A year in small town blogging – my Ludlow blog got 68,000 views in 2015

When I started this blog way back in November 2012, I wasn’t certain where it would go. For the first part, I wasn’t then a Shropshire Councillor. That didn’t happen until March 2013. For the second part, I didn’t know whether the good folk of Ludlow would be much bothered to read the posts I wanted to write. I certainly had no idea how many people would drop by.

This year, 2015, has given some answers to those questions. It isn’t easy to work out how many people dropped by to read the 180 plus posts I published this year. But I know from your comments that many of you look at the blog every day or two to find out if there is anything new. Thanks to these regular visitors and many other people, my blog posts totted up 68,000 page views across the year.[1]

I do not have comparable statistics but this is a small town blog about the struggles of Ludlow to maintain its own identity. And we live in in what is by national standards a quiet county. I’d have been amazed if I had got 30,000 views, so I feel 68,000 is rather grand. Thank you.

Did I really write a post every two days? Apparently so. Some posts of course were better than others. Some were pretty much ignored – some of these deservedly so. Other posts shot the site viewing statistics through the roof.

The year began well in January with my publication of the plans for a supermarket and petrol station at Rocks Green on the edge of town. That post alone gained 3,200 views.

Viewing figures ended on another high note – but with a rather low and messy story. The story of Keith Barrow’s stumbling resignation as ip&e chairman, council leader and Oswestry councillor gained more than 6,500 views.

These are two very contrasting cases. We can guess that people reading about retail developments at Rocks Green and on Bromfield Road live local to Ludlow. Many of those who have been interested in the demise of Barrow as council leader have probably come from farther afield. But there is no easy way to track geography in our internet world.

I am really pleased, if sometimes very annoyed, with the comments posted. More please. But I can’t publish everything. The law of this land doesn’t allow it. I can’t in particular publish any suggestion that individuals have broken the law. That means that quite a lot of comments have been sent straight to the trash bin of late. But if you think I am rubbish or that Shropshire Council is rubbish or just that the rubbish should be swept from the streets of our beautiful town, I am happy to publish that.

My blog is a two-hander with the (mostly) fortnightly email newsletter. This gives a summary of published articles but also covers a wide range of other Ludlow news – brief updates or snippets of news that don’t merit a posting in their own right. You can subscribe to my newsletter here.

I am glad I started this blog. I’ve always wanted to communicate what I do to people. Back in the 1970s. I published community newsletters on the bones and shards I was digging up as an archaeologist. At university, I churned out short user guides in the then complex world of computing. In the scientific civil service, I held open days. These weren’t my idea but I’m pretty good at adopting a bright idea rather letting it stroll past me unnoticed.

I guess this personal need to communicate is coming to fruition here in Ludlow. I cannot see how I can be a councillor without telling everyone what I am doing.

Of course, there is a workload to maintaining this blog. But that is repaid from the feedback from the people who read it and the coverage in the media.[2]

I’ve upgraded the blog over the holiday break. I’ve had to do that to make it more efficient and easier to navigate. I’ve also moved it to andybodders.com. This should be a seamless transition for people reading the blog. If there are problems, let me know.

Thank you for reading throughout 2015. Have a good new year.

What you read on this blog

Here is the breakdown of page views of major topics read on this blog over 2015:[3]

 

Topic No of views % of views
Home page and blogs of lesser significance 18,115 27%
Housing planning 8,992 13%
Retail planning 8,629 13%
The Barrow Affair 6,569 10%
Arts, culture, tourism, heritage 5,168 8%
Democracy & services 4,673 7%
Buses & transport 4,327 6%
Solar farms 2,750 4%
Food, pubs, entertainment 1,875 3%
Health 1,663 2%
Youth, homeless, refugees & poverty 1,650 2%
Crime and antisocial behaviour 1,425 2%
Politics 1,034 2%
Economy 609 1%

Notes

[1]. There were 68,128 views of my blog posts in 2015.

[2]. For the record, all the costs of my communications online and offline are paid for by myself and nothing is charged to Shropshire Council. The West Wing of Shirehall, Keith Barrow’s former power base, made a complaint earlier this year that there was suspicion that I was using council resources for political purposes. I am sure the complaint was an attempt to shut this blog down over the months that it would take to get a code of conduct complaint processed through the corridors and committees of Shirehall. But the complaint didn’t pass muster and was tossed out by council lawyers. I find it bizarre that I should worry whether an email or post on council business should be charged to the council or my own pocket. I rather got the impression that people elected me because I am outspoken.

[3]. The data in the table are for the top 300 posts recorded by 29 December. The data is for blog posts read and some posts will have been published before 2015. Others in 2015 may have been so inconsequential they do not feature in this table.

6 thoughts on “A year in small town blogging – my Ludlow blog got 68,000 views in 2015

  1. Thank you Andy for the hard work you do both as a councillor and keeping u this blog. Since starting to read your words, I feel SO much better informed about how a council works, and the background to the decision making process. And also about what is going on around me!

  2. Thanks for keeping us informed. Your posts are always very balanced and well written, keep up the good work!

  3. Thank you for your blog this year, Andy. It has been a great source of what’s going on politically in Ludlow and more widely, Shropshire. Good luck and campaigning in 2016,

    Alan Harley

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