June 28, 2018
Blogs. From major corporations, small startups, to your Uncle Bob, it seems like everyone and everything has one. Most people dismiss blogging for themselves as just another way to share snapshots of food and vacations, but have you ever considered what a personal blog could do for your professional life?For the last 10 years, I’ve maintained a personal blog (jordancolburn.com) on many of my interests such as software development, electrical engineering, photography, music and repairing vintage music gear.While the blog has diverse content based on my personal interests, its main goal has always been professional.In fact, my personal blog directly created the opportunity that led to my job here at Webconnex! Let me share some tips on how to create, update and share your personal blog to establish a professional presence online.
The most important this you can do is simply get started and register a URL you are comfortable with (I suggest simply your-name.com or as close as you can get). Wordpress is an easy and common way to start as are other website builders like SquareSpace and Wix.If you’re a tech oriented person (aka, nerd like me), I would also suggest creating your own blog from scratch. For speed and ease of use, I recommend a static site using Jekyll and Github Pages, but creating a blog in any language or framework can be a great learning tool and conversation starter (my personal site made with Python).
One of the big reasons for starting my blog was to share tips that I couldn’t find myself on Google. Specific pieces of helpful information such as “How To’s”, “Tutorials” and “Repair” articles will draw in an audience looking for that information, while establishing you as an authority on the subjects you are writing about.
Over the 10+ years I have run my blog, I have averaged about a post every two months. For many content-based blogs, this is much too long between posts. However, for a personal blog, your goal is not always to build a consistent audience, but to establish yourself as a professional voice on your chosen subjects. Great content less often is much better than having a blog archive full of filler pieces with no real takeaway.
Since this is a personal blog, you will probably not have a big brand identity to share content from. While it is nice to share some articles through personal social media (especially when you first launch your blog), you can avoid spamming your friends by sharing through other platforms. Reddit, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest and HackerNews are all great outlets. Focus on providing content that is truly helpful to readers in the channels they are already searching for it.
Well, maybe not profit (please don’t put ads on your blog), but over time your blog will establish you as a knowledgeable professional in your field. Potential employers and collaborators can see your knowledge, passion, growth, consistency and diversity in a blog and that stands out so much more than a list of bullet points on a resume. I got an offer to interview here at Webconnex after someone shared one of my articles on hacker news and it got 20k+ views overnight (well up from my daily average of 10).I hope these tips help you establish a professional representation of yourself online and lead to many great opportunities. The only thing left to do is get started! We'd love to hear about your experiences with using your personal blog for professional gain, comment below!