2023 in review: Looking forward to 2024

02 January 2024

Long time no blog! After a 2 year hiatus, I've decided to pick up blogging on this site again, and wanted to do a quick check-in of where me and this blog are at.

Since I haven't been posting, there's an expected drop-off in page views compared to my 2022 check-in but this site is still getting a respectable 100,000 hits a year from the Google search clicks alone, although you can see that it's steadily decreasing:

"100,000 plus clicks over a 12 month period"

I would use Google Analytics for a more accurate result, but my setup for that seems to have broken - and I'm pretty sure 95% of the hits are get are from Google anyway so I think this is pretty accurate!

My most popular posts this year were:

It seems like my site has had a bit of a Jest boom (the first post alone accounts for a quarter of my traffic) which is kind of funny considering I set out to write React posts on this site.

Collating book reviews

My last side project that I completed in 2022 right before I moved to Japan and essentially gave up hobby programming (for other fun things!) was collating all the book reviews I had written onto my site.

"Book review section of my website"

The reasoning being - I had been diligently tracking my books read and reviews in Goodreads for a number of years, and then manually made the move across to another platform called Oku. I figured with book review sites you never know when they're going to go under, and wanted to store all my book reviews in a JSON file, and then render them on my own site.

Although Oku has a much better UI than Goodreads, unfortunately it seems like I was right to be worried and the app is no longer being updated, and so I've given up on cross-posting my reviews to Oku and just going back to Goodreads.

I also haven't updated my JSON file with my latest books in quite a while either, so my blog is stuck just showing stuff from the books I read in 2022. I'm not really too sure if I want to keep this review section around - I write pretty poor reviews anyway (haha). But for the moment I'm leaving it there!

Starting a hiking blog

And now two years later, I'm back online! After moving to Japan I looked for a new hobby to pick up and instantly became hooked on hiking, and have been on about 90 hikes since I moved here.

Blogging is the most fun when it's about something you're passionate about, and with a decent amount of hiking experience under my belt, I decided to make my new years resolution to start a hiking blog. Instead of making a new domain, I decided to re-use this existing one for the SEO benefits, but have different UI for the two different sections of the code.

"My new hiking blog"

The most fun part of blogging is also the website design part, so I spent way too long on getting that part to a state that I was happy with. In the process, I really screwed up the code for this site (since it's handling two different designs at once) and I've been ignoring all my failing unit tests too (oops).

Looking forward

From past experience with this blog, the majority of my page views come from visitors randomly stumbling onto the blog via Google. So going forward my plan is write up a bunch of hiking posts, and just see what happens. ✨ (i.e. the "throw things at a wall and see what sticks" approach).

I also know that it takes time for the hits to start rolling in, so as long as I stay consistent, I'll have another update post for you all in 2025. I've been climbing a series of mountains known as the 100 Famous Japanese mountains, so I'm aiming to keep blogging about those mountains specifically, as well as public transport options on how to get there, as those were the things I was most interested in when I first started hiking. I'm keen to see how it all turns out.

I hope you all have a lovely 2024!

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My 2021 in books