Taking a break from blogging & state of the union

• ~900 words • 4 minute read

I've been writing one post per day since late January of this year. My goal was to write one post every single day for a full year, but I'm going to take a week off here as I need to focus my energy on other things for a little bit. There's a still a chance I can meet that requirement by doubling-up on posts a couple times. Maybe I'll do that.

The quality of these posts — which was never particularly high to begin with — have been steadily declining as I write more to meet a deadline than because I actually have something to express. I knew that would happen but I've had a slew of 1am posts over the past couple weeks and I need to cut that out.

I'll try to pick things up again in a week. For the meantime, here are my top 10 most visited blog posts since I picked this up in January:

1. Why I chose Swig over Jade templates for  my Node+Express project. The popularity of this one surprised me. I remember writing that and thinking I can't be the only person who feels that way. Perhaps the secret to blogging success is honing in on nerdy, under-represented niches and using lengthy titles. This one is a solid 16% of my traffic.

2. Penny Thoughts. It's a steep hop from #1 to #2, but I was still a little surprised to see this one here. This is my collection of "thoughts" collected from Mechanical Turk users over the span of several years — paying people literal pennies for their thoughts. Seeing them as a full collection and reading through them now is kind of interesting, but I think half the fun I had at the time was waking up each morning to a new batch of these. The idea that somewhere people were up and at it, being people and having the same mundane/profound/profane thoughts we all have all the time made me happy.

3. How to make a bicycle briefcase. This is the one I expected to see at #2. I linked to it from one of my bike projects so I think it kind of got an unfair leg-up, even if that site gets virtually no traffic.

4. About George. I guess people are a little curious. Every time I reread that I want to write something new, but I know it'd just be an endless cycle.

5. Homemade Cufflinks. I thought this might give the bicycle briefcase a run for its money at #2. Maybe if I'd given it some gross, SEO-infused title like "You won't believe how simple it easy to make your own cufflinks!" or "1 DIY Cufflink Hack." Actually, I kinda wish I'd done that last one. That's hilarious. We've reached peak hack, where simply doing the thing is a hack.

6. Archives. Boring. But I'm realizing now this probably has more to do with it being the second item in my primary navigation than anything else. Maybe I should hack it and put something else up there.

7. The wacky world of Amazon product suggestions. This was one of the very few I posted to Facebook where it was pretty popular and got a lot of funny comments. That was the day I discovered the Nicolas Cage pillowcase. Everything changed after that.

8. My grandfather's YouTube video circa 1954. I also posted this one to Facebook. I remember because a friend of mine's mother wanted to talk about it and I ended up retelling part of my family story. I love researching and talking about my family history so I'm happy to see this one make the top ten. Most of the traffic came from Facebook but there are some scattered search results in there too. My grandfather and I share the same name — and not a particularly common one — so I sometimes wonder if people who stumble across my site searching for my name are looking for information on him.

9. Contact me. Boring! Probably another effect of being in the navigation, though you'll notice Projects isn't above it. Interestingly, I read somewhere (I honestly don't remember where. Sounds like something from a Nielsen Norman Group report but it would've had to have been one of the free ones and I can't recall or find it.) that, when scanning a menu like this from right-to-left, people have a tendency to interact with the first two or three items more with the instances of interaction decreasing the farther you go right. That might make sense, but the interesting part is it spikes upwards for the very last item in the menu. I might speculate it has something to do with how we read words and sentences, often times taking-in the first and last letters/words first and letting our brains fill in the rest. Turns out there's (sort of) a word for this process: typoglycemia.

10. A half-ass primer to coffee roasting at home. Last but not least! Many years ago I had a better-written blog post about roasting coffee at home that received reasonable amounts of web traffic from time to time. I tried to recapture some of that magic here, but coming in at #10 I'm not so sure I succeeded. This post probably does have one of my favorite photos though.