A couple of weeks ago I met a young ebook developer. After I introduced myself, I heard him whisper, “Is she the one with the blog?”
Way back in 2009, my company Threepress blogged once per day for the month of November. The original goal was simple and self-serving: we were in the run-up to a new product launch and wanted to generate more traffic and (barf) “buzz”. We couldn’t write about our new product for 30 days straight, so we filled up the remaining days with topics about ebook development, XML, and general programming advice.
We expected to see an increase in traffic during November, and weren’t surprised to see it sustained into December. What did surprise us was how long that uplift continued: weeks and months and even years later, as the posts in it were referenced in other places like forum discussions, tweets, and StackOverflow answers.
We added more posts after that November, of course, but it was that bootstrapping effort that set up and sustained traffic. That blog still gets hundreds of visitors per day despite not having been updated in almost two years.
As a promotional tool for our ereader, writing thirty blog posts had negligible long-term value. But as a permanent resource for people looking to become more awesome at their job, it was a success. It’s also meant that people still to this day come up to me and ask if I’m the “lady with the blog,” which, while not an ideal epitaph, always makes me happy.
Providing genuinely useful information to help people “level-up” their careers is a mission of Safari Books Online, and we largely do that by building products like Safari Flow. But a company is made up of individual people, and while I hope that my colleagues get a sense of satisfaction from contributing to our corporate objectives, I also want them to be thanked by a stranger for something they personally wrote. By jamming a lot of posts into a sometimes-hectic single month, we get the feeling that we’re all doing some good — as a team.
Thus, for the month of November, my colleagues are coming together to teach you about:
- Building an awesome home firewall
- Searching large XML repositories with free software
- Getting started with log analysis
- Learning Backbone.js
- Robot-driven development
- Writing a book in a week
and other topics from our experts in QA, publishing, product development, and software engineering.
Please also check out last year’s November blog-a-thon posts.