Of course it is a reason to celebrate! AND to thank you for being part of A Traveler’s Library. Have a piece of cake.
Googling “average life span of a blog” will get you a lot of contradictory, and largely outdated numbers. However, I know just from tracking broken links at A Traveler’s Library that sticking around for 4 years warrants a celebration.
A Traveler’s Library signed up at Wordpress.com on this date four years ago, and on January 10, 2009, readers found this post about museums that hold hostage the culture of other countries (i.e. British Museum and the Parthenon marbles). In that very first post, you can see some of the elements that remained a staple at A Traveler’s Library for the following years. 1. I selected a book that would not be found in the travel section of the bookstore, but would add value to the travel experience. I said:
While Loot certainly will not be found in the travel section of your bookstore, it nevertheless belongs on the travel library shelves. It helps readers understand the cultures of Egypt, Turkey and Greece and the long-gone civilizations that inhabited the land the modern countries now occupy. It also adds understanding of a culture the traveler may never have thought about—that of museums.
2. I served notice that we would talk about other things in the travel experience that add to the travelers’ understanding of culture. 3. I invited YOU to join the conversation. That is an important part of what is meant to be a conversation–not just pontificating by the person who owns the domain name. In the first few weeks of publication, that request often went unfulfilled because readers had not yet found the Library. (Feel free to go back to my early articles and leave a comment. I’ll still see your remark.) For more about my blogging philosophy, see my post 5 Rules this Blog Breaks. Since that, We continue to break the rules and articles just get lengthier–no longer stopping at 600 words.
After six months, A Traveler’s Library moved to WordPress.org as a hosted blog, so we could serve you with features not available on the simpler WordPress.com. The statistics kept by Google Analytics start at that point–June. Sorry about the first five+ months. Just know that you can add a few thousand to each of these numbers. From June 9, 2009 to January 1, 2013:
- You have had access to 982 Posts/Articles (Which will reach 986 by January 10, the actual anniversary date. Anybody taking bets on the magic 1000 article date?)
- You and 186,750 other visitors have dropped in at the library.
- You guys made a total of 220,827 visits.
- 386, 042 page views means that while you were here, many readers looked at more than one page.
The most visits in one day happened on October 31, 2012 when there were 2,050 page views. There is absolutely no logical explanation for these sudden explosions that occur from time to time.
Significant Happenings in Year One (2009)
- I wrote my first guest post for another site–about authors from the Blasket Islands–for Info Ireland (February 2009). I did a lot of guest posts that year, and continue to do them, as well as a monthly column for Reel Life With Jane.
- Movies as well as books were on the agenda–first some set in Greece, and then the movie In Brugge, which inspired us to go to Brugge in real life in 2010.
- In February, readers participated in our first book giveaway. (Many more followed)
- Robert Felton, writing about New England authors, became the first guest writer at A Traveler’s Library, followed by Monica Bhide, defending her home town of Mumbai. At least a dozen others guested at A Traveler’s Library in that first year.
- The most frequent contributors, that year and for all time: Kerry Dexter and Jessie Voigts.
- The move to WordPress.org was accompanied by the switch to a new theme. Do you think it is time to switch again?
- I started ( and later abandoned) a To Be Read page, a News page, and a Blog Roll, because you were not really interested in those features.
- In that first year, you readers were asked if the H1N1 flu would prevent travel to Mexico–A Traveler’s Library’s first poll. You are dedicated travelers–the flu would not deter you, you said.
- I joined a Blogger’s Marathon and blogged every single day in May–only five days a week otherwise. You seemed to like the constant action.
- I started the project of devoting a whole week to one country, and when I polled about organizing information that way last year, most agreed that they liked having a period of time dedicated to one place.
- Because you like road trips, in 2009 we laid the groundwork and in January 2010, Kerry Dexter and I launched the Great American Road Trip, with a post dedicated to a different state each Wednesday, through mid 2011. At her site, Music Roads, Kerry wrote about music for the state we were visiting at her site, Music Roads.
By May, 2009, A Traveler’s Library had racked up 100 posts, and I chose my ten favorites. Sometimes, but not always, my choices coincide with the choices of the readers. Here are the six most visited posts of all four years:
- 10 Places to Eat Cheaper in Paris, 10/01/2010 (with half again as many views as the 2nd place)
- 5 Road Trip Books and the List, 4/02/09 (Makes sense. Road-trip-book—some of our favorite things)
- Scary Places, 10/21/2011 (Sometimes you guys are just strange.)
- 3 Best Travel Secrets of Greece 12/10/09 (Proving that numbers in titles DO draw traffic?)
- Hiawatha, A Children’s Book, 10/08/09 (Homework assignments play heavily in bringing traffic to blogs!)
- Heart of Darkness, 10/12/09 (A guest post by New Zealand travel site writer, Craig Martin. Are people looking for the classic book or something more sinister?)
You suggested several new ideas after the first year, and voted with your visits about your favorite things. One of the things you like is the weekly Thursday photo essay on my personal travels.
The most important addition came in late 2011 when five (later six) contributors joined A Traveler’s Library as regulars. You have soundly supported the new voices and their subjects: music, culture, movies, food, family and pets–all as related to travel.
In the next two weeks you are in for some real treats as every one of us–the Significant Six and me–will be opining on our favorites in our particular fields. By the end of the two weeks, you will have Seven ‘Best Of” Lists to kick off 2013. What a way to start YEAR FIVE at A Traveler’s Library! As we start the new year, we thank you for your loyalty and your help.
Any Questions? Suggestions?