Now you are four

by Nick

Four years ago I registered this blog with WordPress and wrote my first post. The blog was only ever meant to last for the length of my MA, if that. But it’s managed to outlive my degree and, while I don’t get as much time to blog now as I’d like, it’s still hugely important to me. I have posted elsewhere about what I get out of blogging so I won’t repeat it here. But I thought I should mark the occasion nonetheless, so I’ve dug out some statistics.

Since 12 July 2007 this blog has had:

  • 148,407 unique views.
  • 404 comments.
  • 303 spam comments.

The most hits I’ve had in one day is 821 – from when the blog got linked to by MetaFilter (as a long time member of MeFi, still probably my proudest blogging achievement).

The most popular posts have been:

None of these are particularly brilliant posts, but I can see why they are popular. Most of them are about Charles I and Cromwell, and I suspect are well-used by students for revision judging by the search terms through which people end up here. Every so often the post on the Mowing-Devil pamphlet gets linked to by paranormal websites interested in crop circles, despite the fact I make clear the pamphlet’s not about crop circles at all.

Much of what is on the blog is throwaway snippets or initial thoughts as I start to engage with a topic, but every so often I have used posts to write up more considered pieces (one of which eventually turned into a published article). Amongst the long-form posts, some of the ones which I wouldn’t entirely disown include:

  • Samuel Pepys and self-fashioning: this post came almost out of nowhere and tumbled out fully formed onto the page over an hour or two.
  • The ghost of Lukas Wainman: by contrast I spent about a week crafting this post, which is as much about me as it is Wainman, and nobody seemed to read it as a result!
  • Recycled woodcuts: 1, 2, 3. I would like to go back and do more with this material at some point.
  • Cromwell and mince pies: prompted by annoyance at various spurious stories in the press last Christmas.
  • The early years of Henry Walker: the product of lots of hours browsing microfilms of parish registers.

The last bullet reflects the fact that I’m currently writing up – well, trying to write up – the initial chapters of a book about Walker at the moment. I never would have started this project without the blog, and particularly not without encouragement from its readers. So here’s to another four years: I may even have finished my book by then.