256 Bloghacks and how to get them for free

Most people who start a blog face the questions that are common for newcomers: How to make it popular? What blogging platform to choose? And, in some cases, how make money from it? However, these questions have no exact answers, just as there are no magic bullets for blogging. The moment you realize that, you change your strategy and start looking for successful bloggers and try to learn from their experience. One of such bloggers is Yegor Bugayenko the author of the “256 Bloghacks”.

256 Bloghacks - cover of the book
"256 Bloghacks" © Yegor Bugayenko

The book presents itself as a set of DO and DONTs. Most of them and quiet short and span for less than a page. This format has been proven (at least for me) to be effective as it allows the author to keep the reader’s attention and makes the “hacks” memorable.

The introductory chapter of the book is committed to the attitude to blogging and the direct monetary expectations of it. Overall, I have found the content of the first chapter to be plain and obvious, for the most part. As a reader of the book of a successful blogger I expect to see something more than a recommendation not to put any pop-ups or banners on the blog. That is something that I would expect from a “blog tips free” Google search, but not from a $40 book. On a positive side, Yegor also discusses the importance of the reasons that have led you to the decision that you need to have your own blog. In essence, he explains how and why your motivations will affect the performance and success of your blog.

The most important and the main part of the book is dedicated to the various kinds of tips regarding the content of a blog. Yegor presents in detail how the posts should be formatted, what style to follow, what kinds of posts should be avoided and which ones should be posted more frequently that the others. What made me believe that the “hacks” are actually effective is that the author relates them back to his own blog. He shows that what he first thought to be effective, turned out to be a terrible mistake and vice versa. This kind of argumentation is the driver of the book and something that makes the “hacks” credible.

In the “Social” chapter, Yegor reveals which social networks have resulted in more traffic to his blog compared with the others. In addition, he presents strategies for effective content sharing for each of the social network separately. The book also has a number of “hacks” regarding SEO, such as the discussion about Google Search Console, sitemap and other.

The last set of “bloghacks” are related to the technical details of a blog implementation. Yegor strongly encourages using a static-site generator such as jekyll. He also insists on using Continuous Integration and Github for blog maintenance. Personally, I find Yegor’s suggestion to learn the basics of Git, Ruby and other technicalities unnecessary. Nowadays, there are countless ways to set up a blog. Sure, if you are a developer, then this might be worth it and will bring you additional advantages, which are described in the book. However, if are not a programmer and want to have a unique personal blog, then it’s better to invest money rather that personal time and order it somewhere.

So, how can can get all of the “256 Bloghacks” for free? It’s pretty simple. All of them can be found on the Yegor’s blog. If study it carefully you will be able to deduce most of the hacks from it. In addition, Yegor’s blog is open-source, meaning that you can adopt the technical “hacks” too. He even has a special demo version of his blog, which can be used as a base for your own blog. Unfortunately, this demo version is outdated and does not work out of the box (notice the “build failing” badge). If you ever need this kind of base for your blog, feel free to use mine. It is as a fork of the Yegor’s demo blog with bug fixes, updates and improvements integrated.

Will I recommend this book? The answer is yes. Although it does not have any super-secrets, it is succinct, tries to be honest with the reader and, overall, is a solid foundation for a new blogger.