2022 in Review
The year is coming to a close so it's around that time to write a review of things (the good and the bad) that's gone on this year.
Starting off with some personal events. My father passed away. A month later my daughter was born. We moved house.
It's been quite a ride.
In the tech world, we've seen the web3 trend whittle down and several crypto firms going under. The trend has shifted towards AI with the likes of StableDiffusion, DreamBooth, GPT-3, and ChatGPT. What's next year? As if I'm some seer! (would be nice, though)
I started this blog in August of this year, and frankly without any particular goal in mind. It was an experiment. A challenge. Could I grow an audience? Could I boost traffic to my side projects by shamelessly self promoting? Could I actually keep content coming?
So far, it's working, kinda. The rate I write articles has slowed down. It began every other day during the honeymoon period, then weekly, then... infrequently. But as long as I don't abandon the idea is what matters to me, then I'm happy.
It's an infuriating part of having ADHD; once the novelty of a new project wears off, you abandon it and move onto the next thing - sure, that this time it'll be a success.
Some of my motivations are Ashley Allen, Freek and of course the Laravel blog. If you haven't already, do check them out!
My first article on Laravel optimisation tricks made a few rounds on Twitter and got me excited to write further. Although that traffic has died down now and has shifted to organic, fetching in fewer visitors.
It was fun whilst it lasted!
The analytics for this blog uses Plausible, a privacy-focused alternative to Google Analytics. My analytics dashboard is also public.
In terms of organic traffic, Google's search console is showing a trend upwards.
Next year I'd like to keep growing this so more articles + review older articles. Learn more about SEO and spend some time applying it.
I am trying to monetise my blog. Google Ads have rejected me around 6 times. 😢 (31st December edit: It has now been approved!) The reason for rejection isn't very clear but I've gone with there's just not enough content here yet.
On the upside, I have a few Amazon affiliate links around the blog. I was surprised to see that I've earned $3 from a bounty thus far!
Since my blog is hosted with Ghost, I'm paying $11 a month for that luxury. I could reduce that by throwing it on a Digital Ocean box, but it becomes yet another thing to maintain and update. The goal for 2023 is for the blog to self-sustain itself.
Nine in total, although ten if you include this one. 😀
I aim for 1,000 words for every article I publish. I can't always hit this target due to days where I'm really not into it or the topic doesn't require it. What matters to me is whether or not I hit that publish button.
I started another Youtube channel. Though I'm not sharing all my channels as I like to keep some separation here.
The channel linked with my blog, https://www.youtube.com/@harrk has 6 subscribers and only one video. There's not really been a focus on video content, especially due to YouTube requiring 1,000 subscribers before you can even look at monetisation. Although there's not much in it for me currently, any future tutorials that I write will have a video alongside them.
Existing projects, RandomQR and Formie continue to run along. I upgraded RandomQR to Nuxt3/Vue3. Formie got a blog, file uploads, and the subscription tiers got rejigged a bit.
I started a new project called Pingie. It's very much in the MVP phase and there are no plans to publically release it at this stage. It tracks the uptime of my personal sites and lacks many things the competition has.
At the very end of the year (31st December no less!), I released an MVP for QRMetric. I wanted to see if I could further monetise the traffic I receive on RandomQR so we'll see how this pans out in 2023.
On the mysterious side. I created another blog. Another experiment which hasn't gone anywhere, so it may not survive 2023. (31 December edit: it didn't survive 2022)
Usually, I'm back to back with audiobooks but this year I've had a lot of downtime.
My interests this year touched on fantasy, corruption, and entrepreneurship.
- The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson
- Zero to Sold by Arvid Kahl
- The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick
- Kleptopia by Tom Burgis
This year I started learning Go (Golang) and Rust. I'm starting to favour Rust over Go but I think it's still worth having Go on the side. The difficult issue is getting myself to use one of these languages over PHP which I'm more comfortable with when looking into new projects.
It becomes a conflict of goals. Am I creating a product or am I creating a project for learning? PHP and Laravel make it so easy to get an idea out there quickly. I may balance this by sticking with Laravel and then using Rust/Go for any APIs. But yeah, Laravel had made me one spoiled kid.
Mental health has been up/down. As pointed out at the start of this article, a few life events happened that caused a lot of changes. Sometimes I wonder if I'm burned out from development, but when it's all you know. 🤷♂️
Other times I wonder if the current state of the world gets to me. Russia's pointless war in Ukraine. China's tough stance on COVID, making it difficult for my other half to visit her family. The cost of living. But here's to hoping that some sanity and order will return to the world in 2023.
So what about next year, what am I thinking? To be honest, I'm not completely sure. For ADHD reasons I don't want to commit to things I know, I can't hold to, as that causes unwanted burnout and self-disappointment.
For a list of ideas at least:
- Self-sustain blog through ad/affiliate revenue
- Work on SEO
- Chip away at YouTube, although not a focus
- Explore new side projects 👀
- Continue learning Rust/Go and create something
- Work on mental health
I'll go ahead and close here. Look forward to 2023!