Build Internet 2009: The Year in Review

Build Internet 2009: The Year in Review

Happy New Year everyone.

This time last year, Sam and I were excited to get the blog off and rolling. We started towards the very end of November, but December was the first full month in operation. Hard to believe that we’re already here a year later.

Build Internet was started as a way for Sam and I to share our passion for web design, but also as a way to build a community around learning the industry. In today’s world, web designers have to be some of the most multi-talented people out there. It’s a careful combination of business, networking, and web trends that keeps the internet rolling.

We’ve tried to keep the blog’s first year growth transparent with our monthly reviews, and the results leave us plenty to be thankful for. Build Internet has continued a steady climb in both numbers and involvement the entire year. Just this past month we breached 8K RSS subscribers for the first time, and 2010 will hopefully bring an even larger community to the site. Which kind of community we build is entirely up to the readers.

Fun Facts and Trivia

I liked how Walter did his one year post at WDD, so we’ll take some inspiration for this next part:

  • This blog is run by twin brothers Zach (hello!) and Sam Dunn of One Mighty Roar.
  • Sam and I are currently in our third year at the University of Hartford. We are 20 years old.
  • A good day of traffic is above 15K pageviews.
  • Our single day traffic record was on August 24th, 2009 with 57K pageviews.
  • The most popular post of 2009 was Sam’s jQuery tutorial Sliding Boxes and Captions.
  • Weekends get roughly 60% of our normal numbers, both in search results and traffic. Holidays have the same effect.
  • Posts are made daily during the summer and (most) breaks from school.
  • Ideally we aim for 2 to 3 posts per week and 8 to 10 per month.
  • 178 posts have been made in the past year. This is #179.
  • Build Internet was “Site of the Night” in net@night Episode 114 with Amber MacArthur and Leo Laporte.
  • 18 of those posts are from 8 different guest authors.
  • Zach has written 112 posts, and Sam is trailing with a meager 47… not that anyone’s counting.
  • We’re often hired to implement variations of our tutorials.
  • Build Internet has been redesigned three times. Round four is coming up soon.
  • We’ve been interviewed twice on separate design blogs.
  • Our inboxes get several hundred emails per week due to Build Internet. We’ve gotten good at being concise.
  • Build Internet has ~5.5K Twitter followers, and 8.1K RSS subscribers.
  • We’ve been on the Digg homepage once.
  • Mashable named us one of 85 designers to follow on Twitter.
  • We’ve stopped leading post titles in order to separate ourselves from generic lists. (e.g. 674 examples of…)
  • Our least favorite comments are from people who clearly didn’t read the article.
  • Our favorite comments are from readers solving each other’s problems.
  • Build Internet was the first blog in the One Mighty Roar network. The Nonsense Society launched soon after, and Officeal this past summer. You Rather was a different kind of project launched Fall ’09.

Evolution of a Theme

The design you’re looking at today is the result of a long road of revisions. This screenshot below is a first draft of Build Internet’s initial theme:

Revision 2

After launching with a version similar to the gray and green shot above, Sam revised it with a slightly more colorful logo and redesign. This design took a bland theme and added some design flair.

Early Logo Concepts

The second redesign

Revision 3

In March 2009, the third (and current) major revision went live. The design and thought process was outlined in an announcement post.

First concept for round 3

3rd Version Final

The Upcoming Redesign

The next revision will address a problem with the current trend of blog layouts. Not all posts are created equal. In most modern design blogs, all posts created are automatically listed chronologically in one column. This sends a message to the reader that “All of this is the same”. There is no real way to post “secondary” content (e.g. inspiration, round-ups) without polluting the content-heavy posts.

Due to recent controversy about substance in the design community, we’re re-evaluating some of our regular content. We’ve put giveaways and contests (for the most part) on hold indefinitely. Build Internet’s next design will try to fix this, and open up possibilities for a wider variety of posts without alienating certain readers.

