Why Every Blogger Should Learn To Code

March 11, 2017

Tina May

Co Founder of Institute of Code

When you can set up a basic wordpress theme so cheaply, why should a blogger bother learning to code? We lay out the top 5 reasons, and ask the experts why they think it’s important.

1. Your blog is your brand

Sure, you could just pick an off-the-shelf theme and install it as is but the way your blog looks and feels is a huge part of your brand – and it’s unlikely that you are going to find a ready-made theme that fits you just right. Even if you are lucky enough to find a theme that you love, there is nothing to stop every other up-and-coming travel blogger from using the same theme… with tools like www.whatwpthemeisthat.com someone can discover and install your theme in less than an hour.

"Learning to code was an essential step for me as a blogger" - The Blonde Abroad, in Uluwatu

When you can set up a basic wordpress theme so cheaply, why should a blogger bother learning to code? We lay out the top 5 reasons, and ask the experts why they think it’s important.

1. Your blog is your brand

Sure, you could just pick an off-the-shelf theme and install it as is but the way your blog looks and feels is a huge part of your brand – and it’s unlikely that you are going to find a ready-made theme that fits you just right. Even if you are lucky enough to find a theme that you love, there is nothing to stop every other up-and-coming travel blogger from using the same theme… with tools like www.whatwpthemeisthat.com someone can discover and install your theme in less than an hour.

When you know how to code you can easily customize your style to perfectly suit your brand. Change colors and fonts, play with the style of your buttons, or add those little unique touches that scream you.

2. With coding you will never feel restricted by a theme

A theme for your blog can be a great starting point, but what seems easy at the beginning can quickly get frustrating when you try to make even the simplest changes.

Drag-and-Drop website builders and editors, such as Squarespace or Wix, can look incredible out-of-the-box. However, their simplicity is also their greatest downfall. It’s hard to predict what you need from your website until you start building, so you often don’t realise how limited you are. The simplicity and supposed ‘freedom’ can start to severely limit you in what you can do, especially when you want to grow your website.

This can feel like hell when you just can’t get your site to look and function how you want.

Coding gives you the flexibilty to go beyond the theme and create something totally custom and unique. 

3. Save time and money (and frustration) on hiring developers

How much does it hurt when you realise that you have to call your developer again and spend even more money on a site that just isn’t coming together the way you want?

Coding skills are in high demand and come with a price-tag to match, so whether you are struggling with basic customisations (like changing the colour of a button), trying to fix the latest crash (and they will happen), or wrestling with another confusing plugin, those development dollars can start to add up.

High-demand also means your developer will often have multiple clients. That means you won’t always be their priority, even if something goes wrong. On the other hand, cheaper developers often struggle to meet deadlines, and will write buggy code, or find shortcuts of doing things, all of which will hurt you in the long run.

Imagine the sweet freedom of being able to make all these changes yourself! No more desperate emails at 3am on a Saturday night when you accidentally crashed your site, or dreading that $100 invoice to tweak your contact form. Ahhh freedom tastes so sweet.

4. Upsell clients with ‘Micro-sites’

Blogging can be a competitive landscape - it’s hard to stand out from the crowd and it’s even harder to find gigs that pay. With every other blogger offering the standard ‘blog post + daily instagram’ wouldn’t it be nice to stand out from the crowd?

Upsell your clients with custom ‘micro-websites’ about specific campaigns – these are mini websites you build from scratch and host on sub domains (like patagonia.myblog.com). Your audience loves the unique design and engaging content, your client gets way more value than the standard blog post, and you, dear blogger, get paid.

Micro-sites can add hundreds or even thousands of dollars of revenue to a single campaign, and with a bit of practice, you can be building them in just a few days.

5. Coding makes a great side hustle

Remember when we said outsourcing coding was expensive? The flip side to this is that coding is high in demand and can make a great source of passive income to support you while your blog grows. You can find freelance work for other bloggers, for local businesses while you travel or for clients back home. The best skill sets to find freelance work are the ones that are in high demand and low supply, and luckily for you coding ticks both of those boxes.

Not convinced? Hear from these talented bloggers why they decided to learn to code…

We’ve had a number of bloggers join us over the past 12 months, all with a different goal in mind. Here are their thoughts…

Kiersten Rich, The Blonde Abroad

"Learning to code is something that I had always wanted to do, but it felt like too daunting a task. After teaching myself the basics of WordPress, SEO, photography, video editing, and all of the other things involved in running a blog, I knew the one thing missing was coding.

I was honestly surprised that I could have learned as much as I did in just 10-days. I know that it sounds too good to be true, but I experienced it first hand and know how it has impacted me, my blog and my business."

Read more on her blog

Irene Khan

"Thank you @instituteofcode for an incredible 2 weeks! I wholeheartedly believe that we should be in love with the lives that we live while always striving to be MORE & to never.stop.learning. Not only did I learn to code, I got to know 11 of the most inspirational and free-spirited souls I've ever met (not even including IOC's amazing mentors!) - all from completely different backgrounds and career paths but sharing the thirst to up-skill. It's incredible the things you can accomplish when you stop putting caps on things. You will never be too educated, traveled, or cultured. Ever."

See more on her Youtube Channel

Nastasia, Dame Traveller

"Learning how to code with IOC does not just stop at simply acquiring a technical skill. It goes beyond that. We live in a digital age where we are more connected than ever before. If you’d like to someday live freely like the digital nomads or travel bloggers you follow on social media, coding is the perfect place to start. As a travel blogger, I am able to work remotely from anywhere in the world and learning how to code will help me even more during my ventures because I’ll be in complete control over my online business. Whether you’re interested in travel blogging, web development, entrepreneurship, etc., coding can open up so many new doors to the life that you’ve always dreamed of living."

Read more on her blog

Michael Turtle, Time Travel Turtle

"I’m proud of the little website I’ve built during my time at the Institute of Code and can already see how these skills will take me further in the coming years. Ten days doesn’t seem like very long but I’m so impressed with how much I have learned. Of course, there’s still a lot I don’t know – but the classes have taught me the logic to solve any problems and the mentors have taught me the specifics to apply those solutions."

Read more on his blog

Michelle Halpern, Live Like It's The Weekend

"Investing in my career development and enrolling in Institute of Code is definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made so far in my travels ... The best part of it all, of course, was the opportunity to not only learn the ins and outs of the web development world, but to actually put my knowledge to use and leave the course with a fresh website that I actually love. I have the knowledge to now make changes to my website on my own, build a new one from scratch if I choose or talk more intellectually with a developer in the future."

Read more on her blog

Ready to learn to Code?

Come join us at one of our upcoming 10 day all-inclusive coding bootcamps. In this course, experienced developers will teach you how to create a totally custom website, blog, or e-commerce store using HTML, CSS and jQuery. We’ll show you how to make it lightning fast, integrate with the latest content management systems, and style it exactly how you want.

Whether you want to become a digital nomad freelancing in web development, are a graphic designer wanting to code your own designs or an entrepreneur or blogger who wants to never rely on a developer again this course is perfect for you. It’s zero-to-hero, which means you don’t need any previous tech experience. We also provide lifetime access to our course materials and technical support.

In the evenings we run mastermind topics on things like building a personal brand, growing a community and working with clients.

Apply Now


Written by: Tina May

Co Founder of Institute of Code