DevFright.com began life as CodePath.org back in December 2012. I started it with the intention of keeping notes of the things I was learning when I started to learn how to program at the beginning of that same year. After a few months, I changed codepath.org to devfright.com and also moved the content over as well, and after that, the owners of codepath.com asked if they could buy the .org domain from me. I agreed to the sale. I’m glad they were able to put it to good use.
Traffic started flowing to the site with December having 277 page views, according to Google Analytics. It then tapered off to its lowest of 77 in February 2013. It picked up again in March with 325 page views and until July that year it was around the 225 mark for each month with the exception of July increasing to 484 page views.
Just to show how many tutorials were posted, here is a brief overview:
- December 2012: 6 Posts.
- January 2013: 1 Post.
- February 2013: 0 Posts.
- March 2013: 8 Posts.
- April 2013: 4 Posts.
- May 2013: 0 Posts.
- June 2013: 0 Posts.
- July 2013: 1 Post.
In August, traffic picked up again. There were 910 page views that month, and a lot more content added.
- August 2013: 13 Posts
Coming from a background of writing content on websites from 2006, I know that just a few posts a month usually doesn’t cut it, particularly in the tech field. I was surprised that July ended up doing as it did with 2 months prior having zero posts, and only doing 1 post in July with was published on the 18th of that month. But it seems that Google had noticed the site, and a few of the posts were starting to rank better in July. Perhaps some sites had linked to it at this point, and helped increase the ranking in the process of that.
Rather than explain the remaining months in detail, the rest of the year ended up doing great. The first 7 months, as seen above, looks almost insignificant with the growth of traffic to DevFright.com in the latter months of the year. December 2013 ended up with 23,636 page views.
What I will say is that the momentum of writing tutorials didn’t continue. The rise in traffic was due to my work earlier in the year, and particularly in August where the most posts were made. After that, the post cadence dropped significantly, and traffic started to die down. Lesson learned: To keep traffic, you need to keep creating content.
In 2014, I published just 15 posts, 7 of those posted by another writer and great iOS developer I collaborated on a few projects with. Despite few posts that year, traffic was generally OK, although it peaked around match and started to slowly taper off.
Lets fast forward to today:
Although I made some efforts in creating content, I typically did not keep up a steady rhythm, and traffic dropped. Content started to grow old. I did begin to update some, and particularly created Swift equivalents after that was introduced by Apple.
As studies are slowing down over the next few weeks, and as I have learned a lot more since starting DevFright; such as creating several apps for other people, and also learning how to create Android apps; I have lots to write about. My goal for 2019 is to keep a steady flow of content to see if I can reach the peak level again which was in March 2014 where pages were viewed 31,525 times that month.
I quite like the transparency of Eugen for his Baeldung.com website where he regularly blogs about traffic and numbers, so I decided to follow his lead, and also post updates. At the moment, I am going to post monthly updates, and if the site takes up too much of my time, I’ll drop to quarterly or semi-annual reports.
Costs to Run DevFright.com
For web hosting, I was a WebSynthesis user for a few years until they recently sold to WP Engine. I pay $35/month for hosting there. I have decided to stay with WP Engine* until my traffic get to higher levels when I will evaluate if I should stay. So far the site speed has been excellent, and the service has also been excellent, so I think I’ll probably continue on. I’ll address that when the time comes though. I’ve moved plenty of websites around before, and even managed a hosting company some time ago, so am familiar with moving sites around, particularly WordPress based sites.
I have considered other options. This website, matthewnewill.com, is built using Jekyll, and hosted on Github pages. Although DevFright wouldn’t be suitable for GitHub pages (from my understanding of the terms of service), I could easily spin up a Digital Ocean server for $5/month and move a static version of the site to there; or alternatively, just use DO with a WordPress install on it. I might consider that in a month or so if traffic doesn’t begin to increase.
What I do like about managed WordPress hosting is that I can leave the headaches to the hosting company. I can focus my time on creating content, rather than tracking down a hack of some-sort, or an issue with performance. When I last ran a large website, it had around 1,000,000 page views per month and sometimes I had to spend most of a day tracking down issues. I started to like the managed portion where I could focus on the content.
I was using AWeber for several years, and they worked great, but because I had slowed down the content creation, and stopped using them for other sites, I decided to move from the $29/month fee at AWeber ($19 for 1,000 emails, and then $10 for anything over 1,000 to the next tier).
Instead, I switched to mailchimp (I’m on the free plan), although if traffic and subscribers build up to decent levels, I may consider switching to ConvertKit as it looks very interesting to me.
Numbers wise, there are currently 1,074 (including me) subscribers to the DevFright mailing list, although I haven’t actively promoted that for a few years now, so many of those might unsubscribe when I start sending out emails again. Thinking about it, the only opt-in form on DevFright probably still links to AWeber. I best check that out.
I will be posting again in the new year to show December 2018 numbers. Right now, they look to be similar to November. From 1 to 19 Nov there were 3,218 page views, and for the 1 to 19 Dec there were 3,250. I will see if several new posts to the site can help increase traffic, although history has taught that fresh content, particularly when added to a site that doesn’t get regularly updated, takes some time to be picked up. However, what I work on now should yield more traffic over the coming months and years.