Sunday, August 21, 2011

Is Blogging About Code Worthwhile?

When I made my last blog post over a year ago, I stopped because I'd grown disillusioned. What was I actually adding to the worldwide conversation? Given that anyone can set up a blog with relative ease and give their opinion on anything, was anything that I was saying valuable?

I'd started the blog under the belief that, well, if I can't find out how to easily do something online, then I'll make a post about it because someone is sure to stumble on to it eventually. Through Google Analytics though, this is clearly bollocks, because the post with the largest hits, Some SSIS pointers, did so not because of its content but because people were searching for pointers in SSIS, when I was referring to "hints" not the programming concept. It's difficult to get your blog indexed correctly it seems.

If you're one of the, and I use this term with disdain, "rockstar" developers - the Hanselmans, Atwoods and the like, where you have the the traffic, you pretty much get to say what you like, the lesser mortals follow, the higher mortals challenge and some interesting content is the result.

On a small blog like this, where the interaction is non-existent regardless of how useful the content is, I now believe you're better served as an author by spending your time starting a conversation on a site like StackOverflow or Programmers.StackExchange on the topic you're looking to cover. The result is the same if not better - a unique piece of content is created with a far greater chance of it being used by someone who needs it and probably with a better answer too given the community interaction.

So, while I think I'll up the blogging to a broader range of topics, I'm going to shift code related blogging, questions and discussions to a community site. Unless you're a "rockstar" I reckon this is worth considering for your blog too.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Rich,

    I believe that it's worthwhile. I've stumbled upon numerous small blogs with useful information that have helped me out in a fix. I've also come across a lot of irrelevant information due to the problems you outlined above, but on the whole I'd say my experiences have been positive.

    What can be disheartening is a lack of interaction with your readers, but that will come in time as your catalogue of content increases and as you spread the word about your writings through different mediums (my favourite being Twitter for discovering interesting blogs/articles and sharing my own thoughts).

    However, to me, the most useful aspect of maintaining a blog is the act of writing. It encourages a unique thought process that I seldom encounter in other aspects of life. It is also useful for clarifying your own thoughts by putting pen to paper (so to speak).

    I do agree that sites like StackOverflow are superior when searching for an answer to a specific question, but I think that blogs serve a different purpose in general. They help you discover things you didn't know you were looking for. Keep the good content coming and eventually people will find and appreciate it. I know I appreciated this post.

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