Why you should NOT code your own blog when starting out blogging
Having your own blog as a developer is a great idea. When writing articles you also learn in the process about the thing you are writing. It is also a good way to show a potential employer that you know your stuff.
As a developer, the first instinct is to build your own blog by yourself and not to use a ready made blogging platform like Wordpress for example.
This is very tempting and when I first started my blog, I had that same thought. If your goal is to build a successfull blog and get good at blogging, that might not be a good idea though and here is why.
Most important thing to do when starting out blogging
When first starting out blogging, the most important thing in my opinion is to start writing articles. Period.
As a beginner writer, you don't yet know how to write articles. So you need practice. More you write, the better your articles will get as you learn how to write. So it is crucial to write as much as you can.
So what happens if you start coding your blog from scratch. All your energy and time is put into making the blog, instead of writing the articles on the blog. So you are actually not concentrating on getting better at blogging and getting your content out there. Plus you delay starting to write the actual articles.
How I started
I have been writing my blog for over three years now. The hardest thing always is to start writing and the only way to get better at it is to do it more.
When I first started I setup by blog on top of Wordpress. It was fast and easy and I didn't have to worry if the website was working or not. I could only concentrate on writing my articles.
Now after blogging few years, I actually decided to update by blog and ended up coding it myself from scratch. But if I had started to code my own blog back when I started, I think I would not be here today.
I am not saying that it is not possible to code your own blog and be successfull blogger. I just know that especially in the beginning just starting to write an article is hard, not to mention if you have to worry about the blog website functioning correctly.
How to start blogging as a beginner
If I would start my own blog today, here is how I would do it.
1. Use easy to setup platform
I would build the blog on top of Wordpress. It is super popular for blogging and easy to setup. With Wordpress you can also add custom pages to your blog to work as a portfolio and you get your blog under your own domain.
Wordpress has it downsides but in my opinion for beginner bloggers, the pros outweigh the cons and Wordpress is still a good starting point.
One good option is to buy web hosting from Bluehost and setup Wordpress blog there. At the time of writing this, they offer free domain name for the 1st year, free ssl certificate for your domain and 1-Click Wordpress install with the starter plan. So hosting your Wordpress blog there is very easy to setup. This is what I used when I started out.
Another option is to start writing posts on sites like dev.to, Medium or Hashnode. This is a good option too because you don't need any setup and can start writing right away.
The biggest downside with these sites is that you don't own your content. If you e.g. write your articles to Medium and Medium decides to shut down the site, delete or ban your articles, there is nothing you can do. So having your content on your own blog is always better in the long run.
I would write as much articles as I can.
If you are new to blogging and your goal is to build a successfull blog and get good at writing articles, you should not re-invent the wheel when it comes to building the blog.
Use one of the ready to use solutions (Bluehost + Wordpress, dev.to, Medium, Hashnode) and start writing content.
You can always update your blog and build it from scratch in the future if you wish, but the most important thing is to get down the habit of writing.
Disclosure: As an Bluehost affiliate partner I earn from qualifying purchases.