Year In Review: 2017

2017 has been a great year for me in many ways, so I wanted to pull together some of my highlights in a quick post.

Writing & Research

Thanks to friendly nudges and support from colleagues, 2017 was the first year where I’ve started publicly sharing some of the R&D work I get to do alongside my day job. The initial catalyst was the reception to a tweet Chris put out about a piece of research we worked on together involving hourly rank tracking.

Given the evident community interest around this, I wrote up a bit more about our findings on the then newly released StrategiQ Medium blog, and went along to the talk Chris gave at Search London about it.

Luckily, as a follow-up to this I was also able to write about a (perhaps obvious) side-effect of the hourly rank tracking which we’d noticed in Google Search Console.

And finally, I polished up and released something I’d been experimenting with for quite a while – a way to view referring Twitter users in Google Analytics.

Work

2017 saw another full year at StrategiQ with a number of site launches which I’m particularly proud of. We’ve also made great strides with our development standards and hosting infrastructure, which is something I’m keen to share more about in 2018 to try and help other agencies put better processes in place too.

Open Source & Code

Mostly tied in with the blog posts above, I was able to release a few small open source projects over on GitHub. These were;

  • ghks – A Node key/value store, which uses GitHub gists for persistent storage.
  • twitlytics-server – A Node app which resolves a t.co referring URL to the original tweet / tweeter.
  • WPVersion – A JS Module and PHP Class for detecting the version of WordPress being used on a given site.

I’ve also finished up Louise’s personal website, something we’ve wanted to do for ages now, so if you happen to be looking for Music Tuition in Witham, check out her site!

Plans for 2018

Whilst I’m not one for setting specific “New Year’s Resolutions”, I’m definitely hoping to share more blog posts both here and through work in 2018, plus start actually shipping a few of the side-projects I’ve had bubbling away – so watch this space!

Back to WordPress

Until today this site ran on a script called “statik” which I wrote to turn markdown files into a website. Whilst it’s served a purpose, it didn’t do particularly well when it came to blogging – something I’m hoping to do more of.

Having had the chance to see “WordPress Done Right” over the past months, I’ve opted to switch this site over to WordPress.

Over at StrategiQ we’ve got a pretty decent setup for our sites, so I’m taking the same approach here; DNS routed through CloudFlare (with caching enabled), pointing via CNAME to hosting with WPEngine. Whilst slightly more pricey than just running a VPS, the reliability is worth it in my mind.

Hopefully this will be a motivator to write more, but also serves as a good test bed for the plugins and research I’ll be doing over the coming months.