Review of the Year – 2014

Ireland Inch Beach

As we nail down 2014, please excuse my annual self-indulgent post to begin the new year as I look back over the last one.  I have ignored the WordPress annual statement to produce my own review.

The top ten most visited posts on my Travel Blog always surprise me but then I don’t pretend to understand how search engines work.  I say visited pages rather than read because I am neither conceited enough or sufficiently naive to claim that a visit equals a read.  I know that a lot of people will arrive here by mistake and swiftly reverse back out via the back button!

Just to go back a bit, in 2012 the site recorded 170,900 visits and I was optimistic that as I kept posting this number was just going to keep going up but then in February 2013 Google made some devastating changes to its search algorithms and the numbers halved overnight and have never fully recovered. I finished 2013 with 79,470, a decrease of 115%.

I thought it was important to keep going so in 2014 I have posted 320 times and the total number of visits is recorded as just over 101,000 so there has been some significant recovery.  My other companion blogs, Scrap Book Project and Another Bag More Travel have recorded about 105,000 hits between them.

Interestingly, WordPress statistics reports are consistently lower than third party statistics counters but I am reporting here on the official site numbers.

These are the Top Ten posts of 2014:

No. 1 

Casa Batlo Barcelona Gaudi

Catalonia, Barcelona and Antoni Gaudi

A newcomer to the top ten and straight in at number 1 with 5,430 visits.  I posted this in August 2013 following a week touring Catalonia in the North-East of Spain and pulling in a visit to Barcelona along the way.  I’d like to think that this is because it is a knowledgeable and scholarly assessment of Gaudi’s architectural contribution to the World but I think it is more likely because the image attracts visitors as it easily found in a Google search and people seem to like it because it has been copied several times!

No. 2

Cathedral Wieliczka Salt Mine

Krakow, Wieliczka Salt Mine

This post is down from number 1 in 2013 to number 2 this year with 4,010 hits. I posted this in April 2010 after returning from a visit to Krakow in Poland.  It was a good trip but I am not sure why so many people would hit on it.  It is not as interesting as my trip to Auschwitz or the Crazy Mike Communist Tour.  Once again it is probably the image but interest in this post however is on the slide because someone stole the image and their version of it now comes up before mine in a Google search.  How annoying is that!

No. 3

Buckingham Palace 1

Royal Garden Party

3,300 hits, staying in the Top Ten and up three places from number 6 represents a very successful year for this post.  This one has been around for a long time ( since June 2009) and has always been popular especially around the Spring and Summer when invitations to the Royal Garden Party are going out and when people are wondering how to get one or what to wear if they have one. I think people assume that I have connections with the Royal Family and can be of some assistance.

No. 4

Lenin Mausoleum

Moscow and Lenin’s Mausoleum

This post stays in the Top 10 for a second year with 2,225 visits after an original posting in July 2012.  Cameras and mobile phones are strictly forbidden inside the Mausoleum because the Russian authorities don’t want snapshots of the great man turning up on the internet in people’s Blogs or Trip Advisor reviews so they have to be left in a locker room and if anyone tries to defy this and is caught by the thorough security checks then there punishment is to be sent to the back of the queue!  I shamelessly stole this one – well, people steal mine!

No. 5

Vesuvius the crater

Mount Vesuvius

1,330  hits and a fourth year in the Top Ten but dropping three places and presently running out of steam.  A bit of a surprise because this is the account of a day trip to Mount Vesuvius whilst on a holiday to Sorrento in 1976 with my dad.  From my memories of the same holiday I posted several blogs about visits to CapriNaplesPompeiiThe Amalfi Drive and Rome but these have only achieved a handful of hits between them.

