Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Blog Performance - September 2008

Photo: former Dangar family property near Armidale.

Usual end month navel gazing.

Visitor numbers on my various blogs to end September follow.

The Statistics

Looking at patterns, total visitor numbers of 4,857 compared to 3,991 in August, an average of 3,962 per month over June and July, 4,296 in May, 4, 536 in April, 4,294 in March, 3,710 in February, 3,656 in January, 2,844 in December, 3,612 in November.

Total page views follow. These are not directly comparable with visitor numbers because they come from a different system. However, they do indicate trends.

Total page views in September (provisional) were 11,925 as compared to 9,859 in August, 9,292 in July, 10,635 June, 10,846 May, 11,058 in April, 10,969 in March, 9,456 in February, 9,485 in January, 7,447 in December, November 9,239.


The previous decline caused by irregular posting has reversed itself, although I still have a little way to get all blogs up to date. September visitor numbers were in fact a new record. In the absence of an unusual surge, I won't hit the 100,000 visitor mark in October, but will certainly pass that number in November.

100,000 potential visitors. Mildly remarkable.

As part of my updating, I have been looking again at the role of each blog. Each blog serves a different purpose and should have its own distinct character. However, eight blogs are a lot to maintain.

Over September I wrote 77 posts across my blogs. That's a lot. Once behind in posting, I struggle to catch up. Further, I do struggle to find the time to review and consolidate material, as well as the original research that formed one of my original blogging objectives. Here I saw the blogs as an outlet for self-publication.

To ease the posting load, I have been experimenting with shared content, taking a common topic that I can then variously tailor to the needs of individual blogs. Tourism and China is an example just at present.

Sometimes this works, sometimes not.

Take, as an example, the New England Australia - the world wool built series that I began sometime ago. I knew what I wanted to achieve here, using photographs to bring alive a now vanishing world. I also felt that the series would generate material that I could use on two other blogs. Well, I have struggled.

The three houses shown to this point are all White family properties, designed by two different architects, Pender from Maitland plus Horbury Hunt. The Penders were a regional firm, while Horbury Hunt is recognised as one of Australia's leading architects. Both left an indelible mark on the New England built landscape.

The White family itself is one of New England's leading pastoral dynasties. The writer Patrick White is from the Hunter Valley part of this family. Patrick White wrote full time on wealth from wool. To really tell the story of the houses and the life that centered round them, I needed to investigate the architects on one side, the family on the other. In doing so, I found (among other things) that Cranbrook at Rose Bay was also a White family home.

The Whites are just one family. The Dangars are another. Like the Whites, the Dangars spread north from the Hunter Valley. Like the Whites, the Dangar family homes form part of New England's built landscape. Again like the Whites, this was a seriously wealthy family. Again, I need to say something about the family to set a context.

The message in all this is that what seemed such a simple idea at the time proved largely uncontrollable. I am still working out how best to manage the problem!

For October, I have set myself two key blogging priorities beyond the normal posting round.

The first is to update and consolidate some of my professional writing. This is important from a purely professional perspective, but is also helpful in a broader sense because my professional knowledge is one of the things that informs my overall writing.

The second is to make some further progress on the New England history side and, as part of this, see if I can make Belshaw sans words work. Can I actually do what I want to do in photo-journalism terms, or is it just too hard to do properly within available time?

We shall see.


Anonymous said...

On the photo blog, I look forward to it taking off. I find my photoblog the easiest to do -- minimal words after all. Just a matter of choosing the pics and finding a theme. I also find Windows Live Writer makes creating the entries a snap.

Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks, Neil. As you might guess, part of my problem is simply over-ambition in terms of what can be achieved!

Cheers, Jim