What I Learned from Other Bloggers

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In a previous post, I noted how I discovered the People and Blogs website. As of June 14, the site contained 42 interviews with bloggers curated and maintained by Manu. On his website, Manu explains how this project came to be:

The idea for this series/side project popped into my head a few weeks ago while I was reading about the concept of Ikigai. I realized that what I really love to do is to write, to read what other people write, and to interact with people online. And the tools I use to achieve all this are emails and blogs. I write on mine, I read what others write on theirs, and I get to interact with them and with the people who read my content via email. So why not combine everything I love into a simple and fun project? That is how People and Blogs came to be.

The goal for this project is to keep up the pace for at least a year. 52 weeks, 52 people, 52 blogs. Should be doable but only time will tell.

While browsing the names of people in the interview list, a few of them were familiar to me, including Chris Coyier, Robin Rendle, Cassidy Williams, through their writings and personal blog websites that I often visit.

Below is a summary of their interviews, generated with assistance from ChatGPT.

Chris Coyier

Chris Coyier, co-founder of CodePen and host of the ShopTalk Show podcast, has been deeply immersed in the web industry for over a decade. Based in Bend, Oregon, Chris’s professional journey includes founding and selling CSS-Tricks after 15 years of insightful blogging on web design and development. His personal website, ChrisCoyier.net, serves as a dynamic space where he explores WordPress and shares his thoughts on the evolving digital landscape.

Chris approaches blogging with a focus on immediacy and authenticity, often publishing same-day after refining his thoughts in tools like WordPress and iA Writer. He values simplicity in his creative process and enjoys the flexibility of working from various locations, from bustling cafes to serene environments across the globe.

Technologically, Chris utilizes WordPress hosted on Flywheel, appreciating its ease of use and robust community support. Reflecting on his experience, he advocates for blogging platforms that prioritize ease of writing and publishing, emphasizing the importance of content accessibility and syndication across different platforms.

Monetarily, Chris does not currently monetize his personal blog extensively beyond indirect promotions for CodePen, highlighting the challenges of generating significant revenue solely from personal blogging. However, he supports tasteful monetization strategies for blogs that align with their content and audience without compromising user experience.

Chris Coyier’s approach to blogging blends technical expertise with a genuine passion for sharing insights and fostering community within the web development sphere. His recommendations for notable blogs include Maggie Appleton, Jeremy Keith, and others, reflecting his commitment to staying engaged and informed within the industry.

Robin Rendle

Robin Rendle, a writer and designer based in San Francisco, has been curating robinrendle.com since 2014, focusing on typography, web design, and personal anecdotes. His blog serves as a creative outlet and a reflection of his journey into the world of web design, which began during his studies in English Literature at Plymouth University in the UK. This discovery led Robin to realize the liberating power of owning one’s digital space without needing approval from traditional publishers, fostering a punk rock ethos on the web.

Robin’s creative process involves jotting down numerous rough notes throughout the day, refining them into cohesive pieces in the early morning hours at bustling cafes. His technical setup revolves around using macOS shortcuts for efficient blogging, Eleventy for site generation, and Netlify for hosting, emphasizing simplicity and speed over complex tools that hinder writing.

Reflecting on his experience, Robin advocates for focused blogging topics to build audience identity, reminiscing on the early web’s pseudonymous charm. He encourages embracing email subscriptions for direct audience connection, believing in preserving blogging as a personal passion rather than solely a profit-driven endeavor. Despite minimal financial returns, Robin values the connections and opportunities his blog has provided, prioritizing creative freedom over commercial success.

In essence, Robin’s blog is not just a platform for technical insights but a testament to maintaining authenticity and creative freedom in digital expression.

Cassidy Williams

Cassidy Williams, based in Chicago, discovered her passion for coding in 8th grade, sparked by a neighbor’s mention of website creation. Her journey led her through computer science studies at Iowa State University and diverse roles in tech across cities like Spain, the Bay Area, NYC, and Seattle, predominantly within startups. She has maintained a blog for almost two decades, using it to share insights and troubleshoot coding challenges, complemented by a successful newsletter launched in 2017 that has become a cornerstone of her career.

Cassidy’s creative process is spontaneous, using Obsidian for notes and TinaCMS for publishing. She finds comfort and inspiration while writing under a blanket on her couch. Her preferred tools include VS Code for coding, Raindrop for bookmarks, and Sukha for maintaining focus. She values the control over her digital presence, hosting her blog on Netlify as an Astro website. Financially, her blog costs $180 annually, with additional expenses covered by newsletter sponsorships, reflecting her pragmatic approach to balancing content creation and costs.

Cassidy emphasizes the importance of diverse perspectives in tech and recommends Eleanor Konik’s blog for its insightful content. She suggests interviewing individuals who bring diverse viewpoints to future discussions, underscoring her commitment to inclusivity and varied experiences in the tech community.

Wrapping Up

These interviews offer a glimpse into the varied and rich experiences of bloggers like Chris Coyier, Robin Rendle, and Cassidy Williams. Their stories highlight the diverse approaches to blogging, from technical expertise and creative processes to the challenges and rewards of maintaining a personal digital space. Through their insights, we see a shared commitment to authenticity, community engagement, and the continual evolution of the blogging landscape.