A Year of Blogging in Review

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May 27, 2019blog

Throughout 2018 I made an effort to blog at least twice a month on average. I made this challenge to myself as a personal goal to continue to write about things I have learned and to give myself motivation to continue trying new technologies, creating new things, and sharing what I have done. After 27 posts in 2018, I successfully accomplished that goal.

Learning’s

Over the course of the year I have picked up various learning’s that made the challenge successful:

  • Have multiple topics, ideas, drafts going at any given time. This helps keep a stream of content coming and prevents me from feeling panicked if I did not have any content started or I have not posted in a while. Something was usually almost ready to go out at any given time, which helped keep my motivation and productivity up.
  • Simple tutorials get a lot of search hits. I did have Google Analytics turned on last year in order to learn if any of my posts were even being ready by anyone and to try to understand what type of content was being read. It seems the ones where I go over the basics of some technology or give a how-to were the most popular.
  • Google Analytics is nice as a hit counter, but not much more. Given I would collect few hundred hits a month many of the other features of Google Analytics were not helpful.
  • I added Disqus to allow people to add comments, but it was never used. I do not have enough readers for this to make this useful.
  • Make changes to the blog carefully. At one point during the year I changed my font to something I liked better, but the code blocks looked terrible using this new font. I did not realize this until someone told me.
  • Spelling and grammar checks are super important. It annoys me when someone misses something simple, yet I did not always take the time to double check my own writing. Either write your posts in something that will check this for you or have someone review a draft for you.

Changes

Throughout last year, and after some recent reflection, I made a number of changes to the blog:

  • First, I setup my own domain via Namecheap and did not rely entirely on GitHub pages. I did this as it is simply easier to share a short hostname. I hesitated on this change because I did not want to have to manage this or remember to renew, but Namecheap makes this easy enough.
  • I enabled HTTPS across my site via my provider and had my site hosted using Amazon’s S3 and replicated via Cloudflare. This was not as easy as I hoped it would be, but once I got it going it worked flawlessly.
  • As I alluded to above, I have a hard time finding a good reason to keep Google Analytics, so I got rid of it. It is one less thing to load and track on the page. The value in having it was not great enough versus the tracking Google does.
  • Similarly, I got rid of Disqus after no comments were ever made.
  • In terms of spelling, I have added add-ons to my text editor to check spelling as I go. I have also found the use of aspell and even spellintian helpful. I can continue to improve here; suggestions welcome!
  • Finally, I added myself to Ubuntu Planet for syndication of all my Ubuntu tagged posts. This helps add readers and share Ubuntu related news.

Future

I took the first part of 2019 off from writing posts in order to take a break, think about what I wanted to do next, and to focus on some personal life items (e.g. propose and start planning a wedding).

I really enjoyed writing many of the posts, if only for my own sharing and synthesis of something I learned. Additionally, I am currently starting to look at a larger project where I would blog as I learn new things.

Onward to more blogging in 2019, 2020, and beyond.


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