My Journey To 100

Published: November 22, 2017

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This is my 100th blog post :tada:

Rather than publishing a standard post about one of my favorite topics (such as Magento, security or caching) I’ve decided to do something special.

Here I’ll chronicle a 4 year journey starting with my very first blog post in December of 2013 leading up to the present day with my 100th blog post.

My First Post

As mentioned in the opening, I published my first blog post in December of 2013. To be exact, I published it on December 2nd, 2013. The post was titled “Embedding YouTube Videos Without Sucking” and was the result of extensive research that I did at the time about embedding YouTube videos.

I had found that the default <iframe> embed would load ~400k of data even if the user had no intention of watching the video. The post compares various tools and techniques that had been created to allow for more performant YouTube embeds, including a jQuery plugin I created at the time, aptly named, jquery.nonSuckyYouTubeEmbed.

I can remember publishing the post well. I had high hopes that this would get the ball rapidly rolling for me to make a name for myself in the web development industry. I submitted links to the post to a few newsletters in hopes that they would publish them.

Unfortunately, I got pretty much no feedback on the post :grimacing:

The Slow Start

While the response was disappointing to say the least, it didn’t completely turn me away from blogging. Over the course of the next 27 months (December 2013 to March 2016) I published 8 more blog posts.

Here are a few of the things I published about…

The Inflection Point

Beginning in April of 2016, however, I hit an inflection point in my blogging. 91 out of the total 100 posts that I’ve written were published from that point on.

Here’s a graph, which shows the number of posts published per month, to visualize this.

Inflection point in my blogging history

You can see a rapid rise in my publishing activity leading to a high of 9 posts in both December of 2016 and March of 2017. Publishing activity has leveled off a bit since then, but still averages over 4 posts per month.

What Spurred This?

To be honest I’m not entirely sure of this myself. I’m a self taught developer who started in 2011. In April of 2016 I’d been doing web development for roughly 5 years. Perhaps it was only then that I felt “qualified” to be publishing on my blog1?

A few other worth noting…

  • Starting in April, 2016 I began authoring my posts in Markdown. Previously I was writing in HTML. I think moving to Markdown improved the writing experience for me.
  • Additionally, I began using MacDown as my authoring software at this time. When authoring in HTML I was writing in Sublime Text which I otherwise use as my code editor. For me, at least, I feel strongly that using a separate editor for writing posts than the editor I use for writing code helps me think about them as separate types of tasks, which in turn has improved my skills as a writer.
  • In November of 2015 I redesigned my site and purchased the domain maxchadwick.xyz. While, it wasn’t until 5 months later in March of 2016 that I hit the inflection point with my blogging activity I do think the redesign and domain purchase helped motivate me to publish more often.

What I’ve Learned

So, after 4 years and 100 posts what I have I learned about blogging? A LOT!!!

Here’s a brief list…

  • Don’t feel like you’ve wasted time or what you’re doing is pointless if you get little to no reaction to your posts. If you enjoy blogging just keep writing and publishing. It’s hard to predict which topics others will find interesting.
  • Building on that, as you blog more you’ll likely identify additional objectives for blogging beyond just getting noticed. For me, perhaps the most important thing about writing and publishing to my blog is that it helps me better retain knowledge on topics that I’ve learned about. If I just learn something once I’m likely to forget, but by writing about it it’s more likely to stick in my mind.
  • If you write about what you learn regularly you’ll likely find that your own blog becomes your internal knowledge base of known solutions to problems you typically encounter. I know my blog has become a powerful utility for myself.
  • Finally, writing a blog is not writing a book and you do not need to publish a definitive, “mic-drop” blog post every time. When I started out with “Embedding YouTube Videos Without Sucking” I had set out to publish the definitive post on YouTube embeds. However, I’ve come to realize that not every post needs to be the “definitive” post on a given subject. If you set out to write the definitive post every time, you’ll be spending a lot of time on every post and probably won’t wind up publishing very often.

I hope my readers have enjoyed this post and I encourage everyone else to try out blogging! See you again in post 101.

Footnote(s)

1 . At this point, I think the notion of being “qualified” to publish is complete BS. Having content published by complete beginners is just as valuable as content published by experienced developers. I would encourage everyone to write about what they do as a developer and publish it to the web, regardless of their “qualifications”.

Max Chadwick Hi, I'm Max!

I'm a software developer who mainly works in PHP, but loves dabbling in other languages like Go and Ruby. Technical topics that interest me are monitoring, security and performance. I'm also a stickler for good documentation and clear technical writing.

During the day I lead a team of developers and solve challenging technical problems at Something Digital where I mainly work with the Magento platform. I've also spoken at a number of events.

In my spare time I blog about tech, work on open source and participate in bug bounty programs.

If you'd like to get in contact, you can find me on Twitter and LinkedIn.