Thank You (2013 Edition)

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GROUP HUG! It’s that time of year I give ya’ll the biggest warmest THANKS I can. CSS-Tricks is the foundation of my career and makes my life possible. And thus it is to you, dear reader, that I owe everything.

As we’ve done in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, we’ll look at the year by the numbers, milestones, and goals.


Traffic wise, there were 65 million pageviews. That’s a 22% rise over last year, but the growth rate was 38% last year so the rate of growth has slowed. This was from 16.5 million visits. I feel like unique visitors is kinda useless on a developer site. Unique visitors is cookie-based and web developers are the most likely people in world to mess with cookies, use different browsers, etc.

There were very few big spikes in which to mine for information on what makes for a big-traffic day. That’s my style anyway: growth through stubborn persistence.

Mobile (i.e. non-desktop) traffic doubled. Although to just 6% from 3% last year. Again, understandably low for a developer site that most people come to when writing code, which is still a desktop-y activity. But the growth rate matches the web at large.

Social media dominated the referrals. The top four social (and top) sources: 1) Twitter (6% of all traffic) 2) StumbleUpon 3) Reddit 4) Facebook. The top four (so happened to be the next four) non-social-media referrals were: 1) Stack Overflow 2) Codrops 3) Smashing Magazine 4) David Walsh.

RSS subscribers plummeted from 100k last year to 30k this year, directly related to Google Reader shutting down, which still makes me sad. I’m using Feedly which I’m pretty happy with despite some weird missteps. I don’t put much stock in Feedburner stats anymore though, as it’s clearly an abandoned project. If FeedBurner shuts down, I’ll probably move RSS back in-house and figure out some analytics for it I can trust.

There were 11,000 comments this year from the 65,300 ever posted on this site. That’s 1/6 of them, and the site has been around 6 years, so that’s kinda fun.

I received 2,500 emails from the contact form on this site, down from 3,000 last year. Maybe being chatty on social media is bringing that down? Interesting to see incoming email go down like that, especially with general traffic being up. I still think email is a great system and don’t have any particular problems managing it.

I only did 13 free videos this year, about half of what I wanted to do, but at least that’s better than one a month.

I wrote 278 posts this year. 171 one of them were regular length articles (almost one every other day) and 107 were link posts (usually accompanied by minimal commentary).


I got the Store moved over to Shopify, which made for a real shopping cart system, easier fullfillment, and a generally better and more flexible system.

I got the Forums moved over to bbPress, which feels great to have more of the site under one roof. I’m still very happy with the move. Shoutout to all the moderators who help on the forums and keep it a clean, useful place.

I (along with the help of several contributors) finished the Alamanc. There is more that can be done there though in fleshing it out more and updating content, so if you enjoy very specific web tech writing and could use a little freelance work, get in touch.

I published two new complete courses in the Lodge. One on building a mobile-first artist’s website in WordPress and one on learning jQuery from scratch.

I wrote once a month all year for The Pastry Box Project. My favorites were my post about introversion, working in public, and UX, although I enjoyed writing them all. I also wrote on 24 Ways this year about Grunt.

My favorite posts here on CSS-Tricks are the ones that are indicative of important sea changes in front end:

I spoke at Webstock early in the year which took me to New Zealand. I had a grand time. The only other time I left the United States was to visit Scotland for fun with friends. I did a fair bit of traveling around the US the rest of the year, mostly for conferences.

On the personal side, I lost a good bit of weight this year but I have a long way to go to be at an actually healthy weight. I really need to get on track again after these blasted holidays. I also moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin this year in April, which was also symbolic of a move into full-time CodePen work.

Goal Review

Grow traffic on this site.

While the rate of growth slowed, I’m happy with a traffic increase of 22%. If that happened again in 2014 I’d be just as happy.

Average one free screencast every two weeks.

Nope, only did about half that. I’m not overly upset about the rate though. If I do 12 in 2014 I’ll call that good. I really like doing them, but I think creating more content for The Lodge is more important.

Release at least one new complete series to The Lodge. Hopefully in the first third of the year.

Did it! Two courses, actually. I’d like to do at least one more in 2014 too. I think a course straight up on CSS is a possibility, but I have several ideas. I actually have a couple of bigish ideas that could theoretically be books, but I don’t think I want to make a book a specific goal.

Keep growing and expanding CodePen. We have a huge internal list of things we want to do and I’d like to see everything on that list (as of now) done.

I wish I could look at what that list exactly was. I bet we did the vast majority of it but not every bit of it. I can think of at least one thing that I bet was on it that we haven’t gotten to but will in 2014. I’m going to give this a check though. We did pretty well. My biggest 2014 goals will all be CodePen related.

Keep on keeping on at ShopTalk releasing a new show every week.

Pretty close! I’m giving it a check because the only weeks we took off we discussed and decided to on purpose. Not because we failed to get it done.

Be a better web community member all around, participating in more discussions on this site and elsewhere, and bringing more community to CodePen.

This is hard to measure but I think I did OK. Probably about as much as I ever have done. I like it as a goal though. This year I don’t want to limit it to where I’m being a good community member, I just want to think of it as one big web community.

New Goals

Professionally, I’m more and more happy that I’ve trimmed down my responsibilities to just CSS-Tricks, CodePen, and ShopTalk. So my rather generic set of goals around those are:

  1. Continue my pace of writing here on CSS-Tricks. Don’t ever be afraid to write about very small ideas. I’m also going to release an iterative new design here on CSS-Tricks. I have some simple ideas already so I’d like to see that out by Summer at the latest.
  2. Continue building CodePen. That means adding features large and small, but just as importantly, refining what is there. I’d like to see us have four major releases this year and I’d really love to see us take on at least one new employee.
  3. Continue to record and release episodes of ShopTalk all year with Dave and guests. I’d like to do 50 shows, keeping us a reliably-weekly show. I’d also like to solicit some serious listener feedback this year and make adjustments based on what they think would make for a better show.

I also need to create a new talk for 2014, and my generic goal for that is make it a talk that I really enjoy giving. I need to watch it on going to conferences. While I love them, the lost time can wear on me. I’m not going to set a goal on them. I know I felt I did too many last year and have lightened it up this year so far. If I feel better about it this year, I’ll keep it the same. If I still feel like it was too many. I’ll count them and do it by the numbers next year.

Personally, I’d like to:

  1. Get down to 210lbs.
  2. Organize my finances better. Have a system that separates all the things I do more clearly.
  3. Save enough money so that in about 18 months I’ll have a decent down payment on the actual loan I’ll need to get when my land contract on my house is up.

Here we go

I hope you all had a good 2013, but much more importantly, I hope we all have an amazing 2014!