One year ago, when I posted my Introduction post on July 19th of 2006, I had taken only 3 courses towards my MLS degree. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to write about.. or how often. I wasn’t sure anyone would be interested in my posts. I was about a month away from standing in front of my poster at SAA passing out home-made cards with the name of this blog on them (and my blog URL scribbled on scraps of paper when I ran out of the cards). I posted summaries of many of the sessions I attended, but we never really reached critical mass with bloggers at the SAA 2006 conference in DC.
One year later and I have written 45,028 words in 72 posts (special thanks to the TD Word Count plugin for easy access to those stats). I have completed 7 out of the 12 courses required for my MLS. I am on a panel at the SAA conference in Chicago. I have shiny new cards to hand out to anyone who might want one. There already exists a page in the unofficial conference wiki waiting for people to sign up to cover various sessions at SAA 2007 in Chicago.
I have 145 subscribers to my RSS feed (thank you Feedburner). Most of those subscribers use either Bloglines or the Google Reader. I am proud that this blog is included in the ArchivesBlogs aggregator. According to Technorati, this blog has an Authority of 33 (which means that 33 blogs have linked to it in the past 6 months).
According to Google Analytics, I have had just over 5,000 unique visitors to my Spellbound Blog website. Those individuals have viewed a total of 13,900 pages (each with up to 10 posts on them). I have had visitors from the Americas, Europe, Asia, Oceania and Africa (those are Google Analytics geographic breakdowns). 27% of the visitors to Spellbound Blog are recurring visitors. While almost 25% of my visitors arrive because they just typed my URL into their browser, 37% have been referred from other sites and 38% referred from search engines. A full 35% of my site traffic is the result of organic Google searches – but those site visits average a 75% bounce rate so it is possible that many of those visitors take a quick look around, realize they are in the wrong place and continue on their way.
In contrast with what Google Analytics tells me, Awstats reports that I have had over 9,000 unique visitors in 2007 alone – but that seems somehow to include requests for my RSS feed. It is interesting to note here that it is not easy to be sure what the various statistics really mean. This stats confusion made me think of this quote: “A man with one watch knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never quite sure.” (Lee Segall).
The most popular post due to organic searches is the post titled 129th anniversary of Thomas Edison’s Invention of the Phonograph. Google currently returns this post in the 2nd slot for searches of impact of thomas edison inventions and at the bottom of the first page for invention of the phonograph. I would like to imagine that the 330 or so middle or elementary school students who stumbled onto this post were intrigued by my ideas, but the average time on the page is only a bit over 2 minutes – so who knows how many of them are actually reading it.
It is hard to know who is really reading what I write. I always appreciate comments on my posts – it makes me more confident that folks are in fact reading. I also just like the feedback.
All I can be certain of is that I still enjoy the research and the writing. I haven’t run out of ideas. During this past semester (during which I was taking 2 courses and working full time) I actually found myself annoyed by all the duties that prevented me from posting more often. I had one of those moments in which I realized that writing for this blog had turned into a reward rather than any sort of ‘work’.
So three cheers for a great first blog year! I have lots of ideas for the year ahead. I hope I can meet some of you at SAA in Chicago. My talk, “Communicating Context: The Power of Digital Interfaces”, will be part of the panel titled Preserving Context and Original Order in a Digital World (Session 804: Saturday September 1 at 1pm).
Thank you to everyone who reads Spellbound Blog. Thank you for your comments. Thank you for keeping me in (and adding me to) your RSS feed readers. Without all of you I would just be talking to myself.