Blogging – the year in review

Ready to blog

I have just received data from WordPress on how the blog has done in this past year.  In practice, for The Norton View that means the past nine months.   I started the blog during the election campaign when Lords of the Blog had to go into abeyance because of the election purdah.  When Lords of the Blog resumed, I decided to continue with this site, primarily for two reasons: I enjoyed it and people were kind enough to read what I wrote. 

According to WordPress, the ‘overall health’ of the blog is classed as ‘Wow’, which appears to be the highest category.  I don’t think this is because I have a mass readership but because many blogs attract very little traffic.   Over the past eight months, the site has been viewed over 38,000 times, which isn’t bad.  What the figure masks is that traffic has increased notably in recent months and especially in recent weeks.   I was impressed by the fact that, whereas viewing figures for Lords of the Blog dropped significantly over the Christmas period, on this site they showed little change, including on Christmas Day.   There may not be a mass readership, but in my view there is clearly a readership of quality. 

The posts that were most viewed last year were those on:   (1) The Role of the Speaker, (2) About, (3) Tackling prostitution, (4), Managing purdah, and (5) Coat of Arms

The high readership for the posts on the role of the Speaker and managing purdah are perhaps not that surprising, given that they were significant issues at the time.  I presume the ‘About’ page is read by new readers – perhaps I should write more in that section (‘warm wonderful human being’ – that sort of thing, the sort of self-referential observation that seems nowadays to find its way into CVs).   I have a good idea why the post on tackling prostitution has attracted a high number of page views.  I regularly look at the search engine terms that are used: suffice to say, a number of people who reached the post were probably disappointed by the result!   Some people who have an interest in coats of arms, be it general or specific to a particular coat of arms, are directed to my post.  It would be nice to think that there is widespread interest in my own coat of arms, but I don’t deceive myself that this draws in the readers.  Many readers appear to reach the blog by reason of serendipity.  As far as I am concerned, the more the merrier.  If anyone finds what I write of some or even passing interest, it has served its purpose. 

I propose to abide my djb13’s injunction: Carry on Blogging.

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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22 Responses to Blogging – the year in review

  1. Carl.H says:

    “There may not be a mass readership, but in my view there is clearly a readership of quality.”

    I really did laugh out loud ! 🙂

    Well I can give you some comparison here, as you know I do run a blog of the kind that people/men go looking for. It has an avid readership of over 200 members of the forum I run. O.k. it`s not National but covers a large area.

    In a little over 5 months to date it`s had 25,113 visits which makes your boring politics site look quite exciting as the monthly figures are not far adrift each other.

    There is far more you could do to improve the site but the intial thing I would like to see is it come off of the wordpress.com site and into it`s own domain. I realise you are restricted by technical ability and the limitations of “Craig” time and have previously offered tech help to Craig should he require it. I do realise in my line of work it`s best I`m not involved too much with such a “Senior figure”, however I will help in the tech sense should you require such.

    I would like to see another page included where your published work can be listed, if not sold and more pages can be added for certain subjects. It could well be used as resource for your students.

    The blog retains my interest in politics and infact a small amount of faith in some politicians. I don`t think I`d be the only one to say that Lord Norton is possibly one of the very few non-partisan evidence seekers in the House who will listen and teach where necessary.

    I look forward to the continuance of the blog covering many Governments.

    • Lord Norton says:

      Carl.H: Many thanks for that. I think my obvious holding answer is ‘I had better talk to Craig’. Bear in mind that I have a brain that inclines me to the conservative and that I am left-handed, in other words, the emphasis derives from the right side of my brain, the creative rather than the technical! I will, though, explore the possibilities. I’m certainly not averse to developing the site along the lines you recommend: I take your point particularly about being able to upload publications. (Sounds a fine idea to me!) The main criterion is that any new system is as idiot-proof as possible.

  2. Croft says:

    On the prostitution line, one of the oldest tricks in the web designers book used to be hiding misleading text in the site which the webcrawlers could find designed to bring extra traffic to the site.

    As to Coat of Arms – for reasons I’m not certain lordsoftheblog and this site rate higher than would be expected in search returns. I suppose being linked to from Iain Dale’s site among a few other big hitters probably gives a good search engine score.

    • Lord Norton says:

      Croft: The post on prostitution has built up a readership with the occasional search engine term directing people to it, but the number involved is relatively small. The main referrers have been Iain Dale’s site and Lords of the Blog, as well as individuals linking from facebook, oh yes and a site that I suspect is related to the issue of prostitution but I haven’t checked it out! The main search engine terms are, you won’t be amazed to learn, the norton view, norton view, lord norton blog, lord norton and nortonview.

      • Lord Norton says:

        For the sake of clarity, I should add that the referrals from Iain Dale’s site and Lords of the Blog have been to a range of posts and not to that on tackling prostitution!

