Hello and welcome to the first post of the new meta category, where I will showcase the blog itself.
I’ve started this blog on April 2018, while I was still in the begining of my carreer in a very small consulting company in Portugal, where for a long time I was the only employee. I was working with a lot of different technologies and I wanted to keep a record of my findings, so I started this blog, as a way to also motivate me on learning new technologies and stacks, that I wasn’t using at the time and that I wanted to learn in order to improve my skills as well as my resume.
On the first month I’ve published 11 posts.
But as time goes by the motivation to keep writing and publishing posts started to fade away, due to the lack of validation of what you are doing is actually being helpful or useful to anyone.
As any other writer/blogger/webmaster will tell you, if you depend solely on organic search visitors, the first 6 to 12 Months of a new blog or site will be the hardest, as it seems you will be writing to no one, and that you are wasting your time.
So, with the lack of validation from google analytics my posts frequency looked like this for the year of 2018:
For a grand total of
20 posts in 2018.
Which is a far cry from the
11 posts I’ve published on the first month. More than 50% of all posts came from a single highly motivated first month.
As you can see from the above image, the blog had a total of around
3,300 visits in 2018.
This is a shy number for anyone starting out, and the primary reason for this is the lack of posts, as well as the lack of promotion of the blog.
The initial spike, was due to some “luck” by posting on news.ycombinator.com, which is a great way to get some initial traffic to your blog, but it’s not a sustainable way to get traffic.
Blog Posts 2019
For a grand total of
14 posts in 2019.
2019 Was an even worse year for the blog, with only
14 posts written.
By now I had a total of
34 posts - which is a very low number for any website, especially for a blog which has informational and how-to content that is not even evergreen as the technology I write about is constantly changing and the resolution for an issue with terraform today, might not be the same as the resolution for the same issue with terraform tomorrow.
Ok, now that is a whole different story from 2018, and a single post which ironically was also a meta kind of posts on myself, actually made a huge difference in the number of visits to the blog as it made the front page of hackernews.
This sort of bumps, and the increase in the metrics and analytics are the main reason I’m starting this blog category for Meta on the blog itself.
So I can motivate myself to keep writing and publishing posts, as well as keep track of the blog’s progress, and hoping to motivate others to do the same and just keep writing and publishing.
It’s also visible that after that post, the rest of the traffic actually started to increase, and was averaging around 150 to 200 visits a day, which is a great number for a blog that is not being promoted heavily or has a constant stream of new content.
By the end of 2019, in December I had changed companies, and I was now working for a much bigger company, with a much bigger team, and much bigger challenges.
Spoiler Alert, I still work for the same company.
This led to a lot of new learnings and new technologies to learn, and I was now in a position where I could actually write about the technologies I was using at work, and not just the ones I was learning on my own time.
Except that I didn’t.
For a total of
5 posts in 2020.
As you can see, 2020 was a very different year for everyone, and for me it was no different. Besides the pandemic, I also had a son, which took a lot of my time and energy, and I was also working on a lot of new technologies at work, but just didn’t have the motivation to write about them or the mindset.
My son was born on November 2020, and I was still wrapping my head around the fact that I was going to be a father for the whole year while the pandemic was going on and changing the world as we knew it, while my own world was changing as well.
- Becoming a father
- New job
- World pandemic
So, as a lot of the other folks in our area, I was sent to work from home, 4 months after starting a new job. Scratch that blog idea, I’m going to be a father, I don’t have time for this.
But even with all the changes, the blog still managed to get around
69000 visits in 2020, which for the grand total of
5 posts is still a great visitor’s number.
Once again I hit the front page of hackernews, and that was the main reason for the spike in the visits, but even without that, the blog was still getting around
150-200 visits a day constantly. Not due to the number of new posts, but due to the old posts that were still getting traffic from google search, and still being relevant to the search terms.
So 2021 was a year of learning to be a father, and learning to be a father during a pandemic.
