Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Securitycurmudgeon.com: Two years and One-Hundred Posts Later

I have been blogging for about two years now and written one-hundred published posts on all matter of security and privacy subjects.  In fact, this is post one-hundred.  I enjoy writing on the side so I took up blogging mostly as an experiment.  If your interested to learn more about my experiences security blogging please read on.

Following are some of my top articles over the last two years, some figures related to readership, and some lessons learned along the way you may find useful for your blogging.  Feel free to send me any of your lessons learned or ideas for improvement.  Any lessons I don't have to learn painfully on my own are welcome, i'm serious.

Top 5 Pageviews

Following are the top blog articles with the highest number of pageviews and a small synopsis for those interested.

1) Tracking Aircraft on Raspberry PI
Hardware and software project combining Raspberry Pi micro-controller, RLT software defined radio, and dump1090 software into an ADS-B commercial aircraft receiver

2) So You Want to be a Security Professional?
Information about the security profession those exploring a new career in security.  Various roles in security and challenges common throughout the profession are covered

3) The Most Difficult Thing About Raspberry Pi
My experience building a Raspberry Pi micro-controller with 2.8" TFT

4) Measuring Internet Connection Throughput
Java program to measure Internet connection bandwidth over time

5) Google Hacking -- Blast from the Past
Use of Advanced Google commands to find information of interest.  Has helpful implications in day to day searching but I also provide some thoughts and examples what Internet adversaries can do.
Chart: securitycurmudgeon.com pageviews per\mo

Monthly Pageviews

The chart (on left) shows the pagesviews since July 2010.  I think the chart is not entirely accurate for a few reasons, 1) I didn't start blogging about security until a couple of years ago, 2) I moved the site to Wordpress for a short period (gap in coverage), 3) pagesviews in last 30-days top almost 6000.  Still it's useful to get some idea for an overall trend.


Lessons Learned

There are many lessons learned about building an operating a web site and I will share some of them.

Link Allergies
Readers don't like to navigate too deeply for content.  The lesson learned, if you want readers to see something then place all the content on a single page.  Pageviews drop precipitously with each degree of separation from the primary post.

Cross-Referencing Related Content
Often readers may not know about other related content.  Including a link or two to other related articles or follow-ups is sometimes helpful to readers.  Everything must be considered from the readers perspective.

Small Posts Published Regularly
Most people prefer small regular posts as opposed to massive multi-page articles.  It makes sense given the amount of competition for reader attention.  Sometimes a post of only a few sentences at the right moment in time can have tremendous positive impact.

More Posts = More Views = More Readers
You may think that readers read only the new content but you would be surprised.  Readers also read older content.  With search engines, readers can land on any of your posts and often do.  Each post developed is one more reason readers have to visit your site.  Consider each post an asset with a long shelf life.

Do Something
Personal opinion is great but reader attention is a precious commodity.  Readers like news, technical articles, projects that have practical value or at least interesting to them.  Some amount of personal opinion provides style for your site but too much is perceived as fluffy, not useful, and perhaps even a waste of reader time.

SEO & Promotion
Promotion sucks but it's unfortunately absolutely essential.  Without some promotion even the best articles in the world will go completely unnoticed.  Promotion is messy business, especially self-promotion, since it's a complete turn-off to readers.  Expanding your reach by providing presentations, articles, and books is an investment since content may be long lasting and boost pageviews to your blog.  You need to be concerned with SEO or the search engines will forget about your site.  Yoast makes a SEO plugin for Wordpress but they also provide some information information about SEO in general.  It's worth educating yourself.

If you have a passion for security and like to write then blogging is a powerful tool.  If your mostly interested in fame and fortune and driving Ad revenue to pay your bills you will need to choose a subject with broader appeal or at least it would be safer bet to do so.

At almost 6000 pageviews per month and growing, securitycurmudgeon.com is far better than I ever expected for a defensive blog on application security.  Outside of the world largest security conferences like RSA, Blackhat, DEFCON, Gartner, etc.  Many security conferences have less than 2000 attendees and many even less than that.  I try to image everyone at a conference like that reading this blog, phew, crazy.  Of course, pageviews is not the same thing as number of readers.  Some readers read more than a single page so the 6000 pageviews is definitely less readers.  Still even if number of monthly readers is half the number of pageviews it's far more readers than I ever thought would be interested in security and privacy.

The only reason I care about pageviews is that it's a rough gauge of reader interest in securitycurmudgeon.com.  It's every writers desire to craft content readers find interesting and relevant.  Security and privacy is a passion of mine and likely yours if your reading.  Thanks for following along over the years and I look forward to continue for many more.  It's been a pleasure to write for you, sincerely!

--Milton

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