In November 2011, I decided to try blogging and created the Passion for Coding blog. Three years and 186 published posts later, my blog has grown into a resource for programmers from all over the world. I would like to thank you all for reading, commenting and sharing my posts. Without readers, blogging would be extremely boring.
When I first started the blog three years ago I had to be careful to filter out my own page views from the web server analytics, to not get confusing numbers. In fact, I could see from the web server statistics on what days I had written new posts, solely on the extra hits using the admin interface produced on the web server. That is no longer the case. I’ve so far had visits from 210 countries/territories, which is basically the entire world except a few countries in central Africa and the one exception in Asia: North Korea.
During this year I’ve gradually narrowed the focus on the blog to become more technical and less about the soft sides of software development. I’ve reduced the number of articles on methodology and focused on programming instead. At first I was a bit worried that I might loose quite a few of my readers. I probably did, but I’ve gained even more so I think it was the right decision. It is also in line with a general career decision I made, to focus more on the technical expertise and less on the soft sides. I want to focus more on coding and architecture and that means that I have to focus less on project management.
Highlights of the Year
In January I left C# for a while and tried PHP. The result was a new theme for the blog, based on bootstrap. I made the theme to give the blog needed a better responsive design and I took it the opportunity to try some WordPress development, to broaden my perspective.
In May I started writing on a small series on Owin. The first article didn’t get much attention. I was actually a bit disappointed because I thought it was pretty good. Then when I added the second article, I received a comment by Rick Anderson at Microsoft that he would add it to his identity resource map. The post ended up being linked from http://asp.net as an additional resource for ASP.Net Identity and Owin. With that, the search rank got a boost and traffic from search engines started to increase. Currently, I get a 3.9 average ranking for the search term “Owin” on Google which is currently the single search term generating most traffic. I would like to thank Rick, not only for promoting my Owin posts, but also for the great work on the ASP.NET documentation.
Open Source Work
During the year I’ve also been really hooked by open source work. Mostly the Kentor.AuthServices SAML2 Service Provider, which has also been the subject of (too?) many of this year’s blog posts. But I’ve also made a try with a smaller open source project for handling disappearing cookies when hosting Owin middleware on IIS. Previously I would just have dumped the code in a blog post and let people copy the code. Now I took the step and created a ready-to-use Nuget package with the solution. I think that it has made the solution much more accessible to users and provides better options to push bug fixes, so I will try to continue working that way in the future.
With this, the fourth year has started for Passion for Coding. I’ll continue writing and continue to try to write one post a week. I’ve been lagging behind a bit the last few months, but I’ll try to get back on track again. I know that I’ll start the new year with working on bringing Kentor.AuthServices to Sharepoint in parallel with some work on a legacy application. There will probably be blog posts about the experiences from both projects.
Finally I would like to share some statistics, as I’ve done before. As you can see there were not many visitors in the early days, but it has been growing. So if you want to start your own blog – do so, but be patient in that gaining traffic will take some time. If you start writing, please drop me a mail or ping me on Twitter to let me see what you’ve created!
|Server Logs||Google Analytics|
|Month||Visits||Page Views||Visits||Page Views|
|Dzone Page Views||591099||591099|
|Totals, including Dzone||5264408||1165500|
Looking at the numbers it is a steady growth over time. Google Analytics consistently shows a lower number of visitors than the web server logs. I assume that part of the difference is due to people running blocking plugins in their browsers that prevent Google Analytics from registering them. But most of the difference is probably made up of spam and search bots. The dip in the web server logs numbers for November 2014 strengthens that theory. During November, I had disabled the comment functionality by mistake so I assume that the spam bots gave up on me, while human visitors still increased as shown in Google Analytics.