secretGeek: Read It & Beat It

My cunning plan to dominate the software development blogosphere seems to be working. Authors of competing blogs are all lining up and begging to be interviewed. And the few who don't are now moving into new offices to improve their line of defense against this blog's rise to supremacy. I assume.

Like I said before, I've decided to ask blog authors to help me compete with them. They are much better qualified to do a SWOT-analysis of their blogs than I am. The third person to assist me in this is Leon Bambrick, author of secretGeek. On the latest Top 100 Blogs for Developers Leon' site is listed at #29. That's 8 places higher than my own blog, and I think that gap needs to be narrowed down somewhat. Leon's blog contains articles regarding DotNet, Visual Basic .Net, blogging, novel writing, ill-humour, and various other things.

These are the questions I asked Leon, and the answers he gave me:

Why did you start blogging, and what's your goal now?

I had things to say, and blogging was a fun new way to put my stuff out there. Joel Spolsky's blog was really the model I wanted to emulate at first — though I've never lived up to that idea.

What are the strengths of your blog?

I only put something out when I'm happy with it, and I respond to people's comments. Some people like my jokes.

And what are its weaknesses?

Spelling mistakes, use of outdated technology, infrequent updates, poor design, hand-rolled blogging software, various bugs in afore-mentioned software, some off topic rants.

  SecretGeek

What opportunities do you see for your blog?

By putting ideas out there, I get really useful feedback on them that lets me work out whether I'm completely off-track.

And what about its threats?

Russians mostly, and Java programmers. No, I don't think it's really under threat from anywhere.

Which of your posts are you most proud of?

I wrote a very upbeat post about depression once, and I get lots of regular comments and emails about it even 4 years later. I think it has genuinely helped some people (and of course it's upset some people too, but the good outweighs the bad on that one).

And which ones would you like to erase from history?

I once put out a joke post that made light of a tragedy. I regretted it immediately, so I pulled the post. Other than that, no regrets.

How can I make my blog more successful than yours?

I think the most successful blogs have a regular schedule that they stick to.

Responding to comments seems to be good.

Including images helps to break up long text and makes it easier on the eye.

The numeric lists that you do are a great trick. Perhaps instead of round numbers (top 100, top 5 etc.) you could try and use prime numbers. Many self-help books (and a lot of web 2.0 companies) rely on prime numbers in their titles — 7 habits of highly successful people, 43 Folders, 43 Things, 37 Signals.

And those were the answers given by Leon, author of secretGeek. If his answers have piqued your interest, please go and read his blog!

In the meantime, I will continue with my cunning plan, and ask some more blog authors to evaluate themselves…

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