Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Blog anniversary...

I started this blog a little over a year ago as an experiment. I wasn't too sure about this whole blogging business back then, but I would say that over the course of just a year, blogging has become a commonplace on the web. It's a format that is here to stay. I suspect, however, that just about as many blogs are dying as new ones are being created. It seems to me that the ones that last will fall into one of three categories:

  • Personal blogs mainly functioning as an online diary without any particular audience (or need for a large audience). I've set up a couple such blogs for my family as a way to share pics and stuff with each other.
  • 'Mega' or 'meta' blogs which have developed large readerships and have now obtained the fame/notoriety/momentum (and perhaps financial support) to make it worthwhile for the author(s). These ones often generate a lot of feedback and discussion from readers.
  • 'Niche' blogs, such as this one, which have a small readership but serve a well-focused purpose or topic. It is always rewarding to get comments from readers, but blogs such as this function more as a way to share information than a place to generate discussion.
It is nice to see that traffic to this blog has steadily increased over the course of a year. I'm averaging about 80 visits/day over the past month. There have been 13,534 total visits from 7,599 unique visitors with 26,738 pageviews since the blog started. Most people are coming via the index page (and over a quarter of the traffic is coming straight from Google, but it appears that many are either following links or are simply subscribed), but for those coming to the site via specific searches, the most popular pages have been the ones on Syriac Tools and Resources and the one on Free, Downloadable Hebrew Grammars. I can always anticipate a bump up in visits when I post about Logos software in response to a discussion on the Logos newsgroups. There is also an increase, though not as large, when posting about BibleWorks with links on the BibleWorks forum. (BTW, all these stats are coming from GoogleAnalytics.)
Other interesting (to me) stats:
  • Over 50% of visitors are using Firefox; 43% using IE
  • Only 2% are using dialup
  • For the 78 of you who have visited this site more than 200 times, bless you!
  • Visitors have come from 118 countries/territories. It is a pretty fascinating list. As one would expect, most are from the USA with the UK and Canada trailing. There is a surprisingly large number of visitors from Italy, Spain, Singapore, and the Philippines.
The future of this blog:
As I'm sure other bloggers can testify, maintaining a blog like this takes a lot of time. If you don't post, it will fade away into obscurity. By being such a specific blog, however, it does mean that a number of visitors will come simply with a new post. I don't need a regular, daily audience.
In fact, a big reason for me to maintain this blog is entirely selfish. It has become a way to help me to remember. I am regularly searching this blog to find links to something I recall posting about. Another semi-selfish reason for this blog is that, as a teacher, I am regularly getting asked questions about a topic or how to use software. It has been much easier simply to point to a blog entry.
I've been more active posting on this blog since January when I started my first real sabbatical. Part of my sabbatical plan was specifically to explore the value of blogging as a teaching resource. I had tried course blogs last fall, but they didn't work the greatest, and for next fall, I'm more likely to try a class wiki approach. Simply as a resource, however, I am pleased with how this blog is functioning.
To increase the value of this blog, I am very happy to include co-authors. Thanks to Tim Bahula (working in Trinidad and Tobago!) for adding a couple posts. I've encouraged my students to think about adding posts as well. When I'm back teaching full-time, I know I won't be able to keep as active, so if you have something to share related to the focus of this blog, please let me know.
At some point, I'm hoping to move this blog to a new domain, Scroll and Screen. It is a problem backing up this blog, but it is more work for now trying to move it all and reset it all using WordPress.
So, thanks to all of you have expressed appreciation for this blog either by reading it or sending regards. I'll keep it going as best as I can.
Mark

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