No. 6

Andalusia 196 Seville Cathedral

The Twelve Treasures of Spain – Seville Cathedral

This year’s second new entry with 1,050 visits.  The “Twelve Treasures of the Kingdom of Spain” was a contest/poll that was conducted by the Spanish Television Company Antena 3 and the radio broadcaster Cope. The final results were announced on 31st December 2007.  I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the eight out of the twelve that I have visited.  Third in the competition was the mighty Spanish Cathedral in Seville, Andalusia..

No. 7

Travel Journal 2

Travel Journal

Seventh place with 1,005  hits which demonstrates the importance of an ‘About’ page.

Completing the Top 10 this year are three more newcomers:

No. 8

Ballyvaughan Ireland

Weekly Photo Challenge – Signs

I try and regularly take part in the Weekly Photo Challenge and often use it to provide a link to an older post.  I get a respectable amount of visits but they are rather like a Mayfly and only live for a day but for some reason this one has just kept on going.  Only posted in October 2014 it has attracted 905 visits and has muscled its way into the top 10.  It is a signpost in the village of Ballyvaughan in Southern Ireland and I can think of no reason why it has been so successful.

No. 9

Antoni Gaudi and me

Alternative Twelve Treasures of Spain – Antoni Gaudi

A second top 10 appearance this year for the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi  (maybe I am an expert on Gaudi after all).  After I had taken a look at the official Twelve Treasures of Spain I thought it might be fun to draw up my own personal alternative list.  I included Antoni Gaudi in a general rather than a specific way.  I posted this in March 2013 and it has made its way into the top 10 with 820 hits.

No. 10

Benidorm Bar c1960

Every Picture Tells a Story – Benidorm c1960

I posted this in March 2010 so it has taken a long time to get to the top 10.  It is actually one of my personal favourites.  It has crept in this year with 765 visits but I have no explanation about why it should suddenly spike like that!  It is a story about the Spanish seaside resort of Benidorm inspired by some photographs that I came across of my grandparents on holiday there in about 1960.

Dropping out of the Top Ten this year were:  Norway, Europe’s most Expensive Country, Travel Tips when Flying Budget Airlines, Danger in Naples, Camorra, Vesuvius and Pollution, Onyx UK  and an Inappropriate Visit to the Moulin Rouge and Twelve Treasures of Spain – Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

If you have read one of these posts or any of the 1,475 others on my site ‘Have Bag, Will Travel’then thank you very much!  I guess it proves that George Bailey (It’s A Wonderful Life) was right when he said: “The three most exciting sounds in the world are anchor chains, plane motors and train whistles.”  

I’d be interested to know about other people’s most popular posts in 2014 and the possible explanations why?  Comment and let me know.  I’m a sucker for statistics!

30 responses to “Review of the Year – 2014

  1. Happy New Year Andrew and a great post! That would be annoying about your photo being used without your consent (though a backhanded compliment as it is a great photo of the salt mine). I now put a text watermark on all my photos (just in case!) but it is quite time consuming – I feel it’s worth it though. Look forward to reading about more of your travels this coming year!


  2. Andrew as you know I am a reader not just a visitor. Congrats on another great year! My top posts this past year were all from close to home Calgary’s Flood of 2013 Then and Now, Banff Norquay Via Ferrata, Lake Minnewanka, About Me, Drumheller’s Dinosaurs, How To Survive Being Married to a Blogger, Pompeii Under Siege, Italian Food Quiz and 10 Best Locations in the World to Watch a Sunset.
    The local posts took some runs on social media, Dave’s guest blog struck a chord with many bloggers, The Pompeii post was FP. I get very little traffic from Google which is something I need to focus on. About 70,000 views in total for the year and over 15,000 comments. That is likely way more info than you wanted. 🙂


  3. Good summary sir. The problem with stats monitoring are things like WP reader and other such layover apps, and even mobile tech that simply don’t trigger page views. I wouldn’t bother trying to reconcile it any more Andrew; or you’ll end up going doolally and start rocking in the corner.

