* The Business of Software

A former community discussing the business of software, from the smallest shareware operation to Microsoft. A part of Joel on Software.

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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Any Authors Out There?

Hi all. I am a long time (very long time) lurker around here. I've put up a site, http://developerisland.com that I hope will evolve into something similar to the "old" Joel site, and am asking for your help. I would like the site to have more than one voice. So, take a look around, and if you'd like to contribute, send me a post.

Now, you might be asking what the site's about? Essentially, it is a developer/entrepreneur site, covering anything from technical topics to general business discussions, so it's a pretty broad platform. It's intended to be a 5 minute break from work in which you might learn something. There are no ads and nothing to sell on the site, so I hope I am not running afoul of spamming rules. If it elevates my profile (like Joel), great, if it elevates yours, that's great, too.

Also, the developer island thing? Well, I live on a tropical island half the year, so that's nice :-). Thanks, Keith
Keith Welch Send private email
Saturday, November 02, 2013
I think this is appropriate to the topic: Slaves of the Internet, Unite:

Worth your time to read :-)
Blocky Send private email
Sunday, November 03, 2013
I think the fundamental problem you're going to have getting this off the ground is that it requires the input of multiple contributors to get it running. You need lots of content, both in order to drive traffic to the site from long tail searches and to get visitors clicking around when they find the site. This is a big mountain to climb.

Perhaps if you had some sort of business model behind it and were able to pay contributors then you might be able to attract the necessary talent for the content you need to build up. Once you have lots of visitors, then (and only then) you'd be in a good position to solicit free contributions, due to the potential exposure they would provide in terms of the traffic the site could drive back to the contributor. Until that point it's a chicken and egg scenario and you are effectively asking other people to contribute to your dream.
Andrew Gibson Send private email
Sunday, November 03, 2013
@Blocky, @Andrew Gibson, Thanks for the input, and thank you all for reading. Perhaps I should clarify my intent with this site, so you understand what "off the ground" means to me. I enjoyed bopping into this site back when Joel wrote more frequently, and the forums were more active. My hope is to reproduce that kind of feeling, if not the same type of content.

Since this is the business forum, let's talk about that side. The site costs me literally nothing, and it's not intended to generate income, so while I would like a ton of traffic and all sorts of contributors, a smaller scale doesn't bother me. Of course, if it took off like wildfire, I would expect that would reflect well on me, but that's not the main intent. I've learned a lot over the years from sites like Joel, and other blogs. If I can contribute to that at this point in my life, I'd like to. I also happen to like to write, and have no shortage of opinions.

Now to your point about asking people to contribute for free. I understand the sentiment. I don't work for free. I'm also not a professional writer. I'm certainly not promising huge amounts of exposure that will change your life. If you'd like to write something feel free, and feel free to link to your site (unless of course, it's something inappropriate, like say a political campaign ;-)). As Andrew is saying, more content means more eyeballs, means better SEO. If you like writing, and don't have your own blog, maybe that's a good thing for you. Thanks for taking a look.
Keith Welch Send private email
Sunday, November 03, 2013
"I've put up a site, http://developerisland.com that I hope will evolve into something similar to the "old" Joel site, and am asking for your help."


"Over the last 13 years I’ve written 1111 articles on this site about software development, management, business, and the Internet. "

AFAIK, Joel On software was all about Joel writing articles, not so much about random people contributing articles.

The NYT article is pretty much on point about asking people to write for free.

However, the truth is that people often do write for "free" and that article is a clear demonstration: 1723 words in the article. 652 comments. Assuming 50 words per comment on average, that's 32 thousand words of freely contributed content.

And while a lot of it is useless nonsense, it's not at all unusual to find better information in comments than you do in the main article. 

So yes, you can get people to write for free if you make them want to contribute, but just asking "hey guys, can you write content for my website" is as much a WTF as "hey, can I haz free monies?"

A few years back, blogging platforms and websites were rare enough that offering to host articles or blogs was a good deal, all by itself. But times have changed and free blogging platforms are all over the place. And articles directories numbers in the thousands.

To get the good stuff, you need to pay, with money, goodwill, links, ads, or anything else you can use to make it worth it to post content on your website rather than on the countless other free alternatives.

Links can be a legitimate currency. For instance, I wrote a review article for a fairly obscure piece of software in my vertical, got a link from their smallish website. 6 years later, it has directly generated around 3000 visitors and probably a lot more indirectly. Buying the same traffic from Google would cost around $1500, and the figure will probably keep on growing for the next few years.

Pretty much everyone here would happily write a "guest blog post" for JOS in exchange for a free link, because, let's face it, with Google Ads selling visitors at $.50 piece, the traffic you can generate over the years from a single link in the right place makes it worth your while.

Unfortunately, it's a chicken and egg problem: you are just starting, your links and ad space are worthless, so you can either cash in goodwill if you have some (friends), pay money, or build your website the old fashioned way, by writing your own content, until hopefully your links and ad space becomes a valuable enough currency that you can trade for content.
Sylvain Galibert Send private email
Tuesday, November 19, 2013

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