The Year in Traffic

The long tail of blogging held true for Build Internet this year. With almost 200 posts available, the average traffic per day continued to rise. Dips occurred over holidays and weekends. The chart below is our week-to-week pageview analysis.

2009 Pageviews

2009 Referrer Breakdown

World Traffic 2009

Let’s Go, 2010!

Sam and I have had a great opening year in blogging, and we couldn’t be more excited to get rolling in 2010. One thing we’re already planning to implement is an increase in guest posts, including options for actual pay. We’re convinced that the key to building any successful community is participation, and with the amount that we’ve learned from our readers this year is astounding. You’re bright people, and we’d love to see you share it in a post or two.

Have any advice or recommendations for our 2010 plans? Please let us know how we can serve the web design community better in the comments below.

Happy New Year,

Zach & Sam Dunn

Fireworks photo from monkeyc.net under Creative Commons.

Posted Saturday, January 2nd, 2010 · Back to Top

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20 Comments 5 Mentions

  1. Design Informer Author Editor

    Congratulations Guys! Very impressive stats for 1 year of blogging. Your blog has been a great help to me, especially your tutorials.

    My suggestion for the new year is to keep doing what you are doing, maybe post 3 to 4 times a week, and more impressive tutorials. Keep up the great work guys.

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  2. Diego R Author Editor

    I love your tutorials. Keep up the good work and your site will undoubtedly keep on growing.

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  3. Eric B. Author Editor

    Keep up the great work, guys! It’s good to hear that you’re doing so well.

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  4. Tony Author Editor

    Keep making unbelievable content this year. And I will keep coming. :)

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  5. Zach Author Editor

    Wow I like the whole design process you guys went through, it just kept getting better and better. Excited to see the next design!

    Go 2010!

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  6. mokin Author Editor

    Happy New Year Sam, Zach and everyone. :D

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  7. Frodo Author Editor

    Goodjob guys! I recently found your site and since then it’s been a helpful in my assignments!

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  8. Slobodan Kustrimovic Author Editor

    Congrats guys, may prosperity and happiness follow you in 2010. All the best.

    Can’t find the downloadable version of Google Analytics Stats in the post :)

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  9. Philippe Dionne Author Editor

    Thanks for putting these stats out. I’m thinking in starting a blog as well and it helps me to figure out the kind of traffic it could bring.

    Keep going on !

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  10. Martin Author Editor

    A great review! I was looking forward for it the past month. I wish you an awesome 2010!

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  11. Tomas Author Editor

    Amazing stats! Thanks for sharing interesting stats, trivia and personal things. Good luck in 2010.

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  12. Markus Thömmes Author Editor

    When I see a new Post from you in the Inbox of my RSS Reader, I always know that this will be another very nice and high quality post.

    Go 2010!

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  13. Bryan G. C. Author Editor

    Go Build Internet!
    Happy New Year from Brazil! o/

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  14. Garner New Media Author Editor

    I love the evolution of a theme! Shows your various design stages and thought processes at work. Good job guys!

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  15. Crystal Author Editor

    Great work that first year to both of you! I’ve been following the blog for quite some time and am thoroughly impressed with your progress. Keep it up in 2010!

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  16. Kiran Patel Author Editor

    Quick hello and Happy New Year!

    Just wanted to say your blog and other sites have been a great inspiration and knowledge, which has been widely implemented throughout my work. I’m please to see your success and hope you continue to grow stronger!

    I hope to write an article one day for you as well!

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  17. Alina Author Editor

    Thank you for last year and I wish you all best in 2010.

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  18. Ayman Aboulnasr Author Editor

    Way to go Guys.
    Thanks alot for what you have given us this last year.
    All the best for a bright 2010! :)

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  19. Arifa Author Editor

    Excellent

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  20. Arifa Author Editor

    Superb work by zach…. superbb dude

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Build Internet by One Mighty Roar. Since 2008.