Ryan Imel who runs the WordPress blog ThemePlayground.com got in touch with me the other night and we had a very interesting discussion about a topic I’ve thought about since the days before I launched WPTavern.com and that is the possibility that there are too many people writing about WordPress in too many places. What initially sparked the conversation is a forum thread that Ryan created on his forum asking his audience if they would be interested in a printed WordPress publication.
There is a surplus of less-than-quality blogging about WordPress going on. Hopefully I’m not contributing too much to that pile. So this idea really began as a single realization: we (WordPress bloggers) are all fragmenting ourselves and diluting the potency of our blogs, I think, in the process.
There are just too many people writing about WordPress in too many places.
Of course I would never think of asking any WordPress bloggers to join me at the Playground and leave their blog behind, as I wouldn’t leave my own blog for anyone else. So instead my thoughts drifted toward a larger, more concentrated effort, that those interested in writing about WordPress and open source software could contribute to and get excited about.
For this concentrated effort: why not a printed publication?
When I came up with the idea to start WPTavern.com, I wondered how well it would do considering the large amount of blogs about WordPress already in existence. In fact, I didn’t think I had any chance at making a splash in this niche area of writing. So far, thanks to a loyal fanbase and an awesome community of people surrounding the Tavern, the site has done well to rise slightly above the noise. (Thanks a ton :)
I had quite a few ideas actually. The first was to create an email newsletter called Pressed For Words which would be a monthly newsletter with the focus on WordPress news, plugin and theme releases and an article or two with featured tips and tricks. I passed this idea up because of Lorelle’s awesome WordPress Wednesday posts on the BlogHerald which accomplished the same thing I was going to do but for a price.
The second idea was to gather up a list of WordPress bloggers that I knew created great content and pool them together to create a content network on Lijit. This way, they could maintain their own blogs and not have to do anything different while their content was aggregated to the Network Page which would have advertising on it. The revenue would then be split up between members of the content network. However, I wasn’t in the position to manage such a project at the time so I passed on that idea.
The third idea was to create a WordPress specific blog network and send out invitations to specific WordPress bloggers to be part of the network and then combining our traffic for bigger advertising dollars. However, when you look at most of the WordPress centric sites out there that write about the software, most have their own individual advertising system meaning they don’t need to join a blog network for ad dollars. So that idea was canned.
What To Do:
In our conversation, we mentioned that there are bloggers such as Kyle Eslick with WPHacks.com which is a great site for premium theme news and code snippets, WPCandy is also a great site covering the realm of WordPress, WPEngineer with code snippets and the same with WP Recipe. All of these guys seem to be doing great on their own but the thought of bringing all of that talent under one roof is mouth watering. However, there are quite a few issues regarding bringing the talent under one roof, most of which I covered in my previous ideas.
My thoughts are, if someone could start up a monster WordPress site where you could dedicate people to their own specialty and cover the project from head to toe, such as themes, plugins, news, code snippets, general news, community happenings, etc, you would have one awesome WordPress site. But to get people to collaborate on a site like this, especially when money is involved would be a tough thing to do in my opinion, especially when they are pulling in money just fine on their own. So then the next question is, what if the site was a non profit? Well, although I’m sure most of us wouldn’t mind sharing great information and insight from the realm of WordPress, I think most of us are trying to make a living or at least a side income from creating this type of content. So a non profit wouldn’t fly.
With the ability to subscribe to blogs and read their content via RSS, I’m not sure if WordPress information fragmentation is really a problem. I do know one thing though, the WordPress Codex would be a much better place if it contained half of what the WordPress Rockstars put out on a regular basis. But putting awesome content on the Codex doesn’t provide the same benefits and rewards than publishing it on a blog. You might get a warm fuzzy feeling inside when you publish to the Codex but on a blog, you get comments, search engine traffic, and the ability to monetize your sharing of information. I remember in an interview with Matt when I mentioned this topic and he said something to the effect of their needing to be some sort of way to plug the gap between the great informational posts in the community and the Codex. I know of a possible way this could be done but I won’t dive into that just yet.
In the end, do you think that there are just too many people writing about WordPress in too many places? Or does it not make a difference to you thanks to RSS? The more the merrier? Or please stop?