Important day for this blog – on June 22, 2015 I wrote the first article here. The idea was to share small tips daily, and now it’s time to recap on what actually happened during that year.
Vision and mission of Laravel Daily
I know, I know, vision and mission are boring stuff, something like “Terms and Conditions” on websites that no one reads. But if you’re interested in the story behind Laravel Daily – you can call yourself a true fan and read it all.
So, the first version and idea behind this blog was simple – share some tips, contribute to the community, learn something new myself every day.
The ambitious promise with “daily” actually wasn’t kept – there were 109 articles published, so one every 3.5 days, not exactly daily. So in my mind I’ve transitioned the title from “Laravel article every day” to “I work with Laravel every day and sometimes write about it”. Though, to be honest, I didn’t receive any complaints (like, total zero) about articles being not daily.
But, speaking of daily stuff, you can find a lot of usefulness by following Twitter account – this is where daily stuff happens. I don’t always have time to write, but tweet the articles from the community is a pleasure and a daily routine.
Now, LaravelDaily vision and mission have changed a little – I’m sure no one noticed too much changes in the blog itself, but it was a huge change in my personal life – after 3 years of living in London I’ve moved to my home country Lithuania to start a family (meet my wife Simona, daughter Paulina and dog Nora). And then via this blog I’ve started to pitch my freelance web-development services after articles and on the sidebar.
Later I grew my small in-house team of freelancers, so now WE ARE LaravelDaily, not myself only – you will see that more in upcoming blog rebranding, currently in progress.
Also, since I’ve transitioned from a coder to more being a manager and working with clients directly, I’ve started writing more about business side of Laravel, also started a YouTube channel called “Laravel Business” – you will see it more active in upcoming months.
So current vision is to still help the community with useful articles and tips but focus more on the business side of web-development (tools, processes, useful packages, effective teamwork etc.) and try to get clients via this blog.
Numbers, numbers, numbers
Recap would be pointless without stats. So let’s see how we grew up.
Visitors and Analytics
That’s daily visitors – currently it’s around 2000 unique people per day. Who knew?
This chart is a proof that you don’t need any particular SEO work or too strong marketing – this growth is totally organic, the only thing I’ve done on purpose was being active on Twitter.
Speaking of Twitter…
Here are the numbers. Quite a big growth too – and every shared link gets clicked around 20-50 times, with at least a few likes/retweets.
But keep in mind that I’m not promoting only our articles here – most of the feed is sharing articles from the community by other authors. Follow @DailyLaravel here.
Currently it has 1146 subcribers, with quite high open/click rates, and growing week by week:
YouTube channel “Laravel Business”
Another asset I’ve mentioned – not too active yet, but already 83 subscribers, 4 episodes and 1000+ views in total. Please subscribe and stay tuned.
As a separate thing I want to mention our QuickAdmin package which was born out of necessity for our team but grew quite a lot in recent months – 4.5k installs, new versions and plans to build an online version soon. One more reason for you to subscribe to a newsletter to find out latest news on the package.
Top 5 Articles
Every yearly review of every blog has a list of the most popular articles. So let’s follow the traditions and look at our TOP 5:
- Pivot tables and many-to-many relationships – 33 702 views
- All about Redirects in Laravel 5 – 31 031 views
- Eloquent date filtering: whereDate() and other methods – 20 262 views
- How to use external classes and PHP files in Laravel Controller? – 15 842 views
- How to create a Laravel 5 package in 10 easy steps – 15 805 views
Main lessons learned
Now, what have I learned in those 365 days and 100+ articles? Here’s the list:
- Don’t code/design the blog yourself. Hey developers, you like to write code, right? Not in this case – take WordPress, choose any free theme (see, mine is really simple, probably even too simple), add some plugins and start writing. That’s it. You don’t need a fancy premium theme or individual solution – unless you pitch yourself as a designer. People care about valuable content, not about how the platform is built.
- Just blog about what people care about. You don’t need any strategy for popularity or SEO or marketing or anything like that if you just solve people’s problems. Find the questions often asked in communities online, write about them and you go viral sometimes.
- Twitter is great. Not only in Laravel community, but in general in IT world I’ve noticed that tech guys are active on Twitter more than any other social platform. By the way, I’ve recently listed Top Laravel people to follow.
- People will expect you to work for free. I get a lot of comments on articles or emails with demands like “great article, I have this project and cannot do X, how can I do it?” At first, I was politely answering, but then saw that those people don’t really appreciate your time, and they are looking for an easy answer instead of working themselves to solve problems. So I stopped – no more free consultations.
- Your technical blog can be profitable. But not in a common way – I didn’t monetize the blog under any paywall, I don’t sell any books, but a lot of clients came to me either via email listed on the blog, or from somewhere else but the blog was a killer argument to choose me over other candidates. It does help a lot – it made me an authority on the market, not “just another developer”.
Outro and future plans
So yeah, I am (or should I say “we are”) one year-old with this blog, this is the end of this diary page. Thank you all for being a part of the “family” this year.
What’s next? Moving into a team platform/brand instead of a simple blog, you will see it all step-by-step in upcoming months. Or if you have any ideas for articles/partnerships/beer/anything, find me on Twitter or email firstname.lastname@example.org.