2021-year-end-review-–-lets-keep-being-optimistic,-even-after-a-difficult-year

Let me continue the tradition I started back in 2018, when I wrote my first year end review post. In these posts, I look back in retrospective over the year that just passed by, and checking on how I and my business performed, what went well, and what struggles I encountered. I like to mention also any major event that happened through the year, just to get a better understanding of how to turn things to the better, next year. Check also previous “Year in Review” posts I wrote: 2018 | 2019 | 2020.

When I was starting CodeRevolution, I was really hopeful I will manage to start a successful business by building WordPress plugins which will help people in their day-to-day life. I had a vision that WordPress plugins will empower people to do their work more quickly and allowing them to become more productive. I was hoping that automation will take over manual tasks, thus giving the people owning websites more free time, breaking free from the captivity of computer displays, and allowing them to spend more time with their family.

But ironically, I don’t think either of us ever foresaw a future where we spend our time almost exclusively with our same household family and computers would be our only connection to the external world. For me also, like for many people around the globe, there were entire days this year when the only interaction I had with the “external world” was through a screen, because I did not leave my house.

This year was the most unusual year of my life – for me and I am sure that also for many more other people out there, the pandemic has dominated our lives since day one. I was very fortunate that I was working from home even before the pandemic started, so I did not have to change any habits related to my work. However, the “new normal” of the year 2021 changed my life also. Currently I am spending an extremely high amount of time online, higher than ever before. Besides of work, also entertainment, education, socializing with friends and even grocery shopping moved online.

It’s been a really strange and unusual experience. The daily “world” I was moving around has never felt smaller than it did over the last twelve months, even if I have immediate access to anything I can imagine, using the internet.

Because of the high time spend in front of the computer, it is really easy to lose our grip on reality and on time management. Jumping back and forth from work to play to socializing, back to work and back to play again, made the days of this year pass, without the feeling that I managed to reach my full potential during this period, which are clearly visible also on my results for this year.

I feel that I wasted a huge amount of time just by not having a clear schedule on proportioning the amount I work/relax/entertainment I get. The result of this being a year which is less productive than the years before. Because of this, I also feel that I need to take immediate measures to fix this.

Also, regarding the lockdowns and pandemic, I hope that the end of them might be finally in sight. Based on many smart people’s predictions I read recently, the pandemic should come to a close some time during the ending of 2022. I am pretty optimistic and hope for the best outcome!

Enough with the chatter, now lets get started with the annual review

To get to the point of this post and to start the actual year end review, you probably know that my main source of revenue are WordPress plugins.


Here are my achievements for 2021, in a nutshell:

  • I expanded my plugin portfolio, I created 3 new plugins and published them on CodeCanyon (Tiktokomatic, Plurkomatic and Ultimate Manga Scraper)
  • Grew my YouTube channel, passed the 4300 subscriber mark and continued to publish videos
  • Maintain traffic to this site, adding more articles to the blog section. Also, I added more content to the member only section of this site
  • Created my second API, which is able to render JavaScript generated content in the cloud, using Puppeteer or PhantomJS instances. Many of my plugins are now integrated with this API, allowing them to use it
  • Maintained my niche websites
  • Updated many of my existing plugins, keeping them functional and adding to them new features
  • Continued to provide support for all my plugins, making sure all my customers will be happy about their purchase, keeping the customer reviews for my plugins at a 5 star level

So let’s see a detailed overview of what happened in 2021:

2021 – Details about this year’s acomplishmnets

1. CodeRevolution on CodeCanyon

In 2021, I released only 3 new WordPress plugins (vs 10 from last year), growing my total portfolio to 116 plugins.

This low number of newly published plugins is the main reason why I am not fully satisfied with how I performed this year. The 3 plugins I created this year are: Tiktokomatic, Plurkomatic and Ultimate Web Novel and Manga Scraper.

The Ultimate Web Novel and Manga Scraper plugin is the one which used up most of my time this year. Its initial announcement was almost 1 year ago from now, back in 29 December 2020. The making of this plugin took up a crazy amount of work, I had to settle with a theme I should integrate the plugin into. I was also thinking of creating my own manga oriented theme, however, this did not seem to be a good idea, because of my limited experience building themes (until now, I mainly focused only on building plugins).

After a longer period of research, try and fail periods, I decided to go with the Madara theme, which seemed to be the best option. This theme also had its ups and downs this year, because it was unexpectedly removed from ThemeForest and republished on the private shop of it’s creator, MangaBooth.

After many months of developing this plugin, I am really grateful that I managed to finalize it and publish it on CodeCanyon. Since then, I created multiple updates for this plugin, maintaining it and adding new functionality to it.

Regarding the other plugins I created before 2021, I also updated many of them, improving compatibility with latest WordPress and PHP releases.

Regarding number of plugin sales, this year, I generated slightly over 2k sales for all my plugins, which is similar as the sales from last year. For this, I have to thank everybody who purchased any of my plugins or who follows me.

My main goal for 2022 is to create and publish more plugins than this year. The most imminent plugin (probably next which will be released is an anime scraper plugin, psst! I haven’t told about this to nobody so far!). Also, I will continue to keep all my existing plugins up to date, functioning and maintained.

2. Plugin Support

Because most of my plugins have now a high grade of maturity, which is because they were release several years ago, since when they were constantly maintained and updated (having fewer and fewer issues and bugs), 2021 was easier on plugin support than 2020.

One of my ideas for this year was to create a specialized support team to help me with item support, however, I was discouraged from doing this, because the lower number of support requests from this year also from their “easier to be solved” nature.

