Interesting research from Dan Luu:
… it’s pretty common for my personal blog to get more traffic than the entire corp eng blog for a company with a nine to ten figure valuation and it’s not uncommon for my blog to get an order of magnitude more traffic.
I think this is odd because tech companies in that class often have hundreds to thousands of employees. They’re overwhelmingly likely to be better equipped to write a compelling blog than I am and companies get a lot more value from having a compelling blog than I do.
First, yes. There is a crapload of value in having a good blog (top of funnel traffic, showcasing culture for hiring, establishing industry leadership…) yet so few companies do it well even when they have more than enough resources to do so.
Dan doesn’t just speculate on this, he interviewed people at companies that have actually good engineering blogs: Heap, Segment, and Cloudflare. Then he listed their internal process for blogging. The first step in all three is the same: “Someone has an idea to write a post”. That makes sense, but I would think there is something deeper going on with good blogs: engineers that want to come up with ideas because it is encouraged and incentivized. And then after the ball is rolling, there is a positive feedback loop and as few blockers as possible.
Random observations from me:
- We recently started using Appcues at CodePen, and it was on our radar at all because people at CodePen read their blog and liked it.
- All the browser vendors to a pretty good job of blogging overall, but at the same time, feel a bit disjointed. What blog(s) should I be reading for Mozilla/Firefox stuff? I don’t know really. Is it the official looking one? Or the “hacks” one? Or the planet one? Or nightly one? Or the one for releases? Google seems to have the same problem. There isn’t an obvious hub of writing.
- Stripe has a strong engineering blog, but then take it to another level by producing a fancy publication (Increment) that is both online and in print.
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