My top 5 blogging mistakes as a software developer

Here are my top 5 mistakes and lessons learned from them.

Mistake #1: Wrote blog posts for adsense and SEO robots. The tell tale sign is checking my adsense income and keyword ranking every hour or so.

Lessons learned: Write blog posts for people. Not for adsense or  for SEO robots. If one of your reasons to write blog is to monetize your site, then you need traffic. The only way to drive traffic is by writing quality content for human. Your blog must add value to your readers, and consequently your readers will frequent your blog by bookmarking your home page and subscribing to it. So, blogging is all about  content content, unique content. Even if the content is not that unique, it needs to be written in a unique style for human. I have 150+ blog posts on my site, but only 15 blog posts contribute to 80% of the traffic. For many bloggers, 1 or 2 great blog posts become the life changing ones. So, shift your focus from frequently checking your adsense income or spending hours on the internet for great blogging tips to writing quality content.

Mistake #2: Splashed my blog posts with advertisements. Wasted lots of time hoping someone will click on those advertisements and searching for that secret tip that will increase my adsense income. The secret tip is not to make the mistakes #1 and #2. Just keep writing unique content and see where it takes you. Think of cliches like "quality over quantity" and "less is more"

Lessons learned: Having lots of advertisements will not only irritate your readers, but also your users will become immuned to the advertisements and will learn how to not click them. Some users will never bother coming back again. I am a firm believer in 80/20 principle. Only 20% of your blog posts will contribute to 80% of your traffic. So, place only 1 or 2 advertisements in those high traffic pages without irritating your readers. Relying only on adsense income is like putting all your eggs in one basket. Your key purpose of blogging is to create a brand for yourself so that you can
  • find development work as a freelancer through your networked resources. Create a link to your blog from your resume and professional profiles like to establish yourself  as a talented freelancer. It is a great promotional tool to sell your services. This is what going to bring you the main portion of your income. For many, the adsense income is going to be not more than a small pocket money.
  • sell your books and products via your blog.
  • sell others' books or products.
  • provide training or consulting services.
  • provide guest speaking or blogging.

All these need traffic, traffic, and more traffic. Only good contents that add value to your readers can do that. 

Google uses "Authors' Ranking" for its SEO rankings, hence key to get good  "Authors' Ranking" is to write quality content and then connect with people by sharing it via social media. Writing a software is all about building relationships with your clients. Same is true for blogging. Writing a blog is all about building relationships with you readers and discovering new opportunities. In one of my freelance assignemnts as a Java developer, my hiring manager was one of the readers of my books.

Mistake #3: Not putting myself on my readers' shoes. Initially started writing my blogs as a repository of my knowledge. As a freelance software developer, I wanted to maintain a journal of my experience. Software development is very vast, and it really pays to maintain a journal so that it will become handy in my future assignments. I might work on a framework A, and never work on it again for about 1-2 years. I did not pay much attention as to my readers will understand or not.

Lessons learned: Learned to write blog posts with good diagrams and code snippets to make it easier for my readers. Also, started to track each blog posts' popularity via google analytics and number of comments posted. Good thought provoking blog posts will result in feedback via user comments.  

Mistake #4: Did not pay much attention to my blog titles. Bland titles will not   encourage readers to read your blog posts. Recently, I saw some impressive titles like 
  • How my Dog learned Polymorphism?
  • Serious About Your Software Career? Leave your job now
Lessons learned:  Many people judge a book by its cover. Quantifying your title does make a difference. For example:

Instead of: Job Interview Questions and Answers
use: 150+ Job Interview Questions and Answers.

Instead of: Blogging mistakes
use: 10 Blogging mistakes you must avoid.

Mistake #5: Subconsciously repeating the mistakes #1 to #4 and lacking patience. It is a human tendency to keep making the same mistakes and seeking instant gratification. It took me a good 2 years to get around 65,000 unique vistors per month to my Java career training blog.  

Lesson learned: Repeatedly train the subconscious mind to not make those mistakes again. For example, spend less time on searching for those great adsense revenue making tips, and spend some quality time with your other passions. Spend more time thinking and researching for some quality content for your next blog post. Start blogging early and give yourself enough time to grow and learn from your mistakes. 

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