I’ve been blogging for just over three years now. Writing my first blogs in January 2017 in a small café in London out of pastime, I had never imagined that I would actually attract a readership. And while my blog grew in visitors and followers, it always remained just a hobby for me to summarize and post stuff I was reading or working on at the time.
Still, I want to make sure that you — my readership — get the most out of the time I invest in my blogs. Some blogs are more interesting than others, I am aware. However, I notice that it’s not only the content, but also the time and momentum of posting that draws in you readers.
Hence, I propose the following: Rather than erratically posting everything at the time of writing, I’m going to provide you with some regularity. As of today…
I will post a new blog every Tuesday, at 15:00 GMT+1
“Why that specific time?” I hear you asking. Well, it’s the perfect time as all my followers are still awake on the same day!
My Asian followers can read the blog just before or in bed,
My African and European readers can look forward to their commute home, and
My North- and South-American fans can enjoy it with their morning coffee!
Over the course of last year, I posted nearly 100 blogs. If you do some quick maths, you will conclude that 1 post every Tuesday is a lot less.
And this is where you come in:
Please let me know at what time you would prefer to have me post a second blog every (other) week. You can do so in the comments, by sending me a direct message, or by reaching out to me on twitter or LinkedIn.
With only one day remaining in 2019, let’s review the year. 2019 was my third year of blogging and it went by even quicker than the previous two!
Personally, it has been a busy year for me: I started a new job, increased my speaking and teaching activities, bought and moved to my new house, and got married op top of that!
Fortunately, I also started working parttime. This way, I could still reserve some time for learning and sharing my learnings. And sharing I did:
I posted 95 blogs in 2019! That means one new post every 4 days!
paulvanderlaken.com improved its online footprint as well. We received over 100k visitors in 2019! And many of you subscribed and sticked around. Our little community now includes 55 more members than it did last year! And that is not even including the followers to my new twitter bot Artificial Stupidity!
There is clearly a power distribution in the quantity with which you read my blogs.
Some blogs consistently attract dozens of visitors each day. Others have only handful of visitors over the course of a year.
These are the 19 articles which were most read in 2019. Hyperlinks are included below the bar chart. It’s a nice combination of R programming, machine learning, HR-related materials, and some entertainment (games & gambling) in between.
Some of these newer blogs haven’t had the time to mature and redeem their place yet though. Regardless, I have high hopes!
Particularly for Neural Synesthesia, which was easily one of my greatest WOW-moments for ML applications in 2019. It’s truly mesmerizing to see a GAN traverse its latent space.
Reading & posting patterns
I have been posting quite regularly throughout the year. Apart from a holiday to Thailand during the start of January, and the start of my new job in February.
While I write and post most of my blogs in the weekend, I guess I should consider postponing publishing. As you guys are mostly active during Tuesdays and Wedsnesdays!
Statistical summary of 2019
What better way to end 2019 than with a statistical summary?
I have posted more and shorter blogs, and you’ve rewarded me with visits and more likes (also per post). However, we need more discussion!
Words / post
As of 29/12/2019
It took some time to get started, but halfway 2017 my blog started attracting an audience. People stayed on during 2018, and visitor number continued to increase through 2019.
With an ongoing expansion from R into Python, and an increased focus on sharing resources, applications, and novelties related to data visualization and machine learning, I have a lot more in store for 2020!
I hope you stick around for the ride!
Please like, subscribe, share, and comment, and we’ll make sure 2020 will be at least as interesting and full of (machine) learning as 2019 has been!
Where there’s success, there’s failure. Some of my posts did not get a lot of attention by my readership. That’s unfortunate, as I really only take the time to blog about the stuff that I deem interesting enough. Were these failed blog posts just unlucky, or am I biased and were they simply really bad and uninteresting?
You be the judge! Here are some of the least read posts of 2018:
Now, let’s move to some general statistics: in 2018, paulvanderlaken.com received 85.614 views, by 57.594 unique visitors. I posted 61 new blogs, consisting of a total of 31.598 words. Fifty-one visitors liked one of my posts, and 24 visitors took the time to post a comment of their own (my replies included, probably).
Compared to last year, my website did pretty well!
Words / post
However, the above statistics do not properly reflect the development of my website. For instance, I only really started generating traffic after my first viral post (i.e., Harry Plotter). The below graph takes that into account and better reflects the development of the traffic to my website.
The upward trend in traffic looks promising!
All time favorites
Looking back to the start of paulvanderlaken.com, let’s also examine which blogs have been performing well ever since their conception.
Clearly, most people have been coming for the R resources overview, as demonstrated by the visual below. Moreover, the majority of blog posts has not been visited much — only a handful ever cross the 1000 views mark.
Finally , let’s have a closer look as to what brought people to my website.The below visualizes the main domains that redirected visitors.
Search engines provided the majority of traffic in both 2017 and 2018 – mainly Google; to a lesser extent, DuckDuckGo and Bing (who in his right mind uses Norton Safe Search?!). My Twitter visitors increased in 2018 as compared to 2017, as did my traffic from this specific Quora page.
And that concludes my two year anniversary of paulvanderlaken.com review. I hope you enjoyed it, and that you will return to my website for the many more years to come : )
I end with a big shout out to my most loyal readers! 104 people have subscribed to my website (as of 2019-01-22) and receive an update wherener I post a new blog.
Thank you for your continued support!
Want to join this group of elite followers? Press the Follow button in the right toolbar, or at the bottom of this blog post.
The magazine of Tilburg University — Univers — recently interviewed me on my PhD research on People Analytics and data-driven Human Resource management. The Dutch write-up by interviewer Ron Vaessen you can find here, but is unfortunately available in Dutch only.
I have also dedicated several blogs to more background information. A small extract on the ethics of people analytics and machine learning in HR I posted here. Those interested in visualizing survival curves like I did can see this post. Curious about the cover design, read this post.
One year ago, I registered the domain paulvanderlaken.com with three reasons in mind: (1) I wanted an online environment to store and showcase my pet projects, (2) to share and promote some of the great blogs and research others had been writing, and (3) to show others what I was doing on my path to “data science“. The year has been just amazing. I could not have imagined the amount of positive sentiment I received from friends, family, acquaintances, and old classmates. But, most of all, the nice reactions from complete strangers across the globe! Thank you all so much for the positive response.
To my surprise, some of my stuff actually got read!
In August, I shared my Harry Plotter project and the first blog was read by 5,000 people. The second by another 3,000.
In one year, I wrote 103 blogs which got over 42,000 views by nearly 30,000 visitors. 97.5% of these views occurred in the last six months. Most referrals came via Google (45%), reddit (18%), LinkedIn (8%), Facebook (8%), and Twitter (4%), and my blogs were shared a total of 241 times. Now, 51 people follow my blog, which is best viewed on Tuesdays (31%) and around 15:00h CET (6%).
Although my personal learning is still the main reason I maintain this blog, I am very glad people seem to enjoy tagging along. Hopefully, I can continue to discover and write about data (analysis) during the coming 12 months. For now, I’d want to thank my readers for their continued interest and, in particular, my girlfriend for coping with the numerous evenings and weekend I have wasted on my pet projects. Nonetheless, it was definitely worth the effort!