I think of my blog posts in a few different categories:
- Posts that will only be read at the moment they’re published (like upcoming webcasts, humorous stuff, and career advice)
- Posts that will show up in search history over time and continue to be evergreen (like how a feature works)
- Posts that provoke discussion and interactivity (like asking you a question or running a contest)
So with that in mind, let’s take a look back at the stuff you seemed to enjoy the most this year. I’m gonna sort them in a few ways:
- 2021 posts you read the most (could be flashes in the pan, or might end up being evergreen over time)
- Older posts you read the most this year (evergreen)
- Posts you commented on the most
Evergreen Posts You Kept Reading
Let’s start with these first because I think it helps paint a picture of the different kinds of readers.
If you’re going to write a post that stands the test of time, you want to solve a timeless problem that readers have faced for years, and will continue to face as time goes on. These tutorial posts aren’t often the favorites of readers when the post first goes live, but they’re the kinds of posts that bring in new readers over time.
- #10: What’s Better, CTEs or Temp Tables? (2019)
- #9: How To Decide If You Should Use Table Partitioning by Kendra Little (2012)
- #8: How to Make SELECT COUNT(*) Queries Crazy Fast (2019)
- #7: The Elephant and the Mouse, or, Parameter Sniffing in SQL Server by Jes Schultz (2013)
- #6: How to Move TempDB to Another Drive & Folder (2017)
- #5: How to Download the Stack Overflow Database (2015)
- #4: How to Select Specific Columns in an Entity Framework Query by Richie Rump (2016)
- #3: How to Pass a List of Values Into a Stored Procedure (2020)
- #2: How to fix the error “String or binary data would be truncated” (2019)
- And the #1 most popular post over time: How to count the number of rows in a table by Jes Schultz (2014)
Not only is it hard to write posts like this initially, but it takes work to continue to refine the content over time, adding in the kinds of key words and content that people are searching for. I actively prune some of ’em, and some of them were perfect when they were published.
If I *purely* wrote tutorial posts, then it’d be a different kind of blog. Pinal Dave’s SQLAuthority is a great example of that – I guarantee every one of you finds his stuff in your search results CONSTANTLY, and as a result, he has way, way higher page views than I have. I appreciate how much work he puts into that. I’m too lazy for that, as you’ll see in the next list.
2021’s Most-Read New Posts
Armed with that list of above evergreen posts, now you’ll be able to look at 2021’s top new posts and make a guess as to which ones will be evergreen, and which ones won’t generate any hits in 2022:
- #10: “But Surely NOLOCK is Okay If No One’s Changing Data, Right?” – I wrote this in anger and I was sure it was a throwaway post just to make a commenter shut the hell up, but as it turns out, it’s got legs!
- #9: Save 75% On My Training Classes – Europeans Too! – This post announced a sale in March. I’ve since edited it to remove the on-sale stuff.
- #8: What Does a Database Administrator Actually Do? – I experimented with a web site research tool this year that seemed promising. It took a few terms, and then checked Google’s related search questions to see the kinds of questions people ask about that term. For example, I fed it “database administrator”, and it generated hundreds of questions like, “Where do database administrators work?” This post will never bring in a dollar of revenue, but I just thought, “Hey, I can answer a lot of these questions quickly,” so I banged out a post.
- #7: It’s Been Decades. Why Don’t Databases Manage Themselves Yet? – both this and #6 were written as a part of BrentOzar.com’s 20th anniversary. I stepped back and wrote Thought Leader™ pieces. I don’t do that too often because I don’t have that many thoughts.
- #6: Where I See Databases Going in the Next 10 Years
- #5: It’s March. We’re still quarantined. Let’s do some free classes for Europeans. – When I planned to launch sales to Europe, part of my marketing efforts involved doing live streams leading up to the sale.
- #4: Is Microsoft SQL Server 2022 a Big Release?
- #3: Why Are Linked Server Queries So Bad?
- #2: What’s New in SQL Server 2022 – a quick post just to link to Microsoft’s demo video, but I’ll need to go back and flesh that post out over time.
- #1: Never, Ever, Ever Start T-SQL Comments with Two Dashes – I like taking extreme, radical viewpoints on seemingly innocuous issues to provoke discussion, and this was a great example. It still gets new comments today.
2021’s Most-Commented Posts
- #10: Your Top 10 Ideas for SQL Server (45) – and all the links in there are dead, because for decades, if there is one thing Microsoft has conclusively proven to me over and over and over again, it’s that they don’t give a damn about preserving URLs.
- #9 (tie): What’s New in SQL Server 2022 (53)
- #9 (tie): Save 75% On My Training Classes – Europeans Too! (53)
- #7: How My Attitude and Branding Changed Over 20 Years (54)
- #6: Why Are Linked Server Queries So Bad? (86)
- #5: What Should We Change About This Year’s Data Professional Salary Survey? (104)
- #4: Never, Ever, Ever Start T-SQL Comments with Two Dashes (119)
- #3: I’m Not Ready for Maskless Conferences Serving Finger Food. (174)
- #2: Contest: SQL Server 2022 Needs a Slogan (304)
- #1: Contest: My Favorite Caption Wins a Live Class Season Pass (649)
And with that, I’ll let you have the rest of the year off – no new blog posts will get published here for the rest of 2021. I’ll see you next year!