Saturday, October 22, 2016

The point of the Marple Leaf blog and the future

The tenth anniversary of The Marple Leaf blog rather passed me by. But it does represent a point to reflect on its future.

When I started out in May 2006 it was before Twitter and Facebook. It was when I had a senior job in journalism and it was an outlet to write about stuff I didn't get to tackle through work.

It has at times been deeply personal and confessional, but equally there are also relationships that I don't talk about at all. I've always quite careful to protect the dignity of my children. More recently, some of them have even insisted I never feature them at all. One is alright about it, as long as it's just about going to the football.

By numbers it still suggests it's worth doing.

501,953 visits in total
6867 visits to the most popular post about the death of Gary Speed and hateful football fans
324 posts tagged football
1067 comments (I didn't allow them for 4 years)
1865 posts over the 10 years
23950 views from the largest number of views from a country I've never been to (Russia)
337 is the record for posts in a single year (2007)
687 is the current leader in page views for the month (why Labour should split)
5 of the top ten posts are about Blackburn Rovers
ZERO is the amount of money I've made through Google Adwords simply not working

Due to the powers of Google Analytics I know this stuff, but it doesn't really steer me towards doing anything more than what interests and inspires me. I suspect it hasn't really served as a shop window for my events work.

It's had a makeover since the early days, a new logo and a few tonal changes. My Twitter name was actually taken from the blog - a diary from my adopted home town of Marple. That meant that it tended to be about football, politics and local stuff. It also started as a bit of a pre-Facebook family diary, in fact the early blogs are very much like what my Facebook is now. 

There have always been a number of subjects that have proved popular drivers of comment and social media interest - Blackburn Rovers, Marple and Labour. The issue that pre-occupies me more than anything now is how the modern civic university connects with the wider public. This blog probably isn't the place for that.

I've had a few long running features which I've not updated for a while - the my mate series, where I randomly profile a friend and talk through our personal history. A couple I barely even know any more, one has moved away and one North West power couple are sadly divorced.

I used to do book reviews as if I was describing it in the time it took to rise 8 floors in a lift. 

I enjoy doing telly reviews, but wonder if this is the best outlet.

I wrote a fictional novel, but didn't extract or attempt creative writing on here.

In April 2015 it was all about the election campaign I fought and ever since has become occasionally bitter and angsty about the state of our politics. Locally, there is going to be an enormous debate about where houses are to be built, once again igniting a question about the future of this community.

I'm not certain what the rules are on Search Engine Optimisation by cross-posting content that appears on, say, the Progress website. Personally, I'd like it all to be here, as I control it. Though I do also link to blogs I like and maintain these as best as I can. 

So, the point of this now is I'm interested in your views as to what I should do next, but that ultimately I'm going to carry on, revive a few features, start a few new ones and continue to do what  I've always tried to do, be honest,  be loyal, be kind. 

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