Blog Post #100: Your Feedback Please!

Yes! I've made it to my 100th blog post, in just over four months. Who would have thought that, after my very first entry into the realm of blogging, I would make it this far?

I've learned that meta-blogging is incredibly boring. However, I hope you will forgive me for celebrating this personal milestone by inviting you to give me your feedback on the following subjects: my topics and my statistics.

Top 3 Posts
These are the posts that generated the most traffic to my blog:

The Virtue of Junk Code
The Perfect Job Interview Question
Lesson Learned: Automate Project Evaluations

With The Virtue of Junk Code I already suspected it would be generating some buzz while writing it, but the popularity of the other two posts were a complete surprise to me. As far as I can tell, the similarities between these three articles are a line of thinking that goes against established practices, and a compelling way of voicing my opinion. In other words: it pays to be an obnoxious intrigant.

Am I right? Do you want me to write more articles like these?

Favorite Topics
It's very hard to predict the popularity of blog posts. There have been several posts of which I thought they would generate some traffic. But they drew as much attention as Hillary Clinton on a trip to Bosnia. These are some of my personal favorites:

Why Managing Small Projects is Harder
Specialization is Good
Make It Simple vs. Do It Simple

I did get a number of compliments for posts like these. But they drew less traffic than Twitter in a blackout period. However, I'm really passionate about topics like these. And I would hate to spend hours on a brilliant post that only draws three new visitors, one compliment and popularity ratings the size of Ron Paul's presidential campaign.

Tell me, what should I write about? What kind of topics are best?

In All Seriousness
Then there were a couple of tongue-in-cheek posts that I wrote just to have a bit of fun. They succeeded in drawing some attention, but not in very large numbers. Like these:

Thank You, Stupid Americans (a guest post for Codesqueeze)
Why I Would Never Hire Steve Yegge (a reply to a post by Steve Yegge)
…and some very serious posts involving the French.

Are these posts a waste of time? Shall I switch and start making fun of Germans?

Less is More
Some of you might have noticed that I reduced the number of posts from six to three (sometimes four) per week. I must stress that this is not because Max Pool kept insisting that I would exhaust myself. One of the main reasons was simply that I was running a little short on my time for other stuff, like reading, socializing and brushing my teeth. The other important reason is that too many posts is the #1 reason for people to unsubscribe from their RSS feeds.

Am I posting too much? Too little? How often would be good enough for you?

Page View Statistics
Alright, I am going to really open and honest with you. Here are the page view statistics of my blog from the last 30 days:

Statistics1  

As you can see, apart from an occasional peak due to traffic from Reddit, StumbleUpon or DZone, this not something to brag about. With an average of 126 page views in 30 days I might as well start running my own presidential campaign. The chance of getting some exposure would be significantly higher.

RSS Feed Statistics
However… these are the feed statistics of the last 30 days:

Statistics2

The feed count stands at an average of 240, climbing steadily, with a peak of 299 this Tuesday. It appears that most readers are following me via the feed, not on the blog! When checking out other blogs I noticed that the ratio of page views vs. feed subscribers is often quite different. But I don't know if there's a "normal" ratio, and what it would be.

Does this mean I have a strong reader-to-subscriber conversion? I will need to find out.

The Speed of Growth
One other thing that's interesting to find out is whether the growth of readership is in line with what other authors have experienced. I started from level zero just four months ago. This week my Google Rank has finally increased to 2. (Ah, at last… I hated that number 0!) And my Technorati Rank has climbed to 516,960, with an authority level of 19. Now, that sounds mighty nice and awfully interesting, but I've read stories of some other blogs growing much faster. However, those usually involve either Britney Spears or naked body parts. Or a combination of both.

Is Noop.nl growing fast enough? Can I do better?

I'm afraid I don't have the answers to any of these questions. Yet. But maybe you have some, and I'd like to hear them! In any case, I will return to blogging as usual this weekend, and you can expect a return to meta-blogging in a couple of months, at blog post #200.

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  • http://www.codesqueeze.com Max Pool

    Congrats on your 100th post Jurgen!
    Your blog has been a pleasure to read thus far, keep up the good writing…
    P.S. Keep telling yourself my meta-blogging tips didn’t influence you…you know I am right… 😉

  • https://noop.nl Jurgen Appelo

    @Max: I don’t know what you’re talking about, and I’m trying to ignore you to the best of my abilities! 🙂

  • http://www.kohn.ca Kone

    I’ve picked up your blog only recently, but I’m enjoying it so far.
    As a piece of advice, I’d say don’t give up writing the posts that you’re really passionate about; it’ll make blogging more exciting for you. Maybe you could find a way to promote your favourite posts. One idea is to put links to your favourites on the sidebar, in addition to recent posts and popular posts. That way, you’ll get a little more value out of posts that you enjoy writing.

  • http://scruffylookingcatherder.com Jacob

    I know that I was drawn to your blog by those first three (high traffic) posts. I can see why they’d be a draw, and it isn’t about being an irritant. Going counter to prevailing wisdom means, pretty much by definition, that your opinion will be rarer than those spouting the latest big thing. So an audience for those positions will tend to be more concentrated.
    What it’s really an indication of is that the prevailing wisdom is over-represented compared to the population who are actually interested in it. Or, more likely, that opposing viewpoints are under-represented compared to those interested in it.

  • http://robinclowers.blogspot.com Robin Clowers

    I found your blog through Max and subscribed right away. Your perspective is different and interesting (even if I don’t always agree with you).
    I feel the number of posts is pretty good, although I would not complain if you wrote more often.
    As to what topics I like, the agile project management stuff is the most interesting to me. Keep up the good work!

  • https://noop.nl Jurgen Appelo

    @Kone: Thank you! I am able to look into the future, so I was already able to follow up on your advice a couple of days ago. I am finishing each article with links to some previous favorites. Let’s see how that works out.
    @Jacob: Interesting point! I often have the feeling that most people simply mimic each others opinions, without thinking for themselves. There’s always “another side” to each viewpoint, which is indeed usually underrepresented because of copy-paste reasoning.

  • http://scruffylookingcatherder.com Jacob

    copy-paste reasoning.
    Oooo. I like that! Good description and evocative as well.

  • https://noop.nl Jurgen Appelo

    @Robin: Max doesn’t want me to write more often. So you’ll have to fight that out between the two of you. 😉
    Agile is a favorite topic of me too, so you won’t have to worry about that!

  • https://noop.nl Jurgen Appelo

    @Jacob: Yes, I’m even considering blogging about ‘copy-paste reasoning’ some time soon.

  • http://scruffylookingcatherder.com Jacob

    Sweet. I’m there…

  • http://phpimpact.wordpress.com/ Federico

    I’m a big fan of your blog! Thanks for sharing your experiences with us 🙂

  • https://noop.nl Jurgen Appelo

    @Federico: Thanks for reading!

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