Captain’s Blog

This is my 250th post on this website

I’ve published 250 articles on this website. All that work and what did it get me? Why did I do it? Let’s see if the page views justify it!

An AnsaldoBreda V250 train in Fyra livery
I have earned €0.69 running this website, which doesn’t sound like much, but it’s still a lot more than what NS made running their V250 trains

When I started this website in 2018, it only had one article. According to my AWStats, its two most visited pages were and wp-admin.php (which didn’t actually exist). The average visitor back then probably didn’t have any arms or legs yet would still be able to call themselves a spider.



As of today, the number of articles has grown to 250. The burn-up chart below shows what that growth looked like over a six-year period:


This looks eerily similar to my team’s sprint burn-up charts.

Looking back, it is kind of funny to see how the left-most part of the chart is basically just a straight diagonal line, which shows just how incredibly consistent the posting schedule was in the first year. I have taken a few longer breaks from writing since then, especially during the dreaded pandemic year. However, outside those breaks the pace has generally been much higher, which makes up much of the loss in “velocity”.



The vast majority of articles have been published in The Toilet Paper section, which has more articles (152) than all other sections combined. The Toilet Paper happens to be one of the few sections to have articles that are posted on a fixed schedule. The Flat Earth section which gets new posts on the first day of the month also does fairly well compared to the other non-Toilet Paper sections.

A bar chart that shows the number of articles for each section. The
Toilet Paper: 152. Flat Earth: 26. “Heap, Heap, Array!”: 18.
Superproductivity at Room Temperature:	12. Captain’s Blog: 12. The
Project Aisle: 9. Living the Pipe Dream: 8. Chuniversiteitschrift:
7. The Middle Qingdom: 4. Well Played: 2.

A typical person on Earth is yellow, and so is a typical article on this website.

Conversely, the tech-related sections (“Heap, Heap, Array” and Living the Pipe Dream) do not have fixed posting schedules. This causes articles for these sections to be constantly postponed whenever my schedule becomes too busy, which makes them appear neglected in comparison.

It’s also quite clear from this chart that I’m not quite sure what to do with the Well Played and The Middle Qingdom sections.



Since migrating my website to Cloudflare Pages, I’ve been counting on the free GoatCounter web analytics platform to count page views. GoatCounter – like all other hosted analytics tools – isn’t always very reliable. The shortcomings of such analytics platforms are especially noticeable when much of a website’s audience is technically savvy enough to use ad and tracker blockers, as their visits will not show up in stats. This is totally fine of course – I don’t mind personally – but it does mean you should take the charts below with a grain of salt.

This first chart shows the relative amount of page views per section:

Sections in descending order of page view count: The Toilet Paper,
Superproductivity at Room Temperature, “Heap, Heap, Array”, Living
the Pipe Dream, Flat Earth, Chuniversiteitschrift, The Middle
Qingdom, The Project Aisle, Captain’s Blog, and Well Played.

Amount of page views per section

Given the sheer size of The Toilet Paper, it should not come as a surprise that this section has racked up more views than any other section. But the difference between it and the other sections is not as large as one would expect. What’s going on?

To better understand how often articles are viewed per section, we’ll need to take the size of each section into account. This allows for a fairer comparison between the effectiveness of each section. The chart below shows the amount of views per section, but adjusted for the number of articles in the section:

Sections in descending order of page view count, adjusted for number
of articles: Superproductivity at Room Temperature, Living the Pipe
Dream, “Heap, Heap, Array”, The Middle Qingdom,
Chuniversiteitschrift, Flat Earth, The Project Aisle, The Toilet
Paper, Captain’s Blog, and Well Played.

Amount of page views per section, adjusted for number of articles

The Toilet Paper has been relegated to the lower echelons of the section list, which means that the average Toilet Paper article receives even fewer views than The Project Aisle’s portfolio articles that solely exist so I can reference them in the resumes I send out to companies.

On the bright side, it’s nice to see that the Superproductivity at Room Temperature, Living the Pipe Dream, and “Heap, Heap, Array!” sections are doing so well, given that this website was originally supposed to be a technical blog, with these three sections as its bread and butter.

Now, we could simply assume that and call it a day, but there’s a bit more to this than meets the eye.

The following chart shows the 25 most viewed pages and articles on this website that are not the front page or wp-admin.php (which still doesn’t exist):

Most viewed pages (other than the front page and wp-admin.php)

Most viewed pages (other than the front page and wp-admin.php)

And because some articles are much older than others, and thus have had much more time to gather views, here’s another version where the number of views has been adjusted for the articles’ age:

Most viewed pages, adjusted for age in number of days

Most viewed pages, adjusted for age in number of days

Confusingly, in both lists the #1 article is an article from The Toilet Paper section, which is well represented in the top 25. But that’s not the thing that stands out most in this chart.

What’s really interesting here is that almost all articles in the top 25 satisfy a very specific information need. This is because most traffic to my website comes from search engines like Google and Bing.

Presumably, many people want to know how they can safely move pods from one Kubernetes node to another without any downtime, and the paper summarised in Migrating pods between Kubernetes nodes (without killing them) just so happens to contain the answer to that question. Similarly, many developers might be looking for a way to fix their MySQL Workbench on macOS or implement inheritance in Laravel’s Eloquent ORM. Scientific papers on the other hand tend to provide answers to questions that very few people actually ask.

You may also have noticed that the list includes three popular articles about products (a Logitech keyboard and mouse, a Google Pixel smartphone, and a MacBook Pro). I suspect that these three articles have made the list primarily due to Google Discover, a hub-like widget on Android that actively recommends content to users.

Now what?


Nothing. I’m not trying to grow an audience on a YouTube channel or monetise my blog, so I have no need to write things purely to satisfy search engines and content recommenders. I’ll just keep on writing things that I want to write, and maybe, hopefully, some of it happens to be useful for you too.