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SQLTeam.com: Five Fabulous Years
Written by Bill Graziano on 10 July 2005
The fifth anniversary of SQLTeam.com passed quietly last month. It was over five years ago that I posted a few paragraphs on Identity Columns and called it an "article". After the first year I put up an article that talked about how SQLTeam.com started. This year I want to say Thank You.
It's really hard to believe five years have gone by. The older I get the faster they seem to go. At the end of our first year the most popular article on the site had just over 10,000 page views. Database Design and Modeling Fundamentals was written by Brent Huscher (Spyder) and held the top stop for a couple of years. Now it's fallen to 7th on the list with *only* 88,000 total page views. (I'm not quite sure how to wrap that "only" in a sarcasm tag.)
Our top ten articles are split among five authors. I'm proud to say that after five years I finally (finally!) have the most popular article on my own site. :) It was just in the last few months that Stored Procedures: Returning Data overtook Garth Wells's Handling Errors in Stored Procedures. Both articles are over 125,000 page views since the site started.
The other two names on the top ten list (no surprise here) are Rob Volk (robvolk) and Damian Maclennan (Merkin). Rob authored Dynamic Cross-Tabs/Pivot Tables and Damian wrote Sending SMTP Mail using a Stored Procedure. So to these four and everyone else who's written an article I want to say "Thank You!"
To the over 15,000 people who visit this site every day I have just one question: Who are all you people? Seriously. I still remember the days when someone would tell me they visited and I could see the traffic spike. I'd hoped the site would be popular some day but I never really expected anything like this. Depending on whether you believe my advertising software, my web stats package or my own parsing of the logs the site generates between 700,000 and 1.8 million page views per month. How other sites accurately record this number I have no idea. Traffic to the site has grown between 50% and 100% per year over the last five years. I have no idea who all you people are but Thank You! And keep visiting!
One of the best decisions I ever made on this site was to install some real forum software. Much of the traffic on the site is now directed into the forums. I'm amazed at how many people are able to get their questions answered quickly and accurately by people on the site. We have 16,000 people registered and over 220,000 total posts. Most of those seem to be about beer but every now and then a SQL Server post slips in. I'm just awe struck that there are TWO people with over 10,000 posts. TWO! Tara Duggan (tduggan) and Rob Volk. And thirty-one MORE that have over 1,000 posts. These thirty-three people come from seven different countries.
When I started the forums I setup custom titles that kick in at certain post counts. The highest was at 1,000 which was also where we began to assign custom titles. I never dreamed we'd have over 30 people that have over 1,000 posts. So to all you people that give of your time to answer questions I want to say Thank You! You are one of the biggest reasons the site is as popular as it is. Thanks you for visiting, thank you for sticking around and thank you for helping people. Thank you.
Running a site like SQLTeam.com isn't free. I've done what I can to limit the graphics and make the site fast but we still go through over 50GB of bandwidth every month. The site has been hosted by ORCSweb ever since it started. I don't know exactly how big a discount they give me but it's one sweetheart of a deal. Thank You.
I'd also like to thank the various companies that have advertised on the site. I only run two ads on the site. I'd like to keep it clutter free if I can. Red Gate Software has been my largest advertiser for a while now. You can find their banner along with various others at the top of the site. If you're interested in any of their products please follow the link from the site. And if you buy something, please tell them you saw it on SQLTeam.com. To the advertisers on the site, Thank You for your financial support.
The Chief Yak Herders
Yaks have been a long running theme on this site. I never wanted things to get too serious here. The yak became kind of an unofficial mascot of the site. In the last few years Damian (Merkin) and Rob (robvolk) have helped me run the site. They've written code, moderated the forums, tested my code (shudder!), deleted spam, posted Ask SQLTeam questions and kept everything running smoothly. Without them I doubt I'd even be running the site anymore. I finally met Rob at PASS last year but I have yet to meet Damian. His being in Australia makes that difficult. But it certainly does help that he's awake and watching the site while I'm asleep. Maybe the site will make enough money that I can fly him to the States one of these days. So I want to give a special Thank You to Rob and Damian. You guys are the wheels that keep this site turning and any words I write can't begin to thank you enough for all you've done over the years. I hope you've enjoyed watching our site grow as much as I have. Thank You.
So what does the future hold for the site? Sorry but I don't have a five year business plan or a model for going public any time soon. I do hope the site continues to be a great place where smart people can exchange ideas. Sometime in the not to distant future I'm going to upgrade to .NET. The site is also featured in the Visual Studio 2005 search engine (and I think SQL Server Management Studio). When you use the Help system and search the community sites you're also searching SQLTeam.com. How cool is that?
So Thank You all. Thanks to the Readers, the Writers, the Posters, the Sponsors and my two fellow yak herders on this crazy journey. Thanks for visiting and ya'll come back now!