However, to be honest, plugin support can be an exhausting job, but it is the key for the 5 star reviews of my plugins. My goal for 2022 in terms of support, is to continue providing the best support I can to my customers. If the support process gets to overwhelming to be handles by me alone, I will also consider hiring one or more people to help with plugin support. One way or another, I will try to maintain the highest quality support possible for all the plugins I created.

3. Site Stats (coderevolution.ro)

In 2021, the traffic of this site underperformed the traffic of 2020. This is the first time this is happening, before, this site had a constant growth. However, this year, the growth stopped and also slightly decreased in visitor number.

At the time of writing of this post, 38,431 different people visited the site in 2021 (down from 79,032 in 2020). There were 95,106 page views (down from 175,310 in 2020) and an average of 1.88 page views per visit (up from 1.77 in 2020). From the total number of users, only around 500 where returning visitors.

On the other hand, the good news is that organic traffic grew since last year, currently I am getting 150 unique hits daily (up from 100, from last year). This is a good news for me, but probably coming from the fact that my site is aging and getting more authority and domain visibility.

The reason for organic traffic increasing to this site, but the total site traffic decreasing is that Envato probably had lower traffic this year (in general) and fewer people clicked through links from my plugin sales pages from CodeCanyon and landed on this site. This might change in the near future, lets see how Envato will perform as an online marketplace, next year.

For 2022, I will keep the goal which was set for the 2021 year (which was unfortunately not met): to pass 250,000 page views on this site in a single year.

4. Blog Posting Stats

In 2021, I published 20 new posts on my blog (down from 99 in 2020 – a really big decrease, but I will try to ramp up this number during 2022!). Also, the member only section of my site grew with 16 articles (down from 40 from last year).

I think that a decent goal for 2021 would be to double the number of posts published this year. Lets keep things realistic, so, my mail goal is 40 posts on my main blog and 32 posts on the member only part of the blog.

5. YouTube Channel Videos

In 2021, YouTube was the only part of my work which grew in a satisfying way. This year alone, I published on my YouTube channel a total number of 197 new videos (as part of my publish a video each day challenge). This number is down from 338 videos published in 2020. However, even with the lower number of published videos, the channel grew pretty consistently. Currently, the channel got 4318 subscribers. I am happy with this, will try to keep things up and running on my YouTube channel.

My main goal for 2021 was reach 5000 subscribers, of which I am short with 700 subs, however, I am not unhappy with this, I am aware that YouTube has an immense potential in promoting my work and also for earning a buck as a side income, because of this, I will keep grinding.

In 2021, my channel gained 1700 subscribers (up from 1600 gained in 2020). Views and watch time also increased. Nice, not complaining on this. 🙂

Also, ad revenue almost doubled from last year. Now, I earn around 3100$ per year from my channel, up from 1800$ per year, from 2020.

For 2022, my goal is to reach 6000 subscribers. I am pretty realistic with this, I hope I will be able to meet these numbers by next December.

6. Niche Sites

During 2021, my niche sites got a real blow, because my VISA card expired this year and was automatically renewed and I forgot to update it also on my hosting provider’s website (where I hosted most of the niche sites I created). The hosting plan expired, they were not able to renew the subscription and they canceled my hosting account, which also removed most of my niche sites from existence. No email announcements came through to me, letting me know of this issue. I asked about this issue with emails and they claimed they sent announcement emails correctly, but I did not get them. 🙁 Since then, I recreated most of them, while moved to a new host, which properly announces me when they have payment issues.

Anyway, I see this as an opportunity to asses the sites which generated the most income during their lifetime and to emphasize on them, while removing the sites which generate little to no revenue.

So, a goal for 2022, I want to fully restore the sites which provided the most revenue, while removing the sites which did not perform well. Also, if new niche site ideas will come up, creating new niche sites is also not out of question.

Also, since November, I have been working a significant amount of time to create a website for my wife for an online nutrition guidance and weight loss program she created this year. It will be based on a monthly subscription, which will grant access to a series of videos where people will receive nutritional guidance. The site will offer also other benefits, like weight tracking, a Facebook support group and live consultations. I found it a nice project, looking forward to it next year (when it will be launched).

7. Online Courses

In 2021, I had in my mind an interesting course idea, one which will show how to set up niche sites using some of the most popular plugins I created. However, I did not find the energy nor the free time to create this course. So, it is still noted as an idea, on my todo list for 2022.

So, for 2022, my goal is to create a new online course (on autoblogging).

8. Other interesting stuff from 2021

The year was generally lacking of any special events for my business or for me as a person, however, here are some interesting stuff that happened in during 2021:

9. Summing Up the Goals for 2022

Well, if you read by this far into this post, you already know that I am not really satisfied with the performance I achieved this year and most of the goals I set last year were not met. Numbers are a bit lower than I expected them to be one year ago from now.

Because of this, my main focus for 2022 will be to boost my productivity. Also, setting realistic targets should should also help:

  1. Keep up creating new WordPress plugins and maintain the ones that already exist. A high priority task is to keep support at a 5 star level.
  2. Rework my niche sites and keep only the ones which are highly profitable.
  3. Continue growing my YouTube channel and providing useful content.
  4. Create a new online course.
  5. And as always: keep delivering a pleasant experience to all my past and future customers.

10. Thank you for reading the year end review for 2021!

The general vibe of this review post was not so cheerful as it used to be in the previous years, this one might have been a bit gloomy. However, I hope the next year will be better for all of us!

Also, I am grateful to all of you who supported my work by purchasing my plugins or by following them on YouTube or here on my site. You guys allow me to continue doing the work I really enjoy doing, so thank you really much for this!

To finish up this post, let me add a picture of my daughter Maya. She is really big now, she will soon go to primary school!

As always, cheers to years past and those yet to come 🍻!

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