The WordPress folk have sent me the stats for last year which, as ever, caused me to reflect on the stuff I’ve posted and on the strange world of blogging.
It’s been a busy year for me in my day job so the blogging rate dropped. I managed 171 posts in 2011, 121 in 2012 and only 85 last year. I’ve noticed that the blog seems to get a momentum going if I post regularly. When I do three of four posts a week, over a month or so, the number of people visiting rises each day. It’s like going to the gym. If you go three times a week, you build up your fitness. Once a week doesn’t achieve very much.
Having said that, despite the low number of posts this year, the average daily hit rate increased slightly, thanks to some old posts that people still read even now and three stand-out posts that broke this blog’s hit-rate records.
After nearly eight years of blogging, I still can’t work out what makes some posts more popular than others but here are the three that sent the hit-rate mad:
1. Scroungers, scumbags and soaring welfare costs – 3 April
This one was prompted by an article in the Telegraph which said:
Several ministers have begun to openly question why the welfare bill is still rising, as unemployment has fallen by about 200,000 since the general election.
This statement annoyed me. If I, with a layman’s knowledge of the benefits system, could understand why the benefits bill was rising, how come ministers, with their expensive advisors, couldn’t? I posted it then disappeared for three days of racing. While I was away, this post seemed to catch the mood.
2. What future for Britain’s ‘rustbelt’ towns? – 15 October
A post in response to a couple of articles in the Economist by (I think) Daniel Knowles. No idea why this one piqued so many people’s interest. The thing that seemed to provoke most of the discussion was my question about what happens to these towns when the free-spening elderly with legacy final salary pensions are no more.
3. The rise of the hardworking poor – 17 December
More recent, so you might remember it. Again, something about this seemed to strike a chord with people.
All three of these posts saw the blog hit rate go to more than double what it usually gets even on a good day. I don’t really know why. They were topical but no more than some of the others. For some reason they just hit the spot on a particular day.
Given that I had posted fewer than two pieces a week over the year, the last thing I expected was for this blog to be nominated for an award. I still don’t know who put Flip Chart Fairy Tales forward for the Comment Awards. I have interrogated all the most likely suspects but, so far, no-one has fessed up. Whoever you are, thank you. Winning the award was even more of a surprise. I explained at the time why it was such a sweet moment.
Sometimes, though, it feels like being given the ‘Fastest Steam Engine’ award in 1950. I lost count of the number of ‘blogging is dead’ posts last year. Is this now a dead medium? Has everyone moved on to a party down the road, or even in a different town?
As I said last year, I don’t think blogging is dead and I certainly have no intention of stopping. What has died, though, are the grandiose claims people used to make. Blogging hasn’t brought down governments or corporations, it hasn’t consigned the big newspaper organisations to the dustbin of history and no-one has really made themselves rich through it. Perhaps that’s why some people feel disappointed.
This blog will be eight years old on 2 March and I fully intend to keep on writing. Why do I do it? Dunno really! I’m not on a crusade, I’m not trying to get people to vote in a particular way and I’m not trying to sell anything. But I get a great deal from other people’s blogs. Reading blogs makes me think about things in a different way. To use Peter Cheese’s term, good bloggers are synthesisers and provocateurs. They pull together complex information, explain it succinctly and then challenge you to think about it. If I can synthesise and provoke a bit more in 2014, that will be good enough for me.
Once again, thanks to all of you who have read, commented and posted links over the last year. I very much appreciate your support, even though it might not sound like it sometimes.
All the best for 2014.