Traffic for the last 30 days

Site Update: Where We Are and Plans For The Future

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see the disclaimer for more information.

Regular readers may have noticed some changes around here of late. Certainly, I’ve been giving the site more love. It’s been moved to a new host and I’ve been playing around with the layout. You’ll also notice from the message above that I’m experimenting with affiliate links. The latest addition is some (hopefully minimal) AdSense ads.

This is all part of my new longer term plan to turn this site into something more than just a place to document my projects. I want to build the site both into a resource for the community and into something that can hopefully make some money to support me doing more projects.

A Change in Perspective

In turn, the plan for this site is part of a larger change in perspective that I’ve had this year. For a long time, I’ve wanted to start my own business. This is something I’ve always been open with – even with my employers. This desire wasn’t driven by wanting to make tons of money, I just wanted the freedom to set my own agenda. The problem was I could never come up with an idea compelling enough for me to want to lay aside other projects in order to work on it.

As time went on, I realised what I actually want is to get paid to work on my own projects (actually I’d happily do it for free if I didn’t need money to live). The problem is no-one is going to pay me to do that! By building up this blog into something that brings in some income (however modest), I will actually be achieving that goal. I may never be able to live off the proceeds, but having the exposure will hopefully open up other opportunities.

My Ultimate Goal

The explanation for why this has come to the front of my mind this year lies in my discovery of the Financial Independence (A.K.A FIRE) movement. This is my ultimate goal. Unfortunately, I’m a long way away from that. It would have helped if I’d discovered it 10 years ago. However, 20’s me didn’t really care about money beyond having enough to live comfortably and not being in debt.

The main tenet of FI is that having enough money set aside to support your (hopefully reasonably minimal) lifestyle buys you the freedom to spend your time as you like. It’s really not about the money. Money is just the means to that end.

If only this guy had known about Financial Independence

FI is a long term game. However, for me there would be no functional difference between being fully financially independent and getting paid to work on projects and document them on this site (aside from the need to keep doing it, to ensure a steady income). So with that in mind, it would be nice if I could eventually make enough from this blog to be able to do it full time.

In the meantime, I’m intending to use any proceeds from this blog (after hosting costs), to both finance future projects and to put towards the FI fund.

Wait a minute, did you say AdSense?

As in Google AdSense. Yes, I did. However, I didn’t come to this decision lightly.

This is a blog about self hosting, DIY electronics and Home Automation. Google really doesn’t fit in around here. I don’t like the tracking inherent in Google’s Ad platform and I don’t like being dependent on an external service to serve content on my site.

I’ve thought long and hard about whether I would run ads at all, never mind Google ones. I’ve also investigated other Ad networks and specifically talked to someone at Mediavine. Unfortunately, not only do I not yet meet their traffic requirements, they also require the use of Google Analytics, so I wouldn’t be any freer from Google.

Ideally, I’d like to host my own ads (if I have to have ads at all), for products that are actually useful and relevant. As a (very) small publisher this seems to be out of reach right now. However, if you’d like to advertise here, feel free to get in contact!

So Adsense is here for now. I’m treating the period of the next few months as a trial to see how well it does. I’ll be sure to report back on whether I think it’s worth it. Given the content of this site, I’m assuming that anyone in my audience who doesn’t like the ads has the technical chops to block them. I don’t mind this, my content is still free for you. However, please don’t complain about it unless you’re willing to buy me a coffee! 🙂

Current Status

To have any chance of success in my efforts, I need to bring more traffic in to the site. The main way to do this is of course to produce more content on a more regular basis. This is something I’ve struggled with in the past. Although I’m improving here, I still have a long way to go.

Traffic for the last 30 days
Site traffic for the last 30 days

In order to benchmark to my progress, I’m publishing some of my traffic stats. As you can see from the graph above, I’m getting some reasonably decent peaks when I publish an article, with massive drops in between.

Over the time period above:

  • There were approximately 3500 visits
  • Maximum daily traffic was 886 visits (corresponding to my last Home Assistant article)
  • Minimum daily traffic was 10 visits, but on non posting days is usually somewhere in the 20s or 30s

I’m not going to bother with any further breakdown, such as traffic sources, etc. That can get really boring!

Where to Next?

