Creating a "Successful" Blog

Musings Mar 7, 2016

Throughout my time on the Internet, I have gone through and created many personal blogs. It's interesting to see how every blog reflected the medium and technology that was popular at that moment. I used Tumblr while I was in college, Blogspot in high school, and my first ever blog was on Xanga. These blogs mainly documented my everyday shenanigans for others to read about. I wanted to share day to day and hope others would find them amusing as well. Low retention and sheer laziness would always get the better of me, so they had slow, painful deaths. I had contemplated whether creating this blog would be a good idea given my colorful history of blogs.

What does success mean?

Before giving this whole blogging thing a try again, I wanted to make sure this blog would be "successful". Now "success" is a relative term and may vary from person to person.

I determined that a "successful" blog meant the following:

  1. It would have to be fun for me to write
  2. It would have to be engaging, interesting, and meaningful for at least 1 person.

The first part can be satisfied by simply writing about code in my own personal voice. I already like talking about code, now it's just a matter of writing about it. Writing has also never really been fun for me. I learned that I generally hate writing because I always feel I have to be proper and shit. So screw that noise, this ain't no fancy paper.

Now for the second part, the funny thing is, I only need one person for this to be "engaging, interesting, and meaningful". You may be thinking, "but Kelvin, you just said your retention rate is low". But JOKES on you, that 1 person could be me! (Wait... so is that jokes on me?)

I intend for all of these posts to be reference material for me in the future. As a developing software engineer, I am still very early in my career and there's so much more I need to learn. This platform will allow me to jot down some notes whilst providing me opportunities to reflect and review.

This blog will be successful if I write for myself.

Choosing the right platform

Given the natural progression of my blog history, I should be inclined to use something like Medium. After doing some research, I decided to not go that route, for reasons I won't get into. So alas, this blog is built using the blogging engine.

I wanted my blog platform to be lightweight, easy to use, easy to write (woo hoo! Markdown!), and run on a modern technology stack. I wanted to have a lot of control with the technology and look of the blog as well. Some research had led me to the Ghost, which seemed like the best fit for me.

I spent a lot of time to make sure the blog reflected my personal flair. What was great was that Ghost enabled me to have complete control of the user interface. I took it upon myself to code up and build the entire UI, which you can download for yourself and check out on my Github repo (shameless plug). I will talk about this more in a future post so stay tuned.

Let's get to it

A lot of inspiration for this post came from a great post about "how blog about code and give zero fucks". I'd recommend giving that a read.

But looks like old habits die hard. I said I was going to talk about code, but my first two posts are about me. Shit...

It'll take me some time to figure out my groove, so I'm going to start with a softball. I'm going to kick this blog off with some delicious technical, dry content. Mmmm....this is getting off to a good start already...