagiarizing your work to do take downs and stuff like that. But that’s another another tangent, I started only cross posting. So I started on medium first and then started cross posting to Dev, and then only wrote my personal blog, once I knew that it was something that I enjoyed, because building the blog platform itself is a lot of work. And so I always recommend to people to know that you enjoy writing, and that that’s something that you’re going to stick to before putting in all that sunk cost of building up the site for yourself.

Kelly [01:01:00] Totally, I just have a really quick question.

Ali [01:01:02] Yeah.

Kelly [01:01:03] Earlier on what you were saying, did you say search engine juice?

Ali [01:01:06] Yeah.

Kelly [01:01:07] Okay, good. I’m going to use that.

Ali [01:01:09][laughs] Cool.

Lindsey [01:01:13][laughs] Awesome question. I only had my personal blog when I started blogging. So when I started posting on Dev, it was all cross posted content. And this is actually really good strategy if you’re newer, because a lot of people go to Dev, and not as many people were going to my site. So it’s a good way to get more eyes on my content, while I’m still starting out. Now I cross posts a week later, but at the beginning, I posted at the same exact time. And right now, it’s less of an urgency because my traffic is starting to grow organically, which is really cool. But at the beginning, I didn’t have much of an audience and that when it comes down to it, the point was to help people learn about this stuff, and more eyes on that content meant more people are going to learn. That’s why canonicals are good.

Emma [01:02:06] That sounds to me like a big win for you.

Lindsey [01:02:09][laughs]

Emma [01:02:11] And speaking of wins, Lindsey, you want to take this one?

Lindsey [01:02:13] Sure. So something we were doing is we all have our wins. But the best part of building this podcast is hearing your thoughts on our podcast and just hearing from everybody here. So we decided that we wanted to have listener wins. So we have one listener win and this is from Juneau: “I’ve submitted an application for my first hackathon!” which is super, super awesome. We love hearing these types of things. And congratulations, Juneau!

Emma [01:02:40] Yeah Congrats!

Ali [01:02:41] So cool!

Lindsey [01:02:42] Super Excited for you! But yeah, do you want to be featured sign up for our newsletter, we’ll have a link in the show notes. Because we love hearing from you. That’s the point of the podcast is to interact with the community. So definitely would love to hear your wins. And we have a couple of tangents about that. This isn’t supposed to be like promotional stuff, this is your own wins….things that you’re proud of. We’ve gotten a few like promotional items. And that’s not what we’re interested in, we’re interested in hearing those vulnerable wins that you’re super proud of. Even if it’s just like I finally had the guts to apply for that one job or any of that we love that stuff. So, um, but let’s share a couple of our personal wins too just to keep that going and keep the positive vibes.

Kelly [01:03:23] I have one more note on that. If you can keep it like tweet length. That’s awesome. Because you can see how long this podcast episode is. And we would love to keep the wins concise. Yes, but I’ll go next. So you know, kind of on the same topic of how I write my newsletters and turn them into blog posts. For the first time ever, I finally got ahead on writing newsletters by three weeks, I’m finally starting to batch these instead of write one Tuesday night to be published Wednesday morning or right at Wednesday morning to be published in five minutes. Very proud of that.

Emma [01:04:01] I don’t understand, you don’t like being stressed out though?

Lindsey [01:04:05][laughs loudly]

Kelly [01:04:06] I mean, my entire life is just this ball of stress around running a business. So I mean, it is very on brand for me, but I’m trying to do what I can to move away from that?

Emma [01:04:16] I mean Kelly when you batch things, you’ll have more time to cook me spaghetti, which I still have yet to receive in the mail. But TSA did say we could bring it.

Kelly [01:04:25] And I’ll be in Germany in August,

Emma [01:04:27] We’ll talk about that. I had a cool win this week, I wouldn’t say it’s a big win, right? Like it’s big for me. I am working on building a design system. And we’re working on the style guide and my kind of like partner designer was a little bit busy this week. So I took it upon myself to design a user interface in sketch. And I put it all together, I spent like several hours doing it. And we went in for a design review. And he just had like one to two very minor comments. And he told me that he was proud of me for like the quality of my design work. So that was like really cool for me.

Lindsey [01:04:57] That’s awesome. I love that. And I can go next. So uh, our last episode, we were talking about batching and I started trying batching and just jet focused on whatever it was the most relevant of that time. And it has been super effective. I’ve also been doing time blocking, and I found myself a lot less stressed this week, which has been super great. Because the past month, my stress levels have been pretty high. So it was such a gift to block some time. And then I didn’t feel super guilty in the evening, when I wanted to take time for myself because I knew I had a plan. And I knew I had things done. So Ali what’s your win?

Ali [01:05:39] Yeah. So actually last summer, I built this offline screen for Dev where you can draw while your computer can’t connect to the internet. And it’s kind of in this Easter egg. This week, somebody discovered it and posted it on on reddit, /r/webdev, and it was one of the top posts of the week. And people were like super nice about it, which is always exciting from Reddit.

Emma [01:06:00] Yay. Exciting.

Lindsey [01:06:02] That’s awesome. So thanks for listening. This is probably a little bit of a longer episode, but we love talking about it. So if you liked the episode tweet about it we’ll select one tweeter to win those fancy Ladybug stickers that you saw on Twitter. And everybody was super excited about which is awesome. So we are posting new podcast every Monday, so make sure you subscribe to be notified. So Thanks all for hanging out.

Kelly [01:06:25] Thanks for listening.

Emma [01:06:26] See you next week.

Ali [01:06:28] Bye!

Lindsey [01:06:29] bye!