Why every blogger should learn to code

March 11, 2017

Tina May

Co Founder of Institute of Code

It takes a lot of guts to become a blogger. You start with nothing and day by day, story by story, you begin to build your own following and create your own opportunities. 

But first things first. You need a website to get your message out there.

A ready-made Wordpress theme is pretty tempting when you’re keen to get started. It’s fast, it’s cheap and it’s visually-pleasing. So why would you bother learning to code to build your own website? Ain’t nobody got time for that. 

Yeah… about that. Although Wordpress themes and drag and drop editors are pretty tempting out of the box - you’re likely to experience more pain than gain down the line.

Here’s why a one-size-fits-all website solution may not be the solution for you.

1. Your unique brand

There are already a lot of bloggers out there in internet land but, luckily, none of them are exactly like you. So make sure your website reflects who you are and what makes you unique.

At a glance, plenty of off-the-shelf website themes have the same high quality design as the big-time bloggers out there - and it’s easy to be tempted to pick one, plug it in and get going.

BUT…

The way your website looks and feels is a huge part of your brand. It’s your point of difference, it’s what appeals to your audience. And it’s unlikely that you are going to find a ready-made theme that fits your business just right.

Even if you are lucky enough to find a theme that you love, there’s nothing to stop every other up-and-coming travel blogger from using the same theme. With tools like WordPress Theme Search someone can discover and install your theme in less than an hour. 

When you know how to code, you can easily customise your website to perfectly fit your brand. You can play with colours and fonts, play with the style of your buttons, add plug-ins or any of those little touches that will reflect you. 

2. Making changes down the line

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 down the line.

This is where even the simplicity of drag-and-drop website builders and editors, such as Squarespace or Wix, can fail you. 

Because you’re severely limited in the changes you can make to these sites, when you go to grow your website, you’ll probably be looking at a complete re-build and thousands of dollars.

It feels like hell when you just can’t get your site to look and function the way you want. Coding gives you the flexibility to go beyond the theme and create something unique that goes like a dream. 

3. Saving time, money and your sanity

How much does it hurt every time you call your developer and spend even more money on a site that 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 colours), trying to fix the latest crash (and, trust us, they will happen) or wrestling with another confusing plugin, those development dollars can start to add up (which is nice if you’re a web developer). 

If they’re any good, your developer will probably have multiple clients. So you won’t always be their priority when things go wrong. On the other hand, cheaper developers often struggle to meet deadlines, might write buggy code or cut corners to get the job done, all of which can hurt you in the long run.

Imagine the sweet freedom of being able to make all these changes yourself! No desperate emails at 3am when you accidentally crash your site or throwing away hundreds of dollars for a quick tweak your contact form.

Ahhh freedom tastes so sweet.

4. Upselling clients with ‘micro-sites’

As we’ve already mentioned, 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 out there offering the standard ‘blog post + daily instagram’ to prospective clients, wouldn’t it be nice to offer something just a little bit extra?

With coding as your secret weapon, you can create custom ‘micro-websites’ for your clients. Perfect for campaigns, these mini websites can be build from scratch and hosted on sub domains (like patagonia.myblog.com). Micro-sites can add hundreds or even thousands of dollars of revenue to a single campaign and, with a bit of practice, you can build them in just a few days.

Your audience will love the unique design and engaging content, your client gets way more value than the standard blog post, and you, dear blogger, get paid. Well.

5. Coding makes a great side hustle

As we mentioned already, outsourcing coding is expensive.

But the good news is - outsourcing coding is expensive!

If you can code, you can make a steady income to support you while your blog grows. And, best of all, coding skills are in high demand. You can find freelance work from other bloggers, from local businesses (which is how we travel the world for free) or from clients back home.

The best skills are the ones that are in high demand and low supply - and, luckily for you, coding ticks both of these boxes.

Here are a few bloggers who decided to learn to code…

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 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."

 

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
 

Want to learn to Code?

Join us at one of our upcoming 10 day all-inclusive coding bootcamps. Hosted in a luxury villa in Bali, our experienced developers will teach you everything you need to know 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.

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

When you’re taking a well deserved break from learning, you’ll can experience the best that Canggu has to offer - think daily yoga, gourmet meals, cocktails by the pool and daily excursions.

If you want to become a blogger, a digital nomad, a web developer, entrepreneur or graphic designer, then our Web Development Bootcamp is for you.

You don’t need previous tech knowledge. Our course is what we’d like to call zero-to-hero, meaning you don’t need any previous coding experience. At all. We also provide lifetime access to our course materials and technical support long after your course ends.

Apply Now


Written by: Tina May

Co Founder of Institute of Code