Ramble: 2019 in review

As the year of 2019 (and the decade we like to call the 2010s) draws to a close, it’s amazing how fast time has gone by. I first started this blog in September of 2012, mainly as a “brain dump” of whatever electronics stuff I wanted to talk about – and at its heart, it still is… and I have no intent to change that.

Pretty Popular Posts

Fresh off the (Word)Press

Some of this year’s posts have gotten a good handful of views. The top 5 of my posts each managed to snag at least a couple thousand views:

Post Views
Resurrecting a dead MacBook Pro 5,416
Adding external PCI Express to the Atomic Pi 3,081
Running Doom on a Magellan GPS receiver 2,819
Damaged eMMC data recovery 2,374
SIM card PIN recovery with a logic analyzer 2,229

The fifth in the list is different in that none of its views came from Hackaday (they haven’t responded to the e-mail tip I sent to them on December 21st); rather, the views came from Twitter when a security researcher found my blog post after I put it on Reddit. Hopefully Hackaday gets around to featuring that post in the near future.

Old Classics

Some of my previous posts just can’t be put down by readers, with some posts proving to be unexpectedly popular:

Post Views
Building my own eMMC-based SD card 5,474
Running Doom on a Keysight oscilloscope 6,399
KitchenAid induction cooktop service manual 3,541
Kentli PH5 Li-ion AA battery teardown 2,716
Kentli PH5 Li-ion AA battery review 2,566

What’s interesting is how many of these older posts managed to outclass this year’s big hits – one that I found to be surprising was the Kitchenaid service manual! Looks like their induction cooktops (still) have widespread design problems that cause their power transistors to blow up. Additionally, the Kentli PH5 Li-ion AA batteries still manage to pique people’s curiosities, even five years after I first published that post!

Views? Views.

This year wasn’t as popular as previous years, with this one ranking 4th out of the 7 years I’ve run this blog. This year garnered over 116,000 views by over 56,450 visitors, with the most views coming from the United States (32,600), the United Kingdom (6,500), Canada (6,200), Germany (5,850), and Russia (3,390). However, if I discount last year’s 15,000 views that came from Hacker News (I wasn’t able to get any significant attention on that site this year), then this puts me a fair bit ahead of last year, which would have otherwise had only 110,000 views.

Regardless, this satisfies my (personal) goal of at least 100,000 views per year, and I’m still glad that my blog still gets people’s attention.

WordAd¢ (I can’t call it WordAd$ this year)

This year’s ad revenue has been pretty paltry compared to last year. My previous update that tallied revenue from January to September 2019 revealed that my ad rates have fallen by almost two-thirds compared to last year. This year served up approximately 552,000 ads and yielded $130 USD, with an average of 24 cents per 1,000 ad views (aka CPM). If I used last year’s average CPM figure of 57 cents, I would have received almost $315 USD! Hopefully 2020 turns out better, but I’m not feeling too optimistic about it.

Looking Forward

This year represents some significant changes to my personal and professional life. I’ve finished my time in post-secondary, and have graduated from a network-specialized information technology (IT) program at my local college; I then took some time off to meet with new and old friends at smaller get-togethers and larger conventions. This leads me to the next phase in my life – get some stable full-time work in the real world (and hopefully still have time to do fun electronics projects that I can share with you on this blog).

Buckle up – it’s going to be one heck of a ride into the new decade! With all that said…

Happy New Year! Thanks to everyone who views and shares my work – you make all of this worthwhile! –Jason

 

Quick Update: Jumping Off the (Free)wagon

wordpress personal plan

Purchased a 1-year subscription to WordPress Personal on January 4, 2019

After staying on WordPress’ Free plan for almost 7 years, I’ve finally purchased a WordPress Personal subscription plan. Although it’s a bit more expensive than a free plan (duh), but we’ll see if the ad revenue that WordAds generates will be enough to cover the costs.

I wonder whether using the Free plan is a factor in how WordAds determines its payout rate. Let’s find out when I release my next update on WordAds revenue…

Update (May 11, 2019): Spoiler alert, it doesn’t. If you’re earning ad money on a Free plan, there’s no point upgrading to a higher tier. If anything, I’m now LOSING money as 2019’s ad revenue rates have plummeted to very low levels.

Ramble: 2018 in review

Can you believe it? Another year has gone by in what seems like an instant – and boy has it been quite the year for the blog.

Smash Hits

This year has seen quite a few popular posts, with my blog post about building my own memory card seeing a whopping 11,450 views in March alone, totaling 18,195 views this year; in fact, March represented the second-largest view count of all time on my blog with 23,955 views, a tad under July 2015’s 25,100 views. My blog post about running Doom on an oscilloscope netted 5,670 views, and another post where I fixed an Intel Atom-based tablet well beyond economic repair received 2,700 views. Interestingly enough, my blog posts about the Kentli PH5 Li-ion AA battery (both its teardown and review) received 5,280 and 3,250 views, respectively – both without seeing any significant external referrals except through search engines; this also applies to the 2,900 views on my Kitchenaid induction cooktop blog post, which seems to imply that plenty of these cooktops are encountering problems in the field.

