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Nikolas Barwicki - Javascript Blog Nikolas's Blog

Reflecting on 2023: A year in review

/ 4 min read

Almost First Year

It might seem like this was the first year of my blog, but it wasn’t.

In reality, it was the first year after a major redesign and rewrite. I changed how I publish. From the start of 2023, I committed to releasing a new article each week, totaling 52 new entries. I reset my Google Analytics stats at this point, so I consider January 2023 the real blog start. It’s not entirely false because, in 2022, there was about one unique user per day.

Writing a post weekly, even a short one, seemed easy. But after a few months, I realized it was more challenging than I thought. On average, each blog post took 5-7 hours, involving research, preparing code examples or tutorials, drafting, and then polishing it into a readable form.

After a few weeks, I saw it’s nearly impossible to create unique content that simultaneously:

  • Helps organize my knowledge, letting me understand a topic better, and learn something new,
  • Serves readers with short, information-packed articles,
  • Contributes to the blog’s growth by touching on frequently searched topics to increase traffic weekly.

There are many great blogs, especially in the frontend/Javascript area, making it tough to achieve all these goals. This realization dented my motivation. Each article consumed a lot of my free time, only increasing unique users slightly each week.

Blog Stats Summary

I wrote several posts, proving the Pareto principle applies to my blog. 20% of the articles brought in 80% of all traffic.

My first big success was an in-depth post about the new SEO Metadata in Next.js (version 13). I shared it on the /nextjs subreddit, and it went viral (for that subreddit’s scale). With this, I met my 2023 traffic goal:

  • I had more than 1000 unique users in a single month.

The spike was significant, showing me that marketing my blog could lead to great numbers. I tried sharing my articles on Reddit again, leading to another achievement:

I’ve been a long-time subscriber of this newsletter and never imagined getting featured with my content.

After these brief spikes in popularity mid-year, the traffic plateaued. I ran out of new post ideas and needed to focus more on my full-time job. I neglected the blog for several months.

End of the Year Spike

I’ve often heard that SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. I started to see some results from this marathon in November. Even without updating the blog, traffic more than doubled. Some older articles gained traction on Google, reigniting my motivation.

I’ve also adopted a new approach for the blog. Writing an article every week can be tough, especially on topics that don’t excite me. So, I’ve slightly changed how I approach new articles. I’ll explain more in the next section.

Here are some stats:

  • Google Analytics shows about 6300 users visited my blog in 2023.
Google Analytics stats
  • Vercel Analytics, which is better with privacy-focused browsers, recorded over 10500 unique users. The last month of 2023 was the best yet, with nearly 1400 unique visitors.

I don’t have previous data to compare growth, but I’m very happy with these results and excited for the new year.

Goals and Plans for 2024

For 2024, I won’t stick to a strict publishing schedule. I’ll post whenever I have valuable insights to share, aiming for at least once a month.

I believe writing helps shape thoughts, organize knowledge, and highlight areas for improvement. That’s why I plan to write more posts sharing my personal opinions and approaches. This will help make my content unique.

Another focus will be on topics where I need to deepen my understanding. I’ll research and organize information to fill knowledge gaps. These posts should perform well with SEO, as there’s a lack of in-depth articles on these topics online.

My goal for 2024 is to reach at least 5000 unique users in a 30-day period. That’s about 250% more than now. It’s ambitious but achievable.

I’ve just launched a complete redesign and rewrite of the blog. It’s more minimalistic, with added pagination and clearer categories. This is a solid foundation for optimization and further growth.

Writing this took almost an hour, and that’s without needing to do research or prepare code snippets. I realize it’ll take a lot of my free time in 2024, but seeing the results in traffic and, more importantly, in knowledge and thought organization, I believe it’s the right direction.

Chances are, not many will read this since it’s hard to find directly from search engines. But if you are reading this - here’s a special tomato 🍅 for you.