This Website Is One Year Old Today!

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1 today (website) (small) 06.10.11.jpg This website went live exactly one year ago. Its owner has learnt a lot about 'web-based journals' and 'blogging' in the 365 days since then.

11 Octcber last year was a scary day for me. It was the day I finally took the plunge and 'went live' with postings for my pre-prepared website.

Technical 'challenges'
Over the last twelve months I have learnt to write in several different styles and a new 'voice' (generally less academic and more direct), I have touched on many topics which take my interest, I have learnt to manipulate Moveable Type and to insert weblinks and photographs (you too can do it, if you try...), and I have had many and long discussions with my admirably ever-patient web designer, Nick Prior, over matters large and small (most of which started by my asking, 'How do you ....?').

I like to think Nick has been on a (gentler) learning curve too - mostly about how little some of his clients (specifically, me) know of things web-based. Perhaps it has offered him a view of the process through the eyes of an enthusiastic, enquiring and reasonably articulate weblogger who would like to make as much contact as possible with her readers, but knows nothing about the technical side of things. In my imagination I am not constrained by the technically conventional, because it's all new to me!

Friends and ideas old and new
I have 'met' many new friends over the internet, and have talked about my weblog postings with many 'old' friends over coffee. This in itself has offered me a lot.

I have also discovered something of what I think about issues and areas of experience which I did not expect to pop up from my mind, but which have somehow become little contributions to this website. It's illuminating to me as an individual to see where my thoughts take me, and perhaps it's sometimes also engaging for others. A weblog is far less constraining than an academic paper or a one-off article, more like a conversation between the different parts of my experience. I personally would miss my weblog now, if I didn't have it.

Categorising thoughts
As Nick Prior said recently, the opportunity to map out one's thoughts in such a categorised way (computers are very unforgiving, though fortunately my web designer isn't) is both interesting to the writer and difficult to achieve. I hope as the reader that you sense more of the former ('interesting') than the latter ('difficult').

Nonetheless, categorising my ideas has proved to be one of the most tricky tasks. How does one bring together connected individual postings as 'topics' without huge numbers of categories and sub-categories to guide the reader? My aim is to give this weblog some coherence and integrity, so we have general headings to provide an indication of where one might find the articles of most interest; but even that seems to leave things a bit too wide and woolly.

I plan therefore to introduce a category of postings entitled Resource List (or similar), where I will offer a brief guide to what's been posted so far on particular recurring themes, with a note on why I believe the theme is of interest. It has been fascinating to see which topics have been most selected and pursued by my readers!

Becoming business-like
I am now trying to make the whole arrangement a bit more business-like; just in the past day or so I have signed up with Amazon and Google for 'appropriate' referrals through my website, and we shall all be watching to ensure that's what we get. If it works, this should help to defray the costs of running the site and it may even open our minds to (new?) publications and other items of interest about which some of us, on occasion including me, were previously unaware. We shall see.

Sharing ideas
But most importantly, ithis website has given me the opportunity to share thoughts and observations far more widely than before, with all the challenges and benefits which derive from this. There are now almost two hundred postings on the site, which has had hits from seventy seven countries across every continent. As Nick Prior predicted, the rate of increase in the past three months has been striking - he told me that without external promotion it would take eight or nine months to get going - and now we have some one hundred unique visits a day (often many more page views) and rising.

For me this is encouraging indeed; obviously people like to visit my site; sometimes they even post comments as well. And that's just great.

What next?
So what should I be concentrating on for the next year? Is the coverage of topics a good balance? Do you like the photos? Are the weblinks useful? Your comments and ideas are, as ever, really welcome.

Thank you for visiting, and please come again!

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3 Comments

Congratulations Hilary - yes I do like the photos.
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[Thanks, Mike]

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Congratulations Hilary and Nick!
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[Thanks, Billy]

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Congrats Hilary

I think George Monbiot had a good idea with his website - he filed stories under a number of categories.

Maybe one day there will be others who appreciate the potential of the net too (you know what I mean!)
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[Thanks very much Jim, I do indeed know what you mean; and it takes a lot of practice to get any kind of grip on this. The net's potential is so huge, it requires a different sort of imagination, perhaps? And that takes time to 'grow'.
You'll be pleased to know BTW that I too file my stuff under a number of categories. Didn't realise I had such a distinguished co-filer... If I used only one heading for entires, I'd probably spend all day trying to choose it!! That's the potential of the web, as you say, it offers links in so many ways.
Cheers & best, H.]

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