How to start a successful programming blog
Are you into programming and looking for a way to share your knowledge? Here’s everything you’ll need to know when starting your blog.
How to Start a Programming Blog
1) Finding your Niche
Niches are small segments of a broader market, focused on one specific thing. For instance, running a blog about web development will appeal and target people who want to learn to develop apps and websites. Think of it this way: a broader market is programming, while niches are, for instance, things like web or mobile app development.
It’s easier to attract visitors when you are focused on publishing content in a specific niche. Opposed to this, imagine that you are running a blog that has articles about everything. People will definitely get confused about what to search for and read on your website.
So, you need to understand the distinctive needs every segment of the market has. And, to have higher chances of attracting visitor’s attention, you should stick to the chosen niche. But, what niche to choose? In general, targeting low competition niches is often more favorable and profitable. Do you know why? The truth is that if you target high competition niches, you’ll be only another small fish in a big pond.
For example, if you type ‘programming blog’ in Google, you’ll get millions of search results. You can figure out by yourself what are the chances that visitors choose your site. Low, aren’t they? Hence, you think smaller and concentrate your efforts on a more specific segment that is more attainable. That is if you want your blog to succeed. Focusing on specific parts like web, app or maybe game development will help you reach a relevant and focused audience.
2) Think of a unique blog name and create your website
Now comes the fun part, creating your blog name. We suggest a name that’s short, sweet and is relevant to your audience. Some names for a programming blog could be: topwebdevtutorials, codingappswithswift or if you’re still stuck try using our blog name generator for some inspiration.
Once you have a blog name in mind, it’s time to get your website set up. Don’t worry, this is much easier than it sounds and can be easily done in less than an hour! Checkout our full guide on the best and easiest way to setup a WordPress blog here.
3) Get the essentials
Now that you have a domain name and a WordPress blog, it’s time to start thinking about all the things you’ll need.
Let’s start with equipment. What you’ll need regarding tools depends on what type of content you’ll be publishing. Are you planning to write only text-based content, or you’d like to mix it up, and create videos as well? If it’s the latter, you’ll need a mic, a camera, and software for screen recording.
There’s a good number of free apps for video and sound recording. But if you’re just looking to create some tutorials for your blog, don’t over-complicate things. Your laptop camera, mic, and a free screen recording tool will get the job done just fine. Vlogging, however, may require more serious tools like a camera with low-light performance, lenses, sensors, and lighting modifiers. You’ll most likely need a paid software like Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro for better video production. For writing text-only tutorials you won’t need some special equipment other than maybe the occasional screenshot app to capture code snippets.
Now that you have it figured what tools you’ll need to start creating content, it’s time to talk about organization. Running a blog will require planning for what needs to be done and when. Tools like Trello can help you be more effective and stay on schedule for creating and publishing content. Imagine having a series of 20 web development tutorials. You’d have to plan out which topics to cover first, and the time it would take. Being organized is one of the most important things for a blogger – no matter the niche.
Plugins and additional tools are also something that every programmer blogger needs to consider. SyntaxHighlighter by Alex Gorbachev is a must-have plugin for sharing codes on WordPress. It will ensure your code snippets are understandable, nice-looking, and usable. Without this plugin, your code will be confusing and hard to read. Other than some plugins, you’ll need to connect your site to Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Analytics is great for monitoring the traffic on your website and how users behave, while the Search Console is a must for watching your organic growth.
What content do programming bloggers create?
Programming bloggers are usually creating guides, how-tos, reviews, challenges, and articles that help beginners solve problems. In general, bloggers can write about whatever they’re experienced at. Some topics may include:
- Trying out new programming languages, technologies, or frameworks
- Programming news and trends
- Bug fixes or unexpected programming behavior
- Solutions to coding challenges
- Project-based learning
Create engaging and relevant content
It’s essential that the content you publish is relevant to your audience. Writing about Java is not really helpful if your blog is about WordPress development, isn’t it? Finding topics can be quite easy as a simple Google search will give you tons of ideas.
Engaging content always works with the readers. They stay focused while reading, and you get your message loud and clear. Here are some tips on producing relevant and quality-rich content:
- Use Google’s keyword planner to identify trending topics
- Get inspiration from other well-established programming blogs
- Make sure your article has a point
- Add relevant images
- Include headings, subheadings, paragraph breaks, and bullet points
- Use SEO plugins to optimize your articles
- Pay attention to proper spelling and grammar
How to grow your traffic
Marketing is another critical aspect – especially when starting from zero. And growing traffic at a steady pace is something every blogger wants. So what can you do, to make sure that your blog keeps getting more visitors each month? Let’s talk about some ideas.
Sharing your articles on social media networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus will help you build your audience and grow your online presence. Answering questions on Quora and in some instances, Reddit is always a great idea to promote your blog.
But the most important thing is SEO and organic traffic. In the long run, you don’t want to depend on social networks and their ever-changing rules about content reach and user engagement. You’d want to invest efforts into your SEO strategy and rank for relevant keywords in your niche. The more optimized your content is, the more it will show in Google search results. So really, your goal should be producing informative and well-written articles that are useful for your readers.
Another idea when trying to grow your traffic is guest posting. Reach out to some of the influencers in your niche and try to publish a post on their website. Most of the sites have a “Contributors” or “Write for Us” section. Check it out and see if you can get an article published with a link to some resource from your blog.
The Skyscraper Technique is actually a system for turning content into high-quality backlinks. First, you research popular topics, then, you create unique content with the same point but with a twist. Once you’re done with this, you contact people who have linked out to similar content and ask them to link out to your content, too. Infographics come to mind – as one of the most shareable pieces of content on the Internet.
How to make money with your Programming Blog
There are several ways to make money from your programming blog. Some of the popular ones include affiliate network of source code products, paid reviews or sponsored types post, and direct advertising banners. But what do these mean? Let’s see!
Affiliate marketing is the ultimate way to monetize your blog. With this form of performance-based marketing, affiliates are rewarded by business owners for every customer brought to the company.
A sponsored post is yet another way to make money by publishing posts by the advertiser or mentioning them/ or their product in your posts. You can earn between $50 – 500 depending on what are you expected to do.
You can either publish banner ads on your site via Adsense or work with advertisers and set up their banner ads directly. And, in general, you’ll be paid on a CPM model – a price per 1000 impressions of their banner on your site.
Top #3 Programming Bloggers
#1 Six Revisions
#2 David Walsh
#3 The Crazy Programmer
Founded by Niraj Mishra in 2012, this blog has grown remarkably fast. Namely, more than 200,000 people from all over the world read this blog every month. It offers lots of useful resources like books and articles covering the following topics: Java, dotNet, Android, PHP, SQL, C, C++, etc.