Wednesday, April 18, 2012

500th Post

500 pages in and counting
I started this blog in February 2009 and quickly settled on a routine of publishing posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I've stuck to that schedule ever since and this post is number 500. It seems like a milestone worth mentioning. According to the initial post, I planned to use the blog "to keep a record of the work I'm doing now and in the future."  The site has evolved a bit since then, but that is still more-or-less its purpose.  Maybe that goal should change or expand.

Monthly stats for Elfshot: Sticks and Stones since August 2009.  Currently, the site averages just over 10,000 Page Loads and just under 6,000 Unique Visits per month.  Over the course of a year, visitors seem to go up in the spring when I'm in the workshop and posting  about new projects.  Folks wander off during the summers while I'm in the field, and slowly rediscover the site in the fall.

Most people are here for wolfkillers
I'm nosy about other bloggers' stats, but I don't think I've ever shared mine here.  Blogger has built in statistics which came online a year or two ago - that's how the sidebar section called "Popular Posts" is generated.  There are different display options for Popular Posts, but the ones regularly displayed on this site are the most visited pages in the past month.  I like that option because it usually shows a mix of new and old posts and changes a few times a week.  But I can also see what the most popular posts are from the past day, week, or all time.

The Three Most Popular Posts of All Time are:
  1. Baleen Wolfkiller: Fact or Fiction?
  2. How does a Thule Harpoon Work?
  3. Patinating Copper Experiments
Locations of visitors to this page Before Blogger started tracking site stats, I began tracking statistics with ClustrMaps and StatCounter.  ClustrMaps says that the site has had 91,033 visitors since March 2009.  StatCounter says that there have been 194,093 page loads since August 2009 and 111,069 unique visitors since August 2009.  I'm not sure why StatCounter lists more visits in less time, but I suspect that ClustrMap may have more strict filters for weeding out revisits from the same user or IP address.

Puzzles like this foreshaft keep me going
So has it been worth it?  I think so.  I've learned a lot from the comments that people leave and the discussions that arise from the posts.  I use the site frequently as a notebook of past projects to check back and see what worked or didn't work.  I've been contacted by colleagues and strangers who let me know that some photo or discussion on the blog was useful to them or their students. I've reconnected with old friends and family because of the site.  New clients have contacted me because of work that they've seen on the blog.  I know that I'm pretty lousy when it comes to presenting or publishing my work in more conventional and scholarly forums, but at least some of the observations and ideas are being preserved and presented until I can work them into papers or publications that are a little easier to cite. In preparing this review post, I've realized the value of keeping this type of open notebook, but its starting to feel like a closet full of field notes that have never been properly written up or published.  I feel like I should do something more with it all.  I think that should be my new approach to the site during the next 500 posts.  I'll keep doing the work and recording it here, but I want to make more of an effort to get the ideas off the blog and into some more conventional formats that are a little easier for other archaeologists and experimenters to access and evaluate.

Photo Credits: 
1: Eric Walsh
2,4: Tim Rast
3: ClustrMaps


  1. We print our blog into a hardcover book (blog to print) every three months and it serves as our family photo album with writing. I also take my archaeology posts from various projects and print them out for the official museum files (I call them my 'e notes'. Also, like you, people use my blog to find photos - and then I send them the high res version.

    Our blog site meter has died a few times - so the total on their now does not reflect reality, just hits to our blog for the last few years. And traffic on our blog also starts to drop around April and is lowest in June. Then every year it picks up in September and grows until February. I think it might have something to do with the school year.

  2. The Blog to Print option sounds interesting. I like that you can grab posts by label. I might do that for photo albums for family or different trips.

    If I gave unique labels to specific projects then I could let clients know about the book option. Often when I'm making pieces that will be used in displays or for interpretation I need to send accompanying written material for the interpreters. Lately, that's been based on my blog notes and its usually a bit of a chore to assemble and print it all. This looks like an easier option.


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