The Flinders Archaeology Blog: one year on

Hello everyone,

As one of the blog admins I thought it might be time to give readers a brief snapshot of how things are going with the blog and also to seek some ideas and inspiration for its ongoing improvement in 2012.

In summary, things have been going extremely well with the blog since we redeveloped it in 2011. We have a steady stream of new posts – on average around two per week -  that  represent  the broad range of activities that our students and staff are involved in. We have on average around 1500 hits per month and around 50-70 hits per day, most of which come from search engine traffic. The most interesting statistics though are for the top  posts for the last 12 months and I’m pleased to report our ‘top 5 for 2011-2012′:

  1. Alex Kilpa’s The Magnetometer and its use in Underwater Archaeology with 488 views.
  2. Kyle Lent’s The Methodology of Dendrochronology (tree-ring dating) with 440 views
  3. Dennis Wilson’s Side Scan Sonar: The Key to Underwater Survey with 405 views
  4. Dennis Wilson’s The Survivor’s Guide to Practicum: One Man’s Journey to Maritime Fieldwork Enlightenment with 352 views
  5. Danielle Wilkinson’s Lights Cameras…Artefact! with 349 views.

So well done to all of you for writing such great posts! There are a couple of strong themes here. First maritime students clearly rock when it comes to writing blog posts as they  made up 9 of the 10 top posts for the year. Second, most of the top 20 posts had one thing in common: they provided tips, guides, or overviews of particular topics or methods that might be helpful to others. That is, rather than writing opinion pieces or posts about what they had done, they wrote to try to help others. Maybe there is something in that for those of you writing over the coming year?

I’ve added a screen grab of the top 20 posts for the year below.

Our top posts for 2011-12

Another important number that I think is worth mentioning here are our subscriber statistics. Last I looked, there were 559 people who are subscribed to our blog! That’s quite a readership and shows just how much interest there is in what we do here in the Archaeology Department. It also illustrates why it is important to make sure you write as well as you can when posting here: who knows who’s reading your work?

So where are we headed in 2012? Well, we do have a few ideas. For example, we think that there is quite a lot of design work we can do to improve the blog: archaeologists take fantastic pictures and so we would like to be able to use more of those around the site; the overall layout is a little dry, so we’ll be updating to make it more visually appealing; we also want more social media integration to make it easier for people to share our great content through Facebook and Twitter. We’re also toying with the idea of installing Buddypress so that we can build more of a community around the blog (see what they do with Buddypress at CUNY for example).

What I want to know from our users and our readers is this: what do you think we should do? What features are missing? What kinds of posts do you want to see? What don’t you like? Leave a comment below or drop me an email at [email protected]. They’ll all be taken on board as we develop the site from here forward.

Thanks once again, particularly to our bloggers for all of your hard work and energy and congratulations again to Alex, Kyle, Dennis and Danielle and all of the other top 20 bloggers for the year!

Mick Morrison

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