Views, Views, Views!

This year’s view count is the second best on record, scoring 126,250 views, compared to 2016’s 140,000 views. This is a good comeback after 2017’s significantly reduced viewership which only saw 99,390 views, and is a decent step ahead of 2015’s 120,140 views.

However, it appears the number of views from each visitor has decreased over the years (that is, it appears that readers aren’t staying as long on my blog as they used to). The drop began in mid-2016 after I changed my blog over to my current ripitapart.com domain instead of the .wordpress.com subdomain that it used to be. Perhaps this is a direct consequence of my domain change, or maybe it’s just a coincidence and readers just don’t stick around as long anymore.

This (Ad) Space For Rent

This marks the first full year that I’ve taken advantage of the WordAds program, allowing me to monetize the advertisements that appear on my blog as a natural consequence of running on WordPress’ Free hosting tier.

This year brought in $194 USD in ad revenue, which has helped pay for my domains and G Suite registration through WordPress in full (totaling $125 USD per year for three domains and G Suite). This means that simply keeping the blog alive no longer is a strain on my wallet, which is a tremendous help for me.

Looking Forward

As we say goodbye to 2018 and welcome 2019 with open arms, there’s always room to grow the blog further. I’ve been considering avenues like running a vlog on YouTube, and maybe even viewer contribution programs like Patreon (although recent issues with the aforementioned platforms have given me pause).

I still have a bunch of blog posts simmering on the back burner, so to speak. Some of these include data recovery from physically damaged eMMC modules (yes, I’m still doing stuff with eMMC 🙂 ) and upgrading the RAM in the cheap tablet I mentioned earlier. The upcoming year will be full of changes in my personal life as I finish my post-secondary education and begin my search for full-time work.

All in all…

Happy New Year! Thanks to all my viewers – I couldn’t have come this far without you! –Jason

Mini-Ramble: So… WordAds!

I’ve finally done it – I took the plunge and tried to find out if I can enable advertisements on my blog (*gasp*) through the WordAds program – and as it turns out, yes!

Given what I’ve seen online, WordPress has always been vague on one of their acceptance criteria: views per month. They state on their own FAQ that they require “thousands of pageviews each month to earn meaningful revenue”. There were no clear answers from other bloggers either. In my case, I’ve had a paltry 8,000 views/month on average ever since I registered my domain, ripitapart.com (I had over 10,000 views/month when I was using the free WordPress domain). Given that I tend to blog about relatively niche topics (who really cares about battery fuel gauges, anyway?), this is not particularly unexpected; this isn’t helped by the fact I haven’t been posting frequently as of late (so far I have dozens of draft posts, with some that probably won’t be completed as they have essentially gone ‘stale’).

Application for WordAds

I submitted an application request for the WordAds program on November 20, 2017. Immediately after filling out the form I was given an automated message that I was initially declined due to insufficient viewership (but they would keep my request open until I had achieved enough page views per month). However, the next morning I awoke to an email that read “Welcome to WordAds!” – a pretty nice way to start the day. I’m guessing that the number of outstanding applicants were low, and that my content is original enough to warrant acceptance into the WordAds program. Perhaps there is a manual component to reviewing these applications?

So, what about earnings?

Given that it hasn’t even been a week since I was accepted into WordAds, it’s far too early to say how much I’ll actually get out of these advertisements; on that note, since I use WordPress’ Free plan/tier, there were always advertisements on my site (I didn’t get any revenue from those ads, however). Given how most people likely use an ad blocker (myself included), this will further reduce the amount of revenue I can generate from this blog. WordAds will only pay out advertisement revenue when earnings accumulate past $100, which means I won’t actually receive anything until that point… and who knows how long that will be.

Unlike other advertisement platforms, I do not get real-time analytics of ad traffic, and statistics for the month are only updated near the end of the next month (in my case, this means I will not see any information on November’s earnings until the end of December). One common complaint about WordAds is the lack of customization for ads that will be shown; on the flip side, the advertisement system does all the back-end work so I don’t need to lift a finger in that regard.

Your thoughts?

This is the first time I’ve ever tried online traffic advertisements and site monetization, so saying I’m inexperienced in this field is a bit of an understatement. However, I’m curious as to where this will go, and how this will affect my reader base.

What’s your experience with ads on my blog? I’d love to hear your comments on it, especially as time goes on.

Domain Get! – New domain, same great content! RipItApart.com is now live.

It’s about time – I’ve finally registered a proper domain name for my blog. Thanks to everyone’s input, I’ve decided to go with http://ripitapart.com.

Existing links from https://ripitapart.wordpress.com should automatically redirect to the new domain.