Post #0: Hello, World? (Probably Not, Here’s Why)

The first post on a blog is a bit of an anomaly.

(Yes, I’m about to get quite meta here)

I have a hypothesis for you: most blog posts are only ever discovered (let alone actually read) because they ranked highly on search engine results to a user query, or they were maybe linked via a social media platform.

This means the first entry on a blog- often serving as an introductory post to the website- typically does not contain anything ‘meaningful’ that is likely to rank highly by a search engine for a particular topic or subject.

Given even a ‘normal’ blog post will struggle to rank high up on search engine listings, and given how most inbound traffic occurs for blogs (i.e., via search engines) then the typical first blog post-which doesn’t often focus on a topic- I believe will almost never be read by anyone!

Let’s get back to backlinks

The whole point of writing a blog post is that we want it to be read and viewed by others.

However, for any given search term you’ll likely come across hundreds to millions of results. People typically stick to the first few links brought up by a search engine, let alone venturing beyond page one of the results.

The difficulty of getting your post up there high on the ranking can be so complex that entire companies exist and specialise in helping a web admin improve their page rankings. Numerous criteria and methods exist for pushing your content up the rankings in order to give your posts even a fighting chance of being seen.

Enter the backlink. This is one of the criteria used by search engines to determine the quality of a webpage.


A backlink for the purposes of this conversation is simply one when website (site A) links to another, external website on a different domain (site B).

Search engines like Google use this as a vote of confidence and authenticity for the site that has been linked to (site B).

Think of backlinks as being seen by search engines like a recommendation or positive feedback- the content on it is liked so much that the author of another website has gone to the trouble of linking to their page and content, effectively vouching for them! They didn’t need to link to the external page, but they did, so this is a really positive sign for that website!

This measuring of backlinks feeds through into a website’s search engine ranking- the more backlinks a website (or particular page on that site) receives, the higher it will rank for a given search term, all else being equal.

There are more sub-criteria related to backlinks these days, but using them as a gauge of a page’s quality is one of the oldest measures Google has consistently used to rank search results since the 1990s.

As an example of backlinks, the links above to Backlinko and BuzzSumo are just that, as they are not the same domain as this website.

A quick look on Google led me to a study on content marketing by search engine optimisation (SEO) guru Brian Dean of Backlinko, using data from marketing software company BuzzSumo.

It’s from 2019, but point number three is an interesting one:

“The vast majority of online content gets few social shares and backlinks. In fact, 94% of all blog posts have zero external links.”

Brian Dean, We analyzed 912 million blog posts. Here’s what we learned about content marketing.
Infographic showing that 94% of content published gets zero external links.
Image created and owned by Brian Dean via We analyzed 912 million blog posts. Here’s what we learned about content marketing.
Chances are if you come across a blog post it has zero external links leading to it elsewhere on the internet.

Looking for your pages to receive multiple external links from other websites? Bad news for the hobbyist blogger trying to be heard, as only a fraction of those who get ANY external links will receive MORE than one:

Infographic showing that only 2.2% of content generates links from multiple websites.
Image created and owned by Brian Dean via We analyzed 912 million blog posts. Here’s what we learned about content marketing.

Further Data analysis by Backlinko also suggests that a very small fraction of blog posts generate the overwhelming majority of social shares (i.e., that tiny subset of posts which go viral or are uploaded to websites which already have established audiences).

“Specifically, 1.3% of articles get 75% of the social shares.”

Brian Dean, We analyzed 912 million blog posts. Here’s what we learned about content marketing.
Infographic showing that 1.3% of blog articles account for 75% of social shares made.
Image created and owned by Brian Dean via We analyzed 912 million blog posts. Here’s what we learned about content marketing.

Even more surprising is how heavily weighted those social shares are within an even smaller subset of blog posts which account for the majority of social shares:

Infographic showing that 0.1% of articles generate 50% of all social shares
Image created and owned by Brian Dean via We analyzed 912 million blog posts. Here’s what we learned about content marketing.

For the amateur blogger up against the large websites, it’s like whispering for attention to an audience a mile away whilst the person next to you has a chain of nested microphones to tell others about their content. Good luck being heard.

How much noise the typical big blog or website can generate.

Even if your post goes viral, there’s poor odds on this leading to lots of external links to your content being generated: the correlation coefficient is very low between sharing on social media and backlinks beginning to form:

“We found virtually no correlation between backlinks and social shares. This suggests that there’s little crossover between highly-shareable content and content that people link to.”

Brian Dean, We analyzed 912 million blog posts. Here’s what we learned about content marketing.

Taking all these findings as the truth for a moment, let’s think about this.

There are an incredible number of blog posts being generated every single day across all manner of content management systems and blogging platforms. For example, just for (and NOT, nor Blogger, Medium, etc) they claim 70 million posts are created every month1.

Every post made is like a solitary distant star in the night sky of information, brimming to be noticed against innumerable thoughts and analysis desperate for reader attention.

In this poor analogy, all this assumes that you have a decent understanding of SEO and know the methods which you need to implement in order to improve page scores, just to get your posts on a topic anywhere near the first few pages on Google (which for a novice blogger is a big ask given how granular and complex this field is in of itself).

