Review of 2015 – Top Ten Posts

Ireland Inch Beach

As we nail down 2015, 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 escape 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 posted 320 times and the total number of visits recorded was just over 101,000 so there was some significant recovery.  2015 has not seen the same level of improvement but there has been consolidation.  I have posted 311 times and the number of reported visits is 106,600, an increase of just 5.5%.

These are the Top Ten posts of 2015:

No. 1 

Gaudi Casa Batlo Barcelona Catalonia Spain

Catalonia, Barcelona and Antoni Gaudi

No change at the top this year and this post has recorded 8,715 visits which is over 3,000 more than last.  I posted this in August 2013 following a week touring Catalonia 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 urban 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


Royal Garden Party

5,870 hits, up from 3,300 and staying in the Top Ten for the sixth successive year which by that measure makes it my most successful post.

In total it has 17,800 visits which makes all time second after my post about  Norway, Haugesund and the Vikings. 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.

No. 3

Vesuvius Naples Italy

Mount Vesuvius

This one has been around a while as well and with 1,610 hits and a fifth year in the Top Ten is becoming a stubborn stayer.  A bit of a surprise to me really 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. 4

Antoni Gaudi and me

Alternative Twelve Treasures of Spain – Antoni Gaudi

A second top ten appearance again 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 this year with 1,455 visits it has risen five places to number four.

No. 5

Angry Man Skelligs Viewpoint Kerry Ireland

Ireland, Ring of Kerry and I Temporarily Overcome My Fear of Dogs.

This is the first of this year’s new entries with a surprising 1,325 visits and no convincing explanation why that should be.

I visited Southern Ireland in June 2014 and wrote several posts that I personally would consider more interesting than this encounter with a grumpy street entertainer and a worn out old collie dog.  Once again, and rather disappointingly, I suspect it isn’t the words but the picture that grabs attention.  It was a map of the Ring of Kerry which I noticed displayed on the front of a shop.

No. 6

L'Escala Costa Brava

Catalonia, In Search of Norman Lewis

The second of this year’s new entries and I must confess that I am rather pleased about this one.

There are some posts that I have written that I would like people to read and this is one of few that have achieved that. Before visiting Catalonia in 2014 I read the book ‘Voices of the Old Sea’ by Norman Lewis which is an account of the Costa Brava in the 1940s and the approach of mass tourism.  In this post I attempted some research and some interpretation of the book and the area.  It has recorded 977 visits and in this case I like to think that this is because of the subject rather than the pictures.

No. 7

wieliczka salt mine

Krakow, Wieliczka Salt Mine

This post has also been a consistent performer with five years in the top ten but in terms of visits is this year’s biggest loser, down almost 3,200 hits to just 790, dropping four places from last year’s number two and if that slide continues I expect it to be gone next year.  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.

No. 8

Benidorm Hotel Terrace c1960 

Every Picture Tells a Story – Benidorm c1960

I posted this in March 2010 and it finally made the top ten last year and I am glad to see it there for a second year. It has stayed in this year with 740 visits.   It is actually one of my personal favourites  and 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.

No. 9

Volare Domenigo Modungo Polignano a Mare

Italy and Puglia, Domenico Modungo and the Eurovision Song Contest

The last of the new entries and another one that I am pleased about. This is the story of the Italian singer Domenico Modungo.   Domenico who? I hear you ask.  Well, let me tell you that Domenico is renowned for writing and performing what is claimed to be the most famous, most copied, most successful ever Eurovision Song Contest entry and most lucrative in terms of revenue, Italian popular music songs of all time.  Think about it…have you got it…

“Nel blu dipinto di blu” or most popularly known as “Volare”.  With 656 visits it has only just about crept in to the top ten but I am happy to see it there.

No. 10

Tourists The Grand Tour of Europe

Travel Journal

Seventh place with 636 hits and four years in the top ten which demonstrates the importance of an ‘About’ page.

Dropping out of the Top Ten this year are:  Moscow and Lenin’s Mausoleum, The Twelve Treasures of Spain – Seville Cathedral and Weekly Photo Challenge – Signs

If you have read one of these posts or any of the 1,785 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.”  

On reflection, not a bad year but I still haven’t been Freshly Pressed (Discovered).  Do I care? Well, maybe a little bit!

I’d be interested to know about other people’s most popular posts in 2015 and the possible explanations why?  Comment and let me know.  I’m a sucker for statistics!


