Oliver Nassar

I can be reached at onassar@gmail.com.

For my open source work, check out github.com/onassar


What I've found makes a good technical blog post

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This blog currently receives just under 4,000 visits per month. Almost all the visits result in a bounce, most likely because of how Google Analytics registers a bounce: a visitor enters, views one page, and then leaves.

I believe this is due to the technical nature of the posts. They cover issues such as specific error messages, setting up a piece of software, or a bash script to accomplish a specific task. Visitors are interested in finding a solution to their problem, rather than the overall content of the blog.

I'm okay with that, as it's got me thinking about how to write a blog post that brings in a considerable number of visitors while solving their problem.

What I search for

While developing, I often search for help on writing CSS declarations or debugging an error message that popped up. When doing this search, I will often copy and paste a respective error message into Google, excluding the parts that are specific to my development environment.

I routinely end up at Stack Overflow, however depending on how common the problem is, it may not have been addressed/asked on there yet.

Finding a solution to a problem which produces a specific error message can help those who are looking help with that specific challenge.

What I'm trying to do

My post popular post is by far Installing SSL on AWS EC2. It's interesting, because I vaguely remember writing that post a couple years ago, thinking there wouldn't be anything special about it. I was simply documenting the process I took to get an SSL certificate set up on AWS so that if/when I had to do it again, I had it written down in language that made sense to me.

It seems that documenting what you're doing, if for no one other than yourself, is incredibly helpful for others.

Technical vs. Non-Technical posts

It's made me think more about whether technical posts are what I want to write. On Hacker News, I find some great posts, written by developers, but focusing more on the abstract or soft-side of development. I'm not sure I'm interested in (or qualified to) write about topics unrelated to programming, so I'm not sure if/when I'll venture into non-technical blog post writing.

But then again, I guess that's what this post would be considered :)