Year in Review Post Checklist
Date Published: 06 January 2020
You have a blog. It’s early January. You need something to post. Why not post a [Current Year – 1] in Review post? Something like this 2017 in Review or 2018 Year in Review or any of these developer year in review posts? Great idea! But what should you include? You don’t want to forget anything important. That’s why I’m creating this software developer blog year in review article checklist. Now you can just read this year in review meta post and pick and choose the bits that make sense for your own year in review blog post. Enjoy and please share and add anything I’ve missed in the comments.
By the way, I recommend including a bunch of pictures, ideally both photos and screenshots, in your post. It’ll add a great deal to the visual interest and people love graphs and charts so if you’re sharing stats and have charts to go with it, be sure to include them.
Note:This is kind of long but the idea is to be comprehensive. Skip anything that doesn’t apply or you don’t care to include. Don’t not post something just because you can’t include everything listed below.
This one should be obvious. Write about the highlights and stats for your blog. Consider covering any or all of these things:
- How many posts did you publish?
- How many page views / sessions did you get per month/year?
- What were the top 10 posts?
- Did you have any goals? Did you meet them?
- Anything else you want to share. Did you hit some milestone? Most web hosts or blog platforms? This is your chance for some meta-blogging about your blogging.
Your Mailing List
If you have a mailing list… If you don’t, you should start one. Literally every other way people can find you is through a platform over which you have no control. Email is your direct link to people who want to hear from you, and building that list of subscribers takes time. The sooner you start, the better. Here you might include things like:
- Number of subscribers
- Number of emails sent
- Most popular (in terms of engagement) email(s) sent
A podcast, even if you don’t update it regularly, provides another way for you to share your ideas with the world. If you have one, consider:
- Number of episodes published
- Number of downloads
- Number of guests (if it’s not 1 per episode)
- Anything new that happened with the show. New co-host. New platform. Etc.
- Recap your goals and if you met them
Don’t forget to also list any guest appearances or interviews you made on other podcasts!
Your YouTube Channel
Creating a YouTube channel takes about 5 minutes. If nothing else you can upload a video introducing yourself and what you’re into. Later on you might post helpful tips or other videos. In any case, if you have one, you might include these in your review:
- Number of videos published
- Channel subscribers
- Most popular video(s)
- Any milestones you hit, goals you had and how you did, etc.
Your Twitch Stream
Are you streaming Twitch (or another platform)? If so, you can use this opportunity to share some of your experience with that.
- Total followers and/or subscribers
- How many streams did you do?
- How many hours did you stream?
- Any favorite events, clips, anecdotes, etc. you want to share?
- Any big changes? Did you start last year? Did you change anything major last year?
- Were you on anyone else’s streams?
Your GitHub Contributions
GitHub has become the place to go for open source software. If you’ve contributed or if you have your own projects, share what’s happened with them over the past year.
- What does your GitHub contributions graph look like for last year?
- What are your most popular repositories, in terms of stars or forks or both?
- How many repositories do you have, total?
- How many followers do you have?
- Did you have any goals? Did you meet them?
- What are your plans for this year?
Your Social Media
Yes, I know GitHub and YouTube are kind of social media, too, but here I’m referring to the ones that are just about being social, like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and whatever the kids are using these days.
- Did you start a new account anywhere? How do you like it? Are you going to keep using it?
- What are your current follower/fan/whatever stats?
- How many posts did you make last year?
- Did you have any goals and did you meet them?
- What are your thoughts about how you’ll use social media in general (and whichever specific ones you’re using) this year?
Other Social Media
Other sites you might include, along with relevant stats:
Your Pluralsight (or wherever) Course(s)
Did you publish any courses last year on Pluralsight or somewhere else? If so, recap them and how they’re doing.
- Courses published
- Goals and stats. Downloads, viewers, sales, whatever you have.
- Plans for the coming year
Did you publish or contribute to any books? Recap here and link to them, or to the posts where you talked about them already.
- Books published
- Sales/download stats, if you have any you want to share
- Reviews (count, stars, etc)
- Links to buy/download/review
- Status of any in-progress books
Your Public Speaking
You can break this up into separate categories for user groups and conferences if you’re a prolific speaker and that helps. If you’re not speaking at events, you can obviously skip this one but it’s certainly a good thing to try.
- Total events attended
- Total talks given
- Most popular or favorite session and why
- Planned speaking engagements for this year
- Anything you learned or feel like sharing about your experience as a speaker
Traveling is a goal for many of us, and this often dovetails nicely with speaking opportunities. But even if it was just a vacation you took somewhere, this is a good place to recap some of the new places you visited in the last year.
- How many states/countries/continents did you visit?
- What new (to you) places did you explore?
- Share any stats like total miles flown if you want. Be prepared to defend your carbon footprint…
- This is a great time to share a few photos.
Your Work Environment
Did your work area change dramatically last year in a way you want to share or remember? New office, new desk, new computer, etc? I don’t buy a new computer all that often, so when I do I often try to blog about it, and this is a good place to recap your current tools used list.
- What’s your office look like?
- What’s your desk setup look like?
- Link to your post describing your new desk/chair/computer/monitor/whatever
- Talk about how you like (or don’t) your setup and any plans you have to update/change it this year
If you got any new toys you’re especially excited about and think others would be interested in, that you didn’t already cover in your work environment, consider sharing here (ideally with links to your posts that already talk about these things). It’s easy for this to come off as bragging about all the things you can afford so try to focus on being helpful and sharing with the intent of helping others decide if (whatever) is something they would want to invest in.
- Stream Deck or similar
- Audio Equipment
- Other gadgets
Whether you’re an employee or independent or a business owner, you may want to share some things about the actual work you do.
- What did you do last year?
- Where did you work?
- Were there any big changes? New job? Promotion?
- How are things looking this year?
- Any metrics you can share? Most folks keep things like compensation private (or at least not out on the Internet) but if there are any public metrics you’re proud of related to your work, share them here.
Another year of your life is in the books. What do you want to remember about it when you read this post in 5 or 10 or 20 years? Maybe you already post updates to some social media account, but this blog post will probably be easier for you to find, later.
- Any major life events? Graduations, weddings, anniversaries, births, deaths?
- Personal accomplishments? Awards? New black belt in karate? Finally got your pilot license?
- Favorite things you did with friends or family (even if vague) that you want to be sure you make time to do again in the future
If you have other ideas, please share them in the comments and I’ll update this post to include them and credit you. If you use this list as an inspiration for your own year in review blog post, I’d love it if you’d link to this article from your post. Feel free to add your post in the comments below or to reply to or retweet this tweet with your own post:
The Year in Review Post Checklist post— Steve "ardalis" Smith (@ardalis) January 6, 2020
Thanks and (assuming you're most likely reading this in early January) happy new year!
Steve is an experienced software architect and trainer, focusing on code quality and Domain-Driven Design with .NET.