  3. tory boy says:

    As a follower of this site and Lords Of The Blog I think you did a blog on titles for LOB. However I wish to ask a question, you are known as Lord Norton of Louth, Baroness Trumpington (my no1 peer) is known as Baroness Trumpington but she is actually Baroness Trumpington of Sandwich yet is never refereed to as this, the same could be said about Baorness Boothroyd who is rarely refereed to as Baroness Boothroyd of Sandwell why is this? Do peers have some choice when putting oral questions down as to how they wish to called?

    • Lord Norton says:

      tory boy: It all depends on the comma! This was the point of my post on Lords of the Blog. I am Lord Norton of Louth, of Louth in the County of Lincolnshire. Note the all important comma. Baroness Trumpinton is Baroness Trumpington, of Sandwich in the County of Kent. In other words, she is Baroness Trumpington. Sandwich is not part of her title. Baroness Boothroyd is Baroness Boothroyd, of Sandwell in the County of West Midlands. So she is Baroness Boothroyd; Sandwell is not part of her title, merely the geographic area with which she is associated. Each peer has such a geographic link, but it is not part of the title. If a territory is included in the title, as with mine, it is usually to distinguish the title from an already existing one (there is already a Lord Norton, a hereditary peer) and it comes before the comma. What comes after the comma is not part of the title.

      • Croft says:

        I sometimes wonder if peers even understand the distinction or is it just they knowingly ignore the rules and use what they like.

      • Croft says:

        On TBs point I was going to say no – peers are always referred to by their highest title (or verbally by the senior of two or more titles of the same rank) Hansard gives the titles in full but then I remembered that Lord Mobray is listed as “Lord Mowbray and Stourton” Not “Mowbray, Segrave and Stourton” and since Segrave is the senior title to Stourton by 150 years that logic isn’t being followed. As Stourton has been held in the male line since 1448 I can understand the choice perhaps but it does look like some choice. I’m open for suggestions as to what is happening

      • Lord Norton says:

        Croft: I think that as far as peers are concerned, some are clearly unaware of the correct form and some are aware but wish to be known by their names rather than their titles, or rather seek to combine both (Lord Fred Bloggs) and therefore portray themselves unknowingly as junior members of the hereditary aristocracy!

        I am not sure as to why Hansard listed Lord Mowbray, Segrave and Stourton as Lord Mowbray and Stourton. I notice that Dod’s Parliamentary Companion, though listing his three baronies, gave his address as ‘The Lord Mowbray and Stourton CBE…’.

  4. franksummers3ba says:

    Lord Norton,
    Congratulations on another acolade and achievement. I am sure you will have continued success with the blog indefinitely.

  5. Liam says:

    According to WordPress, the ‘overall health’ of the blog is classed as ‘Wow’, which appears to be the highest category. I don’t think this is because I have a mass readership but because many blogs attract very little traffic.

    Ah, but is this only based on visitors or also how often you post, Lord Norton? You may not have vast numbers of followers, but you’re a regular poster and very responsive in the comments. 🙂

    That aside, happy new year everyone! Lord Norton, thank you for the excellent blog and posts. I look forward to reading many more from you.

    • Lord Norton says:

      Liam: Many thanks. These things are relative! I don’t think I particularly post often, it is just that most bloggers post very rarely. I think my frequency of posts, and my response to comments, is all part and parcel of the fact that I am by vocation a teacher. That’s my explanation. My friends think it is because I like to call attention to myself. Yes, I know, the two explanations are not mutually exclusive.

      Happy New Year.

  6. franksummers3ba says:

    Lord Norton,
    I seem to have missed something on earlier reading:
    “I was impressed by the fact that, whereas viewing figures for Lords of the Blog dropped significantly over the Christmas period, on this site they showed little change, including on Christmas Day. There may not be a mass readership, but in my view there is clearly a readership of quality”. Lord Norton as a Roman Catholic and I think writing for English-speaking Orthodox and High Anglican Christians. I would indeed hope that your readers were of sufficient quality not to read this blog during Christmas Mass. There are other times for that sort of thing. Certainly such a readership is nothing that I would encourage you to aspire to in any way. In my chapel even having one’s portable communications device announce a message during a regular low mass is much frowned upon.

    • djb13 says:

      We’re not all religious here. I’m an atheist for one.

      • Frank W. Summers III says:

        djb13,
        My HTML got away from me as it so often does in this context. Which is why I seldom use it so subtlety is lost. However, I hope you do most of you atheistiv reading online somewhere other than Chrismas Mass and especially that which is done online. Indeed if you were in my parish it might truly behoove you to abide by that mean of behavior.

      • djb13 says:

        I don’t attend Christmas Mass. I think I misunderstood, I thought you meant that we shouldn’t be reading it at all on Christmas Day, rather than just in church.

      • Lord Norton says:

        I know what he meant. Perhaps reading the blog is something that should be seen as part of the day’s activities, after attending (or not attending) church and watching the Queen’s Christmas Day message.

  7. Carl.H says:

    “Some 845 people filed their online tax return on Christmas Day – up from 620 the previous year, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12120929

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