In the spirit of transparency and openness that many websites have embraced over the last few years, I've decided to share my stats and experiences blogging on DevGrow over the last three months. Overall, the results have been pretty interesting and positive, at least for the most part.
First Up: The Stats
Since February 15, 2010, I've published a total of 27 posts that have received over 250 comments (more than 500 if you count Twitter responses). My most popular post so far is the post on iPhone-style radio buttons using CSS and JQuery, which was featured on Smashing Magazine and has been read (as of now) over 11,000 times. The second most popular post was featured on Reddit for a couple of days and has over 8,000 reads - it's on the new features of JQuery UI 1.8. The most commented post happens to be the one written in the most controversial manner (purposely, I admit) but with a valid point nonetheless, that web designers should cater to their visitors' needs.
I'm not sure how interesting this is to people but here is a screenshot of all the traffic this site has seen since launch (February 15th):
Looking at the stats, it's not a terrible start but it could be much better. The bounce rate, pages per visit and average time on the site are all pretty low. I'm not sure if it's due to the market that this blog is targeting or if it's due to the content itself, but some of my other sites (with much more traffic) have managed to have much lower bounce rates and increased user engagement. This is one aspect of the site that needs a lot of work and that I will be focusing my energy on. In terms of revenue, I've only recently added BuySellAds to the sidebar but in all honesty, the traffic is probably not high enough to generate any significant income just yet.
Reflections and the Future of DevGrow
I was a skeptic at first but now I fully agree: blogging is definitely NOT a get-rich-quick scheme. It is something that takes time, patience and a lot of hard work! As I write more I'm beginning to better understand not only what my readers (you guys!) are interested in reading but I'm also learning what I am interested in writing about myself. You see, it's easy to make a list of things that will attract traffic and people will eat up. The hard part is spending the time and energy to write about it (or make it, if it's a product) - for me, I have to find genuine interest in what I write. I'm still very new to this game and I'm looking at everything so far as a learning experience.
If you're part of the 20-30 people that know of the original DevGrow, an experiment I launched a few years ago, then you know what it was trying to achieve. It's a blog right now but I still want to slowly shift back to that original goal, which was to build a solid community for developers and designers to share their ideas, experiences and resources. I'm still working on figuring out the best way to achieve this but I do have some features I plan on incorporating here soon that will help advance that goal.
Call for Help
So far this has been a one-man show, which is fine as I've enjoyed writing the articles up to date. Unfortunately, because I still have to work to make a living, I can only write a couple of times a week at the moment. If you are a web designer or web developer and would like to help out, please consider contributing!
I owe a big thank you to all of you, really - the regular readers, those who have left comments, shared my posts or linked back - I sincerely appreciate it. Twitter has been a vital asset in getting this blog off the ground, many of the posts have been Retweeted numerous times. As long as you all continue to show your support, I will do my best to provide informative and useful posts!