Happy 4th Birthday

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.

world 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Googling “average life span of a blog” will get you a lot of contradictory, and largely outdated numbers.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.

The Parthenon in Athens, Greece
The Parthenon in Athens, Greece

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.

numbersDoing the Numbers

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?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

23 thoughts on “Happy 4th Birthday

  1. VMB: What an accomplishment. Six hundred twenty-five posts! I know how hard it is for me to find two words to rub together, and you’ve been turning out a quality product for four years.

    Live long & prosper

    1. Davis, how kind of you. You do know, however, that I am BOTH Vera Marie Badertscher AND Pen4hire, so I’ve written a lot more than 625–definitely not all quality! Thanks so much for reading and for leaving enlightening comments.

  2. Congratulations. Four years of blogging is quite the achievement. The Great American Road Trip series was one of my favorites. Your quality, productivity and creativity is amazing. Here’s to another 4 years.

  3. Happy blogiversary! It’s not easy to hang in there for this long and, as others have said, ATL has only gotten better as it’s matured. Congratulations!

    1. Thanks, Edie. You certainly have helped A Traveler’s Library, both as a contributor and a reader. So glad you think we’re growing as well as aging.

  4. Congrats on your blogiversary, that’s an achievement for sure! Love A Traveler’s Library. And guessing 27 January for the magic 1000.

  5. congratulations on ATL’s birthday, Vera, and thanks for including me in your party. that virtual road trip was quite something, wasn’t it?
    all the best for what’s next —

    and since you asked, I quite like the look of the blog now — no need for a new theme by me.

  6. Happy Birthday. I would be a regular follower of your blog anyway, but as a relatively newbie blogger, you are one of my blogging heroes — great concept and consistent quality content! Thanks for sharing your blogging story. It is truly inspiring for newcomers to the blogosphere.

  7. VMB: Thanks for your four years of fun hard work to bring us insights from the world of books and banter about the alarms, diversions, and delights of global traveling. So what’s better: reading about the world or going there? Maybe that can be your theme for the next four years. T.B.

    1. T.B. is a contributor to A Traveler’s Library, who brought lots of lovely articles to us from his knowledge of film and literature. Which is better—going or reading about it. GOING! The problem is that few of us can keep GOING constantly, so reading fills the gap.

    1. Germaine is a contributor to A Traveler’s Library both as a commenter and as an interview subject. Thanks for being here, dear friend.

  8. Happy Birthday !! May you celebrate many more.

    Have been reading you since quite sometime. You have done a wonderful job…. and I am amazed how do you remember such details. 🙂

    1. Nisha: Thanks for being a regular reader.

      Actually my memory is not that good. I have a few tricks. One, I take notes everywehere I go. Two, I find pictures refresh my memory. (Like what color WAS that dress that I thought was so pretty?). Three, when I write I Google, to update information, and to get details like dates and quantities(I’m very bad with numbers). Four, and most important I think–I relive my experiences in my mind many times.

  9. Congrats on doing such a good job and for so long. You’ve turned me on to books and authors, I’d have never otherwise found and inspired travels to places I might not have otherwise considered. You do have reason to celebrate today – know how much work blogging can sometimes be!

    1. Jackie: Thanks for your faithful following. You’re the perfect reader because you feed back suggestions to me. I love the conversation!

    1. Jessie: That’s high praise from someone whose site covers the world and is packed with great information! Thanks for being an essential part of ATL for so long.

Comments are closed.