This is 2019. ‘Women in tech‘ is trending on every social website. More and more women are now becoming an integral part of tech. We have come a long way but still, the number of women actually succeeding in tech is still less. But this movement started earlier in this decade.
One of the gems of this movement, Anke Horstman, started a tech blog back in 2012. Now, the blog, techgirl.nl, is the number one tech blog in the Netherlands for women [for women, by women]. This is not a one-night success. It’s never easy to start anything. And for women, it’s still a little bit difficult.
So, how did Anke Horstman started this blog and made it a huge hit, and what can you learn from this? Read it in Anke’s own words.
Women in Tech: Past, Present, and Future
1. How did it come to your mind to start this specific website?
After finishing my Bachelor’s degree (Journalism), I worked at a HiFi news site for two years. Hifi stands for high-end audio, most of it is about very expensive speakers. I learned so much about the technology world, but unfortunately, my employer couldn’t keep his head above water during the recession.
The company stopped so I had to find a new job. I couldn’t find one, so I built my own WordPress blog, just to keep up my writing skills. That blog was TechGirl.nl because I liked the technology world so much and during my two years as a HiFi journalist, I noticed as a woman I was an exception at all the press events.
People assumed I was one of the PR agents, which made me laugh but also gave me a mission. I wanted to show the world that girls like gadgets too. Why else do ‘we’ all carry our phone with us, like it’s our little precious? Women don’t like specs, but they like to use technology. It’s about the storytelling around it.
2. What were the challenges you faced in the early stages? Or even facing now?
Image: Anke Horstman, Founder of Techgirl.nl
To build my first WordPress website was difficult because nobody taught me, but when I achieved it, I was really proud of myself. The more challenging aspects were psychological. In the early stage of TechGirl.nl, I was really afraid what other people would think about it.
Being one of the first technology blogs for women: what if they think it’s weird, what if they don’t understand why I write for women, what if they laugh about my WordPress design, will there be any visitors, what if I’m a failure, what if there will be someone who’s better than me, etc? And you know what: I still have those feelings about it. Can handle it better, though.
3. Do you think you have achieved your goal? If yes, how?
Unconsciously, I think more women like tech than they did seven years ago. For example, the Women In Tech movement is bigger than ever. And more and more women are posting tech-related stories on Instagram.
TechGirl.nl is still growing, so there’s a market for this kind of blogs. I can’t quantify how many girls like tech because they know about us. But I hope we make a difference in their subconsciousness.
4. Was there a moment in your journey when you thought you should just give up? If yes, how did you manage it?
Several times, but I’m too stubborn to do it. Worked too hard to throw everything away. Somebody should buy me out, haha! No, but as you’re looking for the juicy details: I would’ve liked to give up when I organized my first TechGirl Event. Picked the wrong Event Planner and she screwed it up. Real bad: just five weeks before the event started, I had to fix everything.
It was an event for 250 people, with breakout sessions, food, a play area, TechGirl of the Year competition, everything… Worked 80 hours a week till the event started. Got a lot of help of the TechGirl volunteers during the event day itself. Almost everybody was happy with the event, but I felt like I’ve died inside and felt depressed. For approximately four months I was absolutely done with being a TechGirl.
5. When did people start to recognize your efforts and realized what women can bring to the tech industry?
I think that was two years after I started TechGirl.nl. Since then the blog statistics grew immensely. The TechGirl team grew during that year and we got more and more invites for attending press events. I think that was the beginning of our success.
“Women In Tech movement is bigger than ever”Anke Horstman
6. We see you are focused on the Netherlands, is there any plan to expand to the other countries?
TechGirl.nl is focused on the Netherlands. But what you probably don’t know, is that I bought TechGirl.com in 2017. It’s our international platform.
But I’ve to admit: it is a hell of a job to invest in two content platforms. To let them grow and to make them both to success. I see a lot of potential in our international platform, and I have so many plans for it. But yeah… time is the issue.
7. What would you do to improve the current content?
There are a few things we do: we work with a keyword-based content calendar and with strict deadlines. There are two editors checking every article: if it’s written correctly and if it’s legally okay. We use the Yoast plugin to make sure most of our articles are SEO proof.
I would love to upgrade the templates for TechGirl.nl and TechGirl.com to better technical versions. I call myself a ‘code purist’ because I think it’s really important to have as little code as possible in a template. The best websites should be quickly loaded, but also have a high score on accessibility and have a great appearance. I’m not okay with a B+.
8. What would you say that is the greatest satisfaction of being a tech blogger?
To experience things in life, that you never thought they would be possible. I feel so lucky every time I see innovations that make our life better, happier, easier.
That are moments that I cheer for others. I’m genuinely happy for the creators at the moment and I can’t wait to see what kind of impact it will have on the world. You should see me then!
9. What advise would you give to all the women who are pursuing their career in tech?
Keep your head up and don’t listen to others or your inner voice if they intend to stop you. I always say: people without digital skills are the illiterates of the future. Make sure you know your way in technology. Then everything will be all right.
You see we have made some sentences bold. Why? comment below and tell us!
So, now you have a strong example of woman achiever. Don’t just keep dreaming, create a mission, make it successful. Start now!
About Techgirl.nl: since 2012 – 40K (UVM) – 7 volunteers – 3 freelancers – 1 fulltime job
About Techgirl.com: since 2017 – 2K (UVM) – 5 volunteers
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Images: Featured Image: Snapshot of Techgirl.nl Founder's Image: Instagram/techgirlnl