If I had a million dollars, I'd build you a school.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Happy One Month Anniversary Build a School

As part of this blog project, I have been reading a number of "How to Write a Successful Blog" blogs. One of the things that comes up over and over is that you should share milestones and successes with your readers. With that in mind, I thought I would take this opportunity to reflect on my first complete month of writing this blog, and share some of the things I have been learning.

It seems appropriate that this would come in the middle of a series of posts on math, because one of the things I have been having the most fun with on this blog has been tracking the numbers. The part of me that has always enjoyed getting up in the morning and checking the Red Sox' box score, now also has Feedburner and Google Analytics to play with. Here are some of my stats so far.

26 posts
Almost one a day, not too shabby.

Top commenter honors go to Eric with two so far. What I've learned about comments is that the best way to get someone to leave a comment is to mention them in the post. It works like a charm. I'm hoping as the blog grows that this number will really take off. I'd love for this blog to become more and more of a conversation.

77 unique visitors from 60 cities in 8 countries on 4 continents
This is the greatest thing about the Internet. Instead of having these conversations in my office with four other language teachers, it is going on all over the world. Just three continents to go.

3-5 subscribers (varies from day to day)
One is me, one is my wife, and it's a safe bet that a third is my mom, so thanks the the other two of you, whoever you are.

The most fun part of Google Analytics is all of the graphs. There's just something about numbers displayed visually that makes me happy. Yes, I'm a nerd.

Here's the graph of visitors per day. The spike at the beginning is when I sent out my first big email announcing the blog to everyone I know. Since then I've been averaging about five visitors a day. In the scheme of things, it's still a baby blog, but I'm proud.

Here's the pie chart of traffic sources. The orange 'searches' piece has been growing steadily as there have been more posts for people to find. So far the post that has received the most search attention was my Five Books Every Student Should Read post. Apparently lots of people out there are looking for book recommendations.

The referrals piece is a bit over-represented, since it counts as a referral every time you click from one page of the blog to another, resulting in build-a-school.blogspot.com being by far my biggest referrer. In second place, though, is my friend Stacy at sassafrasmama.blogspot.com. She put up a link to me on her blog, and the clicks have been flowing in. As soon as I get organized enough to put together my own favorite links list, she'll be right at the top.

In terms of the stated goal of this blog, to refine my own thinking about what an ideal school would be like, I have just scratched the surface. What has surprised me the most in writing this blog is just how much there is to say about doing school right. Meanwhile, I am enjoying the journey and plan to keep working at this for a long time, so please join me in the conversation. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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