Half a Year of Blogging About Android Development

Exactly six months ago I published my “Hello World” post. And one week later my first post with serious content followed: Android: Checking Connectivity.

Over the last half year I have continuously blogged and there were only two weeks in which I didn’t publish any posts. According my general feeling my blog progresses nicely. And Google Analytics, G+ reshares and the number of G+ followers seem to confirm this. So, reason enough to celebrate :-)

I will share many stats with you, but if you do not care about numbers, please head directly to the sections about my plan to change the current hosting solution, my current unwillingness to offer a responsive version of this website and for what’s to expect in the coming months.

Published posts

Total number of posts published: 32 (my Hello World not included)

Tutorials published: 11

Quick tips published: 2

Obviously I should expand on the Quick tip type :-)

Usage stats

Visitors per day: Roughly 300 (on weekends less, on posting days about twice as much) – steadily increasing

Page views per day: Above 450

Bounce rate: 78 per cent (I do not know whether this is good or bad – if you blog, please let me know how you do in this regard)

Ratio of new vs. returning visitors: 61 to 39 (I also do not know what to make of this number)

Favorite topics

The two top posts are my tutorial on BroadcastReceivers and on making your app searchable. Both get about 50 hits each daily.

The topic with the most hits so far is the post about the library Crouton. This post caused the biggest traffic spike yet and was really loved on the three social media sites I use (Google plus, Reddit and DZone). But as was to be expected this post is nowhere near the previous two on daily views.

Generally speaking tutorials are liked much more. This also is no big surprise since they tend to get more search traffic.

Traffic sources

Search: 50%
Referrals: 30%
Direct traffic: 16%
Campaigns: 4%

Campaigns is an odd term. In my case this are visits originating from an RSS reader.

Referrals are all visits that come via a link from any other site. This can be social media sites, blog links, newsletters seen on the web or coming via a redirect and so on – unless it is a search result.

Search is obviously a visit via Google (Bing is nearly irrelevant with about half a per cent of all search traffic – yahoo is even worse).

Direct traffic are those people entering the domain directly into the browser. I can only assume that many people copy links before opening them, use Chrome’s incognito mode or hide the referrer in other ways. This number is definitely too high.

Referring blogs

A whopping ten per cent of all referrals (see above) come via Juhani Lehtimäkis blog androiduipatterns.com. That’s the next big traffic source directly after Reddit and Google plus. And these visitors are an especially interested crowd (low bounce rate, long duration of average visit).

So if anyone hasn’t been to his fantastic blog it’s about time to have a look. And since you’re in the right mood, why not buy his book “Smashing Android UI”? Should be in every Android developers and designers bag anyway! And, no, I do not get any affiliate commissions for this link!

Other blogs are also doing well. Readers coming from blogs are on average much more interested than those coming via social networking sites. I think this is not surprising. A reader of another blog found the content of that blog interesting. And if the other blogger recommends yet another blog, chances are good that the reader likes this blog as well.

So if you haven’t done so, please have a look at my blogroll. These blogs are highly recommended by me and all deal with Android development as well.

A big thank you to all those bloggers that have linked to my blog!

Newsletters

Apart from blogs another important source of readers of my blog are the newsletters Android Weekly, #AndroidDev Weekly and the newsletter of the French site FrAndroid.

Bounce rates with newsletter visitors is higher than those of blog referrals but those readers do visit more pages on average than those coming via social media or search.

Also thanks to the newsletter editors for linking to my blog.

Search

As mentioned, for my blog Google is the only search engine that counts. It’s responsible for 50 per cent of all visits. Since people search for a specific topic, the bounce rate is quite high.

The top five queries where people see my site on a results page all have to do with BroadcastReceivers. Unsurprisingly my tutorial about BroadcastReceivers is where most readers end, when coming from Google.

Google Analytics uses two stats for search. The first is the report about the top 1000 daily queries. The second report is about all searches where my blog showed up in the results.

For the 1000 top queries (do not ask me about this report, I still do not get it) my click-through-rate is 5 per cent, for all Search Impressions in total my click-through-rate is 7.5 per cent. From what I have read these are quite decent numbers. But if some fellow bloggers could shed some light on these two reports, I would be thankful.

Technology used by visitors

Since this is a developers blog, you probably are interested in the technology people use. So let me share some stats.

Mobile usage

Nearly 10 per cent of all visitors use mobile devices. Of all devices the Google Nexus is the top device. It accounts for more than three times the number of visitors than the next device – which is the iPad. The Nexus 7 is the third most used device and the fourth is one of the iPhones. So, there you have it. We Android users and devs are an open-minded crowd.

