2021 was a much more quiet year on my blog than compared to 2020. Continuing the tradition of my 2020 review post, here’s how my site has performed over this past year.
I published 14 posts on my website in 2021, and received 165,203 page views (according to Google Analytics):
I only received 25k views in 2020, so it's a pretty huge jump. One of my goals for this blog was to eventually hit 10k views a month, and I passed this milestone in May 🎉 This growth is largely due to my posts showing up more frequently in Google search results.
My top three posts were the following:
- How to build a search bar in React (published Nov 2020)
- Jest code coverage report explained (published April 2020)
- Jest partial matching on objects, arrays and functions (published March 2021)
The search bar post in particular was a big success. It was a bit of fluke that I managed to hit upon this topic, actually. I built a search bar for my own site, and then decided to write a post about it since I didn't already see a good one out there.
After publishing a post on emgoto.com, I also cross-post it to DEV.to.
I started 2021 with 2,820 reactions, 40,848 views and 6,518 followers on DEV. Here’s how my DEV dashboard looked at the end of 2021:
You can see that the numbers didn’t have a significant increase (e.g. 40k views in 2020 to 53k views). Considering I only posted 13 new posts on DEV, it makes sense to see that lack of growth.
Since I didn’t have much of an audience for my blog in 2020, the DEV community was a great way to introduce people to my content. It’s become less important in 2021, compared to the growth in views from Google search results.
DEV also hosts some pretty fun hackathons. I participated in one in March, and won a runner's up prize.
On Twitter, I went from 293 followers to 524. I don’t tweet much, so the growth may be people coming across my site on Google, and then deciding to give me a follow. Hi to any new followers, and thank you!
I have a “monthly” newsletter that I have yet to post anything to (oops), which now has 71 subscribers.
I added Carbon ads to my site at the end of October. In 2 months, I made about $40 in revenue. I do feel a bit bad, since I think the ad ruins the aesthetic of my site (ha). But for now I’ll be keeping it.
Designing and coding a blog is the most fun part of blogging for me. So in April I decided to build a second blog devoted to Japanese food. In hindsight, 2021 wasn’t the best year to start a food blog, considering that we’re living through a pandemic. Sydney also had a multi-month lockdown where all the restaurants were closed. Right now everything has re-opened but I’m too scared to go because we’re seeing a huge surge in COVID cases.
Since emgoto.com has a dark colour scheme, for my food blog I decided I wanted to do the opposite and went for something brighter. It looked pretty boring though so I spiced it up by buying a stock image to use for the background.
Writing about eating food is a lot easier than writing about programming, so it’s also more fun. Although I’m not too sure how entertaining it is to read what I wrote (there’s only so many ways you can talk about how you enjoy food). But because it’s so much easier, the competition is probably a lot higher too. So this is more just a “for fun” blog than one that I actually see going anywhere.
I also learnt that photographing food is hard. My current technique involves handing my phone over to whoever I’m eating with and the chances are high that they are going to take better pictures than me. Maybe it’s a skill I can work on in 2022.
Honestly I have been too embarrassed to show this site to anyone but my mum so the site gets 0 hits, but if you happened to read this far you can go check out my food blog at japango.to.
I joined the Blogging for Devs community towards the end of 2020. Unfortunately I haven’t been too active in the last half-year, but I would highly recommend it for anyone with a blog, or for anyone looking to start a blog in 2022. I’ve picked up a lot of useful SEO tips that I’ve implemented on my site, and I’ve gotten into the habit of making SEO tweaks to older posts to boost their page views as well.
I don’t want to turn this post into too much of a downer so I’m just briefly mentioning it at the end, but 2021 really sucked for me. And that’s reflected in the amount of posts I’ve written this year compared to 2020. My motivation and passion for writing hasn’t quite recovered, so I’m not too sure yet what 2022 will look like for my blog. I don't have any big plans or goals, and I'm just going to take each day as it comes.
Fingers crossed for a better year in 2022!