    You post well researched, informative, readable and interesting stuff! Some folk love it, whilst for the mob, it’ll just be over their heads as the world craves “gimme simple stuff for an immediate hit” more and more. My personal advice would be to keep on going exactly as you are. You have a skill for a niche product that many bloggers cannot match (myself included – we operate in different market areas by and large). I would try to forget the numbers game, who reads, who doesn’t etc. Your posts are not for number-crunchers, but for those who have the time, willingness and want to actually learn and be entertained.

    Think of your blog as a menu at a fine restaurant, rather than some fast-food joint. Quality matters (to some). Anyway, even if the burger-munchers wanna come in to scoff your steak and truffles, would you want them in your establishment? Probably not 🙂

    Have a great 2015. Relax… and enjoy blogging as you always have.


    • Thanks Spike. I’ll keep following the numbers, as I say I am a sucker for statistics.
      I started here in 2009 and I have seen WordPress change dramatically both in the product and the users. More instant Facebook type posts, a lot more advertising and a whole lot of spam. I think I’ll carry on through 2015. Happy New Year to you all in Turkey!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Like all things, WP is evolving, as is all SoMe, and like all products in modern life, we use as we see fit. Sometimes we also then change if/when it no longer fits the bill I guess too – so suck it and see, and move on as/when/if it feels right for you. The good thing is that more now than ever, the core applications beneath the GUI layer are mostly standalone chunks, common across multiple platforms, so product switching is now easy and relatively painless (not like ‘starting over’, should you wish to move platform).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just had a thought… with one of your pet peeves being liked but potentially unread posts, self-hosting would help there, as whilst posts can still be seen on WP Reader, or similar RSS devices, there’s no ‘comments’ or ‘like’ option, only within the post itself.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I wish now I hadn’t been quite so lazy in using the WordPress thingy, this is a much better idea. Best wishes Andrew, keep up the good work.


  5. Really good sum up post! I must say I really enjoy your blog and I hope to continue to enjoy it just as much in 2015!

    As to my most clicked post it’s called first day of spring ( This has the most hits, but I’m sure that it’s not the most read. Probably just a popular search term on google.


  6. Happy New Year, Andrew.

    Just a thought about your post about Benidorm and your question about why it’s suddenly appeared in your Top 10. I was wondering if it had anything to do with the actual TV Comedy series, ‘Benidorm’, due to start again on our TV screens here in the UK, tomorrow? As you say, sometimes people get to a post by mistake when using a search engine. I’ve come across some very funny search engine stats on my own blog of what people have entered in the search engine and ended up on my blog, some way past the 9pm watershed to mention.


  7. You mean you DON’T have connections with the royal family?! Why in the world am I reading your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy New Year! Good for you, writing your own review! It is interesting which posts get the most hits. I’ve always wondered if there is some sort of code or formula to blogging (you like statistics, I like codes) . AND I’d like to go back and take a look at those old posts. I haven’t made it to Europe yet and they sound interesting. Happy New Year and best wishes, Melissa 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Royal Garden Party is still hanging in there.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I can’t even count to ten so I never bother with all this stuff. Your article here makes an interesting read though!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have only been paying attention to top posts and visits for a couple years, and your perspectives are mine almost exactly! I never assume people have actually read the posts, since mine are always quite long. However, I did read yours all the way through, ha! What I really like is your frank puzzlement at how the numbers rack up the way they do. My two top posts are from 2010. I get 30 hits a day on one of them, which simply baffles me. For a long, long time my #3 post was one of two from Hoover Dam, and not even the better one, in my opinion. After investigation, I found it was because people came via clicking one of the images that came up in a Google search. Well, I consider it my little contribution to the curious minds of the planet. I can totally relate to your dismay when someone else’s post gets more hits now, based on your image that they took. Groan. Anyway, forgive my terribly long comment! And I’m glad I found your blog today. 🙂


  12. I have enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to more posts. I wish you a prosperous and travel filled 2015.


  13. Well travelled and well blogged, Andrew! Have a great 2015.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.