2016 blog review, 2017 blog goals

2016 completes my fourth year of blogging. As I’ve done in 2013, 2014, and 2015, here’s a look back on 2016 and what’s in store for 2017.

Overall, I’m fairly pleased. Just the fact that I’ve kept it at for longer than a month or two is more than can be said of 95% of the blogs that are started. I would like to post more, but I’m still working at becoming a more prolific writer. Believe me, it’s not a lack of topics that’s holding me back. I have a backlog of approximately 75 items. In other words, having something to write about it isn’t a problem. As those who know me can attest, I have (too) many opinions on way too many diverse topics.

Anyway, let’s get on with the 2016 state of the blog.

Blog Traffic

Google Analytics is an amazing tool. I feel like I know it pretty good, and I’m still learning more every time I dig into it. I’ve been using it to track traffic on the site since inception.

When I ran the stats from the start of the blog on November 1, 2012 through December 31, 2016, it revealed that I’ve almost hit 100K sessions on my site. It looks like I’ll surpass the mark in January of 2017 if current traffic patterns hold.

Blog traffic and statistics from 2013 to 2016

What’s interesting about the traffic since inception is that the first two years were very, very light when it came to traffic. Then I wrote a post to document how I setup a router to extend my network so I could remember how to do it. That post still gets thousands of views per month and dominates my blog traffic as you’ll see below.

The traffic in 2016 was fairly constant through the year, although I’ve noticed the traffic has been slowly declining. I wouldn’t be surprised if the decline accelerates during 2017 as the post to setup my router becomes more and more dated. At some point, it’s not going to be as useful as it was when first published.

2016 blog traffic and statistics

Perhaps this graph which shows the traffic on a monthly basis for each year gives a better indication of the traffic trends. 2015 was an increasing trend line while 2016 is moving in the opposite direction as the year progresses.

Graph of blog traffic by month from 2013 thru 2016

Since I’m not keeping a blog to generate traffic, I’m not concerned about the trends. It’s more for information and learning purposes.

Posts to blog

My goal for 2016 was to generate 100 posts to the blog, which is the equivalent of ~2 per week. I came up a bit short of that goal. Well, quite a bit short. I ended up posting 57 times, which was less than the 59 in 2015, which I thought was quite low.

On a monthly basis I started strong, but I had quite a few low months. The worst was October, where I only managed a total of one post.

Blog posts: 2013-2016

2013 71
2014 73
2015 59
2016 57

2016 by month

January 8
February 5
March 7
April 4
May 4
June 2
July 3
August 6
September 5
October 1
November 7
December 5

Popular blog posts

I’ve compiled three lists to show the most popular posts on the blog.

List #1 – Most popular posts published in 2016

  1. Books to read in 2016
  2. The Arduino Starter Kit
  3. My 2016 reading list
  4. Marvin Braude Trail – redux
  5. Book review: Beacon 23
  6. My first visit to Seattle
  7. The results of a year without sugar
  8. UCSB ECE189 Capstone Senior Project Day – 2016
  9. The Third Time Isn’t Any Easier
  10. Cooked – a Netflix Documentary

List #2 – Most popular posts in 2016

  1. Installing DD-WRT on the TP-LINK TL-WR841N
  2. Pacific Coast Bike Route – Ventura to Carpinteria
  3. The Tree of Life Trail: Hiking the Hollywood Hills
  4. Bike ride No. 4 – Marvin Braude Bike Trail
  5. Bike ride No. 3 – Pacific Coast Bike Route, Ventura County
  6. The Hollyridge Trail: Hiking the Hollywood Hills, pt. 2
  7. Bike ride No. 2 – Ventura to Ojai
  8. Book review: Positioning – The Battle For Your Mind
  9. Book review: Forging Zero
  10. Book review: The Atlantis World

List #3 – Most popular posts since inception

  1. Installing DD-WRT on the TP-LINK TL-WR841N
  2. Pacific Coast Bike Route – Ventura to Carpinteria
  3. The Tree of Life Trail: Hiking the Hollywood Hills
  4. Bike ride No. 4 – Marvin Braude Bike Trail
  5. Bike ride No. 3 – Pacific Coast Bike Route, Ventura County
  6. The Hollyridge Trail: Hiking the Hollywood Hills, pt. 2
  7. Bike ride No. 2 – Ventura to Ojai
  8. Book review: Forging Zero
  9. Book review: Positioning – The Battle For Your Mind
  10. Book review: The Atlantis Plague

What’s interesting about these three lists is how none of the posts from this past year show up on any of the longer-term lists. Second, the most popular posts in 2016 are almost identical to the most popular posts since inception.

I would expect a couple of things could happen on these lists over time. First, some posts from 2016 may eventually show up on the popular post list on an annual basis. Second, the divergence between the most popular on an annual basis and most popular since inception will grow. What I’ve learned thus far from blogging is that consistent content generation is key to generating traffic. You don’t know which posts will be popular. Furthermore, topical posts generate temporary traffic whereas unique, knowledge posts generate longer lasting, long-tail organic Google search engine traffic.

2016 goal results

If you’re going to make goals, then you have to measure your progress against them. Here’s the results of my goals from 2016.

  1. Break 100 posts.
    Hmm, at 58 posts, I came up well short on this number
  2. Expand on Startup Lessons
    Another fail. I added a post or two here, but nowhere near the number I would have liked to have completed.
  3. Do something, anything with the design
    Another epic fail. I was lucky to keep up with the blog let alone mess with the design.
  4. Add a page/section to the site
    I wanted to experiment with custom post types in 2016 but didn’t get around to it.

Needless to say, I didn’t make much progress on my goals for 2016. Unfortunate – yes. Disappointing – no. So long as I’m keeping up with the blog it’s a successful year. I’m still going to set some lofty goals for 2017 that I’d like to accomplish.

2017 goals

My goals for 2017 aren’t a whole lot different than what they were for 2016. Hopefully, I’ll make more progress during this year.

  1. Complete 2 posts per week
    100 posts is my ultimate goal. However, I’d be happy just to make 75 and set a record number of posts for the year.
  2. Catch up on my book review
    I fell behind on reviewing my recent reads. I’m entering 2017 behind on four reviews. I’m going to strive to finish 2017 with zero outstanding reviews.
  3. Expand on Startup Lessons
    I said the same for 2016 – looking for a different outcome in 2017.
  4. Document motivational and inspirational reads
    Over this past year, I’ve been doing a lot more motivational and inspirational short readings. It’s become part of my daily routine. I’d like to find a way to incorporate what I’m learning and share my thoughts about each read on the blog.

As I wrap up 2016, it’s been another good year. I may not have reached any of my desired 2016 goals, but I’m just happy that I kept at it for another year. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m treating this blog as my public journal, a way to control what the internet displays about me, and as a legacy to my current and future generations.

Bottom line, so long as I continue to consistently post in 2017, it will be a great year regardless of how many of my stated goals I am able to accomplish.

 

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