I’ve been regularly posting blogs on this site for nearly two years now and it’s time for some reflection. If you are a regular reader you will know that although most of the writing is mine, a fair number of contributions have been made by others (mainly Catherine). I am a sort of editor, I suppose, and manage the blog. My aim was to learn about blogging and to try the format out as an alternative to a paid-for website.
WordPress is a brilliant blogging tool or CMS (content management system). It is intuitive to use, has many helpful hints and tutorials, and also provides extremely useful statistics. If you haven’t blogged and want to try, I absolutely recommend WordPress. And it’s free!
Many blogs are started enthusiastically but then fizzle out when the writers find that they don’t actually have that much to write about, or that too much time is required to keep the blog going. But, even if a blog does keeps going and has regular posts written in it, does this constitute a success? That rather depends on whether it is achieving what it set out to do. So now might be an appropriate time for a bit of scrutiny and evaluation of this blog. The questions that intrigue me are: Who reads this blog? and Why?
The statistics are very interesting:
Regular posts started appearing in March 2013. There were 56 posts in 2013 and 57 posts in 2014 – more than one a week!
By far, the greatest number of readers comes from the UK, followed by the USA, France, Ireland, Australia right down to single figures from Hong Kong, Azerbaijan, Argentina, Sweden, Republic of Korea and quite a few other places. In 2014, the blog was visited by readers from 41 different countries!
In 2014, the average number of daily visitors to the blog was 5 and the average number of page views was 12 per day. The greatest number of views was during the month of June – probably because people were looking for information about the Summer Festival which took place on the 22nd of June.
The most active day for comments was 3rd of March 2013 – congratulatory comments on the blog’s first steps! Since then there have been 134 comments, mostly coming from just a few individuals.
So, what do these figures tell me?
I am not at all surprised that most of the blog’s readers come from the UK. I am, though, intrigued by the visits from far-flung and exotic places. I assume that where there’s been one visit from a country, then that probably happened purely by chance. We’ve all dropped in on sites unexpectedly when Googling, haven’t we? As for the quite large numbers of readers from countries outside the UK, I sort of hope that these are people who are either ex-pats wanting to keep in touch with what’s going on in their old stomping ground, or friends of local residents who have an interest in the area and what their friends get up to.
It would be interesting to be able to break down the UK reader numbers into cities or counties, to see how many are locally based, but this analysis isn’t possible. Maybe in the future?
A more difficult question to answer is why people read this blog. Some regular readers are obviously interested in what’s been written because they comment on various posts. But, there must also be people ‘out there’ who read the blog every day, maybe even with great interest, and just don’t feel it necessary to respond or participate in any way. However, it would be interesting to hear from the silent majority – who are you? why do you read this blog?
I probably know the answer: I think that most people drop in only occasionally and usually it’s to find out if there’s any information about events in the park; there’s often a spike in views around Christmas, Easter and the Summer Festival dates. There are probably only a few people who are regular readers. One way of getting hear about new posts is to sign up to ‘follow’ the blog or to receive email notifications. There are 45 followers of this blog but fewer than 10 are local or appear to have any connection with the park or area. I suspect that quite a few have signed up to ‘follow’ in the hope that by doing so their own blog will receive publicity.
So it’s hard to know who is reading and why.
Ultimately, the most pertinent question is probably: ‘Is it worth continuing with this blog?’
And I have to say that I don’t know the answer to that one.