Finding Post Topics

Perhaps the biggest concern for a would-be blogger is finding things to write about and it might be tempting to start off by writing tutorials on your favourite programming language. Please don't! If you write a post called "Declaring Variables in JavaScript" or "Loops in Python" it will just get lost in the ocean of other material on the subject. Even more advanced topics like threading or promises have been done to death and you would be lucky to get onto page 20 of the Google search results.

My preference is for short coding projects which form an complete working piece of software, whether that is a Python file which can be run by the interpreter, source code in C which can be compiled and run, or an HTML file with an associated JavaScript file which runs in a browser. They don't have to be complex or ambitious; many of my posts have only a few dozen lines of source code yet constitute complete, interesting and useful projects.

However, you might want to go in a completely different direction and with a little thought you should be able to come up with at least a few topics with enough depth to justify a post. Here are a few suggestions which will hopefully spark some ideas.

  • What industry do you work in? Does it have any unusual or even unique requirements you can write about?

  • Do you have any knowledge or skills in other areas where programming could be applied? Anything from science and technology to sports and hobbies could form the subject of a short program and associated post.

  • Almost all software is a combination of original source code, libraries, frameworks, APIs, databases and other external dependencies. Tying them all together is often the most complex part of the development process so if you have experience using a certain dependency in a certain language you have the makings of a blog post.

  • A post or even an entire blog doesn't have to centre around actual coding. You could write reviews or roundups of the countless tools, utilities, libraries and other resources available to the development community.

  • Do you have any views or insights on where the industry is going? Our industry changes literally day by day which makes people obsessively curious about what the future holds. If you can help enlighten them please do.

  • Have you ever been frustrated by the mediocre quality of the information you have been able to find on a certain topic? Quantity isn't the problem but quality often is. If all you can find makes you think "I could do better myself" then do so!

  • I subscribe to a number of email newsletters which are useful but rather poorly curated, usually consisting of no more than perhaps 10 or 20 links to content released over the past seven days. A weekly blog post of such links combined with a brief commentary on each one would be very useful, and would give readers the reassurance that someone wasn't just blindly throwing links at them to make up the numbers.

When I started my first programming blog in 2016 I created a new spreadsheet to list ideas for posts. Nothing complex: just a prospective title is sufficient. Inevitably the list gains new items far more quickly than completed ones are crossed off, and has now reached monstrous proportions.

If my suggestions above sparked any ideas start your own list and add any new ideas as they come to mind. I guarantee that before too long you too can have a list of "monstrous proportions".

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