Well-oh-well if it isn’t that time of year again. Time to huddle around the virtual campfire, pass around a metaphorical jug of brandy, and bid farewell to another year. You know, that thing we do every year. (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, 2013).
I can’t say I spend much time obsessing over them, but it’s fun to look at things by-the-numbers once in a while.
One thing fouls up the analytics this year: in my recent redesign tweaks, I screwed up the Google Analytics code, and I’m missing most of December. I have 340 days of the 365 days of the year. That’s 7.35% missing, so I’m going to multiply the numbers I have (that are sums) by 1.0735 to get a more accurate representation. I guess that’s a good reason to look at these things more often.
There were 67 million pageviews, up from 65 million last year. That’s the slowest rate of growth ever here on CSS-Tricks, but it’s still trending upward and it’s a number I’m pretty happy with anyway. Google Analytics doesn’t seem to track “visitors” and “unique visitors” anymore, it’s “users” and “sessions”. I know what they are, but since they are different from what was there last year, I’ll wait until next year to compare them.
Search accounted for 84% of traffic. It used to be more evenly distributed between search and referral traffic. I don’t mind the search traffic of course, but it does feel safer when traffic is dispersed amongst many sources, rather than being so closely tied to just Google. If I did something that Google search bots didn’t like somehow, I’d be up poop creek. I’m not that worried about it though. I don’t do any trickery, I just try and have a site with as much good content on it as I can.
Mobile usage dropped from 6% last year to 3% this year. This just isn’t the kind of site people come to much from little screens, which makes sense really, most content here is coding reference material and coding is largely a “desktop” activity still, I’d wager.
Looking at referral traffic only (9% of total), StackOverflow dominated that with 22% of it. Then Twitter at 7%, Feedly at 3%, and Facebook at 2.5%.
There were 238 posts published, again down from 278 last year.
There were 8,920 comments on the blog posts, a drop from 11,000 last year. Although most discussion on the site is through the forums, where 20,120 replies were posted to 4,020 topics.
I received 1,776 emails from the contact form, a number that has been going down year over year from a while. That’s just an easy one to track, I’m sure email overall is pretty consistent, while engagement in other ways grows. Twitter followers for @real_css_tricks exploded this year, at 160,000 now. Lots of minor things (that might have been emails in the past) come through that.
I only did 5 free videos, but did manage to release a 40 video course (on SVG) in The Lodge.
Overall kind of a down year. Not dire, but down.
The five most popular articles (by traffic)
- Perfect Full Page Background Image
- A Complete Guide to Flexbox
- Media Queries for Standard Devices
- CSS Box Shadow
- Using SVG
The largest milestone this year was getting properly organized into a business. I started an LLC, and everything I do professionally is organized under it (except CodePen which is it’s own universe). So absolutely everything is partitioned away from my own personal stuff for the first time. New bank accounts, new credit cards, new everything.
Now everything has proper accounting done on it, and we can look at the ins and outs of the business in a way that makes sense. I have Dee Gill to thank for that, the latest member of the team. The fact that there really is a team, is a milestone I’d say.
I also got out a largely-performance-focused v12 of the design. I figure I have another month or so of enjoying it before the itch starts to think about the next version. I’m thinking the next one will be feature-based, as there are plenty of ideas there.
Personally, I travelled a lot this year. Fun was had, but it crossed firmly into too much territory. I have no doubt that the down-ness of the year was due in some part to that, combined with that CodePen is where most of my time is these days.
I had three professional and three personal goals I set in last year’s version of this post.
Continue my pace of writing here on CSS-Tricks.
I’d call this a pass. It was a little down in straight new-articles-published, but I wrote a lot all over the place (e.g. the CodePen blog, personal blogs, newsletters, etc).
Continue building CodePen.
Continue to record and release episodes of ShopTalk all year with Dave and guests.
Get down to 210 lbs.
Fail. I’ve done OK with health overall. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. But this ambitious weight goal didn’t happen. I’m taking a (rather drastic) step this year in spending the entire month of February at a health facility trying to get down to a more reasonable maintenance weight of 225 lbs.
Organize my finances better. Have a system that separates all the things I do more clearly.
Save money for house down payment.
I could have done better, but I’m OK here.
I’m going to take it easy on setting new specific goals. Instead, these are the concepts that I want to permeate the year
- I feel like the way to bounce back from a down year is to double down and invest a lot more back into the site. I want more people involved. More people making money by doing worthwhile work making the site better. Mostly: more and better content, and a concerted effort to keep all the content here already in great shape. That’s going to reduce profit, and that’s OK. Long term success hinges on this.
- Business is business. Not like in a gross way, but in a responsible way. I want to take care of all the parts that make this thing tick. Advertisers and sponsors need to be taken care of to ensure the money they spend here works. Writers need to be taken care of to ensure they have everything they need to be productive. Mostly this is a reminder to myself to think about this and take things seriously when necessary.
