How Blogging Made Me A Better Programmer And Helped Me Get An IBM Certificate

I recently got an IBM certificate for completing a project and the reason to feel proud about it is it’s actually going to be used by IBM managers inside their own server. The project was based on PHP and MySQL. This is my story on how blogging for 2 years helped to develop the skills that I needed to successfully complete the project.

I first started blogging back in November, 2011. The main reason that I started blogging is same as with most bloggers – to earn money online. Back then, I didn’t have any knowledge of affiliate marketing, social media marketing, SEO, freelance content writing or web development – which are now my primary sources of income online.

The problem that I faced with the launch of my first blog was the niche. I had never blogged before , so I didn’t have any idea about blogging. The only thing I knew about blogging was you need to have Google Adsense and traffic and you will be making money in no time.

The Beginning

Since I was in my 3rd semester back then, what I did have was a bunch of programs written in C. The programs were for the Data Structure & Algorithms paper I had that semester. I made individual blog posts of each program and published them. My main concentration was to get traffic and have my Google Adsense account approved.

After two months of continuing like this, I applied for Adsense. And to my surprise, I got approved. The first 3-4 months, I went on to publish lots of programs on different languages like C, C++ and Java. For the first two months I used the default blogspot domain.

blogtipscodes.com

In March, 2012. I bought my first custom domain – a .co.in domain which was a mistake on my part (should have gone with .com ).

However, tragedy struck in April , 2012 when someone click bombed my site. Within days, my adsense account was disapproved and the hard earned $45 that I had in my account were lost as well (most bloggers are familiar with this). I reported the incident to Google and also provided the IP addresses of the individual who was responsible, but Google didn’t want to do anything about it. I tried two more times to get my Google Adsense account reinstated but failed and soon I gave up.

Mid 2012

In mid 2012, I shifted my attention to the technical sides of blogging. My blog was on the Blogger platform and soon I learned how to edit templates , learned a bit of HTML, CSS and Javascript as well. I also started to learn about SEO, Google’s search engine algorithms , keyword research , page rank , author rank , dofollow and nofollow links etc.

After a few weeks of practice, I could write hundreds of lines of HTML and CSS codes. I was able to edit Blogger templates and also create my own XML templates. In the mean time, I also became very good at SEO – most of my posts were ranking in the 1st page of Google – for long tail keywords.

Around this time I also started to experiment with PHP and MySQL. The main reason was to attract more traffic from search engines by publishing variety of posts on different programming languages. I did practice PHP for the next few weeks after that.

Late 2012

In August 2012, I decided to buy a new domain because my previous domain was a .co.in domain. I had actually read somewhere that .com domains perform better in the search rankings. What I didn’t know at that time was how complicated it was to set up 301 redirect from one domain to another when you have more than 200 published posts on your blog and your search engine rankings were surely going to take a hit.

In September, 2012 , tragedy struck again. My blog was hit by Google Panda. All of my high ranking posts vanished overnight. Anyway, I continued blogging. This time I started to develop my writing skills. Article writing and social media marketing became my main concentration this time. In December, I wrote lots of guest posts on some of my friend’s blogs and got some traffic. In all this time, I never thought about starting a WordPress blog, because it would cost money.

That month, I made up my mind to buy a hosting package and start my first WordPress blog. Luckily, I saw a hosting contest on my friend Garen Arnold’s blog and participated in it. Eventually I won the contest and got a free hosting and a domain for a year.

January 2013 – Lion Blogger Founded

On 4th January, 2013, I launched Lion Blogger. This time I wanted to do everything right. The good thing was I learned a lot from all the mistakes I made in the past year. After a month of launching Lion Blogger , I saw a contest being hosted by Brian Belfitt of Blog Engage – Affiliate Lights Contest. After a month of heavy social media marketing, I eventually won the contest and made a few hundred dollars that month – that was my first ever major earning.

lionblogger.com

In the next few months, I participated in few more contests – won some of them and made a great amount of money because of my marketing skills. In the last 6 months of blogging , I have made over $1000 USD ( I could have much more if I wasn’t a full time engineering student ).