39 responses to “Review of 2015 – Top Ten Posts

  1. Never fear Andrew, I’ve discovered your blog so doesn’t that count for something? I’m in the process of doing my own analysis of m blogging year. Love these lazy holiday days when nothing important has to get done. Your collection is very interesting and quite diverse, well done on a solid 2015!


  2. The garden party post never gets old.


  3. Very well blogged, Sir! Thanks for all the stories during 2015, and happy travels in 2016.


  4. Andrew I am happy to report I have read many of your posts as you know. I smile as I write this because you always make me laugh with your nuggets of humour.
    We are just back from Mexico so I haven’t looked at stats for the year. However I know one of the top posts is ‘ What Not To Do in Jamaica’. I’m delighted because the post is one of the funniest stories of me dragging Dave horseback riding which he detests. Long suffering husband.


  5. I guess mine is quite narrow in subject so I expect a certain number and fluctuations but over 240,000 visits is quite good I thought given the specifics of the site – I have for over a year reduced to posting twice a week and that brings about 180,000 visits which is still very good. My biggest day was in January 2015 with 4,556 visits but I have had days in past with over 7,000 visits etc. Given the huge number on blogs, articles etc on similar subject you present Andrew, it’s still very good going. Excellent I think. I have stopped worrying about hits and visits and now simply write to express what I think needs to be said or is relevant and since I don’t intend making money out of it – all good. Even one visit a day that learns something new from it is fabulous I think. Happy New Year.


  6. What can I say? All great posts! I’ll just nip back and check out Catalonia because I think I missed that. Health and happiness to you and the brood, Andrew 🙂


  7. Some big numbers there – congrats and happy travels for 2016. My most visited post has been Things To Do In Bled for three years running. Annoyingly, stuff I have written in 2014, 2015 and on Cornwall gets bugger all views!


    • Irritating isn’t it. You write something that might be of interest and it bombs. Your Cornwall posts are good. I am beginning to think that the thing to do is post a picture of a flower or a recipe for last nights dinner and sit back and get hundreds of hits.
      Can Villa survive this season? It looks difficult now.


      • Good thinking – a good title and main photo go a long way.

        We need 10 wins from 18 games so doubt it very much although your lot did it last year so who knows? We’d need a striker, goalie, 2 full backs and a miracle though!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t that annoying. Mine too- top posts are the same two from 2010, over and over. My photos are better now, my writing is better, but what does it matter? ha ha


  8. Your stats blow mine out of the water and I did get Freshly Pressed this year so I reckon you don’t need it. 🙂 Congratulations on another successful blogging year.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I was hoping the incident with the inflatable in the lift may have made it, Andrew. Hopefully next year?
    Happy New Year!


  10. I enjoy your posts, Andrew – hope we’ll be hearing of more adventures in 2016!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Andrew, thanks for bringing me the adventures of yr travels. Looking forward to your interesting posts of 2016. Also, thanks for your visits to my blog.
    Have a wonderful New Year! Cheers!


  12. Thanks for sharing your numbers, I have seen a similar pattern and struggled to get my numbers back up to a point not quite seen in the past…Have a great 2016.


  13. Maybe you don’t need to get ‘Freshly Pressed’, because you’re already considered to be key player in the WordPress community. Did you ever consider that?
    I read all of your posts and I’ll continue to do so as long as you keep writing them.
    All the best in 2016! 🙂


  14. What a wonderful reminder of some of your great posts and some of the totally awesome places you have been! How lucky are you!? happy New Year!


  15. I just tallied my Top 10 posts from my previous post. I excluded old posts and only included posts that I composed during 2015. A lot of my older posts are crazily have staying power too.
    Your stats are highly impressive! I dialed down on posting last year so ….
    I wonder where did your “hotel rules” post ranked as?


  16. I used to pine after Freshly Pressed, and gave it up once I got more realistic. Who knows how they find their bloggers, but I’m sure it’s pure chance. There are 300,000 of us, right? I read a post from a man once who said, “Well, I’ve been blogging for over four months now, and FINALLY got onto Freshly Pressed.” I muttered to the screen, “oh bite me.”

    I haven’t checked my stats for 2015, but as usual, your posts inspires me. I know it seems self-indulgent, but I really do enjoy reading others’ summaries. Particularly when I recognize the posts that you reference. I may spend some time browsing my stats today.


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