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My DEV birthday gift for you: DEV.to Analytics!

sandordargo profile image Sandor Dargo Originally published at sandordargo.com ・Updated on ・5 min read

I joined DEV.to a bit more than two years ago. I don't remember at all how I found this website, but it seemed welcoming. I particularly liked its really simple design. As a backend guy, it was very compelling to me. It seemed easy to join and publish my small number of articles to come, so I said why not giving it a try?!

That time, I had been blogging for a bit less than a year and while even now I'm still not focused on simply getting the most clicks and views possible, I wanted to reach out to a bit wider audience than basically zero. For such a purpose, DEV.to seemed practical.

You see? There is nothing glamorous in this story!

If you are less interested in how I see my achievements on DEV.to and more excited by the gift, skip the next two sections ;)

What did I achieve?

I definitely made writing a habit. I do it almost every day. I know that some would say that it's bad because quality is more important than quantity. While that's true, quality comes from practice and practice works only in big quantities.

To me, it's important to develop new and good habits. It's not really a decision whether I have something important to write about. If it's a given day and time I write for my blog. I keep aΒ long list of ideas, so I just have to pick one and start working on it.

Also if you check important authors, composers, most likely they published a lot more than we remember to as pieces of great art.

So, I decided to show up every week, every day to force myself to get better. As such I achieved to make writing a daily habit. I don't write for my blog every day, but I do write almost every day either for my journal, my blog or... Let's see what the future brings!

Another thing I achieved and it's quite related is that I post something every week. Every Wednesday morning. Again, not to lose traction. I also don't have to decide, I don't have to use my willpower on this one I just post.

I know it's not a great strategy if I want a wide and loyal audience, but I post about several topics. weekNumber % 3 == 0, I post about something deeply technical, mostly about C++, weekNumber % 3 == 1 I publish about something softer, like agile or stoic philosophy applied to our profession and weekNumber % 3 == 2, I share some ideas about books I read recently. The books are not necessarily technical.

Why do I do this, if I know it's not optimal for building an audience? Because, more importantly, I want to enjoy the process and I'm interested in many things.

Another decision that I removed is whether I want to crosspost something on DEV.to or just keep for my blog. In the beginning, I posted articles that I thought are more interesting for a lot of people. In fact, I didn't want to feel shame that something was not read by a lot of people. But I realized it doesn't matter. I have nothing to be ashamed for even if an article gets less than a hundred views during the first week - or ever. It doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is that I put in my efforts to work on it and that I do my best. If people like it, it's a plus. If not, I learnt. If I manage to understand why they didn't like it, I learnt even more.

What do the numbers show?

During these two years, I got about 2300 reactions, almost 6800 followers and a bit more than 106k post views. Is that a lot? I doubt. I think there are others in our community who publish one article and get more views and reactions. But the numbers do show interesting numbers.

The moment I write this, I had 76 published posts.

80% of the views come from 18.5% of the posts. Pareto applies.

In terms of reactions, 42% gives 80%, Pareto went on vacation, but he came back for the comments, where 19.74% of the articles are responsible for 80% of all.

I also had a look at my tags.

Most of my views and comments are coming from the #books tag. The majority from this one.

It's interesting that #career tag is responsible for most of the reactions. I don't write that much with that tag.

I also checked these numbers but taking into consideration the number of articles using them. Well, the results are super biased. #beginners and #inclusion tags pop up, but I used them only once...

Let's say, my tool is not appropriate yet, it doesn't handle outliers. But what tool? You're going to see just now!

Where is the promised gift and how did I get these numbers?

I was interested in the above information because I like numbers and I had a feeling that a small portion of articles gives the vast majority of all views.

I started to add up the views manually. But, man, I don't like that kind of labour. Then I wanted to see the same numbers for comments and reactions.

I'm lazy for that, so I wrote a script. Then I thought that I should clean it up a little bit and share it with you folks. So if you want to see similar numbers regarding your own articles, consider using DEV.to Analytics. And feel free to contribute, I'm sure you can come up with more interesting statistics!

Conclusion

Are these numbers important after all? They can be in different ways.

One way would be to use them to choose what topics I should concentrate on. To me, that would be the wrong way. It would lead to view driven writing, which I'm not in favour of right now.

