Blogging is for more than just traffic
A few years ago, Brent Ozar wrote a post called, "Blog For Your Resume, Not For Your Readers," and he's totally right. I wanted to share my thoughts on why blogging is a win-win scenario in multiple ways, sometimes for the author, sometimes for the reader, and often both.
- Document your accomplishments at work. It can be easy to lose track of problems you've solved, but not if you're writing them down. Publishing them to the world (or even just to an internal blog) kind of forces you to be your own best quality control, to demonstrate your own accountability, and to improve your ability to describe both the problem and the solution. Retracing your steps and documenting everything can also help anticipate questions readers might have or identify alternative solutions you didn't consider. This can be helpful to you, your peers, your current boss, and your next boss.
- Be an inspiration to others — including your future self. I'm still proud of some of the solutions I came up with 10 years ago, and still look back on old posts to refresh my mind about a similar problem I'm facing today. Scenarios where I was just putting something fully documented into my own words, and in the context of my own problem, can be enough to give someone the lightbulb moment that otherwise wouldn't have happened. Anyone can regurgitate Books Online, but highlighting something the documentation doesn't tell you, or even just explaining it in your own words, can make all the difference in the world. If others can learn from your posts, they may be more encouraged to write about their own solutions.
- Build a canonical reference. This is why I started aspfaq.com back in 1999 — I answered so many of the same questions over and over again, and battled the same myths and counter-arguments, an opinionated FAQ seemed like the ideal solution. For years it served as my own reference for dozens of code snippets I'd written but since forgotten. That same value exists in blog posts I wrote last week, last month, and last year. I wrote the post A quick tip when using multiple Docker containers and SQL Server not because I think there are a huge number of people out there who need this information, but rather so I don't have to memorize that whole command line. I wish I was making this up.
I am not trying to sound like an authority here. We may each have our own reasons to blog, and they can include things like money, SEO, and MVP points. And we may all perceive a little differently the benefits of doing so. I just wanted to share some of the positive outcomes I see and, maybe, make someone else realize them, too.