Happy 1st Birthday CMH Blog!

Worldwide distribution of hits to this blog in the past year.

Worldwide distribution of hits to this blog in the past year.

I logged into WordPress today to be met by a little icon of a trophy in the dashboard, “ooh, what’s that?” I thought, well I clicked on it to find out and it seems that this blog is a year old this week. Cool. Time flies! Let’s dig a bit deeper into what we’ve been up to together this past year.

Part of the fun of running a blog is checking your statistics to see if anyone out there is a reading it. As of right now this blog has received 10324 hits. That’s clicks rather than users, so if someone finds the site and clicks around a few pages (which is good because it means they’ve found something of interest!) then that shows as 3 hits. That might not sound a massive amount in a year by interweb standards, but it’s still pretty good by archive standards – that’s thousands of people interacting with and learning about this collection that otherwise might not have done so.

That particularly applies to online visitors from overseas, who we wouldn’t expect to just pop in and visit us in person. I love checking the country stats, and wonder who is sat behind a computer or mobile at the other side of the world looking at this page. It’s just so great the way the internet brings people to your virtual door through search engines, twitter links or facebook friends. In total I’ve had visitors from 81 countries. Here’s the top ten:

Top ten countries by visitor numbers

Top ten countries by visitor numbers

Also fun and interesting to observe are the search terms people  typed into Google which led to us popping up in the results. Some are highly specific – people looking for this project, this archive, or me. Others are more general history and archive queries, and it’s great to get these because it shows that my blog is a useful resource for a wider audience than just those interested in York.

My most popular search term is “archives” which is pretty exciting. It’s only responsible for 1% of my hits but if people are typing that into a search engine and coming across our little corner of the web then we must be doing something right! Other archive specific terms include “more product less process” “history of strongrooms”  “functional vs structural” and “archive shelves.”

Then there’s the local search terms which include things like: “old photos York” “chamberlain’s books city of York” “history projects in York” and of course our perennial favourite “floods in York”! It’s good that people with questions about the history of this city are making their way here and hopefully finding something useful, because that’s exactly what the archive is here for in the first place.

Then there’s the random ones that always make me crack a smile; “woman broom cobweb basement” “military moustaches 1880s” (and many other moustache queries) “swans paddling furiously image” and most weirdly… “firebird aquilegias”. I have absolutely no idea how that one led somewhere here… Any guesses? 

Soldier from thought to be from Strensall barracks on a motorcycle. From a page in a scrapbook belonging to a lady from Strensall.

Soldier thought to be from Strensall barracks on a motorcycle. From a page in a scrapbook belonging to a lady from Strensall. I love this image.

So that’s random visitors, what about regulars? Well 66 of you follow me by email, hello subscribers! I can’t see those who follow directly through a blog reader, but hello to all you good folk too! The numbers keep going up, rather than down, so hopefully that’s a good sign. Then, we have the VIP visitors – those of you who not only stumble upon, or follow the site, but actually join in and contribute to it by commenting. A massive thanks to all of you, you turn this blog into more than me just spouting off into the ether. A special shout out to two regulars, Dick and Aiudrey – one local, one international, who I enjoy hearing from so much and hope you all do too. Thanks to Aiudrey for sharing her reminiscences of when she used to live in York, and Dick for proving that at least one person out there doesn’t mind me talking about archival theory – therefore giving me the permission to do so!

It’s been a big learning curve this year, running a blog on my own, but it’s been a really worthwhile experience so far. Together we’re mapping the story of this project, exploring the collection and building an information resource that will stay on the web, open to anyone with internet access (and via a local library if you haven’t!) whether searching deliberately or stumbling fortuitously.

As a little postscript, the art gallery move was completed yesterday so as soon as I get my hands on the photos I’ll do a writeup here. It all got very physical at the end with door frames being taken out and holes put into walls, but the archive spaces have now been finally handed back to the art gallery and the records are in storage. Next job, building a new repository!