At the beginning of 2018, I was seriously thinking of starting a blog. I had a lot of ideas swirling in my head, and I wanted to find a forum to simply get those ideas on paper (or some medium) so I could get some feedback. I wanted to get some of my ideas out there and hear what others had to say back. I’m a firm believer in sharing ideas, even if your idea isn’t groundbreaking or maybe even a little lacking. Sometimes you need to express or share an idea so it can be refined by other’s thoughts and opinions. I think that feedback makes your idea better.
So, I starting sharing this idea of writing a blog with a few friends. Several thought it was a good idea and that I had ideas worth sharing. A friend of mine suggested I try following a blogging course he knew about. I was skeptical. Shouldn’t it be easy to start a blog? I know all the right steps right? I know how to write words?! I decided to try it on my own, convinced I didn’t need help.
Boy was I wrong.
I did everything backwards. I tried to have everything setup and polished before ever writing an article. I felt like I had to get all of the analytics up before I could write; felt like I had to have a nailed down logo and visual design; felt like I had to have figured out all of the tools of the trade so to speak. I simply wasn’t feeling motivated after seeing how much there was to learn.
I got no where.
Much like waterfall, I had tried to figure out every requirement first before starting. And it wasn’t working. I wasn’t following my own advice of embracing the agile iterative process.
After a few months, I realized I needed some help. I needed a guide so to speak. Someone who would help me figure out where to begin and what the first iteration should look like. Someone who could point me in the right direction.
Soon after, I decided to follow my friend’s suggestion. I enrolled in the Simple Programmer Blog Course and I’m soo thankful that I did. I hadn’t heard of Simple Programmer before, but I quickly realized there was a lot of good content on the site and figured “what the heck”. I signed up and even got the workbook that comes along with the email.
And now, I’m blogging every week and I have ideas written down for the next year. Yes, year.
Because the course has helped me out so much, I wanted to pass it along and share what I loved about it.
1. Its Short
This isn’t a 3-month course that will require you to do tons of reading and preparing. Its only five lessons and it takes a total of about 3 weeks to complete. The email lessons are also at regular cadence on Monday and Thursday, which makes it easy to keep up (no email everyday fatigue).
If you are worried that 5 lessons isn’t enough, I would challenge you that you are really just afraid of starting. I know I was! You don’t need to have it all figured out. You don’t need to know exactly how to find the right placeholder image yet. You don’t need to have to have a perfect theme either. You need to get started! This course will help you do just that.
2. Its Action-Oriented
The other thing I like is that each lesson has homework. Yes, homework. I know you don’t want to go back to grade school, but having very specific and short homework actions made me actually get going. The homework assignments were the action steps I needed to take that I wasn’t taking on my own.
Each assignment is meaningful as well. For instance, talking about your brand is important, but not as important as picking a theme first. Monetizing your blog is important too, but only if you have quality content. John will walk you through the most important things you need to nail down first and leave the rest for you to discover.
There is also accountability. Most of the assignments have you email John (the instructor and founder of Simple Programmer) and he has responded to each one of my emails and helped me narrow focus when needed. It’s so motivating to have someone on the other end of the line rooting for you and giving you feedback as you need.
The assignments are also doable. They aren’t long or difficult. Really. I would take 30 dedicated minutes the morning after a lesson and be finished. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
3. Its Agile in Nature
As I’ve mentioned, John doesn’t have you figure everything out before writing a post. He takes you through just enough thoughtful preparation steps before writing so that you don’t write about something random, but his main goal is to get you writing. From that perspective, this course is agile in its approach, which I really like.
He does talk about themes and WordPress specifics etc, but only because he wants you to start writing. Pick something for now and change it later if you need. You might not stick with your initial theme, or hosting provider, even using WordPress. In the same way you would change code when you learned of a new requirement, you might make a change to your blog based on something new you have been learning about what you are good at.
John does have a great deal for setting up WordPress via Bluehost (though I already had an account with Dreamhost and it was just as easy to set up).
4. Its FREE
I mean c’mon! Can’t beat that. As John will teach you in the course, the best to become valuable is by giving value away. John stands by that and keeps as many resources free as he can – which I think is awesome.
Even though the course is free, I would buy the workbook that comes along with it. Its way easier to read and way better at keeping you accountable for the course than just the email.
If you have thought about starting a blog, I highly recommend you take the Simple Programmer Blog Course instead of figuring out on your own. It helped me get started, helped me understand how to “niche down”, and has already made me a better writer. The best part, is you really don’t have anything to loose. The course is FREE and the workbook is only $5! If you regret spending that $5, then all you lost is a fancy drink at your favorite coffee house or the rare find at the used bookstore.
So get to it! Happy blogging!
Till next time!