So I started blogging last summer and I had no idea that WordPress sends you a helpful end of year summary.
It’s a review of the numbers that all bloggers keep an eye on in the “Site Stats” section, such as the number of views a post gets, where your “traffic” is coming from (my top referral sites were Facebook and Twitter) and the search terms that lead people to you.
That last one, the search terms, never ceases to amaze me. Sure lots of people search for “Conor Cullen” (I know, I’m surprised too!) and a lot more don’t bother with their browser’s address bar for this site and instead stick the URL (conorcullen.com) into Google.
I thank you all for visiting, reading and sharing!
Then there are the more slightly curious search terms. Take the two photos above. They appeared in this post about my love of photography and the popular iPhone app Instagram, which I had lots of fun with last summer.
The first is a photograph I took of a poster for the film “Hanna”, starring Saoirse Ronan, which was stuck on a phone box in Ranelagh. The second photo I captured in Seville. I thought it made a striking image, but I cautioned against taking photos of people’s underwear in most circumstances!
The combination of “Saoirse Ronan” and “underwear” has subsequently become one of the most frequent search terms that has led (and still leads) people to that post and this blog. I can only imagine their disappointment!
I noticed this trend shortly after the post went up on July 21 and it was confirmed by my “2011 in blogging” report from WordPress.
You’d be amazed how people arrive here though. Some of today’s search terms that have brought people here are: “people who had rickets”, “people walking unusually” and “weird bar counter”.
Search terms more obviously related to my posts that brought people here today were “Eoin Colfer history of Hook Lighthouse” and “why does animal cruelty continue”.
Other search terms that have caused me to raise an eyebrow since I started blogging have generally been carefully crafted by my friend and colleague Peter Henry to strike a fine balance of insulted/amused on this end!
I posted a total of 29 times in 2011 , from June, when I started blogging, to December. The only month I missed was September and that was due to a long holiday here.
I blogged about a lot of different things last year, from local festivals to the London riots, but my most popular post – by some distance – was 10 Things I Like About Dublin Bikes, which I posted back in August.
Here’s second, third, fourth and fifth in the popularity (number of views) stakes. My “busiest day” was August 11, when traffic peaked thanks to combination of the posts about Dublin Bikes and the London Riots.
Unsurprisingly, most of my readers came from Ireland, followed by the United States and United Kingdom. I’m doing okay in Australia, but have a lot of work to do before I “break” Asia and South America!
I hope to keep blogging on a regular basis in 2012. It’s not easy to find the time and often the inspiration, but it’s an enjoyable thing to do and I’d urge anyone who is thinking about it to give it a go.
I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to everyone who “follows” this blog and those who check in regularly or irregularly to see what I’m up to. Comments and feedback are always welcome. Thanks for reading!
Finally, to anyone who came here looking for Saoirse Ronan’s underwear, I’m truly sorry.
“If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera.” – Lewis Hine
I love photography.
Looking at it mostly, but this year I’ve also started taking some photos again following a protracted period of hibernation.
And what rekindled my dormant interest? Well, the iPhone, sort of. I got it in February and it’s the first phone I’ve had that it’s really been worth taking a photo with.
I can’t remember what started it, but I saw something, I took out the phone and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the image (I am, of course, referring to the camera’s capabilities, not my own).
From there on in, I’ve been taking my pocket camera out on a whim. The instant availability appealed to me I guess and as I don’t have what you’d term a “proper” camera I finally had a substitute that I almost always have with me.
So, for example, if you call down to your sister’s and her kids are playing with a bubble machine or on a trampoline you can try capture the joy!
But what really sealed the deal for me was Spain and, in particular, Seville. It is a stunning city and I was compelled to reach for the camera phone countless times. The banner on this blog contains part of one of the many photos I took in Seville.
The colours in Seville (like a lot of things there) are truly amazing and this also really got me going on the Instagram app, which is for sharing photos with others, but also allows you alter them. The first two photos in this post have been “Instagramed”, the third hasn’t.
Instagram is a phone app that allows you run your photos through a selection of different filters . You can do a lot of things, from emphasizing colours in a variety of ways to going black and white if you like, it all depends on the photo you have to work with really. A lot of people would suggest it’s a Hipster app and I won’t argue with that, but it’s definitely fun!
I generally find some photos cannot be improved with filters (when you get it really right or get lucky), while others can be spruced up quite nicely. This photo of a phone box in Ranelagh/Saoirse Ronan poster is an example of an image I took and then made more striking through Instagram.
As well as occasionally admiring phone boxes, I am also an avid people watcher. We’re a fascinating species really! A lot of the time when you see people who look really interesting or are doing something really interesting, social etiquette/manners/fear will stop you capturing that image, but sometimes you can (safely!) indulge your interest. I love when that happens.
If you’re feeling really brave you can even take photos of people’s underwear…
Best to disregard that last piece of advice!
So I have taken photos in lots of places and of lots of people in recent months and I have really enjoyed it. But there comes a point when if you want to move it on a step you’re just going to have to go and invest in a good camera.
I got thinking about this today when talking to Mick Harpur about a competition I was urging him to enter. Look at photos like this and you’ll see why. Looking at the Clean Coast website you’ll see the standard of the competition entries from last year. They are fantastic.
Now Mick is one of those people who really knows what makes a great image and has a sharp eye for an opportunity. You can’t really teach someone that I reckon. And just because you have a good camera doesn’t mean you’ll take good photographs.
As good as the iPhone camera is, it’s still a phone camera and I see a lot of images I just can’t capture with it. But I’m not sure if I have the required ability or interest to justify the “proper” camera investment (in terms of time and money).
Will those images I can’t really capture due to the limits of the iPhone really be that much better than the ones I’m getting with it? Will I devote enough time to it to make it worth it? Will I progress enough to make my new camera sing?!
I do think I would really enjoy it. Maybe that should be among my most important criteria when making this decision? If you’ve taken the leap feel free to pass on your advice.