My immediate goals are what I’m calling the “100-100-100 Challenge”, these are as follows:

  • Achieve an average of 100 visits per day on non-posting days (with a proportionate increase on posting days)
  • Gain 100 followers on Twitter (I’m actually 3/4 of the way there!)
  • Earn $100 (NZ) in blog related income (after fees and tax)

These seem fairly modest and achievable. In addition I’m trying to set up a blogging schedule so that I can produce one post a week – which will certainly help with the above goals.

That’s pretty much it for this update. As always, if you have any feedback on my plans or on the changes to the site, please leave a comment or get in contact.

If you liked this post and want to see more, please consider subscribing to the mailing list (below) or the RSS feed. You can also follow me on Twitter. If you want to show your appreciation, feel free to buy me a coffee.


Server move…

This is just a quick note to say that if anyone experienced any site downtime over the last day or so this is due to the site being moved to my brand-spanking new Linode VPS. The site move is complete, but I’ll still be working on it over the next few days so there may be further disruption. Also, as I write this the DNS changes may still be propagating so you may not even be able to read this! As a result of the move there may be a few glitches caused by differences in configuration between the two hosts, please contact me via the comments below if you run into any problems.

Blogging and Development Haitus

People following me via and via the site feed may have noticed that I’ve been a bit quiet lately. I won’t go into the details about what’s been going on (its all been good stuff though), but its safe to say I’ve been a bit busy. Anyway, I’m back (pretty much).

I’ve decided now to focus my spare time on SwallowCatcher development and poking around with cool technologies that I come across, with some write-ups here. This means that I’m ditching the Unofficial Python Module of the Week segment. This is really because I just can’t hack the schedule and don’t want to be tied down to blogging at specific times.

However, on the up side SwallowCatcher development will resume from today and I hope to have a new release soon. Of course the new release will be posted here as soon as it’s ready.

Also, apologies to anyone who came across my site in its eye-offending pink and grey glory. I’m not sure what happened there. I’m hoping that the site wasn’t hacked in my absence and I can’t find any other evidence of that, but its weird nonetheless.

Site Update…

Seen as its the start of a new month I thought I’d post a follow up to my post on the site overhaul. It hasn’t actually been a month yet, but the tracking statistics are based on calendar months. The short story is that visitor numbers are up, with 446 visitors recorded since the Piwik instance went live (13th Jan) until the end of the month. This beats all my previous records and is only for part of a month. My old GA figures were putting me at around 300 visits per month, though this had slipped recently. So, either there is a large difference in the way the two systems measure visitors or my push to actually put up some content is working! The fact that roughly half my visits are coming from search engines and are coming to newer posts on the site supports my theory that the push is working.

Having said that I’ve slacked off a bit recently (this is only my second post this week). This is mainly because I’ve been putting a lot of work into SwallowCatcher, managing to get a release out earlier this week. Hopefully, in the coming weeks I’ll be able to balance both projects.

In terms of the other action points I had for the site:

  • Google Ads are still here. This is primarily because AdBard have not approved my account yet. I’ve even queried this via their support address and had no response, so I don’t know what’s going on there.
  • Flattr is here! And its actually making me some money, with a total of three flattrs last month. Please, if you like my stuff consider flattring me, it’ll help pay for the site and encourage me to produce more content and software.
  • I have a new theme! Although its just an off the shelf one for now, I haven’t modified it.
  • More pages: well, I’ve posted the project section and a project page for SwallowCatcher. There’s still more I want to do and I haven’t got around to doing a proper profile page or online CV yet.
  • More content: well that speaks for itself. The last month has been a time of unprecedented blogging activity for me. I’m really quite enjoying it and its made its way into my mental todo list for each week, which is a good sign.

That’s just about all there is to it. For those that are interested in SwallowCatcher, since I released on Tuesday I’ve been working fixing some of the issues identified in the release notes and those that people have reported to me. I’ve also been using it day to day to download my podcasts and fixing any issues I encounter. In fact, tonight was the first time I’ve opened my laptop in the last two days. The laptop’s primary use for the last few months has been downloading podcasts when I’m at uni. Now SwallowCatcher is just about filling that niche! I’ll hopefully post an officially updated version sometime over the weekend, with the announcement again going out here.