So, after providing some thoughts and data fit to crush all motivation for anyone to start a blog in 2022, how does this link back to my hypothesis on the typical first blog post?

Returning to my hypothesis

Let’s go back to the reader with a query- the statistics above argue that most likely a blog will be found via a search engine.

Perhaps the contents of the post are useful to the reader, perhaps not. Either way most blog entries are viewed in isolation, without the reader noticing nor interacting with other content on the site.

Skimming through each result given by the search term becomes a very binary approach for the reader: if the post holds useful information they will carry on reading, otherwise they will move on.

Even when a post is helpful, the user probably won’t read anything else on the website- happy with a resolution to their problem they will carry on with their day.

A typical blog entry serves a very functional and transactional purpose: if the answer needed is not there (or said information just isn’t very apparent) then with such vast tranches of information out there online, the user will probably head back to the search engine results page (SERPS) and carry on looking for an answer that way rather than attempting to find one within the site (possibly even if the particular website they’re already viewing appears to specialise in a given topic or niche).

Very few users will more widely poke around the other blog posts, let alone bookmark the website for future reading!

Which is why the first post on any blog has generally seemed like an oddity to me.

Unless the author already has an established following elsewhere (for example on various social media platforms) which can be cultivated to drive web traffic to their new blog, then surely post #1 (or in my case #0) will be largely undiscovered by future visitors to the website- be they ad-hoc guests or regular readers.

This is because it often serves as a digital greeting, rather than solving a problem, writing about an experience, or providing some interesting insight or analysis, etc.

The ‘typical’ first post

The first blog post often contains promises of things to come, the topics they will discuss, ideas they have for content, that there will be will be regular entries published, and generally lots of good intentions. More succinctly: the author will throw in reasons to subscribe and follow the blog.

Maybe the writer also introduces themselves with a little background to establish an air of authority, authenticity, or expertise on the main theme or topics for the blog (or alternatively the opposite: “I’m a novice looking to do X, come see what happens!” which is often very endearing to audiences who appreciate following a journey!`).

It’s essentially a hello and introduction spoken into the void that is the internet, because usually the blog has no active following when the post is published. Even if it one day explodes in popularity, I imagine only a curious few will look back to read the first entry.

Often, they are written with promises and intentions of what the blog will do and contain and focus on, even though there’s a big tendency by the way most of us use the internet to view most blog posts and seek the utility they provide in isolation.

Onto the actual introduction

So, unless this blog generates enough web traffic to bring in a decent number of those curious visitors then not many will ever read these words!

Yet despite my hypothesis that the first blog post (or at least what they typically contain) is a sort of exercise in futility, perhaps it’s human nature to feel almost unwelcoming or perhaps rude to not say hello, to not introduce myself in some manner, and to not state my intentions for this blog. It’s an impulse that I can’t overcome!

To those who have even read this far: hello!

I’m James, a UK-based aspiring web-developer, learning everything I can through self-directed learning and project creation. My ambition is to begin a new career in the tech-sector, specifically on the front-end!

What’s this blog about? For myself any media I consume or interact with has been worthwhile if it has (or brings) value. A succinct way to describe value in this context is not monetarily of course, but instead for me to lean heavily on the original stated goals for the BBC. That is to say that media for me has value when it provides a combination of the following:

  1. Educate
  2. Inform
  3. Entertain

The overall intention then for this blog is to be one contains posts that are in some way useful and valuable to you, the reader, by being meeting at least one of those criteria.

Topics-wise there are no prizes for concluding that here on Digesting Code, coding or topics pertaining to it will be the main focus.

Within this ginormous area, it will be centred initially around web development in the form of front-end technologies, occasionally on programming & computer science more generally, and perhaps in the future bringing in some discussion on the back-end of web development.

However, I am also eager to cover other topics (that whilst are very tangentially connected) I feel you will often find valuable in some way.

As someone trying to learn web-development outside of a formal educational setting, expect to find posts on learning strategies, sources for learning materials, concepts on productivity and efficiency, systems I use to determine personal goals and implement strategies to achieve them and posts on a given tech topic I’m passionate about or that I have recently discovered (right now I’m trying to make more of an effort to create and utilise iOS Shortcuts for example).

When it comes to posts on web development, I’ll be writing about projects I’ve worked on, how I made them, and why I took a specific approach, what could have gone better, and what did go well!

I’ll also offer my thoughts on different learning and educational resources I’ve used when studying various aspects of web development and programming. Expect to even see the occasional how-to or tutorial.

I anticipate this blog will also change and evolve over time as my personal knowledge, experience and employment progress. As someone writing prior to my first role in the industry, posts like this might be an interesting time capsule for the future me to look back on!

In that way you should (assuming you’re the curious type who scan through old blog entries) see from this post onwards an unfolding line of progression over time, weaved in amongst more practical informational posts (that I hope if nothing else are valuable and useful to you!).

So however you come across this post if all has gone well there will be plenty of interesting content here on Digesting Code, giving you reasons to stick around, and hopefully persuade you to come back occasionally!


(P.S if you have found this blog post by chance, leave a comment below to let me know you made it here!)


1 Statistics for taken from here