Ten years ago, I started this website as a simple experiment with very straightforward goals:
- To see if I could write my own blogging engine (which I did, it was very simple…the earliest capture of my site is available here from April of '05). It was quickly overwhelmed with traffic, and I migrated it to Scott Watermasysk's excellent .Text platform, which was later folded into Community Server, which is what this site still runs to this day, even though it has been deprecated, and is now a closed source non-free offering from Telligent systems.
- To see if anyone would actually visit a personal weblog of my authoring. At the time, yes, it was a rousing success, but it is the opinion of this author that personal tech blogs are passé. Ten years ago, having a tech blog filed under your name was very popular. Now, I'm not so sure.
I've maintained fairly steady traffic over the years, but sites like stackoverflow dominate the tech sector, and rightly so. Other popular programming sites have basically put personal tech bloggers out of business, and again, rightly so. Why have a huge amount of disparate information scattered across the web, when a central repository of like minded authors serves the greater good? I'll be honest, I really would love to have this site take off again like it did back in the day: It took me a long time to build up an audience. But the plus side is I've met some incredible .Net developers along the way, due to this blog. I won't do a roll call, you guys know who you are, but because of this site, I have a pretty nice .Net network, people I still talk to virtually on a fairly regular basis. Because of this blog, I was able to run my own consulting firm, based on building "web presences" for a couple of years, so overall I'm pleased with what this site has done for my professional life. But finding a new voice, breaking some new ground…it's been tough. Back in the day, if you built it, they would come. Not so much anymore though.
I go back and forth: Take the site down, keep it going, let it stagnate, or fire it back up…ten years is a long time, and I have poured so much blood sweat and tears into this site, both building and customizing it, and in the content itself. It's just so funny when I think back to version 1 of this site, I literally hammered out the database design, backend coding, and frontend design in about a week. I set up the domain name as a dummy forwarder with FreeDNS, pointing to a tiny server I had in my condo at the time (it was an AMD 667mhz box with 512MB/RAM, running on a 1mb/sec broadband connection, it was 128kb/up though…pitiful). I had no clue what a trackback was, I just started writing random content. My early writing was awful, but I was just writing for the sake of writing, just putting up content to see what happened, and then visiting various programming sites posting links back to my various posts. Then Google spidered my site, and traffic jumped through the roof. My initial codebase crumbled under the load, especially given the constraints of my home server setup.
I'd love to have the time and money to redesign my site, and take it in a different direction, but in the end, it's just a content driven site. I keep it up because I still get a fair amount of traffic, and every once in a while, I'll get a comment on an old post saying "thanks for this post, it helped me do my job today" or an old friend will find me, and want to reconnect. I'm still not sure how often I'll update this site. I was on a roll with my design pattern series, as well as explaining complicated computing concepts in everyday terms category, but as is usually the case, real life steps in, and little pet projects like this site have to take a back burner. The good news is, running this site is cheap. I'm back to hosting it on a home server (a very powerful quad core machine with 5mb/sec up), so all I have to do is pay my yearly DNS hosting fee, and forget about it. But, my little tech site holds a special place in my heart, so I doubt I'll ever take it down. And perhaps one day, I'll get around to a redesign, or a migration to a more modern CMS. We'll see. Happy 10th blog birthday to me though.