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:
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!
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.
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 Capri, Naples, Pompeii, The Amalfi Drive and Rome but these have only achieved a handful of hits between them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!