Sunday, 15 September 2013

Happy Blogday! Four years on!!

I can't believe that I've been writing this blog for four years already - the average lifespan of some of the world's most popular blogs is about 18 months so, 213 blog posts later, I'm quite proud to have exceeded that almost three times over! 

With a full time job and the amount of real-life travelling (as opposed to armchair travelling) that I do, it's difficult to keep the blog going at times, but I get so much out of the experience and it's a great record of my learning journey about this world of ours! 

At this stage, I can't say I remember the detail of everything that I've blogged about, but I'd like to think that I'm building a residual knowledge of the world and experiencing patterns in the way that people in different parts of the world react to the human experience and our societies that have developed in different historical contexts.

A word on the process

Recently, I've been remembering the origin of this blog, which was to record the results of a learning journey that existed before the blog began.  I feel that, increasingly, the blog has become the experience and I'd like go back to a time when the experience was the primary objective and the blog was a record of the experience. 

For that reason, I'm trying to keep my blog posts simpler and less comprehensive - I learn so much when I'm blogging about any particular place that it would be tedious (for you the reader) to put it all in blog posts - what I'm trying to do now is blog about the most interesting aspects of my learning experience and provide pointers to readers interested in exploring the themes in more detail.

Some stats

I've now blogged about 31 places around the world - only 6 of these were in the last year though, so it does feel like I'm slowing down a bit.  According to the stats on my blog - there have been more than 30,000 page views of my blog since the very beginning. 

Visitor numbers

Last year I started Google Analytics on my blog and it shows that there have been 4,027 unique visitors to my blog since last September which, added to previous stats makes about 15,000 visitors in total over the period of four years.

In the past year, there have been almost 11,000 page views, which seems to have increased a lot (ie. individual visitors are now reading more) and this is a third of the total page views over a four-year period. 

Only 19% of visitors are returning visitors - which is quite low, but hardly surprising, as I don't have a lot of time to publicise my blog or build up a regular readership.  Still, I sense that the number of returning visitors is slowly increasing each year! 

Which countries

According to flagcounter.com - the blog has had visits from 146 different countries - the newest country being Uruguay in August 2013.

The top twenty countries in terms of visitors in the past year have been:

1. United States
2. United Kingdom
3. Australia
4. India
5. Canada
6. Germany
7. France
8. Ireland
9. Saudi Arabia
10. Netherlands
11. Belgium
12. Italy
13. Malaysia
14. Russia
15. Sweden
16. Barbados
17. New Zealand
18. United Arab Emirates
19. Spain
20. Fiji

It's interesting to compare this to the same data as last year  - according to my third blogday post!

Most popular posts

The ten most popular posts in the past four years have been:

1. Togo - Chicken Groundnut Soup with Fufu
2. Yemen - How I made Saltah
3. Barbados - Cromwell, Red Legs and the ethnic cleansing of Ireland
4. Saudi Arabia - Birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad
5. Rajasthan - Gayatri Devi, the Last Maharani of Jaipur
6. Wisconsin - Bucky Badger and the World's most fearless animal
7. Saudi Arabia - Chicken Kabsa
8. Zanzibar - How I cooked Octopus!
9. Urals Federal District - Dr Zhivago
10. Zanzibar - Gurnah's Paradise

Least popular pages

Some of the least popular posts were the ones written in the early days, as I didn't know how to promote the blog then (eg. on Facebook or Twitter) - if you'd like to help me boost my stats a bit, why not check out the following (older) blog posts :-)

1. Kiribati - Part 2 (it might seem hard to believe now, but in the beginning it wasn't obvious to me that blog posts should have a proper title!)
2. Lesotho - The Ampleforth Connection
3. Mongolia - Education and Ethnicity in Western Mongolia
4. Netherlands - Een Hart van Steen - A Gothic tale from Haarlem
5. Oklahoma - Route 66

Tools for research

In the past year, as part of my research I have blogged about Fiji, Guangdong, Honduras, Indiana, Jersey and Korea

I have read around 25 books, watched 25 movies and listened to all kinds of music, from the Jackson 5 (Indiana) to Black Rose (Fiji) to Leslie Cheung (Guangdong).  Not to mention, culinary experiments with Palusami, Jersey Wonders, Enchiladas and Naengmyun

It's been a wonderful experience and here's to another year of learning about the world!

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