April 2013 – IBM Project and more blogging contests

In April, me and my two friends ( Rahul Kar and Jishnu Mukherjee ) got the project. It was the middle of semester then and there wasn’t a lot of time to write codes back then. Once the semester exams got over in June, I started writing codes for the project.

Because I was familiar with HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, MySQL and some jQuery, we managed to finish most of the project within the month long semester break.

The team also had two great Project Mentors ( Joydeep Banerjee and Manas Ghosh ). Their guidance and recommendations on technical aspects also helped me to learn some new programming techniques.

ibm certificate

So, if you’re thinking about quitting blogging or you’re frustrated because you couldn’t earn money online , you still should continue because it develops skills which you wouldn’t develop easily or any other way.

Author: Lahaul Seth

A programmer and a web developer, he is the founder of Lion Blogger. His main hobbies are web design & development and providing writing services to clients.

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19 Comments

  1. I’m glad to know your achievement which is what I’m trying for.and I just started into programming.

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  2. Hello,

    It’s really great to know about your achievement. I also love programming and thinking to jump into programming and other stuff related to it.

    Thanks

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  3. Hi Lahaul,
    Just want to congrats you for this achievement. Its another prove that blog is something powerful if we use it the right way.

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  4. Hi Lahual,
    This is simply to say….. Congratulations man :). Its never easy at all but, this comes to prove that, blogging can really open many doors for you with lots of great opportunities.

    I’m very happy to hear that you’re an Engineering student which means we’re on the same boat here. I’m studying Telecommunication/Electronics Engineering full time too which made it so tedious to be running my blogs too but, we just have to continue pushing forward.

    How did you learn the codes? You went for a class or you learnt them online? Is there any good site one can follow to master coding as I’m also interested to learn it once i have some time.

    Thanks for sharing my man and, kudos once again :).

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    • I learnt most of the codes while editing templates. XML, HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery from editing Blogger templates. Also learnt some PHP techniques from editing WordPress themes.

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  5. Your story about adsense is too sad. But then, congratulations as a programmer! \m/

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  6. Lahaul, Congratulations! I am so happy for you. Success comes from determination and the willingness to learn new skills. You have proven that it is possible to start from nowhere and work your way to success. You started without knowing anything about blogging and you went ahead to learn the rudiments.

    Besides, the obstacles you came across along the way were not enough to deter you because you made up your mind on moving forward in spite of their presence. Today all your efforts have been rewarded with success. At least you can make some difference with your custom templates and other knowledge of PHP, MYSQL, etc.

    Once again, I say a big Congratulations to you! I am proud of you. Well done! The sky is your beginning.

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  7. Congrats brother !
    Getting a certification from IBM would surely give a boost to your career as when approaching for IT interviews, your certificate can be considered a factor to chose you .Was this project a part of the Industrial Training?

    -Pramod

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    • No, it wasn’t part of the industrial training. It was a completely separate project under an IBM mentor and a college faculty. Thanks for the comment.

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  8. Thanks for sharing your experience in detailed. It’s much easier for you since you’ve programming background – learning other languages won’t be that hard.

    As a Chem Eng student. I learned C# in my first year and then never had any programming courses on my upper years. However, blogging made me wanted to learn programming. When I used Blogger about 5 years ago, I learned a lil’ bit of HTML and CSS. Later on, when I moved to WordPress, I slowly learned (and still learning) PHP, and a bit of jquery.

    Yes, it’s true. Blogging isn’t just about writing a blogpost. You’ll learn how to write a good article, how to do SEO, using social media and everything in between.

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    • Agreed. Blogging helps in developing many skills. Thanks for stopping by, Rudd.

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  9. Congrats sethlahaul, I know this is a real big deal for you! You have a lot of dedication to accomplish this, go to school and get certified. Not to mention all the posts you write here on our blog! Congrats and nice work!

    Post a Reply

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