Software Testing Blogging Tips


(Rosie) #1

@mcsteffington asked for beginner blogging tips for software testers, so thought it would be useful to collate some here. I suggested a couple on the Twitter thread, but I’ll expand a bit more here.

Platform to use:
This question often comes up.
I personally always recommend WordPress (very flexible for simple or more complex needs) or Medium (great for anyone, easiest one to get going, just sign up for an account and post).

Imho - SquareSpace sucks because it doesn’t provide valid RSS (and it therefore cannot feed into our Testing Feeds).

There are other more modern platforms out there that perhaps others could advise on.

Writing

It’s easy to think that what you are writing is stupid, not important, or irrelevant. The act of writing is a great experience within itself. I don’t do enough of it personally and often just dump ideas/thoughts/advice in forum posts here, but I always benefit personally from getting each and every blog post out there - even if it is just for my future self and reading back on my own thoughts.

I love how @maaret just puts blog posts out there. I know she always says that she writes for herself and no one else.

Marketing
If you find value in others finding your work then you should put effort into promoting your blog.

  • Join Twitter, follow people and tweet about your blog.
  • You can do the same on LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • Participate on Quora. Be helpful, don’t get over enthusiastic about linking back to your own stuff, you’ll just get penalised :wink:
  • There’s a QA and SoftwareTesting Reddit. Get involved there!
  • Create an email list or use WordPress widgets to help do that automatically for you. I find people these days don’t really know or use RSS. This makes me sad :frowning:
  • Write for others. Plenty of news and magazine type websites are always looking for writers. Of course this includes MoT, but I’d encourage every tester to write for non-testing places too. We need to show more people that we exists!
  • And just write useful, interesting and well structured stuff!
  • Check out our Ministry of Testing Writers Guide for super useful tips.

That’s all for now, running out of time, am sure others can add to it.


(Paul) #2

Thanks, some great points and advice!

Shameless Self Promotion - I wrote an article about the mental side of blogging here if anyone is interested.


(Jesper) #3

When I started blogging I set aside an hour at 4 pm every other Friday to write. Some times it would amount to much - other times not so much. But that’s OK.

Sometimes a blog post can be a link to an article/tweet somewhere else. Remember to credit and link to the original. It’s one way to store great articles for later. And a way to share your findings in a “articles I’ve read today” like this by Simon P. Schrijver


(Simon) #4

Loving all the tips. Thanks for sharing! Great idea to start this post, @rosie.

As I got into writing/sharing content I’d add approaches and triggers to this Google Doc. I update it every so often.


(James) #5

When I started blogging I listed what I wanted to get out of it, and why. And I challenged myself to write (and publish!) a post a week, to get into the habit of it: https://qahiccupps.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/i-done-ton.html

Over time, I’ve found that what I want/get out of blogging has changed. After several years, I can see how my ideas have evolved, where I’ve consistently explored a space, where I’ve become interested in something and then moved on to something else. I can see connections between different sets of ideas, and that builds my understanding (or emphasises a lack of it).

Because I see value to me I’m motivated to continue, so I’d urge new bloggers to look for something that gives value to them.

On the act of writing itself, I’m a fan of fieldstones: https://qahiccupps.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/a-field-of-my-stone.html

And, FWIW, I find writing an amazingly useful tool to work through ideas in general. So blogging helps me to keep in trim for that.


(Simon Godfrey) #6

Agree with WordPress or Medium. If I was only blogging then I’d probably use Medium but if I was building a blog into a site then I’d use WordPress.

If you’re writing a blog that you want people to find, read and follow then you need to have patience. For many top bloggers, it took 12-18 months to see an upturn in visitor numbers so it’s important not to get disheartened when you’re still getting a small handful of visitors after 6 months.

Also, think about headlines and SEO. I see bloggers writing great content but they’re not using headlines that people would search for. If you want your content to be found organically then you need to do your headline research and think about the questions your readers would type (or speak) in to a Google search. “Why I think Test Automation Sucks” won’t get you as many organic views as “The 5 ways to Improve Test Automation”. This might be another reason to go WordPress because you can use the Yoast plugin to make sure your content is good on the SEO side of things.

Sharing on Social Media is important but it also takes time to build a following.

Patience is key if you want to be found and followed, as is creating REALLY good content.