I was asked by our marketing group to talk about why we have the
blog site here, and how we got into it. I sent the response by
email - here's what I wrote:
We got into blogging mostly by accident. In 2002, I had started
to read a fair number of blogs, and thought: "How hard could it
So I created a blog server from scratch, using Cincom Smalltalk. At first, I had no idea how the thing was going to work - in fact, if you go back to June of 2002, you'll see that I set it up as a group blog. By later that month I was the only one posting, and I made it my own.
I started out doing Smalltalk advocacy, but expanded the topics
I wrote about as time went by. I also added in other bloggers to
the server, and steadily added features to my software to support
that. It took awhile, but I ended up building a decent sized
audience (10,000 - 20,000 pageviews daily, 4500+ subscribers to the
One of the most important things to be as a blogger is
persistent and regular: you need to post on a regular basis, and
you have to hit within the zone of your chosen topic(s). I avoid
partisan politics, because I'm posting on a corporate server. On
the other hand, I do swing at IT industry politics and analysts,
since I'm working in the field they cover. It took me awhile to
figure out the appropriate tone to use - I probably still use more
sarcasm than is wise, but that's part of my personality - always
has been, always will be.
Persistence is important because it can take a long time to reach an audience: I had something like 12 pageviews a day for months in 2002, and it took me over a year to break into the 100s. Many bloggers give up at that point (and some complain that it's "impossible" to overcome the hold of the "A-Listers"). If you keep at it, use an honest voice, and - most importantly - have something interesting to say - you'll get noticed. My blog gets picked up by Techmeme, which helps a lot - but I had to post for a long time before that happened.
Regular posting is important as well. I regularly purge feeds
from my aggregator if there hasn't been a post in a few weeks. You
don't have to post as often as I do (I've averaged nearly 6 posts a
day, including weekends, since 2002) - but you have to do it.
Having a brilliant essay once a month isn't as valuable as having
something decent every day - if you prefer essays, then you are
probably looking at the wrong forum.
I like to think that this has helped gain visibility for
Smalltalk in general, and Cincom Smalltalk in particular. I get
links from non-Smalltalkers regularly - which is good, as it means
that they are at least aware that Smalltalk is still here. If you
Google search for "Cincom" , you'll see that 4 of the top 10
results are for Cincom Smalltalk, and that Cincom Smalltalk is the
first Cincom product that hits the list. If you
Google "Smalltalk Blog" , you'll see that I hit the top spot. I don't use any SEO techniques, mostly because I think they are a waste of time. What I do is post early and often, and talk about Smalltalk regularly.
I've also learned to use my aggregator to search for references to Smalltalk, Cincom, VisualWorks, ObjectStudio, competing products, and my name - which picks up commentary about things I would otherwise miss (and which I often link to). In this fashion, I maintain my position as an engaged member of the part of the technical blogosphere in which I live. I also spot inaccuracies that should be addressed, and praiseworthy mentions that should be linked to. It's all become a major part of my job as Cincom Smalltalk Product Manager.