- Travel should be fun. I’d love to never step onto a plane unless it’s stress-free.
Thank you (thankyouthankyou) for reading and being a part of all this.
Here’s the plan: let’s make 2015 a fantastic year through brute force and elbow grease!
Thanks for sharing this info, Chris. I always find things like this interesting. And thank you for everything you do on CSS-Tricks, CodePen and specifically the Shop Talk Show, which has gotten me through many long nights trying to meet tight deadlines. Cheers and Happy New Year!
Happy 2015 Chris. Thanks for all your work and sites and everything! Proud to be a (small) part of it.
Thank you so much for all the great content. I have learned so much from this site in the past year and I look forward to more great content in 2015!
Heave-ho indeed! Keep it going Chris, keep it growing! Brin. ;)
You should spend some time updating that “Media Queries for Standard Devices” article.
That’s on the list!
I’m going to bury this, as a rule I’m gonna to delete or bury all anonymous comments. Bury, if they aren’t spam, like this. To encourage proper discourse.
67 million pageviews! Oaw.! Happy new Year , Chris.
Thanks for the time to share the buiness stats and personal aspects of your life.
Interesting about the search results dominating the traffic at 84%, could this be due to the way you last rebuilt the site code and design?
Started learning here, on CSS-Tricks this year. You’re the right man in the right place, that’s clear for me so I follow your well-considered posts.
Should be the mid of 2014! Not so long, but almost every day.
Maybe some article about all effective techniques for getting rid of a spam in 2015?
CSS-Tricks is helpful, but I still get tricked at least once per year because I forget to type dash after css (and before tricks).
Happy New Year! Nice job on last year’s goals! Suggestion for this year: spin up a sister site (JS-tricks)?
Wish you happy new year, thank you for great content and I have learned so much from your site and looking forward for more good content.
Chris, a HUGE Thanks! to you for all you do for a better web and a better experience for everyone.
Congrats on all your achievements.
Your tenacity is exemplary.
Hai Chris Thanks TO All Its Very Good Content and HaPpY NeW YeAr
I am quite happy with the content this side provides as always. It really covers all the aspect of frontend development. You really set the standard, that in the modern era of these awesome webfonts, monospace still has it’s place apart from just code snippets.
The only thing that I wanted to produced more are free videos. No offence but this years videos weren’t complete, previously you solved problems. But this year you touched jekyl and flexbox that aren’t fully standardized.
Hi Chris, I wanna thank you for this site. There are lots of useful content here. I’ve got many things that helps me to improve my skills in css and js as well. :)
About the Google Analytics renaming. It is just renaming.
Sessions = Visitors (determined by a 30 minute cookie)
Users = Unique visitors (determined by a 2 year cookie)
So you can still compare your metrics to previous years.
Happy new years :)
metaphorical brandy …!?
Ahh well. Happy New Year’s! Thanks for your site and forums. I’ve run into lots of cool people here.
Congratulations on another great year! Best web programming site out there! Happy New Year!
Happy New Year thx for all!! I Love your Posts!
Way to go Chris! You help me & my sister greatly with your CSS website! And do not worry much about your weight – as long as you keep rocking with CSS-ing!
Best Wishes Chris!
Thanks Chris, I think without this site, many of us would be lost on many topics, and the Almanac is super god-damned useful.
I always look forward for the new article to pop-up on Feedly, and one of the few that I read consistently.
Here’s to another great year!
just a very quick note to say thank you for this site! For all the time and work, for all the sharing – for it all :-) An invaluable resource for us all :)
Re: Design History, I commented this last year, but this site’s v9.2 was – and continues to be – my absolute favorite design. For the past year I’ve buckled down on responsive design systems and simplifying design for that purpose, but I’ve also tried to not make RWD a limitation for great design. I still mockup full-width designs in Photoshop before looking a mobile, and that’s helped my desktop sites not look like just a desktop version of a mobile site.
Glad to hear you’ve made progress with the serious business side of everything. This is where I have the greatest anxiety considering the future. I know talking business stuff is kinda tangential to css-tricks’ tone, but MAN I’d love to hear you talk about that more. I know lots of freelancers and not-quite-yet-LLCs out there would love to get your take and suggestions on making business happen and finances work WITHOUT having to hire an outside CPA.
Thanks Chris and a happy newyear for you all!
Thanks for all the awesome tips and tricks you guys bless us with! CSS Tricks has been a go-to source for our team for many years. Keep doing what you do :)
This blog was most useful for me this year than the previous years and I appreciate it. Thanks Chris
Thanks for all the awesome tips and tricks you guys bless us with! CSS Tricks has been a go-to source for our team for many years.