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!