Today I am happy to announce that I have migrated my blog from JustAnRBlog.wordpress.com to AriLamstein.com. I thought I would give an inside peek into the change in case others have an interest. Also, I would personally like to see more R packages and blogs, and I hope that this post can encourage others to take the plunge.
I created JustAnRBlog in March in order to solve a particular problem. I was releasing my first R package (choroplethrZip) that would not be available on CRAN, and needed to announce and document it. In that sense I expected my blog to be like a tweet, where I wrote something and moved on. I wound up writing about other package updates I did, as well as a tutorial that I ran. Again, though, I viewed what I wrote as announcements that I would “make and move on”.
Fast forward three months and you can see that I misunderstood how blogs work. Traffic steadily grew, to a level I didn’t expect for an R blog:
The main reason for the increase, I think, is that the blog joined R-bloggers in April. A lot of people read that blog, and appearing there generates a lot of traffic. In short, it turns out that I didn’t really understand how much interest there is in new R packages. I may only know a few people in person who have an interest in this material, but Tal (the owner of R-bloggers) knows a ton.
The lesson? If you have an R package that you want to develop, I highly recommend doing so. Additionally, if you want to communicate with others about the package, I highly recommend creating a blog about it and getting the blog listed in R-bloggers. Due to the targeted traffic there, you will almost certainly connect with people who have an interest in your work.
The other reason for the move is that I wanted to do more consulting work. Normally when people start consulting they take out a URL for their name, create a site outlining the type of work they can help with, and add a contact form and blog to the site. Since one area I want consult in is R, it made sense to merge the blog with the site.
As for the technical details of the blog and site, they use WordPress and are hosted on BlueHost. The original blog, of course, was hosted on WordPress.com. I am a big fan of WordPress, but I migrated to BlueHost largely because of their cost structure. For example, adding Google Analytics to a site on WordPress.com seems to require purchasing their Business plan, which is $299/yr. But on BlueHost you can add it as part of their basic plan which is only $3.49/month.
As for what to expect from this blog going forward, I mostly expect to do what I’ve been doing: announcing new versions of my open source projects, publishing my own analyses using software I’ve written, as well as announcing any tutorials that I schedule. The main difference is that I’ve picked a particular time to publish, which is Thursday mornings.
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