Blog 2019 11 20 My DEV birthday gift for you: Analytics!

My DEV birthday gift for you: Analytics!

I joined a bit more than two years ago. I don’t remember at all how I found this website, but it seemed welcoming. I particularly liked its really simple design. As a backend guy, it was very compelling to me. It seemed easy to join and publish my small number of articles to come, so I said why not giving it a try?!

That time, I had been blogging for a bit less than a year and while even now I’m still not focused on simply getting the most clicks and views possible, I wanted to reach out to a bit wider audience than basically zero. For such a purpose, seemed practical.

You see? There is nothing glamorous in this story!

If you are less interested in how I see my achievements on and more excited by the gift, skip the next two sections ;)

What did I achieve?

I definitely made writing a habit. I do it almost every day. I know that some would say that it’s bad, because quality is more important than quantity. While that’s true, quality comes from practice and practice works only in big quantities.

To me it’s important to develop new and good habits. It’s not really a decision whether I have something important to write about. If it’s a given day and time I write for my blog. I keep a long list of ideas, so I just have to pick one and start working on it.

Also if you check important authors, composers, most likely they published a lot more than we remember to as pieces of great art.

So, I decided to show up every week, every day to force myself to get better. As such I achieved to make writing a daily habit. I don’t write for my blog every day, but I do write almost every day either for my journal, my blog or… Let’s see what the future brings!

Another thing I achieved and it’s quite related is that I post something every week. Every Wednesday morning. Again, not to lose traction. I also don’t have to decide, I don’t have to use my willpower on this one I just post.

I know it’s not a great strategy if I want a wide and loyal audience, but I post about several topics. weekNumber % 3 == 0, I post about something deeply technical, mostly about C++, weekNumber % 3 == 1 I publish about something softer, like agile or stoic philosophy applied to our profession and weekNumber % 3 == 2, I share some ideas about books I read recently. The books are not necessarily technical.

Why do I do this, if I know it’s not optimal for building an audience? Because, more importantly, I want to enjoy the process and I’m interested in many things.

Another decision that I removed is whether I want to crosspost something on or just keep for my blog. In the beginning, I posted articles that I thought are more interesting for a lot of people. In fact, I didn’t want to feel shame that something was not read by a lot of people. But I realized it doesn’t matter. I have nothing to be ashamed for even if an article gets less than a hundred views during the first week - or ever. It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that I put in my efforts to work on it and that I do my best. If people like it, it’s a plus. If not, I learnt. If I manage to understand why they didn’t like it, I learnt even more.

What do the numbers show?

During these two years, I got about 2300 reactions, almost 6800 followers and a bit more than 106k post views. Is that a lot? I doubt. I think there are others in our community who publish one article and get more views and reactions. But the numbers do show interesting numbers.

The moment I write this, I had 76 published posts.

80% of the views come from 18.5% of the posts. Pareto applies.

In terms of reactions, 42% gives 80%, Pareto went on vacation, but he came back for the comments, where 19.74% of the articles are responsible for 80% of all.

I also had a look at my tags.

Most of my views and comments are coming from the #books tag. The majority from this one.

It’s interesting that #career tag is responsible for most of the reactions. I don’t write that much with that tag.

I also checked these numbers but taking into consideration the number of articles using them. Well, the results are super biased. #beginners and #inclusion tags pop up, but I used them only once…

Let’s say, my tool is not appropriate yet, it doesn’t handle outliers. But what tool? You’re going to see just now!

Where is the promised gift and how did I get these numbers?

I was interested in the above information because I like numbers and I had a feeling that a small portion of articles gives the vast majority of all views.

I started to add up the views manually. But, man, I don’t like that kind of labour. Then I wanted to see the same numbers for comments and reactions.

I’m lazy for that, so I wrote a script. Then I thought that I should clean it up a little bit and share it with you folks. So if you want to see similar numbers regarding your own articles, consider using Analytics. And feel free to contribute, I’m sure you can come up with more interesting statistics!


Are these numbers important after all? They can be in different ways.

One way would be to use them to choose what topics I should concentrate on. To me, that would be the wrong way. It would lead to view driven writing, which I’m not in favour of right now.

The other way is to have a look at what characteristics have my most appreciated articles have and try to concentrate on those if possible in all my future writings. Not to gain more views, but to be more helpful or provide more joy to those read my lines.

Thank you for these two years on DEV and all the comments you made! And feel free to try Analytics!

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.