one month blog cover

source: Tumblr

Lessons from my first month of blogging as a solo developer

Hello, I’m Julien, a front-end developer who created my first React component back in 2016. I have a passion for interfaces, front-end development, and design. I've been working independently for quite some time now. In this blog post, I will reflect on my first month of blogging as a solo developer.

What motivated me to start blogging?

I launched my blog on my personal website in the summer of 2021 and shared my first article here. Like many developers, I struggled to find the energy and time to blog consistently, and I wasn't sure how to reach an audience beyond my circle.

However, several reasons have motivated me to invest more time in blogging:

The market

The tech industry in France, like in many other places, has been significantly impacted by the recent crisis. Until now, I didn't have to do much to find work. I had a basic website with a projects section and was listed on French freelancing platforms like Malt and Comet.

In the past, it was relatively easy to find freelance gigs as a developer. I received numerous requests from companies looking to hire me for projects. However, over the past few months, these requests have decreased.

This shift has made me realize that I can't rely solely on platforms and recruiters to find work. I need to showcase my skills and build my professional brand (even though I don’t like this term).

International profile

English is not my native language. On a typical day, I primarily communicate in French. While my work has exposed me to a considerable amount of English content, I haven't had many opportunities to write a lot in English. By writing my blog posts in English, I'm not only improving my English skills but also cultivating an international profile. This could potentially open up a broader range of opportunities for me on a global scale.

The desire to share

Over the years, most of my work has been confined to companies. Building side projects was my way of expressing my craft. Now that I've started writing about UI elements, for example, I've found it easier to contribute to the internet freely. It feels good to help people with what I know.

Practice writing

Writing is a crucial skill, and I really want to master it. Sharing my work is the easiest way for me to practice. I view this practice as an investment in myself, aiming to become a more effective communicator in the long run.

Blogging as a side project

After my last long freelance gig, I started exploring AI and built a side project called Like many developers, I enjoy the process of building, but marketing the end product can be challenging. Blogging feels more consistent. My posts will remain online, tied to my digital identity, on my website. This consistency feels beneficial for the long run.

How did I decide what to write about?

My primary source of inspiration is the websites I browse daily. Whether I'm seeking design inspiration, discovering cool new products, or admiring beautiful UIs, I find myself scrolling through numerous sites. Twitter has been particularly useful for this.

Occasionally, I'll come across a unique UI element that piques my interest, and I feel compelled to recreate it. I enjoy understanding how things work and reverse-engineering them. This curiosity was the initial spark for my blog posts.

For instance, my first article about creating bento grid layouts was inspired by the numerous bento grids I saw on Twitter. I decided to write about it, and it was as simple as that.

Rebuilding something I've seen, explaining it, and sharing it feels natural to me. It's a good starting point.

What impact has blogging had on my professional development as a developer?

So far, the impact has been subtle. I've received a few messages, but only a couple directly related to freelancing opportunities.

My articles about UI elements and effects tend to attract developers and designers more than potential clients. However, I realized it wasn't clear from my blog that I'm a freelancer open to work. To address this, I recently added a services section, outlining my offerings and starting prices.

Blogging has also encouraged me to think beyond my freelance work. It has sparked a desire in me to test more ideas, create more resources, and build more side projects with a revenue-first mindset. I've realized that I don't want to solely rely on my freelance work for income, but rather diversify and explore other paths.

With the rising trend of service productization, I'm keen to explore this avenue. Until now, my freelance work has primarily involved selling my time. I'm interested in exploring alternatives to this model, and I'm excited to see where this journey takes me.


For my analytics, I initially used Vercel analytics. I loved the UI and its integration with Vercel services. However, after surpassing the free tier, I switched to a more affordable solution: Umami. Umami is an open-source, privacy-focused analytics tool that's GDPR compliant. I opted for the cloud solution at $9/month.

Here are the metrics for my first month:

  • Page views: 17500
  • Unique visits: 5600

In total, I published 12 blog posts.

I'm pleased with these metrics. While I'm not entirely sure what constitutes 'good' numbers, it's encouraging to see that my content is resonating with an audience in my first month of blogging.

Challenges and Learnings:

Language: As I mentioned earlier, English isn't my first language. While I can easily write messages, code, or technical documentation in English, crafting a full blog article was initially challenging. Practice is key to finding my voice and gaining confidence in my writing. Using Chat GPT has been incredibly helpful in this regard. I draft my articles and then use OpenAI to correct and refine my phrases.

Inspiration: Finding unique inspiration takes time. I want to offer something different, not just code that can be easily found on Google. It's a challenge, especially considering the number of excellent tech/design blogs out there.

Sharing/Social: Initially, sharing my work didn't come naturally to me. I started on Reddit and saw positive results, which made it easier to continue. However, I'm still finding my voice on social media, and I don't want to come across as a tech influencer. I haven't tried LinkedIn yet, but it's something I need to explore.

Compound Effect: It's been exciting to see my blog posts featured in various React newsletters, on a big Norwegian tech website, or on the front page of the ReactJS subreddit for example. I've learned that consistent writing and minimal sharing can create a compound effect, with my articles being shared in different places. While it's still early days, SEO could also play a significant role in this effect over time.

What’s next?

I plan to continue writing and sharing tips about UI. I'm also considering expanding my topics to include more about design, front-end architecture, high-level concepts, freelance work, side projects, and more!

This process has given me a clearer picture of what I want from my journey as a developer and what I don't want. I realize I haven't spent enough time shaping my “career” as an independent, but I'm committed to making progress in that direction.

I don't aspire to become a 'LinkedIn front-end influencer' or a 'tech blog writer'. However, I do enjoy the idea of sharing valuable skills and insights and growing something on my own.

This marks the beginning of a more proactive approach to my career, where I'm not just going with the flow, but actively steering my path.

Published: 5/31/2023

Join my newsletter to stay updated about the latest things I've created and discover the great finds I've come across on the internet.