Growing with the Web

Two years

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Two years have passed since I posted my first article on the blog. I wanted to look back and reflect on both blogging and life in the last year.

Move to the USA

I moved to the United States for work in September which was great. It took a little while to adjust to both the new technologies at work and the country, but it’s going great now!

Big redesign

The redesign I was working on for over 6 months was completed in Feburary. This caused my search traffic to increase almost twofold due to some SEO improvements I made. My process for updating the blog was also streamlined at this time, putting the source into a Git repository and moving everything to Markdown. This has made it considerably easier to write content since there is less process in the way. There were also significant performance improvements, optimising primarily around the time it takes for above-the-fold content to render.

Content discovery

I implemented a few new content discovery features with the redesign in order to give some of my great older articles the attention they deserve, those being the Top Articles and Explore pages. Looking at browsing behavior in my analytics, they have definitely been useful additions.

Focus on quality

Since the redesign I’ve tried to focus a lot more on higher quality, longer articles that dive deep into a topic. My blog isn’t just for me after all (although that is a big part of it), I’ve always said to myself that I want to make the internet better with my posts, not just add more of the same. I can honestly say that some of this year’s articles are by far the best I’ve written to date, like intro to Git, a look at the Binomial Heap data structure and jumping into Chinese characters on the web. It’s just a shame that not all of them get the attention that I feel they deserve being very niche subjects, which aren’t relevant to a great deal of my readers.

Analytics insights

Here are some interesting stats on the traffic to the blog.

Traffic source

  1. 43% organic search
  2. 20% social
  3. 19% unknown
  4. 10% direct
  5. 4% email
  6. 4% referral

Browser

  1. 65% Chrome
  2. 18% Firefox
  3. 7% Internet explorer
  4. 6% Safari
  5. 2% Android browser

Form

  1. 85% desktop
  2. 11% mobile
  3. 4% tablet

Location

  1. 29.45% United States
  2. 9.73% India
  3. 6.68% United Kingdom
  4. 4.23% Germany
  5. 3.74% Australia
  6. 3.48% Canada
  7. 2.75% France
  8. 2.17% China
  9. 2.01% Netherlands
  10. 1.99% Brazil

Here were the most popular posts of the year (bold posts were published this past year):

  1. ASP.NET MVC display and editor templates published 16 December 2012
  2. Handy adb commands for Android published 14 January 2014
  3. Triangles in CSS published 11 March 2013
  4. A gentle introduction to Git published 23 February 2014
  5. Passing parameters to jQuery event handlers published 14 June 2012
  6. Func<> and Action<> basics in C# published 5 August 2012
  7. CSS preprocessors are here to stay published 16 March 2014
  8. Implement a queue using 2 stacks published 13 July 2013
  9. Data-bind a Knockout.js model infinitely deep published 2 March 2013
  10. A* pathfinding algorithm published 3 June 2012

My favourite posts this year

These are my favourite posts for the past year:

  1. Binomial heap - I always enjoy writing (and learning) about data structures, this article features the first time (and only to date) where I included some animations, they were done with hand-crafted SVG and turned out really nice.
  2. A gentle introduction to Git - I wrote most of this article while I was learning Git but wasn’t confident enough to publish it until several months after, just so I could be sure I knew what I was talking about.
  3. Languages and Chinese characters on the web - Languages and internationalization interest me a great deal, this post was the culmination of a lot of research which I learnt a lot from.
  4. Interview question series - This series started as preparation for my Amazon interview, I found it pretty fun so continued to work on interview question articles afterwards.
  5. Splay tree - The other data structure article I wrote this year, this one is just a really handy one to know about.

Final thoughts

I’ve had a great year and am looking forward to what comes next. As outlined above, I’ll be posting a bit less than normal due to the new focus on quality which also demands I be in a good mood for writing. Currently I’m planning on an article every 2-3 weeks but that may change.

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