The other way is to have a look at what characteristics have my most appreciated articles have and try to concentrate on those if possible in all my future writings. Not to gain more views, but to be more helpful or provide more joy to those read my lines.

Thank you for these two years on DEV and all the comments you made! And feel free to try DEV.to Analytics!

This article has been originally posted on my blog. If you are interested in receiving my latest articles, please sign up to my newsletter and follow me on Twitter.

Discussion

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awwsmm profile image
Andrew (he/him)

This is great, Sandor, thanks! DEV has a "premium" mode where you get some simple statistics on each post (daily reaction and comment counts), plus your daily follower total. It would be interesting if your work could be incorporated into that already-existing dashboard!

This is seriously cool, though. I'm inspired to go out and write my own DEV extension now!

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sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo Author

I might check it with the DEV team. But I would also like to keep this completely open for everyone without having "premium" membership.
@ben what do you think about this?

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

This is really neat. The in-the-works premium stuff, which has sort of stalled for no other reason than we've had other things rise in priority, is "premium" because we'd ultimately like to make it "non-scalable", so offer folks who really want lots of data access to heavily optimized endpoints rather than having to create realtime data for everyone.

We'll be shipping more general API endpoints and little projects like this really push the ecosystem forward!

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helleworld_ profile image
DesirΓ© πŸ‘©β€πŸŽ“πŸ‘©β€πŸ«

Hello, Sandor!

First of all thank you so much for this, I find it really interesting!

However, it isn't working for me. Already have my API key and the project cloned, but the error 'analyzer.py command not found' keeps showing in the console... I'm not really familiar with API's and such, not sure if I'm probably doing something wrong, still would love to test this amazing gift of yours!

Thank you again for this, good day!

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sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo Author

Hi DesirΓ©,

I updated the README, I concentrated on the filename and the option, you have to pass, but you have to put python in front:

python analyzer.py --api-key <YOUR API KEY>

Let me know if this works.

Thanks

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helleworld_ profile image
DesirΓ© πŸ‘©β€πŸŽ“πŸ‘©β€πŸ«

Thank you for your reply Sandor, as I said I'm not familiar with this.

I tried this time including the 'python' at the beggining, and I'm having this message.

I'm probably missing something? Sorry and thank you so much for your patience

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sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo Author

No worries! What does this tell you?
python --version

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helleworld_ profile image
DesirΓ© πŸ‘©β€πŸŽ“πŸ‘©β€πŸ«

Hello again;

So I was using Python2. Installed Python3 in the Mac and tried again, but now I see this.

I will try again this afternoon with my own laptop at home since I'm not sure this Mac is giving me permission problems or something similar... I will update my answer as soon as I can try this in my laptop!

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sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo Author

Thanks for the feedback, indeed I depend on python 3. As it's working with my network settings I can't say I fixed it, but I made an attempt updating how I create a HTTPS connection, please try if you have some time.

Thanks!

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helleworld_ profile image
DesirΓ© πŸ‘©β€πŸŽ“πŸ‘©β€πŸ«

Sandor, I'm really happy to announce that it WORKS! 🀩

See here! I'm so happy, thank you for your patience, this is an amazing feature!

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sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo Author

That's awesome! Thanks for your comments, you helped me fix two issues already!

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visheshpatel profile image
Vishal Chovatiya

Hey Sandor,

Your each & every article is informative & I am learning a lot from you.

Keep going man.

And yes! those numbers are really spectacular.

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sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo Author

Thanks a lot for your message, such comments mean a lot to me!

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camerenisonfire profile image
Cameren Dolecheck

Excellent write up and even cooler tool. Thank you for your work! I tried it out and it worked perfectly.

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sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo Author

Thanks for your nice words!

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adam_cyclones profile image
Adam Crockett

I'm about the same in posts and following over time so there is a trend here. Very interesting. I suspect but not sure if factors in your Dev membership lifecycle change your traffic.

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sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo Author

What factors do you have in mind?

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cemuka profile image
Cem Ugur Karacam

Cool work, thanks for this one pretty straightforward. It would be better to use if you make a cli tool from it.

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torianne02 profile image
Victoria Crawford

Sandor this is really neat!! Thank you for taking the time to create it.