With the beginning of July comes the beginning of the second half of 2022. The first half of 2022 saw many important changes to the instant humble online writing magazine. We moved the entire website from cheap shared hosting to a VPS server in early February, the same month in which we published our 500th article. The move to VPS hosting delivered substantial improvements in page loading times and overall site performance.
In advance of our site’s second birthday, I introduced a new category of articles – “Leaflets” – which consists of short-form posts. The Leaflet strategy paid off unexpectedly in May, when two Leaflets made the front page of Hacker News and delivered The New Leaf Journal its busiest month yet (May was also our busiest month in terms of content production).
While we saw some slow-down in June, the first half of 2022 as a whole not only saw growth for The New Leaf Journal, but laid the foundations for what I hope will be an even more successful second half of the year.
I have a tradition of publishing a year-in-review dialogue on New Years Day wherein I have our site’s resident fictional dialogue duo, Justin and Justina, discuss the most-read articles of the previous year. You can see our 2020 and 2021 year-in-review posts. The statistics for our year-in-review articles come from our privacy-friendly local analytics solution, Koko Analytics. Because I have access to those statistics all year around, and I use them to list our most-read articles by week in our Saturday newsletters, I thought that it would be interesting to provide a look at our most-read articles from the first-half of 2022, which we will be able to refer back to in our year-in-review post on January 1, 2023.
Koko Analytics comes with some limitations in the interest of privacy, but I discovered while writing a review that its referer count almost perfectly matches Google Search Console statistics (Google counts how many times someone clicks a New Leaf Journal article from Google, we do not use Google Analytics on The New Leaf Journal) – so I will assume the statistics are accurate enough for all normal purposes. Below, I will list the 25 most-read New Leaf Journal articles from January 1, 2022, through June 30, 2022, inclusive. As of June 30, 2022, there were 613 articles published on The New Leaf Journal. The 613 articles do not include Leaflet microposts, which you will see below took the first and fourth spots on our half-year ranking.
Regular readers of our newsletter – wherein I post our most-read articles over a 7-day period beginning with Saturday and ending with Friday – will not find too many surprises in our first-half ranking save for the Leaflet microposts that took the first and fourth spots thanks to Hacker News shares (they made a combined three appearances in our weekly top-fives). Save for a one-week Hacker News-induced aberration, my 2021 posts on tsuki ga kirei and F-Droid apps have led our weekly rankings every week, and those two articles take the second and third positions in our half-year top-25. The highest-ranking article with no weekly top-five appearances is my 2021 post on the origin story of the forget-me-not flower (#13), but that post has consistently posted solid results in our monthly ranking.
Like our 2021 ranking, our first-half 2022 ranking is dominated by articles that were published in 2021. Our end-of-year 2021 ranking featured 18 articles published in 2021 and 7 articles published in 2020. The breakdown for our half-year 2022 ranking is 15 articles from 2021, 4 articles from 2020, and 6 articles from 2022 (without the two Leaflets that were shared on Hacker News, the breakdown would have been 17-4-4). I hope that we will see some more 2022 articles rise into our year-end ranking, both articles that have already published and articles that I will publish in the second half of 2022. (I will note that we do have three articles from November 2021 in the top-25, I suppose those almost count as 2022 articles.) However, the 25th-ranked article in our half-year 2022 ranking has more views than the 25th-ranked article in our full-year 2021 ranking, so the threshold for making the list is quite a bit higher than it was last year.