Still, Android usage is eight times that of iOS usage. No surprises here. But since Android offers a better variety of products, individual devices carry less weight.

The most interested readers are those using a Nexus 7 or a Galaxy Tab 10.1. They stay longer, come back more often and visit more pages. Other than for the Nexus 7 and Galaxy Tab 10.1 the bounce rate is quite high for mobile users.

OS share

Windows: 60%
Mac: 17%
Linux: 13%
Android: 8%
iOS: 1%

All others (Windows Phone, Symbian, Chrome OS, unidentifiable) account together for only 1 per cent.

Browser share

Chrome: 63%
Firefox: 21%
Safari: 4%
IE: 4%
Android Browser: 4%
Opera: 3%

I especially like the numbers for the Internet Explorer. I have suffered under this browser way too long!

Top Countries

United States: 15% (California alone 4%)
India: 11% (the city of Bangalore alone 3%)
Germany: 8%
France: 5%
Great Britain: 5%

Even though more French people read my blog than Brits, London is way ahead of Paris. But still, for a blog written in English, this is a surprising result. I guess it has to do with the FrAndroid newsletter mentioning this blog regularly.

Germany’s numbers probably are higher than Germany’s actual developer share simply because I am German myself and have many German G+ followers.

Social media

Now apart from search most people come to my blog via social media. In per cent of all visitors:

Reddit: 8%
Google plus: 6%
DZone: 3%
StackOverflow: 1.4%
Twitter: 0.5%

This is for the last month. The months before Reddit has had a much higher share of about three times that of Google plus. But my experience with Reddit has been quite mixed. Some posts go wild while others are duds or, worse, get downvoted rather quickly (which causes them to vanish from the Reddit site). I simply do not get Reddit.

The numbers for Twitter and Facebook are that low simply because I am no user of these sites. But I plan to use Twitter in the future. Why is that? Well, many interesting developers still do not use Google plus. Mark Murphy is probably the best-known of them, but not the only one. And of course, Twitter users love to follow and reshare links. So this should open my blog to new readers.

I really like DZone. I have found some nice blogs via their site. But it is not the biggest traffic engine. Anyway: If anyone at DZone reads this: Please offer an API. For a social media site having no API is simply unbelievable. Apps that monitor social media coverage cannot deliver anything about DZone at the moment. That’s sad! And of course I would like to see an Android app for DZone. Yours truely would love to help create one ;-)

Why I have to move my blog

Right now I am using shared hosting. This was very easy to set up, but in the end it is nevertheless a pain. The shared hosting I use is way too slow to meet my expectations. Performance is simply not sufficient. Just imagine I had an even bigger reader base. Some of you probably would walk away – not willing to wait any longer for responses of my server.

Furthermore the package I am currently using, doesn’t offer the chance to use gzip compression. Page Speed Score is still 86 (of 100), which is okay. But that’s not how it feels.

All in all I think I have to switch to something better. Probably Dedicated hosting. Maybe a vhost server. I am evaluating options at the moment. But I will change the provider (or the package). So expect to see a significant improvement in performance pretty soon.

No mobile version? No responsive design? Is this gonna change?

To be honest: Mobiles are getting bigger at a fast rate and screen real estate has improved a lot. Thus I have no plans to do a lot in this regard. So while I am a big proponent of responsive design for Android apps, I do not consider it necessary for this blog. Of course, if a lot of you would post in the comments that you miss this, I would reconsider. It’s up to you!

What I will change though, is how a printout looks. I often print blog posts of others if I like the content and expect to refer to the post more than once. Or for posts that look important but are pretty longish. But my blog simply doesn’t look good when printed. Which is not okay and which I plan to correct. You shouldn’t have to wait too long.

What’s to expect in coming months

I already started my series about libraries with my post about Crouton. I intend to make this a regular post style, appearing once a month. The next one will be about EventBus.

Furthermore book reviews are in the pipeline. Probably one review per month. It depends on what books get published and how much time I have to read them. Actually a book review will be on of my next posts. Disclaimer: I will add Amazon affiliate links. Just ignore them if you don’t like this kind of stuff. But if you want to support my caffeine-level, follow these links if you intend to buy the books anyway :-)

I also plan on doing some interviews with fellow developers, may be even some Googlers and – if possible – Android-savvy designers as well. This is not gonna happen this year but hopefully at the beginning of the next year.

I might also occasionally have a look at other blogs. Maybe coupled together with an interview of the blogger. I like this idea, but I am not sure if this adds value. If you would like to see this let me know.

Apart from this, I simply will continue what I did the last months. Complete with occasional bug reports, rants, tutorials, in-depth posts and short quick tips.

Thanks to all of you for your support so far!

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