Difficulties in finding daycare, new rules everywhere, both at home with the new baby - diapers, feeding time, sleep deprivation, etc, and outside, with the difficulties in registering a newborn given everything was closed, going to the routine checkups and vaccinations with all the masks, the appointments, the negative covid checks etc.
For a grand total of
0 posts in 2021.
How did it affect the number vistors?
Naturaly, the number of visits dropped significantly, and the blog had a total of around
43000 visits in 2021, which is a huge drop from the previous year.
First, because by not writing or updating content, google might see the blog as stale, and might not show it in the search results, and second, because one of the posts written in 2020 also made it to the front page of hackernews, and that also contributed to a hefty number of visits in 2020 compared to 2021.
But overall, the blog still managed to have over 10x the amount of visits compared to 2018, without a single blog post being written, or promoted.
So 2022 comes, and I’m still a father, and I’m still working in tech, and the pandemic is still going on but no one seems to care anymore, as we now have a war going on in Ukraine, inflation is going up, and the economy is going down. Welcome to 2022, end a pandemic, start a war.
For a grand total of
3 posts in 2022.
So for 2022, I “rediscovered” the blog, and started writing again, I’m now also starting this meta series to have something else to write besides technical posts, when I’m feeling blocked or uninspired or just don’t have the time to write a technical post.
So, but how did not writing for more than two years affect the number of visitors for 2022 ?
As you can see from the image above, the number of visits for 2022 was around
29000 visits, down from ‘43000’ in 2021, way down from the
69000 in 2020, and now barely over 10x the first year of 2018.
This was a sign that google was showing less interest in the blog, and that the blog was not being shown in the search results as much as it was in the previous years as no new content was created, and the old wasn’t updated.
You can see that the downtrend starts to invert after August 2022, however I didn’t write anything in August or previous months, however, I did some reinvestment on the blog automation in github, and added some clean up on some older posts.
Is it a bad idea to start blogging once again now that AI is taking over the world?
First, AI is not taking over the world, it’s a tool, its tremendously helpful, but it’s not taking over the world, and second, it’s not a bad idea to start blogging ever!
This post was ironically written while have github copilot activated, and it did a tremendous help in the markdown tables, and even completing some of the sentences, but it’s not taking over the world, it’s just a tool, and instead of fearing the tool, we should embrace it and use it to our advantage. In my case reducing carpel tunnel syndrome by helping me write this post by completing some of the sentences.
So the total number of 2023 posts is still unknown at this moment. This is January 28th, 2023, and I’m writing this post.
But here is the table for the posts for 2023 so far.
I’m including this one !
As you can see the number of posts for 2023 is already 8, and it’s only January 28th, 2023, so I’m expecting to write a lot more, and at least get back to 2020 levels of visits, while having 2018 levels of posts.
I also did a full change on the theme, dropped amp as it was messing with revenue, and switched from adsense to ezoic.
Speaking of revenue. I won’t drilldown on the revenue, but I’ll post a full timeline of the adsense revenue I got until I switched to ezoic.
I’ll leave the revenue drilldown for a more constant and periodic post schedule in this meta series.
Unfortunately, I’m only able to show the revenue stats from the beginning of 2020, as adsense won’t let me see the revenue stats before that.
So, it made a few more euros in the years before, but nothing that’s significant, and you can see that it had an awful Page RPM of 1.19.
I hope that the new theme and the new ad network will help with the revenue, and I’ll post a full revenue stats post in the future using ezoic.
Why am I posting this?
Well, there are two motivators besides just enjoying writing and sharing my thoughts.
One is validation through the number of visits, and the other is the revenue.
We all know an Ad can be a bit annoying, but it’s also a way to pay for the content we consume, and I’m not a big fan of paywalls, so ads are the lesser evil.
Ads run the internet, and run the way we consume content. If everything was paid, internet was locked behind paywalls, we would have a very different internet, and I’m not sure if it would be better or worse.
Thanks, hope you enjoyed this post, and I’ll see you in the next one.
If you wish to follow me on twitter, you can do so here: https://twitter.com/ilhicas
I’ll post in twitter whenever I write a new post.