Last Year

My Art Historian credentials… (see below!)

It has taken me a little longer than usual to get around to reviewing what happened on my blog last year. I’ve no idea why: put it down to indolence. But I thought I really ought to do it now before it became even more of a glimpse back into history than it already is.

As has become my habit – for the past three years, anyway – I’ll give you a brief run through the stats and then share some reminders of the rubbish I gave you last year. In terms of the numbers, last year was the best I have ever had. My stats are much lower than a lot of fellow bloggers, which is why I don’t often shout about them, and bragging isn’t really my style, anyway. Page views were up by 84% from 2020, visitor numbers grew by 9%, I got 42% more post ‘likes’ than the previous year and 80% more comments. The fact that I posted a record 138 times (up from 112 the year before, which in itself was a new high for me) will have helped a lot in those increases in the numbers – if there is more to read, people will see it more times, won’t they? The visitors came from 109 countries, up from 100 the year before, and as is the usual pattern the leading visitor was the USA, which accounted for 62%, followed in a distant second place by the UK, with 16%. Canada came third, on 3%, and the remaining 106 nations made up the other 19%. It may be stating the obvious, but the top three all have English as their main language, though I do provide the Google Translate widget for anyone who might need it. Mind you, having used it myself, I wonder what it makes of some of what I say!

I would love to undertake a more detailed analysis of views per post, but as I only have a free account I have to make do with WordPress lumping together much of those views under their heading of Home Page/Archives – a fraction under 50%, in fact. I know it is far from a precise measure, but I use ‘likes’ as the determinant of my personal league table – it is how I rank posts for counting in the Top Ten Posts And Pages widget you can see in the right hand column. On that basis, this is the top five that you guys enjoyed from last year (top six, actually, as there was a tie for fifth place). In reverse order – to build the excitement (!) – these were:

=5️⃣ What’s In A Word?

=5️⃣ Art History 101

4️⃣ The Scream

3️⃣ I’m Still Trying To Take It Easy

2️⃣ Family And Music

And the big one for the year 🎉:

1️⃣ Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

Given that 96 of last year’s 138 offerings were about music, either entirely or in part, it may seem a disappointing result that only one of the top five falls into that category. Not a bit of it. That post is one of my own favourites and I was pleased to see it make #2️⃣ and to find itself a place in my all time top ten (it is currently in fourth place there), alongside numbers 1️⃣, 3️⃣ and 4️⃣ of last year’s offerings. If you haven’t seen it before, do follow the link above – it is a reworking and combining of two earlier posts on the theme of “family” and its importance to us, for which I used songs as illustrations. The real pleasure for me in that top five listing is that the leader was a mental health post: that is, after all, why I began blogging and whilst I don’t write about it often these days this proved for me that there is still an audience out there for my words on the subject. I was also pleasantly surprised that both of the posts in which I displayed my dubious credentials as an art critic were among the top five, too. This has given me an idea for a new one of my occasional series, to go with the existing set.

Speaking of which, that leads me into a little trailer for what you might be seeing here this year. The regular Tuesday Tunes will continue until either you or I get bored with them. My occasional series of Saturday Smiles and Listen To The Band will also turn up again, as will the variants on the theme of Under The Covers. If you recall, that last one came to life out of a post I wrote with that name in late 2019, which was also the most viewed of my posts in 2020, after the WP catch-all category. And guess which post was second to the catch-alls in 2021 – yup, that one. I must have been leaving a trail of frustrated and disappointed Google searchers for more than two years now! The idea of an Art And Music series is kicking around in my head, as is another that came out of a comments chat that Jim and I had. There will also be some Mental Health posts, and a few of those ramblings of a retired mind that sometimes sneak in here. And I will continue with Monthly Reviews, to give you a second chance at anything you might have missed. Hopefully that will continue to interest and entertain you, so I hope to see you again and again – I need to keep those stats up, especially as they seem to have fallen off a cliff in the past couple of weeks. Maybe I need to post more often? 😂

I didn’t want to let the opportunity go by without sharing again with you one of the posts I most enjoyed writing last year. This was the piece that marked my 500th post – 500 Milestone. I built it around a re-run of the first post I ever published – way back in October 2012 – which made it meaningful for me. If you didn’t see it, do take a look: if nothing else, it will show you that I have been writing drivel ever since I began!

It is unusual for me to post something without music, so I thought I’d close with a reminder of one of the two tunes that featured in that Family And Music post. It is a beautiful song, and carries a lot of meaning for me:

See you again soon, I hope. I’ll be back on Tuesday 😊