A Look Back
The UK Web Focus blog was set up on 1st November 2006. After its first year in operation I feel it would be appropriate to document some of the statistics, especially as I have previously promised to use this blog to document such quantitative data, for use by others.
The blog’s Web site saw a steady growth in usage until March 2007, when usage stabilised at around 4,200 user visits per month, with a peak in July, due, I suspect, to visits from participants at the IWMW 2007 event.
I had previously noted a higher than expected takeup of the blog’s RSS feed. Unfortunately some time ago WordPress stopped providing access to the RSS feed statistics. This means that I am unable to provide any more detailed usage figures for the blog.
The MyBlogLog service seems to be successful in providing access to, I suspect, a US audience, with 1,048 page views by 650 readers in the week of 23-28th October 2007.
There have been 264 posts during the year, with 1,045 comments. This average of about 4 comments per post seems to have been fairly consistent throughout the year (although, as Pete Johnston commented recently, this can be a slightly contentious metric for indicating engagement, potentially leading to accusations that typos are created deliberately in order to generate responses!).
A total of 32 tags have been used to categorise the posts. I have to admit that looking at the tags reminds me that the content covered in blog posts probably doesn’t reflect my original intentions, which I thought would provide more posts on technical digital library issues. However, in order to make the most effective use of the time I have spend on the blog, I have used the blog to reflect my other work activities. As this year has seen a focus on supporting the museums, libraries and archives community, I have given a priority to reflecting their main areas of interest. And I’ve been pleased to see that the blog has been warmly appreciated within this sector, and has been successful in having an impact on the plans made by such organisations.
Looking To The Future
A user survey of the blog was carried out recently and a summary of the responses has been provided. After a year of blogging and, on reflecting on the various feedback I’ve received, it seems to me that I’ll need to give some thought to perhaps creating a new blog, in order to address the diverse user community which UKOLN serves. I will also need to give some thought to the implications of the implications of this blog being aggregated elsewhere: at one stage I removed the blog from the JISC Emerge Web site, but restored it after complaints from members of the JISC Emerge community. How should, for example, one reconcile the tensions between providing views which some members of a community may find useful and being part of a bearded group of middle-aged blog spammers:-)
The other area I plan on devoting more time to in the forthcoming year are ways of measuring the impact of Web 2.0 services such as blogs, moving beyond the usage statistics and user evaluation.